Maybe they did get the message, or at least the most obvious part of it. GM and Ford have announced that they will sell off their corporate jets and fly commercial while begging for taxpayer bailouts:
Ford and General Motors will sell their fleet of corporate luxury jets, the two struggling auto companies announced today.
The move comes two weeks after ABC News revealed Ford CEO Alan Mulally, GM CEO Rick Wagoner and Chrysler CEO Robert Nardelli traveled to Washington in private jets to plead poverty and ask Congress for $25 billion in taxpayer money. …
In a statement, GM said, “Due to significant cutbacks over the past months, GM travel volume no longer justified a dedicated corporate aircraft operation.”
“We don’t use them much anyway,” said GM spokesperson Mike Meyerand. “It saves us a lot of money to get out of this business,” he said.
Ford also confirmed that it has decided to sell its five corporate aircraft.
We don’t use them much anyway. They only used them to get back and forth to church on Sundays, and to panhandle on Capitol Hill during the week?
Now they’re not only not flying private, they’re not flying at all. Now they’ll drive from Detroit to DC in enviro-friendly cars that they want Congress to subsidize:
The plan Ford is presenting to Congress this week also says it will cancel all management employees’ 2009 bonuses and will not pay any merit increases for its North American salaried employees next year. Mulally said in an interview Tuesday that Ford will emphasize its cost cutting efforts with the United Auto Workers union and will give much more detail to Congress than it did during a visit earlier this month. The company also will accelerate plans to roll out electric cars as part of the plan it will present to Congress this week. Mulally says Ford has said it has enough cash to make it through 2009 and may not need government help.
Top executives at the Big Three U.S. automakers are returning to Congress for hearings on Thursday and Friday. They are seeking the bailout loans to help them through the recession and the worst sales downturn in 25 years. A GM spokesman says Chief Executive Rick Wagoner will travel to Washington, D.C., by car instead of flying a commercial airline or corporate jet.
Hope their AAA memberships are fully paid up.
How will Alan Mulally get to work now? He lives in Seattle and got a private-jet commute every weekend from Detroit back home. Mulally says he’ll work for a dollar a year while receiving taxpayer funding for Ford’s operations, and that won’t even pay for a standby coach-class ticket. I suspect the benefits package will remain in place, complete with first-class accommodations.