DETROIT –Corp. Vice Chairman Bob Lutz says the auto maker has no deadline for a potential takeover of LLC, disputing speculation its executives want a deal before next week’s presidential election.
Lutz also says the auto maker has not entertained the notion of bankruptcy and chided the U.S. government for its apathy towards the industry.
Acknowledging GM andare talking, Lutz says there is no timetable for a combination of the two companies. It’s been widely reported lawmakers might be more amenable to assisting a deal between the two struggling auto makers before the nation elects a new administration.
“There is no timetable at all for having anything definitive,” Lutz says after an address to the 2008 Public Relations Society of America International conference at GM world headquarters here. “There’s nothing we can really say.”
GM’s product development chief also shoots down speculation it would consider bankruptcy. GM’s quarterly losses continue to mount as it bleeds cash faster than it can earn it and the auto maker’s stock has lost more than 75% of its value in the last year. But Lutz says the idea of filing Chapter 11 has not been addressed by GM’s board.
“Bankruptcy foris not an option,” he says. “The board has never talked about it and (it is) not something we would consider constructive or would solve any problems for anyone.”
Lutz also admonishes the U.S. government for its historical lack of support to the domestic auto industry, while countries such as France, Japan, Korea and Germany strongly support their native auto makers by spending research dollars and writing legislation giving them a leg up on foreign competitors.
“In the United States you see an amazing, absolutely astonishing level of indifference, at best, but usually outright hostility from the administration and Congress to American industry in general and the American auto industry in particular,” he says.
“In the last 30 or 40 years, we have not viewed industry as being the generator of wealth,” he adds. “This country is having the awakening that industries that make things add value (and) are important for the health of the country.”
Lutz levies the criticism as many industry experts think GM may soon appeal to Washington for a bailout if the current sales slump persists and its financial condition worsens. The remarks also come on the heels of an approval by lawmakers to release $25 billion in direct loans to the industry to retool its factories for more fuel-efficient vehicles.