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Beggars’ Banquet: Auto execs on the Hill

December 4, 2008

Hat in hand, the top executives of Detroit’s Big Three drove into Washington and were back on Capitol Hill, hoping to convince lawmakers to bail them out. They pledged to refocus on higher fuel efficiency and lower production costs to gain billions of dollars in emergency cash. Whether they succeed in getting taxpayer money to help cure their ills remains to be seen.

What do you think? Have the Big Three auto executives done enough in the past week to convince you they should get the money? What more should they do?


Although I am a collector myself I think the car business in this country should crash. It may be cheaper for the feds in partnership with the Union and Industry to retrain the work force either to form a substantially reduced capacity and product mix. As far as the supply chain is cincerned, they too should be on the same program but once again in a reduced enviornment. I think that Coporations are organic; that is, they are born, mature, and die similarly to huumans, who drive them. It just takes longer. Lastly, the executives should be pastured. All of them. They saw this coming in 1969, a time when I drove the first Toyota Corolla delivered in San Francisco. My passenger was a Senior Executive with the Buick Division. His reaction was, it’s a tempest in a teapot. The Electra 225 4 Door Sedan is the best automotive value in the world. It’s important I think to realize that America will no longer be a First World Country. There is nothing wrong with living with reduced expectations. Executives with their heads in the sand need to go away. One other thought: If all of the above is indigestable, sell the companies to the employees (except Ford) and give the leadership to some Harvard Business School types as a class project, overseen by appropriate Professers and Bankers.

Posted by A.J. Franks | Report as abusive

No, as not all citizens know the following information:
Having learned that the Big 3 automanufacturing employees (from the top tier to the bottom tier) have their benefits packages built in to the bottom line of the cost of an automobile, shows that there is a lack of equity to the consumer.
Granted all employees should have medical, dental, eye, profit sharing, etc. however, the unions are responsible for this hype and ultimately hold the consumer hostage to the price gouging.

Posted by LR Dougan | Report as abusive

If I wanted to subsidize Detroit, I would buy a piece of their trash. I do not have a corporate jet nor do I make as much money as a assembly line worker. They should be subsidizing me.

Posted by Len Hughes | Report as abusive

NO taxpayer-funded bailouts for Detroit, please!

Posted by Chip Carlson | Report as abusive

I keep watching various polls and not many taxpayers support the auto bailout. We just need congress to listen to what the people want not what the auto exec’s are asking for. The country will recover if the big 3 fail and be stronger than now. The UAW in their biggest problem anyway.

Posted by Steve | Report as abusive

Yeah, I think they have a great business model. Fight congress when they want to mandate higher gas mileage vehicles. Then lobby congress for higher tariffs when their competitors build cars Americans actually want. When they fought congress on putting seat belts in their cars, I knew Detroit really cared about my family so I would be honored as a tax payer to help them out.

Posted by Chris | Report as abusive

Hello , Agree with the previous blogs. The entire top floor management of the three BIG ones should be fired. No salaries, no bonuses. They missed the economic hints that everyone else noticed, years ago. Wrong car/suv/truck line up. Diesel technology had been available to all three for years. Electric cars, no news here, it’s been around for how long ? What happened in California. Electric cars were pulled. Why ? UAW is the biggest problem. Devide all three – sell SAAB, who buys it ? Oldsmobile who needs this one ? Lincoln – why bother. Manufacture a line up of cars that make sense. The technology has long been available. Dont fight the Europeans or Japanese, work with them. People will still pick the car they can afford and want. The others that are rich and dont care, well they can buy whatever they please. For us normal people, we need a car that is safe, comfortable, fun to drive and fuel efficient. 4 doors/ 5 doors, small utility vehicles, diesel pick ups and that’s it. The trick here lies in the design, the appeal to the consumer, what the car has to offer, the price and so on.

But the Bail-out is a problem for the folks that will lose their jobs – I feel sorry for the people that will be faced with a new reality. A reality however, that other workers from other industries have long felt before them. We need to rebuild our economy. With the new Government in place, positive changes will take place. The American people will pull together and make this work. We just need to weed out the crooks that sit in top floors, make millions of dollar and dont give a dime about the rest of the people of this great nations of ours. Yes we can. Good luck Obama.

Posted by Hardy | Report as abusive

congress makes me sick,they sure do love blowing smoke up the publics butt.they didn,t drag their big hugh fat butts when it came time to bail out all their buddys in the stock market or loans.So now they want to stand back and act like they really were worried about were the money went,give me a break.Do they realy think the american people are that stupid.Don,t give them the money then we can blam these nerds for sinking the country in to the deepest HOLE in the history of this soon to be third world country thanks to them.


some of the people on this site have to be blind.Sure the american auto workers make more than the one ones who work for JAPAN but tell me one thing,they make less so why are people paying as much or more for theirs when they should be paying less when the cost to build it is less


Imagine you’re the president of a Big 3 automaker. You live in America. Oil is cheap, the economy is 100% intertwined with oil, our country will go to war to protect cheap oil. You as the hypothetical president know this and the real American People know this.

Now, you as the prez go to your board and propose a 10 billion dollar investment to pursue electric cars. Let’s see: You can’t promise a reliable model that people will buy. Once developed it still may not have the range or size most consumers want and it may take years just to determine feasibility. Plus, America will go to war for cheap oil. Are you going to be able to sell this idea?

Be real and give them a break.

Posted by BeReal | Report as abusive

After the automotive industry has spent “an unusually large number” of funds to twart, destroy, and prevent a true public transportation system. Why should the “public” be asked to fund their business?

What has been the impact of not having a true public transportation system that would be economical and sustainable with minimum public support is a question that has to be answered, before anyone takes the next step.

Posted by Just A T"inking | Report as abusive

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