Sen. Hutchison’s Statement on Texas Auto Dealership Closures

Sen. Hutchison: “Today is a sad day for 50 Texas small businesses and the communities they’ve served.”

June 9, 2009

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), Texas senior Senator and Ranking Member of the Senate Commerce Committee, released the following statement regarding the closure of 50 automotive dealerships in Texas :

“Today is a sad day for 50 Texas small businesses and the communities they’ve served.  Nationwide, Chrysler is unnecessarily forcing the closure of hundreds of auto dealerships who have acted in good faith to help get Chrysler and the American auto industry through the difficult straits in which they find themselves. In small and large towns across Texas and the country, these dealerships have employed thousands, helped Americans buy their first car, and have been stewards of their community through sponsorships and community involvement. Working with the dealers, we’ve been able to bring attention to their predicament and while it is not a perfect solution, our fight has given the affected dealers some certainty and more options than simply the bankruptcy they were looking at three weeks ago. I will continue to work for the best possible solution for Texas ’ dealers and families.”

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May 13, 2009
Chrysler sent letter to dealers informing them of their termination.

May 21, 2009
Senator Hutchison offered amendment to emergency Supplemental Appropriations Bill that stated, “No funds shall be expended from the Treasury to an auto manufacturer which has notified a dealership that it will be terminated without providing at least 60 days for that dealership to wind down its operations and sell its inventory.”

Senator Hutchison’s amendment acquired thirty-nine bipartisan co-sponsors.

At the close of debate, Senator Hutchison refused to yield back time, effectively holding up final vote of the Supplemental Appropriations Bill until Chrysler President and CEO William Press assured her that Chrysler was taking the appropriate measures to help automotive dealers across the country.

Ultimately, Mr. Press promised in this letter to work with rejected dealers to move inventory.

Senator Hutchison then announced on the U.S. Senate floor that the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation intended to hold a hearing on GM and Chrysler’s termination of franchise agreements nationwide.

May 22, 2009
Senators Rockefeller and Hutchison, Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation respectively, sent Chrysler CEO Robert Nardelli and GM CEO Fritz Henderson a letter informing them of their intent to hold a hearing focusing on their companies’ termination of franchise agreements and its impact on consumers and automotive dealers.

June 3, 2009
Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation held hearing on GM and Chrysler down sizing.

Senator Hutchison questioned Mr. Press about dealership closures at hearing.

Statement from Senator Hutchison on GM and Chrysler dealership closures