Let's Have Public Hearings On Auto Industry Bailout

Posted by: David Kiley on November 04, 2008

If the U.S. Big Three automakers want bailout help from the Federal government they should submit to at least an afternoon of new public hearings.

Automakers were heard from in September on the subject of attaching the $25 billion loan program to a continuing resolution for the Federal budget. That legislation, which passed, kicked off the process for such loans to move ahead—-loans that were part of last year’s energy legislation. The money is meant to go to help the companies re-tool factories and offset some research and development costs associated with more fuel efficient vehicles. The key is that all the loans must be attached to offset costs of vehicles that get 25% better fuel economy than the vehicle segment average. In other words, if Ford wants loan money to offset the costs of bringing its Fiesta to market, the car will have to exceed the average of the vehicles in the segment by 25% at the time the application is made.

The Department of Energy is finalizing the parameters of how the companies will apply for the loans. Soon after the DOE issues the language, there will be a 60-day comment period for the automakers and other interested parties to say whether it is fair and proper. The rules will be finalized after that period and the applications commence.

The Michigan Congressional delegation, as we have reported before, is pushing all sorts of governmental buttons to try and get General Motors, Ford and Chrysler the money faster, and to keep the parameters of getting the funds loose enough so that the companies can actually use the money to help their dire liquidity problems.

General Motors specifically wants the government money to help it acquire Chrysler. GM’s management thinks that taking over Chrysler is the secret sauce for the automaker getting through the Recession.

As I have previously reported, one of the measures on the table is amending the September legislation so that loans might be granted to offset money the companies have already spent on r&d to bring the more fuel efficient vehicles to market. Some Congressional members argued against that idea in the original legislation. But some lawmakers are trying to re-open it.

The key to making any of this happen is a three day lame-duck session of Congress later this month.

I think that there is enough concern about the future of the auto industry, the proper role of government in propping it up and the dubious insistence by GM that it must acquire Chrysler to survive that we ought to have at least an afternoon of public hearings on the issue.

I would like to hear from the following: GM CEO G. Richard Wagoner Jr., Ford CEO Alan Mulally, Chrysler CEO Robert Nardelli and Cerberus Capital (Chrysler owner) chairman Stephen Feinberg. Also, there should be at least three credible outside voices. For example, I’d like to hear from author and former Wall Street auto industry analyst Maryann Keller, former Merrill Lynch auto analyst and current partner in Casesa Shapiro LLC John Casesa, AutoNation CEO Mike Jackson and United Auto Workers Union chief Ron Gettelfinger.

The hearings could be held in advance of the lame-duck session in a committee hearing.

Among the questions I would ask:

Mr. Wagoner: You have been restructuring GM either as CEO or a senior staffer since Bush 41 was president. Tell us why you think taking over Chrysler and all its problems and issues is the answer to your survival, and why we should help fund a deal that the banks don’t believe in enough to come up with the funding?

Mr. Nardelli: Have you been seeking help from the government in order to keep Chrysler operating independently? Or are you here just to augment Mr. Wagoner’s argument that GM must acquire Chrysler? If so, why do you not wish to have our help to keep Chrysler going as an independent venture?

Mr. Feinberg: Are you interested in operating an auto company for the next ten years? If not, why should we help you, a hedge fund, salvage what has become a troublesome investment for you? Mr. Feinberg, will you detail for us the executive compensation that will be paid out if this merger goes through, and how much of this loan money is earmarked for huge exit packages to executives?

Mr. Mulally: Are you interested in buying Chrysler? If not, why not? Do you think the government should have a role in helping GM do this deal, or should we only concentrate on helping Chrysler stay independent assuming its ownership and management are still interested in being in the car business?

Mr. Casesa: Can you take us through what would happen to the auto industry as a whole if Chrysler was to file Chapter 11? Would there be a dire domino effect throughout the auto and supplier industry? Why aren't banks and hedge funds stepping up to fund this?

Ms. Keller: Do you think this combination of GM and Chrysler is a good idea? Do you think GM’s management is up to making this work?

Mr. Gettelfinger: You stand to lose some 25,000 union jobs if we proceed the way Mr. Wagoner, Mr. Feinberg and Mr. Nardelli would have us proceed. Can you offer some ideas about how we could help Chrysler stay independent? Do you think that’s a desirable outcome? And what is the union willing to do to help the industry through this Recession if we don’t help GM and Chrysler merge?

