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GM Executives on the Loan Plan

General Motors executives held a press conference in response to the federal government's announcement this morning that it would extend up to $17.4 billion in loans to GM and Chrysler. Some points:

-They expect funds from the government before the end of the year - Dec. 29, to be more precise.

-While the government's plan doesn't use the term "czar," it does call for a federal designate. "You could call that a car czar," said CEO Rick Wagoner.

-COO Fritz Henderson said that the company is deferring projects and will cancel some programs, though he emphasized that executives feel confident about their products and technology.

-Wagoner said that the amount the government is granting is consistent with what the company asked for to get through the next three months in a "downside case." He also said bankruptcy is not something the company is planning on using.

-Henderson said that current U.S. hourly labor costs are $8 billion and that to be competitive with foreign automakers, they need to be closer to $4.5 billion. He said the company has shared its cost comparisons with the union.

-Wagoner said it is "absolutely" not time for him to step aside, asking whether he would have gone through the past two months if he wasn't going to stay.

By Terri Rupar  |  December 19, 2008; 11:43 AM ET
Categories:  The Ticker  
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