By on April 3, 2005

Pontiac: going down in flames?

When The Donald calls aspiring apprentices into the boardroom to determine which one to fire, I’m always hoping for a miracle. I want him to can ALL of them. My feelings about GM are identical. When GM Vice Chairman Bob Lutz hinted that he’d axe Buick or Pontiac if the divisions didn’t “gain traction,” he ignited a debate over which of the General’s lackluster brands deserved death. The answer is, of course, all of them.

General Motors was born as a conglomeration of independent car companies. In the beginning, all of GM’s acquisitions maintained their own distinct mechanical, design and marketing identity. Despite the imposition of centralized control in many strategic areas (e.g. choice of suppliers), each sub-brand remained true to its niche. Exactly when, how and why the structure fell apart, or became one big amorphous mass of poorly made product, is not as important as the fact that it has.

Vauxhall Lightning spawns Saturn Sky.  Corporate synergy or corporate sloth? GM’s eleven brands—Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Holden, Hummer, GMC, Opel, Pontiac, SAAB, Saturn and Vauxhall—are virtually interchangeable. You could rebadge a Vauxhall Lightning and call it a Saturn Sky; or a Holden Monaro and call it a Pontiac GTO; or a GMC truck and call it a SAAB 9-7X. Those are just the real-world examples. How about the new Cadillac STS as a Buick, or the Hummer H3 as a GMC? And that’s without mentioning the elephant on the assembly line: platform sharing.

GM’s brands bring new meaning to the words “product overlap.” Pontiac GTO or Chevrolet Corvette? Chevrolet Cobalt or Saturn Ion? Saab 9-5 or Cadillac CTS? The divisions might have better luck competing with non-GM brands if they weren’t so busy competing against each other. As a result, whenever one of the eleven non-identical twins tries to make a case for itself, it unintentionally demeans a fraternal partner. GMC’s claim to be “professional grade” makes Chevrolet seem amateur. Hummer’s “like nothing else” makes Buick seem common. And so on.

Is there room for Saturn in Saab's state?The marketing departments may beg to differ, but their campaigns don’t. Pontiac still touts itself as GM’s performance division—at the same time that Cadillac emphasizes its products’ supersonic speed. SAAB’s ‘State of Independence’ exhorts buyers to go their own way—while Saturn continues to chase iconoclastic buyers. And here’s a compare-and-contrast from Hell: Chevrolet’s marketing strategy for its full-size pickups vs. GMC’s.

The situation reminds me of Coca-Cola’s plight in the 70s. When the competition started offering strange and marvelous soft drink variations, Coke responded by introducing a wave of new flavors: Coke, Diet Coke, Cherry Coke, Diet Cherry Coke, Caffeine Free Diet Coke, etc. The bottom line? Add all the sales of all the new Coca-Cola sub-brands together and … the company LOST total market share. Am I the only one who sees a parallel with GM, which is responding to their diminishing slice of the US car market by introducing a flood of new products?

More products = less sales?  Whatcha gonna do Bobby?Vice Chairman Lutz could axe a couple of brands, figure out what the remaining ones are supposed to be, erect some Chinese walls and—like Hell he could. Thanks to decades of bureaucratic bungling, craven UAW appeasement and intra-departmental intrigue, GM has neither the will nor the skill to kill the omnivorous cancer devouring it. There’s only one thing for it: sell off all of the brands.

GMAC Finance is the only solidly profitable part of the entire multi-billion dollar corporation; everything else is either limping along, a dead loss or a loss leader. Dump the car and truck making side of the equation and GM becomes instantly profitable. What’s more, under independent ownership, each division would be leaner, meaner and quicker on its feet. Think about the breakup of AT&T, and the highly competitive, hugely profitable baby Bells it spawned…

If the Hummer brands gets bogged down, why can't it be someone else's problem?Even if a liberated division’s new ownership WASN’T entirely independent, even if some other multi-national car-making goliath bought up, say, Hummer, and ran it into the ground, well, so what? As a GM stockholder, I’d say “better them than us”.

The idea of being wrenched from the corporate tit is not bound to please GM’s employees and suppliers. Most sensible financial analysts would view GM’s dissolution as an improbable corporate Krakatoa: a violent, tectonic shift signaling the end of big business as we know it.

