A top executive of General Motors Corp. said today (Dec. 3) bankruptcy isn’t a viable option, as the United Auto Workers braced for a decision on contract concessions to the endangered Big Three.
According to the Associated Press, Fritz Henderson, president and chief operating officer of GM, said that choosing the bankruptcy route would further erode consumer confidence in the automaker and “we want them to be confident in their ability to buy our cars and trucks.”
Henderson traveled the network morning news show route on the eve of a new set of congressional hearings on some $34 billion the industry is seeking in federal assistance. At the same time, UAW leaders were immersed in intense discussions on possible givebacks for the companies at an emergency meeting in Detroit.
Under consideration were the possibility of scrapping a much-maligned jobs bank in which laid-off workers keep receiving most of their pay and postponing the automakers’ payments into a multibillion-dollar union-administered health care fund.
Henderson said that GM is ready to undertake a host of steps needed to resize. But he also said on NBC’s “Today” show that “to win, you’ve got to win with product and technology. … And we do not want to give consumers a reason not to buy our cars and trucks.”
Chrysler LLC and Ford Motor Co. — as well as GM — have ditched their corporate jets for hybrid cars and replaced vague pleas for federal help with detailed requests for as much as $34 billion in their second crack at persuading Congress to throw them a lifeline.
Congressional leaders are reviewing three separate survival plans from the automakers in preparation for hearings Thursday and Friday, as they weigh whether to call lawmakers back to Washington for a special session next week to vote on an auto bailout.
Officials at the White House and the Treasury and Commerce departments are also scouring the automakers’ plans. White House press secretary Dana Perino said it is “too early to say” whether the companies have outlined a path toward viability that justifies new federal assistance.