U.S automakers Ford, Chrysler and GM would have us believe 2010 is their “Year of Magical Turnaround”.
But for NOW, the CEO’s from the big three U.S automakers are either at the mercy of Congress…or their own folly!
Today, (December 04/2008) they returned to Capitol Hill looking for a “rescue package/bailout/bridge loan”. And to underscore their good faith and show that they too can turnaround, the auto execs left the corporate jets at home. All three arrived in Washington in fancy, futuristic, green models.
But they still need to sell congress and the American people on their long-term viability. And so far, they don’t seem to be doing too well.
A majority of Americans (61-percent) do not support giving government/tax dollars to U.S auto companies.
That’s according to a new poll (CNN/Opinion Research Corporation) released Wednesday. (December 03/2008). About 11-hundred people were surveyed by phone December 1-2. The margin of error is plus or minus 3-percent.
Just before Thanksgiving, the Big Three was asking for 25-billion-dollars. Two weeks later, 25-billion is no longer enough. Ford, GM and Chrysler have added another 9-billion. They say they now need 34-billion in emergency loans from the government.
General Motors and Chrysler are much worse off than Ford. Both are burning through billions of dollars in cash. At privately held Chrysler (owned by New York based Cerberus Capital Management and Germany’s Daimler AG), the company won’t even disclose CEO Robert Nardelli’s compensation package!
Here’s what the automakers are asking for:
• GM says it needs 4 billion immediately to avoid complete collapse before year’s end. It also wants 8-billion early next year and access to a 6-billion-dollar line of credit.
• CHRYSLER is asking for a 7-billion-dollar bridge loan to help it operate through 2009.
• FORD wants a 9-billion-dollar line of credit, but might not really need the money.
While lawmakers debate if they should use tax dollars to help “save” the automakers, Americans have apparently decided already. According to the CNN/Opinion Research poll:
• 70% of respondents think any auto bailout is unfair to taxpayers.
• Most also think a bailout would not help the economy.
• Only 15% of those polled think a bankruptcy in the auto industry would have an immediate impact on their families.
• 43% think a bankruptcy would eventually have an effect on them.
Among those who would rather NOT help the automakers, is media mogul, Ted Turner. The Cable News Network (CNN) founder appeared on NBC’s Meet the Press, Sunday, with host Tom Brokaw. Here is an excerpt:
BROKAW: You’re not very sympathetic to what’s going on in Detroit.
TURNER: Well, I am. Really, I don’t like to see anybody do–not doing well, but I’m afraid–I saw it coming years ago, Detroit was going–headed for a crash, and it’s amazing to me that they didn’t see it, either, you know, and start building smaller cars, more fuel efficient cars a long time ago. Because anybody, anybody with half a brain could see we’re going to have, you know, big disruptions in the fossil fuel business.
BROKAW: Let me read you what you had to say about it recently. “If we give the Big Three automakers a $25 billion bailout, they’re going to blow through it by the first of March. They won’t know what to do with it. Let them go bankrupt and get Toyota to buy them out.” A lot of jobs are connected to the American automobile industry. Do you think that the government ought not to have any role in trying to put them back together?
TURNER: I don’t, I really don’t know, but I feel like that it would be a lot better if we’re going to put–if the United States government’s going to put money in anything, why not put it into clean, renewable energy and create jobs for the future instead of trying to keep alive a smoke stack industry of the past whose days–the days of big automobiles are over. The days of fossil fuel are over”.
I see it this way. This may be the dawning of yet another age in the energy revolution.
In the 1800’s, whaling was very big business. And New England, NOT the Gulf Coast, was America’s energy hub.
Here in Massachusetts, New Bedford was the world’s whaling center. I read online that back in the 1840’s, the now depressed city was home port for about 400 of the world’s 700 whaling ships.
When oil arrived, and lamps started using kerosene instead of whale oil, New Bedford, “The City that Lit the World,” was out. Texas was in!
But New England survived…and so did America. The power was not lost. It just shifted to another region.
There’s a lesson there somewhere…!