Of course, these are the same sensible people who don’t buy GM products anymore. They buy Mercs, Toyotas, BMWs and other vehicles made by companies who don’t try to juggle eleven balls at the same time. If these experts want to feel GM’s seismic rumblings, all they have to do is look at their own driveway. Even the Donald would savor the irony.

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

55 Comments on “General Motors Death Watch 1: GM Must Die...”


  • avatar

    Gonna re-read the series. Two years have passed since the inception of the series. Lets see if anything has changed for better or worse

  • avatar
    Stein X Leikanger

    Hmmm – wondered whether Lin couldn’t count, and then saw that his comment is from 2007.

    That column described the symptoms, identified the disease, and proposed what could have been an effective cure.

    What would have been interesting, RF, would be to also get to read the comments from 2005.

  • avatar

    Stein:

    We didn’t have comments back then.

  • avatar
    tced2

    All of the commentary is correct.
    Time has rendered the GMAC comments completely wrong. We didn’t know about the ticking time bomb of sub-prime mortgages and all their financial step-children yet.

  • avatar
    Happy_Endings

    Is it me or does Bob Lutz look and sound more and more like Judge Smails every day?

  • avatar
    MBella

    Excluding the GMAC part, you pretty much called GM’s problems, and offered a solution on April 3, 2005. We got to November 2008, and the car execs saying nobody could have foreseen the problems they have encountered. But of course, you are just an “armchair quarterback”. It goes back to these companies just needing common sense. Its the reason a guy from Boeing can come int an automaker, and fix many of its problems. Time will tell if it was to late. He had no auto experience. Just common sense. I say RF for Chairman and CEO of General Motors.

  • avatar
    Ingvar

    As the doctors say: The operation was successful. The patient died.

    Besides ADD, GM suffers from complete lack of understanding its own situation.

    Instead of selling off the unprofitable businesses, to concentrate on the profitable ones, they have been selling off every profitable bit that isn’t nailed down, to gather money to continue to loose money in a redundant business model. When everything is sold off, what in fact are they counting on to bring home the bacon? There just isn’t any money left to be earned in the businesses that are left, on the magnitude that they need to pay off the government loans. GM is no longer a sustainable business. They won’t ever be able to pay back, because there isn’t anything left to earn money with. GM is toast.

  • avatar
    Ingvar

    Or perhaps there is a fundamental change in business model? From “We are not in the business of making cars. We are in the business of making money.” to “making money through blackmail, extortion, sleigh of hand and plain right theft on a grand scale.” Perhaps they don’t really give a shit any more? Perhaps they have shifted GM:s incomes completely from revenue on cars to government handouts? For how long can a company survive on that strategy as a viable business plan?

  • avatar
    johnny ro

    its a good first rant on this well deserved theme.

    With hindsight, you could have added in “what if gas gets expensive.”

    And added in more about their long standing downward trend. 2005 saw them still half a mile from the cliff edge, rolling slowly in first gear (now they are over the edge.) It was more of a snapshot of company in trouble, than a reveal of long slide.

    You also went light on the union and Board. Well plenty of time in later articles to do that.

  • avatar
    97escort

    I had not discovered TTAC in 2005, so this post while now a familiar theme, is new to me.

    GM suffers from what ails so much of the bailout because it’s big to fail part of the economy. Only GM did most of its merging more than 50 years ago. At the time Wall Street and regulators, if there were any, probably thought it was the best solution for car companies in difficulty. But the end result over time was a company with the many faults RF has pointed out so many times.

    The regulators and Wall Street in the case of banks rarely if ever saw a merger they didn’t like. It was in fact the policy and still is that when a bank fails it is merged into another bank. It happened again Friday in Georgia. Over time the result is a system with a few gigantic institutions.

    Then they do something stupid like buying securitized mortgages and insuring them against default with gigantic companies like AIG.

    Now we have socialism for the rich. We give aid to those who should have known better but screwed up royally. All the while those at the lower end of the income distribution who should have known better but also screwed up royally receive a pittance if any thing.

    The de facto effect of this policy is to produce more of the same. The huge and to big to fail remain too big because they are not broken up or downsized in bankruptcy. Those on the bottom are forced into bankruptcy that has been made more punishing at the behest of the banks recently.

