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Friday, 13 June 2014

USA: Chrysler-Jeep dealer hopes to reopen

Rimrock Auto Group in Billings, Montana, lost its Chrysler-Jeep franchise (along with 700 ohter outlets) five years ago. It won an arbitration ruling against Chrysler in 2010, and the manufacturer issued a letter of intent to reopen, but Lithia Motors, which had been awarded the Chrysler and Jeep franchises after the original termination, challenged that under the state's dealer franchise law. Under that law, Rimrock was a new dealership. Although both Rimrock and the manufacturer opposed that challenge, arguing that the local market would benefit from having another dealer, the state attorney general decided in favour of Lithia and Chrysler and Rimrock appealed again, this time to the Motor Vehicle Division of the Montana Department of Justice. At the time of writing, they are still waiting for the outcome.

It seems extraordinary to anyone accustomed to the way things are done in Europe that a matter like this should offer so many opportunities for review. Here it would be a simple matter of freedom of contract, and no Department of Justice with a Motor Vehicle Division in it. The European Commission has never been set up to act as a regulator.

Even more extraordinary, as if it were not enough to be able to take so many legal actions, Stephen A Zabawa, co-owner of Rimrock, is working with fellow former Billings Chrysler dealer Bill Underriner (vice-chairman of the NADA) to argue before the state legislature for changes in the law to give dealers even more protection. The idea of it!

'via Blog this'

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