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Chrysler giving five-star dealers unfair advantage on web?

If you've whittled your new car purchase down to a new Chrysler product, you may find yourself using the company's website to learn more about its offerings. When you've picked the car that's right for you, you might then take advantage of the Chrysler website's "Find a dealer near you" link to help, well, find a dealer near you. But the results won't necessarily show you the closest dealer to you, or even the one most likely to have the model you're interested in. What you're going to get is a link to the website of the closest Five Star dealership instead. Apparently results on Chrysler's internal dealer ranking system has its rewards. At least that's what Automotive News found in this latest report.

What they found is that although you will get all of the nearby dealers listed, you'll only get a direct link to the closest Five-Star dealership time after time. For the others you'll get a simple splash page on Chrysler's server that simple contact info and hours of operation. The Five-Star dealers don't seem to mind, but as you might imagine, others aren't too happy. Sub-Five-Star dealers are complaining that they aren't getting a chance to respond to inquiries as quickly and that customers can't use the same tools available to the top dealers. They say it's ultimately the customers who are suffering, and they're right. Chrysler's Five-Star dealers say that the others have had nine years to get themselves into compliance and earn that Five-Star rating.

This internal squabble is really just getting in the way of interested consumers buying a Chrysler product. Yes, all dealers need to improve their level of service, but that's a tall order for a dealership with one hand tied behind its back.

[Source: Automotive News, sub. req.]

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