• May 26th 2009 at 8:29AM
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The situations with GM and Chrysler are beginning to look like what happens after a fumble in an NFL game: a dozen men pile on top of each other all trying to get the ball. The difference in the case of GM and Chrysler is there are far more than two teams struggling for the prize. The latest to hop on and shove a hand in is the Senate Commerce Committee, which wants the CEOs to testify "early next month" regarding the planned dealership closings.

Chrysler's sent 789 dealers eviction notices, GM is out to dispatch 1,124 dealers in the US and about 245 in Canada. The GM dealers won't have their franchises renewed as of October 2010, and are said to be staying in operation until they sell the last of their inventory. Chrysler dealers are expected to board up the windows by June 9, although Jim Press recently gave assurances that there will still be help given to those dealers after that date. The Commerce Committee isn't moved by either proposal, citing what it calls "the short and insufficient transition period given to dealerships for franchise terminations."

The hearings would be chaired by Senators John Rockefeller and Kay Bailey Hutchison, and will address what happens to dealer inventory and jobs and consumer needs like warranties and servicing. Hutchison was working on legislation to force automakers to give dealers 60 days notice before closing their franchises (which GM has done) or else go without government help. That legislation was put on hold after Press' letter, but now Nardelli and Henderson will need to go explain things to the principal in person.

For GM it's just one more thing to lump into the impending bankruptcy in-box. For Chrysler, every additional delay in sorting out its business situation only gives Fiat more of those pre-wedding jitters.

[Source: Automotive News - Sub. Req.]

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