Burien Nissan Loses Entire Stock, Now An Empty Lot

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UPDATE 9/1/09: An email tip leads us to believe that Burien Nissan will be re-opening in mid-September – read the latest here.

Story and Photos by Janet Grella

BREAKING NEWS: Burien Nissan, located at the Five Corners intersection of First Ave South and SW 160th, has lost its entire stock of cars and is now basically an empty lot.

Since Wednesday, numerous auto carrier trucks have been hauling vehicles away from the lot, with a total of 100 new cars removed, which we estimate to be between $2 and $3 million in inventory.

But, according to Sales Manager John Antonelli, “it’s business as usual – we’re still open for business in service, parts and sales. When we get our new financing we’ll re-open in a couple of weeks.”

The hauled-away Nissan cars are apparently being taken to a nearby port, and will be auctioned off in the near future.

Antonelli says that new inventory will likely return in a few weeks, and that Burien Nissan is in the middle of a “financial restructuring.”

Twenty-seven employees have been laid off, with just eight remaining on staff.

Burien auto dealers account for a significant portion of tax revenue for Burien, and Dick Loman, Economic Development Director for the city, said “This sorry economic downturn is just hurting everybody.”

Original owner’s son David Gjersee sits at his desk Friday in-between phone calls with potential buyers. Gjersee’s Father started Burien Datsun on this location in 1969, and he now serves as a Sales Professional. This business is one of the oldest Nissan dealerships in the US.

Gjersee also said it was “business as usual” even though he had no cars to sell.

This Reporter walked on to the empty lot late Friday morning and noticed that while there were no new Nissans on the lot, there were still a few cars present, which were most likely employee vehicles; however, the service department was busy.

As a longtime Burien resident, I found it shocking to see, especially after their $5 million remodel a year and a half ago.

This story is still developing, and we’ll post updates as we get them.

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16 Responses to “Burien Nissan Loses Entire Stock, Now An Empty Lot”
  1. candice. says:

    How terrible.

    My company is kinda in the same situation. We sell boats and we had to give like 15 boats back to the manufacturer cuz we couldn't afford to pay the flooring on them. Now we don't have any boats on the floor to show anyone. Sure we can order one, but who's gonna buy a boat like that? NO ONE!

    I hope they can work out their financing. We surely don't need another empty car lot on 1st Ave.

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  2. cars1219 says:

    This reporter did not tell it all.Out of 1800 Nissan dealerships across the United States, 900 are in the same boat. If you own more than one Auto Dealer Franchise, and all your cars are financed threw Nissan? NMAC will pull your Financing and make you change banks with out a a ample mount of time. Burien Nissan is not the only Nissan Dealership in Washington that this is happening to.

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  3. Seana Barker says:

    So sad – as a long time customer whom has purchased several cars and loves the service we receive from this dealership – hope things work out for them in the near future.

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  4. Wanker says:

    If their service and parts is the only thing supporting the business, they will surely be sunk soon. The funny thing is I was telling my wife last Thursday that after buying 8 cars between the two of us from Burien and Auburn Nissan (both owned by rainier auto group), I would never buy another car from them again. I got a great deal on my most recent car, and have never received a bad deal. The sales department is great! Unfortunately I have never been treated as rudely as their service department treats customers on a regular basis. Each time you call, it seems that you are doing them a disservice by scheduling an appt. There was even a time when they damaged my car, and the service advisor practically threw a fit to come out from behind his desk to look at the car. I feel bad for the sales people, but the service department should have been let go a long time ago!

    In this current climate, only the businesses who prove they actually want and deserve business will survive

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    • Joe says:

      I just scheduled an appointment to get my nissan serviced at Auburn Nissan and I felt two seperate people on the phone were a little rude, almost like they didn't want my business. I hear where you are coming from Wanker.

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    • Seana says:

      WOW really I have never had a bad experience with the service department there – they have always been the most consumate professionals – especially Bruce (who posted above). They have always gotten me in for service on short notice, taken excellent care of my Nisssan vehicles and are the main reason I return for service there. I hope you talked to the service dept. manager and have voiced your concerns about the problems you have had there and hope you will give them another chance.

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  5. Wanker says:

    I think 6 years, and 8 vehicles being serviced is enough chances. And yes I brought it to management both in the form of phone calls, and surveys from Nissan. The only response was indifference.

    Just recently I cancelled the 15K mile service on my car and rescheduled it at Greggs Japanese Auto for half price. I know I will lose the lifetime oil changes, but are they really going to be around for the length of time I own the car?

