ComplyNet in the News

logosJuly 3, 2013

Car dealerships

 

I admire Steve Chapman’s courage in his June 20 column attacking car dealers who spend millions of dollars with the Tribune (“Car buyers get hijacked”). He was courageous, but misguided.

He said car dealers are afraid of competition. Car dealers aren’t afraid of competition. They compete every day in the world’s most competitive markets. Everyone wants to buy a car below the dealer’s cost, but wants that dealer to be there when essential repairs need to be performed or there is a recall.
Tesla wants to sell directly to the public. We all saw what the manufacturers wanted to do when the economy turned south look for a handout and cut and run. It was the dealers who fought to stay in the game, even after years of getting more cars than they needed forced onto their lots by the manufacturers. Dealers got leaner and struggled, because it was their own business and their own employees they were fighting for, not share price and market share.

Chapman also belittles charitable contributions as not necessarily being part of the business equation. Car dealers think it is. They give hugely to their communities in time and money. Check a dealership during the holidays and you’ll see employees delivering turkeys to needy families and generous checks written to local charities.

Chapman seems to think that Amazon and Dell prove that consumers can successfully buy direct from the source. But Amazon doesn’t make anything and buying a computer isn’t remotely like buying a car. I’m not sure if Tesla should be allowed to sell directly to the public, but I know that the dealership system is a wonderfully competitive marketplace of independently owned businesses that benefits all consumers.

 

Philip J. Troy, president, ComplyNet Corporation