WASHINGTON -- The rejected dealers group that was instrumental in getting an arbitration law enacted plans to be around a long time.
The Committee to Restore Dealer Rights was formed in June to help win reinstatement for 789 terminated Chrysler Group dealerships and 1,350 rejected General Motors stores.
Headed by Ohio dealer Alan Spitzer and Maryland dealers Jack Fitzgerald and Tammy Darvish, the group plans to help rejected dealerships through the six-and-a-half-month arbitration process that is beginning.
But it also wants to continue after that with operations separate from those of the National Automobile Dealers Association.
“NADA does a lot of things well,” Fitzgerald said. “But it would be useful if there was another entity that has no relationships with manufacturers, that doesn’t need anything from them, that gets all its revenue from dealers and has one purpose: to protect dealer rights.”
Fitzgerald said he has two long-term causes he wants the Committee to Restore Dealer Rights to champion: setting up new captive finance companies at GM and Chrysler, and placing on their boards experienced auto manufacturing experts who “can’t be spun by management.”
“Dealers can survive without captive finance companies, as they do now,” Fitzgerald said. “But GM and Chrysler can’t survive without them because banks will ultimately pull back from floorplan financing.”
GMAC Financial Services was on the brink of bankruptcy a year ago and converted to a bank holding company. The federal government invested more than $12 billion in GMAC and made it the primary lender for the new Chrysler and its dealers when Chrysler filed for bankruptcy.
Chrysler Financial, which got $1.5 billion in federal loans, has been downsizing and is due to wind down its business by the end of 2011.