Dude, where’s my car?

European Stars and Stripes, Darmstadt, Germany

Dunald Kehren did a double take when he saw the convertible on display at the military shopping center in Frankfurt, Germany; the car looked way too familar.

He had a sinking feeling that it was more than just a coincidence that the 1991 Dodge Shadow was exactly like the one he had bought and paid for a month earlier but never received.

Kehren was right. It was his car, the one he had paid nearly $14,000 to buy but had not received, because the com­pany could not find it.

Kehren, a civilian employee in Wies­baden, Germany, had ordered the Shadow on May 13 from the Military Car Sales’ Chrysler agent at the Rhein­Main AB. The car was already in Eu­rope, he was told, and would he deliv­ered to him in two weeks.
But it wasn’t, and no one he talked to seemed to know where it was. Kehren said.

When Kehren saw the Shadow at the Frankfurt exchange two weeks later and found his name on documents in the glove compartment, he was irate.

“It was really a charade,” Kehren said. “You should have seenthe look on the face of the Frankfurt salesman when I showed him the bill of sale. I can’t for the life of me understand how a situation of this nature could happen.”

Kehren was with his wife when he happened upon the car.

“My wife said right off the top of her head that was her car,” Kehren said. “I told my wife … the company would not use someone’s personal property for their own self-gain.”

According to Jeff Gardner, general manager of Military Car Sales, a truck­ing firm was supposed to deliver Keh­ren’s car to Rhein-Main but dropped it off at the Frankfurt exchange by mis­take. The agents in Frankfurt were ex­pecting a new display car and assumed the Shaduw was that vehicle. Gardner said.

“They don’t normally background a vehicle to make sure hasn’t already been sold,” Gardner said.

The car had been on displayfor 10 days when Kehren found it. The interior was dirty, there was rust on the trim and there were holes in the cover for the convertible top, Kehren said.

The car was taken to a dealership in Frankfurt for cleaning and repairs, Kehren said. The car was delivered to Rhein-Main a week later, and Kehren picked it up.

“I have purchased two Chryslers be­fore through the new-car system and had no problems,” Kehren said. “My conclusion is that there is a problem with some agents in the field. They don’t communicate or don’t care, or both.”

Kehren asked to be reimbursed $2,000 for a rental car he used while waiting for the car and for the “trou­ble” the company caused him. Military Car Sales refunded the $250 Kehren paid to have the car delivered to Rhein­Main and paid him $540 for the rental car. Gardner said.