Thursday AM December 4th, 2008

As big three automakers ask Congress for financial help, nervous auto suppliers and other affected indistries are keeping a watchful eye. Ed Mayberry reports.

image of car company's asking for more moneyThe Ideal Group services General Motors property, and Chairman and CEO Frank Venegas also helps GM close plants and resell assets. Venegas says the slowdown in car sales is astounding.

“It’s like the consumer has gone on vacation. Nobody’s buying anything. And it’s not just here in Michigan, I mean, it’s throughout the whole country. You know, you take a look at the automobile industry, the number one performer in selling cars for the month of November was Honda, and their sales were down 20 per cent. And so no one’s doing anything. And the real reason is that there’s no money, there’s no credit.”

Car parts suppliers have giant investments in tooling and machinery before anything is ever built, supplying safety components, electronics and spare parts to domestic and foreign automakers. Venegas says hundreds of local communities are dependent on the Detroit automakers.

“You know, look at all the leather they put in the seats. Where’s the leather come from? Where’s the textile come from? A lot of the electronics aren’t done here in Detroit, but they’re done in the southern states. This thing is gonna impact all, and let’s just hope that we can get this thing resolved. Take a look at what our economy’s been built on. You go back into the days of the wars, I mean we built tanks and planes whenever we needed to, so there’s a real need to be manufacturers and not just service people.”

Venegas says the auto industry isn’t asking for a bailout — it’s asking for a bridge loan. The big three auto companies hope to get up to $34 billion in government loans.

Ed Mayberry, KUHF Houston Public Radio News.

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