    The result is that the bankrupt on the bottom are downsized losing their property and suffering from loss of credit to buy cars for instance. This double standard which is now accepted by nearly everyone is spelling the death nell of capitalism as we knew it.

    We now have socialism for the rich and capitalism for the rest of us. I do not see how such a system can function for long. Capitalism for the rich and socialism for those on the bottom has its faults but it struggles along because the money given to the bottom eventually floats up to the capitalists at the top.

    But how is money given to the top to trickle down to the bottom in socialism for the rich? It won’t happen because there is no mechanism for it to happen. The poor will get poorer and rich richer even faster.

  • avatar
    lw

    I’m wondering if the UAW can hold it together.. Solidarity and all…

    Have the Ford UAW members figured out that if GM and Chrysler liquidated, they would have lifetime jobs, working 3 shifts with all the overtime they could possibly handle..?

  • avatar
    Pig_Iron

    Back in 2005, I was thinking to myself: Someone ought to start a GM Death Watch.

    So just for fun, I Googled it and up popped TTAC GM DW # 5 or 6. I was trilled to to see someone else saw the obvious.

    A year later, after 20 years of product design and development, the bomb bay doors opened on me and my colleagues, and I was out of automotive for good.

    I worked with great people on both the design side and production side. I wish them all well, and hope the ones who caused this tragedy get their just desserts. But I won’t hold my breath.

  • avatar
    rdodger

    Robert, it’s like you were channeling Nostradomus (sp) with your insight. It’s a sad state of affairs we are seeing now, but as with Phoenix, GM may rise out of the ashes a great deal smaller but better off. We can only hope.

  • avatar
    paul_y

    Thank you, Mr. Farago — the GM Death Watch is why I started reading TTAC in the first place.

    The worst part is, everything that was true four years ago is still a problem for GM.

  • avatar
    mfh

    To me , the death watch should have begun back in 2003 when GM began an unending stream of insane
    leases on most of there cars, with examples of…
    2003 Pontiac Gran Prix, nicely equipped sedan for
    24 month lease 24000 mile lease for $125 a month
    with less than $1000 down. Do the math, they were almost givving them away ! This plus pull forwards
    of present leases of 3 to 9 months on present leases all indicated a enourmous overcapacity
    problems combined with a insane belief that they
    would always return to a day when they actually
    could use all that huge overcapacity…just like GM did in 1929! These decisions helped bring on
    the Great Depression! GM NEVER LEARNS!

  • avatar
    unseensightz

    “by companies not trying to juggle eleven balls at the same time”

    This is one of the points I really don’t agree with in the article, atleast not now. Although the statement held true at the time, now every manufacturer from BMW especially, to Nissan, to even Toyota, Mercedes, etc has stretched themselves into every imagineable, and in BMW’s case, not imagineable, niche and product line possible.

    And in defense of GM’s platform sharing, since about 2000 there has been no real straight just “badge engineering” save for the G5 and G3 atleast for products sold only in America that I can think of quickly off the top of my head. I see no problem bringing a Holden here as a GTO especially when it is such a competent vehicle because the Holden is not sold here, and using the same platform is what many car companies do, but GM does change the interiors and exteriors of their vehicles and sometimes the driving dynamics. Everyone does platform sharing nowadays. And even the Big 3 don’t really do badge engineering anymore.

    Just my thoughts on the article fitting into the context of today.

  • avatar
    Kristjan Ambroz

    In teresting that you compared it to Coke. It did have a fair share of similar blunders, where successful products were made to die, only to be replaced by others, which pleased management more but didn’t do anything for the bottom line in the long run. A specific example was the entry into the diet market, which Coke started very well with the introduction of Tab – a separate drink with a very loyal customer base, which did not cannibalise regular Coke directly, as it appealed to a different demographic. For some reason it was eventually decided that a Diet Coke would make more sense. It was launched, all support was removed from Tab (in the FMCG goods area constant marketing support, be it in store promotions, publicity campaigns or something else are vital for sales) yet it still continued to outperform Diet Coke dramatically. To add insult to injury, consumers of Tab came from other, non Coca Cola Company products, while Diet Coke customers were primarily sourced from regular Coke drinkers.

    The GM situation seems similar – even if some of the products are quite good, for the large part the people coming into a GM dealer aren’t people shopping at Honda or Toyota, so the competition is between own products – which of course puts GM on a slippery slope of primarily competing against itself.

