Posted tagged ‘Auto Bailout’

GM To Cut More Than 1100 US Dealers

May 15, 2009

General Motors notified 1,100 of its 6,000 dealerships today that it is terminating their contracts with the struggling automaker.

From CNN:

GM spokeswoman Susan Garontakos said that the dealers receiving notice Friday are being told that their contracts will not be renewed in October 2010. Many of them are expected to close shop this year.

The company has told the Obama administration that it plans to cut its network down to 3,600 dealers by next year.

Much of the rest of the cuts will come from GM’s plans to sell or close four brands – Saturn, Hummer, Saab and Pontiac.

Those four brands have about 600 dealerships that do not include other GM brands. But most Pontiac and Hummer dealers will stay in the GM family because they have one of the four remaining GM brands as part of their operation.

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Chrysler To Close 789 Dealerships

May 14, 2009

Chrysler hopes to eliminate roughly a quarter of its 3,200 U.S. dealerships by early next month, saying in a bankruptcy court filing this morning that there are too many stores competing with each other.

From the Associated Press:

The company, in a motion filed with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York, said it wants to eliminate 789 dealerships by June 9. Many of the dealers’ sales are too low, the automaker said. Just over 50 percent of dealers account for about 90 percent of the company’s U.S. sales, the motion said.

Dealers were told Thursday morning via United Parcel Service letter if they would remain or be eliminated. The move, which the dealers can appeal, is likely to cause devastating affects in cities and towns across the country as thousands of jobs are lost and taxes are not paid.

Obama: No Bailout Funds for Automakers

March 29, 2009

The White House says neither GM nor Chrysler submitted acceptable plans to receive more bailout money, setting the stage for a crisis in Detroit and putting in motion what could be the final two months of two American auto giants.

From the Associated Press:

President Barack Obama and his top advisers have determined that neither company is viable and that taxpayers will not spend untold billions more to keep the pair of automakers open forever. In a last-ditch effort, the administration gave each company a brief deadline to try one last time to convince Washington it is worth saving, said senior administration officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to more bluntly discuss the decision.

Obama was set to make the announcement at 11 a.m. Monday in the White House’s foyer.

In an interview with CBS’ “Face the Nation” broadcast Sunday, Obama said the companies must do more to receive additional financial aid from the government.

“We think we can have a successful U.S. auto industry. But it’s got to be one that’s realistically designed to weather this storm and to emerge—at the other end—much more lean, mean and competitive than it currently is,” Obama said.

Frustrated administration officials said Chrysler cannot function as an independent company under its current plan. They have given Chrysler a 30-day window to complete a proposed partnership with Italian automaker Fiat SpA, and will offer up to $6 billion to the companies if they can negotiate a deal before time runs out.

General Motors CEO Rick Wagoner to Step Down

March 29, 2009

General Motors CEO Rick Wagoner will step down after more than eight years with the company.

From Bloomberg:

General Motors Corp. Chief Executive Officer Rick Wagoner will step down after more than eight years running the largest U.S. automaker, people familiar with the situation said.

The people, who asked not to be named because the announcement hasn’t been made, didn’t give a reason why Wagoner, 56, is leaving. Wagoner said as recently as March 19 that he didn’t plan to resign.

From the New York Times:

The chairman and chief executive of General Motors, Rick Wagoner, is resigning, just as President Obama prepares to unveil his rescue plans on Monday for G.M. and the ailing American auto industry, according to a person close to the decision.

The unexpected move by Mr. Wagoner, who has been at the helm of G.M. for eight years, was not confirmed by the company. But a statement about Mr. Wagoner’s future will be issued after the president’s address.

G.M. and Chrysler are on the verge of exhausting the $17.4 billion in federal loans given to them since December. G.M. has asked for up to $16.6 billion more, and Chrysler another $5 billion.

The president’s auto task force is expected to recommend more short-term assistance to the two Detroit companies, but with tight strings attached to the money and a new deadline to get concessions from union workers and creditors.

President Bush Announces Auto Industry Bailout

December 19, 2008

President Bush announced a rescue plan for General Motors and Chrysler this morning that will make $13.4 billion in federal loans available to the industry almost immediately.

