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Which GM dealerships are closing?

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General Motors said it will drop about 1,600 U.S. dealers as it struggles to slash billions of dollars in costs and debts. But our Detroit photographer Rebecca Cook reports that, unlike Chrysler, GM does not intend to release to the media a list of dealers hit by the closure plans. Chrysler disclosed in court documents on Thursday the identities of the 789 dealerships it wants to terminate under the bankruptcy process.

Affected GM dealers received letters by express mail on Friday morning informing them that the automaker did not see how it could have a “productive business relationship” after 2010.

GM is telling journalists to find out for themselves which dealerships are closing.  Our reporters around the country are working their sources and calling local dealers for information. Readers can help us. If you have any information on which dealerships face the ax, drop us a comment below or email tradingplaces at reuters.com.

from Richard Baum:

Condolences for Chrysler

When I moved to North America in 2004, I knew immediately what car I wanted to own: a Chrysler PT Cruiser. Its retro-design captured the romance of the automobile in a uniquely American way, giving it character that I felt was missing from so many modern cars.

It's a small, fuel-efficient car that combines classic design aesthetics with today's environmental priorities. But its harkening to a golden age is also a statement on the cultural significance of the auto industry in the U.S., where writers from Jack Kerouac to Bruce Springsteen have long linked the freedom of the road with the freedom of the nation.

Bold move or socialism?

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The ax has fallen on GM chief Rick Wagoner’s neck. With one swing, President Obama put an end to Wagoner’s reign at the helm of the struggling auto giant. GM had asked the government for another bailout amounting to a further $16 billion in loans. Instead, the Obama administration pledged only to fund GM’s operations for another 60 days while it develops a sweeping restructuring plan.

Obama’s team also took aim at Chrysler, pushing it toward a merger, and threatened bankruptcy for both Detroit giants.

Money, money everywhere …except in your pocket?

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There’s lots of money sloshing around the financial system these days. The Federal Reserve has established a target range of 0-0.25 percent for its key rate, bringing it closer to unconventional action to lift the economy out of a year-long recession.

From Washington, the first package aimed at rescuing the credit crisis-hit banking sector amounted to $700 billion. Treasury can use only half of that amount and it has already pledged all but $15 billion of it. The Senate has refused to pass a $14 billion rescue package for Detroit’s three major car companies last week, leaving it in the hands of the Bush administration to work out a deal.

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