DETROIT -- Star Lincoln-Mercury in suburban Detroit is mailing a letter to at least 65 customers of Varsity Lincoln-Mercury retracting a previous letter that implied Varsity was going out of business, Star owner Hoot McInerney said today.
McInerney told Automotive News his company will send a retraction to the Varsity customers starting today, explaining, Were sorry, we made a mistake when Star initially sent fliers implying that Varsity was going out of business.
On Aug. 14, Varsity filed a lawsuit against Star alleging that Star damaged Varsitys business by sending letters to Varsitys lease customers saying, It has come to my attention that your Lincoln-Mercury dealer has decided to close his doors. The letters then promoted Stars services.
McInerney said someone in his organization mailed out the letters and goofed up. He said he had no intention of deliberately antagonizing Varsity. Im not mad with them. We should have caught it, McInerney said.
Varsitys lawyer, Jeff Meek, said a retraction will help, but the case should still go to court because of the financial damages Varsitys owners, Mike and Lou Stanford, are entitled to get. Meek said Varsity had to hire a public relations firm, Sussman Sikes in suburban Detroit, to repair damages to the dealerships reputation.
The Stanfords also incurred legal fees and suffered other damages to their business. The lawsuit seeks in excess of $25,000 plus interest, costs and attorney fees.
A letter from Fords group vice president of marketing and communications, Jim Farley, notes that Varsity Lincoln-Mercury has outsold every other Lincoln Mercury dealership in the nation from 1997 through 2007, with 36,796 retail sales in that time frame.