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Last chance saloon for US car industry

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Last chance saloon for US car industry

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The failure of Congress to agree on a rescue deal for America’s auto industry has raised fears the collapse will not only risk millions of US jobs but also have global consequences. As the White House mulls over whether to dip into the Wall street fund to save the sector, workers at this component plant in Michigan, are wondering how long they can hold on. Danny Bobowski a shop supervisor at an car components supplier said: ‘‘I have people everyday who ask me how long am I going to be here? Are we working next week?’‘

With one in 10 jobs tied to the car industry, the White House says any collapse would be a blow the US economy could not withstand. ‘‘The ship is sinking, now is not the time to figure out why it’s sinking, now is the time to launch the lifeboats,’‘ said Peter Dodd an auto engineer. Any collapse would also ripple through to world markets. Asian economies are particularly vulnerable because of their dependence on exports. Chief Investment Strategist Dariusz Kowalczyk said: ‘‘The risk is that there will be much bigger losses among US employees, which will probably deepen the recession across the Pacific. If this risk materialises, the entire Asian region will take much longer to emerge from our recession and therefore stock prices have to fall.’‘

Fewer than half the vehicles bought by Americans today come from General Motors, Ford and Chrysler. During the 1950’s almost all the cars sold in the US were also built there. Seen as the heart and soul of US manufacturing this proud industry now faces the stark reality of becoming a museum relic.