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http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20081121/ts_nm/us_gm_jets_1

GM to return two leased jets amid criticism

By Poornima Gupta Poornima Gupta – 33 mins ago

DETROIT (Reuters) – General Motors Corp will return two of its leased corporate jets amid intense criticism in Washington this week on the luxury travel arrangements of its chief executive even as the company pleads for federal aid.

CEO Rick Wagoner was in the capital to testify on the company's dire financial situation but his testimony was overshadowed by irate lawmakers who blasted him for flying on a private jet to ask for public funds and failing to make personal sacrifices in exchange for federal assistance.

Chief executives from Ford Motor Co, and Chrysler LLC, who were also there to plead for $25 billion in federal aid, came under fire too for flying to Washington in private jets.

GM spokesman Tom Wilkinson said on Friday GM decided to return the aircraft because of a "really aggressive cutback in travel."

The company, which is in a cost-cutting mode, is scrutinizing every trip, he said, but declined to disclose the name of the company it leases the airplanes from.

Wilkinson said the decision to return the leased corporate jets was made before this week's hearings and that the company in September returned two other of the seven jets it had at the beginning of the year.

"There is a perception issue," Wilkinson said of Wagoner's travel to Washington on a private jet. "We need to be very sensitive to that going forward."

He, however, said the company has not decided on what mode of transportation Wagoner would take if had to travel to Washington again.

Wagoner and Ford CEO Alan Mulally are required by their companies to fly by private aircraft for security reasons, according to company documents filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

The policy for Chrysler CEO Robert Nardelli is not required to be disclosed because the company is not publicly traded.

Skeptical lawmakers took to task the three CEOs for their luxurious travel arrangements at congressional committee hearings.

"Couldn't you have downgraded to first class or something, or jet-pooled or something to get here?" Rep. Gary Ackerman, a New York Democrat, asked the executives at a hearing held by the U.S. House Financial Services Committee.

Even Democrats who said they were sympathetic to the automakers' plight expressed frustration that the executives used private jets while professing ruthless cost-cutting measures.

A Chrysler spokesman said the automaker also leases or charters jets. He, however, declined to comment on whether the company was rethinking the use of private jets for executive travel, saying it was a "private matter."

Ford did not have an immediate comment on its corporate jet policy.

According to Ford's proxy, CEO Mulally's compensation included $752,203 in 2007 for personal use of company aircraft.

About two years ago, the head of Ford's North American operations, Mark Fields, gave up use of a corporate jet for personal travel to his home in Florida after the arrangement came under criticism at a time when the automaker was losing billions and slashing jobs.

He now flies first class on commercial planes.

(Additional reporting by David Bailey, editing by Dave Zimmerman)

Emphasis added....

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I still think they all pile into Suburbans and Expeditions (respectively) and drive... slowly... to D.C. with many stops along the way.

That idea has it's own merit.

I think all three should display the best of their technology in an extremely overt fashion during the next trip.

"Parade of Progress" style.

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How is a private jet not a perk? $224 to fly out of Michigan to D.C. today and back on Monday. Its a symbol of everything wrong with GM and many other, non-automotive businesses. They dont fully invest in what matters, the product and the consumer.

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That idea has it's own merit.

I think all three should display the best of their technology in an extremely overt fashion during the next trip.

"Parade of Progress" style.

That's actually an even better idea than I had. I was just thinking a caravan of black 'burbans. How about Wagoneer and pals each drive one of GM's top new vehicles back to DC.

Assume an entourage of 10, which Ford/GM/Chrysler vehicles would you recommend to the execs to be driven down to DC?

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That's actually an even better idea than I had. I was just thinking a caravan of black 'burbans. How about Wagoneer and pals each drive one of GM's top new vehicles back to DC.

Assume an entourage of 10, which Ford/GM/Chrysler vehicles would you recommend to the execs to be driven down to DC?

As much as I'd like to see them doing smoky burnouts, donuts, etc on the streets around Capitol Hill in a GT500, ZR1, and Challenger SRT8, or offroading across the Mall in a '09 F150, Dodge Ram,, and a Silverado HD, I suspect something tame like a Cobalt XFE, Escape Hybrid, and Caliber would make more sense, with prototypes of the Volt, Cruze, Fiesta, and EV trucked in along for show..

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That's actually an even better idea than I had. I was just thinking a caravan of black 'burbans. How about Wagoneer and pals each drive one of GM's top new vehicles back to DC.

