Chief executives of the ailing "Big Three" US automakers - General Motors, Ford and Chrysler - met Thursday with two top Congressional leaders to discuss a further bail-out package and the future of the loss-making industry, dpa reported.
The meeting came ahead of the scheduled releases by General Motors and Ford of their third-quarter results, which are expected to report huge losses and more cost-cutting measures.
The meeting of GM's Rick Wagoner, Ford's Alan Mulally and Chrysler's Robert Nardelli with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was meant "to protect hundreds of thousands of workers and retirees, safeguard the interests of American taxpayers, and use cutting-edge technology to transform blue-collar jobs to green collar jobs for generations to come," Pelosi said in a statement late Thursday.
It is essential that we preserve our manufacturing and technology base in this country."
United Auto Workers President Ronald Gettelfinger also attended the meeting.
The auto executives asked for another 25 billion dollars in government-backed loans, the Bloomberg financial news agency reported.
US auto sales plummeted 32 per cent in October to the lowest monthly total since 1991.
In the last three months, the automakers have sought 50 billion dollars in loans. Each manufacturer is currently burning through around 1 billion dollars a month, in the worst crisis to hit the US auto industry in 25 years.
Economic stimulus legislation, likely to be hammered out before President George W Bush leaves office on January 20, might be one way of getting the automakers the additional 25 billion dollars in aid, Bloomberg reported.
In October, credit-rating agency Standard & Poors, which threatened to further reduce the already damaged credit ratings of both GM and Ford, said the companies would be in serious trouble in 2009.
In brief comments to reporters, Pelosi said the meeting recognized the "importance of a viable auto industry to our country, to our industrial base, and to the national security of our country."
She said the auto industry leaders and the government would work together to ensure the viability of the industry.
Last week, president-elect Barack Obama said he planned to support the auto industry and make it competitive. He has called for a 175- billion-dollar stimulus package to follow the 168-billion-dollar package signed into law in February.