General Motors Corp. and Chrysler, which have requested as much as $21.6 billion in additional government aid, may need "considerably" more than that, said Steven Rattner, the Treasury's chief auto advisor.
"It could be considerably higher, I won't deny that," Rattner said in an interview on Bloomberg Television.
Rattner and President Obama's auto task force are assessing proposals from GM and Chrysler and deciding whether to recommend additional aid, which would help the carmakers avoid filing for bankruptcy. Rattner said the task force would give its "sense of direction" before March 31. Chrysler and GM have received $17.4 billion since December and requested more last month.
"What they've asked for depends on them achieving plans that are somewhat ambitious," Rattner said. "Like all management teams they tend to take a reasonably, slightly perhaps optimistic view of their business. So it could be more, I can't rule that out."
GM spokesman Greg Martin said Friday that its restructuring plan had "a conservative outlook." The Detroit carmaker will continue working with the task force "and we'll keep them informed of our liquidity needs," Martin said.