Automakers on Capitol Hill: European Car Makers Ask for Funding

By Reuters -  |  Posted 2008-11-19 Email Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

While talk of dealmaking dominated the hallways of Congress, the auto executives at hearings continued to face withering criticism. Connecticut Democrat Christopher Dodd, chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, said it looked unlikely that Congress will come to agreement this week on an assistance package for the auto industry. Automakers across Europe were looking to get their share of government handouts, as industry leaders in Britain, Germany and Italy all made cases for their piece of the pie.

GOOD FOR THE GOOSE, GOOD FOR THE GANDER?

Automakers across Europe were looking to get their share of government handouts, as industry leaders in Britain, Germany and Italy all made cases for their piece of the pie.

European carmakers need financial aid, senior EU officials also said, singling out GM unit Opel as a possible emergency case.

European auto companies have asked for 40 billion euros ($50.5 billion) of soft loans for the industry. Opel is negotiating aid with the German government.

Also on Wednesday, German solar energy company SolarWorld said it was prepared to acquire cash-strapped carmaker Opel's plants in Germany, but analysts dismissed the plan as unrealistic, and GM said Opel was not for sale.

Britain's car manufacturers are also demanding access to government funds put aside to bail out the banking sector.

In Italy, Fiat SpA CEO Sergio Marchionne said that any government aid for Europe's ailing car industry should be broad-based.

"Either (aid) is for everyone or for no one," Marchionne said on the sidelines of a conference between Italian and Brazilian business leaders.

(Additional reporting by Reuters bureaus worldwide; writing by Patrick Fitzgibbons; Editing by Steve Orlofsky, Gerald E. McCormick, Gary Hill)



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