General Motors is not considering bankruptcy despite a sharp downturn in sales and cash position, but the industry needs fast action by the government to prevent a "devastating" impact on the economy, company GM Rick Wagoner said on CNBC.
On the same day the company reported earnings that badly missed expectationsand said it depleted $7 billion in cash during the third quarter, Wagoner said GM nevertheless is not contemplating a restructuring.
"We have no plans whatsoever to consider anything other than continue to run the business. We don't think anything positive would come out of" a bankruptcy filing, he said. "I think it would be a devastating impact, not just for GM. It would be a domino effect and roll over through the whole industry."
Yet he also said the company is pushing government leaders to devise an assistance program. Wagoner's comments came the same day Ford CEO Alan Mulally said the company would need at least a bridge loan from the government in the coming months.
Wagoner did not specify what he thinks GM needs to continue, but is hoping a package is crafted before the end of the year.
"We're going to be working very closely with our elected representatives and the administration to get some movement," he said. "We certainly hope action cold be taken in the upcoming lame-duck Congress."
The company has been hurt not only by a slowdown in the United States, but also abroad.
"We definitely saw particularly toward the end of the third quarter the European market turn down quite significantly. Part of it was credit related," he said. "I think it's fair to say this credit crisis contagion is moving into many of the countries around the world."
(Watch the accompanying video for the full interview...)
As such, he said it's imperative that the government act quickly.
"I think this is a pivotal issue for the United States. The fact is that the problems in the auto sector are a direct consequence of the credit crisis," he said. "It's critical that we move fast."