Canada sees auto announcement by month end

Thu Mar 26, 2009 6:28pm EDT
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OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada said on Thursday it would make an announcement about the struggling auto industry by the end of March, roughly coinciding with a scheduled announcement by the United States.

The White House said on Thursday that President Barack Obama would unveil bailout plans for auto manufacturers before leaving for a European trip on March 31, and Canadian Industry Minister Tony Clement said he too planned an announcement by the end of the month.

"Yes, I do," Clement said when asked if he expected to have an announcement about the auto industry by then. Two weeks ago he had said the March 31 deadline could be extended by a couple weeks if necessary.

General Motors Corp and Chrysler LLC are seeking bailouts from the Canadian and Ontario governments, but it was not certain if Chrysler's package would be ready as it is still negotiating with the Canadian Auto Workers union.

Asked if his announcement would cover both companies, Clement said: "We'll be having some details to you shortly."

Chrysler, controlled by Cerberus Capital Management, has said it may have to close its plants in Canada if the CAW does not make substantially more concessions than it gave to GM.

(Reporting by Randall Palmer; editing by Rob Wilson)