The White House on Sunday pushed out the chairman of General Motors and instructed Chrysler to form a partnership with the Italian automaker Fiat within 30 days as conditions for receiving another much-needed round of government aid.
The decision to ask G.M.’s chairman and chief executive, Rick Wagoner, to resign caught Detroit and Washington by surprise, and it underscored the Obama administration’s determination to keep a tight rein on the companies it is bailing out — a level of government involvement in business perhaps not seen since the Great Depression.
Mr. Obama’s auto industry task force, in a report released Sunday night assessing the viability of both companies and detailing the administration’s new plans for them, concluded that Chrysler could not survive as a stand-alone company.
The report said the company would get no more help from the government unless it can finalize a proposed alliance with the Italian automaker Fiat by April 30. It must also reduce its debt and health-care obligations.
If a deal is reached between Chrysler and Fiat, the administration says it would consider another loan of $6 billion to Chrysler.
G.M., on the other hand, has made considerable progress in developing new energy-efficient cars and could survive if it can cut costs sharply, the task force reported. The administration is giving G.M. 60 days to present a cost-cutting plan and will provide taxpayer assistance to keep it afloat during that time.
The plan Mr. Obama announced today will also include government backing of warranties for G.M. and Chrysler cars and trucks, to give consumers enough confidence to buy them, even if one or both are forced into bankruptcy.
Most of the TV talking heads wasted my time. They didn’t have anyone commenting with experience in business, automobiles or consumers.
Rising the bow wave of electoral politics from the presidential election there are new faces, new voices – and not much of any added insight from American media.