HONDA DEALERS FIGHT AD CHANGE

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American Honda Motor Co. faces still more problems associated with its regional marketing program, just as its national agency officially takes over responsibilities for all dealer ad groups.

In addition to federal allegations of misdirected marketing funds by former Honda executives (AA, March 21), several regional dealer associations are fighting Honda's consolidation of the dealers' 81 regional accounts on April 1 at Rubin Postaer & Associates' newly created Alpha Group, Santa Monica, Calif.

Associations in Los Angeles and San Diego joined together late last year to challenge the move in a petition to the state's New Motor Vehicle Board in Sacramento. The dealers failed to reach agreement with Honda officials in arbitration settlement meetings in January and March.

A hearing for injunctive relief will be held April 18, but it will be followed by a third settlement conference that day. If that fails, a trial is scheduled for May 24.

Meanwhile, Honda faces a second regional marketing challenge from the Ohio Automobile Dealers Association and 18 Honda dealers that are proceeding with their suit filed in January in the U.S. District Court in Columbus.

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