2009 timeline: February meltdown
1 Auto suppliers request as much as $20.5 billion in federal aid to survive the downturn.
3 Automakers report that January U.S. light-vehicle sales fell 37% to the lowest level since August 1982, including a 55% drop for Chrysler and a 49% decline for General Motors.
5 Chrysler halts production at 3 Detroit-area plants after finishing January with a 151-day vehicle supply and urges dealers to order 15,000 more vehicles over the weekend to keep the company viable.
10 GM says it will cut 10,000 of its 73,000 salaried jobs worldwide and reduce executive pay 10%. The federal government commits $1 trillion to help make credit more available, including loans for car buyers and dealers.
13 Congress approves President Obama's $831 billion economic stimulus package. Chrysler and Nissan postpone plans to share a small car and full-sized pickup.
14 GM is reported to be considering a bankruptcy filing that would involve its viable assets being transferred to a new company.
17 GM and Chrysler, in their viability plans submitted to the Treasury Department, say they need $21.6 billion in additional funding and still intend to restructure without filing for bankruptcy. GM says it will cut 47,000 jobs, close 5 more plants in North America and eliminate 4 of its 8 U.S. brands. The UAW reaches an agreement with the Detroit 3 to modify their 2007 contracts on issues including overtime, bonuses and limits on unemployment benefits.
20 Saab files for reorganization in Sweden.
23 The Obama administration appoints private-equity executive Steven Rattner to head its autos task force, a position informally known as the car czar.
26 GM posts a loss of $31 billion for 2008 and says it expects to receive a "going concern" notice from auditors, indicating that its ability to survive is in doubt.
27 GM says it will spin off Opel to help the European unit obtain more than $4 billion in aid; the company later canceled those plans.