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Big 3 collapse inevitable UPDATE Towards the end of last week the accounting firm Deloitte & Touche wrote in an annual report filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission that General Motors's "recurring losses from operations, stockholders’ deficit and inability to generate sufficient cash flow to meet its obligations and sustain its operations raise substantial doubt about its ability to continue as a going concern".

GM went to the US government with its cap in hand in December and asked for a bridging loan to help it survive. It is now asking for more but US politicians are saying that the firm should get no further federal loans unless there is a viable, long-term business plan that includes repayment of the money. President Barack Obama's administration has declared a March 31 deadline to approve or reject restructuring plans from both GM and Chrysler, which have received more than $17bn in federal loans already and have asked for $21bn more.

GM is a major institution in the United States and its bankruptcy would be a huge blow to American prestige. It would also result in hundreds of thousands of job losses not only in the car companies but also the parts industry as well. The GM share price closed on Friday at $1.45, the lowest price seen since 1933. GM shares have tumbled a startling 93.5% in the course of the last 12 months as investors have lost confidence in the business. GM is now the world's second biggest car company, although was the leader in sales from 1931 until 2008 when Toyota moved ahead. It manufactures cars and trucks in 34 countries and sells them in 140 countries. It employs 266,000 people. Chrysler and Ford both believe that if GM goes, they too will have to follow into administration. The US car industry could thus be completely reorganized. It would cost hundreds of thousands of jobs and the fear is that the firms would not be able to find the finance to go on and would be carved up or simply closed down. In all probability the US government would have to step in, if only to protect jobs and fund the industry until it was strong enough to be floated off again. The effect on motorsport is frightening to consider. GM in heavily involved with NASCAR and touring car racing outside the US. All of these programs could be affected by a GM bankruptcy. Grandprix.com

03/03/09 General Motors Corp. and Chrysler LLC, weathering the worst U.S. auto-sales market since the early 1980s’ recession, may find it hard to close enough plants to repay federal loans until demand rebounds.

“Absent volume recovery, it is difficult to see how GM -- or any U.S. automaker -- could cut enough cost in the next year or two to truly be seen as viable,” Christopher Ceraso, a Credit Suisse analyst, wrote in a Feb. 27 report.

February sales plunged 50 percent at Chrysler in January from a year earlier, 45 percent at GM, and 42 percent at Ford Motor Co., based on the average estimates of seven analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. Toyota Motor Corp. may report a 37 percent drop, Honda Motor Co. could slip 32 percent, and Nissan Motor Co. may fall 34 percent, according to three analysts.

Sales at levels not seen in almost 27 years make it more challenging for GM and Auburn Hills, Michigan-based Chrysler to become profitable and pay back $17.4 billion in U.S. loans. President Barack Obama’s auto task force may approve as much as $21.6 billion more aid for the two automakers and support for the thousands of companies that make auto parts.

Automakers may report tomorrow new vehicles sold at a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 9.5 million units, according to the average estimate of 27 analysts and economists surveyed by Bloomberg. That rate would be the lowest since June 1982, when the U.S. had less than three-fourths as many licensed drivers. Bloomberg

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