5/28/2009

Chrysler Closing Conspiracy?

I admit, that when I first read the reports that the Chrysler dealership closings disproportionately targeted GOP donors, I did think "Well, of course...I'll bet most car dealers are Republicans anyhow..."

I might have left it at that and remained skeptical of any mass conspiracy, except for some more specific details about how some big-wigs in Democratic circles essentially had all their competition wiped off the map in several markets....

The Mysterious Case of RLJ

In Smith's research, one company kept popping up on the list of dealerships remaining open. The company is RLJ-McLarty-Landers, which owns six Chrysler dealerships. All six dealerships are on "the safe list."

RLJ's owners "are Steve Landers (long-time car dealer, 4th-generation dealer), Thomas "Mack" McLarty (former Chief of Staff for President Clinton), and Robert Johnson (founder of Black Entertainment Television and co-owner of the NBA's Charlotte Bobcats)... McLarty campaigned for Obama in 2008, and Johnson has given countless amounts of money to Democrats over the years."

[...]

All other factors being equal, what are the odds that RLJ's dealerships would remain open while all other area dealerships would be shuttered?

In fact it seems that RLJ delearships in 5 markets will have *all* of their local competition shuttered. And we are not talking about just one competitor here. In each market RLJ will see 2, 3, and even 4 other dealerships closed, leaving them the only place to buy (or service) Chrysler-related brands. This is nicely illustrated by Doug Ross at the link above.

One has to wonder, as people dig through and analyze the lists of "safe" and "closing" dealerships, how many more of these instances will be found.....

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