Dec 4, 2008

Business - Obama welcomes US carmakers' plans

Washington, Dec 4 (DPA) US president-elect Barack Obama Wednesday welcomed plans submitted this week by US carmakers to Congress seeking billions of dollars in government assistance to keep them afloat.

Ford Motor Company, General Motors Corp and Chrysler LLC Tuesday asked for a total of $34 billion from the government to see them through the economic downturn as sales of vehicles fell to the lowest level in 25 years. The chief executives of the so- called Big Three are to testify before Congress later this week on the requests.

Obama said he would review the plans and would wait to comment further on the companies' proposals until after the hearings.

Congress rejected an earlier plea by the industry because the companies did not provide concrete details of their recovery plans.

Obama said Congress made the right decision in sending the automakers back to the drawing board before giving them a check.

'Congress was right to say the American taxpayers expect and deserve better than that,' Obama said, noting that the new plans appear to be more complete.

'We should maintain a viable auto industry, but we should also be sure any government assistance provided is based on a realistic assessment of where the industry is going to be,' he said.

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