Gm calls for billions and cuts 47,000 jobs

The US car maker General Motors needs new billion-dollar loans in its struggle for survival and is putting the German subsidiary Opel more and more at risk. Every fifth digit worldwide is to be deleted. It is still unclear whether Opel jobs are also affected. Chrysler also presented a recovery plan.

American automakers Chrysler and General Motors (GM) are doing even worse today than feared at the beginning of December. Both companies require more money from the American government than previously known.

The poor development at GM will also have an impact on Opel, GM CEO Rick Wagoner announced at a press conference tonight: "We are in negotiations about support for Opel with the German government and employee representatives." The GM boss does not consider speculations about a possible purchase of Opel to be realistic, but one still has to listen to all the options. "But at the moment we don’t have anyone who wants to buy Opel," he said.

Basically, Wagoner wants to have its restructuring plan ready by the end of March. At Opel, however, this could take even longer. The talks had started, but they were still far from a final solution. To Speculation about the future of individual Opel plants in Germany, Wagoner did not comment.

Financial starting position is bad

It became more than clear at his press conference that GM’s financial starting position is extremely poor. The company will need $ 30 billion in public loans by 2011 – despite a massive recovery plan. The plan envisages that the Hummer subsidiary will be sold or go bankrupt by the end of March. A buyer for Saturn has to be found by the end of March, otherwise this GM subsidiary will expire in 2011. For Saab, they rely on support from the Swedish government in order to then be able to sell the daughter, which has been spruced up with Swedish money.

2100 fewer US dealers

At the same time, the US dealer network will be thinned from 6200 now to 4100 in 2014. A total of 47,000 jobs will be lost at GM worldwide. Wagoner was asked whether, in view of these numbers, an orderly bankruptcy would not be the best way out. His answer: "According to our analysis, insolvency would be a high-risk and very expensive process that would also take a lot of time and therefore only come into question as the very last option."

According to GM calculations, a bankruptcy would cost between $ 60 billion and $ 80 billion.

Chrysler cuts 3,000 jobs

GM competitor Chrysler is not doing much better either. In the course of its restructuring, the company intends to discontinue three product lines in order to be able to lay off 3000 employees. In total, Chrysler plans to build 100,000 fewer cars this year than originally planned. This will save $ 700 million, said Chrysler boss Bob Nardelli. But that alone is not enough, he made clear, and instead of the expected three billion dollars, he now demanded five billion dollars from his government. 

According to Nardelli, he feared that the US auto crisis could continue for three more years. For this year alone, he expects a drop in sales in the USA for all automakers together to 10 million cars – GM sees it similarly. Last year 13 million cars were sold in the US. And in the past, even 16 million cars per year were common. This shows the precarious impact of the economic crisis on American automakers.

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