Thursday, June 04, 2009
It is hard to believe the amount of political and PR power that US auto dealers have. They can get to Senators and spark a hearing when they are threatened, and they have been the agents for state laws protecting them against the auto manufacturers. Auto dealers built their power over decades through steady contributions to candidates and through coordinated action. They provide a textbook case of minding their business well in the public arena. No other franchisee organization can claim the same power. If McDonalds were to close restaurants in the US, you wouldn't observe the same protective action. It is only the power of bankruptcy that is allowing Chrysler and General Motors to rationalize their dealer systems and even that is difficult.