David, I thought that Ron was a Holden dealer? Plus JRA products as well as used?
Hoddo saw his problems as two-fold - firstly JRA had just advised all their dealers that they were rationalising the network and that Jaguar dealers were to be culled from 17 down to 5, but that the remaining 5 had to commit to a multi-million$ upgrade of facilities, or else. Then, to compound the issue, our Treasurer Paul Keating, announced the luxury tax on cars above a price threshold, and Hoddo saw that as the inevitable final nail in the financial future of his business.
He was a larger than life character who ran every inch of the way, and hang the consequences, and I suspect that he may have been a bit bi-polar, with huge highs and lows.
His business was huge and complex, but also ran very close to the wind, relying to a large, and many thought precarious extent, on cash-flow, so that the above two issues were clearly going to have a severe impact.
He was vibrant character who was tough, straight, and good to work for and with, believing that you should have fun in everything that you do, but also to do it to the best level.
Was there ever any dark side to his demise? As one who who did business with him, sat on committees with him, and drove for him - I certainly don't believe so.
Though the luxury tax was the death of quite a few upmarket franchises nationally.