WASHINGTON (Dec. 8, 2008) — More than 6 million jobs throughout the U.S. will be in jeopardy if Congress doesn't give Detroit's Big Three auto makers the "bridge loans" they need to help them get through the current economic slump, according to a coalition of tire and auto parts makers and auto dealers.
Calling itself "The Engine of Democracy," the coalition rallied at the U.S. Capitol on Friday to stress the urgency of providing financial aid to General Motors Corp., Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler L.L.C.
"If Congress does not take swift action to prevent the collapse of our domestic auto industry, the already hard-hit Midwest will be ground zero, but the economic fallout will instantly spread through local economies all across the country," said Neil DeKoker, president of the Original Equipment Suppliers Association. Besides OESA, other participants in the rally included the Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association, Bridgestone Americas and Dura Automotive Systems Inc.
The proposed loans to the auto industry cannot in any sense be considered a bailout, according to coalition publicity on its Web site.
"The U.S. credit freeze has devastated consumer demand across the industry, and the timing couldn't be worse," it said. "If American automotive jobs are allowed to disappear, they will be gone forever. Given the context, a loan to help auto makers bridge this slump is a prudent investment that will pay back tenfold by protecting America's jobs and America's manufacturing future."