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GM & Ford Bow To Pressure, Will Sell Corporate Jet Fleets

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 morning.

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 Airport.

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.



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