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More Bad News For Automakers

Billionaire investor Kirk Kerkorian is cutting his losses by shedding part of his 6.49% stake in Ford Motor Company, and has announced that he will sell of the remainder of his holdings in the near future. Starting in April, Kerkorian began buying up about $1 billion worth of Ford stock. As of Tuesday, his holdings were worth less than $290 million, a loss of 71%.

Like other US automakers, Ford is facing trouble from all sides: tightened consumer spending, a growing distaste for gas-guzzling SUVs, and a frozen credit market. According to the LA Times, Ford and GM are each burning through $1 billion a month in scarce cash just to keep going.

Adding another blow to Detroit’s desperate hope for a quick fix, the Washington Post reports that US automakers may not see any of the recently approved $25 billion government loan program for more than a year. The emergency loan, the largest government support of the US auto industry since the 1979 Chrysler bailout, was enacted to help Detroit automakers switch to more energy-efficient vehicles. However, carmakers have been counting on it to tide them over until the credit markets begin to thaw.

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