Friday, December 4, 2009

Jack Fitzgerald on Greta Van Susteren

There was a jobs summit in Washington. Well I told Greta this is a no-cost stimulus, put the dealers back and retain 169,000 direct dealer jobs.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Judiciary Committee Hearing Postponed

We have received word from Chairman Conyers that the Judiciary Committee has decided to postpone the hearing originally scheduled for Thursday morning on our auto dealers issue given the pendency of ongoing negotiations between dealer groups and the two automakers. Please note that the hearing is postponed and not cancelled, meaning that it could be rescheduled at any time.

We understand that many of you were planning to come to Washington and attend as part of our show of support for the dealer cause. We regret that you may have been inconvenienced, but we only just now (6PM Eastern) have learned that the hearing would not take place on Thursday.

Chairman Conyers and other Members of the Judiciary Committee continue to be very interested in the dealer issue and we are encouraged by their willingness to dig deep into the issue and to study all its facets from our perspective.

We will keep you informed of any new developments as they arise.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Upcoming Judiciary Committee Hearing

Now I know why it’s called grass roots, because so much of our work is done underground. I’m forever grateful for the work that dealers, their employees and their customers are doing across this country of ours to keep our issue of the taking of dealer businesses on the front burner.

To summarize, we have two bills we’re tracking in Congress, and the language from one of our bills was attached to a spending bill, HR3170, that we call the LaTourette Amendment because Congressman LaTourette from Ohio put this amendment on to the Appropriations bill, and preserved it. That appropriations bill with the amendment is awaiting action in the Senate, under Senator Durbin’s direction.
In the meantime, NADA, NAMAD, our group CRDR and the ATAE’s are working in concert to bring about a “non-legislative” solution at the urging of our congressional supporters. On October 3rd, 2009 Speaker Pelosi said that will only be possible as long as “fairness” is injected into the process. Meetings with the manufacturers are ongoing.

In new developments, Congressman and Chairman John Conyers has called for a FULL Judiciary Committee Hearing on Thursday, October 15th 2009 at 10:00am in the Rayburn building (2141) that’s open to the public. This is part IV in the review of the effects of the bankruptcies, but this upcoming hearing is expected to focus on the facts considered by the Auto Task Force, who have been invited to testify. There is also a rumor that a senior retired executive from one of the automakers is appearing under subpoena who has questioned the so-called “experts” who advised the Auto Task Force.

Where did they get these experts?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Cash for Clunkers, err "Clinkers"

The Cash for Clunkers program is indeed over, and I'm grateful to all of our customers who chose to purchase vehicles from Fitzgerald, and to all of my associates who are still trying to process the clunkers. It's been very successful at re-charging the new car business, but there are some people who were left behind. That's why we've introduced Cash for "Clinkers."

Visit us at

Monday, June 29, 2009

Grassroots Effort

What GM & Chrysler don't understand is that dealers are the very fabric of America. While Congress is in recess this week to celebrate Independence Day, dealers in cities, rural areas and small towns across this country are celebrating too, in spite of the challenges of today's economy. Dealers are sponsoring parades, little league teams, booster clubs, because we are America.

We have the support here in Maryland, and there is support growing across this country.

In Pennsylvania,

In Arkansas,

Thanks again for your continued support.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

The Media Can Help

I think the more that Congress and the media learn about this, the more they see through the misinformation being spread by the manufacturers.

Senate Bill & House Bill

No one wants to believe that the truth is so different from the fairy tale being spun by the executives from GM and Chrysler, no one thinks we could all be fooled, let alone the administration or Congress. Unfortunately that’s exactly what’s happening

Dealers don’t cost manufacturers any money.
Fritz Henderson and Jim Press failed to convince Congress or demonstrate how reducing dealers saves money. Filling a car up with gas is a cost associated with selling a car, not how many dealers they have. Dealers pay the freight to get the car shipped. Dealers order parts and vehicles, and become the warehouse for their products. The factory offers no subsidy for dealers, in fact, the dealers pay fees to the factory, almost $40,000 a year, not including the purchase of inventory.

Too few dealers, not too many.
2 out of 3 cars on the road are Domestic. There were 13,000 domestic dealers at the end of 2008. At the end of their cuts, there will be 9,600. How will Detroit rise again if there are fewer domestic dealers than Import? There are already 10,000 import dealers. Dealers are not “branches”.
If you’re going to be like Toyota, build Toyota quality.
It’s the car, the product, that determines success. Dealers have established relationships with owners of vehicles, who remain loyal, despite the lower ratings in Consumer Reports. GM has lost market share for 30 years. GM has seen ratings in Consumer Reports go down for 30 years. This isn’t a coincidence, customers know quality. Toyota focused on the East and West Coast. On Rockville Pike there are three Toyota dealers, there will be 1 Chrysler Dealer. How does that match Toyota’s model?

Why would they do this?
They need a scapegoat for Wall Street to keep investing, to avoid blaming the very same managers who remain employed, to get their retention bonuses. This is the same management that drove both companies into bankruptcy. The dealers are not bankrupt, the manufacturers are.

