Defunct Shop Files Suit Against Chrysler Dealer Program

SAN FRANCISCO – The owners of a now-defunct Foster City, Calif., agency that handled retail advertising for some 85 Chrysler-Plymouth dealers here has filed a class-action suit against Chrysler and C-P agency of record Bozell. The complaint is that a dealer advertising program Chrysler initiated resulted in Chrysler’s national agencies getting all dealer association ad accounts in violation of anti-trust laws.
James and Margaret Fieler, who operated now-defunct Aggressive Innovative Marketing (A.I.M.), filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in San Francisco. And, according to letters from several state Attorneys General, they have succeeded in getting some states, including New Mexico, Missouri, Washington, Nevada, Hawaii and Louisiana to look into Chrysler’s practices for possible anti-trust violations.
Chrysler began the program in 1991, called Chrysler Marketing Adjustment, which calls for a $50 charge per car added to the invoice, plus 1% of the suggested retail price of the car, for purposes of dealer association advertising. But the money is only available if the associations use Chrysler’s agencies of record: Bozell for C-P, BBDO for Dodge and CME-KHBB for Jeep-Eagle.
Chrysler officials had no comment. Bozell Worldwide chairman David Bell said he had no comment and referred calls to Chrysler.
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)