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.