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by George Skentzos

United States President Barack Obama has said he hopes GM and Chrysler emerge “leaner, meaner, more competitive” after appearing on US television today to discuss the country’s ailing automotive industry.

This comes a day after the US Treasury pumped an additional four billion dollars into General Motors, raising the total in bailout loans to more than 19 billion dollars.

The harsh decisions forced upon the US giants will pay dividends as the market begins to recover, with initial projected auto sales of 10 million for 2009 in the US now expected to reach as much as 15 million.

“My hope is that we will see both GM and Chrysler having emerged from this restructuring process leaner, meaner, more competitive with a set of product lines that appeal to consumers good cars that are fuel efficient and that look at the markets of tomorrow,” Mr Obama said.

General Motors is due to present its restructuring plan to the US government at the end of the month, although the company’s chief executive officer anticipates it will likely require filing for bankruptcy.

While avoiding comment on a possible GM bankruptcy, Mr Obama did express concern over the potential job losses for those employed in the industry.

“We’re confident that they (GM and Chrysler) can emerge and take advantage of that new market and actually be very profitable and thrive, but it means going through some pain now,” he said.

While this may provide some comfort for the US auto industry, this still leaves GMs offshore interests exposed to the threat of closure, with the German government already taking action to protect Opel.




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