Have friends in high places…
The story making the rounds today is an analysis of the political contributions of the owners of Chrysler dealerships who are being forced to close. The evidence presented so far, though far from complete, appears to show a correlation between owners who donated to GOP candidates and dealerships getting closed. As they say “correlation does not equal causation”, so it’s too early to infer that the closings constitute some sort of political hit list. Perhaps there is some basis to charge, but as of yet it’s still just a lot of really interesting data.
Joey Smith, who appears to be the person doing all the primary research on the list dealers being closed, has noted one high profile partnership that not only isn’t suffering any closings, but appears to getting it’s six markets cleared of competitors.
The auto group, The RLJ-McLarty-Landers Automotive Partnership, is owned by Robert L. Johnson, founder of Black Entertainment Television (BET), Mack McLarty, former Chief of Staff to President Clinton, and Steve J. Landers, a long-time auto dealer. While Johnson was an avid Hillary supporter, he’s a long-time deep pocket for Democrats and McLarty campaigned for Obama.
Though nearly 25% (24.8%) of all dealerships are being closed, none of the RLJ dealerships are being closed, and in the five of the six markets RLJ serves (the sixth is still being analyzed) 11 of the 13 competing dealerships are being closed. Leaving aside the political contributions of the owners of the dealerships being closed that’s a very big “win” for the RLJ dealerships. That’s nearly 85% (84.6%) of the competition eliminated. That’s one way to succeed in business – get the government to order your competition closed.
The full analysis is below…
Update: The final RLJ market analysis is complete and the number of competing dealerships being closed is now 13 of 15 (86.67% of the competition) other dealershups in RLJ’s six markets.