Arbitration hearings get under way
The former Bob Taylor Jeep in Naples, Fla., intends to make the case that it performed effectively, was sufficiently capitalized, helped Chrysler and was an asset to its community, said Sandra Taylor, who with her husband, Bob Taylor, owns the rejected dealership.
"I've got plenty of supporting data," she said in a phone interview. "We did a good job for Chrysler. We were surprised by their actions."
The dealership on Florida's affluent southwest coast had the Jeep franchise since 1983, Taylor said. It was terminated last May as part of Chrysler's bankruptcy, along with 788 other dealerships.
Chrysler awarded a Jeep franchise to another dealership in the market in December, not long before President Barack Obama signed legislation providing arbitration for Chrysler Group and General Motors Co. stores seeking reinstatement, Taylor said.
Chrysler declined to comment on the Taylor arbitration.
The first arbitration hearing was held in Cincinnati on Wednesday, April 14, said India Johnson, senior vice president of the American Arbitration Association. She declined to name the dealership involved.
One of the next hearings scheduled is Taylor's, which is being held jointly with two other former Chrysler Group dealerships in Florida, Deland Dodge and Venice Dodge.
All three dealerships are represented by the same lawyer, Mark Ornstein of Orlando, and all three cases will be presented to the same arbitrator at the same time, the lawyer said.
"By the luck of the draw, we've had less time to prepare for these cases,'' said Ornstein, himself a former dealer.
Sandra Taylor said she plans to testify at the hearing. One point she plans to make is that Bob Taylor Jeep made a substantial contribution to the local community.
Said Taylor: "I knew almost all our customers personally, and I know everyone who worked for me. A number of them are hurting badly from this."