Delphi Doomed?

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer
delphi doomed

GM spinoff Delphi has been struggling to exit bankruptcy for over three years. The Wall Street Journal reports the supplier is in danger of being liquidated completely. At the heart of Delphi's problems: $14.5b in pension liability, underfunded by $3.3b. Under the terms of its spinoff, General Motors retained responsibility to fund those pensions– an agreement that has cost GM $11b in cash and writedowns. A tsunami of red ink prompted the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp to press GM to take over $1.5b of the liability next month. GM CFO Ray Young says basta! "[Delphi has] to understand there is only so much that we can do. They're going to have to do their own form of self help here." Self-help or self-destruction? If Delphi's pension fund fails, the PGBC has an $8b lien against Delphi's [profitable] foreign business, which wouldn't prevent cuts to retiree benefits. Meanwhile, the supplier's struggling U.S. plants would likely be "spun back" into GM. Delphi is, as always, committed to crafting a new reorganization plan. But if they can't pull it off, this could be the straw that breaks GM's back. To say nothing of Delphi's 159k employees.

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  • Jolo Jolo on Aug 30, 2008

    rtz asks: How come the big three can’t just use the same suppliers their competitors(Honda, Toyota) use? They do. Delphi sells to almost all the car makers, it's the product mix and %s that are different. rtz also asks: Why can’t Delphi just merge or be absorbed by another company? They can, if someone wants to pay top dollar. Top dollar compared to pennies on the dollar when they go chapter 7.

  • Rm Rm on Aug 30, 2008

    Who in their right mind would want to saddle themselves with the disastrous mess that has been Delphi? Their costs are out of line with their competitors, and the way the Detroit OEMs treat suppliers even high tech/high development cost parts are treated as commodities. So, there aren't many good places to get decent returns on investment. If you do get decent returns, you can bet that purchasing will soon be knocking on your door asking for "give backs." It's also worth mentioning that Delphi has decided to just plain shutdown their rubber parts business (engine mounts, bushings, boots, etc) and much of that business has been resourced to their competitors. From memory, a lot of those deals were done in July so the change over in production is many months off yet.

  • Blindfaith Blindfaith on Aug 31, 2008

    Let us understand this. Annuities provided by private firms somehow did not have the proper legal protections and now the old folks are going to breadlines. Oh yes now they should have been smart enough to have put the money in 401. But the annuities was reducing the the salaries and was going to provide an income stream. Oh yes, the Social Security was increased to set aside some extra cash for a Social Security trust fund. But somehow the government with all it's lawyers could not create a trust fund that could not be raided by the government. Now all that has to happen is the government needs to pay back the trust that it drained (double taxation). And by the way, While the baby boomers were trying to pay for the annuities, Social security, Social security trust fund, and the cost of college for their children that credit hour was incread from $10 to $300, they should have been smart enough to invest in a health care savings account and some 401. That has to survive the mortgage mess and the dotcom sandal.

  • Dave Dave on Aug 31, 2008

    As Ford copied GM when they spun off Visteon, I know the whole scenario was founded on false expectations - how could a UAW plant ever be competitive with the non-UAW plants?