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Letter From A Dodge Dealer

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May 24, 2009 – Comments (23)

FYI - this letter is making several top blogs, including slycapital and zerohedgeLetter From A Dodge Dealer Posted by Tyler Durden at 7:41 PM Reposted without commentary from American Thinker

letter to the editor

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

23 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On May 24, 2009 at 11:19 AM, alstry (36.32) wrote:

Welcome to Alstrynomics.....You have been warned.

Great Post and Thanks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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#2) On May 24, 2009 at 11:37 AM, VintageCat (< 20) wrote:

Surely there are others around the nation in the same boat.  Depending upon the fine print in their franchise agreement, a class action lawsuit with an injunction barring the franchise seizures pending litigation will be their only tool and probably not a very good one. Most unfortunate. 

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#3) On May 24, 2009 at 11:54 AM, RookieQB (29.10) wrote:

Just wow..

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#4) On May 24, 2009 at 12:14 PM, rdlincoln (< 20) wrote:

This is both a touching story and an example of how the outrageous modern and financial governance of America is destroying the country. When will America wake up? For that matter, will America ever wake up? I hope these dealerships are able to obtain adaquate and competent representation, as stakeholders, in the bankruptcy of Chrysler and GM.

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#5) On May 24, 2009 at 12:39 PM, kdakota630 (29.76) wrote:

Hey, it's only fair.  The "rich" have had it too good for too long and it's time for them to pay up and spread the wealth around.

(Before anyone reacts negatively to my comment and begins calling me names, I want to make sure that everyone realizes that my comment was sarcastic, although I am sure there are people out there that agree with it.)

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#6) On May 24, 2009 at 12:50 PM, eddietheinvestor (< 20) wrote:

This is change you can believe in.

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#7) On May 24, 2009 at 12:55 PM, devoish (96.28) wrote:

Another Letter from a Dealer.

 

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#8) On May 24, 2009 at 12:55 PM, Evlampius (< 20) wrote:

are you asking how can it happen in USA???

easy!  because "Yes we can!!!" and  It's time for a "change!!!"

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#9) On May 24, 2009 at 2:55 PM, JGus (28.93) wrote:

Abitare - Great post! I read this on ZeroHedge a couple days ago and was going to post it here but never did. Though the whole world has experienced pain through this recession/depression, I truly believe that the US will, in the long run, likely experience more pain than anywhere else.

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#10) On May 24, 2009 at 3:34 PM, Tastylunch (29.40) wrote:

This happened to my cousin as well who owns (ed) a Gm dealership. :(

It started with eminent domain loosening but now the gov't is really destroying the concept of private property.

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#11) On May 24, 2009 at 4:23 PM, nwarrior (< 20) wrote:

So let me get this straight, they are being taken from the owner and given to an other party with NO compensation? Isn't that theft? It is just wow.... I dunno what to say.

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#12) On May 24, 2009 at 5:31 PM, Mary953 (79.30) wrote:

Tasty - Are you saying that what is happening - what is described in this letter is for real?  I am embarrassed to say that at this point, the next set of comments after letters of this type usually say - hey, but it really isn't happening that way at all.  I was actually waiting for those comments to start.

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#13) On May 24, 2009 at 6:04 PM, selfdestruct2 (26.03) wrote:

Wow, indeed. I was never interested in US history in school. I'm 45 and I've found a sudden fascination with our founding fathers and their amazing foresight. What gives our elected cockroaches the right to completely overide our constitution for their own self-interest ????

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#14) On May 24, 2009 at 6:22 PM, selfdestruct2 (26.03) wrote:

Wow, indeed. I was never interested in US history in school. I'm 45 and I've found a sudden fascination with our founding fathers and their amazing foresight. What gives our elected cockroaches the right to completely overide our constitution for their own self-interest ????

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#15) On May 24, 2009 at 6:25 PM, Tastylunch (29.40) wrote:

Yes it's for real unfortunately Mary, but it's not as clear cut as the way the letter makes it sound. Chrysler is not breaking any laws doing this and the business was not entirely the owner's.

Most dealers do not buy their cars outright is my understanding most are heavily financed by GMAC etc. So it's like owning a house and being foreclosed on by the bank essentially.If you think about it it makes sense, if you had to buy all your autos outright it would take some serious jack to open a car dealership.

GMAC etc can recall the loan anytime if there's a breach of contract, in practice they usually do not do so except in extreme cases, since it would engender bad feelings with other dealers and possibly cost the car makers dealerships. But now the slightest discrepancy and they come collect all the collateral...They are looking for every avenue to reduce dealerships. So all the fine print in contracts that are there to protect GM etc in case of nuclear winter which had never been used are now being used.The rules of engagement have changed.

That's a reason why it's better to be part of a Co-op buying group instead of being a franchisee/dealership.

It's also why you have to read every last bit of every contract you sign and be prepared to walk away from good opportunities if you aren't adequately legally protected.

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#16) On May 24, 2009 at 6:25 PM, Tastylunch (29.40) wrote:

At least that's the way I understand it.

