DETROIT -- Chrysler Group will pay as much as $955,000 to settle a complaint by the California Department of Motor Vehicles that the company improperly operated a factory-owned dealership in downtown Los Angeles.
The department, siding with the California New Car Dealers Association, concluded that Chrysler was unfairly operating Motor Village LA within 10 miles of several other Chrysler dealerships. The settlement was announced Nov. 18.
As part of the settlement, Chrysler agreed to pay the department $750,000 in penalties and fines; $160,000 in reimbursements of investigation and legal fees; and up to $45,000 for post-settlement audits, according to the department. Together, that's a minimum of $910,000 and a maximum of $955,000.
Chrysler has completed the sale of the 189,000-square-foot dealership to New Century Automotive Group, which is owned by Dennis Lin of Los Angeles. Terms were not disclosed. Lin has not returned calls seeking comment.
Motor Village LA opened in January as a high-visibility showcase for Chrysler's products, including Fiat, and new retail techniques. The dealership features a glass vehicle display tower that overlooks Interstate 110.
"Motor Village made an immediate statement about our intentions in Los Angeles and state of California, and it will continue to do so under Lin's private ownership," said Peter Grady, Chrysler vice president for network development and fleet.
Brian Moss, director of government affairs for the California New Car Dealers Association, said: "We're pleased that the DMV investigation has resulted in Chrysler being held responsible for its illegal conduct.
"We hope other manufacturers will see what happened in this case and think twice about doing something similar."