Obama Administration To Chrysler, GM: Sorry, You Failed.

In accordance with the March 31st deadline for evaluating the restructuring plans of the bailed out automakers, President Obama is expected to address the nation today to present his administration’s findings — and the news isn’t too sunny for the automakers.

In a 6-page PDF, the administration explained that neither company’s plan was “sufficient to justify a substantial new investment of taxpayer resources,” but that each company would be given a short period of additional time to fix their problems. For Chrysler, the situation is clearly more dire, as the administration’s plan includes a required merger with Fiat. The two companies have 30 days to work it out in order to qualify for an additional $6 billion in loans from the government. If they can’t — Chrysler is on its own.

The administration says:

General Motors: While GM’s current plan is not viable, the Administration is confident that with a more fundamental restructuring, GM will emerge from this process as a stronger more competitive business. This process will include leadership changes at GM and an increased effort by the U.S. Treasury and outside advisors to assist with the company’s restructuring effort. Rick Wagoner is stepping aside as Chairman and CEO. In this context, the Administration will provide GM with working capital for 60 days to develop a more aggressive restructuring plan and a credible strategy to implement such a plan. The Administration will stand behind GM’s restructuring effort.

Chrysler: After extensive consultation with financial and industry experts, the Administration has reluctantly concluded that Chrysler is not viable as a stand-alone company. However, Chrysler has reached an understanding with Fiat that could be the basis of a path to viability. Fiat is prepared to transfer valuable technology to Chrysler and, after extensive consultation with the Administration, has committed to building new fuel efficient cars and engines in U.S. factories. At the same time, however, there are substantial hurdles to overcome before this deal can become a reality.

Therefore, the Administration will provide Chrysler with working capital for 30 days to conclude a definitive agreement with Fiat and secure the support of necessary stakeholders. If successful, the government will consider investing up to the additional $6 billion requested by Chrysler to help this partnership succeed. If an agreement is not reached, the government will not invest any additional taxpayer funds in Chrysler.

The administration went on to describe the process by which the car companies could be returned to viability — including offering warranty support so that consumers would feel confidant buying a automobile during the restructuring.

Meanwhile, Ousted GM CEO Rick Wagoner is trying to remain positive. “GM is a great company with a storied history. Ignore the doubters because I know it is also a company with a great future,” he said in a statement.

Obama Administration New Path to Viability for GM & Chrysler [via CSPAN]

Comments

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  1. noone1569 says:

    Wow, this is a pretty hard line. Awesome. Chrysler could really use some of the Fiat tech. . .

  2. Joewithay says:

    So maybe we shall see Fiat 500s in the US?

  3. Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ゜-゜ノ) says:

    Fiat? Is that a pun on fiat currency? Not very funny. :(

    • Snarkysnake says:

      The whole Fiat/Chrysler thing is just another desperation ploy. The 500 is about the only Fiat model that would stand a chance here,and that is based on novelty value alone. They are not practical,mainstream cars. And Fiat has already proven that it can’t sustain any success because they do not have quality in their DNA. Whenever sales start tanking,they initiate a few “quality programs” to tide them over and then go back to building shabby cars. ( Just like Chrysler )
      A “near death” experience won’t do it this time.Chrysler needs to go away for good as a lesson to the survivors that the customer is still king.

      • mattattaxx says:

        @Snarkysnake: except the fiat has always had and more or less specialized in small car platforms, which is what chrysler needs. That’s the primary supply in their venture – in exchange for entrance to the US market for them (and Alfa Romeo), Chrysler gets a couple small car platforms to replace the shitty large compact for the Caliber and Liberty.

  4. balthisar says:

    It’s great how people that don’t know a lick about private enterprise — let alone the car business — can judge that companies aren’t viable. :-(

    • Jim Topoleski says:

      @balthisar: The people doing the judging very much do though, which is why the report to Obama was so damning.

      And it doesnt take an idiot to see why. For all the pandering GM has been doing, they have done NOTHING. They talked a huge game of restructuring, but they have not done a damn thing to do it yet while still hemorrhaging money.

      Chrysler has been even worse. They have basically gone the route of whoring it’s self out hoping someone, ANYONE will buy them and solve their woes. Other than that, nothing.

    • Mike_Hawk says:

      @balthisar: And you do know? Present credentials or shut up please.

    • LostTurntable says:

      @balthisar: Well, car businesses don’t know jack about car businesses so it’s all even.

    • MercyEleusis says:

      @undefined: @balthisar: I need to know about private enterprise and the car business to know US automakers are dumber than a bag of rocks?

    • Fresh-Fest-1986 says:

      @balthisar: Who should we get to make the decisions for our lawmakers?

      1) Foriegn auto makers that have been successful.

      2) My mechanic down the street Mike, who does wonderful work by the way.

      3) Maybe these companies can oversight themselves!

      4) We turn this into a reality show with a mixture of ex-auto execs, former sitcom stars, and Henry Kissinger.

      5) Ron Paul!!1

    • tc4b says:

      @balthisar: Well, here’s a good test to see if the plan is viable or not: let them try it on their own. If they go out of business, it’s not a good plan. If they saty in business, good plan. Leave tax dollars out of it.

