Tension between dealers and factories is a fact of life in the auto industry, which is too bad because the two sides of course have far more in common than not.
So when collaboration broke out between Fiat dealers and Chrysler Group, that was a good thing.
In a brainstorming session last year, a dealer suggested that the factory offer free use of rental vehicles to buyers of the upcoming Fiat 500 electric.
Tim Kuniskis, head of the Fiat brand in North America, recognized the idea's merit. An electric vehicle has limited range, so for 12 days a year, a buyer could use, say, a standard auto for long trips or a minivan to haul around some young soccer players.
Chrysler's contract with Enterprise Holdings, which operates Enterprise, National and Alamo, was signed last week.
Without a track record, it's uncertain whether the idea has legs. But that's not the point for now.
Good ideas can come from anywhere. Companies that break down barriers and collaborate with dealers, suppliers and other partners are stronger competitors.