Canada says auto industry needs GM, Chrysler alive

Wed Mar 11, 2009 1:42pm EDT
 
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OTTAWA (Reuters) - Automakers operating in Canada need General Motors Canada to survive so that the automotive supply chain does not collapse, Industry Minister Tony Clement said on Wednesday.

"Ford and Toyota need GM to survive, they need Chrysler to survive, because if they don't survive their whole supply chain becomes dysfunctional," Clement told reporters in Ottawa.

"We're all in the same boat together and we all have to find...solutions together."

He made the remarks as the U.S. and Canadian governments work to decide whether to give GM and Chrysler long-term rescue packages. GM's auditors raised questions last week about whether the company can continue as a going concern.

Among the world's big carmakers, General Motors, Ford, Chrysler, Toyota, and Honda Motor Co manufacture vehicles in Canada.

A reporter asked Clement if he had enough information from Chrysler to make a decision in light of his complaints last month that the company's original restructuring proposals lacked Canada-specific information.

"I think we're still talking to them. I don't think we're at the point yet where we have all the information we require to make a good judgment," Clement responded.

"We're all feeling our way along here, and to defend the auto sector a little bit here, this is new territory for them. We've seen a collapse of sales in the United States to a degree that there was no prediction of this."

(Reporting by Randall Palmer; Editing by Peter Galloway)

 
<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>