The History of Monken Automotive

 

In the 1960’s

In the 60’s, W. Harold Monken was a partner with David Woolbright at the Standard Gas Station in Centralia. Harold was always the hot rodder spending much time improving his vehicles and racing them at night and weekends. His brother, Wayne Monken, and father, Walter Monken, helped build a small garage/dealership that opened as Car City on November 4th, 1967 on Shattuc Road west of Centralia.

In the 1970’s

In 1971, a Japanese gentleman from Datsun was canvassing the area to find a dealer partner to represent what is today known as Nissan. Harold was interested and the business later became Car City Nissan. The 70’s were a great time to own a dealership that offered inexpensive vehicles with great gas mileage. They sold the shiny Datsun vehicles as fast as they could get them.

In the 1980’s

In the 80’s, Harold recognized a dealership trend to become bigger in order to survive. He explored adding Chrysler when Booth Motors closed. In 1987, he flew to Chicago with his attorney, Bill Crain, to close the deal with Chrysler, but had a last minute change of heart. He ultimately sold Car City Nissan to his General Manager Mike Gansauer and Mike’s father in law, Bob Cleary. In 1988, Mike & Bob purchased Meier Chevrolet and moved from Shattuc road. The business was now Car City Chevrolet Nissan. Several prominent business partners, including the Geary Family and the Cooksey Family were investors.

In the 1990’s

In the early 90’s, Harold opened Car Country for a few years, and then worked for Jansen Chevrolet in Germantown. In 1996, Bruce Geary told Harold that they were ready to exit the auto business. Harold returned to Car City and asked Mike Jansen to be a business partner with him in order to purchase the dealership.

However, GM already had three dealerships in Centralia. They were Dobbs/Mahan Buick GMC, Car City Chevrolet and Seeburger Oldsmobile Cadillac. GM was strategically cutting dealers with a plan called Project 2000. GM only wanted two dealers in the Centralia market and wouldn’t approve the sale of Chevrolet. It took months to negotiate. Ultimately Chevrolet was sold to Seeburger, and Car City became Monken/Jansen Chrysler Plymouth Dodge Nissan on May 1,1997. Harold’s son, Wes Monken, joined a month later in June 1997 relocating from the Chicago area. Harold and Wes purchased out Mike Jansen in 1998 and dropped the name Jansen to become Monken Dodge Chrysler Plymouth Nissan. Later that year, Monken’s purchased the Jeep franchise from Dobbs/Mahan in Centralia.

2005 – Now

In 2005, discussions began about the Monken’s acquiring Dobbs/Mahan Buick GMC. The plan was to have Harold’s daughter, Kim Monken McMillan, run the dealership. In February of 2005, Harold was rushed to the emergency room. Our long term attorney, Marvin Miller, met us at the hospital to sign a Power of Attorney over to the family. This is how Kim learned that she was coming to work for the family! The purchase of Dobbs/Mahan Buick GMC was finalized in June of 2005. Harold had a significant leak on his mitral valve caused by an infection. He battled through three valve transplants, a stroke and ultimately passed away on July 22, 2006. With great patience and hard work, Wes and Kim found a way to make both stores thrive. In May 2014 Monken Buick GMC purchased Schmidt Chevrolet and relocated to their building across from Walmart to become Monken Chevrolet Buick GMC.

Why Our Salesman, Ryan, Loves a Minivan

Blog by Ryan Williams

My wife and I have purchased three consecutive Chrysler minivans. Recently we traded in our 2010 for a new 2015.  The three main reasons we continue to purchase a Chrysler minivan are:

  1. Affordable – We have a pretty good size family and this van is a very affordable 7 passenger vehicle.
  2. Beyond the affordability, it is a great cruising vehicle for trips and day-to-day commutes. My wife drive many miles out of town with her job and we have never experienced any major mechanical issues.
  3. My favorite things about the Chrysler van are the Stow & Go seats, heated seats and steering wheel, and the DVD entertainment for the kids. The Chrysler minivan has so many options. They have as many options as most luxury cars, but the functionality and utility of a full size SUV.

If you have ever debated about buying a minivan, I can tell you, it makes our life easier.

What is Chrysler Wii Advisor?

 

Blog by Wes Monken and Guest Blogger Amy Brandt(Service Manager)

Our Monken Chrysler store is proud to share our newest technology with you!

If you see our service department greeting you with an iPad, we aren’t playing Candy Crush.  We have signed up for an optional Chrysler product called Wii Advisor. Chrysler has invested millions in this state of the art technology. Monkens saw the benefit for our customers and decided to sign up.

If you are able to arrive 10 minutes early for your service appointment, it might take us a few minutes more to check you in, and at the same time the Wii Advisor helps us be more thorough. Once we have greeted you, we will ask for your permission to connect a pod to your vehicle.

We will gather all your information such as your name, phone number, street address and email address, as well as, all the information pertaining to your vehicle concerns.

