Steane Klose | Dec 3, 2008

GM has now axed its private jet service after all three US automakers - GM, Ford and Chrysler - took a press caning for flying to Washington in separate private jets to ask the US Government for a further USD$25 billion hand-out.

Although citing cutbacks and a lack of travel volume to justify the axing, GM's move is more likely to be aimed at pleasing those who hold the purse strings in Congress.

GM CEO Rick Wagoner will now be heading back to Capitol Hill in a Chevy Malibu Hybrid while Ford exec Alan Mulally has opted for a Ford Escape Hybrid - a far cry from the luxurious private jets that first ferried the pair. Chrysler's Bob Nardelli is yet to make an announcement on what he'll drive but expect something equally conservative.

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In addition, all three executives, Nardelli, Wagoner and Mulally, are reportedly now ready to take just a $1 salary each as part of the agreement needed to secure federal funding for their financially crippled operations. Congress has requested detailed reports from the automakers outlining what they propose to do with the borrowed funds requested, and how each company plans to return to profitability.

Interestingly, Alan Mulally was the first to turn in his paper outlining that Ford requires only US$9 billion of the funds proposed, and only in the event that GM and Chrysler go under. Ford expects to be running in the black by around 2010 and has plans to introduce an all electric-sedan in the meantime. Luckily for the blue-oval, it has reportedly already secured enough finance to carry it through the current unpleasantness (so its doors should stay open for now).

With a Chicago-based Democrat President heading to the White House, there's a good chance that the big three will be successful in their campaign for funds (but with heavy strings attached). Though it looks like the funds will come with a large slice of humble pie, and that's not such a bad thing either.

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