Posts Tagged ‘Dodge’


Just two weeks ago when I drove by Buerge Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram in West Los Angeles on Santa Monica Blvd., the lot was full of cars. Fast forward to today, it’s a ghost town and fork lifts are hauling out service equipment.

All the inventory is gone from Buerge Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge-Ram in West LA

All the inventory is gone from Buerge Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge-Ram in West LA

Whatever valuable tooling existed in the service department was being carted out. Perhaps it had been sold or it was being repossessed by a bank or leasing company.

Whatever valuable tooling existed in the service department was being carted out. Perhaps it had been sold or it was being repossessed by a bank or leasing company.

What happened, I don’t know for sure, but I can speculate: Terrible customer service finally put the nail in the coffin.

The tiny showroom was a humbled design that was never updated. It could have been done, but the owners didn't invest much in the facilities.

The tiny showroom was a humbled design that was never updated. It could have been renovated, but the owners didn’t invest much in the facilities.

I’ve shopped at Buerge before and I’ve never  had a good experience at this dealer.  And I know it wasn’t just me.  Many of the Yelp reviews were brutal.

I remember my last visit to the showroom. There were no sales associates anywhere to be seen – not even a receptionist. And there were three other customers wandering around looking at the cars on the showroom floor, wondering if anyone was going to bother to talk to them.  When one sales guy showed up, we had to let  him know who was waiting the longest, like we were at the prepared foods counter at Gelson’s. Naturally, I knew more about the car than the salesman – not surprising – but this guy seemed particularly clueless.  It must have been a horrible, depressing place to work.

The lot was very small by modern standards, but there was no place to grow. The rear abuts residential property and the dealership already occupied the full city block. The original lots just weren't very deep.

The lot was very small by modern standards, but there was no place to grow. The rear abuts residential property and the dealership already occupied the full city block. The original lots just weren’t very deep.

After I purchased my 2012 Dodge Charger from another more responsive dealer, I took my car to Buerge for service as it is the closest dealer to me in West Hollywood and I can ride the MTA 4 or 704 to a stop one block form the dealership.

The service people never found the electronic gremlins that plagued my outside temperature gauge (constantly wrong) or why the climate control system didn’t properly sense the cabin temperature, but I was horrified by the customer “lounge” which hadn’t been updated since the building was built, probably back in the 1970s. The ceiling tiles were stained from ancient water leaks. The coffee “station” could have come out of an episode of The Office. The windowless room was truly soul-sucking.

I took these pictures about 2 years ago. Note the ancient TV.

I took these pictures about 2 years ago. Note the ancient TV. And check out that fantastic coffee station. No expense spared, right?

It's like they bought the seats at a surplus auction from a defunct Greyhound Bus station.

It’s like they bought the seats at a surplus auction from a defunct Greyhound Bus station.

 

It's hard to see, but there were water stains on the ceiling tiles.

It’s hard to see, but there were water stains on the ceiling tiles.

The dealership website is still online, but when you call the toll-free number, after the initial recorded voice, you’re connected to a fast busy signal. As the unceremonious notice on the door says, they are “Closed for Business as of 2/17/2014.”

Like the way the owners ran the business, the "closed" sign was a simple notice with no information or explanation.  Maybe they lost their lease? Maybe the real estate was too valuable for a poorly-performing business? Who knows?

Like the way the owners ran the business, the “closed” sign was a simple notice with no information or explanation. Maybe they lost their lease? Maybe the real estate was too valuable for a poorly-performing business? Who knows?

This is bad news for Chrysler as this leaves the company with no store in Metro Los Angeles — the same problem plagues Chevrolet. My choices are now Van Nuys, Glendale, Downtown LA, Inglewood or San Fernando. None of them are on a transit route and none are convenient.

There’s a huge market for Chrysler-group vehicles and factory service in Metro LA. Perhaps another dealer group will take up the franchise in Santa Monica or even Mid-Wilshire.  Jeep is a hot brand, as is Ram.  Just because Buerge finally tanked doesn’t mean a well-run group can’t fill the vacuum that now exists. Any takers?

Update: April 22, 2014

I received a flyer in the mail from the “All-New” Hooman Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram of Los Angeles – NOT conveniently located Inglewood.  This is apparently the replacement for Buerge, but I wonder why I got a flyer for my minivan but not my Charger.  Odd.  However, I won’t be taking either my 2012 Dodge Charger or my 2011 Dodge Grand Caravan there for service.  It looks like I’ll stick with Crystal Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram Fiat in Cathedral City.

