When you compare the size of car dealers in the metro-east, it doesn’t get much bigger than Auffenberg.
The auto group, operated by Jamie Auffenberg and his son, Mike, will soon bring Chrysler brand vehicles back to its showroom floor in O’Fallon.
After Chrysler filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2009, Auffenberg lost the brand. Eight years later, it’s expected to come back after Auffenberg inks a deal with Brent Bergheger, Mascoutah’s Chrysler dealer.
Bergheger plans to retire in October. His dealership will become a used car lot after he sells his new Chrysler inventory to Auffenberg.
That means new Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram Truck brand vehicles for O’Fallon at Auffenberg’s Auto Mall, not Mascoutah.
The deal is expected to be finalized Friday.
Want to know more? Here’s everything you need to know about the Auffenberg expansion:
More cars will soon arrive in O’Fallon
Chrysler sales at Auffenberg’s Auto Mall are expected to begin Saturday if the deal with Bergheger goes through. Auffenberg expects to get about 40 new cars out of deal and will soon build its Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram Truck inventory.
Auffenberg currently stocks pre-owned vehicles and six different new car makes, including Ford, Hyundai, Kia, Mazda, Volkswagen, and Nissan.
The car dealer group has announced plans to moves its O’Fallon operation to Shiloh in the future. The $40 million project is planned for a 36-acre lot on the corner of Frank Scott Parkway and Fortune Boulevard. Village leaders agreed to offer Auffenberg a sales tax rebate worth up to $14 million as an incentive to get Auffenberg to move to Shiloh.
Its Belleville location at 901 S. Illinois St. is being renovated. That location sells Ford vehicles. In July, Belleville aldermen agreed to give $1.2 million in TIF money to Auffenberg Ford, which then promised to spend at least $2 million on renovations on the dealership, produce $24 million annually in revenue that is subject to sales tax and stay in business for 15 years. City leaders expect to get about $240,000 annually from sales tax revenue generated at the dealership.
Mike Auffenburg said the dealer group never wanted to lose Chrysler brand cars back in 2009.
His father agreed.
“The reality is it made no sense when they did it,” Jamie Auffenburg said of Chrysler leaving the Auffenberg Dealer Group.
New Chrysler brand vehicles will be available at 176 Auto Court in O’Fallon.
Mascoutah dealer plans to retire after the deal
After the deal with Auffenberg is done, Bergheger plans to sell his dealership to Vince Bonino, the general manager at Brent Bergheger Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram.
Bonino will sell pre-owned vehicles. Maintenance and service operation will also continue at the dealership located at 220 W. Main St. in Mascoutah. Chrysler vehicles that need warranty work will be directed to a Chrysler dealer.
Bergheger, who became a car dealer nearly 30 years ago, will continue to work part time at the Mascoutah dealership as an adviser. He also plans to devote more time to his foundation, Brent Bergheger Family Foundation at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. The foundation raises money for cancer research.
As for the dealership, Bergheger credits his customers, employees and family for his success. All three helped him along the way.
“I’ll still have the benefit of being with my customers,” Bergheger said. “I owe a thank you to my customers. Because of them it’s been a very good business.”
Bergheger expects pre-owned inventory at his dealership to double.
Auffenberg is hiring
To support its new addition, the dealership plans to hire 20 to 30 more team members, Mike Auffenberg said. The company has filled some of those slots, but they expect to bring on more technicians, parts experts and salesmen.
For more information, contact the Auffenberg Dealer Group at 618-624-2277.