Mr. Jackson: You have run a car company and now run a major dealer company. I don't care of GM and Chrysler find a way to merge. I do care if the government plays investment banker to the deal. Do you think your government should play this role? Do you think the situation is so unique? Do you think that the management of GM is up to making this work in a way where the tax-payer would get their money back? Would you put your own money behind a GM-Chrysler merger?

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Reader Comments

antonio311

November 5, 2008 03:35 AM

GREAT article! Why would anyone want to support a GM takover of Chrysler??? It will only lead to massive job loss for Both GM & Chrysler employees. Also it will eliminate Chrysler a great American company with a long rich history. Public hearings are the only way to go on this one! The Obama administration will oppose this merger because they know its bad for Chrysler, the domestic auto industry, and especially the American Worker!

Chr

November 5, 2008 04:06 AM

Very good questions.
But some points may be missing.
This automotive industry crisis is not only short term linked to a financial one, but also long term : The future of the combustion engine is unclear.
It seems doomed now, but the BIG question is WHEN ?
For this question, only the US government (in collaboration with others like the EU) may be able to decide for a regulation that would be realistic but proactive.
This will clarify the R&D efforts and investements that auto makers will have to do from now.

m.r.

November 5, 2008 04:11 AM

the Republican way of no accountability for public funds is over.
GM and Chrysler had better get used to a new way of doing business, period.
still, a better fit would be with Nissan. otherwise; Chrysler, products, money, jobs, plants will go with little gain from this "merger"!
now is the time for responsible governments, federal and state to do what is good for the people, not the
people who created this mess.

LUCA

November 5, 2008 04:45 AM

Mr Kiley, wow!! You do really know how a hearings have to be done!!
Your questions are super.
My modest opinion: i'd love to see a government help to allow GM, Ford and Chrysler to grow indipendently.
I don't care if Gm or Toyota is world #1 since i have no doubt GM has great cars (i bought one, my brother bought ne, my mother bought one, my father too!) and GM just need to sail this troubled period of economic downturn to displays a range of super cars like Volt. Here in Europe Ford has remarkable cars, with a top level design and quality as well and there's no reason a company like that has to fail. Finally Chrysler: it's an american icon; sales of Chrysler in Italy, where i live, are good; it's design and quality is distinctive of america's taste for boldness and power: no minivan made in Japan, no SUV made in Tokyo, no pick-up made in Asia can deliver what the orginal inventor/manifacturer can and I hope Cerberus commitment to Chrysler is genuine.

John

November 5, 2008 06:13 AM

In my opinion the gouverment should help the car industrie to restructure itself instead of helping GM to acquire Chrysler. That could only help GM to be a little bit longer in business, but doesn´t change the big problems GM has. GM schould get rid off some brands. In America only Chevrolet and Cadillac should survive, and perhaps Buick. GM should acquire Jeep. Ford should get rid off Mercury and focus at the brands Ford and Lincoln. Perhaps they should acquire Dodge.
May be that Volkswagen would be interested in the name Chrysler for its operations in the United States.

Frank Loweser

November 5, 2008 08:28 AM

I agree. I'd stay home from work to watch C-Span to see how they's answer these questions.

sj

November 5, 2008 08:47 AM

This is from the latest consumer reports:

...Chrysler trails the pack. Almost two-thirds of its products rate below average for reliability. The redesigned 2008 Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan minivans earned low scores, as did the Chrysler Sebring V6 and Dodge Avenger sedans and the Jeep Liberty SUV. The Sebring Convertible has the worst score: 283 percent worse than average...

Who would want to own either a Chrysler vehicle or the company?

Schmeltz

November 5, 2008 08:49 AM

Excellent questions, David. You pose a great idea here in holding these companies accountable, and should strongly be considered before our government moves further with this. One question that has been nagging at me since this whole merger talk started is, if a bailout for the auto industry is prudent, (and I think it is) then why has it not been suggested to simply provide whatever necessary for each auto maker to survive the recession, INDIVIDUALLY? Why does a merger have to happen at all? Couldn't our government offer a low interest loan to each Detroit Company providing whatever they need to make it to 2010 when these multitude of new efficient models will start to become available? No mergers, no 25000 job losses, just give the car companies a boost until the economy can turn around.

j

November 5, 2008 09:05 AM

We've entered a new economic revolution. If our taxpayer money is to be used, then we should have a say in developing new automotive industrial policy.

