"Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven, but Nobody Wants to Die"
When it comes to trimming Chrysler's bloated dealer network, spokesman Jason Vines knows the score. Join the club. Every industry analyst worth his TTAC bookmark understands that the American automaker would be in much better shape if it "downsized" its franchised dealer network. To put numbers to it, Chrysler has around 3700 dealers. Toyota has roughly 1700. According to the Detroit Free Press, Chrysler's overdealeritis leads to "inefficiencies" and "competition among themselves." Yes, but– as we've reported before, a 50-state patchwork of dealer-friendly franchise laws makes any move to terminate dealers [with extreme prejudice] a legal mine field. Fighting the dealers in court– or buying out them out– would cost billions. Even so, rumors are circulating that Chrysler is about to grasp the proverbial nettle, take cars away from Dodge and lop off a thousand stores. Vines acknowledged the wisdom of the idea, then clicked on over it itaintgonnahappen.com: "There is no way on God's green earth to get down to that number," Vines said. I guess Chrysler dealers better hope that the Talking Heads were right: Heaven is a place where nothing ever happens.