GM, Chrysler defend dealer cuts

WASHINGTON – General Motors and Chrysler are defending their plans to eliminate about 3,000 dealerships across the nation during the second day of congressional hearings on the auto industry.

Under criticism in Congress, lawyers for the two auto companies say the dealer reductions were needed as part of a larger plan to help them rebound from bankruptcy. The automakers say the alternative was liquidation and massive job losses.

Many lawmakers oppose the plans. They say the dealers received little warning and the cuts will hurt many communities.

Car dealers, bankruptcy experts and others are testifying during the hearing. The leader of the Obama administration's auto task force testified on Tuesday, urging Congress not to intervene into the dealer closings.