Chrysler has the facilities in place, including the impressive CTC (one of the world's largest buildings) and the engineers. It would be tragic to shut all this down. Let's put our money to work and invest in a new automotive industry to build the best and greenest vehicles I know we can.

I as a taxpayer/"shareholder" vote for the future (more jobs), not eliminating them.

Mr. Feinberg, it's time you finally showed you face to the American people. The days of lurking in the shadows is over. We need strong leaders if vision and character.

T

November 5, 2008 09:54 AM

I don't think GM nor Chrysler have any will to engineer the products they claim they want to. Ford on the hand has the European Focus that they should start selling here. It is a brilliant car with exceptional handling and a very economical diesel engine. It competes well against all the smaller Japanese cars in Europe, no reason why it can't here.

RichW

November 5, 2008 10:18 AM

It wasn't long ago that the executives of GM, Ford, and Chrysler laughed at increasing fuel efficiency. Remember the comments “Bottle water cost more than gas” so let’s keep building the gas guzzling SUV and trucks. We make more money on them. Now that gas prices have swung the other way they want a bail out! Sorry I don’t hear you laughing now. How is combining GM and Chrysler going to help anything? Companies that fail to look ahead in favor of short term profits usually go under and these auto companies certainly did this.

Bart

November 5, 2008 10:30 AM

So lets bail out the auto industry so they can continue to pay their CEO's millions? They do not deserve a single cent.

Karl

November 5, 2008 10:36 AM

Giving, or "loaning", any money to GM for a Chrysler buyout would be like giving, or loaning, money to a person whose home is in foreclosure because the payment went way up and they can't afford it. It's just a TEMPORARY "fix" that won't solve the problem!!!! Also, any money "loaned" to either of these companies will absolutely insure that the executives have their SALARIES extended for a period of time before their ultimate COLLAPSE!!!! Let GM & Chrysler solve their own problems!!! WHY won't the Banks loan them any money??? Oh, I forgot! The Banks KNOW that they'll NEVER see any of it coming back to them!!! How silly of me, huh?

kenneth

November 5, 2008 10:48 AM

What difference does it make? The Congress is so corrupt and inept--let them give GM all the money they want so that GM can buy Chrysler. One loser buying another loser--everybody loses. Thousands of jobs, several large assembly plants, the American taxpayer. Meanwhile, Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Hyundai, Volkswagen, et al continue to eat our lunch.

c.l.shannon

November 5, 2008 10:50 AM

hearings are just lipstick on the pig that is the big three. toyota and honda didn't have ms. cleo's special crystal ball 800 number - they saw what was coming down the road and adapted. the big three had their collective heads firmly up their anal orifices and failed to do anything (heck, they had to be drug kicking and screaming up to the latest CAFE standards.
as the laws of evolution go, they are ready to become extinct...and we should be ready to let them!

Mike O

November 5, 2008 11:02 AM

If that can't kill the unions they are doomed to fail. Close up shop and move to labor friendly states.

C LaVoie

November 5, 2008 11:15 AM

Chrysler makes sub par products - and has for decades. If they can't compete, they should leave the market. Government should not prop them up. It would be start for them to team up with another automaker to salvage any value that's left and ditch the rest. One less player will help the other ones do better. Job losses are tough, but in some cases inevitable.

J

November 5, 2008 11:21 AM

Schmeltz is correct. Note that former Chrysler CEO Robert Eaton sold the company to Daimler in the late 1990s because he recognized that in order to survive you need to be a global car company. Unfortunately, Daimler did nothing for Chrysler in this regard, Daimler also had no intention of ever "diluting" the Mercedes brand and made all the key disasterous decisions on product. So it is somewhat unfair to blame current product on the new ownership. That relationship was disasterous for Chrysler. When it bought Chrysler last year, the new owners (Cerberus) promised to restore this American icon to where it once was. Being in the business they are, they should have anticipated the sudden spike in fuel prices and the financial crisis. It takes years of investment by car people to develop new product. They made their bed, they should lie in it. I read that Cerberus owns companies which together generate some 125 billion in annual revenues. With some government help, they have the money. What they don't appear to have is courage. We just elected a new President who is a man of leadership, character, vision and strength. We need new Lee Iacoccas, not Gordon Gekkos.

