Hillary To Auto Dealers: Think Marshall Plan

NEW ORLEANS -- Speaking to a roomful of the nation’s auto dealers here this morning, former Secretary of State and presumed Presidential aspirant Hillary Clinton discussed the virtues of multinational business and how it helps auto retailers. Her favorite model, she said, is George Marshall’s plan for rebuilding Europe after World War II, versus an approach to isolationism.

She also praised new GM CEO Mary Barra.

"I was pleased because we have a lot of women in the corporate pipeline have been in industries for long time and now are in position where they can be given the opportunity for leadership,” Clinton said, adding, “We are seeing these decisions made regardless of gender. It sends a really good signal to boys and girls that we don't have a person to waste. We want the hardest working, smartest most innovative people."

Clinton also spoke about TARP, which is divisive among dealers because restructuring of GM and Chrysler brought — to use a euphemism — rationalization of the franchise world. Lots of dealerships went down.

She said she became convinced that based on information from Hank Paulson the country needed dramatic changes.

"If you look at TARP we had that money paid back,” she said. “That's something I think a lot of us were worried about. I do think the toughing out Ford was able to do, and GM and Chrysler's bankruptcy and looking now in a position to thrive, I think it was the right decision. NADA lost jobs and businesses but overall picture turned out to be positive, and with dealerships coming back I hope we are on much firmer footing."
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