December 3rd, 2008
07:37 PM GMT
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NEW YORK – What a difference a couple of weeks makes. The CEOs of Detroit's big three automakers are once again in DC to plead for a government bailout - but this time they left the private jets at home and drove.

Ford's Alan Mullaly, GM's Rick Wagoner and Chrysler's Bob Nardelli made the nine-hour journey in their companies' hybrid cars.And they aren't stopping there. All three men also say they will now lower their salaries to a dollar each if their companies tap federal aid. It is clear they learned a lesson from the public relations fiasco that surrounded their last trip to Capitol Hill - but have they really changed?

In an effort to try and secure a financial life-line, all three have vowed to shrink their companies. They will be slashing jobs, shedding car lines and shifting production to energy efficient vehicles. At least that is the plan.

And they are not the only ones vowing to change. At a press conference Wednesday the head of the United Auto Workers Ron Gettelfinger said the union will consider making modifications to their existing labor contract. They are allowing the car companies to delay payments to a union-managed health care fund. But the union leader stopped short of re-opening the contract, leaving some speculating the give-backs would be limited.

There are other reasons to be deeply skeptical about this industry's ability to re-invent itself.

The amount of emergency money the companies say they need has gone up. In just two weeks the number has grown from $25 billion to $34 billion.

All these managers have unveiled turnaround plans in recent years - and none have been successful.

The CEOs now say they will cut their pay, but two weeks ago they didn't think that was necessary - even though Mullaly made almost $22 million last year and Wagoner $14.4 million. Nardelli's 2007 salary is not disclosed since Chrysler is now a private company.

Some Republican lawmakers have suggested that the government aid come with the condition that current management step down.

It may be that in the eleventh hour, with collapse looming for both General Motors and Chrysler, these CEOs and union leaders have truly been converted.

You'll get a chance to see yourself Thursday and Friday when they make their case once again for lawmakers and the general public.

But do you think these men can lead the charge to change? Or does the old management guard need to get swept out to give U.S. carmakers a real shot at survival?

Let us know what you think.

soundoff (237 Responses)
  1. Dustin

    America. Capitalism. If you can't run your company properly, then you shouldn't be in business.

    December 3, 2008 at 7:50 pm |
  2. John

    As much as I would like to see the USA produce valuable goods, these companies have been doing nothing worthwhile for years. They have produced a phenomenal amount of terrible, fuel-inefficient vehicles, yet expect people to buy them? Many cars now struggle to get 24MPG and claim it's an improvement, yet my friend with a 1993 Corolla gets 30MPG with a fully loaded trunk and passengers.

    The struggling economy is an outward symptom of a much more sinister problem–the USA has been producing very little of value for many years now. Rather, we have switched to a "service economy" where the mode of wealth is fleecing the poor and then capitalizing on their debt by driving others into debt. It is an economic model that is irresponsible and, more importantly, unsustainable. Why should we let it continue?

    December 3, 2008 at 7:56 pm |
  3. tony r

    The big three need to go through bankruptcy AND management change. They have had made many bad management decisions and have tried to re-invent themselves too many times. Its time for them to fall, and pull themselves back up by the bootstraps. The fact that GM is building a new plant in Russia when Americans are desperately looking for work shows that what is good for GM is not necessarily good for the U.S. I don't think they should be loaned one cent!

    December 3, 2008 at 7:59 pm |
  4. Bill

    Why not let GM go bankrupt and then do a special sale to Apple and let Steve Jobs and his team design the car of tomorrow? That is the kind of thinking that will re-shape the US auto industry.

    December 3, 2008 at 8:02 pm |
  5. Richard Baker

    Can anyone explain why AIG got 150 plus billion, and then had a half of a million beer bust (champange retreat) with little or no strings attached and the Big 3 Autos have to jump through all sorts of political hoops and abandon private jets for a paltry 34 billion loan?
    What does the financial industry have over George Bush and Paulsen?

    December 3, 2008 at 8:02 pm |
  6. Temecula Don

    While a bailout would prevent huge calamity in our economy, these companies will continue to struggle until they commit to making better products. Their business models are fundamentally flawed towards planned obsolescence, replacement parts, fleet leasing, Finance an bolstering their dealer network's used car sales programs.
    America has the ability to make the best cars in the world but the management (and accompanying bureaucracy & culture) chooses otherwise. Thus, the idea of removing the existing management has some merit but lets make sure that the entire apparatchik is included in that purge.

    December 3, 2008 at 8:09 pm |
  7. Temecula Don

    While a bailout would prevent huge calamity in our economy, these companies will continue to struggle until they commit to making better products. Their business models are fundamentally flawed towards planned obsolescence, replacement parts, fleet leasing, Finance an bolstering their dealer network's used car sales programs.
    America has the ability to make the best cars in the world but the management (and accompanying bureaucracy & culture) chooses otherwise. Thus, the idea of removing the existing management has some merit but lets make sure that the entire apparatchik is included in that purge.

    December 3, 2008 at 8:10 pm |
  8. Steve Iams

    The only way for *real* change for the automakers is for them to really have a need to change.

    They need a burning platform so to speak.

    The basic tenants of they way they do business must transform into a new form.

    A bailout will only encourage them to increase efficienty marginally.
    Whereas no bailout will force them them to change efficiency drastically.

    December 3, 2008 at 8:18 pm |
  9. Seed

    I'd like to think they've learned something, but they've had years to work on electric cars and have nothing to show for it. They were in a perpetual state of denial; any fool should have been able to see where they could have best concentrated their research. Now their shareholders and the country will have to pay the price. Yes, they need to be swept away and replaced with management that can see past next week. Idiots in charge of once-great companies drove these companies into the ground. Take a golden parachute and go hide your heads in shame.

    December 3, 2008 at 8:21 pm |
  10. Richmond

    Well, i just hope, but i want to stress that if the UAW contract is not drastically worked on, then they would achieve nothing to scale thru the first step of their REVIVAL. Normally it would have been nice to sack the entire management , Its still a mystery to me that a company was running on deficit all these while and the CEOs had the morale to be taking home bonuses without raising any alarm, I mean, its really TERRIBLE. Congress should really look into these proposals before acting,, otherwise its goin to be an exercise in futility

    December 3, 2008 at 8:25 pm |
  11. Mike Ottink

    They should need to resign as soon as they got the bailout sum.
    The should have to hire someone from outside of the Company to lead the transition period of say 3 to 4 years. The need to overhaul their entire line-up. BTW I like the new VOLT of GM. They have to make that model
    as their new Backbone for a new line up of new fresh models, with a MPG of 60 or more, the're rightback in the leading position.
    Oh, as a truly Camaro fan, I like that new model. So please let this model survive.

    Mike, Somewhere in Texas.

    December 3, 2008 at 8:28 pm |
  12. Keith Hatcher, La Rioja, Spain

    The US automobile industry has not learnt much since the 1973 Oil Crisis. It has carried on making gas-guzzlers, and even today the much-loved SUVs abound. Europeans and Japanese auto-makers learnt to make cars which consume less.
    Yes – sweep out the present CEOs; they are evidently out of touch with today's hard facts; but the worse thing is so are most car-buyers in the US. No-one in the States should be at all surprised that such car-makers as Toyota, Nissan, Volvo, BMW, Mercedes, Volkswagen and even Ford in Europe are doing so well on the US market.
    The same as Lehmann Brothers, J.P.Morgan, Citigroup continued blindly in their set ways oblivious to any references outside their principal aims of keeping things as are, Detroit marched on producing cars which were/are neither cost efficient nor environmentally viable and meeting up with competion from other car-makers in Europe and Japan.
    Now we see the hipocrasy of the big banks and the automobile industry: whilst things were going good the CEOs lived on fat salaries which they were not even earning, no doubt feeding their equally fat egos and vanities with equally fat Havana cigars.
    The crash had to come – sooner or later.
    But just in time for Mr. President Obama to pick up the tatters created and left by his predecessor. I hope we, outside the US, do not have too high expectations of your new president. But we need him desperately.

    December 3, 2008 at 8:45 pm |
  13. chris Mclean

    We have suffered under the prophets of greed and profit at any cost since 1980. Now we are expected to believe that these very same proponents of free market abuses are suddenly going to work for "free" to secure the general "welfare" of the US public. So, after making as much as 22 million in bonuses last year, this year they will work for 1 dollar. HMMMMMMM, does anybody get the irony here.

    I say lets trust these guys, afterall they have worked on our behalf for years, killing off various clean air bills, automotive efficiency standards and technological advances that could have made the industry more environmentally aligned. And lets not forget the fate of those forgotten workers of the UAW who drag down salaries, health benfits and retirment packages that dwarf the average salaries of other american industrial workers. Hey is that an iceberg ahead, "and the band played on"

    December 3, 2008 at 8:52 pm |
  14. Paul E

    While I support some sort of relief for the U.S. automakers, it is out of concern for the overall American economy and workers, not based on any faith I have in Detroit to reinvent itself. Detroit has been fighting change for decades, building large SUVs while Japan and Germany were building cars that performed better, were more environmentally responsible and more fuel efficient. The Big 3 now talking about becoming leaner, more responsive and more competitve is just lip service – the desperate claims of desperate companies. They cannot blame a few months of economic weakness on their demise that results from several years of strategic myopia. They were too addicted to the Heroine needle that was the SUV. Any investments they make now will not come to fruition for years. Until then, are we to feel better buying an Escalade Hybrid? What a joke. Toyota, Honda, BMW, Audi, et al are light years ahead and a sudden change of heart will not enable the Big 3 to becomes competitive for many years. The American people deserve better. Our tax dollars should be used to save an industry that, if left on its own, would surely fail and take many of us down with it. But the funds should have several stipulations attached to them – the first of which should be that the Big 3 are forbidden from contributing to any PAC or lobbying entity until all of the debt is repaid.

    December 3, 2008 at 9:00 pm |
  15. mark boutilier

    NO Im sorry . But im not impressed with the auto makers weather its the ceo or the woman putting on the decal , they just don't get it .If we ran our lives like they run there business well we would be out looking in . I say let them go belly up and out . We can always drive foreign cars .Hell there made better any way

    December 3, 2008 at 9:00 pm |
  16. Angel Palacios

    At this point in time what we are seeing is just the tip of the iceberg, the consecuences that are unfortunately going to unravel as we step into next year will most likely be shocking, the big 3 in Detroit are an example of the lack of foresight and excess of pride that sometimes are rampant in huge companies, take a look at Toyota, it is now the largest auto maker, and it has done so by a very smart way of keeping the eye on profits, while expanding the business, very difficult to do, without getting into extra layers of corporate fat and expense. we have enjoyed a long period of low prices on everything just because the size of our market in the US, but we used to be the leading industrial nation, not so anymore, I think that the survival of the american auto industry is closely related to the survival of american leadership, and it will require that all, the people, the government as well as businesses start working in a much more efficient way, start looking at the world that it does Not have unlimited resources, start looking at people on every corner of the planet, and finally take the lead towards a better society both within as without the US

    December 3, 2008 at 9:02 pm |
  17. John Jade

    The directors of the auto industry just do not get it. Consuners have been trying to buy cars that are trouble free and economical for the last fifty years, Detroit has built macho image gas guzzlers, over powered and flamboyant, Did they not see the Volkswagon Bug or the Japanese trouble free Honda and Subaru. The leaders of the industry lived in fast high flying jets and were unrelated to the real demands of the market that has been coming for the last twenty five years. They themselves (the CEO and directors) have been over paid and out in some wonderland with Alice. I guess if one is paid several million dollars a year it is easy to avoid reality from the sunny beaches of a lavish resort. I think that auto manufacturing should be allowed to go in to recievership and let the real car people take over..

    December 3, 2008 at 9:05 pm |
  18. Diego

    they should step down
    new management
    new ideas
    hopefully a new way of making cars
    more earth conscious and reduce costs

    December 3, 2008 at 9:06 pm |
  19. Mike Davidson

    Is it that hard to build a descent looking, somewhat reliable vehicle? Even the most expensive Big-3 cars feel and look like cheap junk when you sit inside them – how can any reasonable designer come up with something like that? Every time I rent an American car I'm reminded why I buy Toyotas and Acuras. My last vehicle was Jeep Compass – absolutely the worst vehicle I've ever driven. I'd buy domestic if they had the product.

    December 3, 2008 at 9:08 pm |
  20. RiskyInvestments

    You're kidding yourself if you think that sweep that old out with the trash and replacing them will make any difference. The reason is simple ..... GREED ..... and every single person on this planet is guilty of it. If they don't want more for themselves, then they want it for their children, and so on.

    This whole financial bailout is the biggest joke on the planet. How can any sane man truly believe that these investment companies should have been bailed out. Everyone knows, even those who never had enough money to invest, that the big payouts on investments (even gambling) comes from making risky investments. I say that they should all have been burned by this risk, and not be bailed out by the governments around the world. And why did they do that, I ask? GREED, the politicians need the cash these investors line their pockets with, so of course, the gov'ts are going to bail them out, cause they don't want to lose that campaign money, nor what they themselves have lost in the markets.

    All of this stems from one thing .... the GREED of the oil companies, and the stock advisors (or whatever you call em) that kept saying :The price of oil has to go up because we are .... losing our reserves, or whatever other lame excuse they dream up. Oh, the poor Americans and their oil rigs in hurricane rravaged areas. Let's jack up the price of oil and gas JUST IN CASE one of our rigs is dented by flying debris. Doesn't matter the profits in the millions we make yearly that could actually pay for the damage we knew would happen when we built them there anyway. Oil kept rising and rising until it spilt over onto the suppliers, the transports, the stores, etc. to the point where we can ground the little guy into such a state that they can't afford to live. And they never considered the expansion of the effect into the companies in which the rich guy invests.

    Oh, but when they felt that affect, what happened???
    Whaaaaaaa! Whaaaaaa! Whaaaaaa! Please federal government, please bail us out of this whole we rich folks created. We shouldn't have to pay for our mistakes, THAT'S WHAT THE LITTLE GUY IS FOR!!!


    December 3, 2008 at 9:19 pm |
  21. Onno Frowein

    Presently, I am reading the autobiography of Lee Iacocca, the former CEO of Chrysler and who saved this company from bankrutcy in 1980.After spending 40 years at Ford and the man who gave us the Mustang he was fired by Henry Ford II.

    Chrysler was in deep troubles and was loosing money on any car they sold and about 1 million workers were at stake. Iacocca was a car man who knew the business. At that time was the first oil crisis asking for fuel efficient car. Chrysler cam out with the K car and later with the VanWagon both a succes in the automobil branch.

    When I compare Iacocca with the present CEO's of the Big Three I believe that these people have not made any contribution to the survival or innovation of the industry. The only thing they were good at was closing plant and put people on the street and let the Japanese take over the business.

    So again I believe that CEO's can ruin a company and regretfully the workers are paying the price. Therefore, the second book of Lee Iacocca 'Where Have All The Leaders Gone? certainly applies to the US automobile industry .

    December 3, 2008 at 9:23 pm |
  22. Outside Observer

    The main problem with the US car industry is its much higher reliance on manual labor compared to the Japanese, German and Korean competition. "Cheap" labor has allowed the US companies to avoid many of the painful reorganisations forced upon the Japanese and European auto-makers. The US car makers have a much lower degree of automation compared to their world peers. The second part of the double whammy is that the Japanese and European car makers operate in an environment with sane healthcare laws, removing much of the burden currently faced by the US car makers.

    Finally, my personal observation is that US car makers just make poor cars. I'll take any Japanese or European car over American. Poor handling, rattling, gas guzzling, you name it are all synonymous for US cars...

    December 3, 2008 at 9:27 pm |
  23. oreste assereto

    The main problem of the 3 companies is that many years ago they promised a lot of benefits to their retiring employees, and did not deposit the money in a third party bank or fund or whatever.
    They kept playing with the money as if it was their. There is no way they will cover the debt, not even with 50% profit margins in every car they sell.
    The only possibility is to erase this debt , and bring it to zero by a concerted effort of the govermnet , the unions and the shareholder.
    Say1/3 each to erase the debt.
    This would be an unfair treatment of foreign companies and a wrong signal to other companies.But.... , any other idea.
    However the goverment should change the future, by forcing employeers to deposit pension funds in third parties finance organizations.

    December 3, 2008 at 9:27 pm |
  24. british

    Even if the companies make drastic changes they have to pay billions of dollars in health benefits to employees(or those who don't work and get paid). Though the union agreed for delay they have to pay it..That will cut out all the money they get. Better still is to protect the taxpayer money and let these company file bankruptcy and start with a clean slate therafter with new union laws.

    If govt decided to give money now, it is going to lazy people. Let this govt not make mockery of the hard earned tax payers money. Instead give it to people to jump start the economy.

    December 3, 2008 at 9:27 pm |
  25. adam roger prus-szczepanowski

    No doubt these guys have to go. And please don't put the same types in, to replace them. Sorry, but socialism here, for just some time, has to come in. Put some government tough guys in. Those who receive a well earned 60M bucks a year! They'll, no doubt take care of the governments dough, and ours! Just, mind you, to save the jobs of well meaning blue collar workers.

    December 3, 2008 at 9:28 pm |
  26. Guillermo von Breymann

    I have no faith these companies as being run can do any better than past attempts – just look back to the last 40-year record. If the taxpayer will bail them out, like in any business transaction of this type, current shareholders should be diluted with the equity injection, and new management representing the new shareholders, as represented by the Government, should be named. The Government should tap managers of stature, with the marketing and business acumen required, the likes of Jobs, Gates, Buffet, or similar, for what is in effect special public service: saving millions of jobs and reestablishing these companies as world competitive corporations, by regaining public confidence through new products the public wants and needs, and operational efficiency.

    December 3, 2008 at 9:29 pm |
  27. Murphy

    Speaking from a European standpoint (but being American), the big 3 are over. WIth their history, they should be no longer, come on, with a 15-20 million dollar per year salary-and then begging for help....did these guys learn in school, or do they just learn now? And we have to pay for it.....what are the bankruptcy laws in place for? Join the airlines Big 3.

    December 3, 2008 at 9:32 pm |
  28. Hans (Australia)

    I dont buy it. Maybe it's time to let these fossils go the way of their predecessors. The big 3 will NEVER be competitive with the cost of labour so much higher than Asian manufacturers. Likewise, the big 3 will never be competitive with European manufacturers because they have a warped notion that luxury equals performance and they alter their designs across these two dimensions so haphazardly that the end result reflects the nature of its maker: overinflated, underperforming, overconsuming, and bereft of new ideas.

