Politics play a big part as far as large-scale auto manufacturers are concerned. The GM and Chrysler bailout initiated by Republican President George W. Bush and implemented by his Democrat successor in the White House, Barack Obama, was a political decision rather than one based solely on cold, hard facts.

Most European governments are now faced with the same problem due to the debt crisis that has led to a plunging new car market. The French government has already financed PSA Peugeot Citroen; Italians fear that Fiat, whose Italian plants are running way below their minimum capacity, as there is no demand to satisfy, may be forced to close some of them.

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