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Chrysler makes concession to terminated dealers

by Bill Cawthon on

Facing possible legislation restoring the franchises of 789 dealers cut by Chrysler during its brief stay in bankruptcy, the automaker has agreed to stop offering the terminated dealers’ former territories to new dealers. The company says the action will continue throughout the negotiations it is having with dealer representatives and the National Automobile Dealers Association.

Chrysler’s practice, which it had stepped up recently, created a lot of ill will among the former dealers, who believe they should be offered the right of first refusal if the company wants to expand into the areas they once served. It also raised some eyebrows on Capitol Hill.

Legislation restoring the franchises passed the House, but got stalled in the Senate. Dealers can drum up a lot of support among legislators because they are not only constituents, they are often generous supporters of favored candidates.

Bill Cawthon grew up in the auto industry in the 1950s. His Dad worked for Chrysler and Bill spent a number of Saturdays down on the plant floor at Dodge Main in Hamtramck. Bill is also the U.S. market correspondent for, a British auto industry publication, and a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association, which has named the Jeep Grand Cherokee the “SUV of Texas” several times and named the Ram 1500 as the “Truck of Texas” two years running.

Bill has owned five Plymouths (including the only 1962 “Texan”), one Dodge and one Chrysler and is still trying to figure out how to justify a Wrangler. He also has owned at least one of every 1:87 scale model of a Chrysler product. You can reach him directly at (206) 888-7324 or by using the form.

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