As their dirty linen continues to be aired in public, GM and Chrysler have been given another possible survival option; merge to get a loan.
General Motors and Chrysler may really end up merging. This possibility was raised at the Senate hearings where both companies' CEOs were asked if a condition for lending them money was that they merge their companies. Both said they would consider it.
"I'd be very willing to look at it seriously," GM CEO Rick Wagoner said.
"If such a move meant receiving money to save Chrysler," CEO Bob Nardelli said, "I would do it."
Senators continued to have conversations with the two leaders: "I'd like to see that happen," said Senator Bob Corker of a merger. "Our country cannot really deal with three separate US automakers."
Another Senator Robert Bennett had broached the merger idea because Nardelli had even said such a thing could save up to US$10 billion a year. The grilling went on from Corker who felt Cerberus was just hoarding its vast cash reserves: "Cerberus owns 80% [Daimler still owns 20%] of this company and has cash," continued Corker, "lots of cash -- that they are unwilling to put into this company...It troubles me a little bit knowing that basically all we're really doing is providing a little capital for y'all to hang around long enough to get married".
Corker mentioned a conversation he'd had with a Chrysler board member who assured him Cerberus was not about to invest any more money into the entity than the US$7.4 billion already planted in August 2007 when they took over from DaimlerChrysler.
Nardelli denied these allegations, saying everyone who works at Chrysler was working very hard to keep the company going and that a sale wasn't on his mind each time he woke up in the morning.