Mike Jackson, CEO of AutoNation Inc., blasted Chrysler Group and the government for the way they handled dealership closings.
Jackson said at the convention's opening session Saturday that he accepts the rationale behind the closings: that there are too many dealers. But the parties went about it all wrong, he said.
"Chrysler went first, and I think they did a terrible job," Jackson said. "Why they took out any rural small-town dealers, I don't know. It's a strength for them. Blows my mind."
Chrysler did a bad job in metro markets, too, he said, leaving "tremendous ill will" between Chrysler and its dealers, handicapping the automaker's revitalization attempt.
General Motors Co. did a much more professional job, he said. Even so, Jackson displayed an illustration showing the federal auto task force rescuing a shark labeled GM and Chrysler. Dealers are left floundering in the water.