Some of the material I've been researching is making it out into the web, and the public...the more information the better.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

I created a message to all of my customers, and I'm asking you to act. Now that we've introduced the HR2743 we have something very specific to ask our members of congress to do: Support the legislation by co-sponsoring and voting for it. In the meantime, I will continue to support our employees and you, our customers.

Automotive News - Ed Lapham

Ed Lapham is reporting about the new legislation that's been introduced in the House of Representatives. This isn't about me, this is about customers. This is about making sure that customers can continue to get their vehicles serviced "just like always" as the President stated in his address to the nation. The argument that manufacturers need to eliminate dealers to save money is so far from the truth. Consider some very important facts:
1. Incentives are never paid in advance, meaning cars don't drop in value when a rebate is announced. The dealer paid the manufacturer when the car rolled off the assembly line, before it was every shipped. If the dealer sells the car, to a consumer, he passes a rebate on to the consumer, and then waits for the factory to reimburse him/her (the dealer) for the credit that the dealer gave the customer at the time of the sale.
2. Customers pay for "distribution." Every Federally mandated "Monroney" label or "Sticker" on a new car or truck includes a line item for "Freight". Freight means shipping, or distribution. For some cars, it's anywhere from $325 to $700.
3. Dealers are the "cost bearers" for the manufacturing of the parts too. Dealers order millions in inventory, that dealers pay for, to supply parts to customers at dealerships, gas stations and large chain service providers. Without the dealer warehouses, who are the customers, every day consumers are going to have a harder time finding parts too.
Write to your Representative...this is happening to you. It's in your home town.

Friday, June 5, 2009


I've been writing this blog off and on for a while but I've also been communicating with customers through Facebook. I started a new group on facebook called "Restore Dealer Rights". This is an open group, and I hope whoever comes across this post will join. We need everyone to stay informed, to contact their Representative and Senators and ask them to take action.

What does that mean? 1)Sign on to the letter from Congressman Hoyer & Congressman Van Hollen and 2) Sponsor and Support legislation to "Restore Dealer Rights" which is drafted and floating around Capitol Hill.

Find me on Facebook and ask to be my friend.

Ask Republicans and Democrats to Help

We are grateful that Congressman Steny Hoyer and Congressman Chris Van Hollen have sent around a letter to each of their colleagues to ask them to sign on a letter to the administration, that also advises that they will consider legislation. The legislation they're considering was written about in the Washington Post. It's called Restore Dealer Rights. This is about restoring jobs for families, maintaining healthcare for families, so they can pay for their children's education, and support the economy. I admit that I've been very successful, and this isn't about me. GM & Chrysler proved at the hearing that they have nothing to gain by closing dealerships, except "strategic market representation." Why would Congress allow the same bad management that drove them into bankruptcy to develop a plan that's doomed to fail by taking away locations for customers to service their cars....why? Because the truth is that Consumer Reports has been telling them for years that they needed to improve their quality and they won't listen. They're not listening now, and they duped Congress and the administration, not telling them that closing dealers would cost 170,000 jobs.

Call your Senator and Congressman and ask them to sign on to Congressman Hoyer's and Congressman Van Hollen's letter. Thanks!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Ask your Congressman to Act...

Today the Washington Post ran a story about my fight on behalf of independent car dealers across this country, and consumers. The story isn't just about me, it's about how we need Congress to act now by introducing legislation to restore the economic rights of car dealers by using this bill. Congress is in effect the Board of Directors for GM and Chrysler - and they can instruct the company to make changes. The Senate couldn't contain their outrage in trying to understand how in the world Manufacturers could make the case to close dealerships when they couldn't justify their expense. As one blogger with the Post later wrote, "It's like a book publisher trying to get rid of Borders." Contact your represenatives in congress and ask them to sponsor and support this draft legislation.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Just Like Always

When the President told all of us that you could get service "just like always", I believed him. Unfortunately, the Auto Task Force isn't following the message delivered by the President, and I'm trying to continue to get the word out that only our customers are going to change the tide.

Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison and Senator Rockefeller are saying there will be hearings next week when Congress returns, but that may be too late. Even Congressman Roscoe Bartlett from my home state of Maryland is asking for an inquiry, holding a press conference at our dealership in Frederick, Maryland next Tuesday at 10:00am.

I need people to continue to email the White House: and tell the President to stop the unnecessary closure of dealerships.

Greta came by to see me again, and I have a message for the Auto Task Force.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Chrysler's Closing Dealers-but now they want to open more?

I think the media is really listening, and I hope customers are too. We need everyone to get in touch with their legislators and the White House because this is simply not going to do anything for Chrysler, especially when the front page of Automotive News stated Wednesday that Chrysler has open points and they're looking for more dealers.

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Detroit Thinking

I've spent the last several days responding to emails, questions and requests for interviews by the media on the heels of Chrysler's announcement to close dealerships, or as they technically say, to "reject franchise agreements." I hope you take a look at this C-Span broadcast that is a good summary of what's going on, and what this means to consumers.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

More on Green Cars

I was recently asked to publish some more information about A123 and the plug in Prius Hybrid. I'm driving one now, some of the time, and it's a great ride. That's the best part about being a car dealer!

