Auto Industry News, Around the Track

By November 24, 2008Economy, Energy, Global Warming

That’s Bobby Bare there, singing “Detroit City.” Can imagine any number of people testifying before Congress last week recalling the line, “Oh, how I wanna go home.”

USA Today, “Officials say auto CEOs must be specific on bailout plans

Auto executives need to provide more specifics about how they plan to spend taxpayers’ money and crimp their highflying lifestyles if they hope to get aid from the federal government, congressional leaders and key members of the incoming Obama administration said Sunday.
“What we can’t give is a blank check for an industry that isn’t prepared to retool itself,” David Axelrod, a senior adviser to President-elect Barack Obama, said on Fox News Sunday.

“I would hope they will come back to Washington in early December on commercial flights with a plan to do that.”

Milwaukie Journal-Sentinel, “Detroit’s fight hits home in Wisconsin“:

If Congress cannot agree soon on a plan to provide taxpayer-funded loans to the auto industry, the effects will be felt far beyond Detroit, Kenosha car dealer Andy Palmen said Thursday. …[snip]

Palmen, president of Palmen Motors, spent two days in Washington talking to members of the Wisconsin congressional delegation and attending hearings at which chief executives of auto companies testified.

“I felt it was imperative to go because I didn’t want the face of this situation to be misrepresented,” he said. “It was all about the auto executives and top union officials. I wanted to make sure our congressmen and senators saw the ripple effect across the nation would be far greater than their (auto) plants.”

Frank Beckman, WJR, in the Detroit News, “Members of Congress, not auto execs, deserve grilling“:

[Auto] execs Rick Wagoner of General Motors, Alan Mulally of Ford and Robert Nardelli of Chrysler, along with United Auto Workers boss Ron Gettelfinger, were grilled by the ultimate second guessers, the politicians, most of whom don’t have education degrees in economic fields or experience in making decisions on private employment, inventory and global competition.

One wishes the four could have asked the questions instead this week.

Why did members of Congress — such as House Banking Chairman Barney Frank, Senate Banking Chairman Christoper Dodd and others — raise fuel economy standards, adding more than $85 billion in costs as the industry was restructuring itself?

If the reason was forcing automakers to deal with higher gasoline prices, perhaps the politicians could explain why they have made fuel more scarce by blocking domestic drilling for oil and preventing new refineries from being built during the past three decades.

And more…

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