June 12, 2009
A bipartisan coalition of the 20 U.S. Senators comprising the Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation has written to Chrysler and General Motors urging the ailing automakers to back off of some of the more Darwinian features of their bankruptcies. Separate, but essentially identical, letters to James Press of Chrysler LLC and GM CEO Fritz Henderson raised questions about the fates of terminated dealerships and the technicians trained specifically to service their products. The letters also defended consumers, demanding answers to the companies’ provisions for providing access to rural customers and to their planned walk-away from the victims of defects.
The money quote:
“We have heightened concerns about GM abandoning its legal obligation to customers that have been injured or killed by one of its defective products. The New GM has a continued responsibility to recall and repair vehicles manufactured by old GM. New GM’s request for liability protection creates an unjust and illogical dichotomy in which the company is responsible for removing and repairing a vehicle defect, but would not be responsible for the injuries and deaths caused by that very same defect. The rights and responsibilities GM owes to its customers do not end with an arbitrary date. We insist that you fulfill its obligations to injured customers and their families. We request that you consent to assuming the obligations of the Old GM.”
The letters went out Tuesday, with the responses due back to the committee by Friday.