Friday, February 23 , 2018, 1:29 pm | Fair 59º



Santa Barbara Chrysler Dealership Set to Close After Failed Purchase Deal

Owner Jim Crook says he negotiated a sale with Leo Bunnin of Ventura for two months

The proposed deal to sell the Santa Barbara Chrysler dealership to Leo Bunnin in Ventura has fallen through, owner Jim Crook said Monday after indicating he would have to close the business within 15 days.

“I’ve done everything I can,” Crook said. “I just can’t do any more.”

In August, Bunnin made a bid to buy the Santa Barbara Chrysler dealership at 6290 Hollister Ave. After two months of negotiating, Crook said a final deal could not be reached.

Crook, who said he has no other clear bidders for the Chrysler franchise, has been in the South Coast auto business for 31 years. He said tight credit during the past two years have made things difficult for him to continue with the Chrysler dealership.

Crook still sells Jeep, Dodge and Hyundai brands at the Hitchcock Way lot.

Bunnin, who wasn’t immediately available for comment, started selling cars more than a decade ago with a Ventura Infiniti dealer.

He spent the past 10 years with the GM Supercenter in Oxnard, which sells Buick, GMC and Cadillac.

Bunnin’s Ventura lot was the top-selling Buick-GMC dealership in the Western region, according to industry reports. The company also runs a Buick-GMC-Cadillac dealership in Simi Valley and a used-car center in Ventura.

If the deal had gone through, the Santa Barbara County dealership would be Bunnin’s first try at South Coast auto franchises.

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