30 Senators, 264 House Members Sponsor Bill To Reopen GM/Chrysler Dealers

30 Senators, 264 House Members Sponsor Bill To Reopen GM/Chrysler Dealers
Czar Nicholas II of Russia

Czar Nicholas II of Russia

Car Czar Consulting says: As Yogi Berra might say: It ain’t over, till it’s over.

Sen. Majority Leader Reid isn’t too anxious to bring this bill up for consideration. Neither is the White House who thought they had placed this matter behind them.

Yogi Berra

Yogi Berra

(Detroit News) July 24, 2009 Top House, Senator leaders support dealer bill

Washington –Auto dealers trying to reverse the closing of more than 3,000 General Motors Co. and Chrysler Group LLC dealers won the backing of two key members of Congress this week.

Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., chairman of the powerful Senate Finance Committee, and House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, signed on to bills in Congress to reverse the June closing of 789 Chrysler dealers and the planned closing of at least 1,300 GM (0.75 ↑0.00%) dealers.

Boehner joins House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., as a co-sponsor in a rare example of party leaders joining forces on a bill. The ranking Republican on Baucus’ committee, Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, is the author of the dealer bill.

Also joining this week were Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., and Rep. Ralph Hall, R-Texas.

That brings the total to 30 senators and 264 House members that are on record in favor of bills seeking to reverse the closings.

GM expects to shrink its dealer network by more than 2,500 dealers by the end of next year, including the voluntary closings of at least 1,250 dealers.

GM and Chrysler argued in hearings this week that the closings are essential. GM said it is giving its 1,300 closing dealers $600 million in wind-down payments, while Chrysler warns it could have to liquidate if the dealer closings, which represent 25 percent of the automaker’s dealer body, were reversed.

Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has said he isn’t in a hurry to consider the dealer bill, which the White House strongly opposes. The House approved language seeking to block the dealer closings last week as part of an amendment to a spending bill.

Auto dealer: Congress should expose ‘big lie’ of General Motors, Chrysler

(FrederickNewsPost) July 24, 2009 Jack Fitzgerald’s latest effort to keep automobile dealers in business came through testimony before a congressional panel.

Fitzgerald is the owner of several auto malls and co-chairman of the Committee to Restore Dealer Rights. He asked Congress to prevent the unnecessary elimination of 169,000 jobs by restoring automobile dealers’ rights to keep their businesses open.

The Committee to Restore Dealer Rights was formed to protect the rights of thousands of terminated auto dealerships as well as the customers and communities they serve in the wake of the Chrysler LLC and General Motors Corp. bankruptcies. The committee’s primary focus is on securing passage of the bipartisan Automobile Dealer Economic Rights Restoration Act of 2009. The bill carries more than 250 bipartisan congressional co-sponsors in the House and 26 in the Senate.

In testimony Wednesday, Fitzgerald asked lawmakers to expose General Motors’ and Chrysler’s abuse of bankruptcy law.

“We all want the auto manufacturers to succeed, but it’s wrong to condone the abuse of bankruptcy law and the spending of taxpayer dollars to needlessly eliminate 169,000 jobs across the country,” he said. “Ironically, the automakers’ plan undermines their own interests by shutting down the very part of the economic engine that enables them to sell their products and serve their customers.”

With 75 percent fewer dealers now handling 300 percent more cars, the company’s claims don’t make sense and their numbers don’t add up, Fitzgerald said.

“That’s why we’ve challenged the automakers to develop a real plan for the entire auto industry’s success that includes dealer reinstatement, because our nation’s recovery depends on it,” he said.

Fitzgerald pointed to the Casesa Shapiro Group report, “The Franchised Automobile Dealer: The Automakers Lifeline,” an industry analyst narrative to support his case to Congress:

“Far from being a burden to the manufacturer it represents, the automobile dealer supports the manufacturer’s efforts by providing a vast distribution channel that allows for the efficient flow of the manufacturer’s products at virtually no cost to the manufacturer,” Fitzgerald said.

Dealers are the ones who cover the cost of their land and buildings, employee payroll, training, equipment and even auto inventories, Fitzgerald said.

“So Congress needs to continue to expose automakers’ ‘big lie’ and prevent taxpayer dollars from being spent on a bailout designed to save and create jobs, not eliminate tens of thousands of them,” he said.

A dealer protest in June at Fitzgerald’s Frederick dealership attracted dealers from across the state and U.S. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, R-6th, who supports the dealers.

The effort is intended to re-open profitable dealerships and restore basic fairness to auto dealers, Bartlett said.

“These men and women deserve better than the capricious closings by Chrysler and specious claims that eliminating or alienating their best customers will help Chrysler or GM, our economy, consumers or taxpayers,” Bartlett said.

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