Bailout Watch 314: GM Gets $4b, Refuses to Name Supplier Payment; Treasury Announces "Automotive Industry Financing Program"

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago
bailout watch 314 gm gets 4b refuses to name supplier payment treasury announces

Uncle Sugar has completed the transfer of the first $4b of a $13.4b loan to General Motors, under the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). Despite CEO Rick Wagoner’s previous pronouncement that his employer had enough cash to last through 2009, the artist once known as the world’s largest automaker (and the world’s most profitable corporation) was in danger of running out of money. And now it isn’t. Until later. Meanwhile, you might think that a $13.4b “investment” in GM would buy the U.S. taxpayer a little something called “transparency.” As The LA Times reports, you’d think wrong. “The cash-strapped Detroit company plans to use the money for continuing its operations… GM is obligated to make a large payment to a major supplier in early January; it has declined to offer details on the amount it owes or to which supplier.” And there are more strange doings over at Chrysler. (The automaker’s owned by Cerberus Capital, a private equity firm with close ties to the federal government, increasingly famous for bending rules to its advantage while operating under the cover of darkness.) “Auburn Hills, Mich.-based Chrysler is expecting $4 billion in cash as well, but the Treasury has yet to announce the closing of the first round of loan money. ‘We’re working expeditiously with Chrysler to finalize that transaction and we remain committed to closing it on a timeline that will meet near-term funding needs,’ [Treasury spokeswoman Brooklyn] McLaughlin said. Isn’t it wonderful how responsive our federal government is to the public’s– I mean, private industry’s needs? But wait! There’s more! Lots more!

“Before the deal was signed, the Treasury set out guidelines for what it called the Automotive Industry Financing Program,” the much-relieved Detroit Free Press reports. “which will offer aid to companies similar to the $6 billion injected into GMAC on Monday under the $700-billion financial industry bailout.”

More specifically [via Reuters] a payout depends on “whether a major disruption of the institution’s operations would likely have a materially adverse effect on employment and thereby produce negative spillover effects on overall economic performance.”

So let’s call it the gastric bypass rule: unless you’re REALLY big, you don’t qualify. So I guess it really is about jobs, jobs, jobs. Isn’t it? Despite the fact that small business is the backbone of the U.S. economy.

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  • Luther Luther on Jan 01, 2009

    A true "Uncle Sugar" would not steal half our earnings from us...Maybe call it "Uncle Tapeworm".

  • Ronnie Schreiber Ronnie Schreiber on Jan 02, 2009

    So now that GM has accepted loans from the feds they don't have any right to keep some business information proprietary? You guys want it both ways. You want to complain that gov't assistance to a business is tantamount to socialism, but when that business continues to operate the way businesses do (like not give their competitors inside information) you complain about transparency. What's next? You gonna insist that GM let every taxpayer (and Toyota) search out every nook, cranny and hard drive at the Tech Center?

  • Art Vandelay Interesting, the Polestar 2 I had as a rental utilized Android Automotive which is what GM said it is going to exclusively, yet it still offers Apple CarPlay according to this. Wonder if GM will do the same.
  • Stuart de Baker EVs just aren't ready for prime time for those with a single car and who take road trips. Being able to charge as soon as you arrive at a charging station, and even the chargers working on your car is a crapshoot. In the former case, you could have to wait for nearly an hour while someone else is charging.I also don't find EVs particularly fun to drive (I've driven a Tesla Model S and an Ionic 5.) I LOVE driving my '08 Civic (stick). I love the handling, the feel and responsiveness of the engine, the precise steering (the Michelin Pilot Ultra Sport tires help, but even with the snows on, the car is a joy). I have 152k on the clock, and hopefully another 25 years or so of driving (I was born early in the Eisenhower Administration and I have exceptionally healthy habits), and I'm going to try to keep the Civic for the duration.My Civic causes a less global warming emissions than some of these humongous battery operated trucks.
  • FreedMike They should throw in a Lordstown pickup with every purchase. Make it the “vapor twofer.”
  • Random1 Pretty excited about this update, I didn't see it available in mine this morning, but any day now... I think only Apple maps will be on the center display, and not Waze yet, but I assume that'll come soon enough. As to the unnecessary Tesla comment above : I'll take the build quality, the looks, and generally normal items that all cars should have over the M3 any day of the week.
  • Jonathan H. The ES production is going back to Japan so it's safe to assume its assembly building will be utilized for the new EV. Seems like a good fit for what will probably be fairly low volume compared to the Camry/Rav4 assembly lines.