I have written in the past about GM and Chrysler’s efforts to close dealers. The arbitration process that Congress created has a looming deadline (Monday) for terminated dealers who want to challenge GM and Chrysler. The New York Times has an article profiling some of the dealers filing grievances (Defending Their Dealerships, Jan 22). One thing that I clearly did not appreciate in this issue is the pride involved, not in the sense of the deadly sin but in the sense of being insulted and implicitly criticized:
“They’ve taken everything we own,” said Patrick Painter, one of James Painter’s sons. All three of the family’s dealerships — the Chrysler store that three generations ran for 65 years, the Chevrolet-Buick store nearby and the Chrysler store that James Painter opened 200 miles away at Chrysler’s request, spending two years away from his family to do so — were terminated over the course of two days last May, despite being profitable and debt-free. “My mom and dad want their honor back as much as anything,” Patrick Painter said. “It’s the ultimate showing of disloyalty, after all the years we’ve been loyal to them, to take our stores.”
It seems that many dealers are as much upset about the public rebuke of being shut does as much as anything else. Clearing one’s name seems to be the goal in fighting Chrysler. After all, is there really much to gain in going back to hawking Dodges?
The other point made in the article is that GM has been much clearer in explaining why individual dealers were terminated while Chrysler has been much vaguer in explanations. One suspects that could play to GM’s favor as these hearings move forward.