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TheStreet Open House

Senators Seek More Info On Dealer Closures

STEPHEN MANNING

WASHINGTON (AP) ¿ Senators are calling on General Motors and Chrysler to release more details on ongoing talks over the automakers' plans to close thousands of auto dealerships as part of their bankruptcies.

In letters Friday to the two companies, the majority of the Senate Commerce Committee sought information on the negotiations brokered by Congress between dealers and the automakers over whether the decisions to shutter dealerships should be reversed.

"Given the federal government's ownership stake in GM, it is our shared obligation to ensure all impacted dealers are treated as fairly as possible," the letter to GM stated, signed by 22 of the committee's 25 members. The Chrysler letter included similar language.

GM is cutting 2,400 dealerships from its 6,000-dealer network by the fall of 2010 by not renewing franchise agreements and winding down stores with outgoing brands. Chrysler slashed 789 dealers as part of its bankruptcy proceedings this summer, leaving it with about 2,400.

The companies say the moves are needed to cut costs and align their dealerships with the lower demand for cars.

The federal government owns roughly 60 percent of GM and nearly 10 percent of Chrysler as part of its rescue of the auto industry, and lawmakers worried about big job losses are pressuring the companies to reverse course on dealer closures.

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