The short version of President Obama's speech today regarding the U.S. auto industry is this: there's only a little more time for GM and Chrysler to get their act together. First off, GM CEO Rick Wagoner got booted and was replaced by Fritz Henderson. Michigan governor Jennifer Granholm said Wagoner was a "sacrificial lamb" (it's still unclear why he was forced out while bank CEOs get to stay on, but that's another issue).

GM will be given 60 days of financing to restructure. Chrysler and Fiat have 30 days to come to an agreement, and the U.S. will give Chrysler up to $6 billion to keep operating during that time. If agreeable solutions can't be found by the end of these deadlines, bankruptcy may be the answer. You can read more details on the speech over at Autoblog. Here, we wanted to look at the potential green effects.
  • Obama said the U.S. government will back the warranties for GM and Chrysler vehicles. This removes one barrier to people hesitant to buy a car from these companies, but it does raise other questions. Can you imagine a scenario where the Chevy Volt is out, the battery packs don't work as promised and now the U.S. taxpayer gets to buy new packs for them?
  • The President also spoke about "fleet modernization programs" and said he wants to work with Congress to find a way to get money from the Recovery Act to put a version of cash-for-clunkers into action. This is good for decreasing the overall fuel use in the U.S., but it's not like there's a whole lot of money for Congress to give out.
  • Speaking of cleaner cars, Obama talked positively about the potential that Fiat will give Chrysler technology and will build cars and engines in the U.S. May we suggest these five?
[Source: President Obama, Autoblog]

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