US president-elect pledges support for US car industry
8 December 2008

Barack Obama has pledged to support the US car industry as plans to offer $15 billion (£10bn) of aid to GM, Ford and Chrysler are drawn up in Washington.

But Obama issued a warning to the bosses of Detroit’s Big Three, saying they should be prepared to step down if they failed to restructure their businesses.

“I have said repeatedly that to allow the auto industry in the United States to collapse at a time when we are seeing record joblessness is unacceptable,” said Obama.

“If the management team that is in place does not understand the urgency of the situation and is not willing to make the tough choices and adapt to these new circumstances, then they should go.

“I have also said that it makes no sense for us to shovel more money into the problem if you have not seen an auto industry committed to restructuring.”

The $15 billion financial lifeline – less than half the money the US car makers requested – is being seen as a temporary measure to take GM, Ford and Chrysler through to 20 January, when Obama takes office.

It’s understood that the $15 billion bailout will last the car makers only until March.

Responding to calls for his resignation, GM boss Rick Wagoner told reporters: “The reason I have my job is because the board thinks I am tackling difficult issues. I serve at their pleasure as long as the board wants me to stay.”

Will Powell

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Mercedes-Benz E-Class Estate
    First Drive
    19 March 2018
    The Mercedes-Benz E-Class could be all the estate car you’ll ever want — or it could be overkill. Let’s see which...
  • Dallara Stradale
    The Stradale is the first road-legel car from Italian motorsport constructor Dallara
    First Drive
    16 March 2018
    The motorsport constructor's first road car is inspired by Lotus minimalism. Does it thrill on road and track?
  • Hyundai i30 N
    Standard spec is good so paint colour is our car’s only option
    First Drive
    16 March 2018
    What’s Hyundai’s first hot hatch and N-brand debutant really like? Let’s find out
  • Porsche Boxster GTS
    This is the new GTS version of the Porsche Boxster
    First Drive
    15 March 2018
    The 718-generation Boxster is our favourite roadster of the moment – so is this new GTS variant worth the extra outlay?
  • BMW 5 Series
    First Drive
    15 March 2018
    The BMW 5 Series is top of the mid-exec pack, but is there still room for a diesel saloon in everyday family life?