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Ford Canada calls for gov't subsidies for buyers
( Mar 13 2009 )

Ottawa: The CEO of Ford Canada has called for hefty subsidies for car buyers, arguing it works better to help the struggling auto sector than massive cash injections for automakers. David Mondragon told a parliamentary committee that Ottawa should give consumers 3,500 Canadian dollars (2,800 U.S. dollars) if they scrap their older car for a new one. The current rebate of 300 Canadian dollars (240 U.S. dollars) is far from enough, the Canadian Press reported Tuesday.


That would get older vehicles off the road, replaced by cleaner, safer, more fuel efficient vehicles, which are both good for the automakers, the economy and the environment, Mondragon said.


"There are great opportunities for governments to help the industry and the economy find the bottom." Ford has not asked for a bailout and says it can manage on its own this year. The Canadian branches of GM and Chrysler, however, have both asked for aid from Ottawa and the Ontario government.


Mondragon also painted a grim picture for 2009, predicting a 13percent fall in auto sales, compared to 2008 statistics, which is a drop of 250,000 vehicles. The branches of the U.S. Big Three automakers constitute the bulk of Canada's auto industry, which in turn is one of the pillars of the country's manufacturing.


Ottawa has offered help if the automakers work out plausible restructuring plans and promise to keep jobs in Canada.

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