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#17) On May 24, 2009 at 6:26 PM, robstuck (< 20) wrote:

Great post! sounds like a lawsuit is in order? 

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#18) On May 24, 2009 at 6:33 PM, starbucks4ever (97.89) wrote:

How about trying that standard capitalist solution? If you think you've been robbed unlawfully, go to court and see what they have to say.

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#19) On May 24, 2009 at 6:34 PM, hanlerris (20.45) wrote:

Well, sounds just about what a free market will do.

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#20) On May 24, 2009 at 7:16 PM, Mary953 (79.30) wrote:

The chilling part of this is that every contract I have ever signed has that 'nuclear winter' written in.  I have written in such protection for myself where I was concerned about the trustworthiness of the other party.  You go on the assumption that something dire must happen in order to trigger those clauses - something dire between the two parties involved in the individual contract.  For a dealership to be essentially wiped out because the dire circumstance is between the auto maker and the financial institution or the government is rather like being hit by an "act of God" type insurance loophole.

"We are so very sorry.  Your dealership was destroyed  by  a herd of stampeding Asian elephants and black rhinos on the third Thursday of a month with the letter U in the name.  If this had happened one day earlier or later, you would have been covered.  As it is, this falls under your "act of God" clause and cannot be reimbursed."

Would a co-op buying group include a business like Sonic Auto?  Aren't they also having difficulties? 

Perhaps my greatest concern is the reaction of - anything that doesn't hit me but hurts someone else probably serves them right.  The idea seems to be that the owner of a small business is somehow on a par with robber barons scooping billions of taxpayer dollars straight out of the Treasury vaults.  There is no thought to the idea that families who own small businesses are also working long hard hours and are under great stress.

Some months ago, I was asked how I could be optimistic.  It is because I live in an area where people help each other.  We pull together and work with each other.  We are not alone against the forces crashing down on us.  We have family, friends, church, community.  Some of these comments seem to express satisfaction over the difficulties of these auto dealers.

That is the most bothersome and frightening part of several of today's blogs - that self-satisfied angry smirking tone that is barely hidden in some of the responses.

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#21) On May 26, 2009 at 7:31 AM, Nettmutt (< 20) wrote:

So........this is the "change" we all voted for?

 I am not surprised that people are caught by surprise by the current administration's complete disregard for private enterprise. It was reported on during the Presidential campaign, that this President had little to no business acumen, not much respect for the Constitution, and less than a comprehensive familiarity with the principle of "unintended consequences". 

 Many years ago people thought President Clinton was ruled by the poll numbers, and did whatever he had to do to keep those numbers high, but this President............he is still campaigning.

There was a commonly quoted (I will paraphrase) phrase from Rahm Emmanuel, "take advantage of a crisis because it lets you legislate things you may not otherwise have the opportunity to change". That should have been a sign.

I know a lot of Chuck Shumer's "chattering class" thinks that regular Americans are not that bright, and not that well-informed. 

I think the opposite is true, I think Americans are very bright and very well-informed. 

BUT

Americans are also very willing to give everyone a fair chance to prove themselves, rather than seeing the warning signs for what they were. I think we Americans should have read the Obama Hope And Change message as a great big warning.........

And what is the normal phrase we all say to each other when things are going fine?  We say "its business as usual".

Well, here in America, business is not "as usual" anymore.

So much of the trust and mutual respect between the government and the business community has been dissolved that its a incredible that any American is trying to open or expand a business now.

 More power to you.........but it wont come from this government. You would be better off going to China and starting your business there.

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#22) On May 28, 2009 at 9:35 AM, JakilaTheHun (99.93) wrote:

This happens precisely because of a free market economy. 

I can certainly sympathesize with the Dodge dealer in this case, but he did make contractural arrangements with the Chrysler company (in whatever manifestation) and bound himself to Chrysler's terms and conditions.  He tied his fortune to that of Chrysler and now that the company is bankrupt.  Thus, he finds his own fortune in jeopardy.

Guess this is one reason I find "Tyler Durden" to be a joke (not to mention a blatant copyright infringer).  He's a prophet of doom and gloom without any basic understanding of economics.  He preaches a "return to the free market", but makes statements that are not particularly in line with that.  This letter, meant to inspire outrage at the government, confirms my view on that. 

This has nothing to do with the government.  In fact, if the government hadn't bailed out Chrysler a few decades ago (a bad move, btw), he would've never had the opportunity to own the Dodge dealership to begin with.  Now, his business will possibly go under due to Chrysler's inability to navigate the current market place.  That's the free market at work.  Take it for what you will.

As I said, I'm certainly sympathetic to him and his employees, but let's not pretend this wasn't a result of the free market at work.  He hitched his ride to Chrysler and Chrysler pulled the string.

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#23) On April 26, 2010 at 8:09 PM, BrandonPaulChevy (< 20) wrote:

Well, the dealer was pretty honest in this blog post.Anyway, i have several concerns on dodge cars especiall on the ram. The dodge ram clutch, the one that i bought was too tight. can't really go fast and i was really disgusted.

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