TO THE EDITOR:
Regarding "Illinois dealers lose lawsuit to halt Rivian, Lucid direct sales," autonews.com, Jan. 5: We need to persevere and see this as one battle in a war that can be won. Consider a lawsuit based on what's in the best interest of consumers. Here are some points.
- Tesla owners' aftersales experience is inadequate.
- Dealers provide timely local parts supply.
- Direct sellers control a pricing monopoly and inflict absurd price increases on preordered vehicles. Dealers work with OEMs to resist excessive MSRPs. Customers can buy from dealers who sell the same car for less, but they can't negotiate prices with direct-selling manufacturers.
- Franchised dealers are held to a standard of customer care by respective OEMs. We have tens of thousands of customer service representatives versus an algorithm-driven computer.
- Dealers advocate on customers' behalf against poor judgment by automakers and push for product improvement.
- Dealers return their profits to communities through investments — they don't buy Twitter or invest in Mars.
- Franchise laws should protect consumers from companies selling out of a tent and leaving them without sales, service, parts or trade support on their second-biggest asset.
It's time to fight the myth these startups are spreading that direct sales are what customers want. Only franchised dealers can provide true customer satisfaction.
It's also time to crack down on the few bad dealers who are giving everyone else a bad reputation.
Regulators should look at the huge threat direct sellers pose instead of trying to control legitimate fees imposed at dealerships.
JIM PRESS, Hermosa Beach, Calif. The writer is a senior adviser in the auto industry and former president of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., former senior managing director of Toyota Motor Corp. and former co-president of Chrysler Group.