The pod communicates with our computer system and together they verify open recalls, manufacturer recommended services, warranty, information and  previous worked preformed.  The Wii Advisor will also allow us to determine if there are any additional maintenance concerns for your vehicle. We will also walk around the vehicle with you to give us a visual of any signs of vehicle damage.

We are extremely happy with the Wii Advisor and how technology advances our service department.   We are excited that we have partnered with Chrysler to bring our service to the next level for our customers.

 

The All-New 2017 Chrysler Minivan

 

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The new 2017 Chrysler Minivan will arrive this May. The new name will be the Chrysler Pacifica. The Pacifica will replace the Town & Country and eventually, the Dodge Grand Caravan. The Grand Caravan will be made through 2016 and possibly into the 2017 model as a valued vehicle. This is similar to what Chrysler did with the Avenger when they released the all new 200, they continued making the 200 and the Avenger the valued vehicle.

Here is a link to a video that shows some of the new features. The ability to put your foot under the tailgate and sliding doors to open is a great feature.

All-New 2017 Chrysler Pacifica

3 Tips About Your Credit Score

Monken Blogger – Lance Marcum

What is a credit score?
According to Credit Karma, “A good credit score is crucial for financial success. A credit score is a three digit number calculated from your data-rich credit report and is one factor used by lenders to determine your creditworthiness for a mortgage, loan or credit card. Your score can affect whether or not you are approved as well as what interest rate you are charged. A good credit score is generally considered to be 720 or higher. Lenders, however, can each have different standards for what they consider to be a good credit score, so it‘s important to keep building your score to receive the most favorable interest rates and highest rates of credit approval.”

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1. What does my credit score need to be to purchase a vehicle?
Generally speaking, if someone has a credit score under a certain level, they will need to have someone who is willing to co-sign with them. It’s difficult to assign a number as there are many variables that go into a credit score. A co-signer is someone that goes on the loan with the buyer. The person with the higher credit score helps the person with the lower score to get approved at a lower interest rate. Sometimes banks will require more money down from a buyer with a lower score in order to minimize the risk of both the buyer and the loan institution. As you can see from the chart above, 600 and above scores will generally get loans without the assistance of a cosigner. Banks also look at what is called “debt to income”. Ideally, they like to see that debt to income is below a certain percentage before approving the loan, regardless of credit score.

2. How do I find out my credit score?
If you have a credit card, they generally offer a free credit report when logging in to your account. Sites such as creditkarma.com also offer free credit reports that do not affect your score by showing up as an inquiry.

3. How can I improve my credit score?
A number of things will help to improve your credit score. Among them are making payments on time and getting rid of any collections that may be on file. In addition, opening a credit card and paying the bill in full each month helps to establish credit (for example, put all of your gas purchases on the card and paying it off at the end of the month). Discipline is the key to all of this. Spend less than you make and pay bills consistently and your credit score will generally improve.  It is important to remember that a great credit score isn’t necessarily an indicator of being in good financial standing, it could just mean that a person has lots of borrowed money that they pay consistently on.

5 New Chryslers Coming Soon

I recently went to a Chrysler meeting in Las Vegas and would like to share with you some of the vehicles Chrysler showed us that will be coming soon. I will let you know when they each arrive to our Monken Chrysler dealership.

Sergio Marchionne and his team of designers have a phenomenal product stream coming into the Chrysler showrooms in the near future.

2016 Chrysler Town & Country

I was able to see the new Chrysler Town & Country, which will arrive in March or April of 2016. It has a brand new Stow-N-Go that is easier to use than the current one, the lines of an SUV and many new features which include waving your foot to open the back and side doors. I am very excited, I think this will help the Town & Country continue to be a top seller for us.

Next up is the Jeep Grand Wagoneer, this vehicle has lines way better looking than a Range Rover, and will be a 7 passenger vehicle. I think my wife is excited about this one! It is top shelf all the way around, kudos to the designers on this one. We may have to wait until 2018, but it will be well worth it!

707 horse power – you may have heard that term before, it is called a Hellcat. The Hellcat is coming to the Grand Cherokee. I said it, a 707 horsepower Grand Cherokee, so you can take down and tear up the roads of Southern Illinois.

2017 Charger

Next up, the new Dodge Charger. I am not sure when this vehicle is coming out, but it has revolutionary designs. It does not have the lines of the current Charger, which I love, but this one is even more futuristic then I can explain. It looks like a concept vehicle straight off the page.  Hopefully, we will see the same vehicle I saw in Las Vegas.

For you 70’s fans, you are not left out. Hopefully,  you have heard this in the news,  a Cuda is coming our way, not as a Plymouth, of course, it will be under the Dodge brand. I am looking forward to this vehicle and I have already had a customer contact me about it, while I was in Las Vegas, so it sounds like there are some rumors about it already floating around.

That wraps up what I wanted to tell you about my Chrysler dealer meeting. Keep watching for these exciting new vehicles to arrive at our Monken Chrysler location and let me know if you have any questions.