Detroit 3 CEOs won't be back in the nation's capital to grovel for more taxpayer money any time soon, industry officials say with cautious optimism.
One reason: More federal aid is likely for the industry even without groveling. The huge economic stimulus bill planned by Democrats in Congress and President-elect Barack Obama is a possible source. Even the Bush administration is easing restrictions on federal help for companies.
Another big reason: Federal loans approved last month for General Motors and Chrysler LLC, plus other government moves to free up credit, have pulled the automakers and related businesses from the brink of collapse.
"The loans match our needs," GM spokesman Greg Martin told Automotive News. He referred to $13.4 billion in loans the Bush administration has promised GM, along with $6 billion pledged to lender GMAC Financial Services. GM has collected its first $4 billion and is due to draw $5.4 billion more on Friday, Jan. 16.
UAW President Ron Gettelfinger told Automotive News last week, "If we can get by without more [government] money, that's what we want to do."
GM, which had $16.2 billion on hand at the end of September, needs $11 billion to $14 billion a month to operate. GM was burning $2 billion a month during the third quarter, but CEO Rick Wagoner said that slowed to about $1 billion a month by November.