Posted tagged ‘Robert Nardelli’

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.

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Auto Industry CEOs Flew Private Jets to Ask for Bailout Money

November 20, 2008

Lawmakers are lashing out at the CEOs of General Motors, Ford and Chrysler today for flying private jets to Washington to request taxpayer bailout money. Seriously. Do executives even think before they do things? It’s like calling the kettle black. And you think you deserve the money?

From CNN:

“There is a delicious irony in seeing private luxury jets flying into Washington, D.C., and people coming off of them with tin cups in their hand, saying that they’re going to be trimming down and streamlining their businesses,” Rep. Gary Ackerman, D-New York, told the chief executive officers of Ford, Chrysler and General Motors at a hearing of the House Financial Services Committee.

“It’s almost like seeing a guy show up at the soup kitchen in high hat and tuxedo. It kind of makes you a little bit suspicious.”

He added, “couldn’t you all have downgraded to first class or jet-pooled or something to get here? It would have at least sent a message that you do get it.”

The executives — Alan Mulally of Ford, Robert Nardelli of Chrysler and Richard Wagoner of GM — were seeking support for a $25 billion loan package. Later Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid reversed plans to hold a test vote on the measure.

An aide told CNN that Reid decided to cancel the test vote when it became clear the measure would fall well short of the 60 votes needed. Reid did, however, make a procedural move that could allow a vote on a compromise, which several senators from auto-producing states were feverishly trying to craft.

At Wednesday’s hearing, Rep. Brad Sherman, D-California, pressed the private-jet issue, asking the three CEOs to “raise their hand if they flew here commercial.”

“Let the record show, no hands went up,” Sherman said. “Second, I’m going to ask you to raise your hand if you are planning to sell your jet in place now and fly back commercial. Let the record show, no hands went up.”

The executives did not specifically respond to those remarks. In their testimony, they said they are streamlining business operations in general.

Auto Makers Leave Congress Empty-Handed

November 20, 2008

Lawmakers deadlocked on a plan to bail out the Big Three automakers, leaving General Motors facing the prospect it could run out of cash before a new Congress can come to the rescue next year.

From Bloomberg:

Democratic congressional leaders disagreed with Republicans and President George W. Bush’s administration over how to provide $25 billion in aid to GM, Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler LLC. Only two days remain in a lame-duck session for lawmakers to resurrect a compromise, though Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said today Congress might return in December to complete its work.

“We are in a situation where we don’t know procedurally what we are going to be able to accomplish today,” the Nevada Democrat said on the Senate floor.

Reid earlier suggested the situation was dire and refused to set aside time today to debate a compromise proposed by Senator Kit Bond, a Missouri Republican. Reid said Bond’s plan hasn’t been put in writing and the House of Representatives is about to adjourn.

Bond and fellow Republican George Voinovich of Ohio insisted they weren’t giving up on their proposal to speed up and broaden access to $25 billion already approved for fuel-efficient vehicle development that was a compromise.