In the end, arbitrations set up by Congress for rejected General Motors and Chrysler dealers made a difference -- primarily for the larger automaker.
GM took the bull by the horns and expanded its planned store network by at least 25 percent, adding grateful dealers that are raring to go.
Chrysler, on the other hand, continues to battle arbitrating dealers every step of the way. It has succeeded in keeping the number of dealerships largely the same, with only several dozen of the 789 terminated franchises likely to be restored.
But whether GM's bigger and more energized sales force will, by itself, boost sales is not clear.
"In the long run, much more will depend on product roll-out," said Ernie Manuel, president of the Fontana Group consultants in Tucson, Ariz., which testified for arbitrating dealers. "Neither company will succeed if they continue to produce products that fare poorly."
With the final arbitration decisions scheduled to be handed down at the close of business on Friday, July 23, it's clear that both companies got what they wanted.