I never would have thought the Big Three would ever be stripped apart, but as of today..... Chrysler is going to the courts to ask for bankruptcy protection. I guess this shows well for GM and Ford....
"DETROIT (AP) — Chrysler's first hearing in a New York courtroom Friday morning may offer the first clue as to whether a quick, "surgical" bankruptcy is possible. The nation's third-largest automaker filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Thursday with an ambitious plan to emerge in as little as 30 days as a leaner, more nimble company.
After months on government life support, Chrysler is pinning its future on a top-to-bottom reorganization and plans to build cleaner cars through an alliance with Italian automaker Fiat. In return, the federal government agreed to give Chrysler up to $8 billion in additional aid and to back its warranties.
On Friday morning, bankruptcy court Judge Arthur Gonzalez is scheduled to hear the case's first motions, which typically will allow the company to continue paying workers and basic utility costs as it restructures.
Eventually, Gonzalez will have to sort out the key issue that made bankruptcy necessary: the creditors that hold $6.9 billion of the Chrysler's debt.
Four of the largest banks holding 70 percent of the debt agreed this week to a deal that would give them $2 billion. But a collection of hedge funds refused to budge, saying the deal was unfair and would only return a small fraction of their holdings.
President Barack Obama on Thursday chastised the funds for seeking an "unjustified taxpayer-funded bailout" after Chrysler and his auto task force cleared the company's other hurdles. Along with the Fiat deal, Chrysler adopted a cost-cutting pact with the UAW this week.
"They were hoping that everybody else would make sacrifices and they would have to make none," Obama said. "I don't stand with those who held out when everybody else is making sacrifices."
One lender, OppenheimerFunds Inc., said it rejected the government offer because it "unfairly asked our fund shareholders to make financial sacrifices greater than the sacrifices being made by unsecured creditors."
The White House said Chrysler could come out of bankruptcy in 30 to 60 days. Under normal circumstances, it would be difficult to complete such a large bankruptcy so quickly.
But John Pottow, a University of Michigan professor who specializes in bankruptcy, said the government's level of involvement is much greater than in a typical corporate bankruptcy.
"If you have the president of the United States who wants something to happen, I think anything's possible in bankruptcy protection," he said.
In the meantime, Chrysler said it will close all of its plants starting Monday and they will remain closed until the company comes out of bankruptcy. At least three Detroit-area factories sent workers home Thursday after suppliers stopped shipping parts over fears they would not be paid.
"A lot of us are scared," said Steve Grabowski, 33, who has worked at a Warren, Mich., parts stamping plant for seven years and was sent home Thursday. "We knew something like this was going to happen, but we didn't think it would be so soon."
Chrysler CEO Robert Nardelli announced he would step down when the bankruptcy is complete and take a post as an adviser with Cerberus Capital Management LP, which will give up its 80 percent ownership of Chrysler under the automaker's plan. Vice Chairman Tom LaSorda, who once ran the company when it was owned by the German automaker Daimler, said he would retire.
Chrysler's bankruptcy filing is the latest step in a drastic reordering of the American auto industry, which has been crushed by higher fuel prices, the recession and customer tastes that are moving away from the gas-guzzling SUVs that were once big money makers.
The administration has sunk about $25 billion in aid into Chrysler and rival General Motors Corp.
GM faces its own day of reckoning on June 1, a date the administration has set for it to come up with its own restructuring plan. GM has announced thousands of job cuts, plans to idle factories for weeks this summer and has even offered the federal government a majority stake in the company as it races to meet the deadline."