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Hundreds of dealers file for arbitration

by Bill Cawthon on

Nearly 600 dealers, representing almost 25 percent of the total terminated by Chrysler and General Motors, have filed to have their cases appealed though arbitration. The deadline for filing is midnight next Monday and the American Arbitration Association expects as many as 800 dealers to file by then.

The arbitration process, mandated by recent federal legislation, could require Chrysler to reinstate some of the 789 dealers it cut during the company’s bankruptcy last year. The cost of the process will be shared by the automakers and the dealers.

Chrysler opposes the legislation, which it says runs counter to existing law, and is considering a legal challenge. Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne said a decision on pursuing such an action could come by the end of this week. Unlike GM, which has already reinstated about 80 dealers, Chrysler has refused to hear any appeals and has not reversed its decision on any of the terminations.

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 just-auto.com, 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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