Shea-Porter Urges President to Keep Profitable Dealerships Open

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter called on President Obama to urge automobile manufacturers GM and Chrysler to postpone closing profitable dealerships until a thorough review is conducted as to why these dealerships are scheduled to be closed. In a letter to President Obama, Congresswoman Shea-Porter, along with several of her House colleagues, noted that the proposed closings put more than 100,000 jobs at risk.


“It is unacceptable that profitable dealerships are being asked to close their doors because of the mistakes and mismanagement of corporate CEOs in Detroit,” said Congresswoman Shea-Porter. “With more than 100,000 jobs at risk, I urge GM and Chrysler to suspend these closings until further review.”


The full text of the letter is below. The letter is scheduled to be sent to the President today.


The Honorable Barack Obama

President of the United States

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue

Washington, D.C. 20500


Dear President Obama:


We are writing to express our concerns about General Motors’ and Chrysler’s decision to close profitable automobile dealerships across the country, and urge you to ask GM and Chrysler to delay final action on proposed closures pending further review of the decision to consolidate dealerships and the process by which Chrysler and GM selected the dealerships to close.


Closing these dealerships will put over 100,000 jobs at risk at a time when our country is shedding jobs at an alarming rate. We also question the criteria being used to determine which dealerships should be closed and the fundamental fairness involved in this effort. It is our view that the market should make these decisions rather than leaving it up to the manufacturers whose poor leadership contributed to their demise. Furthermore, we believe car dealers will be key players in any effort to revive the American auto industry.


We believe the dealerships are one of the auto industry’s key sources of strength and the manufacturers should continue to honor their agreements and contracts. The dealerships, and their more than 1 million employees, form personal relationships with customers that often contribute to brand loyalty and will be key to General Motors’ and Chrysler’s recovery following this economic downturn. While we understand the desire to reduce the number of unprofitable dealerships, no one has yet sufficiently explained the need to close profitable dealerships.


We recognize that efforts by your Auto Task Force prevented the total liquidation of General Motors and Chrysler, as well as their dealership networks. We commend your efforts to help these businesses survive these challenging economic times. However, we are concerned that manufacturers are closing profitable dealerships to circumvent current contracts which could require expensive buy-outs under normal conditions. We are also concerned about allegations that dealers that have previously stood up for their rights against the manufacturers are being targeted by these closures. We believe that the forced closures of profitable dealerships needs to be scrutinized by the Task Force to prevent additional future financial loses to General Motors and Chrysler and job loses across the United States.


We may consider legislative proposals to ensure that dealers and their employees are treated fairly, and we look forward to your timely response.