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Are Local Jobs and Auto Dealers Worth "Practically Nothing"?

June 14, 2009

To the editor:

Throughout our communities, the owners of local Chrysler and GM dealerships are being forced to close their doors due to Chrysler and General Motors Corporations restructuring. While the automaker companies are going bankrupt, the local dealers that sell the cars are turning profits and continue to contribute to the companies’ bottom line. These dealerships received letters from GM and Chrysler telling them they would be closed but have yet to hear any justification or rationale for why they are on the closed list.

G.M. and Chrysler make money (when they do) on new cars and on the financing of loans. Dealers, by contrast, make most of their money on servicing old cars and selling used ones. So dealers can thrive even when the automaker languishes. This week, an expert on the White House’s task force on the auto industry said that shutting down dealerships would save Chrysler and GM “practically nothing.”

Is that what these local dealerships are worth? Not in my opinion. The dealers I spoke to employ 30 to 40 people. Each auto dealership is a vital member of our community here in the Hudson Valley. Shutting them down will create a detrimental ripple effect throughout our local economy. The cutting of these dealerships and the job losses that would be caused are counterproductive to the economic growth and development that the Hudson Valley and America needs.

Watch a video that tells the story of our fight to save a local dealership in South Salem - the oldest Dodge dealership in the world.

That is why I have written to both President Obama and the head of the President’s task force on the auto industry asking them to force GM and Chrysler to reconsider their planned dealership closures. I’ve also signed on to legislation that would require GM and Chrysler to keep the commitments they made to dealerships prior to declaring bankruptcy and allow these local dealerships to either survive or die by the market.

For more information about the effort to save Tator Dodge and other GM and Chrysler dealerships, click here to read today’s article in the Journal News.

What do you think?

Chrysler and GM should be able to close profitable auto dealerships as part of their restructuring.

The market should decide which dealerships stay open or shut down.

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John Hall, Member of Congress


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