From CNNMoney:

A senior administration official briefing reporters said he expects that GM and Chrysler LLC will be signing the loan papers to access the cash later Friday morning.

The money will come from the $700 billion fund set aside to bailout Wall Street firms and banks in October.

With these loans, Treasury will have committed virtually all of the $350 billion of that fund that it can hand out without additional authorization from Congress. Once Congress releases the other $350 billion, the two automakers will be able to borrow an additional $4 billion.

GM will get $9.4 billion from the first allocation of federal loan money, while Chrysler would get the other $4 billion.

The loans are for three years but the money will have to be repaid in full within 30 days if the firms do not show themselves to be viable by March 31. It is expected that the companies will have to negotiate new agreements with unions and creditors in order to do so.

Here is the text of President Bush’s remarks delivered this morning at the White House, courtesy of the Associated Press, on financial assistance to troubled auto makers:

BUSH: Good morning.

For years, America’s automakers have faced serious challenges; burdensome costs, shrinking share of the market and declining profits. In recent months, the global financial crisis has made these challenges even more severe.

Now, some U.S. auto executives say that their companies are nearing collapse and that the only way they can buy time to restructure is with help from the federal government. It’s a difficult situation that involves fundamental questions about the proper role of government.

On the one hand, government has the responsibility not to undermine the private enterprise system. On the other hand, government has a responsibility to safeguard the broader health and stability of our economy.

Addressing the challenges in the auto industry requires us to balance these two responsibilities. If we were to allow the free market to take its course now, it would almost certainly lead to disorderly bankruptcy and liquidation for the automakers.

Under ordinary economic circumstances, I would say this is the price that failed companies must pay. And I would not favor intervening to prevent the automakers from going out of business. But these are not ordinary circumstances.

In the midst of a financial crisis and a recession, allowing the U.S. auto industry to collapse is not a responsible course of action. The question is how we can best give it a chance to succeed.

Some argue the wisest path is to allow the auto companies to reorganize through Chapter 11 provisions of our bankruptcy laws and provide federal loans to keep them operating while they try to restructure under the supervision of a bankruptcy court.

But given the current state of the auto industry and the economy, Chapter 11 is unlikely to work for American automakers at this time. American consumers understand why. If you hear that a car company is suddenly going into bankruptcy, you worry that parts and servicing will not be available and you question the value of your warranty.

With consumers hesitant to buy new cars from struggling automakers, it would be more difficult for auto companies to recover. Additionally, the financial crisis brought the auto companies to the brink of bankruptcy much faster than they could have anticipated. And they have not made the legal and financial preparations necessary to carry out an orderly bankruptcy proceeding that could lead to a successful restructuring.

The convergence of these factors means there is too great a risk that bankruptcy now would lead to a disorderly liquidation of American auto companies. My economic advisers believe that such a collapse would deal an unacceptably painful blow to hardworking Americans far beyond the auto industry. It would worsen a weak job market and exacerbate the financial crisis. It could send our suffering economy into a deeper and longer recession.

And it would leave the next president to confront the demise of a major American industry in his first days of office.

The more responsible option is to give the auto companies an incentive to restructure outside of bankruptcy and a brief window in which to do it. And that is why my administration worked with Congress on a bill to provide automakers with loans to stave off bankruptcy while they develop plans for viability.

This legislation earned bipartisan support from majorities in both houses of Congress. Unfortunately, despite extensive debate and agreement that we should prevent disorderly bankruptcies in the American auto industry, Congress was unable to get a bill to my desk before adjourning this year.

This means the only way to avoid a collapse of the U.S. auto industry is for the executive branch to step in. The American people want the auto companies to succeed and so do I.

So today I’m announcing that the federal government will grant loans to all the companies under conditions similar to those Congress considered last week. These loans will provide help in two ways. First, they will give automakers three months to put in place plans to restructure into viable companies which we believe they are capable of doing.

Second, if restructuring cannot be accomplished outside of bankruptcy, the loans will provide time for companies to make the legal and financial preparations necessary for an orderly Chapter 11 process that offers a better prospect of long-term success and gives consumer confidence that they can continue to buy American cars.