    When will Americans learn that to be competitive in a globalised market means that effeciency is king, and the appeal of the vehicle must go far beyond domestice consumption (e.g. the Chrysler PT Cruiser... Bwahahaha!)

    The death warant of the big 3 was signed by their own hand... As the Japanese saying says: "a man must lie in bed that he has made."

    December 3, 2008 at 9:37 pm |
  29. rosoe

    Have the automakers learnt their lesson?-– You must be kidding? These guys aren't smart enough to learn. I am convinced that the auto industry is in the this situation soley because of the quality of management and leadership involved. Please, they go to Congress reuesting $25Billion without any sort of business plan??? What a crock--I read the FORD Business Plan-- 33 page narrative-- there is no substance there- no specifics- no numbers - no monetary details whatsoever of anything, no balance sheets, NADA!!! It's nothing more that a written narrative of the Begging Session previously presented to congress!!! What a joke!! I seem to recall that when Congress asked for the business plans, they specifically said that they wanted to know where the money will be spent, how much, when the money will be spent and specifics on the continued solvency and viability of the business. If these Clowns at Ford would go to a regular bank, (as a small business person looking for a loan), the bank would send them away politely and request that they develop detailed plans to show that they can be a profitable business. These guys at Ford are Clowns!!

    December 3, 2008 at 9:40 pm |
  30. Robert Rasmussen II

    Funny how the big three try to paint that they plan to make changes but truth be told, it is only a false face and not a good one at that. When cars are as much as a mortgage and not at all fuel efficient they lost site of the people and more on ripping more out of people's pockets for poor quality.

    If they want money to stay running then they need to make a $5K to $10K car that gets 40-50mpg not the $26K+ that get only 28mpg. Also when selling hybrids make them priced under $10K. The poor and middle class don't care for the tax incentives when they can't even afford the car in the first place.

    Personally I think the big three should do some more soul searching and do more for the people then this poor excuse of a showing they are doing.

    December 3, 2008 at 9:41 pm |
  31. Stephen James

    Did I just read that right? Mullaly made 22 million as salary?! I really don't understand why does the government jump in every time to bail these people out when they make all the mess. How thoughtful of them to leave their jets home and drive!!... arseholes! It's true that when people go higher up the management level, their brains shrink in size. And then its the poor workers on those shop floors who get fired, all in the name of "slashing jobs". All I could gather from this is that if I were a CEO, made a management blunder, and blew away billlions of dollars, I can get away with it.

    God help this country. Certainly no amount of bail out will...

    December 3, 2008 at 9:48 pm |
  32. Rich

    Where are the concessions by the unions? Why should people making $10.00 an hour subsidize the Auto workers, who make the type of salaries that a lot of blue collar tax payers can only dream about? Shouldn't the Auto workers be making concessions to protect their jobs? Isn't a medium paying secure job better than a high paying non-existant job?

    December 3, 2008 at 9:50 pm |
  33. Jim Asker

    Change top management; definitely at GM

    December 3, 2008 at 9:55 pm |
  34. Joe

    The auto industry should be left to market forces. You build an inferior product, sell it for a higher price (due to short sighted management commitments on the labor contracts), and the product doesn't last. Why should the auto industry be any different from any other that either had to really re-engineer to stay competitive or cease operations. The auto exec complain about high labor costs. Well their the ones that agreed to pay the average worker 3 times the salary a non Union worker would make. Why? That is not a free market. They made the bed, now they come crying to the tax payer because they don't want to sleep in it? As someone previously said, today you can get the same 26 mpg car that you got 30 yrs ago.The end effect of poor business decisions is either you fix it or you go to bankruptcy. It's kinda like OPEC complaining that oil prices are too low, where the #$^%$#^@ were they when it was $147/barrel. At that time the response was, "Oh the price is set by the market". The auto companies weren't complaining when everyone was buying their gas guzzlers and poorly designed products. If you make a product that people aren't buying, do you still continue to make the product (like the Big 3 are doing), or do your strategy and build something people will buy. They have the capability of making 100 mpg cars. They had the technology 10 yrs ago. Why is it not built? I am sure the American consumer would be happy to buy the product. The Big 3 should be left to go bankrupt. Then and only then can they reduce their input costs.

    December 3, 2008 at 10:01 pm |
  35. David Z

    Lower their salaries to $1, with what, $14-22 million bonuses, distributed monthly? I know it's December and all, but it's not like the Ghost of Autos Past, Present and Future came to these guys in the night and turned them around.
    It's gonna be a fiasco, one way or another. They'll fail now, or they'll get the money, and fail later, or, worse, return to profitability and then completely fail to hold up to their promise to reform the industry. No wonder I never buy American cars.

    December 3, 2008 at 10:02 pm |
  36. Fernando

    A Japanese company (Toyota) and an American company (Ford
    Motors) decided to have a canoe race on the Missouri
    River Both teams practiced long and hard to reach their
    peak performance before the race.

    On the big day, the Japanese won by a mile.

    The Americans, very discouraged and depressed, decided to
    investigate the reason for the crushing defeat. A management
    team made up of senior management was formed to investigate
    and recommend appropriate action.

    Their conclusion was the Japanese had 8 people rowing and 1
    person steering, while the American team had 7 people steering
    and 2 people rowing.

    Feeling a deeper study was in order; American management
    hired a consulting company and paid them a large amount of
    money for a second opinion.

    They advised, of course, that too many people were steering the
    boat, while not enough people were rowing.

    Not sure of how to utilize that information, but wanting to
    prevent another loss to the Japanese, the rowing team's
    management structure was totally reorganized to 4 steering
    supervisors, 2 area steering superintendents and 1 assistant
    superintendent steering manager.

    They also implemented a new performance system that would
    give the 2 people rowing the boat greater incentive to work
    harder. It was called the 'Rowing Team Quality First
    Program,' with meetings, dinners and free pens for the
    rowers. There was discussion of getting new paddles,
    canoes and other equipment, extra vacation days for
    practices and bonuses. The pension program was trimmed to
    equal the competition' and some of the resultant savings
    were channeled into morale boosting programs and
    teamwork posters.

    The next year the Japanese won by two miles.

    Humiliated, the American management laid-off one rower,
    halted development of a new canoe, sold all the paddles, and
    canceled all capital investments for new equipment. The
    money saved was distributed to the Senior Executives as

    The next year, try as he might, the lone designated rower was
    unable to even finish the race (having no paddles,) so he was
    laid off for unacceptable performance, all canoe equipment
    was sold and the next year's racing team was out-sourced
    to India .

    Sadly, the End.

    Here's something else to think about: Ford has spent the last
    thirty years moving all its factories out of the US , claiming
    they can't make money paying American wages.

    TOYOTA has spent the last thirty years building more than a
    dozen plants inside the US. The last quarter's results:

    TOYOTA makes 4 billion in profits while Ford racked up 9
    billion in losses.

    Ford folks are still scratching their heads, and collecting
    bonuses... and now wants the Government to 'bail them out'.


    December 3, 2008 at 10:03 pm |
  37. Sam in Spain


    Being from the U.K. I watched the U.K. Government squander millions of £'s on trying to do the same as your congress and senate are now thinking of doing. Even the Unions are scared, that is why they are thinking of concessions and a re-draft of agreements.

    ALL FAILED and the taxpayer had to meet the cost.

    Even at $1 a year they will still be overpaid due to the fact that they brought it on themselves by failing to manufacture what everyone knows are what was required however the PROFITS and Bonuses were not there so they continued to manufacture "the pick up etc. where the highest profits were"

    It is the old old story, trying to save their butts at the expense of the Taxpayers. NO WAY AS FAR AS I WOULD BE CONCERNED!!!!!! let them file for Chapter 11, after all the $700 B was meant to bail out the banks and even the USA can't keep borrowing to bail out failing companies.

    As for the public moaning about the price of oil at $1.88 a gallon, they should be jumping for joy that even at $4 that is cheap compared to Europe where it is nearer $8.

    They were to slow to move and unlike Brazil after the last Gas rises they switched to Ethenol while the US car makers made no attempt to "see the future"

    Sorry that there will have to be more unemployment but the bottom of the financial crisis is still a long way off and they will like the rest of the world have to take the rough with the smooth.

    December 3, 2008 at 10:14 pm |
  38. Peter Hood

    Motor vehicle manufactures had the technology to produce hydrogen-engine vehicles 20+ years ago and there are some that suggest that they failed in that process due to their politics with the oil producers and all those that associate with them.

    Let the bail-out for motor vehicle manufacturers be approved on the strict understanding that they only produce hydrogen-engine vehicles within 2 years. Not hybrids unless they are also phased out with 5 years as a trade-off.

    December 3, 2008 at 10:15 pm |
  39. Don

    I think that any bailout proposal by the auto industry should include the stepping down, or firing if you will, of all the "old management guard" that put the auto industry in this mess in the first place.

    December 3, 2008 at 10:22 pm |
  40. E. Spitz

    I am very scared that congress will give the auto makers the bailout. why do automakers think they are entitled to $73/hr? I am educated, a case manager, responspible for the lives of 30 individuals, working 40 years and all I make is $16/hr. plus benefits which probably comes to about $26/hr. Certainly the automakers sense of entitlement is part of what caused the situation we are all in. No one should pay 30K or more for cars. It is terrible. We are not paying for the cost of material and labor, we are paying for their benefits, early retirements so they can go work elsewhere and draw another salary taking jobs away from others, and paying for their union. How stupid has this county been to allow us to be abused in such ways?
    Now I have to pay for their errors also? Please tell congress not to bail them out and let the pieces fall where they may!

    December 3, 2008 at 10:33 pm |
  41. Ilya Zak

    Union workers in auto industry are making about $72 an hour. They make more money then pilots. I don't see how they can be competitive with these rates.

    December 3, 2008 at 10:34 pm |
  42. Greg Barbour

    Returning to North America after many years in Europe, there is culture shock, and a big part of it involves the auto industry advertising I witness on TV. What I see is primarily big heavy powerful trucks and big heavy "crossovers" being presented to the consumer market. It appears that macho-image and/or back-roads/country image is what the marketing executives are targeting. The average North American consumer seems like an overly image-conscious teenager, whereas European consumers seem to have a more mature balance between image and ecological or financial responsibility. Consumer attitudes in North America are not like to change fast enough to save the US auto industry from riding down a deadend road.

    December 3, 2008 at 10:43 pm |
  43. Nancy Bass

    Didn't we already 'bail out' Chrysler in the '80's? Why should we give them money again? Seems they didn't learn their lesson. I truly don't understand why our government should bail out companies that don't make a product we want. The Big Three automakers lacked foresight and innovation which is why they are in this mess and the UAW doesn't help matters. Why is it Honda and Toyota got it right with hybrids which they've been producing for several years now and Detroit keeps missing the mark? Let these companies file chapter 11 and restructure just like some of the airlines did and they have survived and so have we as travelers. Where will the bail outs end?

    December 3, 2008 at 10:44 pm |
  44. BIG3

    At least 2 of these guys are woefully unqualified to lead the change necessary at the Big Three. Nardelli was an also-ran at GE, nearly killed Home Depot and has been a disaster at Chrysler (not surprisingly). Wagoner is old-school Detroit (and that's not a good thing). Mullaly is not a bad guy but he's saddled with the mess he inherited from William Clay Ford Jr's tenure at the helm of Ford (a failure by any reasonable measure) and the unhealthy influence the Ford family continues to exert on the company. Ford is in better shape than GM in large part due to Mullaly's efforts. Mullay needs better lieutenants, less Ford family interference and better product (and fast).

    Furthermore, giving these guys billions of taxpayer $'s is not a wise move. GM alone could burn through their requested $18B in just a few month's time and be right back where they are now (almost broke). Plus, the only people "helped" by the bailout, and that only temporarily, would be GM, Ford and Chrysler corporate types. Their dealers, their suppliers, and others in the automotive food-chain would be left with no help at all. Additionally, the taxpayer would get nothing in return.

    Here's a suggestion: take the money and have the government give taxpayers a "rebate" check (say $2,000) if they purchase a new car from either GM, Chrysler or Ford within the next 60 days. This would help the auto companies (increase sales, increase cash flow, and reduce inventories), help the dealers (keep their doors open and save local jobs), help the auto insurance companies (as they would sell new policies), and should help free up financing (since the government is contributing $2,000 in equity toward the new vehicle banks should be more likely to issue new loans). Furthermore, people could buy newer, more fuel-efficient cars thus helping the country's dependence on foreign oil and helping the environment to boot.

    To make the above more palatable (and affordable to the taxpayer) the rebate checks could be limited to taxpayers with an adjusted gross income of under say $75,000. You could also stipulate that the rebate only applied to the purchase of cars averaging 20+ combined mpg. More mpg would be better but many people have families and can't drive a Chevy Aveo or Ford Focus. At 20+ mpg most SUV's would be ruled out but it would still cover relatively efficient minivans and more efficient crossover SUV's.

    Nissan, Toyota, Honda, Hyundai, etc., would cry foul (and to some degree justifiably so) however, this country needs to maintain it's own automotive infrastructure and the ramifications of having GM, Ford, and/or Chrysler fail are much larger than most people realize. Some statistics indicate that 1 in 7 U.S. jobs is tied to the automotive industry. If these guys fail many of those jobs go away. Also, thousands of retirees from these companies could lose their pensions as well. If these guys fail the U.S. would be dependant on foreign auto manufacturers AND foreign oil suppliers for years to come. This is not a good position for the U.S. to be in for a lot of reasons.

    In addition to the above, fire the management at GM and Chrysler and bring in some car-literate business leaders with a passion for the industry and the business know-how to get it done.

    December 3, 2008 at 10:44 pm |
  45. Alistair Douglas

    I believe a fundamental change in direction and strategy requires a change in senior management. Fresh ideas and talent will help remove a corporate culture that has failed to embrace the global change in motor vehicle technology. The US car manufacturing industry is a dying dinasour. Is it really worth US tax payers money to save an industry that has fallen so far behind global competition?

    December 3, 2008 at 11:03 pm |
  46. Russ

    To give money to the car manufacturers and not require change is useless, but even more crazy is to give them money and expect change.

    Change comes hard and slow for almost everyone and the Big 3 and the auto unions have both demonstrated they are not capable of change.

    Let them file for bankrupcty and that process will FORCE change upon and industry that does not walk its talk.

    December 3, 2008 at 11:27 pm |
  47. alfonrock

    These companies need to be "swept out" for all the damage they have done to our enviroment!!

    December 3, 2008 at 11:27 pm |
  48. Bart Donlan

    Please please please stop discussing blog postings on your television reports. I have no interest whatsover in what some random person in Witchita Kansas thinks.

    I watch CNN for YOUR news reports and commentary. Why am I watching television to read what some people are writing on the internet? Are you kidding me? It's actually painful to listen to someone's absurd and often insightless posting.

    I love watching CNN. I turn the channel the second someone begins discussing some blog posting.

    If I want to know what is being posted to the internet, I would actually go the internet.

    Please go back to reporting the news!

    December 3, 2008 at 11:29 pm |
  49. Steve

    Dissolve the unions, fire the dead weight, automate all the factories, hire better employees, make cheaper and better quality vehicles that are stamped with pride "Made In America" – then they can have my tax dollars.

    December 3, 2008 at 11:30 pm |
  50. dave

    they must step down,and also work without the union in the company.

    December 3, 2008 at 11:32 pm |
  51. Paul

    Are you kidding??? The big 3 have been taking US tax payers & customers to the cleaners for decades. They build bad products, they have negotiated union deals which pay their employees absurd amounts of money to turn a screw driver & their CEO's act like they are omnipotent. Didn't we already bail out Chrysler/GM in the 80's? The idea of pumping billions into failed business models with no accountability is ludicrous! Let them fail. Someone else will come in & buy up the pieces & fill the vacuum they create. Break up the unions so the can hire people at normal pay rates who will care about the quality of their work & not hide behind union hiring/firing protection (funny how the Asian companies who build cars in the US are not in as much trouble & have better quality/reliability). What are we going to get in return for all this money? Oh, we'll build they hybrids & more eco-friendly vehicles......oh, we'll cut out all the fluff production wise & model wise.......oh, we'll make the cars better & more reliable......oh, we'll take a pay cut for both management & our union employees..... Does anyone really believe this?? Give them the money & give them a year & it will be back to square one – we need more help. The ONLY good thing about the economic climate right now is only the companies who are smart, lean & forward thinking are going to survive – let the big 3 die, in 5 years we'll have 1 or 2 better car makers & the US will be better for it.

    December 3, 2008 at 11:39 pm |
  52. Harmen Broersma

    These car manufacturers have made disastrous policy mistakes under these CEOs and they are responsible so they have proved themselves totally wrong, therefor they must leave now. They have also been too greedy and we should replace them by a new breed of managers. With managers that want to serve their companies and have a vision of the future which also respects the future of the planet, not just their wallets.

    December 3, 2008 at 11:54 pm |
  53. Brian

    Of course top management and the Boards need to go. They have presided over a fiasco and need to pay the penalty. When they go they should not be given golden parachutes but payouts commensurate with their failure. They should the same fate as any other unsecured creditor in a bankruptcy, they wait for payment and they loose if every one else looses

    December 4, 2008 at 12:03 am |
  54. Mark Jenkins

    We live in an era where we can replace someone's heart to save their life... but for some reason we don't have enough technology to create a car that easily runs at 100 mpg and is would require little maintenance over the life of the vehicle?!?! That doesn't sound logical to me. There IS enough technology available for the "Big 3" to create this sort of car, but THEY DECIDED not to utilize it. It's time we excercise true capitalism and let the companies who have been developing this type of technology to flourish and pass the "Big 3" in the left lane. They obviously decided to slow down and take the wrong exit. MJ / Atlanta

    December 4, 2008 at 12:07 am |
  55. Rich

    Its too little, too late.
    And the "plan" has been cobbled together in just a couple of weeks. Thats no plan, thats a wing and a prayer!
    The thing I noticed in reading GM's "plan" was how nothing is actually going to produce results before 2010 or 2012.
    AND they repeatedly show they are going to depend on thier proposed Oversight Board to do the dirty work.

    Nope. Chapter 11 is the only way to get anything changed in Detroit.

    December 4, 2008 at 12:12 am |
  56. bwana

    Out with the old, in with a new team of innovative, aggressive people. The old team has had its chance over the past decade +...

    December 4, 2008 at 12:14 am |
  57. Lance Chambers

    US auto companies are dinosaurs and need to go. When it comes to the US labor market they sound like massive players but in the context of the total labor force they are small cookies.