  • avatar
    Paul Niedermeyer

    mfh: To me , the death watch should have begun back in 2003

    How about 1947?
    http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/general-motors-death-watch-2752-the-story-so-far/

  • avatar
    Lee

    Truer today than when originally written i dare say.

  • avatar
    Dan

    On platform sharing: there’s dumb sharing and smart sharing.

    Smart: make a series of engines and transmissions, from small to big, and share them across cars. Volkswagen/Audi don’t seem to be hurt by their ubiquitous reuse of a handful of engines. You can make a similar case for sharing parts that nobody pays attention to (windshield wipers, car batteries, airbag assemblies, etc.).

    What’s dumb is sharing at the higher level, where it’s hard to tell a GMC truck from a Chevy truck, much less the Cadillac/Saab/Hummer derivatives.

  • avatar
    Gardiner Westbound

    Dad was a Buick man until GM discontinued the Straight-8. The hood, he would proudly point out, was long enough to land a small plane! Then he bought Oldsmobile for its Rocket V8, until it was revealed GM was stuffing relabeled Chevrolet engines into them.

    His lifelong interest never recovered. His last few cars were assorted brands. Were the Buick Fireball 8 and the Oldsmobile Rocket V8 really superior engines? He thought they were. That’s what mattered.

    Product “nuts and bolts” are important, but that is not normally what gets and holds a customer’s interest and makes the sale. We’ve all heard the term “sell the sizzle, not the steak”. GM’s bean counters knew nothing about “sizzle”, and could care less. They killed the company.

  • avatar
    fincar1

    Dan, “What’s dumb is sharing at the higher level, where it’s hard to tell a GMC truck from a Chevy truck, much less the Cadillac/Saab/Hummer derivatives.”

    A lot of this is the fault of the manufacturers knuckling under to the dealers, who wanted a new car to sell to anyone who came in the door. (The fact that they had used cars available should have helped.) So we got Pontiac versions of the Chevette and Cavalier, Mercury versions of whatever the cheapest Ford was at the time, etc, etc. So of course it became difficult to tell them all apart.

    It was once pretty reliably true that a Buick was a nicer car than a Pontiac, as well as more expensive, and a Caddy, well, that was tops! But when you could rent a piece-of-crap Olds Omega, and compare it to your own Chevy Caprice at home, that ladder from brand to brand just disappeared, and the brands became redundant.

  • avatar
    frozenman

    I agree with Dan on this,it seems the successful vehicle manufacturers have a small stable of refined engines,none of which are real ‘duds’.With a company like GM if you want to buy one of their rides the research you do on the engine they are ‘offering’ can be more important than the vehicle itself.

  • avatar
    Jared

    GMAC Finance is the only solidly profitable part of the entire multi-billion dollar corporation

    Huh? GMAC lost billions in the high-risk mortgage industry. GMAC was profitable before. It isn’t profitable now.

  • avatar
    mtypex

    Jared, reread the note at the top of the article – it is a repost from 2005.

  • avatar
    dzwax

    Marketing and accounting people should never be allowed to run a manufacturing business.

  • avatar
    Happy_Endings

    When was the last time GM’s North American car unit was profitable?

  • avatar
    George B

    Product “nuts and bolts” are important, but that is not normally what gets and holds a customer’s interest and makes the sale. We’ve all heard the term “sell the sizzle, not the steak”. GM’s bean counters knew nothing about “sizzle”, and could care less. They killed the company.

    Gardiner, I strongly disagree. GM’s problem is with the steak, the product, and supporting sizzle and steak for multiple overlapping brands is a distraction from making class competitive products. I believe that GM would be better off making excellent Chevrolets instead of mediocre Chevrolets, Pontiacs, Buicks, GMCs, and Saturns.

    Where GM falls down is many of their vehicles assult the senses with in your face cheapness and inattention to assembly detail. Cheap plastic and inconsistent panel gaps. GM has always had some good engines and transmissions in their portfolio and they are working hard at improving reliability, but the refinement has lagged the competition.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    Marketing and accounting people should never be allowed to run a manufacturing business.

    I think it’s better to say that incompetent, inbred (in corporate terms) personnel of any discipline should not be allowed to run a business.