P

November 5, 2008 11:30 AM

If the government is to provide money, it should be in the form of stock purchases, which would probably be a majority of GM, Ford and Chrysler, given the present low price of automotive stock.

Squeezebox

November 5, 2008 12:14 PM

I think that no matter what we do, the domestic auto industry is doomed. We should be working on plan B for the employees - job placement at realistic wages, retraining for growing industries, enforcement of anti-discrimination laws, etc.... We can't stop the collapse, but maybe we can avoid the depression it will cause.

Good questions

November 5, 2008 12:30 PM

Very good and direct to the point questions. i hope such questions get asked, if and when any hearing happens.
I live in Michigan, close to these three auto morons. Fortunatly don't work for anyone and hop don't have to. And I oppose this freebie to detroit auto companies. I have said in past posts, take this money only if you gurantee to put 50MPG vehicles under 25k MSRP in showrooms by 2010. Don't tell me if either or all of the three companies goes away world will come to end! Within no time they will be replaced by better company!

let's take a step back

November 5, 2008 01:49 PM

It's easy to get all worked up over the auto industry "bailout" and continuing GM-Chrysler merger talk. It's just curious that some of you believe the government should hold the automakers to a higher standard than they did the Wall Street bankers.

I'm not proposing they pony up money for the automakers, but we could come up with a lot longer list of questions they should have been asked of Bear Stearns, Citi, AIG, etc. especially given the larger bailout they got. And now we see some of their former execs getting hired by the Fed. Something doesn't smell right there.

Making an example of the automakers is easy because they're not Washington insiders. Wall Street got a huge pass, you can't blame the automakers or any other industry for trying to follow suit.

Some of the automakers are making strides, others are not. In the end, it doesn't matter what you or I think - all that matters is who knows who in Washington. That determines how much help you can get.

Greg

November 5, 2008 02:00 PM

@Antonio311, first read the article in BusinessWeek why a GM-Chrysler merger may be necessary. Sure, the loss of 40,000 jobs as a result of the merger would be bad, but what would be worse is the imminent failure of one or both of those companies (along with suppliers) that could mean the loss of 200,000+ jobs. In trying to protect jobs there may be no jobs left to protect.

kaiwai

November 5, 2008 02:47 PM

What the US needs to do is this; remove all trade barriers and get the big three to merge into one. The only way in which the US can compete on a global scale is to get the economies of scale required to achieve it. They also need a new breed of management because they don't seem to realise that the days of big boxy american cars isn't the future.

Ask yourself - for those of us outside America, when was the last time you saw an american made car? (apart from those who are collectors).

Jim

November 5, 2008 04:58 PM

I can't decide which side of the GM Chrysler merger is sadder. Let us not forget that ten years ago, Chrysler was on a roll. During the first half of its marriage with Daimler, it was Chrysler that provided all the earnings while Mercedes was dealing with horrid quality and losing money. Now, after the loss of talent after the Daimler merger and another one with the Daimler sale, Chrysler suffers with a product lineup both unattractive and poorly built. Cerberus now has buyers remorse after discovering that it is holding a hollowed out company with no future. It wants out. This is why the Nissan deal will never fly, because Cerberus will still have to run a car company, which it cannot seem to do.
Then there is GM. This is the only one of the big 3 that has never gone through any serious restructuring. Both Chrysler and Ford have gone through one or more near death experiences, which have transformed and refocused the companies. GM is like Chrysler in 1979. It is still GM, run by GM lifers who were taught by other GM lifers. "We're the biggest, so nobody else's ideas are any good." These people really think that they can add Chrysler's 3 brands, shuffle the existing GM product around to fill them, then wait for the money to roll in because they will be selling the same vehicles, only 30% more of them. This is just sad. Someone needs to remind GM that it tried this in the 80s with just 6 divisions, and then watched its market share evaporate. GM will try to buy Chrysler, kill the product, then run the combination like GM. Yes, the same GM that has too many brands and dealers now.
Finally, there is the government. Everyone is bashing the US carmakers for reliance on big gas-thirsty vehicles. Doesn't anyone remember that for fifteen years, these were the only vehicles that Americans really wanted to buy? I have never understood CAFE. High gas prices? CAFE does no good, because people want small cars anyway. Low gas prices? CAFE does nothing but force the US manufactureres to design and build cars that nobody wants, then sell them at a huge loss so that they will be allowed to sell the profitable vehicles that people actually want to buy. The government is not blameless here. Kill CAFE, let the carmakers sell what customers want, and it costs nobody a dime.
Note that there is a hero in this sorry tale - the Ford Motor Company. There is one domestic manufacurer who has used the last couple of years to build better cars and trucks (now comparable to Toyota and Honda, according to Consumer Reports) instead of running itself primarily to game money from the government.
I, for one, do not care to contribute.

