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Author Topic: Letter from a Dodge dealer  (Read 9607 times)
Wes Sapp
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« on: June 01, 2009, 07:18:41 PM »

My name is George C. Joseph.  I am the sole owner of Sunshine Dodge-Isuzu, a family owned and operated business in Melbourne, Florida. My family bought and paid for this automobile franchise 35 years ago in 1974. I am the second generation to manage this business.

We currently employ 50+ people and before the economic slowdown we employed over 70 local people.  We are active in the community and the local chamber of commerce. We deal with several dozen local vendors on a day to day basis and many more during a month.  All depend on our business for part of their livelihood.  We are financially strong with great respect in the market place and community.  We have strong local presence and stability.

I work every day the store is open, nine to ten hours a day. I know most of our customers and all our employees.  Sunshine Dodge is my life.

On Thursday, May 14, 2009 I was notified that my Dodge franchise, that we purchased, will be taken away from my family on June 9, 2009 without compensation and given to another dealer at no cost to them. My new vehicle inventory consists of 125 vehicles with a financed balance of 3 million dollars.  This inventory becomes impossible to sell with no factory incentives beyond June 9, 2009. Without the Dodge franchise we can no longer sell a new Dodge as "new," nor will we be able to do any warranty service work. Additionally, my Dodge parts inventory, (approximately $300,000.) is virtually worthless without the ability to perform warranty service.  There is no offer from Chrysler to buy back the vehicles or parts inventory.

Our facility was recently totally renovated at Chrysler's insistence, incurring a multi-million dollar debt in the form of a mortgage at Sun Trust Bank.   

HOW IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA CAN THIS HAPPEN?   
THIS IS A PRIVATE BUSINESS NOT A GOVERNMENT ENTITY

This is beyond imagination!  My business is being stolen from me through NO FAULT OF OUR OWN.  We did NOTHING wrong.

This atrocity will most likely force my family into bankruptcy.  This will also cause our 50+ employees to be unemployed. How will they provide for their families?  This is a total economic disaster.

HOW CAN THIS HAPPEN IN A FREE MARKET ECONOMY IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA?

I beseech your help, and look forward to your reply. Thank you.

Sincerely,

George C. Joseph
President & Owner
Sunshine Dodge-Isuzu
 
My guess would be the editor tells Mr. Joseph "this is no longer a free market economy".  Sad
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Wes Sapp
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« Reply #1 on: June 01, 2009, 07:49:37 PM »

Assuming this is authentic, it is first sad beyond belief, and overwhelmingly outrageous that this can be done and is currently happening. angry It disgusts me beyond expression that lawlessness of this magnitude is being displayed at the very top levels of government and business.
Aside from that, bond holders of Chrysler are being screwed over, and I would bet a large sum of money that the ones who will make out like bandits in this deal is the UAW.
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Bee Happy
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« Reply #2 on: June 01, 2009, 08:13:13 PM »

I looked on snopes about this, it seems to be the real deal. but something I saw in the discussion was that some other dealers are contesting chrysler's 'right' to summarily cancel them out of hand. (I think June 3rd) I suppose it could just as easily turn into a class action suit. I don't know the finances of a franchisee for chrysler or any other automaker, but does it even cost them very much - if anything- to leave a franchisee open? (presuming the franchisee pays it own way?)
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kathyp
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« Reply #3 on: June 01, 2009, 08:17:01 PM »

in most cases, the franchise holder fronts most of the money.  i believe i heard this man interviewed, or the one i heard told a very similar story.  he will be out many millions of dollars if he can not do something with his inventory because he has already paid for it. 

how can this happen?  what is to stop it?
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.....The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

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« Reply #4 on: June 01, 2009, 08:17:45 PM »

I guess GM and Chrysler are "too big to fail".   What a load of doggie doo.

Remember TWA or PanAm airlines?  They both failed, yet they were allowed to fail properly without govt bailouts.  What's the difference?  The UAW, that's what.

I'm soo angry, I can't enjoy my beer....
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SgtMaj
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« Reply #5 on: June 02, 2009, 12:46:35 AM »

THIS IS a PRIVATE BUSINESS NOT a GOVERNMENT ENTITY

My response would be:
While your business is a private business, Chrysler is not because their corporate executives chose to take taxpayer dollars in exchange for letting the government manage their business, which means they are, at least for now a government entity. 