    Toyota didn’t seem to suffer from not having a car person at the helm. The problem with GM, at it’s core, is one of management, oversight and accountability. It was endemic, cross-discipline and would require someone, anyone, at GM to take ownership of problems and set real goals. That no one really did such, and that promotion was more about being acceptable to the parties involved than being a good steward, has more to do with their leadership problem than the letters after someone’s name.

    Do you want to know what’s frightening about GM? Their best leader was Roger Smith.

  • avatar
    Dynamic88

    PN,

    It was good to read 2752 again.

  • avatar
    Mark MacInnis

    What is a true shame is that in the 3 years and 11 months since this was written, what has GM learned/done differently? Nada.

  • avatar
    bluecon

    Now the question is who will go bankrupt first? GM or the USA.

  • avatar
    mtypex

    Speaking of panel gaps and cheap plastic, this is evident in their Opel products as well, compared to VWs, Euro Fords, and so on. Saabs don’t feel as nice as Volvos.

    The fall of the decadent [but once great and mighty] GM empire has been preordained.

  • avatar
    Gottleib

    Very well said and sad at the same time. We learn that those voices in the wilderness provide the direction to go, but time and time again only a few of us listen and follow those voices.

    GM did build some solid good cars over the years, its a shame they became so arrogant and stubborn they could not see a better way. Regardless some of their products will take their place along side those of Packard, Pierce Arrow, Duesenberg, Studebaker, Nash, Hudson and others.

    Now its time to look forward to the future.

  • avatar
    Stein X Leikanger

    Agreed, Gottleib.

    And while I’m not on the same side of the table on all issues as T. Boone Pickens, his four minute run-down on energy consumption kind of points the way:
    http://www.pickensplan.com/index.php?bcpid1842760405?bclid=1842745810&bctid=1653634930&page=white

  • avatar
    Dimwit

    Wouldn’t have been nice that this had been the wakeup call that GM so desperately needed? Can you just imagine where GM would be if they had done the changes in 2006 that RF called for in 2005?

    *Sigh*

  • avatar
    lw

    “Can you just imagine where GM would be if they had done the changes in 2006 that RF called for in 2005?”

    I tend to believe GM mgmt played the hand as best the could… From 2002 – 2007 massive amounts of cash was rolling around Wall Street and if GM was worth something, they would have been bought and then sold off piece by piece to reap the rewards.

    You only need to look at the Chryco deal for evidence.. Daimler had to pay billions to unload it and the deal only worked when the banks took 95% of the risk. The Chryco deal was the peak of greed and blind risk taking.

    It would have taken a whole new level of stupid to get a GM deal done.

  • avatar
    jerry weber

    Bob asked when the downhill slide began. I pin the period in the sixties when as was stated earlier all GM dealers wanted all of the sizes GM produced in their showrooms.

    Case in point, Buick took on small and intermediate models in a complete lineup including converts, wagons, sedans and hardtops. Olds did the same. Obviously these small specials, and F-85’s etc should have stayed with chevy and maybe the intermediates could spread to pontiac. When the badge engineering took over, the individuality of the brands melted away.

    Further, GM could no longer devote enough capital to updates of basic lines when they were so busy cloning the entire GM product line. As has been said, to cut costs GM started to pull the individuality out of the larger cars that had carried the day for GM for 50 years. With a substandard small car line and now a vanilaized large car line, market share began to drop.

    Remember the mid-eighties. Lincoln advertised that you couldn’t tell the difference between a FWD olds, caddy, or buick. The town car still made on the old frame RWD was larger and more distincitve looking. Of course you couldn’t tell these GM large cars apart they were virtually identical inside and out.

    This was the first time GM dropped the veil that division no longer just shared components, they shared the entire car. In fact, this is when there were no longer divisions each independent capable of designing their own cars. You now had BOCA (buick olds, caddy) and chevy pontiac for small cars. Gone was the excitment and competitive spirit between the divisions. The divisions disapeared at the factory level, but at the dealer level they were all still there.

    Now the dealers got their wish in spades. They all had badge engineered clones of each others products. This ended the days of papering a dealership windows in Sept in anticipation of the fresh news models to be shown inside. What was a new pontiac, olds, or buick? Really a GM type car of a certain size. The ivory soap block style of GM was in ( a tribute to Ron Zarella marketing wizz kid from Proctor and Gamble).

