American Suzuki ordered to pay $18.5 million to dealer in sticky negative publicity case

American Suzuki Motor Corp. is in a very sticky situation. A Missouri jury has ordered the company to pay one of its dealers in Kansas City about $18.5 million after finding the automaker liable for negative publicity that damaged the dealer’s business.

The circuit court jury in Jackson County, Mo., has ordered American Suzuki to pay Jeremy Franklin, president of Jeremy Franklin Suzuki, a total of $3.5 million and punitive damages of $15 million.

How did this happen? Apparently, Jeremy Franklin’s brother, Chad Franklin, owns a separate Suzuki dealer that promised its customers no payment for life when they purchased a new Suzuki. Obviously that scheme flopped and a range of lawsuits and negative publicity started to hurt Jeremy Franklin’s dealer, who did not participate in the ‘no payment for life’ deal.

“We see this verdict as a vindication of our commitment to continue to serve our customers and our persistent efforts to grow our business despite all of the confusion,” Jeremy Franklin said in a statement. “We look forward to moving on and rebuilding trust in the Suzuki brand name in Kansas City.”

Jeff Holland, a spokesman for American Suzuki, said that the automaker is ‘disappointed’ by the verdict and will appeal.

– By: Omar Rana

Source: Automotive News