Hooman Chrysler Jeep P1 Edit

Hooman Chrysler P2


Chrysler Group: Chrysler didn’t show any new models, but it did show some awesome updated and special edition models. And of course, this is the Los Angeles debut of the 2013 SRT (Street Racing and Technology) Viper.

The 2013 SRT Viper is one mean-looking snake. Move over Corvette, the Viper is finally more user friendly, while still packing a mean bite with the 8.4L V10 making 640 hp and 600 lb-ft of torque.

The 2013 SRT Viper from the rear. This beauty has no bad angles. Prices start at $97,395. Something this pretty doesn’t come cheap.

There was scant information about this 2013 Dodge Challenger R/T. I love the stripes and amber running lights.

This was a Mopar Concept Car – a Dodge Challenger with a big engine under the hood (note the bump) and a mean purple paint job.

This is another Mopar Concept car – The Dodge Charger Juiced. This lovely orange-copper colored beast has the Viper V10 engine stuffed under the hood. Talk about muscle!

This 2013 Dodge Dart Rallye has a factory matte paint job and it was quite sharp. You too can order it this way.

The 2014 Jeep Wrangler with the Rubicon 10th Anniversary package. It also has some cool Mopar accessories like that mean winch on the front bumper. The red leather interior was very sharp, I’m just not sure it would do well in open or off-road motoring or in mud.

Another popular Mopar Concept is this Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sand Trooper with Chrysler’s 5.7L Hemi V8 and a 5-speed automatic. The tires and wheels are ridiculous but it would be a wet dream for serious off-roaders.

The rear view of the Jeep Wangler Unlimited Sand Trooper.

The interior of the Mopar Concept Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sand Trooper is mostly stock. Most of the modifications were under the hood as well as the chassis, suspension, off-road accessories and 4-wheel drive hardware.

Ford: Ford had several interesting new models in Los Angeles. The biggest news, of course, was the LA premier of the all-important 2013 Fusion. It’s a volume leader for Ford and with Aston Martin-ish handsome face, it will be a serious treat to the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, Nissan Altima, Hyundai Sonata, Kia Optima and Volkswagen Passat.  The only engines offered will be 4-cylinder, with the top of the line being a 2.0L EcoBoost making  240 hp and 270 lb-ft of torque.  The Fusion Hybrid is rated at 47 mpg – city or highway, besting the Camry, Sonata and Optima hybrids as well as the Passat TDI.

2013 Ford Fusion. Check out that Aston Martin grille.

This 2013 Ford Fusion has a Euro Series styling package by 3d Carbon-Air Design

The interior of the 2013 Ford Fusion is all high-tech. However, I found some of the controls didn’t respond quickly to my touch and I accidentally pressed surface controls that I didn’t want to change or activate.

Ford’s Mustang is getting very old and is due to be replaced in the Spring of 2014 with an all-new, completely modern model to celebrate Mustang’s 50th Anniversary. In the meantime, Ford just keeps adding horsepower and styling packages to keep up interest.

The 2013 Ford Shelby GT500 Convertible is always a crowd favorite. I mean who doesn’t like 662 HP, 631 lb-ft of torque and a price tag of $68.,710?

The white leather stripes make for a nice continuation of the paint stripes on the outside of the 2013 Ford Shelby GT500 Convertible.

Ford also introduced a refreshed 2014 Fiesta. The headline in the redesign isn’t the exterior, but that for the first time in decades, it will be offered with a 1 liter 3-cylinder EcoBoost engine. The little mill whips out 123 hp and 148 lb-ft of torque and should be good for at least 40 mpg highway.

The 2014 Ford Fiesta with the 1.0L 3-cylinder EcoBoost engine.

To please the enthusiast crowd, Ford also showed the 2014 Fiesta ST.

2014 Ford Fiesta ST. Note the grille looks more like the 2013 Fusion.

Ford is jumping back into the minivan market, albeit in a completely different way.  Ford’s little Transit Connect commercial van has been selling well since it went on sale a few years ago. Now it’s time for a refreshed Transit Connect and with that refresh comes a consumer minivan option. It’s definitely a Euro-flavor van as it’s quite tall and shorter than something like a Chrysler Town & Country.  I think it will find a new type of buyer – a family which may not want a traditional minivan or a big SUV.  I think it’s pretty cool!

2014 Ford Transit Connect Wagon.

The interior of the 2014 Ford Transit Connect Wagon.

