On Again, Off Again, Paulson Now Says Auto Bail out from TARP will happen "quickly"

Does this sound like yankin' one's chain or what?

Bloomerg quotes Treasury Hank Paulson as saying:

Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said U.S. automakers will receive a federal aid package as soon as the government can draft a suitable plan that ensures the companies’ long-term survival.

“The autos will get the money as quickly as we can prudently do it,” Paulson said today in a CNBC interview. “Right now what I’m thinking about is autos.”

Senator Chris Dodd Calls for GM CEO's Firing

Off with His Head! That's what Senator Chris Dodd is now saying.

Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd said General Motors Corp. Chief Executive Richard Wagoner should be replaced as a condition of federal aid and Chrysler LLC may have to merge to survive.

“You’ve got to consider new leadership,” Dodd said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” Wagoner, he said, “has to move on.”

Asked if a change in leadership should be a condition of a bailout, Dodd who is helping to write the legislation, said, “I think it is going to have to be part of it.”

“Chrysler, is, I think, basically gone, probably ought to be merged,” Dodd said. Ford Motor Co. is the healthiest domestic automaker, he said.

Below is the Face the Nation video clip with Dodd.

Auto Sales Plunge

We all expected auto sales to be anemic but this is pretty god awful. In Auto Sales down over 30%, CNN reports:

Ford: 31% down from 1 year ago in November, 7% down from October, last month. Worst sales in 25 years.

Toyota: 34% drop from last year and a 14% drop from last month.

GM: 41% down, 44% cars, 39% light trucks.

Chrysler: 47% drop. A whopping 57% on cars and 42% on trucks.

These numbers are worse than analysts expected.

AP on GM details.

CBS Market Watch on Chrysler Sales.

Chrysler Slash and Burn - 25% More Salaried Workers Dumped

Cut to the bone, literally. Is there anyone left to actual make cars at Chrysler these days?

Chrysler cutting salaried and extra workforce by 25%

The total reduction will be around 5,000

If anyone is not aware Chrysler has already done massive slash and burn layoffs. In 2007, Chrysler fired 13,000.

This is from February 2007:

The total number of lost U.S. auto industry jobs since 2005 to 285,000

And check this out! 20% Chrysler investment now worthless!

At the end of December 2007, Daimler’s 20-percent stake in Chrysler was valued at about $1.18 billion.

At the end of June, Daimler valued that investment at about $219.6 million.

United Auto Workers - Stop GM-Chrysler Deal

I personally would not want to see anything that would result in a consolidation. That would mean the elimination of additional jobs," Gettelfinger said on a political webcast run by WWJ-AM in Detroit

From an interview.

He also is predicting growth in unions.

From a local Indiana station, they interviewed workers and one can see the main issue as to why people are not buying cars:

We haven't committed to buying a car yet because we don't know where the economy is going to be and we don't know if the finances are going to hold out to buy a new car

Remember the old adage where Henry Ford knew he had to pay his workers enough to afford the products they were making?

Seemingly this lesson remains unlearned.