Confused with Chrysler

November 5, 2008 05:09 PM

BusinessWeek gets it! If Chrysler is the one with the money, then why again does Chrysler need GM? Cerberus is gonna flush Chrysler down the toilet to get themselves a bank holding company and some govt bailout money. What happened to these Cerberus assets:
Mervin's dept stores?
Aegis mortgage?
well see these links below.

http://www.usatoday.com/money/industries/retail/2008-10-17-mervyns_N.htm

http://money.cnn.com/2007/08/17/magazines/fortune/benner_aegis.fortune/index.htm

Scott G.

November 5, 2008 07:28 PM

Schmeltz is dead on right. I've been writing Michigan Senators, Representatives, the Governor, and finally the President of the United States with this exact idea since I learned of the possible merger.

A merger of Chrysler and GM will cost more than the 80,000 jobs predicted. Better figures are in the neighborhood of 150,000 country-wide with the vast majority of those losses being in Michigan. Canadians stand to lose up to 50,000 jobs, as well. Losing that many jobs is comparable to nailing Michigan's coffin shut.

Michigan is already reeling from over 100,000 foreclosures. Home values have shrunk to where over 40 percent of mortgages are upside down. The impact of dumping up to 150,000 unemployed people into this system will result in even more foreclosures because people will not be able to sell their homes. They'll be forced to walk away or in the rare instance, negotiate a short shell. Those actions will be forced because they'll have to leave Michigan in order to get another job.

The negative trickle down of a Chrysler/GM is staggering indeed.

Scott G.

John

November 5, 2008 10:37 PM

GM is always wanting new excuses for their absurd management incompetence. I sure hope Chrysler to not become the next victim of GM arrogance and misdirection.

Dave

November 6, 2008 12:42 AM


I have always believed in American made vehicles. Lets be honest how can America compete globally? Only with governments help and tooth biting embargos placed on foreign vehicles. I am pulling figures but they are somewhat in line. $25.00 hr. in America competing with someone making $125 a month in China. Guess what! We lose. Forget the global crap, embargo the cheap foreign manufacturing wages until it matches American costs. At least that way we make a buck even with the vehicles built overseas sold here. Believe me if we keep letting our jobs go we will end up being the 3rd world countries. Governments must look after its own country first. By the way I am from Canada but I consider us being part of America, North America.

All victimes of pampering

November 6, 2008 05:44 AM

All of them are victims of government pampering. They are going to make most expensive and most poluting cars in the world. Why not close down and restart with GREEN cars?

MikeS

November 6, 2008 08:34 AM

This is an excellent article and I couldn't agree more with holding public hearings on this issue. I am SICK of the government simply throwing my tax dollars at problems without examining the root causes and really trying to solve those instead of the latest and loudest "emergency". Thanks!