    American industry, in reality, rides on the back of small business which employs possibly 10x more poeple than big business and also generates about the same ratio of money.

    Losing the big 3 will NOT be a big deal. New auto makers will come in to take up the slack with new auto designs that are more in tune with the times.

    People will continue to buy autos (maybe less than before but they will still buy) and they have to buy them someplace – so not all the people who will lose their jobs will lose them forever.

    The same arguments were trotted out when the railroads collapsed with the dawning of the auto age. In fact the same arguements were trotted out then the railroads started expanding rapidly and the 'jobs in crisis' were buggy and horse whip manufacturers.

    Times change – industries come and go. We need to understand and accept this and just make sure that with each transition the pain is lessened as much as possible. Evolution should be seen as a good thing not as a danger.

    Look for the new opportunities the closure of the Big 3 can bring. Stop looking at the down-side.

    December 4, 2008 at 12:15 am |
  58. Ken Mitchell

    Are you kidding? Look at the junk they produced over the last thirty years with a few exceptions. Labor unions have added to the high unit cost of each vehicle produced. Ask yourself how Toyota could pass a viable U. industry, the answer is they could not. The only cars that have ever left me needing a tow was American manufactured automobile. I have owned BMWs, Lexus, and many American cars and the best running and service came from foreign auto companies.No, the big three automakers have not learned their lessons, The are still flogging over priced, under performing cars and trucks and providing terrible expensive service. They need to be part of the same economy and not receive a bailout. Let them restructure and get their act together and run a viable customer service business

    December 4, 2008 at 12:19 am |
  59. Matthew

    Of course they have not learned their lesson. Like alcoholics, we have enabled them to transform into profit leaching poor managers. Now they are desperate for their last handout that will buy them a drink so they don't have to go to rehab. The top ranks that got them into this mess have performed so poorly that they can not and should not be the ones to lead them out of it. Because of the workers, I am unsure if I want them to fail. I am sure that I don't want my money to bail them out.

    December 4, 2008 at 12:21 am |
  60. Ron

    No. Leaders lead. They are not forced to submit. What we are witness to is the contrition of beggers. Hubris is the the reason for this problem. My father worked at Chevy and later GM. He was witness to patents being killed in the 30s -60s that would have improved mileage. The Oil companies have always worked along side the automakers. They killed 1000s of ideas along the way. Why did it take until Mazda to bring out an alternative to a Piston oriented motor. 'They killed the advances.

    Now they come crying. The other guys do not play fair. The Govts of our competitors pay for the Healthcare of their works... Where is the innovation that made people buy GM cars in the 60s-80s? Do you think that it took Toyota to look out for the interests of car buyers? Of course not. Toyota put the customer first from the 80s on and have looked ahead to a time when auto technology must advance and not in ways that simply lower producer costs. The point is to make products that drive the market forward.

    If you ask me, GM has been following the market for almost 35 years. They have not led. As much as I hate to say it, their business model stinks. Poor Chrysler is the poor Aunt and will probably end up folding too. Of the 3 only Ford has intelligent leadership and integrity that is moving forward.

    If you ask me, perhaps it is time we went back to supporting the original american manufacturer. Remember that the reason GM was born was because Henry Ford only wanted to produce black cars.When cars came out on the market in different colors it was a revolution. Can you imagine that?

    Get rid of the overpaid bums. Shrink the market down and the survivor will be more compeititive. Give one company the 30 Billion instead of the 3. What a sick and sorry bunch of bums.

    December 4, 2008 at 12:21 am |
  61. Chris

    So they left the cooperate jet's behind and each one drove 9 hours.

    So if they're really hurting like they say they are why not car-pool for that drive?

    December 4, 2008 at 12:36 am |
  62. moana

    I am writing in regards to the auto bailout. Give me a break, these big CEO's make millions of dollars each on there salaries, every month plus BIG, BIG BONUSES!!!!! The UNIONS want to give concessions, for what? So that the CEO's can put more MONEY IN THEIR OWN POCKETS. Get rid of the DUMMIES running these companies, they had there chance to go GREEN without blaming TOYOTA, NISSAN, SUBARU, and other companies who are going green. These foreign companies make money because they are going fuel efficeint and green and trying to save our planet. Oh, but these foreign companies are in the USA with AMERICANS working for the companies. Maybe ALL of these GREEDY MONEY HUNGRY CEO's should take NOTE on these other companies. Each company wants MILLIONS of BILLIONS of us POOR STRUGGLING TAXPAYERS, living paycheck to paycheck citizens money....WHAT DO WE GET IN RETURN!!!!! NOTHING, OH WAIT, WE GET TO GET KICKED OUT OF OUR HOMES BECAUSE WE CAN'T PAY OUR RENT, ELECTRIC, WATER BILLS because WE NORMAL HARD WORKING CITIZENS don't have money because we have to SUPPORT these MILLIONAIRES. If they were to give there money to who needs it they might feel a little better about themselves. Look at Bill Gates, Mr. Gates is one of the riches person the the USA, WHY.......He gives back to different organizations, doing good for those not as fortunate as he is, he does things from his HEART. Not from his ..............I PERSONNALY SAY NO, TO THESE ALREADY MILLIONAIRES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    December 4, 2008 at 12:54 am |
  63. Jaime Torres

    What lesson is that?

    The bailout is impossible to justify.

    Why give an industry that has completely failed to deliver products that the market demands a prize for their failure? Is this not completely opposed to the american way?

    December 4, 2008 at 12:58 am |
  64. gatkin09

    The Japanese and Korean auto industry is hoping that the present management of Ford and G.M stays in place. In that way the Japanese and Koreans can compete with two bumbling giants that are poorly managed.

    Never fear, the executives will be back in their jets once the focus moves on to another topic.

    Greg Atkinson

    December 4, 2008 at 2:11 am |
  65. alan teed

    Listen to the words they speak. Listen carefully and then decide.

    December 4, 2008 at 3:57 am |
  66. Paul C

    Instead of giving the big three any money, give it to the other car companies – ie toyota, honda, hyundai etc. You do not hear these people complaining, that is because they know how to run companies. if you give them the money, they will definately know how to use it properly and not the wastage of the big three

    December 4, 2008 at 4:46 am |
  67. Neil

    I think the right thing to do would be to let the companies go under. There ar so many other american made enegy efficient car manufacturers that deserve there turn in the spotlight after being ignored by the big three. An important note would be to mention that these other car and truck manufacturers have already better technology then GM, Ford and Chrysler.

    December 4, 2008 at 4:59 am |
  68. T.P.W.

    Hey Maggie, kudos & congrats for the excellent ongoing coverage/s of the Global Financial Fission of 2008 by YOU & the entire Team of emminent CNN reporters, journalists, news readers et al. GR8 job!!

    FIRSTLY: No, these good folks will NOT be able to lead the change – if they COULD HAVE, they would NOT be in todays predicament. Mistakes will HAVE to be paid for (read: VIABLE restructuring only through chapter 11 – ONLY THAT can save their souls)

    SECONDLY: The days of the BIG autos & BIG roads & BRIDGES TO NOWHERE etc. are ALL OVER – thrift, paying off ALL our debts, THEN living WITHIN ONES' MEANS, ALSO saving for FUTURE DOWN-TURNS, etc.. is & SHOULD be the mantra. So, lets NOT WASTE PRECIOUS TAX PAYER MONEY ON EMOTIVE & NON-VIABLE INDUSTRIES – yes, they HAD made America, but thats now for the History books – NOT for getting Tax payer loans!!


    (hey folks lets not forget to buy the best brands of glares this festive season in order to be prepared for the sunny glades & landscapes of 09!!)

    December 4, 2008 at 5:24 am |
  69. Richard, Melbourne

    To bail out the big three automakers, I would like to see:

    - a commitment to 10% hybrid cars in the next five years (with shortfall percentage converting baliout money into repayable loan to Fed Govt.)
    - a commitment to 25% hybrid cars in the next ten years (with similar loan conversion)
    - employee super commitments rolled into a separate entity, and fully funded within ten years, or the top 500 managers are personally liable for any shortfall of all three companies
    - government funds voluntary redundancies for all staff, except top 500, based on a fixed rate (say $10,000) times years of service, capped at $100,000
    - redundancy would be matched to similar funds for autoworkers who transfer to next gen vehicle manufacturers competing in X-Prize for 100mpg vehicle (or equivalent)

    For your consideration.

    December 4, 2008 at 5:55 am |
  70. Fastbreak

    If the CEO's are correct in their statement that the companies cannot survive past New Year's Eve without this (ballooning) bailout from CapitAl Hill... then it is 5 PAST midnight anyway; nothing can save them. I believe it's way to late, bailout or not.
    OTOH It may be just a bit harsh to blame everything on 3 CEO's: they do not run these companies like Tsars. Shareholders, members of the Board, all management... everyone played their part.

    But basically: they cannot turn around these companies in a matter of weeks... they will still be producing cars only few Americans want to buy 6 months from now, and getting something that WILL sell on the market (design, testing, factory retooling etc etc) will take a lot longer than 6 months!

    A bailout is a bit like slapping band-aids on a patient with a septic limb; it's not going to stop the inevitable!

    December 4, 2008 at 6:10 am |
  71. Manish

    I seriously don't believe these men can charge to change. What a stupid show, one day flew in private jets and when told of their extravagent lifestyle they drove to the congress. Its like they are telling the world you asked so we came by car not by jet now show me the money, once we get the cash you see us flying again in private jets..I reckon people who give them what them what they want will be stupid.
    I should rack up my credit cards and go to the government and ask for loan to pay off loans....great

    December 4, 2008 at 6:44 am |
  72. RJ Washington

    No and Yes …………and sorry no it will not work.

    Having worked directly in the retail automotive industry since 1978 and ever since waiting for them to “get it” I’ve lost any and all faith in American Auto Manufactures.

    I can remember sitting in sales meetings as early as 1979 and reviewing trade publications that spoke of the great pearls that awaiting the US Economy if the import manufactures where allowed to continue unchecked, and capture 20% of the market, combined.

    Thirty years to improve reliability, quality, and resale I think is enough.

    Frankly I am amazed that GM managed to sell 153,000 vehicles nationwide in November, AVIS and HERTZ must have replenished their fleets.

    Yes I work for and import dealer now and NO I don’t want to see any of the American Manufactures fail, the economic fall out as a result I think will make the Great Depression pale.

    December 4, 2008 at 7:05 am |
  73. David Ballantyne

    Too little too late. Where does the "bail out" stop? The last thing we need is for the U.S. government to become the rescuer of every business and industry that is struggling. The capitalist system rewards innovation, forward thinking, and efficiency. Three qualities that the auto industry have not shown, by enlarge. They repackage the same technologies year after year, change the paint and plastic and call it "new model" and charge more.
    The auto industry did not lament the struggling buggy industry back in the day when forward momentum took the world from horse power to gasoline driven. It is the way of the world. Ford, GM and Chrysler need to figure it out on their own and let the chips fall where they may.

    December 4, 2008 at 7:07 am |
  74. John Kleive

    Don't give them a dime. I worked extensively in the auto industry and it was obvious that they were bringing this down on themselves. Let them sink or swim. My bet is they'll sink regardless of whether we give them the money or not.

    December 4, 2008 at 7:21 am |
  75. Michael

    It would seem that the only valid reason for a bailout would be to save jobs. But the companies admit they will be "slashing jobs." So what's the point of the bailout?

    And when will the taxpayers be consulted on whether they really want to invest in bankrupt companies?

    The big question that isn't being answered is where is all this cash coming from? Is the Federal Reserve just printing with abandon? Can we get out of all these financial problems by just printing more money?

    December 4, 2008 at 7:40 am |
  76. William Harry

    Dear Sirs,
    If the CEO's of the big three companies really want to help the nation, they should honestly tell congress that after the bail out plan has been passed they will all resign without asking for any more money from the dying car companies. And then the companies should inject new blood with the condition that if the new management did not turn things around, they would be held responsible for the people's money. It is time they realize that corporate greed must stop.

    December 4, 2008 at 7:47 am |
  77. Åge Mariussen

    State money should be used to reinvent the car industry and the concept of the car.

    US needs innovative and exiting new types of cars with sophisticated new technologies which nobody else in the world can copy or build. Before this process of creation can start, there must be a destruction of the existing industry. Send the big three into bankruptcy. In that way, the valuable human skills and resources inside these corporations can be made available to build the next generation of the US car industry. Set up a huge fund for research and development of the new car, and put some bright person from Silicon Valley as supervisor of the money.

    December 4, 2008 at 9:42 am |
  78. Steve Connolly

    Loan the auto companies money? Are you joking? I live in Tokyo and have sat across the table from many automobile company and automobile company supplier guys working themselves to death making better cars. Let the big three fail. If they resurrect themselves and make better cars, great. If they don't, the world will be better for better cars, regardless of who makes them. Maybe the big three should retool for mass transit vehicles, but that's probably too much of a creative stretch for them.

    December 4, 2008 at 10:03 am |
  79. Tre Allen

    Fire the management and create hope for real change just like Obama has done with the new government. Out with the old in with the new. I say that the govt place in their own liaison so that we control the change that needs to happen to move this country ahead. If we create the next generation of hybrid and electric vehicles then these companies can compete in the already competitive green tech car market around the world. At the pace the American car companies are going we will never be able to compete!!!

    December 4, 2008 at 10:04 am |
  80. Omar

    In the 1930's, America faced major economic troubles. We know this as the Great Depression, and while that was bad time to live in, it created the need to overhaul and change the way we live our lives to make life better for us. As a result we ended up becoming a model of success for the rest of the the world for many decades.

    Rather than bail out failing business, and thus their failing practices, let them fall so they can rebuild themselves better than before. The economy will bounce back but not if we don't make change in the way we do things.

    A Drill Sergeant once told me that the definition of stupidity is doing the same things again and again while expecting different results.

    December 4, 2008 at 10:23 am |
  81. Rupert Atkinson

    I am but a humble teacher but, to my credit, I have never been in debt and have always understood the necessity to save for a rainy day. With that in mind, plus an average yet sensible education, I think I am far more qualified than they to run these companies. So, give them to me. For starters, if 'they' work for a dollar I might just keep them on to clean the toilets. And you think I'm joking?

    December 4, 2008 at 10:34 am |
  82. Jesse

    I don't believe that these CEOs are really committed to fixing their companies. There are many issues with the auto-bailout. First as noted in this article that the amount being requested increased in 2 weaks, demonstrating to me that they don't truly have a grasp of the situation. Second there proposed pay-cut to $1.00 is only if they get government aide, again demonstrating that they are not truly committed. They should already be taking a pay-cut if their companies are already in this dire of need. I also have an issue with Chyrstler requesting money but not opening their books because they are a private company. If you want public money, tax-payer money, you should be opening your books on everything, how much people get paid, how much the company earned, lost, a full disclosure of the exact situation. No money should be given because the concept behind a free market is survival of the fittest. GM, Ford and Chrystler seem like the zebras of the auto-industry and should be eaten. I strongly believe that other entrepenuers would and will develop new and better American cars and the American auto-industry will become a strong industry again.

    December 4, 2008 at 10:41 am |
  83. Rupert Atkinson

    I hope someone followed them on their nine hour journeys to report on the type of car, how many times they had to fill up with gas, who was driving, how many hotels they stopped at, and if it broke down or not on the way.

    December 4, 2008 at 10:51 am |
  84. Jens

    In Europe (I live in Denmark) we drive around quite happily in four-cylinder cars that do over 100 mph with four passengers and their luggage. They consume one liter of petrol per ten to fifteen kilometers. The doors fit, the engines work every day and start flawlesly in the morning. They are nice roadcars, safe and comfortable. They are built in Asia or Europe.
    Why can't America?

    December 4, 2008 at 10:56 am |
  85. Flavio

    Now that they proved they can live on a dollar, why would they need any help? Last year they earned enough to live a few million years.

    Let the big three go down and the others grow. There are many smart companies out there with better transport solutions, including some well-known efficient cars manufacturer everyone is familiar with.

    These $ 32 billion could go to railway construction to reduce the US dependence on cars. Non-vehicle owners should not subsidize private vehicles. If we will subsidize anything, it should be public transportation.

    December 4, 2008 at 11:07 am |
  86. Henry Tuttle

    Yes, these guys screwed thing up. Yes, capitalism requires badly run companies to fail. However... many, many companies in the U.S. are now badly run. The current model forces management to make decisions that seem to increase stock market share valuation instead of just making or providing a good product for the long term. The banking industry is an obvious example. How about airline companies – very few of them are profitable. How about companies providing an unhealthy product? Tobacco companies? Fast food?

    Should we let them all go bankrupt too?

    America needs to change it's way of doing business. Companies have to start doing business that focuses on several years into the future, not how stock options are going to be affected.

    December 4, 2008 at 11:31 am |
  87. David Ballantyne

    It could be time for Larry the Liquidator to make a visit to the Big 3!

    December 4, 2008 at 11:42 am |
  88. Karl from Finland

    The root cause for the problems in the American auto industry is this:

    Gasoline price is too cheap. Has been, and still is.

    If you think that gas price is high in the U.S now – think again. Typical gas price here in Finland / Europe is now 1.2 € / liter. That translates to roughly 5.8 USD / gallon. Yes, we still drive cars here – just not the gas-guzzling SUVs/Hummers/super-size-me-cars that the US car makers, in their environmentally unconscious big-is-beautiful mindset, have been feeding the U.S market. With European gas prices, this SUV-madness of the past 10..15 years would never have happened.

    December 4, 2008 at 11:59 am |
  89. Peter from Trinidad

    The big 3 CEOs have failed at least twice now. Companies that could not adapt and be profitable with one bailout do not deserve a second.

    Moreover the management is frankly unable to do what they promise.
    Can the US economy withstand a 3rd bailout? How about the 4th? When does it end?

    State support of bad businesses is akin to the Soviet Union's old economic policies. Anticapitalism breaks the economy, which will then break the military.

    It would be better to invest the money into expanding existing successful companies to preserve the industrial base, into research, and into promising startups like MDI and Tesla motors.

    December 4, 2008 at 1:01 pm |
  90. Raju

    I absolutely agree with William Harry. I just came back from Malaysia. GM has been building a plant in Thailand to produce diesel engines. Not for the US market but for the asian market. But the funny thing is all the money to setup the factory comes from the US. They froze the construction of the factory a week or two before the first hearing. They have already dumped $457 million into it. I'd imagine about $1 to 3 Billion of US dollars will go to Thailand to finish up the project. I'd also imagine a lot of the money that we give these idiots will go overseas.

