Bailout Watch 271: Lutz: GM Will Ask For More Money.

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer
bailout watch 271 lutz gm will ask for more money

With Bob Lutz pounding the media pavement for his credibility-challenged boss, it was only a matter of time before someone really hit the Maximum-quote jackpot. Chalk up a doozy for CNN, who snagged Lutz for its “American Morning” show, and got an interview which proves why Lutz was being kept away from bailout talk in the first place. The honesty flowed like single-malt in a boardroom from the very first question. When asked what GM would do with the $15b to ensure its survival, Lutz hedges, answering “this is simply a bridge loan which will get us into the next administration, where we hope we can do something more fundamental. Because the main problem is the lack of liquidity and the lack of revenue flowing in as we’re facing absolutely the lowest, lowest car market in history, and it’s not just the domestics.” AM anchor John Roberts, smelling blood in the water, presses Lutz. “You don’t see Toyota and Honda coming to the government for a handout. But based on what you said there — that this is just the beginning — you’re going to need more money next year?” To which Lutz replies “I think that’s a reasonable assumption.” Reasonable, eh?

When asked how much more money GM would request, Lutz came up just short of saying “as much as we can wrangle.” “At this point, you know, that’s going to have to be discussed with Congress. We’ll have to see. But this is definitely a bridge loan that will solve the immediate liquidity problem,” he said. “I don’t think anybody in Congress or the president-elect assumes that this is all the money that is going to be required to bridge this liquidity crisis that the American automobile industry is facing, and, again, it all depends on how fast we have an economic recovery. Again, let me restate this. At 10.8 or 10.5 million total market, we do not have a viable automobile industry in this country for anybody.”

The final questions of the interview led to a comedic riff on the possibility of job overlap between Lutz, the original Car Czar, and a presidentially-appointed Car Czar. When asked who he would like to see as the new Czar, Lutz was somewhat confused. “Wait a minute. We don’t know if it will be a czar or overseer. I doubt whether this person would dictate the product policy,” was the initial reaction. After being reassured that yes, the Car Czar could have a say on product mix, Lutz wasn’t any less bewildered. “I wouldn’t even — other than myself? Unfortunately I’m not available because I’m still gainfully employed.” For the moment, Bob. For the moment.

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  • John Horner John Horner on Dec 09, 2008

    Some years ago I remember reading that the Japanese government effectively injected a bunch of cash into their automakers by taking over the responsibility for worker pensions. Now I can't find any reference to that news on the web, but I remember it from the pre-web days.

  • ZoomZoom ZoomZoom on Dec 09, 2008

    Some of those quotes may be good enough to get the speaker committed in the 70's. But in this decade, they're just normal spin! Farrah! A picture can be worth a thousand words, and that one sums up the 70's so well; but only if you were there; heh. I remember all the fat boys in school proudly wore their Farrah T-Shirts. It was really weird to the point that I wondered if they even made a "medium".

  • ToolGuy "We're marking the anniversary of the time Robert Farago started the GM death watch and called for the company to die."• No, we aren't. Robert Farago wrote that in April 2005. It was reposted in 2009 on the eve of the actual bankruptcy filing.The byline dates are sometimes strange/off with the site revisions (and the 'this is a repost' note got lost), but the date string in the link is correct (...2005/04...). Posting about GM bankruptcy in 2005 was a slightly more difficult call than doing it in 2009.-- The Truth About Calendars
  • Kat Laneaux Agree with Michael500, we wasted all that money just to bail out GM and they are developing these cars in China and other countries. What the heck. I understand the cheap labor but that is just another foothold the government has on their citizens and they already treat them like crap. That is pretty disgusting to go forward to put other peoples health and mental stability on a crazy crazed, control freak, leader, who is in bed with Russia. Thought about getting a buick but that just shot that one out of the park. All of this for the greed. They get what they lay in bed with. Disgusting.
  • Michael500 Good thing Obama used $50 billion of taxpayer money to bail them out and give unions a big stake. GM is headed to BK again with their Hail Mary hope of EVs. Hopefully a Republican in office will let them go BK the next time, and it's coming. The US economy is not related/dependent on GM and their Chinese made Buicks.
  • MaintenanceCosts "Rural areas hardly noticed COVID at all."I very much doubt that is true in places like the Navajo Nation or the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska, some of which lost 2% or more of their population to COVID.No city had a death rate in the same order of magnitude.Low-density living is a very modern invention. Before cars, people, even in agricultural areas, needed to live densely to survive.
  • Wjtinfwb Always liked these MN12 cars and the subsequent Lincoln variant. But Ford, apparently strapped for resources or cash, introduced these half-baked. Very sophisticated chassis and styling, let down but antiquated old pushrod engines and cheap interiors. The 4.6L Modular V8 helped a bit, no faster than the 5.0 but extremely smooth and quiet. The interior came next, nicer wrap-around dash, airbags instead of the mouse belts and refined exterior styling. The Supercharged 3.8L V6 was potent, but kind of crude and had an appetite for head gaskets early on. Most were bolted to the AOD automatic, a sturdy but slow shifting gearbox made much better with electronic controls in the later days. Nice cars that in the right color, evoked the 6 series BMW, at least the Thunderbird did. Could have been great cars and maybe should have been a swoopy CLS style sedan. Pretty hard to find a decent one these days.