KrisB

November 6, 2008 01:40 PM

This is a very good set of questions that definitely need to be asked. What I don't think anyone has pointed out yet is that the "american" car doesn't exist in the way it once did. The big three american companies are producing parts and assembling cars outside of the country, not to mention closing U.S. facilities, which does nothing for american jobs. Mean while, the big three foreign companies have continually built factories in the U.S. over the past decade and beyond. So a Honda could technically be more "American" than a Ford or GM. If the loss of jobs is the main factor that a bailout would be motivated by, the point of who supplies/will supply jobs to Americans needs to be addressed.
Additionally, I think it is very important to remember that wall street (investment banks, hedge funds, etc...) perpetuated the cause of the 700B bailout, and a hedge fund owns Chrystler. Seems to me like Cerberus sees an "easy" way to increase the return for thier customers and themselves.

tlt

November 6, 2008 06:10 PM


Bailout with conditions
1) Cap Executive pay at $250 per year
2) Cap union wages at $20.00 p/hour
3) Replace pensions with 401K's
4) Scrap retiree health benefits, or allow them to pay 100% of the premium.

They need to put their house in order prioe to a taxpayer bailout.

John

November 6, 2008 11:21 PM

Why? Why should I pay for their bad investments and refusal to do anything to help all of us?

They could care less if our gas is $4.50 or even $5 a gallon on the car that gets poor gas mileage because they won't build what they are technologically capable of. They won't do anything to help reduce our energy dependency and now that they are stuck with these gas guzzling low quality pieces of junk they want our money.

Screw them.

jewel anderson

November 7, 2008 11:48 AM

Why should should the taxpayer continue to bail out the auto industry. They should stop giving out million dollar bonuses. They are the ones that encouraged Americans to buy these gas guzzlers. They should have built better autos that would compete with the foreign
auto makers. The heads of these companies were just greedy, only thinking about how much they could put in their pockets. The middle class and lower are tired of bailing out everybody and we get nothing in return. Touch on them.

jmanley

November 7, 2008 04:52 PM

If the government wants to bail out GM, let's get double our money by requiring the company to produce only hybrid and electric vehicles going forward. That way our taxpayer investment at least goes towards developing technologies to move us towards energy independence.

-jmanley

grandmama

November 8, 2008 02:44 PM

get rid of all automakers NOW. let them start over with what is affordable. let the people learn new jobs get rid of automaker...change that is what you all wanted

Martin

November 8, 2008 07:22 PM

I think it would be a hideous financial and embarrassing blow to the American taxpayer to bail them out. I sense yet another massive bill containing tens of billions of dollars moved through Congress who will be sure to extract at least 20% to cover yet another collection of earmarks! American cars are these days simply an assembly of parts made elsewhere (mostly overseas) with a massive overhead required to keep their bloated structures afloat. Over the past 10 years, they have continued to predominantly pump out gas guzzling road monsters while the rest of the world's automakers went lighter, smaller and more fuel efficient. Ironically, the overseas GM, Ford and Chrysler units did make sensible and cost-effective cars - I'll bet they would be quickly snapped up leaving the US units to rust.

Given such an abysmal track record, no way should they be given a financial pat on the head. Let them fail, let smaller companies re-emerge, let the workers form cooperatives, pick up the pices then design and build cost effective, efficient vehicles that Americans and the rest of the world will want.

geebs

November 10, 2008 06:57 PM

Great contributions and good luck for a solution. Many allusions to Americans' love of gas guzzling monsters - you have been so lucky to enjoy low tax on gas costs. Europeans/Asians have little option but to demand modest environmentally friendly cars that sip gas and fit into small parking lots.

Radical

November 12, 2008 04:02 AM

I am with Tlt and several others on this one:

Company makes bad business decisions, company goes bust. Look at Circuit City vs Best Buy... best buy survives, Circuit city does not. One dealt with market conditions better than other.

If we were to have a bailout though, it has to have conditions like TLT said.. Union wages should be renegotiated, retiree benefits need to be done with, executive pay... well at $250K they won't be able to keep good management, but there should be some cap and get rid of the golden parachutes.

This is why I don't like Unions. They had a purpose when companies were running sweat shops. Today people just don't want to do anything more than push paper. They want all the money for doing nothing. I think this would be a good wake up call for us as a Nation that we have to let go of the sense of entitlement we have just because we are Americans.

Sandy H

November 12, 2008 09:02 AM

I am extremely frustrated!
The government wants to bail out these companies with billions of dollars of our tax money.
But they will not help consumers who are having difficulties.
We have paid Chrysler financial for 3 years and never been late; but due to health and economic issues we have fallen behind and can no longer pay the high payment I have tried dozens of times to renegotiate a new lower payment so we can keep our vehicle and they will not do anything but re-poses the vehicle. We don’t want a free ride just a win win situation. If they want help they should help the consumers.
I am so frustrated I could scream!!!.
Thank you for letting me vent.

