The Chinese dealers vs. foreign manufacturers story won't quit. It began with a story on the struggles faced by FAW-Toyota joint venture dealers, with supposedly 95 percent of the showrooms losing money, and 10 percent of them doing so poorly that they'd have to exit the business. The problem is mandated sales targets, most set when the country's economy was racing. Now that things have slowed, China's dealers are swimming in unsold cars and the costs to keep them. In the case of FAW-Toyota, dealers asked Toyota to hand over 2.2 billion yuan ($355 million) to help address the situation.

That was followed by a report noting the issues that Honda, BMW, and Nissan dealers are having with the same issue, revealing that the Chinese Automobile Dealers Association (CADA) had taken the highly unusual step of writing to the Chinese government to complain.

Now Reuters reports that CADA is not only pressing its case even harder, it's being open about it: it announced that BMW agreed to pay dealers 5.1 billion yuan ($820 million) to alleviate poor profits last year. Unnamed sources said Audi has thrown 2 billion yuan into the kitty for subsidies, and Daimler has contributed "about 1 billion yuan" to its dealers. The battle isn't just about 2014, but how business will be run in 2015 as well: Chinese Porsche dealers have requested the automaker lower its 2015 target of 64,000 cars, which would be a 40-percent increase on its 2014 sales of 46,931 vehicles.

One analyst called it "shocking" that the CADA has taken its fight public, while CADA comments continue to imply that dealers have been railroaded to the cliff's edge without recourse. "Due to the difference in status," it's deputy secretary said, "individual dealers are not willing to, or don't dare to, talk frankly with the carmakers...." Both parties need one another, so they'll figure out a way to make it work – but that could mean acknowledging the Chinese market is behaving more like a mature one, not an emerging one.

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