JIM HENRY

Rattner gives terminated dealers short shrift

Jim Henry is a special correspondent for Automotive News
"They warned me not to talk about the dealers, but here goes," said former car czar Steven Rattner.

His remark came Friday, at the dealer-friendly American Financial Services Association Vehicle Finance Conference. He had just been asked whether in hindsight the thousands of dealer terminations during the Chrysler and GM bankruptcies, which he presided over, were really necessary.

Rattner said all parties, even many dealers, agreed there were too many dealers -- that is, until Chrysler and GM started picking specific dealers to be terminated.

He said he had nothing to do with picking individual terminations. He also said he didn’t think much of dealers who appealed to Congress to halt the terminations. "I was quite disappointed in the (lack of) spirit of shared sacrifice, that it met with such incredible hostility. I would’ve thought Congress had better things to do in the summer of 2009 than spend days and weeks talking about dealer legislation."

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