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Chrysler to reveal new “luxury” expense policy today

by Bill Cawthon on

Chrysler Group will be publicly unveiling its new luxury expense policy later today. The plan was approved in July and was posted on an internal company website. It has also been turned over to the Treasury Department.

In June, the Treasury Department imposed new restrictions on firms that received government loans under the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program. The requirement came after Congress demanded that companies that had been recipients of the federal bailout “must adopt and disclose a written policy addressing four categories of “excessive or luxury expenditures.” The four categories are entertainment or other events, office and facility renovations, aviation or other transportation services and other similar items, activities or events.

While much of the public uproar over actual perceived wasteful spending on perks came during the early days of the Obama administration when the CEOs of the Detroit automakers admitted they had flown to Washington on corporate jets to ask for money, the real excesses began during the Bush Administration when banks and Wall Street firms received billions in taxpayer loans with virtually no strings attached. The financial firms continued to spend lavishly on perks and bonuses and, in spite of the opprobrium heaped on auto companies, Citigroup was still planning to take delivery of a $50 million corporate jet until public criticism influenced the company to change its plans.

According to spokesman Max Gates, Chrysler, which has received about $15 billion in taxpayer loans, “has complied with the expense policy requirements outlined by U.S. Treasury.”

Bill Cawthon grew up in the auto industry in the 1950s. His Dad worked for Chrysler and Bill spent a number of Saturdays down on the plant floor at Dodge Main in Hamtramck. Bill is also the U.S. market correspondent for, a British auto industry publication, and a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association, which has named the Jeep Grand Cherokee the “SUV of Texas” several times and named the Ram 1500 as the “Truck of Texas” two years running.

Bill has owned five Plymouths (including the only 1962 “Texan”), one Dodge and one Chrysler and is still trying to figure out how to justify a Wrangler. He also has owned at least one of every 1:87 scale model of a Chrysler product. You can reach him directly at (206) 888-7324 or by using the form.

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