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Ford Submits New Bailout Plan, Will Make Concessions

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Looks like Ford Motor Co. is now willing to make some concessions should they receive a government bailout.

CEO Alan Mulally said he’ll work for $1 per year if the automaker has to take any government loan money.

The plans Ford submitted to Congress on Tuesday also say the company will cancel all management employees’ 2009 bonuses and will not pay any merit increases for its North American salaried employees next year.

The company also said it will sell its five corporate aircraft.

It’s a start. Of course, Ford is not in as bad a shape as GM. The company believes it will break even by 2011 and is only seeking $9 billion in government loans, a credit line Ford may not have to use. The company has enough cash to continue its operations through next year.

I think it’s pretty clear that the bailout backlash helped spur Ford into making concessions and toning down the “sky is falling” rhetoric. We’ll see if Chrysler and GM follow suit. Hopefully, cooler heads will prevail in both the automaker boardrooms and the Congressional committee rooms.

We’re already moving past the blank-slate bailout approach. But the burden is still on the automakers to demonstrate why government assistance is the only remedy and how such assistance will be used not just to kick the problem down the road but to actually revive the companies.