24 November 2008
Nearly 100 suppliers in the automotive industry have called on the US government to support the sector financially.
The group of 98 chief executives, representing vendors across the country, wrote to the US Senate and House of Representatives last week requesting assistance to protect jobs in the automotive sector during the economic downturn. The CEOs urged the government to establish a loan programme for major carmakers and suppliers.
The letter, organised by the US Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association, said automotive vendors make up the largest proportion of the US manufacturing sector. Chrysler, General Motors (GM) and Ford have all appealed to the government and the CEOs from all three firms attended Congressional hearings to press their case for support.
GM said the help would be "essential" during the downturn and it had engaged in discussions with federal officials in a bid to attract "immediate" funding. It made the plea after announcing a number of "self-help" actions to boost its financial position. GM said it planned to reduce its costs by $1.5 billion (£984 million) through cutting sales promotion spend and "restricting" travel and consultancy costs.
The UK's own Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders has also written to Chancellor Alistair Darling to give suppliers and manufacturers access to loans to provide liquidity and investment. It added aid for the companies would have a "major impact" on the industry. Both GM and Ford have manufacturing plants in the UK.
Congress was due to vote on the automotive package as SM went to press.