In addition to starring in a singularly scary photograph (Wall Street Journal)—
—executives of the big automakers (and associated groups) outlined a plan for action with their asking for federal funds from Congress (see below):
|Requested Funds||Term loans of up to $12 billion through end-2009; $6 billion line of credit||$9 billion line of credit||$7 billion loan by end-2008|
|Fuel Efficiency||Will launch predominately high mileage, energy-efficient cars and crossovers||Improve the fuel economy of its fleet an average of 14% for 2009 models, 26% for 2012 models and 36% for 2015 models compared to 2005 models||73% of the 2009 models will have better fuel efficiency than previous models|
|Green Initiatives||Will invest $2.9 billion in alternative fuels and technologies through 2012; will offer 15 hybrid models by 2012. Chevy Volt scheduled to be produced in 2010||A battery-powered commercial van due in 2010, a battery powered sedan in 2011, and a plug-in hybrid by 2012; will invest $14 billion on advanced technologies during next seven years||Introduce first full-function electric-drive model in 2010; will produce more than 500,000 electric vehicles by 2013|
|Brands||Will focus on Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick and GMC; will consider selling Saab and Hummer; sell or consolidate its Saturn brand||Explore selling Volvo|
|Operations||Plan plant consolidations||Cut the number of dealers selling its vehicles, and retool plants to make small cars in the U.S.||Further factory rationalization, sharing platforms and components and other technical innovations expected to yield between $3.5 billion to $9 billion annually when fully implemented|
|Staffing/Labor||Wants further changes in labor agreements, including on job security, paid time-off, and health-care||Negotiating with UAW for more cost savings||Plans to cut work force and reduce health-care benefits|
|Financial Restructuring||Trying to cut $30 billion from its debt load; dividend will remain suspended during the life of loans. Expects North America to break even by 2012||Expects a return to profitability in 2011.||Expects a return to profitability by the end of 2009.|
Source: Wall Street Journal
Not only does Alan Mulally look like the nicest of the bunch, but it also appears that his organization has the most concrete plans for action in this crisis. Specific benchmarks, both in terms of time and result, evidence of current action, and a willingness to scrimp with the rest of us; these steps win out. Mulally is by no means without blame, but he does appear, both in this article and others to be changing his tact in light of the new economy.
We need a lot more “This is what I will do” rather than “This is what I will consider” in times of crisis.