Grown men aren't supposed to cry. But the rejection of 789 dealers by Chrysler and 1,380 dealers by General Motors reduced many store owners to tears.
Dealers fought back those tears in U.S. Bankruptcy Court and during congressional testimony this month.
Frank Blankenbeckler, a Waxahachie, Texas, Jeep and Chevrolet dealer who lost both franchises, teared up during a Senate hearing as he described the end of a business his family started in 1926.
"I am hurt. I feel violated and I am extremely upset," he said. "I love my country. I love my state. It is my hope and prayer that I will be able to continue my life without bitterness."
Describing in Bankruptcy Court how he learned that his Massachusetts and Rhode Island dealerships were rejected by Chrysler, James Tarbox struggled with his emotions during a court hearing this month.
"I was flabbergasted," Tarbox said before a long silence in which he struggled to contain his emotions. Bankruptcy Judge Arthur Gonzalez asked that someone bring Tarbox a beverage while he regained his composure.
Greg Mauro, owner of the former Gregory Chrysler-Jeep in Lake Villa, Ill., broke down as he told Automotive News how he learned of the rejection of his dealership -- just relocated to a $6 million new building last October. He was in New York for the happy occasion of his son's university graduation when his office manager called to tell him a UPS envelope had arrived at 10 a.m. May 14.
She opened the envelope and read the letter to Mauro as he waited for a taxi for the airport.
"As she was reading it, she kept saying, 'Oh, my god! Oh, my god!' It's like a bad dream."
Eric Chase, a dealer lawyer in Florham Park, N.J., says he has never seen emotions like those he has seen in recent weeks.
"I am talking to a lot of people almost every day who are devastated," he said. "You don't usually see men cry, but in the last few weeks I've heard a lot of men cry.
"It's not just the financial hit; it's everything they are in life has been swept away because of something that's not their fault at all."