Chevy dealer will close

Steve Jacobs has headed Marathon Chevrolet since he bought the dealership from United Auto Group in fall 2005.

Marathon Chevrolet is at the end of the road.

The dealership that opened in 2005 will close its North Charleston store next week and become a pre-owned auto seller under a new name at a site in Summerville that Marathon closed last summer, owner Steve Jacobs said Tuesday.

The newly named Marathon Automotive also plans to become one of the first Mahindra dealers in the United States, in December. Mahindra is an India-based company that makes diesel-powered vehicles.

It is currently not sold in the United States but plans to debut a line of pickups and an SUV in the Southeast by Christmas.

"We will start out with three models and probably add a crossover about six months later," Jacobs said.

Marathon Chevrolet will close at 8199 Rivers Ave. on June 10, and Marathon Automotive will open the next day at 1016 N. Main St. in Summerville, the same site Marathon closed in July after a four-year run of its second metro Charleston dealership.

Jacobs said he is giving up the Chevrolet brand because he decided not to pursue an appeal of General Motors' decision last year to terminate franchise agreements with 1,100 of its dealers by October as part of its bankruptcy reorganization plan.

Jacobs leases the Rivers Avenue store as well as the Summerville site, where he maintained a rental agreement even though the dealership has been closed nearly a year.

"It was an opportunity for me to get into an obligation with the facility in Summerville and an opportunity for someone to take over my obligation at this facility" in North Charleston, he said.

He said another Chevrolet franchise will move into the Rivers Avenue site within 60 days, but he declined to give out any more details.

About 18 new cars remained on the lot Tuesday, but Jacobs said all of them will be gone before the dealership closes next week.

About two-thirds of the store's 68 employees will transfer to the Summerville location. The remainder will move to other dealers. "We should not have anybody who is unemployed as a result of this," Jacobs said.

Customers will be able to maintain regular service at the new site, but the collision center will remain at the Rivers Avenue store for a few weeks longer because of an insurance arrangement.

The main telephone number will remain the same, but the website will change to www.drivemarathon.com.

Reach Warren Wise at 937-5524 or wwise@postandcourier.com.