With a multi-volume list of issues that a presidential hopeful could discuss, we aren't sure why Mitt Romney keeps circling back to the auto industry bailouts, but here we are again. He's lately swinging his stick at the U.S. Treasury Department for not having sold its 26.5-percent stake in General Motors, accusing it of holding back on the stock sale to avoid having to report a multi-billion dollar loss before the election.
Auto Industry Bailout
New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo has announced that his office settled with former White House Task Force "Car Czar" Stephen L. Rattner for $10 million. The agreement comes following charges that Rattner engaged in a kickback scheme involving New York's pension funds while he was an executive with Quadrangle Group.
The European Union made noises last year about having the WTO verify that the U.S. auto industry assistance package doesn't violate any international trade rules. Now French President Nicolas Sarkozy has said he will ask the World Trade Organization to stick their hands into the matter.
Let's go ahead and get it out there: General Motors doesn't have a plan for Saab, Saturn, or HUMMER – it has a bunch of hopes, ideas and proposals. The best that GM can do with Saab is try to extricate the brand from its entangled web, which might make it more attractive to a buyer. That includes moving 9-3 and 9-5 production to Sweden and being "engaged with the Swedish government" on a plan for Saab's future. But GM has admitted that "Saab is not a U.S. strategy," and the code behind tha
The UAW idled Chrysler's jobs bank earlier this week, and as of February 2, the UAW and General Motors will shut down the job bank it also maintains for its workers. GM is paying the 1,600 workers currently in the system 85% of their on-the-job wages. As of February 3, they will receive a measure of supplemental pay from GM and can apply for unemployment, the total of which should come to 72% of their former pay. The move potentially leaves Ford's jobs bank as the only one left running, but Ford
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.
The Wall Street Journal puts forth the case that the government's $5 billion lifeline to GMAC has given GMAC a competitive advantage compared to its rivals. After the taxpayer cash was received, GMAC dropped the required credit score to get a loan and began offering 0% financing on several models, and rates from about 1% to 6% on a host of others. While doing so, it admitted that "without this [loan] . . . we would not be able to do this today."
Another casualty in the collateral damage of auto industry woes: Graduating car designers are no longer finding jobs. The LA Times reports that in years past, manufacturer representatives would attend the Pasadena's Art Center College of Design's senior showcase and welcome a few visionaries into the hallowed world of car design. Now, manufacturer representation is down to one or two (if any), and those who show don't always end up hiring. For students who weren't chosen by manufacturers, the fa
True to their word, the Canadians came through with an aid package to support the auto industry, namely GM and Chrylser. The amount to be loaned is $4 billion Canadian, with $2.7 billion coming from the national government and $1.3 billion coming from Ontario, where much of the industry is based. With the conversion from Canadian to U.S. dollars at today's rates, that works out to just about the 20-percent that was promised. Parts suppliers in Canada will also have access to the money, and some
The first draft of a bill that would offer loans to the Detroit 3 automakers - effectively allowing at least two of them to keep their doors open for at least the next few months - is now out. As expected, there are a few stipulations that the automakers must accept if they are to receive these loans. One of which is an appointed "car czar," who would continue the negotiations after March 31, 2009. That's when the Detroit 3 are supposed to offer revised business plans.
Little guy Porsche is taking huge swings, and not just at the giant that is Volkswagen. Porsche head Wendelin Wiedeking had fierce Teutonic words for General Motors and Ford, and banks. His Rindfleisch – beef, that is – with U.S. automakers is that, through unsound practices, they have thrown absolutely everything into turmoil. In the words of the Guardian, in fact, they have driven "the industry to the brink of ruin."
Ron Gettelfinger's basically saying "it's not our fault" when discussing the state of Detroit's automakers. Rather than admit that the UAW's plum labor agreements and contentious negotiations have contributed to the current gloomy situation, the United Auto Workers head man says that the economic downturn is to blame for everything, and that Congress should approve loans to the auto industry, saying "We cannot afford to...see this industry collapse." You've got to love that black and white logic