Colleen McDonald thinks it was about her — and 46 other women.
They are among 789 Chrysler brand dealers that Chrysler LLC cut as part of an effort to reduce its distribution network. The auto maker says the eliminations were done using a data-based matrix.
McDonald, daughter of a longtime metro-Detroit Ford dealer, Tom McDonald, is unconvinced. She contends her gender played a role in Chrysler's decision to fold her Chrysler-Jeep store in Livonia, MI, and the Dodge store in Taylor, MI, both suburbs of Detroit.
“When I was notified Chrysler was closing my Century Dodge and Livonia Chrysler- Jeep stores, I felt like I'd been raped and left for dead,” she tells the Oakland Press.
She was so angry she decided to immediately close her Holiday Chevrolet in Farmington Hills, MI. That dealership was on General Motors Co.'s hit list. But McDonald could have kept it open until nonrenewal of the franchise agreement in October, 2010.
Her three dealerships each averaged sales of more than 100 new units a month, says David Einstandig, her attorney. “‘That was 10 times the metric Chrysler used for its rejected list.”
McDonald's anger persists. “I just get ticked off about the way Chrysler gave us no time to get rid of our Dodge and Chrysler-Jeep inventories,” she says. “My heart aches for dealers who received termination or nonrenewal letters. I know who they are, especially the women.”
McDonald says she is not planning to leave the auto business and may reopen representing an auto maker other than Chrysler. “I don't want to be associated with Chrysler again.”
Chrysler's initial termination list of dealers included the following women:
Kim Boyer, Gridley, KS; Jamie Kepf, Redwood City, CA; Karen Mickey, Cedar Rapids, IA; Frances Bondy, Dothan, AL; Martha Byrne, Princeton, IN; Colleen McDonald, Taylor, MI; Gail Cimino, Raton, NM; Cheryl Nelson, Countryside, IL.
Ethel Cook, Little Rock, AR; Marien Dubese, Wilmington, DE; Nancy Hamilton, Redmond, OR; Margaret Johnson, Petoskey, MI; Donna Lochmandy, Elkhart, IN; Vera Klippel, Boonville, IN; Kay Church, Ozark, MD; Jacqueline Edgar, Franklin, LA.
Lori Brubeck, Lawrence, KS; Betty Vickers, Merritt Island, FL; Trudi Schwars, Cincinnati; Hilda Lieberth, Oakmont, PA; Jan Arbue, Hahnville, LA; Lynn Meyer, Monroeville, IN; Cecilia Maure, Woodbridge, NJ; Robin Moor, Washington, NC.
Karen Flake, Sonora, CA; Rene Henderson, New Richmond, OH; Nancy M. Ariano, Durango, CO; Elizabeth Murray, Port Angeles, WA; Barbee Kranz, Mitchell, SD; Irma Elder, Owosso, MI; Kay Church, Ozark, MD; Nina Koleseiko, Downers Grove, IL.
Ellen Parsons, Winchester, VA; Janey T. Schepp, Creve Coeur, MO; Lisa Casaccio, Rochester, NH; Sherri Breyer, Clovis, NM; Donna Corley, Crowley, LA; Donna Bees, Hiawatha, KS; Patricia Raduens, Stillwater, MN; Susan Schein, Pelham, AL.
Jane Harness, Thomaston, GA; Mary Underriner, Billings, MT; Christine Van Burkles, McAllen, TX; Jaime Vergara, Cookville, TN; Cindy Molitierne, Verena, PA; Fate Wagner, Prattville, AL, and Mary Willey, Ames, IA.