Ky. auto industry mulls options

Lexington Herald-LeaderNovember 18, 2008 

As prospects dimmed in Washington on Monday for a $25 billion bailout of the U.S. auto industry, those watching in Kentucky feared that one of the state's leading industries could be crippled.

With four automotive plants and hundreds of parts suppliers, Kentucky has more than 50,000 people employed in the industry. And they're primed for hurt if bailout talks fail, and so are the domestic automakers.

"We are in the perfect storm," said William Parsons Jr., who organizes the annual Global Automotive Conference in Kentucky. "Other than this dip in oil prices, we are being hammered in every possible way."

And even Japanese automaker Toyota, whose flagship North American plant is in Georgetown, would be in trouble if the Detroit Three fail because the four share many of the same parts suppliers.

As the debate over the proposed bailout has intensified, its merits have centered on why the U.S. automakers have come so close to failure.

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