Bailout Watch 14: "Accounts of Our Imminent Demise Are Not Only Premature, but Also Inaccurate and Unsubstantiated"
Speaking at a now-standard new model private press preview (our invite got lost in the mail), GM Car Czar Bob Lutz tried to put the kibosh on speculation that his employer was going Tango Uniform (as above)– even as he's pimping for federal loan guarantees. Automotive News [sub] reveals that Maximum Bob reckons "I do think the American automobile business is deserving of government loan guarantees because the financial institutions in the U.S. are so stressed out right now." Lutz said that Wall Street's "stress" led to a lack of financial support, obviating "a competitiveness that we may well need." At the same time, Lutz thinks federal loan guarantees are no biggie. "We are not accepting government money," Lutz insisted. In fact, "the last time the government backed a loan for an automaker — for Chrysler Corp. in 1979 — it made millions because Chrysler paid the loan off early." Millions? Bob Lutz makes millions. (Frequently.) Meanwhile, The Detroit News reports that Republican Rep Joe Knollenberg called President Bush's top economic advisor, Keith Hennessey, urging the president to support up to $50 billion in direct loans for automakers. Bipartisan support, eh?
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