Today Ford said it doesn't need a bailout, at least not unless things get worse over the next year. Right now, gas is cheap again and they just ramped up their leading F-150 production line, so they may never need anything.
Chrysler is a private company, and hedge fund Cerebus should be required to infuse cash into them. It's outrageous to expect the American taxpayer to bail out a hedge fund.
That leaves G.M. I do think that, with significant restructuring, G.M. is worth saving. The Volt is coming online in less than two years, and they have already made significant cuts and will make more. The gas price argument applies to G.M. as well as Ford, though this is only a short-term fix since gas prices will surely head up again as the economy improves. We simply can't afford to throw off a million auto-related workers at this time.
Chevron should also be made to relinquish its hold on the former G.M. patent to the battery technology that was used in the EV-1 (See: "Who killed the electric Car?") if it will help G.M. speed up development of the volt. It's unconscionable that the technology of an electric car that performed as well as a gas powered car and had a range of over 100 miles before needing a recharge--and could be sold for the price of a high-end midsize car--can't be utilized for future electric cars. This patent should be rushed into the public domain, instead of being hogged by a self-serving oil company.