Document Type

Case Study

Case Series

The Rescue of the U.S. Auto Industry

JEL Codes

G01, G28


On March 30, 2009, President Barack Obama announced a plan for government-funded protection of warranties on new vehicles sold by General Motors (GM) and Chrysler while the companies underwent restructuring. The initiative, which would become known as the Auto Warranty Commitment Program (AWCP), was intended to bolster consumer confidence by alleviating a major risk—the loss of warranty benefits—to consumers associated with the companies’ potential bankruptcies. Under the AWCP, GM and Chrysler established independent special purpose vehicles (SPVs) to which they transferred a combination of their own money along with funding they received from Treasury in the form of a loan. The SPV then acted as an insurance fund, guaranteeing the availability of cash to respond to eligible warranty claims should either company fail or otherwise become unable to meet new claims on its own. The program closed on July 21, 2009, without either company’s SPV having been called into action. At the time of its announcement, the program received generally positive reviews from some in the industry and media, although there were concerns that the program would be more difficult to implement than the administration had described.

Date Revised