Bailout Watch 449: More? More! Surprised?

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer

Bloomberg sat down with Car Czarlet Steve Rattner to find out what he learned from his recent visit to Detroit, and his answer should surprise nobody: the automakers need more cash. When asked if aid to GM and Chrysler could be as high as $30b to $40b, Rattner replied “It could be considerably higher, I won’t deny that.” Yikes. Or should we say, yawn. Who didn’t see this coming? The folks in charge, of course. “What they’ve asked for depends on them achieving plans that are somewhat ambitious,” Rattner said. “Like all management teams they tend to take a reasonably, slightly perhaps, optimistic view of their business. So it could be more, I can’t rule that out.” Does that explain Chrysler’s recent proclamation that it’s better off than GM? “There’s no real uptick, no real sense that the company would generate meaningful amounts of cash flow on a stand-alone basis,” Rattner says of the Pentastar mess. “We have not made a determination on whether they could exist on a stand-alone basis, but we do find their idea of partnership with Fiat a worthy idea to consider.” Rattner says the Presidential Task Force On Autos will give a sense of its direction before the March 31 deadline, and will likely set a hard date for union and bondholder concessions because, as Rattner puts it, “nobody wants to go first.”

Edward Niedermeyer
Edward Niedermeyer

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  • Jerry weber Jerry weber on Mar 20, 2009

    If you look at the way GM was chewing up it's own cash, why would anyone think that a little moersle of 14 billion would fuel the beasts furnace for long? GM has to play the game, now that you have 100 billion invested in your very own car companies, you can't back out now and show the taxpayers nothing for your investment. We all know that success is just around the corner. We further know that the competition will stop developing and refining their products to let GM catch up. Uncle sam now has adopted a company a good 10 years behind the leaders and still falling back. We also know that when it comes to blowing the bow tanks and releasing hundreds of thousands of obsolete unwanted vehicles, the General will be as always up to the job. No one in the World out fire sales GM. But there is one bright spot, who is in a better position to build our tanks and staff cars for the next war? All of these truisms spell a nationalized car company that will never again be alone and out in the financial cold. When your uncle sam adopts you, your good forever.

  • Psarhjinian Psarhjinian on Mar 20, 2009
    The easiest thing to do is to keep doing what you’re already doing. And thusly you hit on a) the problem of modern corporate and government management and b) the pitfall of conservatism.** No one want to be the person to stick his or her neck out and affect real change, because no one want to be accountable for the effects of that change, lest they be bad. So play it safe and do nothing is the watchword. I don't normally agree with De Lorenzo, but he's right about the rampant cowardice in automobilia and government . ** in the classic sense of the word, not the loaded "versus liberalism" political sense.
  • Lw Lw on Mar 20, 2009

    These guys better watch out... All the AIG rage could refocus on GM and Chryco. Scary stuff... Looks like AIG will go down pretty quick now.. Entire families are receiving death threats... Imagine your wife/kids got a death threat because of where you work.. Bet your not going to be doing much work anytime soon. Very scary... Let's hope nobody gets hurt.

  • Lahru Lahru on Mar 21, 2009

    The only advantage I see Chrysler having over General Motors is that a smaller hole will have to be dug when it comes time to bury it.