Today's the day when fourteen Colorado auto dealers are supposed to stop selling Chrysler products as part of the beleaguered company's attempt to emerge from bankruptcy -- an effort that hit a bump in the road yesterday when a ruling by Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg delayed the firm's sale to a consortium led by the Italian automaker Fiat. Tim Jackson, spokesman for the Colorado Automobile Dealers Association, has branded this particular June 9 as "Black Tuesday," echoing a phrase from the 1929 Wall Street crash -- and undoubtedly, the affected dealers can see the connection.
The CADA home page features a couple of links intended to emphasize the impact of car dealers on fiscal health locally and nationally. The first, "The Franchised Automobile Dealer: The Automaker's Lifeline," is a 2008 report that declares, "Far from being a burden to the manufacturer it represents, the automobile dealer supports the manufacturer's efforts by providing a vast distribution channel that allows for efficient flow of the manufacturer's product to the public at virtually no cost to the manufacturer." The second, 2007's "The Economic Impact of Franchised New Vehicle Dealers on the Colorado Economy," quotes Jackson as saying, "Dealers provide tens of thousands of jobs to Colorado residents, and are an important component of the State's economy. Colorado franchised new vehicle dealers are very proud of their contributions to economic growth and development in the State."
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This statement has been true for generations. But neither that fact nor the Supreme Court's action are likely to prevent the dealers in question from being forced into an ugly divorce with the smallest member of the no-longer-so-big three.