DETROIT -- Chrysler Group has created a formal appeals process for dealerships seeking higher scores -- and more bonus cash -- under the company's Dealer Standards program.
But there's a catch: If the company agrees to review evidence, Chrysler reserves the right to reopen the entire audit of a dealership's operations, not just specific items in dispute.
The stakes are high. Dealers who perform well in the audits can earn big money. Chrysler pays its largest dealerships quarterly cash rewards of up to $200,000 for complying with its standards for customer service, facilities and executive management.
Chrysler acknowledges it lags behind competitors in customer satisfaction surveys and is pushing dealers to elevate their performance as it introduces a wave of new vehicles.
“We're going to continue to ratchet up the program,” said Chrysler spokesman Ralph Kisiel. “Our ultimate goal is to be best in class in customer care among the major volume manufacturers.”
In previous quarters, dealers who believed the company's third-party auditors had made an error could raise the issues with their regional representatives. But the company's policy was that all the assessments were final and there were no appeals.