AK

November 12, 2008 09:24 AM

GM and Ford should retool with their euro line of cars here in the USA before they get any bailout money. They have the technology else where in the world. Bring it and hire US workers to build them. Don't let them just bring the cars without the means of production.

Keith Craig

November 12, 2008 02:17 PM

No bail out! People must understand the tax payer will accept paying for extremely high "Union" wages and benefits. The reason US vehicle sales are down is the "COST". Why the high cost? Well, paying someone exurbanite amounts of money to put a bumper on is passed on to customers.. Build them at global rates and they will compete with the Industry. I don't owe any guy getting a virtual free ride on some assembly line any of my Hard earned Money. This is WRONG!!! Don't allow this to happen. No one is going to bail out my business for piss pore Management and for charging 100.00 for a 50.00 part!!! Come on people get real!!

TS

November 13, 2008 01:38 PM

Why can't the car companies loan themselves the money - don't they all have other divisions in other countries that are making money? If their other divisions are making money it seems like they could get the capital they need from themselves. Just a crazy thought.

Jim

November 14, 2008 10:18 AM

If we can bailout the banks and investment firms than I think the government has to bailout the big three.If we're in a recession now can you imagine in a span of one or two months another 5 or 6 million people laid off with the collapse of the big three.After all alot of the blame with the problems of the big three goes right back to the governments insane free trade policies.If we keep going the way we have for the last 30 years everyone in the country will be making 10 to 12 dollars an hour.For 50 billion dollar it would be alot cheaper than six million people being laid off and paying no taxes and the government taking over another 800,000 to 0ne million pensions.LETS START BUILDING THINGS IN THIS COUNTRY AGAIN AND PROTECT OUR VITAL MANUFATURING BASE THE WAY OTHER COUNTRIES DO.

Karl Mattingly

November 15, 2008 11:14 AM

I worked all my life in automotive plants as a supervisor and I know the problems with losing money for the company and keeping good jobs depends on the union. The only thing I don't understand is that the union will take up for the worker that don't want to work a 40 hr.week.The union will fight for people that are lazy and don't want to work. This is only costing you and the company money.This is what is causing the automotive problems.

Truth Seeker

November 15, 2008 12:59 PM

Before the Governor of Michigan succeeds in her bid to obtain a taxpayer funded bailout of GM and other US auto manufacturers, she and others should maybe take a look at Mr. Bob Lutz's appearance last September on the Colbert report (and elsewhere):

http://www.colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-videos/185021/september-17-2008/bob-lutz

Are we being asked to help these "knuckle-dragging" neanderthal executives keep their cushy and fantastically overpaid jobs, complete with bonuses for poor performance?

NO, I favor Professor Robert Reich's recommendation of letting them FIRST file for chapter 11 protection, then we can TALK about what they need to do to get government assistance. This option would allow getting rid of people like Bob Lutz and Rick Wagner FIRST and also permit renegotiating union contracts.

Chai

December 4, 2008 01:18 PM

Just let the US auto industry go bust! That way you get rid of these arseholes who are submitting stupidly inept testimony. Then start again with new owners - Please NOT the government who are worse and not Obama who has no idea!
If you want a few common sense clues, I have heaps!
Chai

Vicki Tucson

December 5, 2008 12:18 PM

I have a few questions. Being an automotive baby what are the current retirement packages for retirees that are retiring in the next five years, canthey be cut rather than cut jobs from families who are working toward a future with the plants? Are the executives (white collar workers) taking pay cuts, rather than the guys throwing engines in the plants? They answer yes, to the questions about providing suppliers with the money needed to proceed that are in the USA, I do not understand how that can be a yes answer when the supplies DO COME FROM OTHER COUNTRIES, what are they expected to do, make up USA companies who are suppliers? Not going to happen and there would be no way to prove that the money did not leave the country to pay for supplies. Did the CEOS take any dividends, income and benefits to date this year as we come to a year end? Why are the banks turning them down? Are they a lost cause to the banks?
Thank you

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