    • jasonkarns says:

      @balthisar: I agree. This whole thing is ridiculous. Of all the people to criticize a private company for inefficiency, our federal government should be LAST on the list. No one in America is less efficient than the government. No one.

      The American public has already declared GM a failure by refusing to buy their cars and sustain their failed business process. The market has already told GM they failed. Why did our government sink billions of OUR MONEY into a company that had already been proven a failure?

      • SarcasticDwarf says:

        @posaune: Err, government is not always inefficient. If it was then why are people complaining about government functions being outsources (within the US)?

        • Brawndo_The_Thirst_Mutliator says:

          @SarcasticDwarf: Govt. is run in such a manner as to ensure no net profit. Private sector is run in such a manner as to try to maximize profit. Which one do you think is going to be or try to be the most efficient per dollar invested?

          • SarcasticDwarf says:

            @Brawndo_The_Thirst_Mutliator: The answer as always is that it depends. The private sector may be designed to maximize profit, but it often does not. We have sunk trillions into private companies that “maximize profit” in the past year. We regularly bail out failed banks through the FDIC. There are many, many instances where businesses lose more than they gain. You also have to look at it over time. If a business exists for 20 years and ends up failing after having posted losses for a number of years, did it ultimately benefit society?

            On the other hand you have government. Yes, there ARE huge inefficiencies, but there are also many times where they are more efficient than the private sector. This is most often seen in public services (where I work).

            • Brawndo_The_Thirst_Mutliator says:

              @SarcasticDwarf: Lets be honest here. Those private companies that we sunk trillions (I think its actually billions, but its just make believe numbers at this point anymore) also had periods of vast profitability. I completely and vehemently oppose the actions regarding the bailing out of businesses, no matter what the reason. Both current and last presidents actions I feel were completely against the ideologies the free market functions on.

              I as a business am not concerned at my fore-front of ultimately benefiting society. I AM concerned about benefiting my stock holders. They are my boss, and I have to make profit to keep them happy. Otherwise they “fire” me and the company goes under. If I cannot raise capital, the company stagnates, and eventually goes under.

              The govt. does not have the same restrictions. They don’t have to worry about a profit. They don’t really have to be concerned that much about being fired (I mean its really a situation of pick your poison with the 2 parties), by fired I mean a revolution etc etc. If the govt wants/needs to raise capital, well they just increase taxes, no matter the quality of job they are doing.

              For example, I think that Senator X is doing a crappy job, so I “fire” him, and he gets replaced with either one of his cronies or the other parties cronies. Either way its still just a cronies. I don’t have the option of not buying(paying taxes) stocks of the company any more. Its like if GM came and took money from you every pay check and made cars worse than the bastard child of a Pinto and Yugo, and you couldn’t do anything about it, except elect a different CEO. Doesn’t change the fact that the car is still a piece of crap.

      • Tzepish says:

        @posaune: It probably has something to do with that whole “economy” thing.

      • parad0x360 says:

        @posaune: They are sinking money into the companies to try and turn them around. They are trying to keep more Americans from losing jobs. They want these auto companies to pull through, sell cars, build plants, build more cars and make more jobs.

        We dont want foreign cars to be better…it just happens that they are because the war OUR car companies have been run was nothing short of stupid.

        So lets hope this plan works, they start making better cars, and they are able to create jobs which is what this economy needs.

    • KyleOrton says:

      @balthisar: I was under the impression that GM and Chrysler went to the government and admitted they weren’t viable.

      Now, viable if you give us enough money that it doesn’t matter what we do is pretty much the same thing as dead.

      • snowburnt says:

        @KyleOrton: true, then the government said, tell us what you need to do to make yourself viable. Basically: give us your new business plan ala undergrad college business class.

        They did and the professor failed them

    • Saboth says:

      @balthisar:

      I think the fact they need continuous bailouts for the next few years proves they aren’t viable. They can’t be profitable when their cars cost the same as better made japanese cars. I laugh at the unions too. They think they don’t have to negotiate in order to save their jobs, as if they are better than the rest of America. It’s going to be a laugh riot when all these guys that screw bolts into doors for $50 an hour end up at Burger King for $6.50 an hour without their highschool diplomas. “Well gall durn, I guess I shoulda bargained back before Chrysler went bankrupt!”

    • Swearengen says:

      @balthisar:

      I think those companies proved themselves that they are not viable. Seriously, if a company loses $60 billion a year and has no cash reserves, do you think that is a viable company? You don’t need to know anything about private enterprise to know that losing that much money means you are not viable. The fact they they are asking for more government money than the companies are worth proves that they are not viable.

  5. LetMeGetTheManager says:

    I feel like a better picture for this story would have been the GM and Chrysler logos with “EPIC FAIL” written over them.

  6. carlos_the_dwarf says:

    So, you “failed,” but we’re giving you another boatload of taxpayer cash, anyway?

    This is going pretty much as expected.

  7. rpm773 says:

    I think Chrysler is the sale of just 3 or 4 Dodge Nitros and a Chrysler Sebring or two away from total solvency.

  8. Anonymous says:

    I don’t know much about the auto industry. I have however driven GM and Chrysler’s cars and I can confirm that the Gov’t assessment is correct.

    • Heresy_Fnord says:

      @WendaCandisay: I own a GM vehicle and can confirm you are wrong.

