Saturday, December 13, 2008

Bush Administration Steps up to the Plate for US Automakers

The Bush Administration acted quickly and without hesitating. Late Friday afternoon, the White House announced that it would help the Detroit Three and not allow them to file for bankruptcy. My hat goes off to President Bush for his decisive action and making the announcement before the weekend. Even the stock market had a chance for a small rally before the closing bell. Basically, the White House reversed its prior stance of not touching the TARP funds and will probably use these monies for the bailout/loans.

Bush's spokeswoman Dana Perino said, ""A precipitous collapse of this industry would have a severe impact on our economy, and it would be irresponsible to further weaken and destabilize our economy at this time." Finally, someone with a bit of sense lets her voice be hear. She continues, "...the federal government may need to step in to prevent an immediate failure, the auto companies, their labor unions, and all other stakeholders must be prepared to make the meaningful concessions necessary to become viable."

This weekend, Administration officials are talking with the Detroit Three concerning conditions that must be met to receive aid and have not made final decisions on the size or duration of the package. What to look for is how quickly the Administration can get the funds to GM and Chrysler, who admit to being on the brink of financial collapse. With little more than two weeks left in the year, it looks like there is time to make the loans available.

The prominent Senator from Michigan, Carl Levin - D, had this to say, ""The effort to provide emergency bridge loans to U.S. automakers is still very much alive. I am encouraged that the White House said today that they will consider other options to assist the auto companies, including use of the TARP program."

GM has announced it would produce 250,000 less vehicles in the first quarter of 2009 and temporarily close 20 plants in Canada, US and Mexico. Some plants would even be closed for the entire month of January. Sales figures for ALL of the automakers selling vehicles in the US are down, ranging from 30 to 40 percent less than last year. The automakers are now scrambling to cut production and costs in reaction to the slumping sales.

No comments: