Fiat Chrysler goes on the warpath with oddly forthright press release

The federal racketeering lawsuit filed against the automaker by two dealerships ruffled more than a few feathers.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles
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It was a busy week for Fiat Chrysler, shown here introducing the 2017 Pacifica at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Now it's got a lawsuit to deal with.

© TANNEN MAURY/epa/Corbis

News broke Thursday that two dealerships filed a federal racketeering lawsuit against Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), alleging that the automaker was offering cash to dealers that would fudge sales numbers. It appears that FCA doesn't take too kindly to the speed at which the media picks up on things, especially when the company is being painted in an awfully negative light.

Last night, the London-based automaker sent out a press release -- a very angry one.

"This lawsuit is nothing more than the product of two disgruntled dealers who have failed to perform their obligations under the dealer agreements they signed with FCA US," the release reads. "[The dealers in question] have consistently failed to perform since at least 2012, and have also used the threats of litigation over the last several months in a wrongful attempt to compel FCA US to reserve special treatment for them."

That's a perfectly fine position to take. After all, a company should do everything it can to vigorously defend itself against some very heinous allegations, and if the dealerships truly are filing frivolous lawsuits, FCA will walk away from this unscathed and those dealers will have plenty to answer for.

Coverage of the lawsuit sent Chrysler's stock dropping several points by the end of the day Thursday. After the markets closed, that press release appeared, and Chrysler decided to call out the media in it, as well: "FCA finds it unfortunate and disappointing that reputable media would be willing to be used in questionable litigation practices without a full understanding of the facts."

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