Kentucky auto industry leaders sound off on feds' plan

The Lexington Herald-LeaderMarch 31, 2009 

As the details of the federal government's plan to revive American automakers filtered out Monday, Kentuckians in the industry seemed to collectively shake their heads.

"I hate the fact that the government is going to be more closely involved," said Jack Kain, past chairman of the National Automobile Dealers Association. "I feel like there are a lot of smart people in the car industry and financial industry that can get this thing resolved."

William Parsons Jr., who organizes the annual Global Automotive Conference in Kentucky, said he was "stunned" by the government's demand that General Motors CEO Rick Wagoner step down.

"He's a true automotive visionary and leader," Parsons said. "The government indicating that their plans didn't go far enough is one thing, but to actually force out a real car guy, I think, is most unfortunate."

All said the same thing: Nothing will work long-term until people again buy cars.

"They're going to have to come back with some stronger incentive deals, cash-for-clunkers deals," said Kain, who is a dealer for Ford. Ford has not requested government loans.

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