      Then again, Saturn is breaking off to become it’s own company after 2011 so at this point that’s all I care about.

  9. chrisjames says:

    Can they add another stipulation that if either of these companies pull through, they be forced to be split into smaller, more manageable manufacturers along whatever lines the administration feels will maintain the stability and profitability that the original behemoths are seeking?

    I won’t tread the “‘too big to fail’ motto has failed us” line. I just feel that propping up giganto-corporations, however necessary that is, is encouraging oligopolistic conditions in the future. With more foreign cars on our shores, that may not happen. I’d still rather see 12 American car giants than 3 American car titans.

    (In all honesty, I get that it might be disastrous. Safety, emission, fuel economy, and other standards are so rightfully regulated now that the status quo is probably more sustainable than smaller start-ups or spin-offs. I’m just pondering.)

    • jasonof2000 says:

      @chrisjames:

      I’d be all for that except that a modern car platform is expensive and takes years to develop and is often spread to as many chassis as possible to mitigate the cost in as short of a time as possible.

      • jasonkarns says:

        @jasonof2000: You are making a false assumption that each company needs to have full vertical integration.

        Smaller car companies succeed quite well with modern cars by focusing on one component of the car industry vertical. One of the reasons for failure of the big 3 is due to their total vertical integration which by its very nature introduces quality issues by eliminating competition.

        • jasonof2000 says:

          @posaune:

          Which smaller car company that sells in the US develops it’s own frame that isn’t used by another car either by another company or in another car it sells itself?

          • mac-phisto says:

            @jasonof2000: i think you’re mistaking the definition of vertical integration. posaune is talking about how virtually every bit of a gm/chrysler/ford is owned by gm/chrysler/ford. for example, instead of sourcing specific parts competitively, they buy almost exclusively thru their respective parts channels (ac delco/mopar/motorcraft).

            we might actually have some kick-ass, reliable autos made here in the us if companies weren’t so stubborn about using all their own crappy parts. imagine if chrysler found someone who could actually make a reliable transmission, or gm could find someone who could actually make an attractive model? <–OUCH! (that was a little unnecessary)

            top-to-bottom = vertical integration.

    • Kishi says:

      @chrisjames: Do not question that motto, it is too big to fail. If we must, we will make these companies bigger until they actually are too big to fail- the creation of CompuGlobalHyperMegaNet is my motto bailout plan.

  10. Fresh-Fest-1986 says:

    It’s do sad that the government has to hold these companies hands like this. I wish I could have felt positive about the time they were given to “restructure”. However anyone who has worked in a large corporation knows the lines of bullshit run so deep that its hard to get anything done.

  11. Bladefist says:

    I’m interested to see who takes over. I’m guessing it will be someone who wants to focus on making green cars that no one will buy (or be able to afford), but at least we will all feel good.

    • PunditGuy says:

      @Bladefist: Considering that right now they make cars that no one will buy, feeling good will be a net plus.

      • Bladefist says:

        @PunditGuy: lol.

        @Snarkysnake: lol for you too.

        The government will find a way to make it worse. As I said, they will go green and make cars that either “putt putt” down the highway, or they are so expensive no body wants them.

        Either way, worse.

        • Brawndo_The_Thirst_Mutliator says:

          @Bladefist: I’d honestly be OK with a “Green” car. If you haven’t noticed, barreled oil prices have been declining, yet prices on the pump are still increasing. That translates into profits for the oil companies. I think if we’re realistic with ourselves, we all know that $4+ a gallon will be back, probably sooner than later. Yeah all the environmental crap, blah blah blah, all I’m concerned with is getting from point a to point b as cheaply as possible, and cars with much higher miles per unit of energy achieve this. Sure if my hydrogen fuel car is good for the environment and its the cheapest method of transportation well good for the environment.

          I agree the govt will find a way to make it worse. Maybe raise taxes so the govt. can get in the car business. That would be fitting work for ex-politicians, being car salesmen.

    • Snarkysnake says:

      @Bladefist:

      Fritz Henderson will take over for Wagoner. At least for now. Another dinosaur from the old days at GM when they could tell the customer to fuck off. Hard to predict what color cars he will favor.It doesn’t really matter,anyway. GM doesn’t make a small car worth buying ,so they can’t grow customers and nurture them with reliability and efficiency so that they will come back.
      It sounds impossible ,but Chrysler is even worse.They have been passed around from the Americans to the Germans back to the Americans and soon a big hunk to the Italians that they have no idea what they are any more.They have even fucked up the Jeep line of vehicles.

      How on earth could the governmnet mak this train wreck any worse ?

      • mac-phisto says:

        @Snarkysnake: It sounds impossible ,but Chrysler is even worse.They have been passed around from the Americans to the Germans back to the Americans and soon a big hunk to the Italians that they have no idea what they are any more.They have even fucked up the Jeep line of vehicles.

        this is actually why chrysler is so f-ed up, imho. they were a thriving business until daimler raided their cash reserves & then threw them to the junkyard dogs. why that deal was ever approved is beyond me – daimler killed chrysler & a lot of people saw that coming.

        of the 3, i think chrysler makes the most effort to build awesome cars. their hemi models are always popular (i have to admit, that new charger is pretty badass & i despise chrysler). jeep, ins pite of their recent quality issues (also caused by daimler when they pilfered jeep production lines for mercedes’ use), still has a large following.

        their issue, as far as i can see, is quite simply reliability. if i had a dollar for everyone i knew that had to replace a chrysler transmission <60,000 miles, i’d probably have enough money to buy the company (yes that’s an exaggeration, but i do know one person who had 3 replacements on the same vehicle <60,000).

        fix that & i think everything else will fall in place. if fiat can do that, all the power to them. at this point in the game, it certainly seems like hail mary time.

