When Chrysler and General Motors underwent restructuring last year, they eliminated over 2,000 dealerships from their networks. Their reasoning for the cuts ranged from poor sales performance to duplication, but no matter what rationale they used, dealers were rarely satisfied. Many of those outlets have worked hard to become reinstated, first taking their case to Chrysler and GM directly, then appealing to the U.S. congress for help. As we reported last month, congress finally responded with a bill requiring "neutral arbitration", in which mediators -- in this case, the American Arbitration Association -- will determine whether Chrysler and GM followed their established elimination criteria when cutting dealers from the networks.
Depending on the way in which Chrysler and GM worded that criteria -- and dealers' ability to show compliance -- this seems to be a fair and equitable means of resolving the situation. As of Friday, less than half of the dealers had filed for arbitration, though more are expected to submit the necessary paperwork in advance of tonight's midnight deadline.