UPDATE: GM, Chrysler execs defend dealership decisions - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

UPDATE: GM, Chrysler execs defend dealership decisions


WASHINGTON (WKOW) -- Top executives from Chrysler and General Motors told a Senate Committee Wednesday morning their decision to cut ties with hundreds of dealerships was unavoidable in their struggle to overcome bankruptcy and remain viable businesses.

GM president Fritz Henderson and Chrysler President James Press told the panel in prepared testimony that there are simply too many dealers, and many of those relationships date back to the 1940s and 1950s.

The Senate Committee argues the car companies are leaving both dealers and their customers "out in the cold."


WASHINGTON (WKOW) -- Top officials from Chrysler and GM will appear before a Senate panel Wednesday to discuss their restructuring plans and likely answer some tough questions about what went wrong with the American auto industry.

Lawmakers argue that shutting down dealerships won't make enough of a difference for these struggling companies and there are calls to allow Chrysler dealers more time to close their doors.

Some of those same dealers will also testify for the committee, and are asking for more aid to Chrysler to that the automakers can buy back car parts and specialized tools.

Meanwhile members of President Barack Obama's administration are touring four Midwestern states badly hurt by the downturn in the auto industry, including Wisconsin.

Officials here and in Michigan, Ohio and Indiana, are calling for a bigger share of federal stimulus package funds.

$87 billion is up for grabs in discretionary funding. And although the formulas used to dole out that money do not usually consider unemployment and layoffs, Vice President Joe Biden says the amount each state gets changes day by day.

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