Rogers Dodge in Alvin, Texas, closed at the end of June after being rejected by Chrysler. But it still has three new Dodges on its lot and 11 more that the dealership has been billed for -- but hasnt seen.
In other words, dealer Nicholas Parks is on the hook for up to $450,000 worth of inventory that he cant sell.
Parks is one of many rejected Chrysler Group dealers who report problems getting disentangled from Chrysler inventory. Dealers say the company hasnt lived up to a promise that Deputy CEO Jim Press made in a letter to Congress on June 12 to help the dealers redistribute all vehicles.
On Thursday, Aug. 27, Chrysler notified dealers that a fix was on the way, and that the accounts of rejected dealers would be settled on Tuesday, Sept. 1. The automaker said dealers will be credited for cars they didnt receive and paid for warranty and incentive work they did while they had their franchises.
But some rejected dealers were skeptical because Chrysler has delayed reconciliation payments before for such things as warranties, incentives and vehicles.
Off the lots but on the books
Regarding vehicles still on the lots of rejected dealers, Kathy Graham, a Chrysler spokeswoman, said last week that the company had redistributed all but 73 of the 44,000 vehicles.
While those vehicles may be physically gone, many dealers say Chrysler so far has failed to settle accounts with them. If Chrysler settles the accounts, it would fix one particularly annoying problem: invoices for vehicles the dealers never received.
We are aware of the issue, Graham said. We are working diligently for a solution.
Graham said the invoice issue is separate from the issue of vehicles that were on dealership lots when they closed. Dealers dont see it that way.
They promised under sworn testimony that they would effect the transfer of all these vehicles, says Doug Wilson, owner of the former Wilson Dodge in Jackson, Miss.
Wilson says he still has eight vehicles on his floorplan, some of which he ordered but never received. Others have been picked up and sent to other dealers.
They picked the vehicles up, but they havent paid them off, says Wilson.
Where are the trucks?
Brian Jones, a partner in Jones Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep in Wickenburg, Ariz., says he has received invoices for two trucks ordered before Chrysler rejected his dealership. He says he never saw the trucks and doesnt know where they are.
After Chrysler axed his dealership, Jones sold the two trucks to a store in Tucson -- but theyre still on Jones floorplan to the tune of $50,000.
Chrysler doesnt know where theyre at, he says. The dealer in Tucson hasnt paid me for them because they havent received them.
Texas dealer Parks says he doesnt think Chrysler has any idea how many vehicles are being held by rejected dealerships. Until about a month ago, transport drivers arrived daily on his lot looking for vehicles that were already gone.
Says Parks: If they know there are 73 vehicles nationwide, why would they have to ask me which ones were on my lot? I think all of their totals are rolling.