The US House of Representatives has approved a measure designed to reverse some 2,100 dealer cuts at GM and Chrysler. However, its backers called on dealers and the automakers to find a compromise.
The bill faces uncertainty in the Senate.
Chrysler offered a lengthy justification for its cuts, while GM urged the National Automobile Dealers Association to engage in talks.
Both companies and the Obama administration have warned Congress that restoring the dealers could jeopardise the automakers’ recovery from bankruptcy.
Analysts say the debate will run, but that it is unlikely the dealer network cuts will be reversed and that some compromise between the companies and discontinued dealers on the terms of severance is more probable.