Randy Dye, who owns a Dodge dealership, is buying another at a time when cynics are counting Chrysler LLC down for the count.
But Dye sees it differently.
“I'm confident in the product, in the future of the company, in the leadership of the company,” he tells Ward's at a Consumer Bankers Assn. conference in Orlando, FL. “It will take about five years, but Chrysler will be a powerhouse.
“I'm not a fool. I wouldn't be purchasing another Chrysler dealership if I was concerned with Chrysler's viability or whether it would be here next year or 30 days from now,” says Dye, dealer principal at Daytona Dodge in Daytona, FL.
He says Chrysler-owner Cerberus Capital Management LP “got the message that profit is more important than volume” and had been restructuring the auto maker toward that end when suddenly the credit crisis hit last year and knocked the company down.
President Barack Obama's declared faith in the domestic auto industry instills consumer confidence, a key factor in a prospective recovery, says Russ Darrow, head of the Russ Darrow Group, based in Menomonee Falls, WI. His holdings include three Chrysler stores, down from five.
Dye says the U.S. government is monitoring GM and Chrysler almost too closely to over compensate for failing to adequately oversee federal aid to the financial industry.
Despite calling himself a “Libertarian Republican,” Michael Jackson, CEO of AutoNation Inc., the country's largest dealership chain, says at the conference, “I hate to say it, but we're in such a mess, we need the government to get us out.”
Jackson describes government bridge loans to GM and Chrysler as “appropriate” and the federal stimulus package to jump start the economy as necessary.
“The only mistake would be to not throw enough money into this,” Jackson says of the stimulus program. “We need to get moving. Otherwise, it's a huge train wreck.”