They're trying to save their companies from collapse, which General Motors CEO Rick Wagoner says would be ``catastrophic.'' Wagoner says three million jobs would be lost in the first year and ``economic devastation'' would follow.
Wagoner adds that the industry's problems don't stem from mismanagement, but are the direct result of the global financial
crisis. He says the meltdown has severely restricted credit
availability and reduced industry sales to the lowest per-capita
level since World War II.
But a rescue plan for automakers appears to be stalling. The Bush administration and Republican lawmakers say they oppose using
a $700 billion financial industry rescue fund to help the auto
Even Democrats seemed less than sympathetic. Banking Committee
Chairman Christopher Dodd told Wagoner and leaders of Ford and
Chrysler that the automakers' troubles are mostly
''self-inflicted.'' Still, Dodd says, if the automakers collapsed,
``hundreds of thousands'' of people would lose their jobs.''