Under Congressional Pressure, GM Hints At Dealer Restoration

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer

The recent revelation that congresspeople have been successful in coercing GM to rescind dealer closures in their districts, has the rest of our elected representatives (not to mention GM itself) sitting up and taking notice. In a conference call with Michigan’s congressional delegation, Fritz Henderson said GM was close to a deal which would restore a number of “mistakenly” closed dealerships. But GM hasn’t met with rejected dealers in weeks, and the Committee To Restore Dealer Rights is unaware of any such agreement. “[Henderson] was very vague, and the plan sounded inadequate to me,” Michigan Republican Hoekstra tells Automotive News [sub]. “He explained, for instance, that they might reopen some franchises if they found errors, but he didn’t say what those errors might be.” Henderson also rejected the dealer demand for compensation of $3,000 per vehicle sold in 2006, 2007 and 2008, further supporting suspicions that GM doesn’t have a deal at all. So what is happening?

I think GM is telling Congress: ‘We’re close to a deal, you don’t have to do anything.’ But GM isn’t doing anything. They’re just playing out the string because rejected dealers can’t hold out that long

Hoekstra may well be right. Without a compensation offer on the table, government-ordered arbitration between GM and the rejected dealers won’t go anywhere. More importantly, Henderson’s use of the term “mistakenly closed” illustrates how much pressure GM has been under from representatives to reopen dealers in their districts. If a number have already succeeded in getting GM to re-open their dealers, it’s only a matter of time before the floodgates open. Remember, GM only accepted arbitration because a bill was working through congress that would have restored all the culled dealer franchises. If arbitration is failing, GM’s only option is to hold off congressional interference for as long as possible, in hopes of as many dealers croaking as possible. And now that everyone knows some representatives have succeeded in rescuing their campaign donating home-district dealers, the rush will be on. All of which further pits the legislative against the executive branch, raising the specter of more, not less, government interference in GM and Chrysler.

Edward Niedermeyer
Edward Niedermeyer

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  • Sitting@home Sitting@home on Oct 30, 2009

    Politicians' main concern is jobs; chiefly the 535 jobs in Congress. Despite (presumably) voting for the package that made GM government owned with it's implications for brand, factory and dealership closures, they will back-peddle faster than a clown on a unicycle if they think the fallout will put their own job in jeopardy.

  • Panzerfaust Panzerfaust on Oct 31, 2009

    Amazing, Congress is pressuring GM to un do what GM felt pressured by Congress to do.

  • Teddyc73 As I asked earlier under another article, when did "segment" or "class" become "space"? Does using that term make one feel more sophisticated? If GM's products in other segments...I mean "space" is more profitable then sedans then why shouldn't they discontinue it.
  • Robert Absolutely!!! I hate SUV's , I like the better gas milage and better ride and better handling!! Can't take a SUV 55mph into a highway exit ramp! I can in my Malibu and there's more than enough room for 5 and trunk is plenty big enough for me!
  • Teddyc73 Since when did automakers or car companies become "OEM". Probably about the same time "segment" or "class" became "space". I wish there were more sedans. I would like an American sedan. However, as others have stated, if they don't sell in large enough quantities to be profitable the automakers...I mean, "OEMs" aren't going to build them. It's simple business.
  • Varezhka I have still yet to see a Malibu on the road that didn't have a rental sticker. So yeah, GM probably lost money on every one they sold but kept it to boost their CAFE numbers.I'm personally happy that I no longer have to dread being "upgraded" to a Maxima or a Malibu anymore. And thankfully Altima is also on its way out.
  • Tassos Under incompetent, affirmative action hire Mary Barra, GM has been shooting itself in the foot on a daily basis.Whether the Malibu cancellation has been one of these shootings is NOT obvious at all.GM should be run as a PROFITABLE BUSINESS and NOT as an outfit that satisfies everybody and his mother in law's pet preferences.IF the Malibu was UNPROFITABLE, it SHOULD be canceled.More generally, if its SEGMENT is Unprofitable, and HALF the makers cancel their midsize sedans, not only will it lead to the SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST ones, but the survivors will obviously be more profitable if the LOSERS were kept being produced and the SMALL PIE of midsize sedans would yield slim pickings for every participant.SO NO, I APPROVE of the demise of the unprofitable Malibu, and hope Nissan does the same to the Altima, Hyundai with the SOnata, Mazda with the Mazda 6, and as many others as it takes to make the REMAINING players, like the Excellent, sporty Accord and the Bulletproof Reliable, cheap to maintain CAMRY, more profitable and affordable.