Is help on the way to bail out the Big Three? - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

By Meghan Sparks

Is help on the way to bail out the Big Three?

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ROCHESTER, MN (FOX 47) -- Executives with Detroit's big three automakers were in Washington today pleading with Congress for a $25 billion bailout.

Minnesota employs thousands of workers in the auto industry, so just how are local dealerships being affected and what could happen if the bailout isn't passed?

Many of us rely on our cars to get around, but despite our dependence the big three automakers are pleading for help.

Today GM, Ford and Chrysler went before Congress asking for $25 billion of the $700 billion rescue plan to save their companies from a collapse.

"We've already bailed out so many other people lets just go ahead and get this taken care of too."

Some say it's got to be done, while others say no thanks.

"I think they should be able to do it on their own."

And some are just hoping for another solution.

"What I want them to do is sell us cars at reasonable prices then we'll all go running out and use our savings and buy a new automobile."

Minnesota has 427 franchised new car dealerships and of that about 70 percent carry a domestic line. If the big three go under, some believe it could be a catastrophic event.

Scott Lambert of the Minnesota Auto Dealers Association says, "This is pretty serious stuff. One in seven jobs is affected by automobile and automobile manufacturing. There is a potential for two and a half million jobs directly attached to the industry and we're not an island to this. Minnesota will feel the effects."

Clements General Manager Jim Orke says, "We can't control what's going on in Washington right now."

Orke says they've seen less business recently, but that they're trying to stay optimistic.

"We've just got to do our best to promote our business and promote our customers opportunities," says Orke.

He says the future is unknown, but they plan to stick around through all the ups and downs.

Auto executives say that the industry's problems don't stem from mismanagement, but are the direct result of the global financial crisis.

The Bush Administration and Republican lawmakers say they are opposed to using a $700 billion financial industry rescue fund to help the auto industry.

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