GM Dealer Jack Fitzgerald: "What the Task Force Missed"

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago

GM dealer Jack Fitzgerald is not happy about losing some of his franchises. Unlike GM CEO Fritz Henderson, Fitzgerald has set forth a graphic-laden argument (PDF viewable online here) defending his position on the dealer cull. Here’s why Jack reckons we need H.R. 2743, mandating car dealer-protection:

As Congress and the Administration consider various proposals to restore the rights of affected auto dealers, I want to share with you the context for making such decisions. We believe that there was a fundamentally flawed analysis of the domestic auto industry that led to a misguided decision to close numerous dealerships and which will add to the nation’s unemployment misery.

Right now, Congress has before it a legislative proposal that would restore dealers’ economic rights and permit a case-by-case assessment of our dealerships. It is the best way to correct what has occurred and to put our industry on a path to growth and employment opportunities instead of the path of cannibalism, economic dislocation, and a downward spiral for the U.S. auto industry as a whole as consumers react to being abused.

This map depicts very expensive data. It was provided free of charge this past Friday, by R.L. Polk, as a public service. It depicts Domestic and Import cars in operation in each state as of December 2008 (VIO means passenger cars and light trucks in operation). It explains graphically why Toyota has fewer dealers overall, but more in the densely populated coastal areas.

The yellow boxes are by me. Careful study of this map shows that the Task Force was significantly off base in its decision to reduce dealer counts. They are exacerbating the east and west coast Domestic brand losses and potentially dissipating the Domestic lead in the rest of the country.

This is a recipe for failure. I have attached data showing state by state reduction and the results including potential job losses, etc. But the ultimate loss will be the failure of the ‘Plan’.

Reducing dealers in the blue states amount to conceding those extremely high volume markets to Import cars forever! Detroit can not rise again without reclaiming some of what it has lost there. They can, “yes we can, and yes we can”! The maps show the potential, 40 to 65 percent of all the cars on the road even in the blue states are Domestic brand cars (trucks too). Most of these owners will buy another one if Consumer Reports recommends it, but not if you reduce service for the cars they already own and if you make it easier for them to buy an Import. And not if you overcharge them on purpose. Main St. doesn’t work like Wall St. People know more about cars and they will not be deceived. Consumers deserve better treatment and they know how to get it.

Please do what you can to save the country from this bad plan! Time is running out. We must act now. A first step is prompt enactment of H.R. 2743.

H.R. 2743 has over 120 House co-sponsors, but we need more. And, we want to develop the same support in the U.S. Senate. So, on Monday, June 15, please contact your Congressman/Congresswoman’s offices in your town and in Washington (202-224-3121 main number) and ask specifically that he or she co-sponsor H.R. 2743 and that he or she tell Speaker Nancy Pelosi to schedule the Bill for consideration. Please contact your two Senators and ask them to co-sponsor the Auto Dealer’s Economic Rights Restoration Act as soon as it is introduced in the Senate.

Congress will leave Washington in 12 days for its Independence Day recess – we can’t let them leave without restoring our economic rights as automobile dealers. July 4 is a celebration of the perseverance of our forefathers, who fought for their rights, primarily economic rights. How timely would it be for Congress to restore our rights and to permit us to continue our tradition of consumer service and employment throughout the nation.

Robert Farago
Robert Farago

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  • Carguy Carguy on Jun 17, 2009

    If the administration should have enlisted the dealers to sell the auto bailout to the American taxpayer: "So you want a shiny car industry? How much do you want your payment to be? Hey, we'll even 'pay off' what you owe from our existing bailout."

  • Patrickj Patrickj on Jun 17, 2009

    I have bought a Subaru from a Fitzgerald dealership in Maryland and would buy another from them. I suspect that Chrysler decided that his Dodge dealerships in Rockville were a bit too much of a sideline to selling Subarus and Hyundais nearby. As for Wheaton, MD, the changing demographics would make selling any new cars difficult right now. Those residents left with the money to buy new cars gave up domestics after the second transmission failure on the '92 Caravan.

  • Bkojote Allright, actual person who knows trucks here, the article gets it a bit wrong.First off, the Maverick is not at all comparable to a Tacoma just because they're both Hybrids. Or lemme be blunt, the butch-est non-hybrid Maverick Tremor is suitable for 2/10 difficulty trails, a Trailhunter is for about 5/10 or maybe 6/10, just about the upper end of any stock vehicle you're buying from the factory. Aside from a Sasquatch Bronco or Rubicon Jeep Wrangler you're looking at something you're towing back if you want more capability (or perhaps something you /wish/ you were towing back.)Now, where the real world difference should play out is on the trail, where a lot of low speed crawling usually saps efficiency, especially when loaded to the gills. Real world MPG from a 4Runner is about 12-13mpg, So if this loaded-with-overlander-catalog Trailhunter is still pulling in the 20's - or even 18-19, that's a massive improvement.
  • Lou_BC "That’s expensive for a midsize pickup" All of the "offroad" midsize trucks fall in that 65k USD range. The ZR2 is probably the cheapest ( without Bison option).
  • Lou_BC There are a few in my town. They come out on sunny days. I'd rather spend $29k on a square body Chevy
  • Lou_BC I had a 2010 Ford F150 and 2010 Toyota Sienna. The F150 went through 3 sets of brakes and Sienna 2 sets. Similar mileage and 10 year span.4 sets tires on F150. Truck needed a set of rear shocks and front axle seals. The solenoid in the T-case was replaced under warranty. I replaced a "blend door motor" on heater. Sienna needed a water pump and heater blower both on warranty. One TSB then recall on spare tire cable. Has a limp mode due to an engine sensor failure. At 11 years old I had to replace clutch pack in rear diff F150. My ZR2 diesel at 55,000 km. Needs new tires. Duratrac's worn and chewed up. Needed front end alignment (1st time ever on any truck I've owned).Rear brakes worn out. Left pads were to metal. Chevy rear brakes don't like offroad. Weird "inside out" dents in a few spots rear fenders. Typically GM can't really build an offroad truck issue. They won't warranty. Has fender-well liners. Tore off one rear shock protector. Was cheaper to order from GM warehouse through parts supplier than through Chevy dealer. Lots of squeaks and rattles. Infotainment has crashed a few times. Seat heater modual was on recall. One of those post sale retrofit.Local dealer is horrific. If my son can't service or repair it, I'll drive 120 km to the next town. 1st and last Chevy. Love the drivetrain and suspension. Fit and finish mediocre. Dealer sucks.
  • MaintenanceCosts You expect everything on Amazon and eBay to be fake, but it's a shame to see fake stuff on Summit Racing. Glad they pulled it.