We've been working to put together our Earthday the FitzWay events, and on Saturday, April 18th at 10:00am Les Goldman from A123 will make a presentation at our Toyota Service Center 18707 N Frederick Ave, Gaithersburg MD. He will go over some of the details of the conversion. In addition, David Goldstein, president of the Electric Vehicle Association will also review other electric conversions and his view on the future of vehicle technology.

I hope you spread the word. The event will take place at our Toyota Service Center and will also feature eco-friendly organizations and how you can be more green.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Recycling the FitzWay

I continue to be amazed by the hard work of the people of Fitzgerald when it comes to recycling. Many years ago, one of our local counties passed a law requiring that businesses recycle at least 50% of all the waste that they generate. I thought to myself, "that's impossible." Not only did my people prove to me that it was possible, they exceeded 80% in 2008! Congratulations.

The employees expanded the recycling far beyond any requirements at one local jurisdiction, so now recycling takes place at all the dealerships. It's always about people, and it's people taking the time to make a difference in the workplace, in their communities, and for our customers. I'm so grateful to have people that really care.

Each year we try to celebrate "Earth Day the FitzWay" with a series of events, and this year is no exception. We will be announcing a series of specials and events that will help us all take time to recognize that we have a responsibility to take care of the environment, where we live and work.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

There’s no substitute for the eyes of a technician

If you’re buying a car, you want the peace of mind that you’re getting something of good quality.

State inspections are for safety, they’re not an in depth review of the vehicle. On top of safety inspections, many consumers have come to rely on outside services, like CARFAX or Experian to check the history of a vehicle in the databases that they have available. There’s a myth that if the vehicle is “okay” by those companies, then the car must be alright. The challenge is that even at our very own body shops, 20% of the repairs are not insurance related. That means that those repairs do not make it into any database.

What’s a consumer to do?

My recommendation, from the days when I was on the showroom floor myself, has always been to have the qualified technicians from the dealership check a vehicle over. We do that for you here at Fitzgerald. They can tell if a car has had paint repairs, frame repairs etc. That alone doesn’t make them a “bad” vehicle. The question is “Was it repaired correctly? Are there any unrestored areas? Will it drive the same as before the damage occurred?”

We do not sell any car to a consumer without our comprehensive inspection. Although we can’t see inside the engine/transmission, we look at everything possible to see, review and measure. Our technician gives his opinion in writing and his signed report goes with the vehicle. It is placed in the glove box of the vehicle before we offer it for sale.

I have the option to drive many vehicles, but one of the vehicles I like to drive is a plug in hybrid, that was previously a total loss. Our own technicians repaired the vehicle and I’ve had so many people completely surprised by the smooth ride of and “great” feel of the car. When I tell them it was repaired from an accident where it was a total loss, they’re shocked. Databases can’t replace the expertise of technicians and their trained eye. My previously totaled plug in Prius does not show up in any database.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Wow! The Washington Auto Show

Last night I had the good fortune to be present at the preview night for the Washington Auto Show. For years the Auto Show was held the week between Christmas and New Years, when Congress was out of session. Fortunately, it was moved right as the new convention center opened and has really become a place for members of the US Senate and Congress to see first hand the innovation that's here today!

We have some amazing products that are on the market and coming to market, in fact, I spent almost the entire evening in the "Green" vehicle area right off the main lobby. It's fitting that this year's auto show theme is "Driven by the Environment" when you see the vehicles and the alternative energy sources that power them. I'd like to extend my congratulations to Congressmen John Dingel, recipient of the Inaugural Keith Crain award from the Washington Auto Show for his lifelong dedication to the workers in the automotive industry. There are great challenges ahead, but we have great products to share too. I hope you visit the show, running through February 8th.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Some Good News

By: Jack Fitzgerald
January 21, 2009

There was a time when I used to sell Fiats, the difference is that back then they were called Yugo, Iveco and Alpha Romeo. Now we read that Chrysler Corporation and Fiat are on the verge of making a deal that will combine the two. This is great news for consumers, because it means economical vehicles through the Chrysler Distribution channel. We need healthy competition in the marketplace to keep each of the manufacturers competitive with each other, which benefits us as the consumers.

I have no doubt that the quality of these products, so popular in Europe, have improved significantly since their last entrance into the United States. I look forward to offering customers more choices.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

It's up to the Consumer

By: Jack Fitzgerald
January 15, 2009

Recently a customer sent this question: "Am I allowed to buy a NEW Toyota from you even though I live in Texas?"

Customers can choose to purchase a vehicle anywhere! The registration and taxes are based on where you live, not on where you purchase. We know from the requests by customers that a lot of people are searching for vehicle late at night, after dealers are closed. Thanks to, you can see pricing and information 24 hours a day. What's even more remarkable is the number of people who travel from out of state, not just out of town, to take delivery of their vehicle from Fitzgerald Auto Malls.

Like the gentleman from Texas, we've had customer fly in from many other states to purchase vehicles. Many combine their purchase with a tour of Washington DC. The world's a small place, full of limitless choices, and the Internet gives you, the consumer, the ability to shop anytime, anywhere, and to purchase a vehicle from any dealer in any state. I hope you choose us.