        • Brawndo_The_Thirst_Mutliator says:

          @mac-phisto: So what you’re saying is that we need to go and attack Germany again for raiding and destroying an American company? Cause if that’s the case, lets wait until it’s closer to Oktoberfest. I want some good beer.

    • From the cubicle of PGibbons says:

      @Bladefist: The reason oil and other dinosaur technologies are so relatively cheap compared to “greener” technologies is that the legacy industries have enjoyed buttloads of “gub’ment” subsidies over many, many decades to this moment. Tax breaks, externalizing pollution and cleanup to the people, etc. If those subsidies were gradually moved over to the “green” technologies you so easily deride, you’d see more creative and powerful solutions pretty quickly. Maybe even some that you’d be willing to drive and/or accept.

    • papahoth says:

      @Bladefist: Blade is like the republicans in Congress. The answer is always no, no matter what is proposed. The government is telling them they have to get their act together if they want government money. No one is telling them how to run the company. Surely you don’t think Wagoner did a good job unless trashing the company more than Smith is your definition of a good job.

  12. bmorg003 says:

    I’m a little conflicted with GM. The management had every opportunity in the past and was well ahead of everyone with the EV1, and then they threw it all away (watch “Who Killed the Electric Car?”). Management has made disastrous decisions leading up to this, and labor has been none too helpful/overpaid. On the other hand, the labor has made some concessions as to their current salary, and is it really fair to ask the workers to give up their pensions after they put in 30 years with the company when “we” are providing “sweetheart” taxpayer backed loans (with only 20% upfront) to these banks to clear off their “toxic debt” AND providing tax-payer backed TARP funds/loans to pay off these Credit Default Swaps (which are really just bad bets-no assets) at full face value (no concessions at all)?

  13. carlos_the_dwarf says:

    “The management had every opportunity in the past and was well ahead of everyone with the EV1, and then they threw it all away “

    So, a failing car company could have rescued itself it only it had produced more of a car it lost huge amounts of money on?

  14. Ramzilla says:

    Fuck em. Let em burn. The produce crap anyways.

  15. Frank Murphy says:

    Sounds like nationalization to me. That is a bad thing.

  16. Trai_Dep says:

    But… But… But… The Volt!

  17. Radoman says:

    Too big to fail = Too big to exist.

    I hope the same happens to AIG. Better to lose the billions we’ve spent than to keep dumping money into a hole.

    • Jim Topoleski says:

      @Radoman: Actually Obama flat out said today neither company is too big to fail. Making me think they already have plans to help both spin down if in fact bankruptcy is the only option.

    • Jim Topoleski says:

      @calacak: actually he’s going after executives in BOTH groups.

      The problem is people spin going after the problems in the group, as going after the group as a whole.

  18. calacak says:

    I personally love the fact that the president is ‘talking down’ to the blue-collar companies, finger wagging, etc — yet white-collar companies, like AIG are giving keys to the taxpayers checkbooks.

    • akuma_x says:

      @calacak: Obama is talking down to the white collar execs at the auto companies, not the blue collar workers. He has said on many occasions that he respects the hard work and dedictaion that the blue collar workers exhibit.

      • Brawndo_The_Thirst_Mutliator says:

        @akuma_x: Hard work and dedication…from Union workers? If there has ever been an ironic statement, you sir, have just topped the charts.

        • RedwoodFlyer says:

          @Brawndo_The_Thirst_Mutliator: Yeah no kidding! The unionbots were on the news talking about how they can no longer afford to go to the bar after work each day. BOO HOO! at $6/day (a very conservative tab) they spend over $1,200 a year on bar trips alone. Hard to feel bad for someone in that position, considering that they could afford their own health ins. for that much!

  19. Parapraxis says:

    good job nardelli.

    Home Depot

    Chrysler

    who can he fuck up next?

    • Fresh-Fest-1986 says:

      @Parapraxis: He could always run for president under the republican ticket in 2012. His damage capacity would be endless.

      • Trai_Dep says:

        @Fresh-Fest-1986: He and Carley Fiorina could pair up on the Wealth-Destroying Republicans Ticket, 2010.
        I shudder if they won, but the primaries, when they face off against the Knuckle-Dragging Republican Ticket, Palin/Jindal 2010, would be oodles of fun to watch.

        • Brawndo_The_Thirst_Mutliator says:

          @Trai_Dep: Yes because you’re wealth creating savior has done SUCH a wonderful job the past few months. I see all us now, in our private jets, cruising to Barbados, while sipping on martini’s and discussing the latest issue of The New Yorker.

          • cromartie says:

            @Parapraxis: You forgot the quality work he did for GE’s Locomotive Division.