    The thing is they spread themselves out too thin. Instead of making quality efficient cars, they want to be bigger and meaner. I seriously doubt this attitude has changed. Nascar mentality only goes so far.

    These CEOs got their jobs through contacts, golf buddies, networking. Has nothing to do with their ability to manage or build a company.

    It looks like we cannot get away from giving them money. I'd love to see the taxpayers have the power to decide what to do with these dumb CEOs. Afterall, we are giving them about 10 times what the companies are worth.

    Just for your information, Honda built it's engine plant in Ohio. GM took it to Thailand.

    December 4, 2008 at 1:16 pm |
  91. Francois

    These men are the production models of shortsighted anti-ecological , irresponsible money makers. But they were OUR leaders, collectively we forgot the experiences of the 70`s in an instant.
    Simple people knew this was on the make . TODAY you can still buy the same 50´s V-8`s, the same Mustang, plus armies of gas guzzling so called SUV`s , just check GM`s line-up TODAY. Chrysler has already been bailed out , yet when time to design responsibly came, they left the labs and went to the flashy boutiques.
    Once again the Japanese and Europeans are there to offer what the planet needs, American carmakers insist this is the Jurassic, no wonder they are this close to extinction.
    Serves us right, what is next ?

    December 4, 2008 at 1:17 pm |
  92. Rod

    Just as good a question is: Why should we continue to let the same bankers of failed or failing institutions walk out of our tresury, with Billions more than Detroit is asking for, without accountability? What they are really asking is, trust us. We're the same guys that lost more money than has ever been lost in the history of the world, but we're smarter and honest, now. This must be the Texan's famous last words, "Hey ya'll, Watch this!"

    December 4, 2008 at 1:21 pm |
  93. Francois

    Well they are now as unpopular as their line-up.

    December 4, 2008 at 1:25 pm |
  94. d. griffith

    They need to learn how to live on change($.99) before they can understand real change. Forced to change is not convincing, it creates sugarcoated plans, cases, action, pleads, etc.

    December 4, 2008 at 1:51 pm |
  95. Greg

    The industry needs help. Poor forward thinking has lead to this failure. If my hard earned money goes to asisting the Big 3, all I ask is that the US government look at the biggest expenditure – UAW- and dissolved it. The UAW does not produce a product other than another financial obstacle for the Big 3. Cars are not built by the UAW; cars are built by the Big 3 employees. Last time I heard of a union building a product was NEVER. Many laws are in place because of union activity. Why pay for redundancy? Also, the government should set the condition that some of its North America manufacturing jobs be brought back to the States. A great example is the Ford World Plant in Mexico. Building these cars in Mexico does not help the US's jobless market at all. The loss of those jobs means the US loses in tax revenue and everyday consumer spending. This industry needs a radical shakeup in order to survive. Take the example of foreign auto makers as to what they are doing - bulding plants that manufacture cars that are being sold in the US. And the Big 3 wonder why they are not the Kings of auto industry. Create a meaningful (productive – non-union) job and you create a customer for life. It is some simple even a caveman can do it.

    December 4, 2008 at 2:21 pm |
  96. Carl Migliazzo

    Those in the media are most to blame for the down fall of american car makers because you continue the myth that foreign cars are better.
    The truth is that american cars are better built and get just as good if not better gas millage, they last longer, are cheaper to insure, are cheaper to maintain and they are made by your fellow Americans.
    Where is your American Pride, Loyalty and Patriotism for your own Country.
    Are you americans or something else?
    It is time to take care of our own and let the rest of the world take care of themselves.

    December 4, 2008 at 2:34 pm |
  97. Mark R

    If GM has already mortgaged some of their factories, for an estimated 23 billion dollars, and it obviously didn't work, what is their reasoning behind asking for a bailout now of a shared amount of 34 billion dollars, it seems that the same people are in charge, and they are still managing the same way, if the estimated 23 billion didn't fix it then what is a share of 34 billion going to do now? It seems that since our government has opened its wallet that everyone wants a piece of the pie. When do we the people say enough!!!

    December 4, 2008 at 2:38 pm |
  98. Virginia

    Get those CEOs out! Lock them up and throw away the key!

    They are the worst criminals of the century and American industry has enabled these scum bags to carry out the worst embezzlement/heist ever committed on these shores.

    Hire some Chinese management and throw away the word CEO. At least the Chinese believe people should have jobs. Michael Moore speaks the truth. We need people in the auto industry who are frugal minded and can put out a decent vehicle that is sound, fuel efficient, safe and above all affordable.

    December 4, 2008 at 3:39 pm |
  99. C. Beckler

    It took about 5 minutes to bail out the big players on Wall Street and at the banks, no restrictions, few questions, and no pay cuts. The auto industries and the uaw are not the ones who cheated investors, wiped out retirement funds, gave credit cards to people who had no incomes, paid huge salaries to their employees and bosses who are responsible for these crimes. I think it is the blue collar worker who is under attack. Many people think If you do manual labor you do not deserve a decent income. As wages fall so do many businesses along the way.

    December 4, 2008 at 4:03 pm |
  100. Jane Public

    I would like to request a bailout. Who do I need to contact?

    December 4, 2008 at 4:03 pm |
  101. Norm

    Let's see now, 3 already multi-millionaires, couldn't run their respective company for years, now claim they can and will work for a $1.

    December 4, 2008 at 4:07 pm |
  102. Jane Public

    I only need about 200,000 dollars.

    December 4, 2008 at 4:11 pm |
  103. Stacy Prell

    I have several concerns about the auto industry bailout. What future plans do they have to limit executive salaries, not just the top CEO, but all top executives. The symbolic $1 a year salary is just a ruse. What about perks, bonus packages, stock, the key is what other incentives are they giving up.
    And two, All this talk of battery and electric cars, lets get real, they will be too expensive for the average consumer to consider buying. We need better, smarter , safer and less expensive cars that the average person can afford to buy... forget all of the fancy toys and gizmos give me a good quality, safe, reliable car that I can buy without taking out a second mortgage.

    December 4, 2008 at 4:23 pm |
  104. Stephen Steele

    Stop giving tax money away like water. The "Big Three" auto industries are not needed. The other auto manufacturers "Honda or Toyota" make a great car with US labor and US parts and sell these cars for a reasonable price in the US. Ask them to expand and take the rest of the US market. The US taxpayer wins with a better, cheaper product and we do not need to spend my money bailing out a bunch of clowns in Detroit.

    December 4, 2008 at 4:44 pm |
  105. edward kelley

    Nothing against making a decent living, BUT $70.00+ dollars an hour average to work in a vehicle assembly plant. It's no wonder the 3 big auto makers are on their way out. It's time for the rank and file of the UAW to agree to some serious concessions. Even taking a 50% paycut I think 35.00 Is still a very fair wage.If that would not be considered, 2 things could happen: we can all drive imports and UAW workers can settle for a menial job making 1/10th of their current wage.

    December 4, 2008 at 4:46 pm |
  106. Stewart

    I worked in the auto industry selling cars for a large dealership that sells 11 different brand names, until I got laid off last Tuesday. All of this hype is causing people to lose there jobs, because people think we could just about give a car away, when it's not true at all. How are salesmen going to make any money? My commissions were 15% of gross on new cars, and people beat us down so much, we make $100 profit on a new car, that’s 15 dollars in my pocket, or a minimum wage pay check of $600 for 2 weeks for 100 hours work less taxes. And I didn't sell GM's, I sold Kia.. people lost their jobs, even at our Honda dealership.. A new kind of buyer emerged, one who thinks they can get something for next to nothing. And our dealership had never laid people off in the past. I think dealerships hurt other dealers themselves with advertising cars as if they are giving them away.. and this gets into peoples heads.. like we have thousands of $$ in mark up on cars, when it ranges really from a couple hundred, to about $800 markup, which makes my check.
    IF PEOPLE WANT TO HELP THE AUTOMARKET, STOP beating us down! If you can't afford a new car, then buy used.. your hurting the dealership, and the people who put in 200 hours a month for next to nothing. Its like going shopping for food, and lets say it comes out to 150 dollars, and you try to hand us $75!! YOU the PEOPLE are hurting us!
    So let the car dealerships fall, and let the Auto Industry collapse, it's not only their fault, but its YOURS too!

    December 4, 2008 at 5:24 pm |
  107. Elvis

    Going for Chapter 11...painful but necessary action for any company with dinosaur status....

    December 4, 2008 at 5:38 pm |
  108. cheryl, Flint

    Do we only bailout companies that the aristocrats are invested in? Or are we truly out to help the blue collar worker.

    December 4, 2008 at 5:41 pm |
  109. Carolyn B.

    Two questions: Why can make a car for sale in Europe that 60+ miles to the gallon and can't sell it here and how can the head of a company who has shipped so many jobs overseas appear before congress and be involved in this discussion about potential job loss? Let's get real.

    December 4, 2008 at 5:50 pm |
  110. Ben

    Big 3 re-invent themselfs?

    Are they planning to leave the US? GM has now opened a factory in S:t Petersburg, Russia if I am not missinformed. After communism fell in Europe carmakers have invested heavily in Tjekien and Slovakia and now Russia.

    I heard that Volvo Car was for sale (Ford owned) but it was complicaded because Volvo Car was security for loans and kredit that Ford has with banks, a group led by JP Morgan.

    If one of the Big 3 goes bankroupt, could this end up with banks owning carfactorys all around the world

    December 4, 2008 at 6:08 pm |
  111. Kathy Ulrich

    Since the automakers argument is that a bailout is necessary to preserve American jobs, then if the bailout of the big 3 is to proceed, they should be required to close overseas and Mexico operations before closing US and Canadian plants.

    December 4, 2008 at 6:19 pm |
  112. Virginia

    Get those CEOs out! Haven't they done enough damage already? Lock them up and throw away the key! Why is anyone even listening to those lying good for nothing bad excuse for a human being not to mention they are running the biggest corporations in the world?

    They are the worst criminals of the century and American industry has enabled these scum bags to carry out the worst embezzlement/heist ever committed on these shores since the signing of the Constitution.

    Hire some Chinese management and throw away the word CEO. At least the Chinese believe people should have jobs. Michael Moore speaks the truth. We need people in the auto industry who are frugal minded and can put out a decent vehicle that is sound, fuel efficient, safe and above all affordable.

    December 4, 2008 at 6:34 pm |
  113. mark

    I dont feel sorry for the big three auto makers at all......I had to agree to a 3 year union contract wage freeze, working for snow country.....I dont hear any consessions or talk of wage freeze comming from the big three consessions what so ever......try giving up a percentage of your income, auto people......wile the cost of everything else keeps going up all around you !.........try that !

    December 4, 2008 at 6:46 pm |
  114. cheryl, Flint

    Do we only bail out companys that aristocrats are invested in? Or are we really out to help the blue collar worker.

    December 4, 2008 at 6:47 pm |
  115. Doug

    Listening to the Automakers CEO's testimony and please, I think many of the congressmen and presentations are failing to look at a major component of the crisis. Granted, there are many components and causes, but a major reason for the drop in sales is plain and simple quality. After two failed transimssions, a blown head gasket, and numerous problems that occurred "just outside the expiration of its warranty," I bought a foriegn car which, after 4 years, has never seen a mechanic.

    I sincerely want to, and would absolutely love to buy American cars, but can't afford the ongoing repairs and I deserve to have a car last for more than a few years!

    Merely supporting the financial aspects of a bailout does not solve the ongoing need for consumers to begin buying American made cars. Debatable, but the union contracts appear to have really done the industry in this time.

    December 4, 2008 at 6:50 pm |
  116. Robert Palmer

    I am a regular watcher of CNN on a daily basis and generally find it informative and unbais however on the question of the auto "bailout" I find that CNN is just another member of the "media fraternity". I watched an interview today by a CNN reporter of the Michigan
    governor and was truly embarassed by the reporter acting like she knew the auto industry better than anyone anywhere. Instead of asking questions to get some of the governors views, it looked to me like the reporter took the oportunity to redicule the auto industry. Where was this reporter when the taxpayers gave 700 Billion to the banking/wall street industry? I have never seen any interview by CNN of any of the banking institutions. (or by any other media). These were the institutions that got us into the present economic mess that we are in. Did you notice how quick our congress wrote the checks to the banking institutions? Yes the auto CEO's have made some bad actions but compared to the banking/wall street CEO's they look pretty good. I.e. The Asians (Jap, Korean etc) auto companies are also losing market share at almost the same as their US counterparts. The problem is the Union consessions made over many years by the U.S. firms that make the difference. These concessions make the U.S. firms cost per car much more than the Asians. The quality of the U.S. firms has been on a par with the Asians for many years. Robert L. Palmer Lenexa KS

    December 4, 2008 at 7:01 pm |
  117. Michelle

    I'm wondering how many of our representatives in government would be willing to take part in an audit process? I would love to see the "powers that be" go under the same scrutiny as the automakers have gone through this past month. Our government leaders need to go through this same process: give me a business plan for the next 5 yrs.(what positive changes will they be participating in), are they willing to take significant paycuts in order to help the nations deficits?

    The issue of GM, Chrysler and Ford are so far reaching and significant to this country's economic success; I can not believe the financials went through nothing to get tax payer money vs. the automakers jumping through whoops!!! Unbelievable!

    December 4, 2008 at 7:28 pm |
  118. June -- southern U.S.

    Trouble is – the bailout is unconstitutional. Not even a question. It is absolutely forbidden by the Constitution, and not just the automakers' but all the bailouts and nationalizations and takeovers. This is not, not, not the vision American citizens cherished of their country. Tyranny historically has arisen under so-called "emergency" conditions like these because we the people did not vote in Paulson and Geithner–and we can't vote them back out. It is Congress' role to distribute what's taken from us in taxes–not the role of federal appointees beyond the reach of our votes.

    As for "too big to be allowed to fail": The only entity in the country that truly is too big to fail–and will bring down the whole structure if it does–is the consumer. But the consumer so far hasn't gotten billions in direct, in-the-pocket bailout money. Oh that's right–the consumer is not in Paulson-and-company's social set, I forgot.

    Second trouble is - if ANY corporate entity is too big to fail, something similar to antitrust laws should be written and enforced to make sure no one company ever gets too big to fail in the future.

    December 4, 2008 at 7:35 pm |
  119. Tony Mattinson

    America's motor industry problem is an easy one to define. Detroit has made lousy cars and vehicles since the end of WW2.If that were not the case why is it then that firstly the Europeans cracked open their market with British Sports Cars and then the VW Beetle from Germany followed by the Japanese who now manufacture large numbers of cars in their own country.
    I say that the US government should not prop up it's redundant motor industry. Let these stooges facing Congress go home without a Cent. They're useless and have proven so by their inactivity over the years.
    In their place let us see the Europeans,Mercedes,BMW,VW, and Porsche plus the Japanese and the Koreans take over the plants. We would see a total change with three years and 60% of the workers who lose their jobs after the big three are allowed to go bust would be re-employed by companies who really can do the job and for the first time in recent history the US customer demand would be properly filled something that Detroit has almost never done.

    December 4, 2008 at 9:23 pm |
  120. Mohammed

    The big 3 inept companies of Michigan do not deserve a bailout. They need to reorganize under Chapter 11 and get rid of all their top management buffoons. They have no plan and no real ability to get out of this self imposed MESS. Congress must not give them a dime!! Let others that are more capable make cars. We no longer make shoes and a host of other products. Perhaps making cars is not our forte, especially not a core competence of Detroit.

    December 4, 2008 at 10:39 pm |
  121. Leslie

    I will not invest in, bank with or buy from any company that benefits from the bailout.

    December 4, 2008 at 11:13 pm |
  122. Hal

    Why is it that noone in the news media or in the congress, who are either reporting on the story or investigating it, is asking what role GMAC's spin off business named DiTech played in the crisis. The car business hasn't been that bad for very long, so it begs the question, WHY are GM and others in such a financial hole. Could it be that they made bad home mortgage loans through DiTech and other such firms and as a result, tax payers are being asked to bail out the (little) 3?

    If that's the case, the why not let them fail? Perhaps the little 3 should ask their buddies at the Oil Company for a loan. Lord knows they've been sticking it to the American taxpayer long enough to have a few nickels left over. Maybe they could provide some of those windfall profits to help out their friends who were building SUV's instead of battery powered cars.

    December 4, 2008 at 11:18 pm |
  123. Bob Bradt

    When the commanding officer of a naval vessel happens to run aground, he is relieved of command. He's not given another chance to do the same thing. The Big 3 CEO's haven't paid enough attention to market trends, and the need to lessen our oil dependancy. Why should Congress throw money their way so they can continue poor management practices. I have yet to hear any proposal from any side saying they can get billions of dollars in bailouts, but the CEO's must go. They should!

    December 4, 2008 at 11:32 pm |
  124. shelly of illinois

    At least these guys are willing to sacrifice their salaries and lowered their standards by driving on the interstate...UNLIKE the CEO's of the big banks whom already make millions per year and could not sacrifice a penny to help fix what they were responsible for taking care of! I don't want to see the Auto Industry take bankruptcy because every little-man below them will not get paid for supplies that have already been sold to GM, Ford, & Chrysler. So, the pain will trickle right back to that "middle income person" who makes the tires, who makes the bolts, who makes the engine parts, etc. Tax payers need to be rewarded for bailing out these "educated CEO's" and NOT with a $600 stimulus payment!

    December 4, 2008 at 11:37 pm |
  125. Linda

    The oil companies have a vested interest in maintaining the
    auto companies. Why can they not be expected to help in
    saving them? It has been reported on their flexibility re cold

    December 5, 2008 at 3:48 am |
  126. Tan Boon Tee

    Has anyone learnt any lesson? That is the question.

    Last month, it was $25 billion. This month, it is $34 billion. Next month, it will be $__ billion - fill in the blank please.

    Suppose all the huge corporates were to follow the example of the Big Three, what would happen to the US economy? How not to expedite recession (never mind if it is modern or not)?

    The CEOs had been ridiculed in the Congress because of their excessive yet unacceptable extravagance before. This time to polish up a bit of their tarnished image, they drove to Washington in hybrids, perhaps hoping against hope that they may win some sympathy from the congressmen, the media and public.

    What price human greed and fraudulence? The ultimate victims are the ordinary people, the honest taxpayers.
    (Tan Boon Tee)

    December 5, 2008 at 4:57 am |

    The auto giants failed because the management could not forecast the future and it is for this they were paid hefty pay packets. Now to cover their mistake like cowards they are resorting to highlight the damage to the economy if they fail. The management have sunk three major automobile companies and they have the face now to ask naive American public for another 34Billions to support their fancy annual pay packages. The 34billion can be handed over to management of the three, provided they sack the entire lot of management and work with a fresh team who take work seriously rather than pay packets.

