VPA Announcement

Nsane1

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Today, Viper Parts of America reached an agreement with a partnership of established Viper Parts vendors to take over all VPA operations.

The VCA and a group comprised of PartsRack and Don Scharf Auto reached an historic agreement to take over all the assets that comprise the VPA. Operations at the VPA will therefore cease on May 11, 2015 (existing phones and email will forward to the new owners).

As many of you know, PartsRack’s JonB is one of the original 14-founding regional officers of the VCA. He has probably answered more forum questions of Viper owners and prospective owners than any other single person, and has been an incredible asset to the Viper Nation.

PartsRack’s partner Don Scharf Automotive has dismantled more Vipers than anyone, and maintains the largest inventory of used Viper parts in existence. The partnership of PartsRack and Scharf will ensure Viper owners a long-time supply of used and surplus Viper parts at reasonable prices.

Q and A:
What are the deal terms?
This is not a windfall for the VCA. Many of the most sought after parts have been sold off, and the VPA reached a tipping point where it received more revenues from new MOPAR parts rather than the original inventory of parts received from Conner Avenue. As such, of the ~500 types of parts in inventory, only ~100 have real value today. As with many business contracts, the financial terms remain undisclosed per stipulations in the sale agreement. The monetary value received by the VPA for its assets are in the high 5-digit range. We believe the terms are agreeable to all parties involved, and no party will unduly profit from this transaction. Additionally, the VCA will maintain its sales of apparel and Viper logo items, as well as back-issues of Viper Magazine.

Why did you reach this decision?

At the time the VPA was formed. Chrysler was in bankruptcy, and the Viper was dead. The reality is now different, Chrysler is wildly successful, and the Viper’s future is safe, thanks largely to Ralph Gilles. The original goals of the VPA have either been met, or are no longer needed. Additionally, VPA is a distraction: a parts business is not a core competency for a car club, and it created needless friction between the VCA and the sponsor-vendors in the community. Frankly, it just doesn’t make strategic business sense to continue it as is. The VPA was created by previous VCA BODs and Officers. The current *** and officers are focused on returning the VCA to its roots, as the best sports car club in the World, we will leave the parts business to the experts.

We were originally told that the VPA would protect us from gouging on hard to find parts?
Agreed, that was an original goal for the VPA. As such, the new owners have agreed to not charge higher than MSRP (with some inflation adjustments if necessary) for any part received as part of this transaction.

What about any Open Refunds, Returns, and VPA Gift Certificates?

These rare transactions (if any) will be handled on a case-by-case basis by the VCA Administration.

What about the tooling?

The tooling is another “inherited” item from past leaders. We had Chrysler personnel, former Chrysler personnel, parts manufacturers, and other experts in steel/mold injection fields examine the tooling. They all agreed 100% that the inherited tooling is scrap. Much of the tooling was past its lifespan, many items were damaged. Some still had so much resin in them, they are not even eligible to be scrapped, much less used as tooling. We asked many of the largest Viper collectors in the world if they wanted to take some of the tooling, for posterity, at zero cost. Every offer was rejected. Every single person that we thought would have any interest in the tooling has told us this stuff is only usable as scrap.

Why now?
When the current board took over, we made a LOT of changes, re-established connections with PartsRack, changed management companies, changed management at VPA, lowered operational expenses across the board, took a “no payment to any officer or board member policy (including travel or event stipends),” and changed the moderation stance on the website forums. We invite tough questions that were previously not allowed (and even re-instated many persons that were questionably moderated/banned). But when it came to VPA, we promised we would give our predecessors the benefit of the doubt and give it one year to see if it made sense. So at the one year anniversary of the re-vitalized VCA, we began looking into alternatives.

This sounds like a sweetheart deal for the Partnership.
No. Some of the parts have a limited shelf life (the soft panels bend over time), some parts are not worth the weight to transport them (literally millions of bolts), some parts, the consortium already have 100s of they cannot sell in a decade, if ever. They must package, transport, store, insure, process, ALL of this, the good stuff and the bad stuff. Additionally, we have price protection for all the items, and VCA members will receive a discount on parts.

What will the proceeds be used for?
Attorney’s fees, shut-down costs, a modest severance for Keith Laxson, and repayments of all loans to the VCA (which will be used for regional stipends).

Anything else?
Along with a revitalized VCA, we feel this is a way to restore the way the VCA interacts with the vendor community at large. For several years we have competed with dealers and vendors. Now, we are once again a partnership. We appreciate all that PartsRack and Don Scharf have done for the Viper Community in the past, and appreciate their continued support of the VCA and the Viper Nation.
 
