DETROIT (Bloomberg) -- Two of the automakers most closely associated with Detroit expressed support for the city, which announced plans to miss debt payments on Friday, making it the most populous U.S. city to default since Cleveland in 1978.
General Motors Co. and Chrysler Group, which both went through U.S. government-backed bankruptcy reorganizations in 2009, on Friday issued statements of support for the city.
GM is headquartered in downtown Detroit and operates one major assembly plant in the city. Chrysler maintains a corporate office downtown along with two assembly plants within the city boundaries.
"Chrysler Group firmly believes in the City of Detroit and its people, as evidenced by our continued investment in the city and its residents," the automaker said in an e-mailed statement. Last year, Chrysler moved about 70 employees to the former Dime Building in downtown Detroit after leasing the top two floors of the 23-story structure and renaming it Chrysler House.
Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr on Friday said the city would suspend payments on $2 billion of unsecured debt, beginning with today's $39.7 million obligations issued to fund pensions. He also announced a reorganization plan that would create a regional water agency to take the place of its municipally owned department, and active and retired workers would see their pensions reduced under the plan.
Detroit also would spend $1.25 billion over a decade to improve services, eliminate blight and create a more livable community.
"We hope all parties can come together and take action to build a stronger city," Greg Martin, a GM spokesman, said in an e-mail. "A healthy auto industry will play a part in Detroit's comeback story and GM is doing its part."
Ford Motor Co., based in neighboring Dearborn, Mich., declined to comment on Detroit's finances.
Automotive News contributed to this report.