Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Chrysler News:Corker hopes Chrysler will merge

Senator says GM's debt load is too high

Rick Kranz
Automotive News

DETROIT -- Tennessee U.S. Senator Robert Corker came to the Detroit auto show today and said Chrysler LLC needs to find a merger partner and General Motors is carrying too much debt.

Corker, a freshman Republican, emerged as a point man in the automotive debate after he and a group of Southern lawmakers blocked auto-bailout legislation last month.

Leading a throng of reporters on the floor of the show, Corker said he came to Detroit in response to a plea by Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox. Cox asked lawmakers to visit the show in a column published in Tuesday's Washington Post.

Corker's visit underscored the attention the industry has drawn as the U.S. economy reels from the longest recession since the early 1980s. At the end of 2008, U.S. auto sales had plunged to levels not seen since 1982.

In response to a reporter's question about Chrysler, Coker said the automaker's best chance of survival is with a partner.

"Chrysler probably needs to merge with somebody, not necessarily go away from the standpoint of existence,'' he said. "It appears to me based on what I have looked at that they have not invested in technology and those kind of things necessary to be a standalone.

"My hope is they will in fact merge and be a viable part of Michigan and our country."......More

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