US automakers hoping for government aid stand a better chance winning over lawmakers than the American public.
In a poll conducted earlier this week by CNN, 61 percent of respondents were opposed to a bailout for the ailing US auto industry.
The CEO's of the Big 3 were roundly criticized last month for arriving in Washington to ask for a bailout each in their own corporate jet. Even Democratic lawmakers sympathetic to their cause have chastised Big 3 management and have demanded that the industry do more to prove they will capably restructure their companies and use the bailout money wisely.
On Tuesday, the companies presented their restructuring plans to the Congress and are now asking for a 34 billion dollar package, instead of the previous 25 billion they were pleading for just last month. They claim worsening market conditions has led them to bleed cash much faster.
November sales figures were dismal across the board and hit Japanese automakers just as hard as the domestic brands. Nissan suffered a 42 percent drop in sales compared to November of 2007. For Toyota, it was almost 34 percent. GM and Chrysler fell precipitously at 40 and 47 percent, respectively. Ford faired the best at 30 percent, while US car sales as a whole were down 33 percent for the month.
The American public, along with a majority of Republicans in Congress and the Bush administration, oppose a bailout, but the consequences could be worse than they believe. Alan Mulally, CEO of Ford, has said his company may not need a bailout, but that if GM collapses it may lead to a domino effect in the industry and take out suppliers and ultimately take his company down too.