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Nsane1

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On a personal note, I fully realize this will cause some commotion. Please, let's be respectful of those that made certain decisions and actions in the past that are no longer associated with the club. We realize the VPA was one of the bigger issues that affected our relationship with the community, and with vendors. We are not naive enough to think that this will automatically repair all that damage, but feel over time, this will (along with our other actions) mend some fences...

We are certainly open to more questions, and/or criticism about this decision (as long as it's respectful), but we truly feel this was the best decision for the future of the VCA, and for the Viper community at large.
 

Bobpantax

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Good explanation. Makes sense to me. Congratulations on the transaction. Congratulations to Jon and Don.
 

ViperJeff

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Well, that surely answers my question from a few days ago, thank you Greg
 
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Paul Hawker

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I believe one of the greatest benefits of this transaction will be that these parts will continue to be available to the entire Viper Community.

Parts Rack has always been a go-to place for Viper Parts, and as such, these parts will continue to be available on an as needed basis for Viper Owners.

Wish to thank Jon B and parts rack, for stepping up to the plate, and writing the big check. Hope everyone will strongly consider checking with him for Viper Parts needs, and help him recover his significant investment.
 

Fatboy 18

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WOW! :omg:

On a personal note, one of the things I liked about VPA was the great pictorial website, it made ordering clear and simple.

Best wishes to all for the future.
 

NI-KA

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Yep Fatboy 18 the website was a huge asset. Less was left to the imagination.
I think the nature of the website aided in communication.
 
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Nsane1

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Great points, while Jon is actually on his way to Watkins Glen, he does make it here often and will eventually see these posts.

They are actually working with Don this week to transition the website, so they may indeed keep use of it. Especially if you guys like it...
 

Schulmann

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This is a good thing selling VPA and dropping the tooling.
The VPA web site was good to search for rare Viper parts.
I hope they will keep it and maintain the website up to date with the inventory left.
 

Bonkers

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Im good with this. While i may no longerdeal with JonB i certainly have a heathlybusiness relationship with Scharf. I dont see a downside to letting it go - a painsince day one...
 

Timnineside

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This is great news and I also agree with the others. The site was spot on and the part numbers really helped with SEO. More often then not a quick google search of a part or part number would lead to the VPA site.

Couldn't think of anyone better to acquire the assets. Now do something about the dude mucking up the VCA FB page....

-Tim
 
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Nsane1

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LOL, dude mucking up the FB page? Would that be Fredi? He is VERY passionate about FB, so I'm hesitant to say anything... :)

The 100 shares of stock are in VPA. VPA's assets are effectively now simply cash. So the VCA owns 100 shares of stock in an asset that is all cash. The cash will be dispensed to attorneys for the sale, for the modest severance, and to pay back the VCA for loans. The VPA will then be simply closed and the stock effectively disappears/is worthless, as the underlying corp has no more assets.

I guess they might have sentimental value to put on someone's wall, but in a few weeks, they will have no value. if the question is "will you start another business like this, since we have the corp structure" the answer is "**** no." We didn't put this in the announcement but one term of the deal is that the VCA will not get into the parts business again, and we enthusiastically think a non-profit car club should not be selling parts, or giving any kind of monies to officers.

The VCA should be run like any other charity/non-profit, where officers/directors put money IN to the entity, because they love the mission of the organization. A car club should not be a personal parts, trips, boondoggles, and cash piggy bank for those in control.

9, shooter, you have PM's
 

sun diego

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It might be worth one last call to Year One to see if they will pay scrap prices for the tooling. They are the company that does the reproduction bodies for old Camaros and Mustangs.https://www.yearone.com/
 

kickinasp

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Or try calling Prefix and see if they are interested in any of the tooling.
 
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Nsane1

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We spoke to both year1 (they actually went out there I believe) and Prefix was involved in all this. Both weren't even close to interested in the tooling. Specifically to year1, they said after market parts aren't even made like that anymore...

We did get close with Prefix on the inventory, but we were so far along with JonB, and while we LOVE prefix, what we had made more sense at PR than Prefix at the end of the day (and we didn't have a lot of panels left). They were a VERY close second though, at the end of the day we just had to make a decision.

We even offered to GIVE the tooling to some collectors as table tops (I am NOT kidding) and they weren't interested in a 4 ton conversation piece that had no value...
 

GRANGER73

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Congratulations to the VCA board. Well done. A special well done to Greg.
 
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Nsane1

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Thanks for the comment Granger, however it was a large team effort. There is a lot of history there, and it was not an easy decision to make, so it's way bigger than me, and the entire board spent a ton of time on this.

Thanks really go to JonB for being so passionate about the deal. His passion for Viper (and parts) is not a smokescreen, it's real, and besides the people that make the Viper, there aren't really that many with THAT much passion for this, so it's in really good hands. When he get's done with Watkins Glen, please thank HIM for all he does for the viper community.
 

