To the Editor:
I am writing in response to the letter from Bruce McConnell in your June 26 issue, "Hey, Mike Jackson: Hands off my store." McConnell expresses concern about AutoNation stores being committed to the community and to customer satisfaction.
Corporate chooses not to publicize what the individual stores and associates do in their communities, and that is proper. Each store is free to choose the charity or community program it wishes to support and the method.
As a longtime member of AutoNation, I don't know of a single store that does not contribute to the community in one form or another. The associates in my store took in dozens of victims during hurricanes Rita and Katrina.
However, the real issue is that the domestic dealership count is too high and has been for longer than the loss of market share to the imports. Every Ford, General Motors and Chrysler dealer has known this for years.
AutoNation's Mike Jackson is right on the money, and McConnell should be thankful that there is a dealer with a strong enough voice to be heard. The domestic manufacturers know it now, too, but the financial costs of taking the franchises back would be too high. Time will reduce the head count, and it's the individual dealer who will suffer the loss.
A strong dealer body, with sufficient revenue per store to provide great customer and employee satisfaction, has always been the proper way to do business. That's why you don't find overdealering among Toyota, Honda and the European imports.