General Motors (GM): OK, OK, We'll Sell Two Of Our Five Private Jets

General Motors (GM) is committed to reform. After getting ripped a new one by everyone from the press to Nancy Pelosi for flying into Washington on private jets to beg for a bailout, GM is now showing how serious it is about cutting costs.

Guardian: General Motors, the embattled US carmaker, buffeted by criticism for sending its chief executive on a private jet to plead for government aid, vowed today to stop leasing two of its five company planes.

GM is “very sensitive” to “the symbolic issue of people showing up in Washington in corporate jets”, spokesman Tom Wilkinson said, promising more cuts to come at the company.

But the show of contrition has come too late to spare GM and its fellow Detroit giants, Ford and Chrysler, from a lashing as investors weigh up the pile of debts pulling the carmakers to the brink of insolvency…

The United Auto Workers union is reported to be considering a symbolic sacrifice, nine days after arguing labour costs were not hurting Detroit. The UAW could agree to cut its “jobs bank”, which assured payments to laid-off employees for 48 weeks – and sometimes for years at a time.

That programme is as symbolic as the GM jets for many in Congress who are annoyed by the industry’s unwillingness to admit mistakes. A year ago the union agreed to cut its healthcare benefits.

Asked about the chief executives of GM, Ford and Chrysler, senior Republican senator Richard Shelby told MSNBC: “I’ll tell you what: they seem to be three of the most arrogant, non-repentant people I’ve ever seen to be running three losing companies.”

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