Posted tagged ‘Chrysler’

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.”

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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.

Auto Bailout Deal Reached…Maybe…

December 10, 2008

According to congressional officials, Democrats in the Congress and the White House have finally finalized a deal to spend $15 billion on emergency loans for struggling U.S. automakers.

From the Associated Press:

The White House did not go quite so far, saying it has made “very good progress.” The measure could see a House vote later Wednesday and be enacted by week’s end.

It would create a government “car czar” to dole out the loans, with the power to force the carmakers into bankruptcy if they didn’t cut quick deals with labor unions, creditors and others to restructure their businesses and become viable.

Congressional Republicans, left out of negotiations on the package, are expressing grave reservations and may seek to block it.

Sen. David Vitter, R-La., promised to filibuster the measure, which could delay a final vote for days.

He said the package has an “ass-backwards” approach to curing what ails the U.S. auto industry.

Nevertheless, Democratic leaders were confident enough that a bill could advance that they set a procedural vote for the House floor later Wednesday. Even still, Sen. Mitch McConnell, the GOP leader, said in late morning that his side hadn’t seen the measure yet and wouldn’t agree to votes on the measure Wednesday.

“Republicans will not allow taxpayers to subsidize failure,” McConnell said, although he added that the auto situation would be addressed by the end of the week.

The congressional officials revealed agreement on a bill only on grounds of anonymity because the deal has not been formally announced.

Congress Agrees on Auto Bailout Plan

December 5, 2008

Democratic Congressional leaders said late today that they were ready to provide a short-term rescue plan for the American automakers, and they expect to hold votes on the legislation during a special session next week.

From the New York Times:

Details of the rescue package were not immediately available but senior Congressional aides said that it would include billions of dollars in short-term loans to keep the automakers afloat at least until President-elect Barack Obama takes office.

Ending a weeks-long stalemate between the Bush administration and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, senior aides said that the money would likely come from $25 billion in federally subsidized loans intended for developing advanced fuel efficient cars.

Ms. Pelosi had resisted using that money, which was approved as part of an energy bill last year, and Democrats had called repeatedly on the Bush administration or the Federal Reserve to act unilaterally, using existing authority, to aid the auto companies.

On Friday, Ms. Pelosi said that she would allow that money to be used provided “there is a guarantee that those funds will be replenished in a matter of weeks” and that there was no delay in working toward higher fuel-efficiency.

Word of a breakthrough came as Congress wrapped up two days of hearings at which lawmakers grilled the chief executives of the companies, Chrysler, Ford and General Motors, and experts warned that GM could collapse by the end of this month.

Ford Says CEO Will Work for $1

December 2, 2008

And he will be giving me the rest of his salary 🙂 I can dream, right?

Ford Motor Co. CEO Alan Mulally said he’ll work for $1 per year if the automaker has to take any government loan money.

From the Associated Press:

The plan Ford is presenting to Congress this week also says it will cancel all management employees’ 2009 bonuses and will not pay any merit increases for its North American salaried employees next year.

Other cost-cutting actions include a plan to sell Ford’s five corporate aircraft, the company said.

Mulally said in an interview with The Associated Press on Tuesday that Ford will emphasize its cost cutting efforts with the United Auto Workers union and will give much more detail to Congress than it did when lawmakers grilled the automakers’ CEOs earlier this month.

The company said it also will accelerate plans to roll out electric vehicles as part of the plan it will present to Congress this week. The vehicles will come out starting in 2010 and include the Transit Connect small van and a car the size of the Ford Focus compact.

Mulally says Ford will seek $9 billion in government loans but may not need them. The Dearborn-based has said it has enough cash to make it through 2009 without assistance.

All three Detroit automakers are scheduled to appear before congressional committees Thursday and Friday to seek a total of $25 billion in government loans. Chrysler LLC and General Motors Corp. have said they are perilously low on cash and need the government loans to survive the recession and the worst auto sales environment in 25 years.

Mulally also said he will encourage other automakers to join forces to develop new battery technologies in the U.S. for future electric cars.

An electric car and profitability are hallmarks of a plan Ford submitted to Congress Tuesday.

Ford’s plans call for an investment of up to $14 billion to improve fuel efficiency over the next seven years. The company said would improve the overall efficiency of its fleet by an average of 14 percent in 2009.

The company’s plans to achieve profitability or break even by 2011 are based on industrywide sales estimates of 12.5 million units in 2009, 14.5 million in 2010 and 15.5 million in 2011.

Ford Motor Company Considers Selling Volvo

December 1, 2008

Ford Motor Company is considering selling Volvo Car Corp. as the struggling U.S. automaker seeks to raise cash and weather a global automotive sales crisis.

From the Associated Press:

Ford said Monday it expects its strategic review of the Swedish luxury automaker will take several months. The move is one of several actions Ford is taking to strengthen its balance sheet amid what it called “severe economic instability worldwide.”

“Given the unprecedented external challenges facing Ford and the entire industry, it is prudent for Ford to evaluate options for Volvo as we implement our One Ford plan,” said company president and CEO Alan Mulally in written statement, referring to a plan the standardize the company globally.

Ford officials would not speculate on how a potential sale would affect the companies. Spinning off Volvo into a separate may be a possibility, as both companies have already taken steps to allow Volvo to operate on a more standalone basis. That effort began in 2007, after a previous strategic review of Volvo.

Automotive Executives to Carpool to Next Hearing?

November 24, 2008

That might be a good idea! After being ridiculed by Congress and made fun of on NBC’s “Saturday Night Live,” the CEOs of Detroit’s big three automakers may end up making their return trip to Washington by car as they seek a federal bailout.

From the Associated Press:

The Detroit area’s auto industry, whose livelihood depends on the health of Chrysler LLC, Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Corp. spent the weekend e-mailing and discussing how to set up a giant car caravan to seek help from Congress.

What’s for certain is GM CEO Rick Wagoner won’t be going to Washington by corporate jet, although the company’s policy is not to comment on executive travel plans for security reasons, said spokesman Tony Cervone. A Chrysler spokeswoman wouldn’t comment on executive travel plans, and a message was left for a Ford spokesman.

The carpool idea came out of meetings on Friday at Dura Automotive Systems Inc., an auto parts maker in suburban Rochester Hills. President and CEO Tim Leuliette said that during the weekend they contacted the automakers, suppliers, dealership groups and the United Auto Workers and the movement began building.

“The proper people are talking to the proper people, and things are getting put together,” said Leuliette. “This really picked up momentum over the weekend.”

Industry representatives want Congress to see not just three CEOs in suits during the hearings, but the many people dependent on the automakers for their livelihoods, Leuliette said.

“Quite honestly, this is about America,” he said. “This is a process of people’s lives being affected, and sometimes they don’t know how to put a voice to those concerns.”

The movement comes after last week’s disastrous hearings in front of two Congressional committees. Ford CEO Alan Mulally, Chrysler LLC CEO Robert Nardelli and GM’s Wagoner traveled to Washington on separate corporate jets to seek $25 billion in government loans to help them make it through the worst U.S. auto sales downturn in 25 years.

Congress, though, abandoned a vote on the bailout after the appearances in which the automakers were criticized for lavish corporate travel, as well as for having poor business plans and high labor costs that some members said would keep them from being competitive with Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co.