The heads of America's three largest car makers - General Motors, Ford and Chrysler
- are in Washington, D.C., to ask the federal government for billions of
dollars in loans.
They told Congress in November that without help they couldn't survive the current slowdown in the American economy, known as a recession. But they got a cold reception, in part because they each took a private corporate jet to Washington. This time around they drove, and carpooled, and are hoping for more success convincing Congress that their companies are vital to the U.S. economy.
One of those CEOs, Ford's Alan Mulally, spoke with the NewsHour's Gwen Ifill about the harm that would be caused by any of the "big three" going bankrupt and Ford's plan to improve its cars and the company.
"Ford has a very, very clear, focused plan to focus on Ford, to bring out a full product line, small, medium, large cars, utilities and trucks, and absolutely be the industry leader in quality, fuel efficiency, safety, and affordability." - Alan Mulally, Ford CEO
"If one of the manufacturers would go into bankruptcy and fail, we think that would cause a chain reaction with the suppliers and also come back and affect Ford, which is one reason we're here." - Alan Mulally
"AIG or Bear Sterns or Citigroup, nobody asked them for anything. No oversight, no anything. Look, here's the plan. You want the plan? Here it is: Oversight? Bring it on. U.S. government gets equity in the companies? You got it. No dividends? There it is." - Roger Gettelfinger, president of United Auto Workers
1. Name some car companies. Which ones are American car companies?
2. What is your impression of American-made cars? Why do you have
1. Why do you think Congress was dissatisfied with the CEOs the first
time they came to Washington? Why was the corporate jet travel a
2. Do you think automakers should get big loans from the government?
Is it the government's job to make sure big companies don't fail?
3. Why do you think other car makers, like Toyota, are doing so much
better than American car companies?
4. What was your impression of Ford CEO Mulally? Would you loan him
money based on his arguments?