          • Fresh-Fest-1986 says:

            @Brawndo_The_Thirst_Mutliator: He’s been in office for 2 months. Your wealth will have to wait until month 8.

            Also I don’t understand this whole savior thing. Is it because people like him? Is that a bad thing?

            • Brawndo_The_Thirst_Mutliator says:

              @Fresh-Fest-1986: When people start putting him on the same level as Jesus, then yes, that is a problem. Especially since, as you obviously pointed out, has only been in office for 2 months. Because, as I pointed out, I have yet to see him walk on water, or turn water into wine.

              Look even if I’m a conservative, and I think Regan was an awesome guy, I wouldn’t EVER put him on a scale with Jesus. or Abe Lincoln. or George Washington. But I wouldnt put those 2 guys combined against Jesus either…

  20. Juan Camargo says:

    On Chrysler:
    How hard is it to make a small car? I mean, is it so hard they have to ally themselves with another company to make one? The smallest thing they have is the Caliber (I think). Compared to their last small car (the Neon), this thing is a behemoth. Every one of their other cars is either huge, gigantic, or needs its own zip code. If they can’t even TRY to offer the public what they want ( a small/decent sized family car that is at least DECENT with gas, if not a simple “get you from point A to B” vehicle), maybe it is really time for them to go the way of the dodo like AMC before them. Even GM has a few offerings in that area…

  21. jp7570 says:

    While no one I know has applauded Chrysler’s efforts, here one potential for them. Fiat wants a 35% stake in the company. Daimler currently still maintains an 18.5% share in Chrysler (which, interestingly enough, Daimler values at $0). Fiat gets their 35% share, then shortly thereafter acquires Daimler’s share for a 53.5% ownership. When that happens, the Chrysler and Dodge nameplates either disappear completely or become niche brands under Fiat.

    GM is harder to figure. If forced in Chapter 11, each brand might be sold off to other companies. (Ford, while struggling less, might see this as an opportunity to kill part of their competition through acquisition.) Or could GM contract to 2 divisions – maybe just Chevrolet and Cadillac. Another possibility is that GM could be bought by a major Asian automaker (perhaps Tata from India or Geely or Chery from China).

    GM and Chrysler may yet surprise us and emerge from this, but it sure appears doubtful.

    • jstonemo says:

      @jp7570: Ford acquiring GM is like KMart acquiring Sears. Turds buying turds, although I do love my Chevy Silverado.

    • Logan26 says:

      @jp7570:

      Of the Big3, Ford is the only one who is solvent and not losing money. They also saw the writing on the wall years ago and did what the other 2 didn’t, made changes to combat the problems before they became problems.

  22. aftercancer says:

    The same toughlove needs to be used with AIG the next time the go begging. I’m sick and tired of too big to fail.

  23. rickinsthelens says:

    American consumers are like teenage boys. They say they like a girl for her personality, but really want the hot girl with the great body. We claim we want small cars and green vehicles, but once gas prices fell, we stopped buying them. The reason American car companies don’t have great small cars, is no one wants to buy them in great numbers. As a business decision, it made sense to make SUV’s and bigger cars, since that is what consumers wanted. Toyota, Honda, and the like have small cars because they make them in the rest of the world. The reason brands like Lexus exist, is because to make money in the states, they had to make bigger cars.

    A Smart car might be viable in Long Beach or Seattle, but when you live in Fargo or Durant, OK, they are not practical. Take joy in the demise of American car makers if you like, but it really is a sad time for America.

    • jstonemo says:

      @rickinsthelens: Finally, a voice of reason. Small cars for small countries, large cars for large countries or so it seems.

      I don’t like the feeling that I am going to die at any moment when driving a small car, foreign or domestic.

      On a side note: one of my biggest pet peeves is when auto journalists put down American car interiors as being sub-par when I have ridden in newer Nissans and Toyotas that have the same interiors as my kids PowerWheels car.

    • Trai_Dep says:

      @rickinsthelens: Except for the mouth-breathers, I think the era of the street-sweeper sized SUV is over. People realize that we’re never going back to single-digit gallons of gas; we’ve moved on.
      Much of the anger is directed at these companies because they refuse to accept this and change their business model to reflect this new reality.

      • Brawndo_The_Thirst_Mutliator says:

        @Trai_Dep: I don’t recall gas ever being a single digit commodity? (Really less than 10 cents a gallon?) But I do hope you are right about the SUV market being finally dead a gone.

        If a company is not capable or willing to change its product to accommodate the changing market, than they are destined to fail. Unfortunately, SOME individuals have an emotional attachment to the company, and will cut off their nose to spite their face.

    • Darklighter says:

      @rickinsthelens: We didn’t stop buying small cars because gas prices fell. We stopped buying small cars because gas prices fell with the rest of the market, and we stopped buying cars altogether.

    • shepd says:

      @rickinsthelens:

      Why do people living in the Northern contiguous US states feel they need ridiculously sized cars?

      If only those people in Fargo could drive around Canada for a while in the winter with an econobox with… SNOW TIRES!

      Yes, snow tires make all the difference. This is coming from someone who drives several months a year in the snow: small cars with snow tires handle better in the winter than huge trucks (with or without snow tires).

