The chances are dimming for any loans to the automakers this year. There's a stall, a back-up, a traffic jam in Congress according to the blogosphere. The Detroit Big Three were in Washington today with their over-sized begging bowls out. They got some support, some raspberries. Supporters say the white-collar banking business got help while blue-collar industry gets nada. Certainly some bankers are against spreading the giveaway wealth. Many critics of the U.S. carmakers say they built their clunker, let 'em drive it into the wall. UAW is getting lots of bashing as well as auto execs. It's often remarked that Japanese-owned assembly plants in America do NOT have union workers.
DEADLOCKED, IMPASSE, DEAD END, FERGEDDABOUDIT? MAYBE THERE'S STILL...
Pick your cliche but it doesn't look like President Bush and a Democratic Congress will agree on what to do for the autmakers, if anything. The lone hope for loan lovers is that Congress and the White House agree to a put a fast-track amendment to a current law allowing $25-million in loans for retooling so the Detroiters can begin to provide more fuel-efficient cars. Now it looks like the White House would like to see that money just go to Detroit with no strings attached except their earnest promise to spend it wisely, and eventually pay it back. One report says Chrysler has postponed plans of Chapter 11 filing in hopes the loans will flow soon. Those folks in Washington have a heavy Christmas shopping schedule so they hope to get out of there for Thanksgiving. Not clear if Detroit will be giving thanks or simply feel like the turkey.
VOLT OR NOT TO VOLT
The Chevy Volt is due in 2010. If General Motors doesn't make it, what happens to the Volt? For it to never make it to market wouod be revolting. But all this talk about no money, and the need for hoarding what little cash remains at GM, well, expect some delays at best. Some auto industry ciritics are urging any loans be tied to mandates for fuel-efficient cars. Can't imagine that getting through the current Senate, let alone the White House.