• Nov 19, 2008
Earth to the not-exactly-Big 3 CEOs: When you fly to Washington to beg for an industry bailout, do yourselves a favor and leave the corporate jet at home. ABC News has thrown Rick Wagoner, Alan Mulally and Bob Nardelli directly under the bus, reporting that each exercised costly private jet perks for their joint appearance before Congress instead of setting an example by flying commercial.

In his taped report, ABC's Brian Ross points out that Wagoner's round-trip on the company G4 cost approximately $20,000. A first class, round-trip commercial ticket from Detroit would have instead cost around $900 (multiplied by however many people Rick had in his entourage). Ross questioned Wagoner about his using the jet as he was leaving the hearing. The GM CEO replied that it was used only for "urgent situations." Alan Mulally also flew private, presumably on the same Ford-owned jet that ferries him and his wife home to Seattle on the weekends. No details were given on Nardelli's travel specifics, other than that he too arrived on a private jet.

We understand that these are perks many CEOs enjoy, but when you're about to stick your hand out for billions of dollars, it might help to suck it up and slum it in First Class like the rest of us. Oh, wait. Of course, the first class cabin on a Northwest Airlines jet isn't as optimal for perfecting your presentation as a private, flying boardroom. On the other hand, a commercial flight would let the three CEOs all fly together so they can get their sob stories straight. Hang on to your wallets, everyone.

[Source: ABC News, Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty]


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  • 113 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      With all of the `intelligent`comments whizzing by in here, no one mentioned videoconferencing as a solution this this general jackassery. Is it REALLY that important to be there in person? I`m sure incompetence and begging can be transferred via the intertubes (a.k.a interwebs). It would be WAY more efficient, but then again your country only cares about efficiency when the only other choice is no choice (i.e. Global Warming, Economic Depression, Rising Gas Prices, World War II)

      The term Cochon Américain (American Pig) has never been truer. CONSUME CONSUME CONSUME!!!

      One last point. Who even has the right to call someone un-American. Who is to define what being American is. Isn`t your land a land of freedom of expression and living your life the way YOU want to live? The truly un-American are the one`s who call others out as not being American.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I don't think that $25 billion or $250 billion will save these companies. These are lean times around the World and most people just aren't going to buy a new car right now no matter how good of a vallue it is. There are just too many car companies and new cars being produced to feed what little demand there is, so things are going to get bad.

      If the Big 3 do go down it will affect so many millions of people and some small towns will just die. Nobody wants this, but it is the society of glutton that we live in and something has to change it. Times are going to get very tough, so I hope you have cleaned out your 401k already and put it under your mattress for when millions of people are in the unemployment line with their hand out.
      steven
      • 6 Years Ago
      How about the government give the taxpayers vouchers. These vouchers can be used to purchase any NEW BIG THREE vehicle of your choice. You go to the dealer, make your selection, drive away in your new VIPER ACR (or whatever your cup 'o tea is). The dealer sends the voucher to the government for payment of above vehicle.

      The manufacturer wins two-fold, they get their slow selling vehicles off the lots and receive payment from the government.

      The government wins by generating millions/billions in tax revenue.

      The consumer wins by getting a new vehicle.

      What do you think?
      • 6 Years Ago
      That is an insurance requirement. CEO can't fly commercial airlines and not in groups.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Yes, this after Raytheon lost *four* top executives, who were flying on the same commercial flight, on 9/11.

        The whole point of this thread is a non-issue, just useful for bashing the automakers. If the Big 2.5 go down, even Toyota and Honda would be hurt, because they all use the same parts suppliers.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Quote from Polly Prissy Pants: -
        "Heck, Bill Gates flew commercial until 1997, but then he bought his own jet, not the company." -

        Not saying it's an absolute fact since I don't yet have a link. But, nonetheless, your point is moot since 1997 was before the attacks of 9/11 and that insurance rule is said to have come about due to 9/11.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Wow,