    December 5, 2008 at 7:05 am |
  128. Phil

    When is the United States going to wake. Japan, especially Japan, and all the other countries scream, "Play Fair". They charge double for our cars in their countries. Germany has a 30% tax and on top of that a 19% Mehrverksteuer (Sales Tax). Our country lets them sell their cars at cost. Where is the fairness? We go in the red with all of them, at they naturally go plus.
    Eliminate that problem for the Auto Industry and charge double for their cars here. Wake up dummies – your being laughed at and they laugh all the way to the bank.
    The Auto Industry employees are enjoying a higher salary than all the other industries, and paying the unions to keep asking for more.
    Look at all that income being wasted. Get rid of the unions – they were and always will be trouble for the USA.
    Stop sponsoring all these sports figures – again, look at the savings. The Auto Industry doesn't need a loan – they need to lower the wages with the rest of the country and wasting money on union and sports. WAKE UP AMERICA!!!! Get some Management that knows how to run a business and dump the CEOs. It's time the Government started to run these failing businesses.

    December 5, 2008 at 8:51 am |
  129. Nassef

    I do not understand how does the American Government lend the money to the same executives that put their companies in such desperate situation??


    It is very difficult to change people's attitudes and concepts when their age exceeds 35. They will not learn from their lessons. It is easy to destroy something in few seconds, but building it up again may take years.

    The problem of automakers did not start two months ago, it started many years, and so mending and resolving such problem shall take at least 2-3 times the time taken to be created.

    New blood with new concept and approach is required.

    December 5, 2008 at 9:02 am |
  130. Smriti Lakhotia

    Detroit’s big three automakers who have come second time for a government bailout are definitely going to require more than the $35 billion they are currently pleading for. The impact of the embarrassment they faced last time can be clearly seen in their agreement to cut down their salaries to $1 a year if the federal loan is approved. GM which is currently in desperate need of $4 bn will surely run out this emergency fund also in a blink.

    December 5, 2008 at 11:59 am |
  131. ade

    i hate the whole 'slashing jobs' part.

    notice how it is always the people at middle and bottom that goes. if anyone gets any bailout – for every saving they get slashing jobs at the bottom they need to slash the top management.

    If the CEO is making 22 million a year, getting rid of him could save 200 jobs of people making 8 – 10K a month and more jobs of those making less.

    1 person with 22 m income can eat 3 meals a day, but with a few hundred laid off- and each just cuts back a single meal.. that is a lot less business.

    Consumerism drives the economy, consumerism is numbers..

    slashing jobs is not helping anyone but the company to keep paying the unnecessary overheads and the lifestyle they have which benefits the lucky few in this particular case. companies that keep their activities streamlined continues to make money in this difficult time.. those that lives in excess don't.

    December 5, 2008 at 2:27 pm |
  132. Jim in Mi.

    I would first like to say I was dead against any of the 700 billion bail out money's.But with the sight of a potential wall street collapse our government not only bailed them out but purchased a part of the company's therefore it was not a loan to be payed back. Now that the big 3 need/want help we are criticizing their every move IE their chosen tranportation to the hearings.Does anyone think the AIG CEO drove to washington?not a chance.Now I can tell you that a bankruptcy for the big 3 would not only be devistating to the economy of a number of states it could have catastrophic effects nation wide from small mom and pop gas stations to major department stores.I guess my point is a collapse of the big 3 could be the last of a number of events to put us in a full blown depression..

    December 5, 2008 at 2:31 pm |
  133. Paul D.

    Give the automakers no hand-outs, but just loans to be payed back to Us taxpayers to the last penny, with interest.
    Only for the good of the economy, to save the common people from catastrophy. Not for the bad managers or the stake-holders.
    I think it's that simple.

    December 5, 2008 at 3:15 pm |
  134. Ron Dill

    I don't think so. They continue to operate the way they have for decades. The unions have too much power and have kept the auto industry from being more automated. Instead of giving them a $34B loan, why not give main street a $25K rebate on the purchase of a new American veniche and that would eliminate all of the vehicles sitting on lots and the plants would probably go back to full operation. $34B given out at $25K would buy over 1 1/3 million vehicles.

    December 5, 2008 at 3:37 pm |
  135. Patti

    The existing management cannot lead the auto industry to change.

    They continue to base their business plans on standard pro formas and P&L's as currently known. Their profitability outcome is still based on sales and financial performance and projections based on the history. I have heard nothing of saturation points or new distribution models. The intertia that this crisis creates in the industry is an opportunity to make changes beyond business models.

    I live in a suburban area near a big town/small city. There are several major and medium sized car dealerships for new and used inventory that appear fully stocked and collectively represent a very large chunk of commercial acreage with prime frontage. What if they changed to limit the inventory levels? It appears that the area would have ample new and used autos currently available to last a long while. What if customers ordered autos to their specifications that had to be delivered and were not stored on site? Would this prevent being stuck holding the goods? Would slowing the instant transactional sale also manage the economy so long term financial plans were once again manageable and more predictable? Think about it: some of our major U.S. industries all coming down to within one month destruction and demise. Why weren't they speaking up months ago if not a year ago? Why didn't they know? Their assumptions that there would always be credit and available customers at current levels was wrong and more than that: there were no contingency plans. It appears that their only Plan B is bankruptcy or taxpayer bailout – nearly forever altering the financial outcome of life as we know it in the United States or that there was not a plan b. Is that what they teach in business schools?

    In terms of american values – some of these auto dealership lots are larger than most cemetaries. This prime commercial real estate alone is very expensive. If the distribution model changed to limit inventory then more real estate would be available for accessible medical facilities, the green industry products and services, or community transportation modes, for examples.

    What if there were tax credits for holding onto autos for longer periods of time with advantages for maintenance, repair and restoration, or car 'swaps' to accomodate changing needs such as family growth or downsizing or other special needs? What if along with annual auto registration additional data was gathered and subsequently managed – such as mileage with an inventory of usage tracked i.e. number of drivers, commuter distance, special usage (cross country relocation or travel, etc.) This would refocus the emphasis from gas and oil prices, the economy, and towards usage and conserving.

    I lived in a town in the past where we brought our own garbage to the dump and were charged each trip based on amount of garbage/number of bags and the recycling system was layed out systematically. It forced one to rethink packaging and usage and means to reduce the amount of garbage to manage that cost – it was a brilliant process that redirected the issue to root cause and user changes were made accordingly. I mean: who wants to throw money away on garbage? This pearl of wisdom could be helpful to the auto industry. Rethink and retool the industry – do not go back to the history books. They need visionaries right now and not vintage models. The existing management cannot lead the industry to change.

    December 5, 2008 at 4:07 pm |
  136. Ashley Howard

    I am curious if the government has ask if the major 3 auto companies are going to cut back on their sponsorships. GM spends huge amounts more than any other auto company and other fortune 500 companies. This is a place they could save more than $300 million which is a small dent.

    Honda just announce they are backing out of Formula One, why haven't we seen the big three back out of some NASCAR.

    December 5, 2008 at 4:13 pm |
  137. Barbara

    These ceo's have driven the industry to the ground. Why can't a worker stop the line when he/she see a defect in the car/truck being manufactured. How many lives have been lost due to defects before there is a recall?. How little value is placed on a life., especially as it is no relative of these ceo's. Now that these top execs. will never be broke we can afford to FIRE THEM and start all over again. We should also fine them for mismanagement and greed.


    December 5, 2008 at 4:24 pm |
  138. Cary Jordan

    There should be no bail out for the auto industry. This is capitalism at its finest. We did not bail out the steel or textile industries when they could no longer compete. If you cannot do business or make a profit you go out of business, end of story. What is next, bailing out mom and pop stores? Let’s not forget we bailed out the airlines and they still can turn a profit unless you are Southwest. Why should my tax dollars go to support these CEO's and over paid factory workers? The US auto industry has not been on the forefront of technology and decided to ride the SUV gravy train way too long. The UAW is at fault too. They drove up the cost of labor so high that is impossible to maintain a competitive advantage in the market place. It is not fair that a high school educated person working a factory line makes over $50,000 or $60,000 a year and someone who just graduated college can barely make half that. Bottom-line the cost of living in the United States makes it hard to keep wages down. These idiot car companies should have adopted a new management style decades ago aimed at lowering production and labor costs and increased quality. I do not feel sorry for them, let them go under and I will continue to drive my very reliable Toyota that is made in America. I feel bad for the employees who have been hurt by poor management and horrible business practices.

    December 5, 2008 at 4:48 pm |
  139. John Kluempers

    If you begin to add up all the monies being considered for bailouts, the figure nears a staggering 5 trillion dollars. There are approximately 100 million taxpaying households in this country. How about a two-year moritorium on Federal Income Tax for all households earning less than $200,000 but more than the federal Minimum that obligates a person to begin paying Income Tax? My wife and I earn around $100,000, and we pay nearly $12,000 per year. I can tell you, this would be a real shot in the arm for us. We could help the banks by paying off credit card debt much faster. Of course, they don't WANT that (less interest charges). We could keep making our morgage payments on time – and we might actually spend some of that money. This plan would cost FAR less that the 5 trillion dollars I spoke of earlier. This recession was NOT caused by people not being able to receive credit – it was started because people feel POOR (Lowering of home value and 401K levels) and they stopped SPENDING!

    As a Senator mentioned yesterday, the Little Three could sell 20 million cars every year and not turn a profit. Refinancing their staggering debt without bankruptcy is honestly impossible. So what good will this do?

    I want some help, and I need it! I lost my job a month ago, and there is NOTHING out there. Only by stimulating spending can we extridite ourselves from tis mess.

    December 5, 2008 at 4:57 pm |
  140. Mark Raykhlin

    Still can't understand the reasoning of giving money to the manufacturers who openly and not once complain about the problems with the would be customers who can not get financing. Do not help the car companies directly! Help them by giving money to those who want to buy their cars! Let say that the government will give a couple of thousand bucks to anyone who will buy the car, provided that the government will be reimbursed by the car manufacturer for this amount in a year from the time of purchase. Annual sales of American made cars are around 12mil units a year, so it is roughly 1 mil units per month. At two thousand dollars per customer (which will be enough for appx 6-7 months of payments) the total per month will be 2 billion dollars of real moving money – car makers should be happy, dealers too, customers as well and the economy will certainly feel much better and who knows may be the low point will be over with! This system will have some additional benefits as well... Because the money will be given only to those car companies who sold the car it will stimulate all of them.

    December 5, 2008 at 5:07 pm |
  141. Keith Dickerson

    I used to work for one of the Big 3 automakers and it doesn't take a rocket sceintist to understand why they're bankrupt.
    1. Too many managers per employee
    2. Too much excessive spending and commercializing
    3. Over 60% of the employees driving foreign cars
    4. UNIONS-Keeping employees that should be fired long ago and demanding higher wages every 4 years even though profits are low
    5. No reinvestment in "Green" vehicles
    6. Too many brands with identical looking cars

    This is just to name 6!! The Big 3 HAVE to become the Big 2 and someone must merge. They also have to stop the pension program for mgrs and union workers with less than 10 years on the job. And they MUST...MUST reformulate their business model to create new "GREEN" energy effecient models and streamline their business.

    December 5, 2008 at 5:36 pm |
  142. Qwaid

    To auto workers: Vote to decertify your union and I will support you!! Until then, your unending greed has now finally come back to bite you. Ordinary citizens who have to pay into their retirement, pay some of their medical benefits, pay medical deductables, and be responsible enough so they don't get fired are TIRED of seeing these unions suck the life away of companies. Why should union worker be guarenteed a job for life no matter how the company is doing. No matter wether that worker is competent, no matter if in any normal business without a union would be fired or laid off. No more, Unions had their place in time and now they should all outlawed. They are un-American, socialist, and against everything we believe in. Where has our competitive spirit gone, pride in a job to do it well, and work hard.

    December 5, 2008 at 5:43 pm |
  143. Garry Zelk

    At first I thought that the auto bailout was a good idea,knowing that our economy is very much dependent on it.But after seeing the documentary "who killed the EV1" I really have to wonder.The people who drove these cars loved them...GM even bought 51% of a battery company whose batteries could extend the range of these vehicles from 90 miles to nearly 300.Then after California rescinded their requirement that companies must offer an electric vehicle(after the Bush admin. twisted their arm),they sold their interest to Texaco and crushed all the EV1s.Now they are telling us that the technology for electric cars is not there yet?BS! I trust them as much as I do the oil companies and the Bush administration.

    December 5, 2008 at 5:45 pm |
  144. wade

    No they haven't learned, even thou they came in town in vehicles, hybrid...they are showing they are hypocrites. Who honestly thinks that when they leave and go back to Detroit, they will not be using those planes is crazy. This is a low attempt to be like the working man, who they are not and so hard at trying to represent. My serious question would be ...who are they really worried about ? "themselves" would be the correct answer. I have posted before, the auto companies need to lower their prices and quit ripping off consumers on the prices of cars, maybe they would sell more and pull themselves out of this crisis. Save the pensions of employees but, not the company. Remember this next time you buy a car and drive off the lot and wonder what that sore feeling you have in your tush came from, and you will realize you just got ripped off.

    December 5, 2008 at 5:58 pm |
  145. HAL

    A few years back, following my divorce, my ex-wife defaulted on the loan for a Ford. Since I was still on the loan, Ford came after me for the $15k balance. I sent them copies of the court documents that showed I was to be "held harmless" for the loan. They told me the court couldn't alter the original contract. Ford put a lien on my house, which I had to pay before I could sell the house. Then, they placed the bad charge on my credit report (the 7-year pain)...

    I asked them to remove mark on my credit, particularly since I had the court documents. They refused and said the bad mark was warranted.

    I echo Marie Antoinette..."let them eat cake...!" I say give them as much compassion as they gave to me and countless others.

    Through their arrogance, they made several wrong turns. They should find their way back without help.

    December 5, 2008 at 7:02 pm |
  146. Dave Wright

    I'm 48 years old and to me i see alot of people cry for help but i think that an Auto worker making $30 to $40 plus an hour is a little to much
    for everyone to pay for , if it was me let them take a big pay cut starting with the top at 50% to 75% and the workers taking a $10.00 an hour
    cut then if thier willing to help themself then we should help them also

    so what ever happened to if they can't help themself why should we help ?

    December 5, 2008 at 7:29 pm |
  147. P. Dinnerman

    No hand-outs to the auto industry, please.
    We common people pay for our mistakes and often for mistakes of other more powerful people.
    Just for the sake of the economy and saving jobs, we should give the automakers LOANS ONLY, and they should be payed back with interest to the American tax payers, up to the last penny.
    Any other request from the big auto makers would be like asking ice-cream.

    December 5, 2008 at 8:32 pm |
  148. Pasadena

    Let the Detroit Automotive industry fail. I live on the westcoast where GM has only a 5% marketshare, I don't want my tax dollars to go a company that can't produce cars that I want to buy. Plus what will be the next big company to fail and want our tax dollar money?

    December 5, 2008 at 9:08 pm |
  149. Joe Williams

    A week a ago my wife and I traveled thru three states and the District of Columbia. We noticed thousands of new cars at auto dealerships. I believe the" Big Three" should offer discounts 40-50% on all new cars. Nothing lasts forever,including cars, what a great time to buy. Who wouldn,t take advantage of discounts such as these... Or what about zero % interest?

    December 5, 2008 at 10:08 pm |
  150. Merikay

    The big 3 auto makers could have built a 50 mpg auto 30 years ago but were pressured NOT to by BIG OIL. The auto makers need to beg Big Oil for money. Big Oil has put the auto makers in this fix. Doesn't anyone remember when we lined up for blocks to buy gas during a shortage in the 70s. But that shortage disappeard, oil supplies were plentiful so auto makers built bigger and gassier vehicles with no regard for fuel supplies, the environment or the future. I have no sympathy.

    December 5, 2008 at 11:47 pm |
  151. Clark

    1. I doubt that more than a very few Congressmen/women have enough business since to actually evaluate a business plan (especially one as complex as would be proposed by the big 3).
    2. I would be surprised if Congress hasn't already decided how to proceed and are only using the public hearings as a way of playing to the American public and acting like they are our heros and will scrutinize every detail and keep the public safe from any harm in the future.
    3. I for one don't trust politicians and I trust the permanent civil servants (the real power and enertia behind the government) even less.
    4. Is Obama going to "change" the entire civil service staffing of the government? If not, he will come and go and things will continue basically on the same path.

    December 6, 2008 at 3:08 am |
  152. David

    I work as a sales manager at a GM dealer in the Caribbean.

    For some time now, we have done extremely well with the North American Products (Tahoe, Silverado, Equinox, etc).
    We were just told that the new Traverse's cost is going to be to expensive to start importing, because it is selling extremely well in the US, thus making it more difficult in price to buy it.
    In other words, GM is not willing to produce the product at a reasonable price for us in the Caribbean and Latin American region to sell anymore!
    One of the reasons they give, is that the product is sold extremely well in the US.
    So in fact, it does not want to sell more products throughout the world.

    An example: In our market we have sold triple the amount we thought we were going to sell, just because the price was right. Now GM is raising it's prices in such a way and also making it difficult for us to purchase these products so we cannot order these units anymore, since they will not sell at the more expensive prices and thus making sales less and less.
    Less dollars going to the US and less products to produce.

    Wouldn't the US love more production sales and more $$ coming their way?

    There are hundreds of dealers going to close or have closed already in the US, there are many units / sales that GMAC cannot finance. GM is actually giving insentives to the sales people, managers and finance managers at the GM dealers if they finance a car somewhere else then GMAC.
    And here is a whole region and most probably the rest of the world, who would like to purchase these products and it is made more difficult.

    Is this actually a smart move?

    December 6, 2008 at 12:22 pm |
  153. Michael

    Rather than giving the auto companies a handout so they can stockpile more cars no one is buying why not set up a $5,000 rebate program to consumers for every car they buy? The Auto companies would grant the rebate and get reimbursed by the government. That would move cars and help the lowly consumer/taxpayer.

    December 6, 2008 at 5:03 pm |
  154. Caroline McNeil

    With all the Bailout talks with GM, Chrysler, Ford, I've been wondering why the other US car dealer Saturn, is not asking for money? Are they doing better with managing their business and perhaps Congress should have Saturn involved with the restructuring process.

