While Hine understands the Pontiac closure, he is still puzzled by losing his Dodge store. It was profitable, and his vehicle sales rate was above the market target. In January, he sold $500,000 in Mopar parts, triple the national average.
But Hine shrugs his shoulders. He knows Chrysler wanted to consolidate stores under single rooftops — just not his rooftop. The dealership sold all 78 of its Dodges at a loss in the final three weeks of business but still must find a way to unload $318,000 worth of Mopar parts.
"At least GM is treating us with dignity," he said. "GM hates that we're put in this situation. They know we're a good dealer.
"But Chrysler ... all those calls from the factory saying, 'You gotta help us.' The whole trust factor is the biggest hurt of all. [Chrysler exec] Jim Press should have fallen on his sword for this. That's the honorable thing to do."
Although Hine has laid off some staff, he is confident his dealership will survive. He has organized his workshop into six-person teams to be able to handle all brands.
The Mission Valley dealership did about $59 million in revenue in 2008, about half of which was Mazda. In 2007, Hine opened a second Mazda store in nearby Temecula. It contributed $27 million last year.
At the dualed dealership, Hine sold 894 new Mazdas, 441 Dodges and 112 Pontiacs in 2008. The Temecula Mazda store added 804 new cars.
Hine, a member of Mazda's dealer council, is confident the automaker can make up for the lost Pontiacs and Dodges. He might look into other franchises, but Mazda comes first.
"We have 12,000 active service customers," Hine said, then, quoting his father: "Sales sells the first car, but service keeps them coming back."