Monday, December 15, 2008

When It Comes to Automotive Competition, Purity is a Premium Nobody Purchases

Senate Republicans who killed the automotive bailout bill haven't been entirely forthcoming about the subsidies that non-union foreign carmakers get from foreign governments:
As the U.S. considers a lifeline for its automakers, officials in Europe, Canada and Asia are considering their own aid packages -- even as the European Union threatens to lodge a complaint against any U.S. bailout to protect manufacturers from Renault SA in France to Fiat SpA in Italy.

China also may complain, though the government is considering helping SAIC Motor Corp. and Guangzhou Automobile Group Co.

Any World Trade Organization complaints may open a Pandora's Box, bringing to a head a long-simmering dispute over policies that U.S.-based General Motors Corp., Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler LLC say unfairly aid rivals, including state- financed health-care and retirement benefits, and currency policies.

"Frankly, it's stones and glass houses,"' said Garel Rhys, professor of automotive economics at Cardiff Business School in Wales. "Everybody has been at this game for their own interests; nobody is pure."
So much for the high-horse.

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