Chrysler and GM defend their dealer cuts to the Senate Commerce Committee

Today General Motors CEO Fritz Henderson and Chrysler president Jim Press defended their decision to cut a total of almost 3,000 dealers. The two executives submitted their prepared remarks to the Senate Commerce Committee ahead of a hearing scheduled for this afternoon.

The “decision about which of the company’s 3,181 dealers would be brought forward to the new company was gut wrenching, but it was an absolutely necessary part of our effort to assure the long-term viability of the new Chrysler Group,” Chrysler’s Jim Press said.

Henderson said that GM could reduce 2,300 to 2,600 dealers leaving it with 3,500 to 3,800 dealers by the end of 2009.

“This is our last chance to get it right — to fix permanently those parts of the business that have diverted us from consistently building winning cars and trucks and the consumer experience to match. Because of today’s global, economic crisis we are out of time and money,” Henderson said in his testimony.

Nonetheless, Senators are looking more from GM and Chrysler.

“Nearly 2,000 dealerships are closing throughout America and over 100,000 jobs are at risk,” Rockefeller said. “We have to do better. We can save some of these jobs and help these communities,” said Senator Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee.

Rockefeller said that the two automakers “should not 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. That is just plain wrong.”

What are your thoughts?

– By: Omar Rana

Source: Detroit News