Bailout Watch 35: We Have a Deadline! And a Plan!

bailout watch 35 we have a deadline and a plan

Automotive News [AN, sub] reports that “For automakers [that’s Ford, GM and Chrysler] to get access to up to $25 billion in low-interest loans included in the 2007 federal energy law, Congress must approve roughly $3.8 billion in new spending to cover default risk.” Bailout-wise, U.S. House of Reps Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) is on the case. Maybe. “Hoyer could not say precisely when or if any proposal would come before lawmakers for a vote before they are scheduled to break at the end of September — possibly for the remainder of the year.” That’s crazy talk! But if you want hardcore insanity, wait ’til Friday, when GM CEO Rick Wagoner hustles to the Hill to bring out his begging bowl in front of a Senate Energy Summit. The Wall Street Journal previews Rick’s party line: “The auto makers and their Congressional supporters also will argue that they need funding to meet new fuel-economy standards imposed by Congress, and that the debt markets have broken down in the credit crisis, leaving them few other options.” The WSJ reveals that Congress has 15 days to do the deal before our reps piss-off. Even worse (for Detroit) not everyone’s on board. “The industry’s chance of getting help may have dimmed, however the government announced it will provide a plan to provide as much as $200 billion in new capital as part of a takeover of the country’s main providers of funds for home loans, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac… Last week, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R., Utah) said he was concerned about the amount of money. ‘We don’t want our automobile industry to go down, but on the other hand, they’ve made a lot of bad choices.'” While I bet they get the bucks, methinks Rick’s cruising for a bruising.

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  • HarveyBirdman HarveyBirdman on Sep 10, 2008

    The only reason Hatch is being honest here is because he can't detect a party line that he's supposed to adhere to in this case. It leaves him so confused that he actually tells the un-spun truth. As far as reelection concerns go, the only way he'll ever be unseated is if he gets an intraparty challenge from someone even more conservative than he is. I'm not sure that's possible, though I suppose a hard-line conservative may say that the free market should prevail. But then what about watching out for corporate interests? Toss in union jobs, and it's no wonder this bailout is going to sail through Congress.

  • Faster_than_rabbit Faster_than_rabbit on Sep 10, 2008

    Keep in mind Hatch was the guy who wanted to remotely blow up people's computers when they were accused of downloading copyrighted music.

  • Dennis Howerton Nice article, Cory. Makes me wish I had bought Festivas when they were being produced. Kia made them until the line was discontinued, but Kia evidently used some of the technology to make the Rio. Pictures of the interior look a lot like my Rio's interior, and the 1.5 liter engine is from Mazda while Ford made the automatic transmission in the used 2002 Rio I've been driving since 2006. I might add the Rio is also an excellent subcompact people mover.
  • Sgeffe Bronco looks with JLR “reliability!”What’s not to like?!
  • FreedMike Back in the '70s, the one thing keeping consumers from buying more Datsuns was styling - these guys were bringing over some of the ugliest product imaginable. Remember the F10? As hard as I try to blot that rolling aberration from my memory, it comes back. So the name change to Nissan made sense, and happened right as they started bringing over good-looking product (like the Maxima that will be featured in this series). They made a pretty clean break.
  • Flowerplough Liability - Autonomous vehicles must be programmed to make life-ending decisions, and who wants to risk that? Hit the moose or dive into the steep grassy ditch? Ram the sudden pile up that is occurring mere feet in front of the bumper or scan the oncoming lane and swing left? Ram the rogue machine that suddenly swung into my lane, head on, or hop up onto the sidewalk and maybe bump a pedestrian? With no driver involved, Ford/Volkswagen or GM or whomever will bear full responsibility and, in America, be ambulance-chaser sued into bankruptcy and extinction in well under a decade. Or maybe the yuge corporations will get special, good-faith, immunity laws, nation-wide? Yeah, that's the ticket.
  • FreedMike It's not that consumers wouldn't want this tech in theory - I think they would. Honestly, the idea of a car that can take over the truly tedious driving stuff that drives me bonkers - like sitting in traffic - appeals to me. But there's no way I'd put my property and my life in the hands of tech that's clearly not ready for prime time, and neither would the majority of other drivers. If they want this tech to sell, they need to get it right.