    December 6, 2008 at 5:34 pm |
  155. Mark

    It's been apparent that over the last several years, the big three have ben producing more product than what the market is willing to buy. It's no different than my small town not being able to support 3 convenience went out of business because there is not enough demand for the products that are for sale. Subsidizing any business when there is not enough market demand for their products is simply postponing the inevitable collapse and potentially going to make the collapse worse when it happens.

    December 6, 2008 at 5:41 pm |
  156. On Our Way to Social Democracy

    There's a scary parallel between what Hugo Chavez is doing by nationalizing industries in Venezuela and what Congress is doing by "bailing out" Fannie Mae, Banks and the big three auto makers...the only difference appears that the Venezuelan people actually own the industries that they "bailed out". The United States version apparently gives their taxpayers all the risk but still lets the CEOs who created the problems keep their jobs and compensation packages.

    December 6, 2008 at 5:49 pm |
  157. Frank Schornstein

    I am in favor of a temporary bridge loan being made by Congress to the automakers in Detroit in order to forestall the economic and/or employment fallout that would certainly result from a decision to do nothing. America cannot afford to allow its automobile industry to fail. I have heard of estimates ranging as high as 10% of the American workforce as being dependent upon the automobile industry including suppliers, manufacturers, dealerships, banks, and insurance carriers, etc. Detroit's failure would also negatively impact the oil industry because demand and consumption of gasoline and other oil-based products in our economy would take a serious, if not devastating, hit for the foreseeable future. It would effectively remove the American automotive industry from the domestic U.S. and World economies. This scenario would be contrary to President-elect Obama's vision and American support for making Detroit profitable, competitive with foreign automakers, and innovative in automotive technology (for fuel efficiency, cheaper alternative energy, and environmentally safe and "green").

    The answer calls for financial assistance to Detroit that does not exceed 50% of what the automakers are presently requesting, substantial collateral being offered to the government for the temporary bridge loan, management oversight and accountability review by Congress, executive compensation limits, and incentives offered for the implementation of cost-effective and money-saving operational procedures. To do otherwise would ensure our economic and political decline on the world stage and resemble our already growing vulnerability and dependence on foreign oil. Can we ever afford to entrust our economic future, values and environmental concerns to foreign interests?

    Frank in No. VA.

    December 6, 2008 at 6:56 pm |
  158. Joe

    I have been watching this whole Auto Bail Out issue and I think there are a couple of areas of discussion that have not been touched on that play a critical roll in deciding if this bail out should happen.

    First we have heard that 10% of the price of an automobile is due to UAW labour cost and labour burden.

    Second issue is, where I live, there are far to many GM dealers in such a small town of less than 40000 people. I understand that they provide jobs but they also add to the cost of the vehicle.

    So my concerns to the above two issues are:

    I know several Owners of Auto Dealerships and they are all very, very wealthy from owning their dealerships. I don't have a problem with that as I am all for free enterprise but, if we are going to compare apples to apples and to be far to the UAW that continues to take unfair hits and blame I have 3 questions that need to be addressed and they are as follows:

    (1) What % age of value is attached to the price of an individual vehicle for Corporate Executives, Dealership Owners? In this figure it should show the head count number of Executives / Owners = % age of value.

    (2) What is the remainder of % age of value per vehicle for all other employee's (only paid company employee's not paid advertisers etc.)

    (3) If there is going to be a bridge loan to these Auto Company's especially GM and Chrysler. These Company's must be prepared to give hard numbers of how many dealerships they will close that are far to redundent to streamline their costs and add value back to their bottom lines and help to reduce the price of the vehicles.

    December 6, 2008 at 7:30 pm |
  159. Steve Bigelow

    Why all this talk about the auto industry bailout? I haven't heard anything, lately, about the trillion plus dollar bailout that was handed to the bankers and insurance companies with no stipulations. That money seems to have just disappeared with no positive effect to the economy. At least an auto industry bailout would put the people back to work, who's money made these bailouts possible in the first place, instead of rewarding criminals and creating deficit.

    December 6, 2008 at 7:33 pm |

    Ford conducted a financial analysis on the Pinto which concluded it would be "cheaper" to pay liability claims to burn victims rather than to modify the fuel tank. Maybe it would be cheaper to let Ford burn.

    December 6, 2008 at 7:49 pm |
  161. Geoffrey J Carpenter

    An issue that I do not understand with the $34B bail-out is why this loan will make consumers buy American automobiles. In an feature this morning, CNN talked about how its been such a slow year at a GM dealership. How has the year been for Honda, Toyota, Nissan, etc? I would assume its been slow for them as well due to the economic situation in the US. How can anyone predict that the big three can sway consumers? As an automotive enthusiast that loves following trends in that market, it seems to me that Ford is the only one of the three that might has a chance.

    December 6, 2008 at 7:53 pm |
  162. David Comer

    The carmakers, however undeserving, cannot be allowed to go into insolvency (just look at the chaos that has resulted from letting Lehman fail).

    However, we should stop focussing on the failures of the CEOs (except where they are also, contrary to all good business practice, Chairman). These individuals execute the policies of the Board: it is the Boards that should be held accountable and, if they are honorable individuals, all should resign.

    December 6, 2008 at 8:39 pm |
  163. Richard Patton

    By: Richard Patton

    It seems the news of the big 3 bail out has dotted our news a lot lately. I normally don’t share my views publically, but figured what the heck if I am paying for this as a taxpayer then I am entitled to my two cents of opinion.

    Within just a few weeks the amount requested by the auto industry for the bail out has grown from $25-billion to $34-billion dollars. I say lets give them $68-billion… why not we bailed out the financial market with $750-billion what’s another $68 billion dollars…

    I also feel that certain restrictions such as CEO and executive bonus checks should be suspended until such time that this loan is paid back in full to the U.S. Government.

    As part of this agreement the U.S. Government should require the big 3 to stop production and the importation of parts from any company outside U.S. boarders. I don’t see Mexico bailing out any of the big 3 so why should foreigners benefit from our tax dollar while our country is currently in recession. I further think that our Government should tell the big 3 that they have 30 days to comply, and that we will shut U.S. boarders to the import of any part whole or partial used for the manufacturing or for the completion of a vehicle to be sold in the United States. The big 3 can simply call the thousands of U.S. workers they have laid off back to work to start making parts for cars and trucks. U.S. supplier companies could benefit from the trickle down affect by calling back workers supplying parts to the big 3.

    I also feel that if any are allowed that the U.S. Government should regulate what percentage of foreign parts is allowed in any vehicle manufactured by the big 3 until such time this loan is repaid. What a great solution, our family friends and neighbors get to go back to work, It creates jobs for the United States, solves healthcare for maybe not all but thousands of American citizens and helps boost our economy.

    I am no expert, just your average tax paying citizen and I am sure that people can find fault with this theory but it does seem like it would be a great opportunity to reclaim American jobs that were shifted across our boarders as a result of NAFTA. President elect Barak Obama has stated publically that he would like to reform NAFTA this seems like a perfect opportunity to force the hand of the big 3. And if left with the ultimatum of no loan or do it our way then I am sure that it would work… After all what are the options left by the big 3 I guess they could always just sell there vehicles to Mexico…

    Richard Patton

    December 7, 2008 at 9:00 am |
  164. Paul

    Big concessions could save the Big 3 for now, but only lasting change can keep them alive in the next decade...

    Here's my idea for a 3-prong/3-year "bail-out" plan, where every major stakeholder chips in or gets an incentive for putting more skin in the game:

    1) The company (management & the unions) make the biggest concessions of all - 30% reduction in costs, primarily direct & indirect pay, starting immediately & continuing in 2009, 2010, & 2011, to be revisited only in 2012 & partially eased based on profitability targets to be set today. All bonuses & special perks frozen for 3 years, only deferred compensation allowed & tied to profitability of the companies as of 2012 or later. Let the companies concentrate on making better, less expensive, & more fuel-efficient cars.

    2) The American consumer has to be given a sizable incentive to buy American - as counter-intuitive as this may sound in these tough economic times (car sales dropped 30% or 40%, but they're far from 'Zero') - I’m convinced this beats simple hand-outs or cheap loans to the same companies who got themselves into this mess in the first place or even the government taking an equity stake in failing enterprises. The way it might work is simply giving 3-year loans with 0% interest plus instant cash rebates of, say $1,500 to $3,000, to car buyers (higher for smaller & more fuel-efficient models). So, instead of the Auto companies having to take more losses to continue to fund such incentives, a government-backed program setting aside & channeling money thru the banks already benefiting from government/taxpayer bail-out money would act as an indirect economic stimulus - something like a tax rebate check that you can only spend at one of the Big 3 car makers. Home owners have been a primary focus of the $700 Billion bank bail-out, so why not extend it to Car owners & help car makers in the process?

    3) The government sets up the incentive plan thru the bailed-out banks & the oversight mechanisms necessary to enforce the changes & cost cuts at the Big 3, as well as the strict emissions & fuel-saving targets to be implemented for as long as a single dollar of taxpayers' money makes its way to the auto makers. Obviously, the taxpayer remains a major stakeholder in funding & reaping the future benefits of keeping jobs in the U.S., as well as a healthier & more competitive auto industry for the future. I’m pretty sure economists & financial experts can figure how to pay for these incentives & how to recover taxpayer money, as with the failing banks.

    Beyond that, let the market take care of the rest and competition ultimately decide who survives. In 2012, if any of the Big 3 is still faltering, tough… then it’s time to pull the plug for good !!

    December 7, 2008 at 10:00 am |
  165. george

    the problem is the union contract. Based on world levels the auto workers have been overpaid for years. Dont they get it. The mismanagement by the union and the company over the years has bankrupted the company. Why should government money continue to bail out the irrational decisions made in the past that gave these company's and their workers a higher than normal standard of living while we paid to much for gas guzzling cars. Dont reward incompetence and self serving greed

    December 7, 2008 at 2:49 pm |
  166. Edward Anokwu

    10 Big Ideas that will quickly revive the American economy.
    1. Setting up k through 12 teaching so that teachers teach 3 days a week, and use the two remaining work days for further education and research on mastering subject matter. Students will still attend five days of classes per week. This will open up massive amounts of very productive employment as more teachers will have to be employed to make up for the two teacher education days.
    2. Building military styled burden schools for grades 6 through 9 students. This will serve the purpose of taking less fortunate children out of dysfunctional environments during their most difficult formative years. It will be significant in preventing some of our very talented children from falling by the wayside, thus reducing future prison populations.
    3. Building VA styled Federal Government Health Centers to take care of indigents and people with chronic diseases, and to coexist with the current healthcare system. This will serve as a shock absorber to the rest of the healthcare system, as the government is the largest purchaser of healthcare services. A unified direct government involvement of this sort will extensively cut out middlemen, and will make it easier for the government to lay its hands on spiraling medical costs, even without tweaking the current health insurance system.
    4. Reining in unnecessary therapies. Radical reformation of the CDC and the FDA. Encouraging pharmaceutical companies to divest into other areas of the medical field rather than depending only on drug sales for revenue.
    5. Having a yearly, well televised award of one billion dollars each, to five scientists and technologist who come up with ground breaking discoveries that enhance life on earth. This will go a far way in further impressing on the minds of our youth, that entertainment and sports carriers are not the only ways to achieve fame and wealth.
    6. Sponsoring a grand research to develop microorganisms that can convert carbon containing substances (including wastes) into high energy hydrocarbons. This will probably be one of the greatest technological achievements of our time, because it will imply having the capacity to artificially recycle the excess carbon in our environment. Hydrocarbons will always remain a versatile energy source in our universe.
    7. Building a nationwide, almost free, mass transit system, that includes high speed magnetic levitation trains that can whisk people from coast to coast in less than 5 hours. The time has come for a national mass transit system that is managed by the Federal government. Do not leave this in the hands of the states.
    8. Letting the Federal Government take over failing financial institutions to ensure soft landing, but later liquidating them. Do not attempt to prop up such institutions, since financial institutions are merely facilitators and not originators of critical technologies. If there is a need for such institutions, new more efficient organizations will rise to fill their places. Moreover, the economy is in a contraction mode and will require much fewer financial institutions when it stabilizes.
    9. Diversifying the media. An efficient democracy requires a well informed public. Free broad brand for everyone.
    10. Enhancing world trade by spearheading mechanisms to prevent depression of the prices of raw materials; thus, providing more citizens of less developed countries adequate purchasing power to buy the higher value-added goods from the more technologically advanced countries.

    Edward Anokwu

    December 7, 2008 at 5:38 pm |
  167. Frank S.

    December 6th, 2008 1856 GMT
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    I am in favor of a temporary bridge loan being made by Congress to the automakers in Detroit in order to forestall the economic and/or employment fallout that would certainly result from a decision to do nothing. America cannot afford to allow its automobile industry to fail. I have heard of estimates ranging as high as 10% of the American workforce as being dependent upon the automobile industry including suppliers, manufacturers, dealerships, banks, and insurance carriers, etc. Detroit’s failure would also negatively impact the oil industry because demand and consumption of gasoline and other oil-based products in our economy would take a serious, if not devastating, hit for the foreseeable future. It would effectively remove the American automotive industry from the domestic U.S. and World economies. The ripple effect of this happening would be cataclysmic in terms of rising unemployment and no doubt would contribute to deflation. Finally, this scenario would be contrary to President-elect Obama’s vision of change and American fundamental support for making Detroit profitable, competitive with foreign automakers, and innovative in automotive technology (for fuel efficiency, cheaper alternative energy, and environmentally safe and “green”).

    The answer calls for financial assistance to Detroit that does not exceed 50% of what the automakers are presently requesting, substantial collateral being offered to the government for the temporary bridge loan, along with a major or controlling interest as a stockholder, management oversight and accountability review by Congress, strictly-enforced executive compensation limits, and incentives offered for the implementation of cost-effective and money-saving operational procedures. To do otherwise would ensure our economic and political decline on the world stage and resemble our already growing vulnerability and dependence on foreign oil. Can we ever afford to entrust our economic future, values and environmental concerns to foreign interests?

    Frank S. in No. VA.

    December 7, 2008 at 6:35 pm |
  168. Biggtigger

    Can u say NAFTA?? American manufacturers are at a serious disadvantage. When Americans decided that investing in the USA wasn't profitable enough, we headed down this path, so here we are.

    People with jobs who they THINK are secure, have no problem saying let them fail. Shame on you. You are (and will be) your brother/sisters keeper whether you want to or not. Those millions without jobs will now rely on public assistance that you pay for.

    I hear people say "there's no more money". No matter what happens, you will pay for it.

    December 7, 2008 at 8:23 pm |
  169. frans

    Anyone driving or promoting SUV's should be shot on the spot.

    Please ensure your car makers know at least some fundamental physics.

    Gee, Newton knew this like 300 years ago..!

    December 7, 2008 at 9:52 pm |
  170. frans

    Maybe a good idea to get NASA involved in helping to design your cars.

    December 7, 2008 at 9:58 pm |
  171. Kaushik Hazariwala MD

    regarding bailing out the auto industry, I think rather than giving them blank check of 25 or 34 billions to them. Government should have alottery and give away american made free cars to needy or to people who have pays 80 to 90 thousand dollars in taxes each year. This way they are able to sell more cars and dealers and other people can also generate some profits. auto mkakers should really make an effort to deliver good cars and there by generate good impression for future.
    If 34 billions are fiven to them straight, God knows what will happen to this money.

    December 7, 2008 at 10:47 pm |
  172. Owen

    You know I think it is about time some of us consumers took a little blame for this Auyomotive Manufactureing Mess too. We were the ones who demanded these gas hogs SUVs, Bigger the better. Well Detroit heard us, then the gasoline, big oil speculators, money grabbing Wall Street, they seen away to take avantage of this. Well now we want them to build smaller gas saving cars and trucks. You just turn this new cost saving assembly lines around now like you did in the the pre-eighties era. Then they only had to move people around, now you have to move robots, they are not as flexible as humanbeings, they have to be retrained all over again, this takes time and a lot of money. But it was one away the industry thought they be competitive since robots don't need medical care they don't eat don't sleep and don't have people needs. But this is worth saving, and we as consumers need a compititive market place, and most of all with a US main headquarters not Tokoyo not Brelin not London nor anywhere over seas. So finding away to save this industry is important, because your job will be next, they can do service jobs from over seas too.

    December 8, 2008 at 4:07 am |
  173. D3ennis E. Ray

    Why give the big three money to continue to manufacture more cars/trucks that consumers cannot or will not buy.

    Consider having taxpayers money go to taxpayers directly with some going to the manufacturer.

    Proposal: for each US made car/truck that yields greater than
    45 mpg 13.5% of sales price be rebated by gov't to buyer with 0.135% to manufacturer
    > 40 mpg 12% to buyer and 0.12% to manufacturer
    > 35 mpg 10.5% to buyer and 0.105% to manufacturer
    > 30 mpg 9% to buyer and 0.9% to manufacturer
    > 25 mpg 7.5% to buyer and 0.75 % to manufacturer
    > 20 mpg 6% to buyer and 0.6% to manufacturer
    > 15 mpg 4.5% to buyer and 0.45% to manufacturer

    Manufacturer required to file forms to federal gov't with money directly to buyer from gov't.

    Proposal encourages high efficiency vehicles ... less polution
    federal tax dollars provided to taxpayers not to corporations
    encourages buyers to purchase cars/trucks that are US made

    win/win for all big three remain in business but with clear direction of building efficient vehicles.

    December 8, 2008 at 3:40 pm |
  174. Craig

    Bailing out the Auto industry is not the answer. If congress bails out the auto industry, then they should bail out every company that has failed. Also, are we that ignorarnt to think that the Auto Industry will go under, I do not think so, what would happen is those companies such as Toyota, Nissan, etc would come in and buy those the big three at a bargain deal. Then Toyota would hire all those former UAW workers back at a reduced salary cause Foreign Owned companies are not required to have unions in them nor would they allow unions in the plant. I think if a worker had a choice of working for a little less or not working and having their home foreclosed etc etc., they would most likely work for less.

    Bottom line..let the industry take the slap in the face....change sometimes can be a good thing.

    December 8, 2008 at 5:17 pm |
  175. Dan Landers

    I don't see why we should help companies who persistantly cater to gas companies instead of consumers. I had a 2000 Dodge Neon (until it got totaled in 2007), and it got anywhere from about 32 mph in city and 38 mph in country driving. Now, I look at the new cars that claim a "Great Milage" of 28 mph in the country? Are we really moving toward better fuel economy, or are we moving toward better income for the oil producers until the gas runs out?

    If these companies are going to continue getting kick backs from the oil companies, let the oil companies bail them out instead of us tax payers.

