Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Fox News: Rattner Makes things Up

Last night I appeared on Fox News Scoreboard when I was asked about the former car czar Steve Rattner's new book, full of bad information. It is unfortunate that two Presidents tried to do what is right and they were badly served by Mr. Rattner. While I know the attorney general of New York has been a distraction for Rattner during their investigation of his alleged misdeeds for which he has been disavowed by his former business partners, there is no excuse for obfuscation.

Please click here to see the video

Friday, October 1, 2010

Kind Words from Donna Harris of Automotive News

Jack Fitzgerald, who lost his bid to restore his four Maryland Chrysler stores this summer, is back selling Chrysler vehicles in Maryland. He’s also back helping a fellow dealer.

Fitzgerald was a leader in a fight by rejected dealers to keep their franchises after the Chrysler and GM bankruptcies. He lost his Chrysler arbitration cases in Maryland but won his Chrysler battle in Florida. He also reached settlements with GM to keep two dealerships slated to be closed.

This week, Fitzgerald bought a majority stake in Park Dodge-Chrysler-Jeep in Lexington Park, Md. Seller Jerry Dillard, a minority-dealer leader, will retain part-ownership in the store and continue as the operator.

On its face, this looks like a normal partnership, but it’s actually a rescue. Fitzgerald said Dillard has been a good operator for many years and only ran into trouble when he lost his inventory financing last year. Many lenders were unwilling to provide floorplan financing for Chrysler dealers during such uncertain times.

Fitzgerald told me he and Dillard had been friends a long time, and an acquisition was the only way he could help Dillard keep the store. The credit crisis and Chrysler bankruptcy had taken too much of a toll.

So Fitzgerald is at it again -- selling Chrysler and helping out when he can.

You can reach Donna Harris at dharris@crain.com.

Read more: http://www.autonews.com/article/20100930/BLOG14/100939967/1400/blog#ixzz118NFyFfQ

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


Partnership with Fitzgerald Auto Mall Brings Southern Maryland Car Buyers More Benefits

N. Bethesda, MD (September 28, 2010) -- Jerry Dillard and Fitzgerald Auto Mall are pleased to announce the arrival of Fitzgerald in Lexington Park, Maryland at Park Dodge, Chrysler and Jeep. Park and Fitzgerald have joined forces to provide the best service and prices for Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge vehicles using the FitzWay business philosophy. The goal of this initiative is twofold: to bring the lowest possible prices and the highest quality service to Southern Maryland, featuring low posted prices and the FitzWay Lifetime Buyer Protection service plan.

Founded in Washington, DC in 1966, Fitzgerald Auto Mall, with dealerships in Maryland, Florida, and Pennsylvania, is among the top 50 dealer groups in the United States. Fitzgerald’s size and experience allows them to compete aggressively with other dealerships in the market. Fitzgerald will bring the lowest possible prices to Saint Mary’s County.

“We are so pleased to be a part of the Fitzgerald Auto Mall family. Our goal is to continually improve the quality of our service to our customers. Fitzgerald Auto Mall has a strong position in the automotive industry and joining with them enhances our current strengths and adds new ones. We are excited that we will be able to offer the FitzWay 150% Best Price Guarantee on any new vehicle and the FitzWay 138 point inspection on used cars,” says Jerry Dillard.

“The way Jerry does business is a perfect fit with our FitzWay business philosophy. We are delighted with this partnership, ” states Fitzgerald Auto Mall CEO and founder, Jack Fitzgerald. “The FitzWay provides consumer education on how to purchase a vehicle and encourages open, honest relationships with all our customers. Our website has become a benchmark for finding the lowest prices on both new and used cars and trucks on the Internet,” explains Fitzgerald.

Dillard brings his decades of experience in the automobile industry and the insight of a committed local businessman, neighbor, and community member. The Lexington Park community can expect lower prices and award winning customer service in sales and service, and of course, Dillard and Fitzgerald’s personal commitment to supporting neighbors. “You can continue to count on our support,” says Dillard. He adds, “I am proud to be partnering with such a well-respected business and we look forward to serving our new and existing customers.”

Visit www.FitzMall.com for more information.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Fitzgerald is in the Top 10

I congratulate all of our associates of Fitzgerald Auto Mall being named a Top 10 Winner by the Gazette of Politics and Business’ Exceptional 53 Awards, and I thank our customers.

Fitzgerald Auto Mall is a Top 10 winner of The Gazette of Politics and Business’ Exceptional 53 Awards. Time and time, Fitzgerald Auto Mall continues to prove that our impact on the environment and in our community is a positive one. The 3rd annual Awards event honored 53 of the most well rounded businesses in the State of Maryland on September 15. We are #9!

I am very proud of our Fitzgerald Auto Mall family. Every effort we make continues to improve our influence on the environment, in our communities, and in our industry. Our business philosophy of doing things the “FitzWay” entails treating everyone with honesty and respect, dealing in good faith, and creating ways to be better at what we do. Every business honored at the dinner is unique and significant in their own way. I am honored to be among such esteemed company. It is wonderful that The Gazette of Politics and Business recognizes such deserving businesses.

