Thursday, December 04, 2008

The Car Industry

Detroit is showing it's a bit smarter in how it asks for bailout money.

Instead of traveling by corporate jet, GM CEO Rick Wagoner will drive a Malibu hybrid for the 520-mile trek from Detroit to Capitol Hill; Ford CEO Alan Mulally will drive an Escape hybrid. The travel plans of General Bob Nardelli of Chrysler are secret for "security reasons" (guess he's flying). (Update: Chrysler got wise and said he's driving, too.) All three are to present their plans for $25 billion in taxpayer-backed loans on Thursday and Friday.

If they were very smart, the CEOs would drive unreleased, next-generation cars that get 100 MPG. They would have left on Monday, and stopped in dozens of towns along the way and would invite local reporters and TV crews to ride shotgun for a short distance. They would update their status on Twitter, facebook and the like. They would write a few posts for the company blog. They would shoot video and put that on the blogs and have major media play it as well. They would also talk about how they messed up in the past, how they are selling their corporate jets, all of them, and they would talk about plans for the future.

As a result, they would get some great PR, which they desperately need.

They would prove they can work together, yes, Ford with GM and Chrysler . . . They would show they are visionary leaders who are breaking the mold of the ways business has always been accomplished.

GM said late Tuesday it needs $18 billion, yesterday, to survive, and only have a few months of life left.

Wagoner and Mulally said they would work for $1-a-year salary IF federal assistance was forthcoming. Hint: Arrive in Washington having already cut your salaries to $1!!

What do you think: Give Detroit a line of credit, or let 'em file for bankruptcy and work it out in the courts like the airlines?

Let them go under and see what happens?

My take is if we allow them to go under, we will no longer be in a recession, we will enter a depression.

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