Collateral benefit

I have no particular urge to see the final bloody dismemberment of what used to be Chrysler Corporation, but if it happens, I take comfort in knowing that this dealership goes with it:

I purchased a new 2009 Chrysler 300 SRT8 a few weeks ago from dealer stock. The rear license plate was on, but the front wasn’t. The plate bracket was in the trunk, but I was told that nobody was available to install the front plate. I was told not to worry because I wouldn’t get pulled over and it looks better without the plate. If I wanted, I could bring the car back to get the plate installed.

When I got home, I looked at the bracket to see whether I could install it and found that Chrysler changed the grille on the 2009 300 SRT8. The directions show the bracket is made to attach to the old grille. The parts department said the bracket is the correct one for my vehicle.

I took the car back to dealer, and they agreed it couldn’t be installed, but there was nothing they could do. They said I should display the license plate on my dashboard. How can Chrysler produce a car that doesn’t and can’t conform to the state law, which requires a front plate?

In 1988, I moved to southern California, where front plates are mandated; my car, a ’75 Toyota, having been originally sold in a state that didn’t have such things, didn’t have a bracket. I took my brand-new Golden State plates to a Toyota store in Torrance, which said that they didn’t have the part in stock right this minute, but not to worry.

And while I waited, the service manager dispatched a runner to Toyota national HQ, just up the road a piece, who returned 15 minutes later with the appropriate bracket, which they then installed. Elapsed time: maybe half an hour, tops.

This is, of course, a single isolated incident. But here’s a dealership that was willing to work with a guy with a 13-year-old beater — and halfway across the country, a dealership that blew off a guy who’d just bought a $40,000 car. What do you bet that this Chrysler store was boasting the fabled Five Stars?

(Seen here.)


  1. Jeffro »

    4 January 2009 · 8:19 pm

    Dayum! Yeah, I’d be highly torqued, too.

  2. McGehee »

    4 January 2009 · 10:35 pm

    I’ve only driven two vehicles that didn’t have a front plate mount, both originally purchased in the South (yet neither originally purchased here in Georgia, oddly enough). I do however have a thing on the front of my truck now, a fold-down step for the convenience of amateur mechanics, that will hold a plate if ever I move to a state where one is mandated. My mother-in-law gave it to me as a Christmas present a few years back and I discovered the joys of drilling through steel in order to mount it.

    That skill and those drill bits made it possible for me later to mount my aftermarket not-quite-a-match driver’s seat.

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