Live Coverage: President Obama's Auto Plan

Monday, March 30, 2009

Live coverage of President Obama's announcement on the auto industry, and your thoughts on the GM and Chrysler bailout deals.

Comments [22]

the truth from Atlanta/New York

Spot on Taher!

Mar. 30 2009 12:31 PM
Taher from Croton on Hudson

You whiners on this board are still standing up for a failed cooperate class and living in denial. A sign of addiction. The time has come for you to go to rehab and after you may have some real ideas to offer rather then mindless twitter criticism of Obama.

Mar. 30 2009 11:51 AM
Lois Bricklin-Walsh from Orange County, NY

Because Chrysler is primarily owned by Cereberus (created By G.H. Bush's former Treasury Sec'y John Snow) and GMAC is mostly owned by Cereberus, I believe these folks at the top need to speak to the American people. President Obama's plan can work, but the whole truth of who owns what must be brought out into the light.

Mar. 30 2009 11:50 AM
Matt from Brooklyn

I'm sick of hearing American automakers making the excuse that they've build the gas-guzzling SUVs instead of smaller cars because that's what Americans want. Maybe that's true, in which case I'm simultaneously sick of what Americans want. Maybe your kid wants to eat cheesecake three meals a day, but I would hope a parent lays down some common-sense rules and points out that always having what you want isn't necessarily good for you.

I can't believe reports that smaller models and hybrids are starting to sit on the lots while sales of SUV are looking better, just because of the lower gas prices since the economy tanked. Do Americans have the collective memory of a bunch of goldfish? It's not as if gas prices are lower because we found a lot more oil (or that oil's any better for long-term climate change). It doesn't take a genius to realize that prices will eventually be back to where they were last summer.

Sometimes the people making the product need to lead the demand. President Obama talks about Americans collectively making sacrifices. He should be telling Americans that they don't need a big SUV for dense city driving or running their kids out to soccer practice. Similarly, our car companies should be making cars that demonstrate some foresight and responsibility, not just a Pavlovian response to what sells in the short term.

Mar. 30 2009 11:50 AM
kbinps from park slope

OK this is a subject i know about. I have been an auto enthusiast all my life. I haven't been a fan of American cars for years. I like small cars that get good mileage and handle well. But now I have to come to the companies defense. The companies have given the people the products that they wanted. People clammored for large gas guzzling SUVs. My friends all letured me that I drove a small and hence unsafe car. My argument was first that if everyone relinquished their behemoths then I would be safe driving my small car. Those people are the very same people who now condemn the car companies for not making responsible cars. That as they run to Toyota to trade the hogs in for Preiuses.
As for the gentleman who said the problem was the governement interrvening into the car companies business- well in the 70s the government did initiate the CAFE standards which dictated that each car company woud have to acheive a certain mileage standard that would be an average of the mileage for various models. The standards were relaxed during the Reagan administration. Had they been maintained then the car companies wouldn't be in this dilema because they would be making products with good mileage figures. Yes the car companies did fight to reduce the standards but that was because they were responding to a public that wouldn't give up horsepower and wouldn't pay more for the technology required to develop more efficient cars. And in the menatime foreign car makers have developed models that mimc the now demonized American SUVs, large pickups and V8 luxury cars. And the Japanese car companies are in the same dire financial situation as the AMerican companies. The real cause for this crisis was first the sky highoil prices and then the credit crunch and losss of faith created by the economic meltdown. So it is misdirected to point the finer at the car companies without also taking into account all these other factors.

Mar. 30 2009 11:48 AM
Gretchen from Astoria

As I listened to Obama's description of this plan I found images from medical shows, of doctors massaging the patient's heart on the table, monitors with flat lines, looooong beeps flashing through my head. Just because we can keep a body alive, does that mean we always should? Just because we can keep a major industry limping along, does that mean it's the best solution? The argument that the govt doesn't know how to run a car company (or a bank) loses it's impact for me when clearly the CEOs of these companies don't know how to run them either. I don't know the answer, but I don't think this is it. I don't see a level of creativity or new thinking that I think we need here.

Mar. 30 2009 11:44 AM
BigGuy from Forest Hills

Yes, we should lend money to GM. Lending is not a bailout.

We should force Chrysler to obtain funding from it's owner: the Carlyle Group, . Carlyle has the resources to fund and should be forced to do so, not the US. If Bush the first doesn't want to put up the money (he's on the board of Carlyle), why should we?

