Obama turning attention to struggling automakers

April 30, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
President Barack Obama was poised Thursday to update the nation about the struggling U.S. auto industry amid indications Chrysler plans to file for bankruptcy protection. Obama scheduled remarks at 12 noon EDT; Chrysler LLC had a deadline of 11:59 p.m. Thursday to have deals in place with labor, creditors and Italian automaker Fiat.

As for General Motors Corp., its bondholders want a majority stake in the restructured automaker in exchange for forgiving their claim to $27 billion of GM debt. GM has come out with a plan that would give the U.S. government a 50 percent equity stake in exchange for about $10 billion in loan forgiveness.

The president said at a news conference Wednesday night: "You know, I don't want to run auto companies."

But he said the United States should have a competitive auto industry and that the government has a role to play in helping the companies restructure and survive. Obama said the goal is for the government -- as investors for the public -- to help stabilize the auto giants and then "get out, find some private buyers."

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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