Today, GM and Chrysler will submit cost-cutting plans that call for shedding thousands of jobs, closing plants, paring union benefits and cutting their debts, aiming to spread a bitter sacrifice among the UAW, suppliers, bondholders and dealers. The Obama administration then will get six weeks to rule on the future of the U.S. auto industry, with a 3/31 deadline for deciding whether GM can keep the $13.4 billion and Chrysler the $4 billion the government lent them in December, reports The Detroit Free Press. The president has appointed neither a car czar to oversee the loans, nor a team of advisers expected to work for the czar. So far, the oversight for the industry has been split between Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Lawrence Summers, director of the White House’s National Economic Council.
GM and Chrysler have pledged to meet the requirements of the loans, which require them to prove they’re viable and have a plan for reaching a "positive net present value." But the loans leave the definition of viability up to the administration. In a U.S. market that may struggle to sell 10 million vehicles this year, down from 17 million a few years ago, there’s no consensus on when sales will rebound or to what level, said the Free Press story.