US auto `dinosaurs` face extinction

As the US auto industry faces credit-crunch-induced meltdown, hard-liners have branded Ford, General Motors and Chrysler as "dinosaurs" facing financial extinction.

The `Big Three` are seeking a $25 billion (£17 billion) slice of the £467 billion rescue package the government has pledged to bail out the banking and financial services industry.

But Republican senators Richard Shelby and Jon Kyl have said it would be a mistake to use any rescue money to prop up the carmakers because it would only postpone the industry's inevitable demise.

"Companies fail every day and others take their place. I think this is a road we should not go down," said Mr Shelby, the senior Republican on the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee.

"They're not building the right products. They've got good workers but I don't believe they've got good management. They don't innovate. They're a dinosaur, in a sense."

Mr Kyl, the Senate's second-ranking Republican, said: "Just giving them $25 billion doesn't change anything. It just puts off for six months or so the day of reckoning."

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