    You notice that in the orignal article, it said they should have financing in a couple weeks. Two and a half weeks later it is still 3 weeks down the road. They are done. I feel bad for the decent employees who lost their jobs, but this could have been prevented with proper management, and training.

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  6. Laura says:

    I've had all my service done at Burien Nissan since buying my 2002 Altima and have no complaints. Bruce and others have always been polite and professional. I hope they can weather this economic storm and remain in business. Good luck.

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  7. mrk says:

    I find it absurd that banks that received TARP funds (Banc of America, Citigroup and HSBC) are now underwriting the financing arms of the auto manufacturers like NMAC and GMAC who received TALF funds because they were already in financial trouble. This is like the guy in a poker game that just lost $1,000 to the guy on his right asking the guy on his left to spot him another $1,000. As long as the banks are playing with my money they'll keep making bad bets. Nissan officials had pledged on a May 12 conference call to continue to "take full advantage" of TALF, and they said they planned to raise at least an additional $3 billion by way of the program

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  8. Bob Breice says:

    I worked at Burien Nissan for over 33 years. David Gjeree was my first boss and now has passed away. Butch Whitehead was my last owner and he has been screwed by Nissan Motor Acceptance Corp.badley!

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  9. 50 says:

    Burien Nissan not alone,
    Lawsuit Accuses Nissan of “Destroying” One of its Top Dealers
    One of Nissan’s largest and most successful dealers from 2001-2008 today filed a $250 million fraud and breach of contract lawsuit against Nissan Motor Co. Ltd., Nissan North America, Inc. and Nissan Motor Acceptance Corporation. The lawsuit filed by Orange County businessman Michael A. Kahn and Superior Automotive Group, LLC (SAG) charges Nissan with destroying his business, which by 2007 had become the 73rd largest auto dealership group in the United States generating more than $500 million in revenues and employing approximately 800 people. According to the lawsuit, “Kahn was Nissan’s ‘go-to’ dealer in California. At the behest of Nissan, he acquired troubled or underperforming dealerships and turned them around. When a large automotive company sought to buy out Kahn in 2004 and again in late 2006 Nissan insisted that he not sell and told Kahn he was a key component of Nissan’s future plans in California.” The lawsuit points out that Kahn’s “dealerships were consistently awarded Nissan North America’s Circle of Excellence Award, handed out to the nation’s top dealers; they won Nissan’s “Global Achievement Award,” given to the Top 40 Nissan dealers worldwide (out of approximately 10 000 dealers). Kahn was flown to Tokyo, honored by Nissan and met with its top executives. The Global Achievement Award was approved by and presented by Nissan’s President and CEO Carlos Ghosn and other top Nissan executives. The lawsuit goes on, “Because of their prior strong relationship, and because of Nissan’s representations and agreements, Kahn .followed Nissan’s instructions to curtail his dealership operations in order to weather the economic storm. Kahn sold one of his Dealerships in order to pay down millions to Nissan, closed his Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge dealership, negotiated rent concessions on two dealerships, borrowed money from Nissan at higher interest rates in order to, among other things, complete the construction of the Oakland Dealership, pledged additional collateral on his and his family’s personal properties, signed multiple forbearance agreements and poured millions of dollars of personal funds into the Dealerships. In spite of all the foregoing, Nissan reneged on its promises and breached its contracts with Plaintiffs. Rather than support Plaintiffs through 2009 as promised, Nissan unfairly and unnecessarily caused their demise. Nissan sandbagged Kahn and squeezed him for more collateral, millions in cash payments and other valuable consideration before putting him out of business. Nissan induced Kahn at the optimal time when Nissan could ‘default’ him and go after his and his family’s personal assets. Nissan’s deceit left Kahn and his entities maximally exposed to personal liability. After years of rewarding Kahn as a star dealer and inducing him to take numerous actions to his detriment to keep his Dealerships open, Nissan terminated Plaintiffs’ financing for doing what Nissan had encouraged and rewarded. Nissan did so because of its own financial problems and selfish, dishonest and dishonorable desire to protect itself and its own finances during the economic crisis.” The lawsuit outlines what it terms “a pattern of dishonesty and deceit” carried out by the Nissan Defendants.

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  10. Jen says:

    It looks like Burien Nissan is re-opening in some form. Over the last week or so the lights have been on, the lot has been cleaned, weeds pulled and they have been cleaning inside. Anyone have any info?

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  11. kenny says:

    I heard that the car pros guy is reopening it sometime this month. Not sure if its true, but its what I heard.

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