Dealers get a day on the Hill


In some cases, car dealerships that have been in the family for generations are threatened with extinction as the trouble automaker works its way through bankruptcy and a major contraction. Dealers will get a chance to state their case in the Senate Commerce Committee tomorrow. Our only regret is there is no room on the panel for friends of the dealers to register their support, because there are a lot of broadcasters who would love to pitch in for the cause.

The hearing, gaveled to order by Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), is entitled “GM and Chrysler Dealership Closures: Protecting Dealers and Consumers,” kicks off at 1:45PM.Eastern.

Testifying will be: James Press, President, Chrysler LLC; Fritz Henderson, Chief Executive Officer, General Motors Corporation; John McEleney, Chairman, National Automobile Dealers Association; Pete Lopez, President and CEO, Spencer Auto Group; and Russell Aubrey Whatley III, Owner/Dealer, Russell Whatley Motor Company.

RBR/TVBR observation: The government has been working through the automotive crisis for months, and all we ever hear about is cutting back on marketing. That just isn’t going to work, ladies and gentlemen. We cannot expect a bankrupt entity to fix itself on reputation and word of mouth. GM/Chrysler is going to have to make sure it has something worth selling – but it’ll have to do a very effective job getting the word out if this bailout is to have any value at all.