It may not have been through any fault of your own that they no longer deem doing business with your company to be a financially viable option, but everyday people suffer for things that are beyond their control.  This is where the old saying that life is not fair comes from.

Now, I'm curious to know why you think you are entitled to do business with any company or government entity that you want to even if they don't want to do business with you?

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Bee Happy
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« Reply #6 on: June 02, 2009, 12:52:35 AM »

THIS IS a PRIVATE BUSINESS NOT a GOVERNMENT ENTITY
Now, I'm curious to know why you think you are entitled to do business with any company or government entity that you want to even if they don't want to do business with you?

because they paid a crapload of money for the right to. a Quiznos franchise is about 300K. I can't imagine the expense for the franchise rights to an auto dealership.
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« Reply #7 on: June 02, 2009, 01:26:51 AM »

A friend of mine responded much better than I ever could,

Quote
Dear George:

Sorry you are having so much trouble. In a way, it's not all your fault, to be sure, but in a way, of course, it is.

You have spent the last several decades selling Dodge cars. You of all people ought to know that far from a glorious tradition of automotive excellence, a lot of these cars were pieces of junk. The contract you had with Chrysler Corporation said that you agreed to sell whatever they sent you, no matter how crappy, and you did so, with a smile on your face, for many years. I am sure you are good at what you do.... you have to be in order to stay in business.

http://www.daimlerchryslervehicleproblems.com/

One of the ways that you stayed in business is by the service department that you are so proud of. I am sure you told your sales people to brag about it every chance they got. What you did not want to tell them is that making crappy cars works in your favor.... you get to charge your poor customers for the honor of fixing up the car that you sold them. What they really, really wanted was a car that would not break down. I am sure you have a dealer convention or something where you could feed this information back to Detroit, but evidently they did not get the message.

Another of the ways you stayed in business is by making sure your prices were lower than the Dodge dealer in Ft Lauderdale. To you, it was important that if someone wanted to drive a Dodge, they could go to you for the lowest price in the area. The guy in Lauderdale was doing exactly the same thing. From Dodge's point of view, both of you were undercutting one another, and it was costing them several hundred dollars per car. So, with one of you out of the picture, they are hoping that they can do away with some of this.

What they don't know, unfortunately, is that people nowadays can get on the internet, find the lowest price in the nation for the car they want, and with a couple hundred dollar airplane ticket can go someplace else and drive their car home. You, and the rest of the dealers, did not embrace this technology and take advantage of it, because you, after all, are just the grey haired version of the same greasy car sales people that you hire and fire every day.

Speaking of which, I can think of no other business where the customer is so shockingly humiliated and disrespected as he or she is in the American automotive sales transaction. Just saying.

Anyway, George, I do not want to keep you too much longer, because I know you have a short attention span, but I would just suggest that there are plenty of ways for you to make a living, starting with your big service department... people still need to have their cars worked on, even Toyotas break down occasionally, and they all buy tires and other supplies..... You are a victim of cirumstance, it is true, but what you really are is a victim of hubris... doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. You probably could have made the change gradually... or you could have gotten the message back in 1979 when the first Chrysler bail out happened.... but you stayed with what you know because you could, and now you can't. Sorry.

Anyway, if you are smart, you will figure it out. That really is free enterprise for you.


Link

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SgtMaj
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« Reply #8 on: June 02, 2009, 01:31:13 AM »

because they paid a crapload of money for the right to. a Quiznos franchise is about 300K. I can't imagine the expense for the franchise rights to an auto dealership.

And if Quiznos went bankrupt would you have the same sympathy for their franchize owners?  (This is what happens in business, it's part of what makes owning a business risky.  If you don't want to take the risk, work for someone else).  If it wasn't for the government funds they took, ALL of the franchises would be out of luck, so it's hard to have much sympathy here.
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Bee Happy
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« Reply #9 on: June 02, 2009, 02:14:27 AM »

because they paid a crapload of money for the right to. a Quiznos franchise is about 300K. I can't imagine the expense for the franchise rights to an auto dealership.

And if Quiznos went bankrupt would you have the same sympathy for their franchize owners?  (This is what happens in business, it's part of what makes owning a business risky.  If you don't want to take the risk, work for someone else).  If it wasn't for the government funds they took, ALL of the franchises would be out of luck, so it's hard to have much sympathy here.

