Senate Commerce Committee Leadership Demands Answers from Chrysler and GM on Future of Local Auto Dealers

- Chairman Rockefeller Will Hold a Hearing in Early June -

May 22, 2009

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV, Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, and Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, issued the following statement after sending a letter today to the Chief Executive Officers of Chrysler LLC and General Motors Corporation. The letter highlights the Committee’s intent to hold a hearing in early June.

“Small businesses need Congress to stand up for them, especially in these trying economic times,” said Rockefeller, Chairman of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee.  “Nearly 2,000 dealerships are closing throughout America and over 100,000 jobs are at risk.  This is unacceptable – we need Chrysler and General Motors to immediately address the insufficient transition period, helping dealerships recoup full inventory costs, minimizing job loss, and providing consumers with access to quality service.  These companies cannot be allowed to take taxpayer funds for a bailout and then leave local dealers and their customers to fend for themselves with no real notice and no real help.”

“Many of the local car dealers being affected by the Chrysler bankruptcy are the largest employers in their communities and have been running successful businesses for years. They have been an integral part of their cities or towns and helped sustain their local economies. They support high school sports programs, and they donate time and money to local charitable activities.   As the U.S. car manufacturers work to remain solvent, these dealerships and their employees are taking a heavy blow – and through no fault of their own. They didn’t make the business decisions that have placed the auto industry in this position.  We must ensure that the auto dealers are treated equitably and have the opportunity to unwind their operations in a manner that will minimize hardships to employees who lose their jobs and communities that are adversely impacted,” said Sen. Hutchison.

***A copy of the letter is below***