Charleston West Virginia Economic Development

Discussions on Economic and Community Development in West Virginia and the Charleston MSA as well as issues of the Charleston Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The story below aired Dec. 19 on WOWK-TV. Reporter Sara Gavin interviewed Charleston Area Alliance President Matt Ballard about the automotive industry rescue package after the Alliance issued a statement of support for the industry. Click here to view the story.

Reacting to Automotive Rescue Plan

Story by Sara Gavin

As President of the West Virginia Automobile and Truck Dealers Association, Ruth Lemmon is celebrating now that President Bush has granted a holiday wish for General Motors and Chrysler.

"This is one of the best Christmas presents I could've had - it really is," said Lemmon.

The two automakers will receive a more than 13-billion-dollar loan to help save the struggling industry. "On a more local level, it's going to reassure consumers that there is going to be a factory, there is going to be a manufacturer, there will be parts, support for warranties," said Lemmon.

Auto dealers weren't the only ones breathing a sigh of relief once word of the rescue plan trickled down from Washington to West Virginia. Matt Ballard, President of the Charleston Area Alliance says a collapse of any of the big three domestic car companies would have hit West Virginia hard - especially in the Kanawha Valley. "I think we have about 2,000 families, 2,000 people employed in just the auto supplier market in just Kanawha and Putnam Counties so this was a very big deal for us," said Ballard.

GM and Chrysler have until the end of March to prove their companies have a stable financial future or they will be forced to repay taxpayers' money. For now at least, many mountain state auto dealers and business leaders are hopeful the bailout will bring a brighter outlook in the new year.


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