US: Chrysler needs bridge loan - Press

By just-auto.com editorial team | 2 December 2008

Chrysler president Jim Press has said his company needs an emergency bridge loan from Congress if it is to survive and execute a plan that will help it compete.

"We're trying to preserve our way of life and preserve our jobs," Jim Press told Reuters at the Port of Baltimore, which exports 150,000 Chrysler vehicles annually.

"Our companies are under attack from a number of sources," Press said. He addedChrysler needs a loan to continue operations.

Press did not say how much Chrysler was seeking from the government, but Reuters noted that chief executive Bob Nardelli had told Congress last month the company needed $US7bn in emergency aid to survive the current downturn.

Ford today released a submission to the Senate Banking Committee asking for a $US9bn loan facility but suggested it may not need to draw down any funds.

Attempts by the Detroit-based Big Three last month to win a $25bn bailout ended after legislators - having criticised the CEOs for using three private jets to fly to Washington - said they had not presented adequate evidence of their restructuring plans.

According to the news agency, analysts have said Chrysler, privately held and the smallest of the three, needs to spell out a plan that would allow it to assume some federal assistance even as it seeks to partner with other automakers.

Press reportedly said Chrysler had a plan to compete and was shifting products quickly and making other "tough choices about its future."

He said the company has seen progress in quality, with warranty claims down 29%, Reuters added.