Auto suppliers lobby for federal support

Washington, DC – Washington, DC (AP)

Auto suppliers are asking lawmakers for federal support, warning that the U.S. supply base could buckle under from the declining fortunes of General Motors and Chrysler. Several small auto suppliers said during a congressional hearing Wednesday that Chrysler's bankruptcy has left them in limbo, with some awaiting payment for millions of dollars worth of parts. The companies manufacture tooling, plastic molds and metal castings for cars and trucks.

The Treasury Department recently launched a $5 billion financing support program meant to help larger, so-called "Tier 1" auto suppliers keep parts flowing to GM and Chrysler.

But the small business owners, many employing 100 to 200 workers, said the program was well-intentioned but has yet to reach smaller companies down the supply chain.