- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 31, 2009

General Motors Corp.‘s new chief executive officer said Tuesday that bankruptcy is “more probable” and more plants than anticipated could be closed to meet new restructuring guidelines to receive federal aid.

“I think we are capable of doing it out of court,” Fitz Henderson said in his first press conference since replacing Chief Executive Officer Rick Wagoner.

Mr. Wagoner was forced out Sunday by President Obama as part of his new, get-tough plan to bailout U.S. auto industry titans GM and Chrysler.

GM had already planned to close five plants as part of the restructuring plan that Mr. Obama rejected Monday. The president has given the company 60 days to make more cuts and get further concessions from investors and unions, or face bankruptcy. Mr. Henderson, the company’s interim leader, said he would prefer to reorganize the company outside of bankruptcy court and that the administration wants to see improvements “deeper, harder, faster.”



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“In their judgment our viability plan was not adequate,” he said.

Chrysler received 30 days in which to improve its recovery plan, including a merger with Italian automaker Fiat.

The companies have already received a combined $17.4 billion in taxpayer loans.

Mr. Henderson also urged GM employees to help save the company.

“We absolutely must get the job done with revenue — selling great cars and trucks today, selling great cars and trucks in the future,” he said at the news conference from the company’s Detroit headquarters.

Mr. Henderson also said the restructuring plan will likely include more buyouts from union employees, but he did not say whether the company will discontinue its Hummer and Saturn models.

He began the news conference by announcing an assistance program for GM buyers who lose their jobs. The company will make nine payments after the customer makes the first three.

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