Last week I spoke of the possibilities for the big 3 out of Detroit. This week I come back to tell you of new developments. Now, most of you have probably already seen and heard most of the news already, and so I’m just going to come out and say it, Congress has yielded to hand out $15 billion as of right now. The money will come from the $25 billion that was promised to the automakers for their alternative fueled vehicles programs. Even though the $15 billion is less than the $34 billion that the U.S. automakers asked for previously, this is just the beginning. More hearings will be held in March once President Elect Obama and his administration take office. So, basically the money is meant to help keep them afloat until March. Let’s just hope Chrysler and GM don’t burn through theirs with hookers and blow from the celebration that they even got a penny.
Supposedly, GM could possibly get as much of about $12-14 billion to make it through the first quarter, and Chrysler could get its needed $4 billion to make it until the next hearing. This coming from BusinessWeek.com. Finish reading the article, it’s the best opinion piece I’ve read so far about this whole issue.
The question still arises on whether they should have gotten anything, or whether they should get more. At this point in the events that have happened, they need something. It’s time we just pony up and give them the money that they need and keep a very close and watchful eye on them. Let’s just hope it’s not Congress doing the watching…
But there has been much bigger news than the Detroit 3 getting money, at least to me. Robert Nardelli, CEO of Chrysler LLC, offered to sacrifice his job to save Chrysler. He basically said that he would risk losing his job all together if a merger between GM and Chrysler was made a requirement for money to be given out. His exact words were, “The first job that would go would be mine, but if in fact that’s the criteria that means we would get money to save Chrysler and the people who have worked there for 80 some years, I would do it.”
Now, while this is something any honest human being would say in order to help those in need, or it would be something a money hungry CEO would say to make his own ass look better, it was praised by Congress for him saying it. I can’t say that I disagree Congress for commending it. It is afterall a bold move. Oh, wait… That was Ford’s approach.
At the same time last week, while on CBS’s Face the Nation, Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) opened his mouth to say that GM’s CEO, Rick Wagoner, should, “Move on.” What? Is this guy serious? He lost a bid for his party’s nomination to become the next President of this country, he is also the CHAIRMAN of the Senate Banking Committee, which oversees all issues for the banks, housing, urban affairs and financial aid to commerce and industry, to name a few. This is a man who has watched some of the worst financial situations happen in this country’s history, and he wants one man to step down because he hasn’t done that great at GM? Well… If that’s not a politician for you, I don’t know what is. Senator Dodd is in an ongoing scandal for accepting preferential treatment by Countrywide Financial when he refinanced all of his homes in Connecticut and Washington, D.C. He will not release his true mortgage rates, and many documents have shown that he was given lower rates when refinancing for a little back scratch here and there. This happened in 2003. It is fair to note that Sen. Dodd believes he did nothing wrong. He has also been linked to scandals with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. I’m not trying to say that I’m a republican, or anything, I’m just trying to show some justice in that comment made about Wagoner needing to, “Move on”… Someone should move on with him, if that happens. Meaning, Mr. Dodd should find a new day job if he likes to throw stones while living in a much larger glass house.
With all of this being said and done, I did forget to ask the question, why the American auto firms? Why not the banks? Why isn’t Congress on the witness stand being grilled by the American public for letting all of these financial crises happen? Why are there no question being asked of the $700 billion bailout plan for the financial and housing markets that crashed on their own faults, too? You know why? Because GM, Chrysler and Ford probably didn’t donate as much money to their campaigns in years past, that, and/or, with the original bailout plan already being scrutinized by us, the American people, they had to show who was boss and show they had certain things under control in the government by putting the big 3 on the stand as to take away from their stupid shortcomings.
GM earlier this month issued its proposed plan of what they were going to do to restructure. The plan is so bold, idiotic and overdrawn that I’ll let you read it all. Feel free to shoot me an email if you would like to discuss it. It’s like they’re the little kid beckoning with his mommy and daddy on what he’ll do and what he’ll give up if they buy him that one cool action toy or video game that he wants. “I promise, I’ll brush my teeth every night before I go to bed, every morning when I wake up. I won’t tease my little sister anymore, and I’ll be good, I swear! Please buy me Madden 09 for my PS3.”
In an excellent opinion piece by John Neff over at Autoblog, he takes down to dumb articles by some lady with the Chicago Tribune, who obviously has no clue about anything but wanting people to think that she’s a green advocate, and some guy who is a co-editor for Tech Crunch. He tries to make an ass of himself by talking technology and iPods and turning them into some sort of argument about the auto industry. I agree with Neff, stop arm-chair quarterbacking something you don’t know anything about.
As of about 7:30 PM EST, a first draft of the automaker loan/bailout bill has been put forth. It is 31 pages long and illustrates the placement of a “Car Czar” to oversee and be in charge of all operations for the big 3 with use of the money they are being given. Upon overseeing, the Czar can take funds away or do what he/she pleases if they see things going poorly. Also, the bill says that each automaker must issue a new restructuring plan on March 31, 2009. The Car Czar would also use their powers to look over and mitigate talks with creditors, the UAW, and whomever else. The plan also outlines that if the Detroit 3 choose to borrow money from the government err, taxpayers, they will cease and desist any actions against California or any other states for making their own, stricter emissions standards. Of course, Speaker Nancy Pelosi had to honor her commitment to her supposed “green” followers. If I were GM, Ford and/or Chrysler, I’d wipe my ass with that page and throw it back at them. Not that I think it’s a bad idea to have good emissions laws, some of the regulations go a bit too far, as does having moronic CAFE standards.
As of this point in time, the big 3 are also going to pursue an extra $6.8 billion from the Canadian government. They probably won’t have to fly to those meetings, they can just take a taxi, or their own cars, again.
There is a bright shimmer of light for the big 3 just ahead of Christmas as Ward’s Auto put Chrysler’s 5.7L Hemi, GM’s 3.6L V6 from the new CTS (CTS=BOO!!!) and new V6 Camaro along with Ford’s 2.5L I4 from the Escape Hybrid as 3 of their top-10 engines for 2009. The winners were:
* Audi AG: 2.0L TFSI turbocharged DOHC I-4 (A4 Avant)
* BMW AG: 3.0L turbocharged DOHC I-6 (135i Coupe)
* BMW AG: 3.0L DOHC I-6 Turbodiesel (335d)
* Chrysler LLC: 5.7L Hemi OHV V-8 (Dodge Ram/Challenger R/T)
* Ford Motor Co.: 2.5L DOHC I-4 HEV (Escape Hybrid)
* General Motors Corp.: 3.6L DOHC V-6 (Cadillac CTS)
* Honda Motor Co. Ltd.: 3.5L SOHC V-6 (Accord Coupe)
* Hyundai Motor Co. Ltd.: 4.6L DOHC V-8 (Genesis)
* Toyota Motor Corp.: 3.5L DOHC V-6 (Lexus IS 350)
* Volkswagen AG: 2.0L SOHC I-4 Turbodiesel (Jetta TDI)
That is all for now, I guess. Let’s see what happens this week.
[Photos taken from: NECN.com, NY Times, Washington Times]