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Dealer Rights Bill Stays Alive In Congress

Jul 21, 2009

Dealers from across the country, including representatives from New Jersey, traveled to Washington on July 14, 2009, to speak with Congressional leaders about HR-2743, the Automobile Dealers Economic Rights Restoration Act. The legislation passed the House Appropriations Committee Tuesday (July 15) night and will next be heard on the House floor, where it might face procedural challenges. A provision of the fiscal 2010 financial services spending bill would require GM and Chrysler to work through State Courts rather than U.S. Bankruptcy Court if the automakers wanted to continue with the terminations. Rep. Steven LaTourette (R-Ohio), who sponsored an amendment that could cut federal funding to GM and Chrysler if they didn’t abide by the provisions of the bill, has voiced the opinion of most of the affected dealers—that both GM and Chrysler used the Bankruptcy Courts to circumvent their responsibilities and the protections provided to dealers by individual State Franchise Laws. All of New Jersey’s 13 members of Congress have signed on to HR-2743 which, if passed, would require GM and Chrysler to reinstate more than 2,000 dealerships that the companies have slated for closure. So far, more than 240 members of the House of Representatives have signed on in support of the proposed legislation.Supporters of the bill to revive the rejected dealerships say the closures threaten the jobs of 169,000 people who worked at the targeted dealerships. Since some dealerships have already closed, it is unclear what the legislation will accomplish if ultimately passed. Specifically, the new legislation will:¨ Restore the protections of State Motor Vehicle Franchise Laws to General Motors and Chrysler dealers as they existed prior to each company’s bankruptcy;¨ Preserve General Motors and Chrysler car dealers’ rights to recourse under state laws;¨ Make clear that the legislation is not intended to void the court order to transfer of assets from Chrysler to new Chrysler or General Motors assets that could be approved by the court after the introduction of the act. NJ CAR encourages all Chrysler and GM dealers, whether you are going forward or not, to stick together and recognize that this legislation offers protection to All dealers, whether they have been terminated or not.