And how does this help Chrysler revive itself?
These are local businesses that typically finance their floor plans locally. They cost Chrysler little or nothing. They also employ local folks and give something back to the towns. The risk is borne by the franchise owners, who finance everything, right down to the toilet paper in the restrooms. If these little shops are willing to invest their money, take the risk, and can stay in business selling 300 cars a year, why should Chrysler care? That they're still willing to do it in 2009 . . . Chrysler should be kissing their feet.
The big dealer model is not an answer. Rather than emulate the current Japanese "big box" distribution model, perhaps Chrysler should focus on building quality product, which is the how the Japanese model actually succeeded in the '70s. A turd in a giant sales palace is still a turd.
It's a shame, as many of these smaller dealers are multi-generation family outfits in smaller towns that bust their butts on good service. That they managed to stay in business with some of the garbage Chrysler gave them over the past nine years is a miracle. It's the giant high volume dealers that poop on their customers. The small, family-owned dealer that tries harder was one of the few attractions they had left. At least the small dealer around here survived the massacre, and a lot of good people will still have jobs next week.