Many Detroit residents who watched the hearings on C-Span were angered by the grilling some politicians from Southern states heaped onto the Big 3 CEOs. One GM spokeswoman pulled together a list of tax incentives given to "transplant automakers" in the South, showing a total of $3.2 billion, and posted it on her personal Facebook page.
The home state of Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., one of the U.S. automakers' biggest critics, is home to Mercedes-Benz, Honda, Hyundai and Toyota plants.
Shelby "heaped derision on Detroit and its CEOs for having the temerity to ask for a bridge loan to help them through the worst financial calamity to face America in seven decades," says Peter De Lorenzo, editor of Autoextremist.com. But, he says, Shelby didn't mention he helped Alabama come up with $650 million in tax incentives for transplant automakers. It's something the U.S. automakers need to point out, he says.
"Their story is getting lost in the fog of inaccuracy and misperception that's inundating Washington," he says.
Conway says he sees a "massive double standard" in how people view the U.S. automakers vs. the transplants and says the automakers should do a better job pointing out that some critical politicians have a vested interest.
"You can say Carl Levin's vote doesn't matter," Conway says, pointing out that the Michigan Democrat has been a strong supporter of the auto industry, "but then the votes from the guys in Alabama shouldn't matter, either."