The auto bailout


As I posted earlier today, the Associated Press is running a series on the big bank bailout and so far has found that CEOs and execs of failing banks were rewarded with large bonuses last year and also that it’s impossible for the average taxpayer to track what the banks are doing with their taxpayer.

Last week, Chrysler got a piece of the $17.5 bailout to the auto industry. A casual reading of today’s Wall St. Journal reveals where at least $160,287.55 of it went.

On his blog, Mark Cuban writes:

Lets see, is there anything more idiotic than spending more than 100k dollars on a full page ad “thanks for letting me waste your money” ad? Does it make it worse that its a business publication where the readers might just recognize the stupidity of wasting money on ad dollars that doesn’t even try to sell the product? How does it make the next unemployed Chrysler worker feel that their entire year’s salary just went for a single, ridiculous ad?

  • While I agree that it’s a waste, this is a land where symbolic gestures usually count for a lot more than reality. I think the ad will generally be a big hit.

    Now, if we had a real Depression sink in, symbolic gestures would start to count about the same as rude gestures. But judging by the number of people out shopping, attending Wild games, et cetera this has not become the reality. So I don’t see giving this the middle finger because I don’t think it’ll be taken as one by itself.

    Let’s all give it a deep, “Awwww, iddint dat schweet!” and go on.

  • brian

    I agree with Erik. We like symbolic gestures. Why else would we force the auto CEOs to drive to DC?

    “…wasting money on ad dollars that doesn’t even try to sell the product” I disagree that this ad does nothing to sell the product. I think it hopes to avoid people saying “you took my money, see if I ever buy a Chrysler again”. Whether those people outweigh the people that think it is an absurd waste of money… I don’t know.

  • Jim Belich

    I do find this ad a tremendous waste of money, but then we’ve seen lately a trend of companies who have received bailout money wasting it on such unneccessary things. I can’t say this ad instills in me any confidence that the auto companies are going to improve.

  • Carolynn

    The ad is so disgusting I am beyond words. It truely is “business as usual” at the auto makers. They just don’t have a clue, and no one is forcing them to get one. I am so sick of financing bird brained trash like that. At some point, they are going to have to bite the bullet and close. I say lets get it over with now, so we can move on, rather than continuing to throw money at a lost cause. Shall I even mention the fact that Crysler is owned by another company (sorry, cannot remember the name) who bought them as an investment, and now want me to bail them out??!!

  • tiredboomer

    Under NORMAL circumstances this IS good advertising.

    Under NORMAL circumstances flying to business meeting on a corporate jet is a sensible way to travel if you weigh executive time against cost.

    The problem is these guys come to the taxpayers begging for huge money with seemingly no concept of public perception. This may or may not blow up in Chrysler’s face. The point is, apparently, they didn’t even considered the possibility.

    By the way, don’t take my use of the word “begging” wrong. I think a bailout/bridge loan (your choice of phrasing) is the right thing to do. This industry needs to survive until their customers can get a loan to buy their product … but could they please limit expenditures to essentials?