Bill Butler dealership in WR to be sold

Longtime Warner Robins automotive dealer Billy Butler is selling his dealership to the Five Star dealer.

The deal was struck this week between Bill Butler Chrysler Dodge Jeep and Five Star Dodge Chrysler Jeep Mazda Hyundai, Billy Butler said Thursday afternoon.

“We’re in the process, but it’s not a complete deal yet,” Butler said. “We’ll be here until the deal is closed in about 30 days — or by the end of September. ... Chrysler still has to approve it.”

Calls to Five Star Dodge Chrysler were not returned Thursday.

Butler said he’s been in the car business 46 years, with 41 of them in Warner Robins.

He said it’s time to slow down a bit.

“Well, I’m 65 years old, and it’s a hard, aggravating thing,” he said. “I’m excited (about retiring).”

Butler’s wife of 41 years and his son and daughter also work at the dealership, he said.

About 30 people are employed at the dealership, and “we hope they will remain on the job,” Butler said.

Five Star will not gain new products because it sells the same brands as Butler does now, but it will get another Warner Robins location. Butler said he will lease to Five Star the 43,800-square-foot facility at 2817 Watson Blvd.

Five Star also owns several other dealerships in Warner Robins, including Ford Lincoln Mercury, Hyundai, Chevrolet and Cadillac, and Nissan.

In mid-May, Butler and Five Star dodged the bullet when Chrysler announced it would cut ties with 13 Georgia dealerships including ones in Milledgeville and Thomaston.

At that time, Jim Butler with Bill Butler Chrysler said he understood the company was not expected to make any additional cuts to the network.

“They’re cutting 25 percent of their network, and that is supposed to leave them the size they think they need to be,” Jim Butler said in May.

To contact writer Linda S. Morris, call 744-4223.