The 53 winners will be profiled on September 17th in a special section of The Gazette of Politics and Business. The publisher of the Gazette, Cliff Chiet says that “This year’s list of winning companies recognizes some of the most innovative, distinguished and fastest growing companies in the State of Maryland."

We always stive to set ourselves apart from other dealers through our major recycling efforts and use of Green renewable energy sources. We all share the belief in serving our communities by protecting our children through our child safety seat initiative and we find it imperative that every customer be well informed and educated when purchasing a vehicle.

Thank you again to all my associates; I accept this award in honor of all of you, and again I also thank our customers for choosing FitzMall.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

With Child Safety week approaching September 19-25, I’m reminded of how we became involved in child safety more than 35,000 car seats and ten years ago.

According to Forbes and NHTSA, an average of four children under the age of 14 are killed daily in car crashes in the US. While that’s terrible news, we can do better because we know that many injuries and fatalities are avoidable. How?

Car Seats: We have seen the misuse rate drop at our monthly seat checks, but more than 75% of car seats installed nationally are incorrect. Check your instructions for the seat and the car, and get your seat checked at our upcoming Seat Check September 16th.

Keep kids in the seats: Children move through a series of car seats, not one and done. They move from infant, rear facing, to forward facing with harnesses, to boosters, to seat belts. Kids do not “graduate” from safety, they move from child restraints, to adolescent, to young adult, to adult restraints (seat belts).

Keep kids in the back seat: In our daily driving, it is always safest in the back seat, for kids up to age 14. Air bags are designed as a “supplemental” restraint device, and seat belts are made to fit adults.

Parents and caregivers lead by example by wearing their own seatbelts every time you are in your car. Help us spread the word.

Monday, July 26, 2010

July 23, 2010

To all my customers....

Please accept my thanks for all your support.

Some months ago I asked for your help to contact the White House and members of Congress about the Auto Task Force closure of dealerships, including several of ours. Thanks to grass roots support, the US congress created a statute allowing arbitration, and we were able to maintain all of our General Motors franchises and our Florida Chrysler Jeep franchises.

At the request of Senator Rockefeller, Chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, the Office of the Special Inspector General (SIGTARP) conducted an audit of the process and fairness of dealer closings. The full report is available on our website at www.FitzMall.com.

The Audit Report from the Inspector General confirms what the Committee to Restore Dealer Rights has said from the very beginning. The Auto Task force got very bad advice and hurt rather than helped GM & Chrysler by forcing them to close dealerships. Both are down in retail sales (Chrysler much more than GM). Ford, who did not cut dealers, is way up.

The assertion that closing 25% saved 75% of dealers is absurd. The IG report calls this a “false dilemma with no factual support.” It notes that no member of the Auto Task Force has any experience in the auto industry.

The report points out in detail why dealerships should not have been closed. It notes that most of the “experts” that recommended the closings were Wall Street analysts.

Senator Rockefeller, who requested the Audit, confirms that “Congress did the right thing when it gave all dealers a right to appeal terminations before a neutral arbiter.”

It should be obvious to any reader of the audit report that had it been released in March or even April, there would have been very few dealer losses in Arbitration.

It appears that Treasury simply used its power to delay the release until the six month time period for arbitrations provided in the statute had expired.

In addition to the report being late, the American Arbitration Association (AAA) caused a log-jam of cases near the end of the six months by refusing to force the manufacturers to the table. This capitulation to the will of the manufacturers by AAA resulted in some dealers having to forfeit their right to individual arbitrations and engage in “group” arbitrations or settle with none at all.

In our case in Maryland, four dealerships were lumped into one arbitration because there were only seven days left in the time allotted by the law. This was obviously unfair but the AAA did nothing to stop it, and the resulting confusion by the arbiter was obvious in our loss.

Despite the loss of these four franchises, the level of business of other franchises at these four Auto Mall locations increased enabling us to protect the jobs of every Fitzgerald employee. We would not be able to say this if it were not for General Motor’s decision to restore all our affected GM franchises. GM’s gracious offer to reinstate our franchises without the need for arbitration bears special recognition. They read the many letters from our customers and listened.

In closing, please know that were it not for the many calls and letters from customers, even more jobs would have been lost and dealer closures could not have been turned around. We very much appreciate your phone calls, emails and letters of support. Customer efforts resulted in us being called “consumer advocates” by the arbiter in the Florida case. We are grateful to you and we will never forget your support.

Thank you,

Jack Fitzgerald

Friday, March 19, 2010

Jeep to Russia?

It troubles me that an American icon, Jeep, is being taken away from America, and moving to Russia. This is the beginning of the Fiat move, who have managed to take over Chrysler, without any cash, and take Jeep around the world.

Marchionne has made a deal with Sollers to build Jeep in Russia. What do you think?