    December 8, 2008 at 7:29 pm |
  176. jHenosch

    The WTO economies are not only unsustainable financially, politically or environmentally, but they are immoral by dealing with dictatorships.

    December 8, 2008 at 8:19 pm |
  177. Don

    Is it correct that much of the developing news items re the big three's problems are published to manage public opinion?

    We hear talk of GM keeping the show afloat for GM and suppliers. Well GM is busy shifting supplier purchases offshore so how is this to help?

    Has anyone actually seen the guaranteed true plan for GM to climb out of the black hole? Become lean and profitable? Repay taxpayers loans? Even the interest?

    In a deepening recession GM is forecasting national sales of say 12 million cars and light truck sales in 2009. Really? How come an improvement in the deepening recession?

    Next we hear GM's share. Was that 35%? OK, that's 4.2 million for 2009.

    So what does a lean GM look like? Current manufacturing capacity from which supplier purchases and plant jobs are determined must be close to 8 million!!

    So GM must shutter better than 3 million capacity and also apply this reduction to the supply chain. What is the net job reduction impact?

    Meanwhile even at this level GM must continue to meet UAW wage scales which are continuing way above Toyota rates.

    Key Question: Who can believe this nonsense? Surely not our representatives in Congress? Surely not the GM executives who have lost $60 billion of stockholders wealth? Surely not taxpayers who are asked to fund these clowns to sell us unwanted vehicles?

    Conclusion: At least Chapter 11 bankruptcy will give a credible path to fix the problem. Otherwise news items indicating improvements after 2010 are simply hot air and the intervening period requires excess and non-retrievable expenditure far beyond currently nominate numbers. Try $70-100 billion dead money for 'stay alive' expenses only!

    Chapter 11 NOW is the only answer. Else we will be dudded again by these black hole merchants. Remember jobs currently in place to service 15-16 million sale years will not form any part of the rescued auto industry. Additionally don't count on supplier jobs when GM and Co are busy shipping your job to India etc.

    I won't detail the obvious joke, namely that 3 months ago GM did not say they were dead by year-end 2008 did they? Where is the externally audited numbers to enable our confidence in anything GM executives say?

    Representatives, don't waste our money by handouts to these Detroit bandits and don't believe anything they say or promise!

    December 9, 2008 at 1:35 am |
  178. Howard AZ

    I hear so many reports and read so many blogs about rescuing the auto industry, and about government bail outs, but what about the stock holders? Are they not the owners of these companies? When a small business needs capitol it is up to the owner to come up with the cash the same should be true with large corporations. It is the stock holders who are at risk and the stock holders who have the most to gain if these companies survive. I vote NO for taxpayer bailouts.

    December 9, 2008 at 3:13 am |
  179. Tammy

    No! I dont think they have learned their lesson and I dont think the government should use the taxpayers money to bail them out. The owners of these companies have lots of money to help bail out their own buisness! And wont put a dime of their own money into saving their own buisness! why should we have to be the ones to do it (the taxpayers)! Let them go banckrupt! Its their own fault for not managing their money right . They havent even made an effort to get hybrids or electric cars out there and selling them. When gas prices got so high people would have bought them from them if they had been working on making cars they could sell to make investments and they wouldnt be in this shape! Instead the big dogs and the owners decide to blow money and not manage their money! Instead of trying to figure out a way to get cars on the market that will sell and bail their own butts out of their own messes. I would have never bailed out the banks that where in trouble either! I am a single mother of four children and in Jan. 2007 lost my job and my house in foreclosure because my interest rate went up to 12 % almost 13 % , my payments doubled per month and I couldnt afford the payments! I couldnt make it and no one wanted to bail me out and I am still struggling and have not got a job yet! There is no jobs !! Is anyone helping people like us NO!!! I have always worked and always paid my bills but since last year things started to get to hard and hasnt got any better yet !! And also as far as taking forclosed homes and moving the homelsess into them that isnt right! That is stealing! I was givin an eviction notice and forced to leave my home last winter with 4 children and nowhere to go! Why should they get to live in homes banks own and not have to pay a dime ? To be living in those homes for free, when people like myself who lived in those home paid thousands of dollars to buy and where forced to leave our homes and the banks or government wouldnt do anything to help or let us stay and try to pay for our homes let alone live for free! Wouldnt work out any kind of a deal so we could stay and give us time . I have been on unemployment and about 6 weeks ago I exhausted my 6 months and my 13 week extension. Now I am without income. And had to go apply for food stamps for my kids to be able to eat and when I lost my job back in Jan. of 2007 I had to apply for medicaid for my kids to have health insurance! Now I am supposed to be able to get another 7 weeks of unemployment. I have never had to go ask for help !!The government wants to help these big banks and big car makers who make big money and have money and assets but when the little person needs help to keep from foreclosures and help to keep their car ! NO ONE CARES!! And the car industeries want to cry we cant make it !!!!! They need to learn how to run a business!!! There is Millions of Americans that arent making it and losing everything they have and they have no control over it or say !!!!And if the government is going to use taxpayers money then they need to include the taxpayers! Ask the taxpayers their opinions and see if they have some insight in this whole mess !!! Never know someone may have some good ideas to help the cars, banks and the economy!!

    December 9, 2008 at 5:03 am |
  180. DENNIS

    NO...They figure that they can use the threat of a recession! That way, they will get more money!

    December 9, 2008 at 6:28 am |
  181. kingwho

    All this hand wringing about what to do about these pompous executives and trying to find replacements is not justified. For all of my adult life the automakers in the US have been failures. The last time one of these companies had an excellent CEO it was Lee Iacocca and that was over 30 years ago.
    The so called executives are nothing but a bunch of overpaid ego maniacs who have a key to the good ole boys club.
    How about picking someone or teams of people who do not have any car industry experience but who are smarter than any one of these guys.
    If Obama can organize a campaign like the one we just witnessed with little to no experience surely we can find CEO's to run these car companies.
    Could not do any worse than what we have seen.

    December 9, 2008 at 12:52 pm |
  182. Lee

    Instead of giving the money to the automakers give it to the consumers. Let the consumers have enough to go and purchase a car for each household. Alot of families right now are down to a one car family cause when the gas got up real high couldnt afford gas to drive both vehicles and insurance also. So give the taxpayers another stimulant payment, high enough to be able to go and purchase a car from them rather than hand them the money to bail them out ! The government isnt doing anything to help the small people that need help.The government, big companies, high paid CEO's, all the rich people out there running these big money making companies in the ground causing people to lose their jobs, then lose their homes and their cars. If the government and the big major companies out there knew how to operate and run the economy this wouldnt be goin on. The government isnt handing the taxpayers that are struggling any money to help them from bankruptcy and they are losing everything they got and own at no choice cause their job laid them off or the company they were working for shut completely down because of the economy. Why give them a hand out of the taxpayers money just cause they cant run a buisness? Make them sell their cars and get back on their own feet instead of asking for handouts! If the government wants to help by cars from them. I worked for the state and all the state issued cars was from companies like Ford, Chevy and Gm! The state buys a whole fleetwood of these vehicles for each Dept. like Corrections, Juvenile Justice, Cabinet for Families, Transportation ect Im talking alot of vehicles from each state. Why dont the government and get each state to replace their fleetwood of vehicles and buy from them to help them out and give the money to the taxpayers to purchase from them instead of giving them handouts!

    December 9, 2008 at 2:26 pm |
  183. BGrayson

    The Auto solution could be simple. The loan should not come from the people's govt. It should come from those that profited in the last 8 years: hedge fund managers, oil executives and companies, Haliburton, etc. I bet a handful of these profiteers can easily put together 30 billion dollars to loan the auto industry. How tough could it be to get an Auto Loan? Lets balance back out the societial money distribution in one simple deal.

    December 9, 2008 at 3:27 pm |
  184. Manolo - Chile

    I guess only time will tell, if they do start making more competitive vehicles and become financially sound in the next 2 or 3 years, then lesson learned, if not then this bridge loan is simply putting off the inevitable, that the big three will end up in foreign hands or not existing at all, and that all that taxpayer money would have been wasted.

    Still, I believe it has nothing to do with CEOs, it all comes down to the boards, they choose the management, they in the end decide what companies do, CEOs and top execs simply deliver on guidelines set by the owners who are represented by the board, and answer to the board. So I guess the real question would have to be whether or not the Big Three owners have learned their lesson, management comes and goes, it's the owners (stockholders, the ones who control the companies) who in the end choose or decide what is to happen, and who runs the companies. I say dilute them, hurt them, then they will learn, in the end it has nothing to do with mismotivated CEOs, if the owners don't feel the pain they will simply not care. They feel they are too big to be allowed to fall and act accordingly, putting it differently, they are so big they feel they can blackmail the American people and it's government.

    December 9, 2008 at 6:29 pm |
  185. Roger Marzi

    While I am angry and disappointed that so highly compensated CEOs were asleep at the wheel and drove a whole industry into the ditch, I am puzzled about the self-serving questioning by our lawmakers. Who has been watching the build-up of the mortgage bubble that led to the financial crisis and on to the economic crisis?
    Looks to me like all the lawmakers were sound asleep as well and a little humility might be in order.

    December 9, 2008 at 6:41 pm |
  186. hector

    Lets go back 20 + years ago, when Chrysler was going through very hard times almost to the point of bankruptcy, because of bad managment and lack of vision. Iacoca stepped in and changed the companies philosophy, vision and most of all changed the car industry. We not only need a bailout plan but also a radical change of the membes of the board, responsible analysis on where the future is going and how we as americans can influence the industry. Maybe it isabout time for some of these companies to disapear. I would strucutre a lending program to new small automakers with vision of the future who are demonstrating technological advances in both gas immisions and in performance. it is about time that the government takes a calculated risk and bets for new proposals.

    December 9, 2008 at 7:46 pm |
  187. gani vecino

    If we analyze the present turmoil in 3 automakers, there are habits in american lifestyles that until today not mindfull of global declining resources in mineral oil. The asian automakers have been in constant research of fuel efficient motor vehicles since a decades ago. While the american counterpart are producing the most wasteful cars on earth. Most of the present car users of four cylinders engine came from asian descent race who manageably concerned of high consumption of 3 US automakers models of six to eight cylinder engines produced by this giant company. So most of the booming sales in cars are from Japanese models that makes the Detroit manufacturers like sitting ducks in overall consumers satisfaction selection. It's too late to think of fuel efficient cars to produce when they are out of cash begging from taxpayers hard earned savings to rescue them. This is a top management fault in reality.

    December 9, 2008 at 9:13 pm |
  188. Andrew Gardner

    In 1956 my Dad bought a brand new Morris Minor in Scotland. We drove from the north of Scotland to Lands End–the southernmost part of England–and back covering about 1500 miles. We checked our fuel consumption at 52 miles per gallon! That was more than half a century ago, So what have the automakers being doing in the meantime? Sitting on their fat bottoms doing sweet nothing, bemoaning the fact no one wants their stupid inefficient cars. Hell mens em. let them die the financial death they deserve.

    December 9, 2008 at 9:55 pm |
  189. papo

    And how about the sindicates? ...dont you think that the solution has to really come from all the sides? Company , sindicates and governement?
    If the US gov. put all that money into those companies then it should maybe mean the gov should have a big say in the running of those companies...

    December 9, 2008 at 11:01 pm |
  190. peter from Australia

    I wonder if the "little guy" running a business will get bailed out as well?
    So, the question is:
    "Where is the end of the line for US tax payer to pay for (business) failures?"

    Peter, Australia

    December 9, 2008 at 11:54 pm |
  191. andrey

    A very stupid point of view from Russia.
    Try to see it a bit deeper.
    1. Big CEO salaries- No. The reason for that is simple. US government underinvested into the education for years. There are just not enough smart people to replace CEOs of Big three. Bring them from Japan!
    2. Health funds and other social benefits were created during Cold war in order to make capitalism more attractive. Now you are competing in global economy against low cost countries paying the price for old political game of the past.

    December 10, 2008 at 12:59 am |
  192. review102979

    doesn't toyota and honda get money from their government and ours on a regular basis? If they didn't they would be in the same boat as the big 3. Why is it okay for our government to help them and not help the big 3? That help is part of the reason they are able to dominate the market because of this advantage making it easier for them to succeed. It's not like they aren't going through the same problems of slow sales but their safety net allows them to continue. I'm not saying that the big 3 are innocent but just passing the blame lower down the totem pole so you can still look good is not reality. The government continuing to play dumb and ignorant so that they can stay greedy and care for everyone else except the american people this country is suppose to be about isn't working. And acting like this bailout is not way more serious then the exaggerated wall street bailout will be something else that they look at later and say "really i didn't think it would be this bad". These expensive college diplomas and years of so called experience obviously mean absolutely nothing.

    December 10, 2008 at 1:33 am |
  193. Jo Scannell

    Dear Campbell Brown,

    I totally agree with Tom Friedman. (I am even more angry than he is, perhaps.) I have been dismayed for a long, long time (like, 50 years or so) about the power of the unions and what they have done to make out-sourcing necessary, with the auto union being possibly the worst. They have priced the USA car market out of the global market and allowed the CEOs (and of course the yes-men Boards) to be complacent fat-cats.
    My reaction to their request for money - big money - with no mea culpa - as Tom said, just "Give us money or we will bleed to death right here on your doorstep," was more outraged than Tom's seemed to be. This urgent, n-th hour DEMAND strikes me as holding us (the US & you & me, the taxpayers), 'hostage.' Nothing to do but to meet their 'blackmail' demands!
    Yes, I am angry; I am furious.
    (Kudos by the way, to Alan Mullaly, local Lawrence, Kansas boy, who in a few short years has TURNED Ford AROUND. Why do the others get rewarded for being so blind/arrogant/bull-headed and endangering his continued success at Ford?)

    Side-bar: one of the first TV news commentators I heard comment on the needed auto bailout said he thought it might be a good idea to help Ford buy the other two and bring them with him into the 21st century. It was good for a laugh, but it doesn't sound too bad to me!!

    I believe it is not a coincidence that GM evidently has the largest/worst Union-related pension/contract agreements behind their iminent collapse!!
    Washington is going to have to spend MORE taxpayer money paying a car-czar & accountability analyists. Bah, humbug!
    I do like the idea I heard about getting rid of ALL of the top GM executives.
    Then, I have also heard: WHY give money to a PRIVATE company like Chrysler?

    (Back to giving oversight of the industry to Ford.) ??

    As a fiscally conservative former Republican, I shudder to think what my grandchildren, and their children, are going to be faced with!

    Joan Swanson Scannell
    Lawrence, KS

    December 10, 2008 at 3:23 am |
  194. Stephen Steele

    I want better cars at a reasonable price, but giving "the big three" money is not how to get them built. Just write "the big three" off to bankrupcy and give the money our Congress is so willing to give away to the non-big three auto manufacturers in the USA. Toyota, Honda and the others. They already make great cars at a resonable price with US labor and US parts in the USA and they have eco-green cars already. Just have them build more plants and get it done. Shut "the big three" down today. This comment is from a citizen of NJ.

    December 10, 2008 at 5:39 am |
  195. Stephen Steele

    To put it bluntly. NO BAILOUT FOR DETROIT. Fire all polititians who vote for a bailout.

    December 10, 2008 at 5:45 am |
  196. Phil

    NO – they never will – they are too greedy. How many cars must GM sell to pay the salary and bonuses of the CEO?
    G E T R I D O F T H E U N I O N S – they are mostly, besides the CEO, the reason GM is in the bankruptcy stage. Unions are nothing but Gangsters. That's the name they should have, "Gansters Union". Now they want control over the banks. Are you kidding?
    I know the Americans are stupid, but let the Gangsters Union take control of our banks – what's wrong with the Government taking over the control?
    Stop importing cars from Japan, Germany, etc. or raise the price of their cars to double the regular price. Then Americans should be smart enough to purchase from GM. If the Japanese, Germans and other countries can put the American Cars out of reach for their citizens, what in the hell is wrong with the Americans. Do unto them before they do unto you.....The Japs and Huns don't understand the meaning of fair trade. WAKE UP AMERICAN – YOUR ALREADY IN TROUBLE......

    December 10, 2008 at 8:15 am |
  197. Chris

    My husband worked for a contract company 15 years ago and went into Ford and a GM plants many times. What he saw was astonishing. People making $30-40 an hour or double that and sleeping for 8 hours. One guy even "made himself a room" in the back so he could sleep during his shift! My husband could not stomach the waste within the plants, waste of time, waste of materials, laziness and the high price of cars. He heard all of the time "That is not my job" even to get someone to change a lightbulb. He got out of that industry shortly thereafter. We are from Michigan and are sad to see people lose their jobs, but we hope it will be the people who are working diligently who can keep their jobs.

    December 10, 2008 at 9:10 am |
  198. OT

    US auto makers (AND auto workers) have not and will not learn their lesson. The culture of waist, absence of pursuit of excellence and lack of attention to customer wishes and needs cannot be corrected by current management and union leaders. They must go.

    December 10, 2008 at 1:26 pm |
  199. maxime

    There is something i haven't heard on CNN you talk about hybrid and plug in hybrids and say that it would take years for the 3 big to move there, but you seem to forget that GM had a full electric car for sale and that worked and that they bought them back and destroyed every single one of them and then they built SUVs instead. It is well explained in the movie "who killed the electric car" I say no bailout i say nationalize the companies or sell them to foreigners. Also there is a reason why almost only Americans buy American cars and that Ford for example has more advanced and smaller cars for Europe.

    Maxime from Europe.

    December 10, 2008 at 8:18 pm |
  200. T Golden

    I guess everyone will be happy when foreign automakers are the sole supplier of vehicles to the United States. Wall Street got hundreds of billions of dollars without a question. GM, Ford and Chrysler have supported the government with billions of dollars over many years and they can't get a drop in the bucket or an ounce of support. If these companies fail, it will have a significant affect. I don't think that people are really thinking about this affect, but we will soon find out and the cause of this crisis is our government, not the automakers. Everyone needs to wake up. The economy is having an affect on many businesses. Should we blame the automotives CEOs for the massive decline of the entire U.S. economy?

    December 11, 2008 at 1:08 am |
  201. Dave C

    Wow. Many of the people in this blog get it unlike the House and many in the media. The unions aren't even on their radar compared to "greedy management".

    Unless there is a major overhaul of the union contracts, we the tax payers will subsidize every auto employee's salary and benefits... forever...The big 3 will never be competitive.

    The House wants to set strict oversight...
    "There would be limits on executive compensation, and requirements that the automakers get rid of their corporate aircraft and not pay dividends while loans are outstanding."

    Oh that will fix it...NOT! NO VIABILITY, NO BAILOUT!

