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Motor City of Detroit keeps faith in auto industry leaders
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The executives of the trouble US auto companies were criticized in Washington as they sought billions of aid from the government, but some people back in the Motor City of Detroit have shown their support and heaped praise on the auto industry leaders.

"The business plan is solid, the leadership is solid," said Robert A Ficano, county executive of Wayne, where the City of Detroit, capital of Michigan, is located.  

In an exclusive interview with Xinhua earlier this week, the local official attributed the high employment rate in the state of Michigan to auto industry's restructure plan that has been underway for several years.

"They have been doing a lot to restructure, they have already shed off a number of plants and laid a number of people off," he said.

Ficano pointed out that one in ten jobs are connected to car making business in the United States. If the auto industry goes down, he warned, not only 3 or 4 million jobs would evaporate, a legion of suppliers and business around auto industry would go out as well.

Nothing could be merrier to the ears of General Motor's CEO Rick Wagoner, whose name has been a punch bag in Washington those days. Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Todd said at the TV program "Face the Nation" that the GM veteran should be replaced if they want to receive the emergency loan.

Ficano's strong faith in the existing leadership of the auto industry was echoed by Tom Wilkinson, director of news relations of General Motors.

He told Xinhua that GM has started a very aggressive restructuring several years ago and they are accelerating what they are already doing. "The leaders who develop the plan know how to execute the plan," he said.

He added that several of GM's improved models have won some prestigious awards in North America and in Europe. The introduction of Chevy Volt, which is expected to come out in 2010,will put GM at ahead of the race in hybrid and electric models. And the successful and productive talks with United Auto Workers (UAW) over wages and health programs will help GM reduce cost and boost its competitiveness, he told Xinhua.

As to the auto bailout bill which was facing rough road in the Congress, he said that the Congress "holds the industry's feet to the fire" and pushes them very hard to make fuel efficient vehicles.

A 14-billion-dollar auto bailout bill was passed by the House of Representatives on Wednesday night but the rescue plan still needs to go to the Senate for approval. However, some Republican senators have voiced strong opposition, leaving the bill's passing prospects quite uncertain.

(Xinhua News Agency December 12, 2008)

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