The details are currently rather sketchy – and despite calls we’re getting little information from the manufacturer.
What we’ve learned from a number of sources is that some independent dealers in the Seat network appear to have had ‘the rug pulled from under them’.
One dealer has already called us to say how disgusted he was at being given the news in what he claims was a ‘shocking’ manner.
Instead of giving us a comment in a timely manner, one call from Seat seemed more focused on a witch hunt intent on making us reveal our sources rather than hand over any hard facts as to why the decisions had been made.
The number one rule of journalism is you never reveal your sources – it’s a sure fire way to lose any tip offs you ever may receive in the future – so obviously we didn’t reveal who told us.
When we did hear from the Seat press office they denied the cull was even taking place. That’s despite the fact we’ve heard the same news from a number of different dealers, in a number of different locations across the UK.
We finally received this short comment: ‘These allegations are totally unfounded. We have a two-year notice termination policy on both sides. No way would we ask them to make a decision in 48 hours.’
Somehow we don’t think the dealers we’ve spoken to – who we actually know pretty well – have anything to gain by lying to us. Why would they speak with such passion and be clearly upset on the phone to us? These are good contacts we’ve known for a long time.
These dealers are the ones facing closing their businesses thanks to what they say is an ultimatum handed down to them with just 48 hours notice.
We know sometimes business relationships don’t work out. Sometimes dealers don’t perform and sometimes the needs of a manufacturer change and with it their demand on their network.
We don’t have an issue with dealers and manufacturers parting company. What we do have an issue with, though, is dealers – some of whom are likely to have been business partners with the car maker for years – being given just a few days notice of termination.
That’s simply not right, or fair. And in business – even one as cut throat as the car industry – they’re two principles we think should still be held in high regard.