      I drive a Corolla, and dammit, my cheap summer tires handle WORSE in the summer than the (more) expensive winter tires do in the winter. It’s like magic what a few hundred dollars of tires will do for you.

      Now, that being said, I wouldn’t be too hot on a smart car. Not because of handling, but because of a mix of price, seating, and actual mpg (not enough to offset the price and lack of seating). At least once or twice a week I have three or four adults in my car, any car I drive needs at least 4 seats that adults can fit into. And that isn’t all that weird. Plus I wonder how a Smart handles with a roof rack (now that is weird).

    • Saboth says:

      @rickinsthelens:

      I’m taking joy. During this time of low car prices, despite the fact I swore I’d never buy American (from past experiences), I figured I’d give them a chance. You know what I’ve found? Only Ford makes any car I’d want to buy, out of the domestic automakers. Well designed..reliable…good price, decent resale. Now, Mazda makes 2-3, Honda makes 2-3, Toyota makes 2-3, hell, even Hyundai and Suzuki make 2-3 cars I’d want to buy. But GM, Chrysler? Nada. And I researched them all.

      • ajbuchan says:

        @Saboth: Try looking at a Saturn Aura or a Chevy Malibu. I’m quite happy with my Aura and know a good number of people happy with their Malibu.

    • parnote says:

      @rickinsthelens: Consumers would purchase smaller, more fuel efficient vehicles if that was the bulk of what was offered. No, it’s the greedy asshat CEOs and BoDs, who as stewards of the company, refuse to offer them to the consumers (e.g., the EV-1).

    • Brawndo_The_Thirst_Mutliator says:

      @rickinsthelens: “American consumers are like teenage boys. They say they like a girl for her personality, but really want the hot girl with the great body.” You realize we guys say this so we can at least get some from the girl with the personality? I mean if we could get some from the girl with the hot bod, we so be doing that, before the other one. But we have to get some somewhere so you just have to take what you can sometimes.

  24. trujunglist says:

    Uh oh, looks like I won’t be getting my dream Challenger after all =

  25. Onion_Volcano says:

    I demand plastic interiors, awful design and an immediate loss of 50% as soon as I drive off the lot.
    -American Consumers

  26. The_Legend says:

    Yeah, 1 Trillion bucks to bail out financial institutions, no plan, no questions asked, nobody held accountable. They build nothing but wealth for each other.

    Automakers, who actually create jobs, get the shaft.

    Nice job. Maybe Consumer Reports will rename itself to We are the Japanese B*tches Reports. Bout as worthless now.

    If Consumer Reports were so pro-consumer, why are they testing toasters and drooling all over a crappy Yaris when they should have been using their “non-biased testers” to look over the financial markets? Maybe a vested interest from them?

    • Michael Rutkas says:

      @The_Legend: I Agree with you 100% this is why I NEVER buy or will buy Consumer Reports… It’s nothing more then a pro foreign rag…

      GM and Chrysler do have some excellent cars. Yes they have some questionable ones but both companies put food on the table for THOUSANDS of American families!!

      The auto industry is worth saving, 1 TRILLION of no questioned asked money to financial institutions! Lets put a little of the money of that in the auto industry. The beating heart of America…

    • Radoman says:

      @The_Legend: These guys all need to fail. GM and AIG too. Capitalism means if you risk and lose, you’re done. GM/Chrysler has been spouting this same “we have to pay our workers too much line” since the 70s. The whole time refusing to innovate. This is a loong time coming.

      Toyota’s #1 for a reason. Americans love quality. We depend on our cars. That Toyota Yaris that you seem to dislike so much is gonna run for more than 100,000 miles without incident, and it gets like 40MPG. If any American car manufacturer could do the same, we’d all buy their “crappy” cars in a second.

      • The_Legend says:

        @Radoman: Toyota is a false sense of quality. Ask the folks with the rusted out frames on Tacoma’s, the sludge problem with the Tundra, and the transmission issues on the Camry. Oops, even CR finally caved and didn’t rubber stamp the new Camry. You can only sweep things under the carpet for so long. The Yaris is still a crapbox, better than the Prius because you don’t have to pony up the bucks up front. Toyopet is suffering from GM disease, now asking for loot from the Japanese Gubbmint. Why are they giving cashback on the Prius? Not selling.

        Look past your own discrimination. If GM/Chrysler hadn’t produced what the consumer was buying (high profit vehicles), the shareholders would have ran them out of town.

        When Mercedes bought Chrysler, it had 36 Billion cash in reserves, a good small car, and a future. Mercedes used Chrysler money to improve their own quality, R&D, put nothing back into Chrysler, and then cast them off to the side.

        Capitalism has neve existed in the US. When we keep killing off our own companies, we will cease to be a world manufacturing or financial player.

        And if you think that the US auto worker makes more than their Japanese counterpart (even the US Japanese plants), think again. Look it up before you spew your drivel. I feel sorry for the younger generation that will be wage slaves to Japan/China.

    • cromartie says:

      @Shane Elliott: Bought a Pontiac last fall, actually.

      You couldn’t pay me to buy a Chrysler, however.

    • AlphaWolf says:

      @The_Legend: What an ignorant bunch of comments. So Consumer Reports is supposed to be Forbes magazine now, commenting on the Financial markets? Why not just read the Wall Street Journal, they covered the financial mess pretty well.

