Friday Snippets – 11th hour edition

GM have a month-and-a-bit to go, but Chrysler’s month is almost up and they’re preparing for bankruptcy.

According to a story from The New York Times, the Treasury Department and Chrysler are readying Chapter 11 bankruptcy documents for filing as early as next week.
The report goes on to say that the filing carries with it an “agreement in principle” with the United Auto Workers that would protect members’ benefits packages, including pension and retiree health care obligations.

I know it’s not Saab related, but this Chrysler/GM fiasco is like a car crash. It’s ugly, but you can’t help but look.
Fiat’s not out of the picture, either. They’ll be waiting in the wings to pick up the pieces but without the heavy baggage labelled “UAW”

Whither Fiat? Apparently, the Italian automaker is still very much in the picture, although under this arrangement, it would not reach its stake-holding deal until after Chrysler is already in bankruptcy court.

And on the GM side of the bankruptcy merry-go-round, they’re apparently going to kill another brand – next Monday.
It looks like they’re no longer excited about their excitement brand – Pontiac.

According to a source at General Motors, the company will announce next Monday its new “faster, deeper” reorganization plan, which will likely include a death sentence for the Pontiac brand.
Inside Line called Tom Wilkinson, news relations PR man for General Motors, who said: “There’s nothing I can share with you at this time. Keep your eyes on our media site. Officially, nothing has changed with Pontiac’s niche-brand status, until you hear differently.”

It’s like the who company is in an uncontrollable spin and bits are flying off due to the centrifugal forces.
Because I keep an eye on these things, it’s noted that the Saab 9-3 has been overtaken by it’s countryman – the Volvo C30 – in the top 3 of the Gaywheels most researched cars survey.
This is one of the most under-appreciated Saab shapes, I think: the first generation Saab 9000.
This one’s a black Carlsson edition, photographed by our unofficial Saab ambassador to the UK, Robin M.
The Porsche search has begun and wow – it’s a worry.
I’ve looked into one in Sydney and whilst it looked good and had the engine I’d really like, there are two issues that might need attention.
A car having two issues is not normally something that would put me off. But the parts alone – forget labour for a moment – cost over $2,500!!!!
I may have to look further into the local 1983 model that’s for sale here in Tassie. I drove it back in November last year and whilst I swore I’d not get a pre-1986 model at that time, my budget’s just not going to make it.
Plus, it’s local, it drives great, looks great in silver with the cookie cutter wheels and the price is much more reasonable.
The only other options are an MX-5 or do nothing.

The Obama administration’s findings with regard to General Motors

The following is an edited reproduction of a PDF that was embargoed until Midnight last night (US time).
It lays out findings and new goals for both GM and Chrysler with regards to their viability plans as previously submitted by them.
In short, they’re not seen as viable – yet. But they’ve got time.
There’s nothing directly related to Saab in here, but I thought it important to share if only as an addition to the GM Crisis articles here on the site.
There is a more detailed PDF on General Motors only, available here.
Obama Administration New Path to Viability for GM & Chrysler
In accordance with the March 31, 2009 deadline in the U.S. Treasury’s loan agreements with General Motors and Chrysler, the Obama Administration is announcing its determination of the viability of the companies, pursuant to their February 17, 2009 submissions, and is laying out a new finite path forward for both companies to restructure and succeed. These findings and new framework for success are consistent with the President’s commitment to support an American auto industry that can help revive modern manufacturing and support our nation’s effort to move toward energy independence, but only in the context of a fundamental restructuring that will allow these companies to prosper without taxpayer support.
Key Findings
• Viability of Existing Plans: The plans submitted by GM and Chrysler on February 17, 2009 did not establish a credible path to viability. In their current form, they are not sufficient to justify a substantial new investment of taxpayer resources. Each will have a set period of time and an adequate amount of working capital to establish a new strategy for long-term economic viability.
• General Motors: While GM’s current plan is not viable, the Administration is confident that with a more fundamental restructuring, GM will emerge from this process as a stronger more competitive business. This process will include leadership changes at GM and an increased effort by the U.S. Treasury and outside advisors to assist with the company’s restructuring effort. Rick Wagoner is stepping aside as Chairman and CEO. In this context, the Administration will provide GM with working capital for 60 days to develop a more aggressive restructuring plan and a credible strategy to implement such a plan. The Administration will stand behind GM’s restructuring effort.
• Chrysler: After extensive consultation with financial and industry experts, the Administration has reluctantly concluded that Chrysler is not viable as a stand-alone company. However, Chrysler has reached an understanding with Fiat that could be the basis of a path to viability. Fiat is prepared to transfer valuable technology to Chrysler and, after extensive consultation with the Administration, has committed to building new fuel efficient cars and engines in U.S. factories. At the same time, however, there are substantial hurdles to overcome before this deal can become a reality.
Therefore, the Administration will provide Chrysler with working capital for 30 days to conclude a definitive agreement with Fiat and secure the support of necessary stakeholders. If successful, the government will consider investing up to the additional $6 billion requested by Chrysler to help this partnership succeed. If an agreement is not reached, the government will not invest any additional taxpayer funds in Chrysler.
Detailed Findings on GM and Chrysler Plans

Read moreThe Obama administration’s findings with regard to General Motors

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