      No wonder they ripped Wagoner a new one when he was talking about GM's budget. I didnt expect this thing to be a bloodbath but it sure was. I was feeling sorry for GM at least because they have been showing signs of a huge turnaround with their recent cars, so I thought they'd be probably be profitable in the long run... but after Wagoner sounded utterly clueless about how much GM was going to need i'm not so sure anymore.
      • 6 Years Ago
      There is a whole lot of stupidity in this thread. How many of you retards took into account that the CEO of a massive multinational corporation cannot fly commercial for security reasons? Remember 9-11? The logic (or lack thereof), short sightedness and plain old stupidity in the comments posted here astounds me.
      • 6 Years Ago
      You are all missing the point about the $25 billion loan to the automotive industry... this would be taken from the $700 billion... YES... $700 BILLION Dollar TAX PAYER PROVIDED LOAN that our wonderful government has already agreed to provide for the financial fiasco they themselves created by messing with the checks and balances of the free-market system. Tripping out over this tiny (in context of course) amount of money is like having an argument with a friend over $7 and fist fighting over .25 cents. The media (not just Autoblog) continues trump this up while ignoring the outrageous costs of the full financial bailout and most Americans are taking the bait. Can you spell "smoke screen"? Ok... off my soapbox.
        • 6 Years Ago
        pretty dumb comment,
        it's not taxpayers money they would use they would just print it out of nowhere just asking for a promise back that they will pay. If the US had so much "taxpayers" money ready and available to give away why dont they pay their 300 trillion dollar debt ?
      • 6 Years Ago
      One reason of the crisis is the greed and those kind of managers don't just sit in Investment Companies, they sit as well in other big Firms. They are not good managers, they just wait for their huge pay-checks. This plane story shows it quite clear. They are not successful, they only were lucky, actually they are a bunch of loosers.

      My proposal, pay less and get smarter people, who care about the company and their products and workers.
      • 6 Years Ago
      As a U. S. taxpayer -- my message to Chrysler, Ford, and GM is the same. In the simplest terms – you three are in trouble because you don’t sell cars. If you do some soul searching and do the following (or close variations of the following) you might be able to turn your companies around and once again become innovative world class manufacturers.
      • Examine the pay and benefits packages to your upper level management. If you operate like the crooks which caused the Wall Street bailout you have plenty of savings to be had for your balance sheets.
      • Unions -- Examine the pay and benefits packages to your upper level management. This along with bringing union worker pay into a reasonable realm will help provide savings to run a successful company.
      • Build fuel efficient, low emission, quality cars, at a good price. If you do that -- people like me would buy American instead of foreign cars. Don’t kid yourselves. Dollar for dollar you produce an inferior product compared to the foreign manufacturers.
      Filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy along with greatly curtailing the pay and benefit for your highly compensated people might enable you to turn things around. America’s economy would be vastly better off with a vibrant auto industry. Do you have the will to provide one?
        • 6 Years Ago
        You're pretty much spot on with your review of the issues that plague the American auto industry even though certain CEO's would have the public believe that their sales decline was wholly due to the economic straits we've found ourselves in, but then it's always been easier to point a finger than it has been to accept the guilt for your own actions.

        They went on to whine about the Wall Street bailout, essentially saying that we've bailed them (Wall Street) out so why won't we bail them (the automakers) out as well (I've reservations about that fiasco as well, but that's another topic altogether...though somehow similar in that both of these businesses, Wall Street and the Big Three, are in the predicaments they've found themselves due largely to mismanagement/lack of accountability/and shady backroom machinations), causing me to flash back on some early childhood memories of kids bickering over who got how much of what).

        The simple fact of the matter is that they do not actually need a handout, they only need to strategize their conformity to coincide with what the policy makers, public, economy, and world needs/requires, i.e., the development and implementation of alternative technologies for powering our vehicles.

        As it is, the government has already earmarked a $25 billion budget for just that.

        In that the automakers are in Washington asking for more money on top of the already available $25 billion (another $25 billion that they cannot even manage to quantify) makes it plaintively clear that they've (the Big 3) no interest whatsoever in advancing automotive technology and are, instead, intent on desperately clinging to the long outdated method of petroleum fueled power production (which in itself hints at an even darker truth that has long been muttered about in passing whenever conversations have touched on the continued need for oil) is the really disconcerting thing when the need, albeit the demand, is all so obvious.

        Our country, America, has consistently been the leader in the invention and development of innumerable technologies that have all served to shape the World as we know it today just as we're the ones who showed the World how to design and build automobiles...it seems such a shame to me that we're also not the ones who're taking the lead in automotive advancement.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Why don't they flypool in one corporate jet together? :)
      • 6 Years Ago
      You guys act like GM wrote a check for $20,000. That number includes a lot of sunk costs in the jet already. You think they don't have to pay the mortgage on that jet or the pilots when it sits? All this cost GM was fuel and 3 hrs of wear and tear.

      Now, factor in that the CEO was able to get work done and not get stuck in 2 hrs of security at a normal airport and it looks like a smart call to me.
      Carlos
      • 6 Years Ago
      These are some scary times...
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