Special Coverage

NADA Convention & Exposition

Grousing About Girsky

Analyst Steve Girsky’s call for a 50% reduction in the size of America’s dealer network raises a lot of eyebrows at the highest levels.

“That would be wrong,” says Cisco Codina, Ford group vice-president-North America marketing.

Such a move would leave vast areas of the country under-serviced, he warns.

Plain-talking Chrysler chief Tom LaSorda is characteristically blunt.

“I don’t know what Steve was drinking before he said that,” LaSorda jokes during a roundtable discussion with journalists. But he agrees a reduction is warranted.

“The dealer count is too high; the throughput is too low,” he says.

LaSorda offers no hint of how many of Chrysler’s 3,766 dealerships will be cut, but says, the dealer body will be involved in the process.

“We’ll do it in a collaborative way.”

Big Cities Take Back Seat to Small Towns

Growing up in a small town “has its advantages,” Richard Colliver, American Honda executive vice-president-automobile sales, says in Saturday’s keynote address.

Colliver grew up in Coffeyville, KS.

How small is Coffeyville?

“At Coffeyville High School, they taught driver education and sex education in the same car,” Colliver jokes.

Ferrari Flees Fords

Ford’s domination at Le Mans during the 1960s still stings some Ferrari owners, Chairman Bill Ford suggests.

The great-grandson of company founder Henry Ford recounts for journalists a recent road trip from Palm Springs to Las Vegas behind the wheel of his Ford GT, the car inspired by the racers that captured Le Mans from 1966-1969. A friend, who also drove a GT, joined him on the drive.

When both cars arrived at their destination, a swank Las Vegas hotel, Bill Ford noticed a Ferrari parked nearby. A short time later, he went outside and saw the Ferrari had been moved.

“So I asked the valet, ‘Where did the Ferrari go?’” Bill Ford recalls. “He said he felt intimidated.’”