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Hendrick Motorsports shows support for domestic automakers

CONCORD, N.C. (Nov. 17, 2008)—General Motors has deep roots in American culture, and nobody knows that better than Rick Hendrick.

As chairman of Hendrick Automotive Group and owner of Hendrick Motorsports, Hendrick has relied upon support from Chevrolet in both his dealership and racing pursuits. His first dealership was City Chevrolet in Charlotte, N.C., and his race team has fielded cars only from within the General Motors family.

So with the hard economic times facing GM and the other automakers in the United States, Hendrick is doing his part to help. And you can, too.

Congress soon will determine whether to provide support to the domestic auto industry to help it through one of the most difficult economic climates in the nation’s history. It has created a perilous situation for U.S. auto manufacturers.

The Center for Automotive Research predicts that a collapse within the industry would result in widespread failures of supplier companies and put nearly 3 million people out of work. Additionally, personal income would drop an anticipated $150 billion and tax and social security receipts would fall by more than $45 billion.

Your help is needed immediately. Visit www.gmfactsandfiction.com to let your U.S. Senator and Representatives know how important their support is for the continued survival of the automakers and the future of this country.

“I’ve been a Chevrolet dealer for over 30 years, and I have more confidence than ever in General Motors,” Hendrick said. “Their leadership team, led by Rick Wagoner, is the best I’ve seen, and it’s reflected in the quality of GM products. They have incredible people taking the company in the right direction, as do Ford and Chrysler, but we have to act now to help them. If we do, there’s a bright future ahead of our domestic automotive industry.”
 
“The Big Three are the backbone of our country,” he added. “With nearly 7,000 people working at Hendrick Motorsports and Hendrick Automotive Group alone, I see their impact firsthand. The manufacturers play an irreplaceable role in the global economy and support millions of Main Street, American jobs. I feel a responsibility to those people and their families, and our leaders in Washington should, too.”

There is good reason for concern among United States automakers. General Motors’ financial reports alone support the notion that this is one of the most difficult economic periods in the nation’s history. The corporation’s industry sales from October matched those reported during the post World War II era.

To combat this crisis, General Motors, Ford and Chrysler are asking for a loan that would be repaid to the tax payers. This governmental support would help prevent a collapse, which would affect not only the automotive industry, but Wall Street and jobs nationwide. Currently one out of every 10 jobs in the United States is auto-related, and autos account for roughly 20 percent of all retail sales in the United States.

A collapse also could have ramifications on General Motors’ involvement in racing. Chevrolet participates in all three levels of NASCAR competition—Sprint Cup Series, Nationwide Series and the Craftsman Truck Series. Since 1949, General Motors (Chevrolet, Pontiac, Oldsmobile and Buick) have accounted for 32 manufacturers’ championships and 967 Cup race wins—the most among any corporation. Ford owns 692, while Chrysler tallies 449.

Chevrolet has “been an unwavering supporter in enabling racing entertainment around the world for millions of fans,” said Jeff Gordon, driver of Hendrick Motorsports’ No. 24 Chevrolet and four-time Cup champion. “And now, in these fragile economic times, all of us suffer.

“There is no doubt that the challenges facing all three Detroit automakers affect each and every one of us. It’s time for every one of us to act responsibly and step up and ask our congressman to support in the continued survival of the automakers and the future of this country.”

In addition to racing Chevrolets, Gordon, like his friend and teammate Jimmie Johnson, is a Chevy dealer. Johnson, now the three-time defending Sprint Cup champion, echoed Gordon’s sentiments.

“I honestly can’t imagine what our sport would be like without them, let alone what our country would be without Chevrolet,” Johnson said. “I’ve raced their Silverado trucks in off-road and both the Monte Carlo and Impala SS in NASCAR. Our personal and business relationship has grown over the years and now includes Jimmie Johnson Kearny Mesa Chevrolet near where I grew up in Southern California, so it is far-reaching for me. I hate to see all these economic troubles, and we are all affected by the current situation. We need to reach out.”

Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the No. 88 Chevrolet, just finished his first season with Hendrick Motorsports, but has raced Chevrolets during his nine full Cup seasons. Voted five times as the most popular driver in NASCAR, Earnhardt is hoping his fans will take action.

“(Chevrolet has) been with me throughout my entire career and has supported everything I have done,” Earnhardt said. “Now I want to do everything I can to support them. I have awesome fans, and I hope they will reach out to our leaders in Washington to help Chevy and our other domestic carmakers. There is nothing more American than Chevrolet, and we need to make sure it stays that way.”

How to help:

To contact your members of Congress to ask them to support America’s domestic auto industry, please call the following number to be connected with your legislators: 866-927-2233. Or you can visit www.gmfactsandfiction.com and click on the “I’m a concerned citizen” button to electronically send a message to your Senator and Congressman.

Did you know?

—One out of every 10 U.S. jobs is auto-related, supporting approximately 5 million jobs across all 50 states.

—Dealerships employ 740,000 people with a total payroll of $35 billion a year.

—The auto industry purchases $156 billion in raw materials annually and is the largest purchaser of U.S. steel, aluminum, iron, copper, plastics, rubber and electronic and computer chips.

—Autos account for $690 billion, or about 20 percent of all U.S. retail sales.

—Four percent of U.S. gross domestic product is auto-related and represents 10 percent of U.S. industrial production by value.

—Auto sales generate more than $10 billion dollars of annual tax revenue

—The domestic auto industry has invested nearly a quarter of a trillion dollars in the United States, including $10 billion alone last year.

—U.S.-based carmakers have 105 plants in 20 states, including California, Texas, Kansas, Louisiana and Maryland.

—The auto companies provide pensions for 775,000 and health care benefits for 2 million.

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