Monday, March 30, 2009

Car companies, bankruptcy and contract renegotiation

Lots of people are saying lots of smart things, but this is my minor quibble. Having worked on dealer issues at the state level (auto industry and heavy equipment), I have to say that state-level dealer laws (often pushed by Republicans!) are some of the most heavy-handed, over-regulatory laws I've ever seen that, to me, seem to run counter to the entire idea of a free market. Most dealers can turn over their dealerships to their kids to run into the ground without regards to the kids' qualifications or education; they have laws protecting them from the car companies authorizing new dealerships too close even if their own dealerships are failing; manufacturers have to go through years-long processes to de-authorize a dealer (if they can at all ever) even if the dealer is breaking his/her contract with the manufacturers, fucking up customer service, not paying for the cars, or spending time in jail for embezzlement. Look into it, it's crazy.

Also, when GM tried to stop manufacturing Oldsmobiles because no one wanted to buy them, Arizona Senator Jeff Bingaman did everything in his power (on behalf of Olds dealers, natch) to keep GM from stopping production on a wildly unpopular brand that they couldn't pay people to drive. That, too, was kind of crazy.

Anyways, so I'm wondering whether bankruptcy will allow GM to renegotiate those contracts, too, or just the ones where retirees continue to get health insurance? I'm guessing the old guys are just going to get fucked and the dealers will be totes fine.

1 comment:

Arman said...

Great. Now I can't get the image of retirees having sex out of my mind.