The rear of the 2014 Transit Connect Wagon (don’t call it a minivan) can easily be reconfigured for passengers or cargo. Sliding doors are on both sides. And it should be more fuel efficient than a traditional minivan.

Honda: The big news was the redesign of the Honda Civic for the 2013 model year. However, I’ll cover that in another post as it happened on Day 2 of the auto show.

Honda did have an interesting little hybrid concept called an EV-STER and it also showcased the new 2013 Plug-In Accord Hybrid.

Honda EV-STER Concept. It’s small and cute… I doubt it will ever see production.

2014 Honda Accord Plug-In Hybrid.

Hyundai: The big reveal was the 2014 Santa Fe – long wheel-base version.  However, I’ll cover that on Day 2. On Day 1, the fun Concept Veloster Roll Top opened some eyes. If you don’t like the Veloster, you won’t like the Concept, but I really like the sporty and high-style concept of the Veloster, so the Roll Top concept for an active lifestyle hit the right note.

Hyundai Veloster Turbo C3 Roll Top Concept

Everyone needs a custom bike to put in the back of your custom concept car, right? Very cool Veloster C3 Roll Top rear hatch.

Infiniti: The LA Auto Show got nothing from Nissan’s luxury brand.  The LE Concept has made the rounds of auto shows for over a year now, finally landing in LA.  Is this its final resting place?  The LE is based on the all-electric Nissan Leaf platform and it shows nicely, but I was tired of seeing it in photos before I was bored seeing it in person. Hey, Infiniti, time for some new product, right? And I don’t mean the JX – a luxury version of the Nissan Pathfinder SUV.

Infiniti’s all-electric LE Concept.

Jaguar: The 2014 Jaguar F-Type roadster was probably the highlight of the LA Auto Show. I have more pictures of it from Day 2 that I will put in another post. There’s no denying the Sexy Kitty and the F-Type is a sure hit, even if it’s a low volume one. It’s more of a halo car for Jaguar, something the brand sorely needed. The Old XK Cat has been face lifted more times than Joan Rivers and while we will eventually get a new XK, I almost don’t care as the F-Type is so delicious.

2014 Jaguar F-Type V8S’ supercharged engine makes 495 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque. The only transmission is a ZF 8-speed automatic.  It looks sensational in orange. Can you say tiger?

The rear of the 2014 Jaguar F-Type V8S has a spoiler that rises out of the rear deck lip.

The interior of the 2014 Jaguar F-Type V8S looks like a lovely place to spend many hours on the open road. The electronic shifter appears to be lifted straight out of a BMW.

Jaguar also showed an updated XF sedan. The screaming blue example on the floor refuses to be ignored. I have more pictures from Day 2 which I’ll put in another post.

The 2014 Jaguar XFR-S.

The business end of the 2014 Jaguar XFR-S. Hear its supercharged V8 roar as it blasts past you.

Kia: The Kia Sorento mid-size SUV is all new for 2014. It features both four and six-cylinder engines and improved fuel economy.  It’s much more stylish than the Toyota Highlander.

The 2014 Kia Sorento is rides on an all-new platform.

Interior of the 2014 Kia Sorento.

Lexus: Toyota’s luxury division didn’t have anything new for the LA Auto Show, but it did have some very cool (albeit recycled) concept cars.

The Lexus LF-CC Concept previews the upcoming new IS. However, I can’t believe the production IS will ever look this good.

The Lexus LF-LC Concept Coupe was also sensational. Now if Lexus would actually produce an IS or GS coupe and/or convertible that looks this good.

On the production side, the GS F-Sport models are looking good.

2013 Lexus GS F-Sport. The ground effects package give it a sportier appearance.

I think Lexus nailed the interior of the new GS. The horizontal lines work and the matte colors in the F-Sport look, well, sporty.

Lincoln: The big news is the 2013 MKZ, which was introduced on Day 2 of the show, so I’ll cover it in a subsequent post. But lucky for the press, and only on Day 1, Lincoln brought a collection of classic Lincolns.

1929 Lincoln L Dietrich Convertible Coupe.

1932 Lincoln Derham Sports Sedan

1932 Lincoln KB LeBaron Convertible Roadster

1932 Lincoln Zephyr Sedan Coupe.

1940 Lincoln Continental Cabriolet

1961 Lincoln Continental Sedan.

Elizabeth Taylor’s 1956 Lincoln Continental Mark II

To be continued in the next post, 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show Part 3