The Democrat said in an appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press" program that senior management at General Motors Corp., Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler Corp. should consider resigning their posts if it means their respective firms can get federal assistance.
Congressional lawmakers are considering $25 billion in emergency loans for the struggling car makers. The Senate reportedly will take up a bailout proposal Monday.
"If it was the difference between getting this kind of support or not, obviously the management should consider resigning," Levin said. "If the government wants to intrude that much into the operations of a company where it can decide who is the right management and who isn't, then I believe they should consider resigning."
Critics of the bailout, including Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama have said automakers should make deeper cuts rather than seeking a government bailout.
"They're a dinosaur, in a sense, and I hate to see this because I would like to see them become lean, and hungry and innovative," Shelby said of the car makers. "And if they did and put out the right product, they could survive. But I don't believe the $25 billion they're talking about will make them survive."