Right on the heels of its October 4 announcement of an accelerated Moraine, Ohio, plant closing, an ailing General Motors announced that it will also cease production at its Janesville, Wisconsin, plant on the same day, December 23. Further, it announced closure of its Grand Rapids stamping plant in December 2009.
Both the Janesville and Grand Rapids plants produce parts for or assemble trucks, the vehicle segment taking the biggest hit in what the Detroit Free Press calls "the worst auto market in more than a decade." GM is taking every possible cost-cutting measure it can to weather a financial nightmare that's been made only worse by a plunging Dow and the lack of availability for would-be consumers to access credit. Just yesterday, GMAC reacted to this mess by restricting loans to those consumers whose credit scores are 700 or higher.
Given the worsening crisis for American businesses in general, and the Big Three specifically, does the recent $25 billion government-backed low-interest loan make much of a difference? And will those monies still be used to develop cars such as the Chevrolet Volt or Chrysler's proposed trio of E-REV and electric vehicles, or will they need that money just to stay afloat in an abysmal marketplace?--Colin Mathews