2009 TIMELINE

January blues

A subdued 2009 NAIAS
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January 5

The six largest automakers each report U.S. sales declines of more than 30 percent in December, including a 53 percent plunge for Chrysler, as the industry closed out its worst sales year since 1992.

January 11

The Detroit auto show press preview begins, with none of the usual optimism and theatrics; Nissan is noticeably absent, and Chrysler's stand merely consists of its cars parked on beige carpeting.

January 15

GM forecasts U.S. vehicle sales of 10.5 million in 2009, a number it had labeled the worst-case scenario in a turnaround plan submitted to Congress; the Detroit 3 say they will pull out of the 2009 Tokyo Motor Show.

January 16

Chrysler Financial gets a $1.5 billion U.S. government loan.

January 19

AutoNation says it is cutting new-vehicle orders by 60 percent for the next three months.

Barack Obama

January 20

• Barack Obama is sworn in as U.S. president, a month after George W. Bush agreed to keep GM and Chrysler alive with emergency funding while deferring the final say on their fates to his successor.

• Italy's Fiat agrees to take a 35 percent stake in Chrysler; Toyota announces that Akio Toyoda, a grandson of its founder, will take over the company to help it weather the global financial crisis.

January 21

GM says its global sales fell 11 percent in 2008 to 8.36 million, putting it 616,000 units behind Toyota and ending its 77-year run as the world's largest automaker.

January 23

The UAW says it has agreed to let Chrysler end its Jobs Bank to help the company meet the terms of its federal bailout ahead of a February deadline.


January 26

GM reveals plans to cut about 2,000 jobs at two plants and have periodic shutdowns at about half of its 16 U.S. factories as inventory piles up.

January 28

The UAW says it has agreed to end the Jobs Bank at GM; suppliers say they are requesting $10 billion in aid to avoid a rash of bankruptcies and liquidations.


January 29

Ford says it burned through $5.5 billion in cash during the fourth quarter as revenue plummeted 36 percent; Ford also says the UAW has agreed to end its Jobs Bank to match concessions given GM and Chrysler.

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