The U.S. House of Representatives has passed the dealer rights bill with hopes, from my understanding, that the manufacturers will work with the dealer body in resolving the pending issues before the bill makes it to the Senate.
From my many discussions with other dealers of terminated franchises, I think we are all singing the same song. Our concerns lie not in our desires to be somewhere where we are not wanted. We just want a reinstatement of our dealer rights as per our signed dealer agreement.
Let's face it: As a franchised dealer, you can be profitable and have stellar customer service scores, but if the manufacturer doesn't want you, there are enough contract clauses to allow the company to terminate you with enough notice. Likewise, the dealer benefits from those contract clauses as well. But if a manufacturer chooses not to keep a dealer, it needs to properly reimburse that dealer for the equipment and supplies and parts he or she was required to purchase to be active.
You see, it's really not about profitability for the stores. I really don't see where the manufacturer cares if the store is profitable. As many dealers know, the books can portray about any scenario of profitability you'd like. What's important to the manufacturer is how much metal you are moving. Second to this is customer satisfaction.
I, again like many other terminated Chrysler dealers, had a good customer satisfaction score -- otherwise we wouldn't be open today, with or without a franchise sign.
In new vehicle sales, were we moving enough metal? Who could be the fair judge of that? With regards to year-over-year data, not many dealers have been able to maintain or increase their new numbers with any franchise. I know of many Chrysler dealers that were terminated with even better (and worse) customer satisfaction numbers than I, along with better (and worse) sales volume numbers.
Was I terminated because I was a multi-line dealer of other franchises in other locations? Was it because we do not floorplan? We owned all of our inventory and therefore did not create any added profits for the financial arm.
Regardless, again, my position is that I have accepted the termination, but still argue that it shouldn't cost me, or any other franchised dealer, money.
The further overall concern that still needs to be addressed is this: Chrysler should not be allowed to protect itself under current bankruptcy laws by evading its legitimate responsibilities, especially when living on taxpayer dollars. GM didn't do this, and neither should Chrysler.
The ongoing debate about who should have been terminated or not has almost become a mute point for many who have either filed for bankruptcy protection themselves or closed their stores down. There are enough legal arguments on both sides to debate this for a long time. The relevant point is that "dumping" on terminated dealers shouldn't happen, and that needs to be corrected since Chrysler is still viable and operating today.