Thursday, June 11, 2009

Bailout waste -auto - reality check

Yet despite the stabilization of U.S. sales, not to mention the taxpayer-funded bailouts of GM and Chrysler, there is very little chance the Canadian sector will ever top its 157,130 peak employment in 2001 — when total North American sales of cars and light trucks were around 20 million. According to Statistics Canada, auto manufacturing jobs in this country crashed by about 20%, reaching 99,684 in the three-month period ending March 31. But the Q1 figures do not account for the recent downsizing of GM and Chrysler operations, so that number will go even lower. As well, the recently increased value of the loonie might already have wiped out most, if not all, of the cost savings GM and Chrysler gained from concessions made by the Canadian Auto Workers, when the troubled Detroit duo renegotiated contracts to try to make local operations more competitive.

Meanwhile, DesRosiers and other industry watchers say aggressive competition from solvent automakers, not to mention government involvement in product planning and plantlocation decisions, could seriously hinder attempts by GM and Chrysler to stabilize their operations. That would probably lead them back to the public trough — especially given the way private-sector lenders have been treated by Washington and Ottawa during the restructuring process. And every bailout dollar handed to these industry dogs hurts the stronger North American operations of offshore-based players while making it more likely that Ford will eventually hit a wall.

In short, relatively few Canadian jobs have been saved, and a lot more bailing may be required to keep the shrinking Big Three from running off the cliff again.

What a waste - good job intentions does not make good economic or market sense Pr

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