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Automakers, Associations Respond to Bush Administration’s Aid Package

In an Open Letter, Chrysler CEO Bob Nardelli said he appreciates the Administration’s confidence in Chrysler.

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DETROIT — A number of automakers and industry associations closely tied to the Detroit 3 have issued statements of appreciation following the announcement last week that the Bush administration had approved the use of $17.4 billion in TARP funds to help keep the U.S. automakers afloat during these tough economic times.

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In an Open Letter, Chrysler CEO Bob Nardelli said he appreciates the Administration’s confidence in Chrysler. ”As outlined in our submission to Congress, we intend to be accountable for this loan, including meeting the specific requirements set forth by the government, and will continue to implement our plan for long-term viability,” Nardelli wrote. “The receipt of this loan means Chrysler can continue to pursue its vision to build the fuel-efficient, high-quality cars and trucks people want to buy, will enjoy driving and will want to buy again.”

The Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association (AAIA) said it believes the action taken by the Bush Administration to provide financial assistance to U.S. automakers is very good news for its member companies, the industry and the nation. “AAIA applauds the rescue plan for General Motors and Chrysler which forestalled severe economic repercussions for many of the association’s member companies who supply parts to both the carmakers and the aftermarket,” AAIA said in a written statement. “Employees of aftermarket companies and their families in thousands of communities throughout the country are breathing a little easier today. The government’s financial assistance also should provide the opportunity for the car companies to restructure their business plans and labor agreements to ensure long term viability of the U.S. auto industry.  These actions are critical to the economic future of their suppliers and the aftermarket distribution channel.”

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Bob McKenna, president and CEO of the Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association (MEMA), expressed his gratitude to President Bush following the announcement. “We are extremely hopeful that the action taken by the President will help the entire auto industry – vehicle manufacturers and suppliers alike – and provide needed financial stability to allow the industry to move forward,” McKenna commented. “Especially in these extraordinarily challenging economic times,” McKenna continued, “we cannot afford the failure of a major manufacturing sector and a true cornerstone of our nation’s economy.”

McKenna added that the President’s action was a necessary first step, and much work still remained. “Supplier companies are struggling with dire financial constraints themselves and many may face bankruptcy unless we see access to capital more readily available. The supplier industry is very grateful for this needed assistance and will continue to work with our customers and lawmakers to help preserve valuable domestic manufacturing jobs going forward.”

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According to recent studies, motor vehicle suppliers are the nation’s largest manufacturing sector and the largest employer in seven states. Suppliers provide 70 percent of the content of U.S.-built cars and trucks. Suppliers manufacture the parts and technology used in the production of more than 11 million new cars and trucks produced each year, and the aftermarket products necessary to repair and maintain more than 247 million vehicles on the road today.

The Chairman of the National Automobile Dealers Association, Annette Sykora, said President Bush’s decision to provide domestic automakers with short-term loans gives "the shot in the arm we need to lead the economic recovery." "This is the first step toward restoring consumer confidence," Sykora said in a written statement. "When you have the government declaring its confidence and commitment to U.S. auto manufacturers, it helps reassure the American public that domestic automakers will be around for the long term," Sykora said. "This sends a clear message: Consumers can now consider any car from any manufacturer with confidence."

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