In Michigan
9:58 am
Tue March 31, 2009

New GM CEO says more plants could close

Detroit, MI – Detroit, MI (AP) - General Motors Corp.'s new chief executive says more of the automaker's plants could close as part of GM's effort to meet new, tougher requirements for government aid.

In his first press conference as CEO, Fritz Henderson said Tuesday that he expects the company would "need to take further measures" in terms of plant closures.

He's referring to plants beyond the five plants the company said it would shutter when it submitted a restructuring plan to the government last month.

President Barack Obama said Monday that GM's plan didn't go far enough.

Henderson took over GM on Monday, after the Obama administration asked former CEO Rick Wagoner to resign.

The company has 60 days to make more cuts and get more concessions from bondholders and unions or it faces bankruptcy.

Henderson also says GM will make car payments for some customers who lose their jobs.

Henderson says under GM's new "Total Confidence" program, the company will make up to nine car payments of $500 each for customers who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own.

Customers must qualify for state unemployment to be eligible for the program.

The program starts April 1 and runs until April 30.

The news comes hours after rival Ford Motor Co.said it would take over customers' payments of up $700 for a year in the event of job loss.

Henderson, formerly chief operating officer of General Motors Corp., replaced Rick Wagoner who stepped down Monday at the government's request as the Detroit automaker seeks more federal aid.