I'm not seeing your point; GM is "still in business" regardless of as -"auto etat" or a private enterprise -however it was accomplished. I sincerely doubt that the franchisees would see a dime of that money.
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SgtMaj
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« Reply #10 on: June 02, 2009, 02:23:06 AM »

I'm not seeing your point; GM is "still in business" regardless of as -"auto etat" or a private enterprise -however it was accomplished. I sincerely doubt that the franchisees would see a dime of that money.

The point is that there's no point in complaining about a move that saved half the franchises.

GM isn't really in business anymore.  They are in government now because they screwed up their business beyond their ability to right itself, then when faced with either closing the doors forever or making a deal with the devil (government) they chose the later.  If you want to complain, complain about the GM execs that sold out.
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indypartridge
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« Reply #11 on: June 02, 2009, 06:26:21 AM »

And if Quiznos went bankrupt would you have the same sympathy for their franchize owners?  (This is what happens in business, it's part of what makes owning a business risky.  If you don't want to take the risk, work for someone else).  If it wasn't for the government funds they took, ALL of the franchises would be out of luck, so it's hard to have much sympathy here.
Exactly right. There were two options: 1) Chrysler is liquidated and all franchises are screwed, or 2), the gov't intervenes and half the franchises are are screwed.  Businesses fail all the time - especially now - and are stuck with unsold inventory. It's sad and I'm sympathetic, but it's precisely because we have a free market economy (sort of) that businesses fail. Sometimes it's because of mismanagement within, sometimes it's because of external forces beyond one's control.
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SgtMaj
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« Reply #12 on: June 02, 2009, 06:35:13 AM »

It's also kinda ironic that the same people that were complaining about the bailout are the ones rallying behind this guy that is ultimately asking for a bailout.  After all, since Chrysler was operating at a loss and could no longer sustain that loss, any further loss on their part, such as the one necessary to keep doing business with their franchise would cost more taxpayer money.

So make up your mind.  Do you want bailouts or do you want to live free(er) and accept the risks that come with life?
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Jerrymac
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« Reply #13 on: June 02, 2009, 07:12:35 AM »

I just have to ask. Does everybody keep missing this part...

"On Thursday, May 14, 2009 I was notified that my Dodge franchise, that we purchased, will be taken away from my family on June 9, 2009 without compensation and given to another dealer at no cost to them."
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« Reply #14 on: June 02, 2009, 07:23:21 AM »

I just have to ask. Does everybody keep missing this part...

"On Thursday, May 14, 2009 I was notified that my Dodge franchise, that we purchased, will be taken away from my family on June 9, 2009 without compensation and given to another dealer at no cost to them."
Got that in one, Jerry, but this discussion isn't going to acknowledge that.  It is wrong, stealing this guys business is as bad as eminent domain, something I'm sure some of the participants here think is just fine.
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« Reply #15 on: June 02, 2009, 08:36:29 AM »

Quote
My new vehicle inventory consists of 125 vehicles with a financed balance of 3 million dollars.  This inventory becomes impossible to sell with no factory incentives beyond June 9, 2009. Without the Dodge franchise we can no longer sell a new Dodge as "new," nor will we be able to do any warranty service work.

This is part of what I have a big problem with.  Maybe they are doing something about the access inventory, and some dealers are helping out those that were cut, but leaving them hanging like this is wrong.

And as for people that have problems with autos...every single car manufacturer in the world has people that hate them and have nothing good to say about the quality.
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Jerrymac
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« Reply #16 on: June 02, 2009, 09:14:11 AM »

I have a 2000 Dodge Durango and a 2001 Dodge ram pick up. They each have 90,000 plus miles on them and have been very dependable vehicles.
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« Reply #17 on: June 02, 2009, 11:12:20 AM »

I have a 2000 Dodge Durango and a 2001 Dodge ram pick up. They each have 90,000 plus miles on them and have been very dependable vehicles.


I have a 2002 VW with 292k miles on it and have only done the scheduled maintance.
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Jerrymac
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« Reply #18 on: June 02, 2009, 12:28:57 PM »

You got that thing on a treadmill?  huh
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« Reply #19 on: June 02, 2009, 12:37:36 PM »

 Smiley

Feels like it some days...
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