Execs Hope PR-Friendly Gesture Wins Favor With Lawmakers
Executives at Ford Motor Company and General Motors -- perhaps
looking for the least painful way to generate some badly-needed
positive press, at a time when many Americans question the need for
their very existence -- bowed to public pressure Tuesday, and
announced they will sell off their business jet fleets.
ABC News reports that announcement comes as GM CEO Rick Wagoner,
Chrysler chief Robert Nardelli and Ford CEO Alan Mulally -- himself
the former CEO of Boeing Commercial Aircraft -- appeared before
Congress Tuesday to once again beg lawmakers for $25 billion in
taxpayer money to save their collective corporate keisters.
"Due to significant cutbacks over the past months, GM travel
volume no longer justified a dedicated corporate aircraft
operation," read a General Motors statement issued Tuesday
As ANN reported, all three executives were
lambasted before Congress last month for arriving in Washington,
hats in hand, each onboard their own corporate jets... which all
departed at roughly the same time from Detroit Metro.
Since then, GM in particular has taken steps to reduce the PR
fallout from that admitted blunder. Within days, GM joined with
Ford in announcing plans to scale back its corporate fleet; GM also
took the Draconian step of blocking the tail number of a leased
Gulfstream G-IV from public tracking.
Now, GM plans to sell off four of its jets outright. "We don't
use them much anyway," said company spokesman Mike Meyerand. "It
saves us a lot of money to get out of this business."
The cutbacks will also mean the closing of the company's massive
General Motors Air Transportation Services hangar at Detroit Metro
Ford plans to sell its five corporate planes, ABC News added.
Unlike its larger counterparts, Chrysler doesn't have a dedicated
jet operation... and said Tuesday it's "weighing its options for
future corporate travel" onboard leased business aircraft.
Those moves come as lawmakers have demanded all three companies
to prove the requested $25 billion bailout wouldn't be an example
of throwing borrowed money after lousy business practices.
In particular, Congress has demanded GM demonstrate efforts to
slash its costs... in particular several onerous labor agreements
with the United Auto Workers that have added significant
labor-related costs to the pricetags of its vehicles, at the
expense of competitiveness.