You don't have to be a pollster to know that for the most part, the American public remains none too happy about the federal government handing over the people's hard-earned tax dollars to pull General Motors and Chrysler out of the fires of insolvency. Despite the fact that both companies have managed to keep their lights on, doors open and paychecks flowing due to their generous federal loans, Joe Plumber still can't stand the thought of paying the price of the two companies' failures. With mi
The Department of Energy (DOE) seems to be loaded with cash these days and is stopping just short of throwing the stuff at companies. We're thrilled that several advanced battery companies have received lots of the greenbacks, but the cash flow has to run dry at some point, right? Not yet, because the DOE has awarded grants to three more advanced battery technology companies.
Wednesday was a busy day for General Motors CEO Ed Whitacre by anyone's definition. He started the day with a trip to The General's Fairfax plant in Kansas to tell the world that GM was paying off the remaining $5.8 billion in government loans five years ahead of schedule and to announce a $257 million investment for a pair of plants. After the announcement came a trip to Washington to meet with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Michigan delegation from Congress.
Good news, the check is in the mail! General Motors issued a (very) brief press release this afternoon stating that the automaker had delivered on its promise to issue its first reimbursement checks to the U.S. and Canadian governments by the end of the year. GM sent $1 billion to the feds and $192 million to the Canadian government, and GM reiterated in the statement that it would complete payments totaling $6.7 billion (to the U.S. government) by June 2010.
Before Fiat and prior to bankruptcy, the old Chrysler, LLC needed $4 billion just to keep the doors open. The Bush Administration came through with the company-saving cash at the 11th hour, keeping the Pentastar solvent long enough to make it to bankruptcy court. Chrysler was reportedly given $15 billion in total aid, and it appears much of that money will be repaid through future payments and through incentives for Fiat to increase its stake in Chrysler from 20 percent to 35 percent. But that o
GMAC has received $12.5 billion in U.S. Treasury loans since last December, but that sizable amount of cash may not be the last of government assistance. The Detroit News is reporting that General Motors' finance arm could receive between $4 billion to $5.6 billion by November 9 in order to satisfy more stringent government mandates to have sufficient cash on hand in the event of a prolonged recession. GM's financing arm said in May that it was attempting to obtain the additional cash by means o
These are some confusing times in the automotive world. For the past few years, it seemed as though Porsche was primed to rule the world. It was selling plenty of product, and more importantly, it was quickly gobbling up shares of German juggernaut Volkswagen. Dried-up credit markets and slow sales have conspired to put a big wrench in Porsche's plans, though.
Over the past two days, we've told you what we've heard about the latest short-term federal aid coming to Chrysler and GM. According to the latest reports, it will be $5B to the latter and $500M to the former. We also mentioned it had been reported that Chrysler Financial had inexplicably turned down an additional $750M in government aid during this most recent round of handouts. It had been speculated that it was because of a refusal by CF execs to sign off on executive compensation limits in t
General Motors submitted a restructuring plan on February 17 that included 47,000 job cuts, 14 plant closings by 2012 and the sale, dismantling, or shrinking of four brands. It sounds like a big remodeling job, unless you're a GM bondholder. In a letter sent to President Obama's automotive task force, GM's debt holders feel that the plan may rely too heavily on the ability for the economy and car sales to make a quick turnaround. The letter states that bond holders "do not know if the plan would
General Motors and Chrysler have been in meetings with the U.S. Treasury this week to discuss how and when the Detroit automakers can again become viable. Both companies are asking for additional billions to fund their perspective turnarounds, but Chrysler is also defending a proposed partnership with Fiat. Fiat's pending 35% ownership stake would provide Chrysler with small and mid-size cars and more fuel efficient powertrains, but no cash.
During his state of the economy speech on Capitol Hill, President Obama was passionate in stating his commitment to saving the domestic auto industry. While domestic automakers have the President's support, the general public may be less receptive to more government loans. A recent USA Today poll taken in the days before President Obama's speech shows that only 25% of the 1,013 Americans polled are now in favor of additional assistance. That's down from 61% in December just before the government
General Motors may have put a merger with Chrysler in its rear view mirror, but the Pentastar apparently thinks a tie-up might still be a good idea. Chrysler called a potential pairing with the General the "best option" for the Auburn Hills, MI-based automaker, saying that it would reap five times the benefit of a Fiat merger. Chrysler pointed out in its viability report to the U.S. government that the two companies would have more purchasing power, the deal would generate $36 billion in cash an
Detroit automakers are frantically working to cut costs in an effort to stay out of bankruptcy court. A very big piece of the puzzle is labor, and leaders from the Canadian Auto Workers Union are reportedly ready and willing to make concessions. Talks are set to begin next week in advance of a February 17 deadline for the Detroit automakers to submit their viability plans to the Canadian government. The CAW would like to exchange wage concessions in return for job guarantees.
The French government has put €6 billion ($7.79 billion USD) on the table for car companies. And as part of the effort to make sure that every drop of the money goes toward maximizing performance and retaining jobs, the French government has asked that Peugeot/Citroen and Renault company bosses take a pass on their bonuses.
BMW builds terrific cars and crossovers, but even Germany's finest is struggling to tread water in a brutal automotive climate. Lagging demand has forced BMW to cut 26,000 workers for the months of February and March and BMW's factories in Dingolfing and Regensburg will be effected by the eliminations, which will cut 38,000 units. BMW is also reducing hours at Berlin and Landshut to better align output with demand. The reduced production hours and labor cuts won't result in any permanent layoffs
Every year, Chrysler rewards its top dealers with an all-expenses paid trip to some exotic location. But with the financial situation at the privately-owned automaker in the crapper, the Pentastar decided to cancel this year's excursion. Chrysler spokesman Stuart Schorr told the Detroit News that "the state of the market and the financial challenges the company faces, it made sense not to hold this year's reward meeting." We're sure the decision to cancel the trip to the Hilton Los Cabos Beach &
The last few weeks may have been some of the worst in GM's 100-year history. Sales have tanked, CEO Rick Wagoner faced a firing squad in Washington -- twice -- and a CNN poll showed that 61% of Americans didn't want the automakers to get federal loans. It appears Congress is on the verge of approving up to $18 billion dollars to keep GM and Chrysler in business, and the General is thankful for the chance to keep the lights on. GM crafted a letter expressing its gratitude, and published it in tod
It's taken two rounds of Congressional hearings, some major pride swallowing and three detailed business plans, but it looks as if the Detroit 3 will be getting the federal loans they need, though not as much they asked for. A deal was reportedly reached between Democratic leaders and the White House that will supply around $15 billion in federal loans to the struggling U.S. auto industry. While General Motors, Ford and Chrysler asked for a combined maximum of $34 billion, the $15 billion is des
General Motors CEO Rick Wagoner has arrived in Washington to deliver testimony at Senate hearings scheduled for today and tomorrow, and as we reported late yesterday, his transportation this time was not a private jet, but rather a series hybrid Chevy Volt mule in the body of a Chevy Cruze. Ford CEO Alan Mulally also ditched his private plane for a ride down to DC in a Ford Escape Hybrid, while Chrysler CEO Bob Nardelli made the trip in a Chrysler Aspen Hybrid. UAW President Ron Gettelfinger fle