      No one who complains about the magazine ever reads it themselves, they do not even like the Yaris in there.

  27. vermontwriter says:

    So sounds like Chrysler is doomed because I can’t really see them getting their act together. Wonder where my warranty will stand then… I still have 6 years to go.

  28. P_Smith says:

    The good thing, if financially desperate US automakers are forced to merge, it that the protectionism tha led to this mess might end. You could see new cars on the road – not foreign named (because Americans wouldn’t buy them), but foreign styled, with better gas mileage and lower price tags.

    And for those who “worry” (read: complain) about “safety concerns of small cars”, if the gas-guzzling SUVs are taken off the road and everyone drives slower because of smaller engines, there won’t be a need to build cars to survive 200mph crashes.

    • karmaghost says:

      @P_Smith: Wait. Wait, who do you think are buying foreign cars here in America? “because Americans wouldn’t buy (foreign named) cars

      Are you serious? Why do you think the US auto makers are in trouble to begin with? Why do you think the top 5 or 10 bestselling cars are foreign?

      • P_Smith says:

        @karmaghost: Oh, how quaint.

        A grammar nazi chasing around people searching for chances to say “gotcha!” instead if reading the words as they were intended.

        I was referring to European cars, Mr. N. Al Retentive.

  29. Michael Rutkas says:

    Government is going to back your warranty. Chrysler isn’t going anywhere… Fiat is an amazing company and will be a perfect addition to Chrysler’s portfolio. Fiat is strong in areas Chrysler needs help and Chrysler can help Fiat in many ways. Consumers need to have confidence in our American brands. That is the first step (of many) to their respective recoveries.

  30. snowburnt says:

    @posaune: The main reason the government is inefficient is the oversight. There is such a huge beaurocracy because everything has to be accounted for and if it isn’t someone like you will rain hell upon “the government” for it (we know this to be true because it happens often enough). The only way to make anything work is to contract out the work.

    • JollyJumjuck says:

      @snowburnt: Too bad oversight doesn’t prevent billions or trillions of dollars to go suddenly “missing.”

      • From the cubicle of PGibbons says:

        @JollyJumjuck: Yet another reason these auto guys aren’t up to the intelligence of our Finance sector and military friends who have proven brilliant at losing shitloads of the lucre we gave them. And you would think that at least the Finance sector has access to a few accountants to track this sort of thing – money.

  31. Shane Elliott says:

    is there anyone here who can actually say that they have any intent to ever buy a GM or Chrysler car ever again (based on things as they stand right now for those companies)?

    • The_Legend says:

      @Shane Elliott: I would buy a Chrysler product in a heartbeat, as long as the banks that the government protects will give up some of that fat cash that they are paying out as bonuses and propping up foreign banks.

  32. Murph1908 says:

    @undefined:

    Hmm. Didn’t Obama recently stroke the unions, revoking some of the anti-labor union rules from the past?

    Does his proposed restructuring ‘from top to bottom’ include doing something about the out-of-control union labor?

    Nah. He’s a democrat. He only means the top.

    And the gobmint knows how to run a business right. The USPS only lost a couple of billion in 2008.

  33. caranguejo says:

    I’m currently driving a 2008 Dodge Charger as a loaner with 25k miles on it. The tranny is already shitting the bed and it is unwilling to start in temps below 40*F. I understand that loaners get beat on but that’s still pretty disgraceful. It looks cool but the novelty of that wore off 2 days after I started driving it. And the thing guzzles gas like a champ. I want my Jap car back!

    • Saboth says:

      @caranguejo:

      I had the same experience with a PT Cruiser I had while my Mazda was in the shop. It got terrible gas mileage, it felt like it was about to shake apart, and just felt poorly built. At first glance I figured it must have 100k+ on it, but the odometer was around 30k. I seriously couldn’t see paying more than 10-11k for it.

    • The_Legend says:

      @caranguejo: Hell, its one step below a rental, what do you expect? If you get a Toyopet with the same scenario, betcha you will get the same. I drove a POS Kia rental I wanted to take back before I left the rental lot. So what?

      • kellkell says:

        @The_Legend: Sorry you had that experience. My first car was a 87 Toyota Tercel, it had been in the Hertz Fleet for 3 years. I sold that car, after driving it 5 years for $1000 less than I paid for it. I only sold it because I moved and couldn’t take it with me. I know for a fact that the car is still on the road because I know the owners dad. So my used Japanese rental car that’s 22+ years old is still going strong and to be honest I miss it.

        My next car was a 89 Honda Civic that had 139,000 miles (in 6 years) for $3000. I drove that car till 2004 and sold it for $500 to a friend after turning down offers for $1500+. My friend was in a bad way and needed transportation so I gave them a deal on my still reliable car that got 45+ miles a gallon on the highway.

        I now own a 2002 Honda CR-V that I adore and that gives me no trouble. I will never consider any vehicle that isn’t a Honda or Toyota. My friends who drive American have to get a new car about every 4 years because the cost to fix them is higher than buying new. I have been very fortunate by staying with strong reliable import brands.

