In his testimony before congress Friday, the head of General Motors announced that GM, Ford and Chrysler would push themselves toward financial solvency in 2009 by closing Ohio.
Rick Wagoner's announcement came in response to harsh criticism from Congress toward the Big Three for not explaining how a federal bailout would help the companies compete in the world market.
Wagoner told Congress that he, along with the heads of Ford and Chrysler, got the idea as they looked out their car window at Ohio while on their way to Washington.
"This is the first time we drove through the Midwest," added Alan Mulally, head of Ford. "When we saw Ohio, we all had a real eureka moment. We thought, 'do we really need all of this?'"
The massive restructuring has already begun. "We have already shut down many of Ohio's smaller cities, and by the end of this year we plan to take Columbus entirely offline," said Chrysler Chief Robert Nardelli.
Mulally added that in order for Ford to stay competitive in the future, it would have to let go of older, outdated institutions like Ohio. "Ohio, with its health care costs and standard of living requirements, has long been an impediment to our long-term liquidity, and we must do what is necessary to keep a proud American institution like Ford alive."
Ohio is an American state between Indiana and Pennsylvania that has long been a manufacturing hub for Detroit-based automotive companies. Over the last few years, however, sustaining Ohio has become less profitable. Recently, when the state began to run at a loss, the Big Three began selling off pieces to Germany and Japan.
Wagoner added that this might not be the end of the industry's restructuring. "Indiana's on the chopping block, for sure. Seriously, have you smelled Gary? We hadn't, until yesterday." After further questioning, he added, "We'd probably give up Michigan's Upper Peninsula if Canada is still interested."
In a closing statement, Wagoner thanked the state for its contribution to automotive manufacturing. "The proud working people of Ohio are the real heroes of the American auto industry, and we thank them for spending their lives there. We only ask them to turn off Cleveland before they leave."
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