One role he does not relish is that of shareholder-in-chief, responding to a question about the government’s stake in financial institutions and domestic auto makers Chrysler and General Motors. “I don’t want to run auto companies. I don’t want to run banks,” he said. “Our first role should be shareholders looking to get out.”
Related to the White House Auto Task Force’s involvement with Chrysler and General Motors’ restructuring plans, he said that “I don’t think we should micromanage. Like any investor, the American taxpayer has the right to scrutinize what’s being proposed.” He believes, however, that if foreign auto makers can develop an “affordable, well-designed, plug-in hybrid” then “dog gone it, the American people should be able to do the same.”
And so today, the task force announced that Chrysler has taken the necessary steps to give the car maker a new lease on life.
“I am pleased to announce that Chrysler and Fiat have formed a partnership that has a strong chance of success,” said the president. “It’s a partnership that will save more than 30,000 jobs at Chrysler, and tens of thousands of jobs at suppliers, dealers and other businesses that rely on this company.”
Chrysler will file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, giving the automaker time to firm up its partnership with Italian car maker Fiat Group SpA. The government will provide at least $6 billion more to carry the company through bankruptcy. The government will also help appoint a new board of directors.
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