TEXT OF INTERVIEW
Kai Ryssdal: Last May, Marketplace’s Amy Scott made her way up to Newtown, Conn. to talk to Daniel Amaral, then the proud proprietor of Amaral Motors, a five-star Chrysler dealership. The morning Amy had talked to him, he had gotten one of those “Dear John” letters from Chrysler telling him he’d be losing his franchise. So we called him back to get his take on the IG report that came out this morning.
Mr. Amaral, good to have you with us.
Daniel Amaral: Thank you. Good to be with you.
Ryssdal: So when you read the news this morning about this inspector general’s report on the car dealership and its criticisms of what the government did, were you a little bit, “Yeah, told you so”?
Amaral: See, that’s what I thought. You know, you have customers that, I would say, depended on you and you’d take care of them, and they bought one car after the other. And I know we’re going to metro markets now, where they want to sell volume. But see your customer wants to bring it to the local dealer and have it serviced. I don’t think they really thought about it. So I’d say that’s just one thing.
Ryssdal: If Chrysler called you tomorrow and said, “You know what, Dan, we made a horrible, horrible mistake and we want you back in the Chrysler family.” What are you going to say?
Amaral: Well, see I might consider it, because in the meantime, I’ve looked for different franchises.
Ryssdal: You have?
Ryssdal: How’s it going?
Amaral: Well, they all want a new building. So to me, I see nothing wrong with this building. OK, if we renovated it, what not. OK, that could be fine, but to come up with a brand new building, it wouldn’t be paid for in my lifetime.
Ryssdal: So how’s business been? How have you been staying afloat?
Amaral: You know, we’ve kept going. We’re doing all kinds of repair work on all different makes and models. We’re selling used cars. Went from a new car license to a used car license. See the other side besides the cars, the banking industry isn’t as cooperative as they could be.
Ryssdal: So your customers can’t get the loans to buy your cars, right?
Amaral: If you’ve got expensive cars. So what I’ve tried to do is go to $3,000 to $10,000. Good car, dependable and it fits, because usually the people can afford that.
Ryssdal: And you don’t need a loan.
Amaral: And you don’t need a loan. I’m getting by, but of course, now I’m working harder and harder to keep these things going.
Ryssdal: Daniel Amaral used to be a Chrysler dealer in Newtown, Conn. Now he sells used cars. Mr. Amaral, thanks so much for your time.
Amaral: OK, yep, bye.