Rick Wagoner, CEO of General Motors for the last eight years, is to step down imminently according to reports currently (12.30am Monday) breaking in the US.

Some reports from America say that Wagoner was asked to step down by the US government itself.

The move comes just hours before President Obama and his Autos team reveal the conditions the government is placing on further bailouts and loans for GM and Chrysler.

Reuters is reporting that ‘U.S. President Barack Obama said in an interview broadcast on Sunday that GM and smaller rival Chrysler had not done enough yet to become "lean, mean and competitive" under federal oversight.’There’s been a widespread feeling in the US, also voiced by Obama, that the carmakers are suffering because of several years of ‘mismanagement’.

GM’s Chief Operating Officer, Fritz Henderson, is likely to step in as boss in the meantime.

It’s becoming clear that the Obama government is going to extract serious concessions for another huge auto industry bailout. His team do believe that GM and Chrysler – and the numerous associated suppliers – must not go under.Such a catastrophe would see huge chunks of auto industry business lost to the US, probably forever. However, the new US administration is clearly not prepared to throw good money after bad.

One interesting rumour running around is that the US government isn’t going to buy the idea of Chrysler importing Fiat platforms and drivetrains and embarking on a crash new model programme. Some US reports say that Team Obama has been looking again at last year’s proposed GM-Chrysler merger. We’ll know the truth before the end of Monday.

PS – There was another unexpected exit on Friday. Steve Mattin has resigned as Volvo’s design chief. We couldn’t get a confirmation or an explanation from Volvo’s UK PR team before close of play on Friday, but whatever the reason it’s a blow for the Swedes.

Volvo is currently up for sale and in the midst of a major design makeover. Mattin’s exit is not what the company needs right now.