Judging by the traffic on the Automotive News Web site and the comments posted, dealers find it gratifying that the Office of the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program is investigating whether any laws were broken in the way dealership cuts were handled by the Obama administration and Chrysler and General Motors during their bankruptcies.
But now that it has been more than a year since the two automakers emerged from bankruptcy and three months since the arbitration process for terminated dealerships was exhausted, it's time for the industry to move on.
Dealers who had their businesses yanked out from underneath them are understandably pleased by the investigation. Many feel justified for having criticized the way the administration's auto task force prompted GM and Chrysler to prune dealerships and the apparent lack of transparency or reasonableness of the cuts.
But whatever the investigation uncovers is unlikely to affect the fate of about 1,550 dealerships eliminated by GM or about 760 stores shuttered by Chrysler since 2009. At this point, there isn't even much that can be done for the 500 GM dealerships scheduled to close at the end of this month.
There is little that can be done beyond lamenting the closing of businesses, the elimination of jobs and the creation of economic sinkholes where dealerships once stood.
A spokeswoman for the inspector general's office confirmed the investigation but declined to be specific about which parts of the process are being looked at. That has led to speculation about whether the investigation involves factory officials, government appointees or both.
Realistically, the focus could lead back to U.S. Bankruptcy Court, where the terminations were sanctioned. A bankruptcy judge can approve a lot of things that might be cruel and even stupid, but that doesn't make them right. Nor does it make them illegal.
If the inspector general wants to investigate, fine. But get it over quickly. The whole ugly process has gone on too long.