Obama Task Force Balances Urgency, Deliberation with Detroit

March 10, 2009

The Obama administration's auto task force characterized yesterday's two-hour meeting between UAW union leaders, visit to GM's Technical Center, and tour of Dodge Ram assembly plant as "successful." But while the meeting itself may have increased understanding and communication between government, manufacturer, and union, time will tell whether their discussions will bear profit and viability.

Industry analyst John Casesa of the Casesa Shapiro Group in New York warned that if the administration successfully balances economics and politics, "a compromise that makes none of the stakeholders happy" will result. And Automotive News points out that the one-day trip to Motor City is a trial by fire for the nascent auto task force's members, "none of whom has significant experience in the industry."

Said GM of their meeting with the task force: "We were pleased to host the task force so they could experience firsthand the new products and technologies that are an integral part of GM's near- and long-term competitiveness. We look forward to continuing to support the efforts of the task force as they move quickly to address their critical tasks."

Of course GM and Chrysler are playing nice: they need up to an additional $21.6 billion in addition to the$17.4 billion they've already received. Not to mention auto suppliers who need up to $18.5 billion of their own. On March 31, the auto task force will decide whether the auto giants' restructuring plans represent a worthwhile risk for taxpayers.

What would you tell Obama and the auto task force?

[source: Automotive News]

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