Because Congress failed to make funds available for these loans, the plan I’m announcing today will be drawn from the financial rescue package Congress approved earlier this fall. The terms of the loans will require auto companies to demonstrate how they would become viable.

They must pay back all their loans to the government and show that their firms can earn a profit and achieve a positive net worth. This restructuring will require meaningful concessions from all involved in the auto industry — management, labor unions, creditors, bond holders, dealers, and suppliers.

In particular, automakers must meet conditions that experts agree are necessary for long-term viability, including putting their retirement plans on a sustainable footing, persuading bond holders to convert their debt into capital that companies need to address immediate financial shortfalls, and making their compensation competitive with foreign automakers who have major operations in the United States.

If a company fails to come up with a viable plan by March 31st, it would be required to repay its federal loans. The automakers and unions must understand what is at stake and make hard decisions necessary to reform.

These conditions send a clear message to everyone involved in the future of American automakers. The time to make hard decisions to become viable is now. Or the only option will be bankruptcy.

The actions I’m announcing today represent a step that we wish were not necessary. But given the situation, it is the most effective and responsible way to address this challenge facing our nation. By giving the auto companies a chance to restructure, we will shield the American people from a harsh economic blow at a vulnerable time and we will give American workers an opportunity to show the world, once again, they can meet challenges with ingenuity and determination and bounce back from tough times and emerge stronger than before.

Thank you.

Chrysler to Shut Factories for One Month

December 17, 2008

Chrysler stated on Wednesday that it would close all 30 of its factories for at least one month, starting at the end of this week, in response to plunging vehicle sales in the United States.

From CNN:

All 30 of the carmaker’s plants will close after the last shift on Friday, and employees will not be asked to return to work before Jan. 19.

Chrysler blamed the “continued lack of consumer credit for the American car buyer” for the slow-down in sales that forced the move.

The company ordinarily shuts down operations between Dec. 24 and Jan. 5. This closure would add roughly two weeks to that shutdown.

Chrysler is the third of the Big Three automakers to suspend operations for January. Last week, General Motors announced it was idling 30% of its North American manufacturing capacity during the first quarter of 2009 in response to deteriorating market conditions. That move will take 250,000 vehicles out of production. On Wednesday, a Ford spokeswoman confirmed for CNN that the automaker is adding a week to its normal two-week seasonal shutdown at a number of its plants.

Chrysler would not say how many fewer vehicles would be produced because of this shutdown. A total of 46,000 employees will be affected. They will be paid during the time off through a combination of state unemployment benefits and Chrysler contributions, but they will not receive the full amount of their working pay, a Chrysler spokesman said.

“Chrysler dealers confirmed to the company at a recent meeting at its headquarters, that they have many willing buyers for Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge vehicles but are unable to close the deals, due to lack of financing,” the carmaker said in an announcement. “The dealers have stated that they have lost an estimated 20% to 25% of their volume because of this credit situation.”

Auto Bailout Talks Collapse

December 11, 2008

Bad news for the auto industry. A $14 billion emergency bailout for U.S. automakers collapsed in the Senate Thursday night after the United Auto Workers refused to accede to Republican demands for swift wage cuts.

From the Associated Press:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he was “terribly disappointed” about the demise of an emerging bipartisan deal to rescue Detroit’s Big Three.

He spoke shortly after Republicans left a closed-door meeting where they balked at giving the automakers federal aid unless their powerful union agreed to slash wages next year to bring them into line with those of Japanese carmakers.

Republican Sen. George V. Voinovich of Ohio, a strong bailout supporter, said the UAW was willing to make the cuts — but not until 2011.

Reid was working to set a swift test vote on the measure Thursday night, but it was just a formality. The bill was virtually certain to fail to reach the 60-vote threshold it would need to clear to advance.

Reid called the bill’s collapse “a loss for the country,” adding “I dread looking at Wall Street tomorrow. It’s not going to be a pleasant sight.”

The implosion followed an unprecedented marathon set of talks at the Capitol among labor, the auto industry and lawmakers who bargained into the night in efforts to salvage the auto bailout at a time of soaring job losses and widespread economic turmoil.

“In the midst of already deep and troubling economic times, we are about to add to that by walking away,” said Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., the Banking Committee chairman who led negotiations on the package.