GM and Chrysler ask for up to $10 billion aid from Canada

Sat Feb 21, 2009 7:46pm EST
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By Wojtek Dabrowski

TORONTO (Reuters) - The Canadian units of General Motors Corp and Chrysler are seeking as much as C$10 billion ($8 billion) in aid from the Canadian and Ontario governments as they fight to survive an industrywide crisis, officials said on Friday.

The requests represent a big increase in the amount of aid that the companies had previously said they needed. Canada had pledged C$4 billion in support at the end of last year.

The companies are reeling from the brutal downturn in the highly integrated North American auto sector and are seeking repayable loans to help them survive.

Chrysler, which submitted its plan to the governments on Friday, said the Canadian market had declined significantly since its original request in December, and it sees the market declined further.

GM's plan, outlined on its website, would require the company close no more Canadian plants at this time, and the company did not provide specific details on any further planned job cuts.

But the plan said GM Canada's workforce would shrink to 7,000 by 2010 from 20,000 in 2005 as a result of plant closures that have already been announced.

GM also called for "changes sufficient to achieve legacy cost reductions and align active worker wages and benefits to benchmark levels."

It proposed a 10 percent cut in executive salaries, and reduced pay and benefits for salaried employees.   Continued...

<p>A Canadian flag flies from the window of a General Motors vehicle at a car dealership in Toronto December 12, 2008. REUTERS/Mike Cassese</p>