Like many in Congress, many Americans are reluctant to support a bridge loan for General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler, a recent Morpace Omnibus Study showed.

David Myhrer, Vice President, Automotive Brand Strategy said: “A really unique set of circumstances produced the current cash flow crisis, but consumers and Congress seem to see it as ‘more of the same.’  First, high gas prices caused a huge shift in the sales mix in record time. Then, credit to consumers and to companies dried up as financial turmoil plowed through Wall Street.”

Most consumers, though, see the auto industry as being in need of meaningful change for decades.  They see both the industry’s high paid executives and its UAW employees as out of touch with the reality faced by most Americans.

Opponents of a bridge loan see such financial help as ‘prolonging the inevitable’.  They say a major restructuring of the companies and a change in mindset is required.  They oppose government intervention and feel that the companies should be held accountable for their decisions, just as consumers are responsible for their own.  Supporters see a precedent in the government’s bailout of the financial system and say temporary help is appropriate to preserve jobs and to spur economic growth.

Both sides are strong advocates of tight accountability if such a loan is approved.

The study asked consumers to put themselves in Congress’ shoes, taking a position for or against a bridge loan to the domestic automotive manufacturers. 

Only 32% favour such a loan, while 46% are opposed.  Twenty-two percent are caught in the middle.

Survey interviews were completed with a national, demographically representative sample of 494 adult consumers.