The US should take over the health costs, legacy health costs, and pensions of all the Big 3. What's being presented is the potential abrogation of all of these liabilities by a pre-packaged bankruptcy of GM

Mar. 30 2009 11:42 AM

11 -- LOL thanks

Mar. 30 2009 11:41 AM
Brendan O'Malley from Brooklyn

Where's public transportation in all this? Maybe we can take this opportunity to undo some of the damage that seventy years of federal sweetheart deals for the auto industry has done to a once vibrant rail system.

Mar. 30 2009 11:39 AM
Meg from Stamford, CT

FIAT?? Are you kidding? You know that stands for "fix it again Tony" because they are famously unreliable and the Italian government has been propping them up for generations. The family is outrageously wealthy and seems not to care a hoot about a well run company or reliable cars. Give me a Toyota.

Mar. 30 2009 11:37 AM
kc from long island

I'm a lot happier having the government running car companies than having companies like haliburtin run the government. I'm also confident that Obama will do a better job making sure there is future for our children by putting business back on the right track. I'm certain that there will be plenty of profit in the fuure.

Mar. 30 2009 11:37 AM
Marsha from Upper West Side

Yes, definitely support the industry! My brother has worked since he was 15 for GM and is now 63 and at risk of losing all his retirement. He also says GM has been making environmentally friendly vehicles and does not deserve the bad press. Our home town, Flint, is a shell of itself and needs the automobile industry to be revived. It's Flint's and Michigan's history and if GM is left to fail the entire state fails.

Mar. 30 2009 11:36 AM
Taher from Croton on Hudson

What we just heard from President Obama is a new willingness to take firm measures. Firm measures that are in the interest of the AMERICAN PEOPLE not simply the corporate-financial state that has taken this country hostage for so long.

Mar. 30 2009 11:35 AM

the auto industry has to adjust their expectations for profitability for a while, and completely re-tool.

why don't they make amends to the american public by manufacturing and rebuilding the national public transportation system they were given permission to destroy at the beginning of the 20th century? We get our fuel-efficient buses from germany, and our high-speed trains for the northeast from suisse. if GM is so innovative, let them compete in that arena, for that should be the future, rather than clogging roadways with more of their hideously-designed cars.

Mar. 30 2009 11:34 AM

re Fiat buying Chryser...

Yes, Italians to the rescue!

Mar. 30 2009 11:33 AM

when i got my first job i told myself i'd give money to every single panhandler who asked.

After a few weeks I realized this practice was ridiculous.

It didn't help them and sure didn't help me. I stopped.

Mar. 30 2009 11:32 AM
Chicago Listener

i can't think of a single big three car that i would buy. i bought a vw, designed in germany, parts from canada, assembled in mexico. i think an american bank is making money on the financing.

i like that the obama administration is at least having these talks...i like that the ceo's of these companies are feeling the heat. remember when they flew private jets to capitol hill. smugness personified. the president is laying the smackdown on the bosses. i love it.

Mar. 30 2009 11:32 AM
Andrew B. from New York City

Obama supports American workers? That's a laugh.

He has been just as much a supporter of flooding America with foreign workers ( H1-B visa ) as George Bush.

Wall Street is his main constituency.

Mar. 30 2009 11:29 AM

would be interested in follow up coverage on this subject from china and the imf.

Mar. 30 2009 11:27 AM

Hey, this worked for USSR!

Oh, scratch that, it didn't.

Mar. 30 2009 11:25 AM
Robin T. from Manhattan

Obama is describing a "pre-pack," i.e., a prepackaged bankruptcy filing. The wait period is merely to work out the details, including government support via warranties and DIP financing, and get the public used to the idea of a Chapter 11 filing.

Only through the B-courts can the automakers, e.g., reject and renegotiate contracts. Chrysler will be purchased or closed (instead of liquidated) and GM will be reorganized.

I hear that GM has retained Jones, Day as its bankruptcy counsel, and that Chrysler is working with Weil Gotshal.

This prospective filing is good, not bad news, and it's not a "bailout." The government money will finance the reorganization. The "plan" that the auto companies are being asked to develop is, in essence, the reorganization plan to be filed with the bankruptcy court.

Mar. 30 2009 11:25 AM
snoop from Brooklyn

Heck no... no bailout for the auto industry.

First, they have been mismanaged since the 1960s.

Second, I'm a bit unclear why I should give my tax money to maintain fantastic health and retirement benefits for UAW workers... I don't have those kind of benefits, why should I pay to save theirs????? While it's not as repulsive as paying for some Wall Street twit's bonus, it is still not appealing.

Mar. 30 2009 11:09 AM

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