[Guest post by DRJ]
As you probably recall, Chrysler tried to dump 789 dealers during its Obama-sponsored bailout and bankruptcy, and many (including me) thought there was something fishy about the dealers chosen to be terminated or not terminated:
“Item 3: Democratic donor Sidney Deboer is Chairman of Lithia Motors. He donated over $14,000 to Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY). Lithia Motors lost only two of its 29 dealerships while gaining as many as five additional ones in the resulting carnage. Deboer was also insulated from Chrysler’s closings.”
Congress eventually stepped in and mandated an arbitration process for terminated dealers. Apparently Chrysler is trying to accomplish through buyouts what Congress wouldn’t let it do in its bankruptcy or bailout:
“Lithia Dodge has changed its name after acquiring the Chrysler and Jeep franchises last week.
Lithia Chrysler Jeep Dodge of Corpus Christi is the result of a private transaction between Lithia and Marion Luna Brem, owner of Love Chrysler Dodge Jeep in Alice. Brem previously had the Chrysler franchise in Corpus Christi.
Wayne Lytle, Lithia’s general manager, wouldn’t discuss the details of the agreement. Brem said she was compensated to accommodate Chrysler Corp.’s plan to consolidate all the brands in an area under the same dealership.
Chrysler Corp. has been consolidating dealerships as part of its restructuring plan, said Ralph Kisiel, a company spokesman. Having all the brands under one roof has proved more profitable, he said.”
It probably is more profitable, especially to the remaining dealers.
Deboer’s political contributions over the years included Democrats and Republicans but in the 2008 election, he only donated to Democrats and the Dealers Election Action Committee Of The National Automotive Dealers Association. Thus, maybe it’s just a coincidence that Marion L. Brem donated to George W. Bush in 1999 and never to a Democrat.