Assume an entourage of 10, which Ford/GM/Chrysler vehicles would you recommend to the execs to be driven down to DC?

Only the most impressive and efficient that genuinely show what they have been doing to raise quality and viability in the market.

A huge display of their other tech (current and upcoming) as well as the true facts of the restructuring that they have been doing for years now. It has to be laden with good information and presented in an intelligent and impressive way.

As Cool as Challenger, ZR-1, Mustang, Camaro, etc. are - those need to stay home.

GM should be bringing the Volt, Fuel cell equinox, ALL hybrid models, all award-winning models, information on their commitment to Flex-fuel (with vehicles), their recent investment in cellulosic ethanol, the facts about the zero-waste initiatives at their plants, their charitable involvements, information on the intertwined relationship of the industry with our overall economy, the potential for leadership in the industry good R&D funding could yeild....

I think you get the picture.

A full-court press of everything that actually matters.

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Let's not forget the Moon Rover was GM - a display on that would be good.

This should be as much for the public as the government types - it should be an historic event in and of itself.

All of this is within grasp, it just requires some thinking and some effort.

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I think an array of "Joe sixpack" work vehicles decked-out in full go-to-work trim would also help.

Delivery trucks,tow trucks, police cars, taxis, ambulances, military vehicles, presidential limos...

This would be an exceptionally good idea.

...and the day the president rides in a toyota limo, I'm moving to Canada :CanadaEmoticon:

Chris

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Let's not forget the Moon Rover was GM - a display on that would be good.

This should be as much for the public as the government types - it should be an historic event in and of itself.

All of this is within grasp, it just requires some thinking and some effort.

Another good idea. Get some POSITIVE press for the automakers for a change.

Chris :neenerneener:

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As a Mustang fan, I think it would be cool if Ford brought the first ever Mustang out to the "show" per se.

Chris

Edited by 66Stang
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This to me is the big difference between American cars and most other cars...passion. Our carmakers have built just so many cars that people should be passionate about, and many of them (like the Mustang I mentioned) are in the living memeory of a good part of our population.

Chris

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I think an array of "Joe sixpack" work vehicles decked-out in full go-to-work trim would also help.

Delivery trucks,tow trucks, police cars, taxis, ambulances, military vehicles, presidential limos...

This could be an impressive and powerful parade...

Chris

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That's actually an even better idea than I had. I was just thinking a caravan of black 'burbans. How about Wagoneer and pals each drive one of GM's top new vehicles back to DC.

Assume an entourage of 10, which Ford/GM/Chrysler vehicles would you recommend to the execs to be driven down to DC?

GM:

Wagoneer leads off with the CTS followed by Tahoe Hybrid, Enclave, Equinox Fuel Cell, Sierra with "Joe the Plumber" decals, Malibu, Camaro, Cobalt XFE, Vibe, Aura Hybrid.

Ford:

MKS, Mariner Hybrid, Sable, F-150, Focus, New Mustang, Edge, new MKZ, Econoline with "Joe the Plumber" decals, Milan

Chrysler:

300c, Journey, Caravan, Grand Cherokee, Patriot, Avenger, New Ram with "Joe the Plumber" decals, Challenger

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GM:

Wagoneer leads off with the CTS followed by Tahoe Hybrid, Enclave, Equinox Fuel Cell, Sierra with "Joe the Plumber" decals, Malibu, Camaro, Cobalt XFE, Vibe, Aura Hybrid.

Ford:

MKS, Mariner Hybrid, Sable, F-150, Focus, New Mustang, Edge, new MKZ, Econoline with "Joe the Plumber" decals, Milan

Chrysler:

300c, Journey, Caravan, Grand Cherokee, Patriot, Avenger, New Ram with "Joe the Plumber" decals, Challenger

Make it the Milan Hybrid, and change Sable to Fusion Sport, and your list is perfect

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It might not hurt to invite congressional leaders into the inner sanctums of the big three for a guided tour as well.

It would interesting to take congressional leaders on a tour of Detroit or Flint's war zones, and point out the fact that if the automakers go out of business, many towns and cities could decline in the same way..

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It would interesting to take congressional leaders on a tour of Detroit or Flint's war zones, and point out the fact that if the automakers go out of business, many towns and cities could decline in the same way..

Double-edged sword.

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It might not hurt to invite congressional leaders into the inner sanctums of the big three for a guided tour as well.