    December 11, 2008 at 3:19 am |
  202. Carol

    I can't understand How the US goverment can help out foreign countrys and Wall street but when it come to helping out the blue collar worker of America keep there jobs we have become the bad guys. They keep talking about the companys but what about all the little guy that are going to lose every thing. All the little companys that make the parts for the big three. Guess the middle class should all work for min. wage. No health care no pensions. Wonder how much a senator make a hour? Make everyone work for the same wage. Let them live on what they make. No pork belly gives out. Who pays there wages??
    What goes around comes around. Think maybe someone should protest .How much they make and spend. maybe they should be taking a wage cut to help out America.

    December 11, 2008 at 6:10 am |
  203. kevin mcclellan

    I have been wondering why people think the Big 3 is so bad. They gave the public what they wanted in big cars and what destroied them is the attack on the west by OPEC. $5.00 gas caused this and OPEC is getting what they want– fall of the western economies. The money trust of America and the world is founded in oil and happy to see the huge profits for the short term. They sucked all the money up and made this depression

    December 11, 2008 at 5:32 pm |
  204. kevin mcclellan

    Oddly the Republicans were willing to give an industry where there is no labor union 700 bilion but balk on giving 14 billion to an industry where there is union deeply involved.

    December 11, 2008 at 6:21 pm |

    why doesn't the Republican senators see the auto companies are greatly in trouble ,because of the bank failures, just like a lot of other companies have been affected. why did not the Republicans run the banks thru the same tough process as the did the auto companies?

    I think the Republicans have shown their true colors , they don't give a d- about the american people. I thought the Congress and Senate was of THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA . They are suppose to be doing what is best for all americans, not just their own States. They have committed a crime against the American People. I'm for starting a grass roots group to start recalling the senators and congess persons who don do what is for the best for all AMERICANS.

    DOES CNN have the Guts to Report the truth about what is really happeing in Washington?? Let's see.

    December 12, 2008 at 4:51 am |
  206. Wade Arnold

    Apparently not when they are stupid to produce energy saving vehicles like the Toyota Prius in the first place? Toyota Prius sales are in back log ! That European car manufacturers want all this money and until 2012 to produce transportation that even nears the Prius, Doesn't sound like good management, to me. If you don't understand where this is all going, maybe you should get out of the drivers seat.

    December 12, 2008 at 7:02 am |
  207. Peter Goedhart

    After 100 years of automotive research, the average fuel consumption of an american car is still the same or even worse as the first model T Ford. Do these american car companies really think they can survive in the global car market? The marketing decisions were made by the CEOs, and the consumers simply turned to more fuel efficient foreign cars.

    December 12, 2008 at 9:44 am |
  208. Geert Hofstra

    Recently I was in Canada for a couple of weeks. Being stuck in a traffic jam on the QEW in Toronto I noticed that 50 percent of all cars are non domestic. Japanese cars are taking the lead. Maybe one can remember that 30 some years ago we all laughed at Japanese imports. They were rust buckets and had no re-sale value we were told by dealers. Last week I read a newspaper article in the Globe and Mail. Toyota had opened a new assembly plant in Woodstock, Ont. creating 1200 new jobs. Come on people of North America, does anyone really think a bailout is going to save the North American car industry? It's throwing good money after bad. If anything, the oil companies should bail them out. After all, they have been holding up new technology for fuel economy. FIRE EVERYBODY THAT HAD SOMETHING TO DO WITH LETTING IT COME THIS FAR, LET THE BIG 3 FILE FOR CHAPTER 11 AND WE MIGHT BE SURPRISED WHAT COMES OUT OF THIS ONCE THE DUST HAS SETTLED. MAKE SURE WE ALL TAKE SOME COURSES IN JAPAN BEFORE WE DO ANYTHING TO START REBUILDING FROM THE RUINS.

    December 12, 2008 at 11:19 am |
  209. Jenny Jaeckels

    The Government owns 80% of AIG and AIG is giving out bonuses wouldn’t that be considered a gift of public funds?

    Gigantic NO-NO for Government employees...

    December 12, 2008 at 12:34 pm |
  210. Bruce Chan

    The problem here is not just the company but also the work unions. Even at the brink of collapsing – the UAW are blocking any attempts to make their salary in line with their competitors. This is like a life-or-death take-it-or-leave-it deal for them and yet the UAW keeps being stubborn. Senate is basically asking them to change – they won't change and would rather risk closure of their parent company.

    Understandable of course since it's their salary but this is one of the main reason why the American car firms will not be saved. Japanese firms will beat them every single time – better cars, better companies, more sensible worker benefit.

    December 12, 2008 at 12:56 pm |
  211. Carlos Irving Rojas

    As we have all seen the steep decline of the US Automakers in the past 20 years, it is funny to see that when cleaner and more efficient technologies have been around for decades, the US "Big Three" did not care for making any efficiency efforts to improve their cars, after all they were not the ones paying the gas bills at pumps. What is clear is that GM, Ford and Chrysler have been following the path of "Briliantly Fullfilling the WRONG Strategy" – How a team of big honchos that was not able to shake a company doomed to fail is now going to make the big changes required in the midst of a depression. On the other hand the UAW needs to realize that they can not keep sucking the cow! their current salaries and health benefits are a thing of the past, it is unbelievable that they prefer to loose the jobs and all of it, by not letting go some of the perks they should have never received.

    Let them go bankrupt and have clever businessmen and management get the ashes and rebuild what was once America's pride!

    December 12, 2008 at 2:11 pm |
  212. P Yong

    The automakers asked for $30 plus billion and the Senate turns them down, Citigroup needed an infusion of a total of $350 billion in cash upfront and guarantees and they get the ok within one weekend. Citigroup failure would have repercussions worldwide with a loss of 350,000 jobs but the automakers failure would only affect Michigan and probably around 3 million jobs in direct and related industries in the US. It is sad day to see that the only reason to save a company is because it is too big to fail, not because they are worth saving, as in the case of Citigroup which have yet to account for their total exposure to default credit swaps and derivatives. It is a bottomless pit to pour honest US taxpayers money into.

    December 12, 2008 at 2:37 pm |
  213. R. Van Der Maarel (Van)

    Simple: NO ! Why is it that I can buy a foreign mini van for 26K, fully loaded, and the same kind of american vehicle is 35 to 40K PLUS?
    Why is it that the oil companies are not helping loan money to the BIG
    3 car companies? They are co dependent on each other! Do you really think that if the BIG 3 car companies developed & SOLD vehicles that got 40 plus MPG, that the oil companies wouldn't get involved and PAY them not to produce them? Do you think that if the BIG 3 get the money they are BEGGING for they will change? NO!!
    IF the government HAS to get involved & loan them this money then they should be COMPLETELY controlled by the government, to the extent that ANY & ALL exsisting contracts, agreements, etc. etc., be made null & void and start all over again! And forget about a CAR ZCAR!! Form a group of experts, not 1 or 2, that would review every aspect of the BIG 3 and they would be the total determining faction on what happens and not!

    December 12, 2008 at 2:48 pm |
  214. Justin

    whats the big deal with the auto company mess. why bail them out? why dont they just apply for loans from the banks who have already been bailed out?

    December 12, 2008 at 3:37 pm |
  215. Steve, Charlotte, NC

    The trickle down effect of losing the U.S. auto industry would be the start of a new depression. Our representatives gave A.I.G. over $100B. A.I.G. doesn't manufacture anything. They push paper. They did not want to give the auto industry $14B after giving A.I.G. over $100B. It is a DISCRACE. Now I want to know why all of our products are made in China. It sure seems like our representatives are working for the communists.

    December 12, 2008 at 4:21 pm |
  216. mark

    I have an idea.....give all the tarp money to toyota......let toyota buy the big three out and then restructure under toyota's contract terms.

    December 12, 2008 at 5:18 pm |
  217. former republican

    6 out of 10 Americans are uninformed ! and they probably haven't driven an American auto lately either. The most recent press regarding the definition of what is an American automobile…….hum, that’s easy. It all has to do with JOBS ! The transplants may employ Americans; however, their true reinvestment is sent back home (as it should be). Funny we cannot see the affect of this…. Unless we truly believe this doesn’t matter, we need to change the way we think as Americans before we become someone else. These jobs affect retail, state unemployment funds will fail, good bye vacations to the South! America will see how this WILL affect them……….the PBGC will FAIL…..this is the insurance company protecting all ERISA pension funds (trust me ….they are seeing red with this market)……..if you know anyone that is receiving a monthly check…..beware !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! keep buying foreign………………and this IS destiny.

    December 12, 2008 at 6:43 pm |
  218. Paul Hamilton

    DROP THEM IN THE DEEP END AND LET THEM SINK... all the way down!!!

    I wonder if the trickle down effect someone mentioned further down would not be MORE effective and useful by helping those thousands of small businesses that are against the wall right now but USED TO living on a tight budget ... I wonder...

    December 12, 2008 at 7:28 pm |
  219. Albert Fetske

    Passively bailout the car industry. Don't throw billions at the people at the big three that got them where they are in the first place. The US Treasury should directly ewire the payoff amount of every carloan directly to the GMAC , Chrysler, or Ford loan holder, for every person who purchased any vehicle from them through 9-30-08. ( The last day of gov FY 08). The payment would not go to the individual but rather directly to the loan bank holding the loan. The result is paid off cars bailed our by the US Treasury.The cascade effect would be immediate. Millions of car owners would own their cars outright and have more money available for their budgets. There would be no more loans outstanding and the infusion of funds go directly into the banking systems. The cost to the taxpayer while staggering is no greater than a motown bailout. Let the big three reap the reward of their endeavors.

    December 12, 2008 at 7:46 pm |
  220. Clark

    those poor auto workers that need the union to protect them .... making only $73 per hour as a blue collar worker that didn't even need to go to college just needed OJT ....

    professionals with masters degrees (and 20+ years in the field saving patients' lives) in the medical field earn less than they do .... (example: pharmacists and nurses earn less than the autoworkers)

    seems to me that they can afford to take less money per hour and help the country get through this recession.

    December 12, 2008 at 9:05 pm |
  221. Katelynn

    Ok so I am sorry but my dad works for ford. They say that they want to put us in bankrupts to will... so they can get paid lower wages. I think not because u guys say that Honda pays there people less well why not when there government pays for the medical and retirement. We do not do that. I think the cars they make are better for our ecomie. I think that we should only by our American made cars not these croppy junk foreign cars. They are not helping the middle class people. I am sorry but I think that people saying oh they should just go into bankrupts well they must not work there or have family that works there because most of your families work at the big three. you guys say that you do not want to see people on the streets well you will end up seeing so many people there now. If you guys had any family in the big three then you would see why we need the money. Parents will not be able to feed there kids. I am sorry but I think we need this money to help these families that work there. How will these people that work at the big three supposes to give there kids Christmas. Also the big three gave back to the United States. Not Honda not Toyota. so if u wants to see people on the streets then go ahead and make them go into bankrupts. But if you acutely have heart then you guys all should hope that the get there money. So I am sorry but I am saying that they should VOTE YES

    December 12, 2008 at 9:40 pm |
  222. Robert

    Maybe I'm missing something here...

    but why is Chrysler even being considered for a tax-payer bailout? Cerberus is a private investment firm who won't even open their books to the public.

    Cerberus also now owns a large stake in GMAC.

    Daimler still has (I believe) 20% interest in Chrysler.

    Why is Cerberus or Daimler not coming to the rescue? Are we bailing out Cerberus and their wealthy investors?

    It seems that tax payers would be bailing out (guaranteeing) a private investor's interests, rather than Cerberus taking the hit.

    Why did Cerberus buy Chrysler in the first place... it was already in trouble during negotiations with Daimler.

    Just some questions to think about.

    December 12, 2008 at 10:04 pm |
  223. Stephen Steele, NJ

    Thank God for the US Senate and their refusal to give away more of my tax money. Now I hear that the prez is going to give the "Big Three" idiots the money. Stop giving away all of the tax money you can print. I or my kids or my grandkids have to pay that money back someday.

    Send "The Big Three" to bankruptcy court today. It is the perfect time as noboby is purchasing cars now or in the near future. If someone did want a new car they would purchase a reasonably priced, high quality car and that would not be from "The Big Three"

    December 12, 2008 at 11:26 pm |
  224. Don

    Good morning all,
    I have a problem understanding exactly the scopeof the problem re fallout from a GM chapter 11 move.

    Unemployment is a nasty thing but is it avaoidable? After all if a person is employed producing something that is not selling, what else can be done?

    I hear/read comments like our auto industry and suppliers will collapse if GM chooses chapter 11 route!

    Well all our auto industry outside the big 3 is continuing and CNN reports the non Big 3 share is 49% of total sales. Toyota and others are producing vehicles in US with our own parts and people? Add continuing Ford share of 23% brings the continuing home production to about 72%?

    Chrysler and GM will definitely produce something even in chapter11 status and any reduction is required to match production to sales.

    So why should something a lot less than 28% interruption kill all the home production?

    Seems to me we are not hearing the facts or please tell me what I am not understanding?

    I would really appreciate our CNN informed folk to give us a picture of the real world thru and after chapter11. This surely seems the cleanest way to quickly get to firm ground from which we can rebuild the economy? All this hazy information must surely not help us?

    This could save us a LOT of money if we avoid feeding billions of dollars into the GM black hole which appears to only buy business losses as usual for 3 months? I cannot even help GM and repayment is too much to expect. GM cannot even pay their way now so downsizing, owing another 10-15 billion with interest etc is too much weight in the saddle.

    Can other folk comment please?
    Thank you

    December 13, 2008 at 1:10 am |
  225. Syed

    If the bailout is for running the production and saving the jobs, good for short term. But, how about the car sales (in this economy)? In long term, more bailouts will be required. That is not a solution.

    December 13, 2008 at 7:19 pm |
  226. mark

    I'm serious....why not give toyota the 15 billion in tarp funds and let them buy out the big three.... then....they could restructure the wage issue from start........all the wile preserving the union and saving the busines's from becoming part of the government......ask gettilfinger how that sounds......

    December 14, 2008 at 6:23 pm |
  227. Mark

    Do you realize all the money the southern states have given foreign
    transplants along with land and roads built for them from tax money?
    And I would imagine the foreign companies get help from their governments.

    And we can't even give ours a LOAN. Canada has already voted to help
    with little fanfare but WE sure would not want to help our own!!

    Look at all the charity the companies gave after 911 and Katrina but
    when they need help all people want to do is complain!


    December 14, 2008 at 7:17 pm |
  228. Tony Campbell

    Im not happy right now im a supplier that does work for the Big Three now i hear that President Bush is over in Irag where were having issues here in the United States and were in a recession and the Big Three are looking for help and the U.S. Government is waiting to give a loan to the automakers but its ok to give it to the banks with the no strings attached and no drilling from congress we see how President Bush feels about the United States which isnt much and if the Big Three doesnt get the bailout 2.5 million people well be out of jobs so u can tell the 8 republicans that voted no can pay the bills of the 2.5 million people that well be with out a job after chrysler and GM go out of business and Senator Shellby is taking bribes from the foregin automakers also in the southern state

    December 14, 2008 at 9:19 pm |
  229. Charley Rasp

    It would be very interesting to know how those Republican senators voted on the funding for the Iraq war. I would guess that each of them was voting in favor of the war funding and were willing to spend $10 Billion a month of taxpayer money on that sandpile called Iraq.

    Then these same Republican senators have been unwilling to commit taxpayer funds to save a huge industry here in the United States - but can commit funds for the sandpile Iraq.

    I hope these Republican senators will be willing to accept blame for sending our country into the next big depression. What a bunch of air-heads!!!!!!!!!!!!

    December 14, 2008 at 9:50 pm |
  230. Sytze

    The big 3 were not able to adjust models from big & gas consuming to smaller & gas efficient. So they left plenty of room for e.g. Japanese co's. The problem is not from the last couple of weeks or months. This already since Chrysler fell (remember Lee Iacocca?). So what have they learned? US dominant highstrung is best to fall.

    December 14, 2008 at 10:14 pm |
  231. David Herman

    This controversy has fueled stereotype thinking and allowed vocal critics to demonize the US Auto industry without a careful examination of the CURRENT facts. That is ok for them as individual customers, althought many appear not to know which cars and other vehicles are winning comparison tests in the motor press. The foreign companies investing in the United States(with State support, mostly in Southern States) are not burdened by the health and benefits costs of an aging workforce and a growing number of retirees. I think you will find that about 11% of employed black people work in the auto industry and that they earn more than 20% of all that black people earn in the US. Most of them work for the BIG THREE, and of course this would not be true for those working in Southern states. Is this a good thing or a bad thing? Whichever you like, I would say the BIG THREE have done a lot to create the kind of society in which we would like to live.

    December 15, 2008 at 1:10 am |
  232. s.j.wolf

    eEveryone seems to forget about what the UAW contributed to this mess, over decades.
    The big 3 should be allowed to dissapear with no bailout from the govt.

    December 16, 2008 at 1:38 pm |
  233. George Jaeger

    The American car makers should travel round the world and see for themselves what cars are selling worldwide and why...You can find very few American cars in Asia and Europe. Don't try to be different. Accepting the needs of the masses like low fuel consumption vehicles, low maintenance, and affordability should be the main focus in the auto industry. Such an advance country should easily out-perform any country in this planet. And why build trucks like the fuel drinker Hummer??? Even Americans will think twice to own such a vehicle. It is time to take a paradigm shift for the Americans. And the first thing to do is to consolidate the auto industry, mergers and part asistance from the goverment funding. But those CEO's must leave and get the Japanese and Koreans to fix the mess.

    December 16, 2008 at 2:57 pm |
  234. Jim Berman

    1. The government should not loan money to the auto companies, but instead, should guarantee the debts of the big 3 to the auto parts and other key vendors, so that a bankruptcy of one of the big 3 will not cause the whole industry to collapse.

    2. The failing companies that cannot pay their own debts should be allowed to go into bankruptcy.

    3. The bankrupt auto companies should be broken up into individual models or "model groups" and into individual auto factories. The many small "model groups" would compete to design and market their cars. The auto factories would compete with each other as contract toll auto manufacturers that would build and assemble the cars designed by the individual model groups. Both the "model groups" and the factories would be able to differentiate themselves by their quality vs. price balance.

    We would get a better mix of cars and better qualities.

    December 16, 2008 at 9:33 pm |
  235. RJ in Washington

    Can we resolve the big 3's issues and return them to profit?
    I don't know but lets give it a try?

    Please review my to do list.

    December 17, 2008 at 2:08 pm |
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