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Klobuchar tells GM, Chrysler chiefs that dealers want answers

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GM And Chrysler CEOs Testify To Senate Committee O
Chrysler President James Press (L) and General Motors CEO Fritz Henderson (R) appear before a Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee hearing on Capitol Hill June 3, 3009 in Washington, D.C.
Mark Wilson/Getty Images

The chiefs of General Motors and Chrysler were grilled Wednesday by a U.S. Senate committee examining plans to close thousands of car dealership across the country, including dozens in Minnesota. 

The auto industry executives told skeptical lawmakers that dealers can appeal decisions to shut them down. And the executives said dealers that are forced to close will be able to transfer cars and parts to other dealers. Responding to questions from Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Chrysler President  James Press said dealers won't be stuck with cars and parts they can't sell.

"They will be redistributed, both the vehicles, the parts and the special tools," Press said. "Redistribution would be selling those from the dealers that are not going forward to the dealers that are going forward. They will be sold to those dealers."

GM and Chrysler argue they have more dealers than they need. But dealers complain   shutdown decisions have been  unfair and rushed.  

   Sen. Amy Klobuchar echoed dealer complaints that unfair, rushed decisions will put many of them out of business.

"Some of these dealers were actually doing pretty well," Klobuchar  said. "They have questions they want answered about how these decisions were made.  Why they were given so little time and if there is any time that can be extended? What we'd like to see is some fairness injected into this process. We're talking about families in a very difficult  economic time."