The dealers' campaign to have Congress restore franchise agreements terminated by General Motors and Chrysler is probably an exercise in futility.
While there has been some populist support in the Capitol for the Automobile Dealer Economic Rights Restoration Act, it seems unlikely there will be enough votes to pass the bill before Congress recesses on Friday, June 26.
The bigger issue is whether a majority of dealers want 535 politicians to dictate dealer network strategies to automakers. Dealers ought to consider what Congress might seek as a quid pro quo for its help.
For example, would dealers be willing to establish a precedent of guaranteeing jobs to keep dealerships open?
Bankruptcy laws allowed GM and Chrysler to proceed with retail network plans that would have been much more difficult under state franchise laws that have shielded dealers for decades. It is a personal tragedy for hundreds of dealers, their employees and the communities they serve. Passing the bill might ease some of that economic pain.
But the long-term interests of surviving dealerships will be better served if Congress refrains from meddling any further in the automobile business.