        • kellkell says:

          ** I had to double check I actually sold the Tercel for $800 less than I paid.

          • The_Legend says:

            @kellkell: Tercel wasn’t a bad ride, but Toyopet was pissed because all the geezers bought them instead of the Corolla. Yeah, real cheap maintenance. One of my co-workers had to pony up 400 bucks for an axle shaft for his Corolla, plus labor, while I shelled out a measly 50 bucks for an axle shaft for my Acclaim (oh, and I was able to change it myself). Sucks to own a Toyota. I drove two Corolla rentals, glad I didn’t have fillings, cause they were POS. More to driving than mileage. Even though I have taken more Chrysler products over the 200k than any of my friends with their “reliable imports”. Still driving one. Dodge diesel trucks go 350k before they even think about an overhaul (yes, they can be overhauled, and driven another 300k). Toyopet is feeling the GM curse. Only a matter of time. And don’t get me started on those ghey looking CR-V’s.

  34. grapedog says:

    I still have designs on a Jeep Wrangler at some point in the nebulous, but near, future…I should say, had plans.

  35. From the cubicle of PGibbons says:

    Let’s consider going to a “market” solution with vehicles and fuel.

    1) Each human (worldwide) is given a certain allowance of fuel, water, pollution and food as their “birthright.” Each is expected to give a certain amount of public service during their lifetime as part of this equation.

    2) Those who bicycle, walk, or take public transit can sell any excess “birthright” resources to another.

    3) The “market” will favor conservation, industry will bring their intention toward that aim, and performance will increase as smarter and more creative minds build upon the existing technology.

    4) No “big gub’ment” will take away your commuting Suburban or BMW, but your choice to drive it will more accurately reflect the impact it has on a sustainable world – beyond just the highly subsidized $2-5 price of gas. The actual cost of energy and pollution your choice uses (beyond your allocation) will need to be purchased from another’s birthright. Wanna have a multiple-head shower and water your lawn beyond your birthright? You’ll need to purchase that water from someone who has more intelligently managed their own birthright.

    5) On death, the rights expire too, so the next generation can use them.

    So let GM/Chisler/Ford build land yachts and such all they want – but make sure their customers are paying the actual price for the excess resources they unnecessarily consume as wasting it affects everyone and the world.

  36. vladthepaler says:

    So, how big is the GM CEO’s golden parachute?

  37. Corporate-Shill says:

    You can have my full size car (Buick LaSabre) when you pull the keys out of my cold dead fingers.

    PS: And I don’t give a fark if gas was $20 per gallon, I ain’t giving up the ability to get farked in the backseat of a car.

  38. kwsventures says:

    Be honest, this will be the nationalization of the GM. The CEO was fired by who? Oh, the federal government. There you go. Like I said 7 months ago, GM and Chrysler need to file bankruptcy like any other company going belly up. Instead, we wasted billions in taxpayer funded welfare that had no shot at working. The situation didn’t get any better. Like that was easy to see coming. Gee, thanks.

  39. monolithic says:

    The majority of you people are fools and fail to see the consequences of this decision. For one, the government is only offering LOANS to the car makers, not straight BAILOUTS like many of the financial companies received. The car companies would have had to pay these back.

    Secondly, with these huge companies gone, where do you think these people will go for jobs? They will be coming for yours. Not directly, not all right now, but later, in the form of their kids and just some of the former assembly line workers. How? Because these jobs are simply gone from the US market, this is a huge sector and hopefully a foreign car maker can pick up the slack or we’re in big trouble. Allow me to re-iterate: All of the people that were going to go into car manufacturing? Well those jobs are no longer available, they can’t ALL work at McDonald’s and have to go somewhere.

    Thirdly, the more people that are in the job pool the more competition there are for these jobs. The population isn’t shrinking, but with this the available jobs certainly are.

  40. H3ion says:

    Maybe things have changed but the Fiat I knew was a piece of crap. Even the ones I’ve seen recently in Europe seemed inferior to most of the Japanese marques. Do we really want Fiat cars back in this country? What’s next, the Renault Dauphine?

    • The_Legend says:

      @Barrister76: Guess you don’ get around the world much. Fiat is a great name in Europe, the underpinnings of the coveted Ford Ka, on and on. Before you spew dribble on the Internet, you might want to drive one instead of reading the Japanese shill Consumer DisReports. Since CR bought this blog it has turned into a media whore for CR. Sad days indeed.

  41. runswithscissors says:

    Is it too late to let em all (including AIG) just FAIL already?

    And even if they get more billions today, are they not coming back in another couple months for more?

    Maybe… just maybe… the car markets can no longer support 3 gigantic US car makers? Maybe they can support 1 or 2 if those manufacturers wake the hell up though.

  42. RogueWarrior says:

    Washington DC makes me want to puke. Who the hell are they to demand an executive of a public company step down? I don’t see any of them stepping down when they fail in far worse fashion. And what the hell do they think axing the current CEO is going to accomplish? How many CEO’s has GM had in the last twenty years? Did sh*tcanning any of them magically reverse decades of downslide? Don’t think so. IMHO, the American auto makers design boring product. Show me something that looks like any one of the bajillion concept cars they designed and I’d be interested. Or better yet, fire your entire effing marketing department. If I wanted a Hummer to look like yet another run-of-the-mill SUV, I would have bought a much cheaper SUV. People salivated over the HumVee because it looks badass.