The Chevy Cruze died last year, one of a slew of GM cars to be unceremoniously executed. The last Cruze came off the Lordstown GM plant’s production line in March. It has since changed hands no fewer than four times. Its newest owner is simply delighted to have it.
John Kufleitner, who owns a Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, and Ram dealership in Columbiana, Ohio, bought the Cruze for $35,000 from a woman who’d won a United Way auction in May. Kufleitner’s motivations tilt somewhat at history, per WKBN:
“It doesn’t matter what you buy, what you sell, what you drive. Lordstown has played a big role in this Valley and I think it’s important to everybody,” Kufleitner said.
There was also some kind of car dealers unspoken code going on in the run-up:
The last we heard of the Cruze was on May 10 when Mary Pipino — the sister-in-law of local businessman Ed Muransky — bought it for $35,000 at a United Way auction.
Kufleitner was part of the online bidding, but then bowed out at the live auction.
“I didn’t want to go there and bid against the Chevy dealers. Those guys are my friends,” Kufleitner said.
But when Kufleitner heard a Chevy dealer did not buy the car, he contacted Pipino and she agreed to sell him the Cruze.
“I paid her what she paid and then we made a contribution to the United Way,” Kufleitner said.
The reasons why Kufleitner is the fourth owner in as many months aren’t terribly interesting. It went to a dealership in Boardman, Ohio, before it was purchased by Muransky, the business man, who then auctioned it. But it’s a bit sad that a Chevy dealer didn’t want the car, a perfectly Fine Car if not one that could change the balance for GM or prevail against market forces.
Still, it’s delightful that Kufleitner is happy to take stewardship of it, and even more delightful that he doesn’t seem precious about it. According to WKBN, “everyone is welcome to stop by his dealership in Columbiana to see it, sit in it and take pictures with it.”