Camfab

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Why wouldn't this info (the sale of VPA) have been disclosed to the Viper community at large? Seems no matter what happens the good ole boy network always gets the deal. For those of you that believe that small things such as bolts by the thousands are a burden to the new buyers, you have never restored a vehicle before. NOS bolts and other small items can fetch huge coin down the road when people begin restoring these cars. All I can say is that competition is a good thing and it just went away.....
 

TexasTorred

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Nice job Greg! I guess I feel kind of like the guy asking the CEO "how's the stock and are we getting a bonus?" LOL. That said, I haven't used JonB (yet). We will be keeping our discount on parts via JonB / Scharf as VCA members, correct??

I have used Don Scharf and Father/son are great to work with. Thanks for publishing the detailed communication and background on VPA too! Nice job!

P.S. I now can either go new (OEM) with JonB OR via Scharf ---when it comes 'my turn' on the door regulator of my Gen III :omg::omg: C'mon Dodge, do the right thing and issue that recall....Sorry Greg, I digressed :) :) :)
 

ViperJeff

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Why wouldn't this info (the sale of VPA) have been disclosed to the Viper community at large? Seems no matter what happens the good ole boy network always gets the deal. For those of you that believe that small things such as bolts by the thousands are a burden to the new buyers, you have never restored a vehicle before. NOS bolts and other small items can fetch huge coin down the road when people begin restoring these cars. All I can say is that competition is a good thing and it just went away.....


I'm going to guess here and say....

With all the different opinions (just counting Members), it could have lengthen this process out for years
 
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Nsane1

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Cam-

Is your question on why we didn't include the membership on the decision process? That's a fair question. Jeff hit #1:

1) expediency, at some point someone has to make a call, and while it took us months to negotiate, it would have taken MUCH longer, and a year carrying something we didn't need at all was enough

2) confidentiality, I don't have to tell you we are in a hostile environment, if news were to have "leaked" prematurely to someone (and there are many) who might want to do the VCA harm, they would easily could have thrown a wrench in the works.

3) Carrying costs: VPA had nearly 15k of fixed overhead costs per month. You're right, some day, in many many moons, this bolt may be the last one on earth. Was it worth $180k a year to preserve that bolt? VPA was profitable, but only barely. It was a race to the bottom if you saw the curve, we were selling MOPAR parts, competing with every other MOPAR dealership, and there would be a point, very soon in fact, where the VPA would not cover its overhead, as we're just a MOPAR dealership with more inventory than anyone else (that they do not have the overhead for, cause they don't have all this warehouse space). So everyone else could beat us on price, as they don't have huge fixed costs to cover. So what does that mean? Your hard earned membership dues would go towards this fixed overhead cost to preserve that bolt to cover the shortfall. We weren't going to get into the tuning, aftermarket, etc etc to make this REAL money, as this whole thing is arguably a business a car club has no business being in in the first place. Doing things to enhance profitability would just make the vendor tension worse.

We thought long and hard about doing a formal sealed bid to all comers, announcing it, and doing it like you would normally see happen. As it sat, we went to 4 different entities for the inventory alone to get the best deal and fit (and someone who would agree NOT to gouge on the parts). If it were not for the hostile environment, frankly, that's the way we would have gone, but then we would have lost control of the process, and the message.

If the real question is: "Man I wish I got that inventory" take my word for it, you don't want a complete Viper frame and a bunch of doors and 3 million bolts. If it were a few of the last hoods, and a bunch of engines, or fuel pumps or awesome stuff, then I could see the desire, but that all got sold out in Year 1.

Great question though, and apologies if it's not an answer you like, keep em coming.
 

FrankBarba

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So are you saying that our money is not green enough ? I love JonB but i remember another time this happened also.
So lets say i have investors that have access to gobs of cash. Don't you think this should have been put out there to others
that might have wanted to go into the parts business and maybe even do some tooling. After all you went to Year 1 & Prefix
why because of $$$$...According to someone in the VCA the statement that Parts Rack wrote a Big Check and thanked him. I know that no one is ever completely happy
but if your looking at other opportunities it would have been great to know about this. Now there is not competition. You just flipped flopped
on your statement about viper friendly parts pricing. How do you thinks Parts Rack & Paul are going to pay for this. We will be Charged, prices
will go up.....Grab you parts now they will never be cheaper.....

After all those years of fighting, over money, agreements, Chrysler, us a regular joes are left in the cold, a great club was F'd up (still in tact but never the same), another
club started, mud started flying and really nothing has changed. The same people are involved just on different sides of the table....
 
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