I was thinking the same thing: why are the Big 3 going to Washington? Shouldn't Washington get off their fat asses and take a tour of the devastation already happening in Michigan and see first hand what Detroit is trying to do for the future? Again, more BS, more studies, more hot air. A career polititian has NO CLUE how complex it is to design and build a car.

This is all so typical of politicans. They are too busy fiddlin' while Rome is aburnin'!

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How is a private jet not a perk? $224 to fly out of Michigan to D.C. today and back on Monday. Its a symbol of everything wrong with GM and many other, non-automotive businesses. They dont fully invest in what matters, the product and the consumer.

ITS sooo PRODUCTIVE FOR A CEO WHOSE BILLING RATE IS THOUSANDS PER HOUR TO SIT AND WAIT AT THE TACO BELL IN THE AIRPORT FOR HIS CONNECTING FLIGHT TO NEWARK

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I was thinking the same thing: why are the Big 3 going to Washington? Shouldn't Washington get off their fat asses and take a tour of the devastation already happening in Michigan and see first hand what Detroit is trying to do for the future? Again, more BS, more studies, more hot air. A career polititian has NO CLUE how complex it is to design and build a car.

This is all so typical of politicans. They are too busy fiddlin' while Rome is aburnin'!

POLITICIANS FLY COACH TOO?

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ITS sooo PRODUCTIVE FOR A CEO WHOSE BILLING RATE IS THOUSANDS PER HOUR TO SIT AND WAIT AT THE TACO BELL IN THE AIRPORT FOR HIS CONNECTING FLIGHT TO NEWARK

Yeah, it's not like Wagoner travels alone to these meetings. I am sure he would have his entourage (advisors, lawyers, etc.) with him. This is the age of sound bites and cheap shots, is all.

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ITS sooo PRODUCTIVE FOR A CEO WHOSE BILLING RATE IS THOUSANDS PER HOUR TO SIT AND WAIT AT THE TACO BELL IN THE AIRPORT FOR HIS CONNECTING FLIGHT TO NEWARK

That brings me back to the point that it all starts at the top, and symbolically, it looks really bad for CEOs of functionally bankrupt companies to be flying on private jets and collecting eight figure bonuses. Ever hear of Nero*?

*And yes, I know there are accounts that say Nero wasn't in Rome while it was burning, and that he opened his palaces for people who lost their homes, etc..

**Also, quit with the caps, it makes your posts seem as if they were written by a drunken psychopath.

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And, it's not important.

3.5 million jobs are at stake

national security is at stake

economic stability is at stake

the future of the UAW is at stake

300 years of history is at stake (and yes, that matters as a source of morale for th country)

The LAST damn thing I care about is a couple of chartered jest.

Edited by FUTURE_OF_GM
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Why do I get the feeling that someone would still find something to bitch about if these guys dressed in tattered rags and hitchhiked their way to DC?

This is mudslinging and below-the-belt politics at work. We're dealing witht he same group of people that gave (not lent) $700B to the banks that caused this whole mess, and didn't require any justification.

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ITS sooo PRODUCTIVE FOR A CEO WHOSE BILLING RATE IS THOUSANDS PER HOUR TO SIT AND WAIT AT THE TACO BELL IN THE AIRPORT FOR HIS CONNECTING FLIGHT TO NEWARK

Laptops......emails......cell phones......blackberrys......I have lots of stuff to help me stay productive in an airport waiting for a flight....

<_<

Wagoner can do the same (although unlikely he ever would.)

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Laptops......emails......cell phones......blackberrys......I have lots of stuff to help me stay productive in an airport waiting for a flight....

<_<

Wagoner can do the same (although unlikely he ever would.)

literally there are some people's time that is billed at such a high cost, they can't afford to take a dump. really, there is NOTHING wrong with private jets if the cost is reasonable to lease the jets etc. vs. exhorbitant travel all over the world. then their schedule is not at the mercy of a 'nt on time' airline.

if private jets allow these guys to get more time for working and leading, its worth it.

hotels, that's different. they don't need to stay in 5 star hotels.

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by the way, go check it out. ford has used their airlines for like 20+ years to deliver donated organs and transplant patients free of charge to those in need, i think i read.

the airlines are probably wrote off as charitable donations that way.

Edited by regfootball
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People, we are looking at this the wrong way!

These CEOs make obscene amounts of money! Their time is "worth" so much that if they save an hour or two by flying in their private jets they may very well be "saving" thousands of dollars.

:AH-HA_wink:

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