    Gone were wide track, an American standard for the World, and wouldn’t you really rather have a Buick? Now it was wouldn’t you rather have a bland corporate car that is a poster child for a rental car? Now add time and the competitors constantly working the edges of GM. Each competitor zeroing in on a particular market of GM. All of them laser like in their focus on just taking business from one particular part of GM.

    Add all of this in a blender and bake for 20 years, and you have a fallen cake we call GM.

  • avatar
    CarnotCycle

    It is interesting to note that VP Biden gave a speech to the big AFL-CIO confab this week. It was at some super-swanky resort in Florida and off-limits to the press, closed-door sort of thing. Kinda like what the banks do.

    I’ve also noticed the unions are running Employee Free Choice Act commercials now. That is the Holy Grail of the unions, and will be an unbelievable political fight. Since GM’s fate – and the fate of its union – is now in the hands of politicos, that whole decision-making process will be increasingly driven in relation to the Card Check bill, and it is going to be an epic legislative battle.

    2009 is going to be a decisive year on the future direction of organized labor in the United State, fittingly the year the most visible corporate icon of American organized labor goes under. If unions and the corporate interests they feed on are allowed to escape the consequences of their failures, the United States will be a second-rate industrial power in twenty years, kinda like France.

  • avatar
    John Horner

    “I tend to believe GM mgmt played the hand as best they could ….”

    Surely you jest.

  • avatar

    Let the politicians decide re: GM Bailout. That’s why we voted for them.

    On the matter of what’s needed now to unclog inventories of existing new vehicles on-ground at dealerships and factory lots in the US set to put people back to work at US company owned factories ASAP, I propose:

    1. Offer direct federal access to funds to franchised new vehicle dealers for the purpose of accelerating loans for qualified consumers and fleet operators.

    Franchised new vehicle dealerships sales actualization requirements must also be taken into account in this matter as they are an integral part of the new vehicle sales “food chain.”

    If traditional funding sources don’t want to, or find they simply can’t sufficiently underwrite this business, let’s seek out and provide motivated lenders who would then be provided access to special funds set aside by the Fed under special circumstances or rules established for this purpose.

    2. Accelerate Special Offers for Fleet Operators to cycle their vehicles

    This would include all private as well as public fleets not as yet contemplated by the present plan (i.e., non- Federal Fleet vehicles), to ensure fleets replace their vehicles as they would normally cycle them.

    These offers should seek to balance alleviating inventories of existing new vehicles on-ground at dealerships and factory lots in the US, while phasing in offers for more fuel efficient vehicles as the existing inventories of new vehicles are more rationalized.

    The offers could include everything from accelerated depreciation, cash incentives to guaranteed residual values.

    3. Auto Manufacturer and Parts Supplier Shareholders’ Guaranteed Value Plan
    This proposal would reward long term stockholders of companies who pass similar, so-called stress tests now planned for the banking sector. For this purpose, “long term stockholders” could be defined as those who retain the stock for an agreed-to period of time.

    The plan would contemplate developing a formula which would guarantee a certain “floor price” for qualified stock.

    The benefits of such a plan would include taking a great deal of uncertainty out of the value of companies who remain in this space by virtue of a larger group of shareholders who, in effect, have been encouraged through this guarantee to hold onto their stock. These companies, in turn, would benefit from access to funds from the stock purchases as well as other financial benefits associated with increased stability.

    4. National US Auto Industry “Super Sale”

    Designate a short, specific time period where consumers would benefit from the acquisition of a new vehicle through any number of offerings (i.e., large cash incentives, pre-paid maintenance, extended warranties, accelerated tax incentives beyond those passed in the stimulus bill, etc.) all set to, again, unclog existing inventories and get people back to work.

  • avatar
    BDB

    “off-limits to the press, closed-door sort of thing.”

    Sorry, but this is a bald faced lie. Reporters were present for the whole thing, transcripts of his speech were handed out.

  • avatar
    lw

    In fact I don’t jest… People are generally rational… Think of a decision that seems “easy”.. then think of all the reasons they can’t do it.

    Think of all the reasons that you wouldn’t kill Hummer if you were Red Ink Rick….

    – Kill it and you can’t sell it for anything…
    – Maybe the union go nuts if you kill a brand outright…
    – So try and sell it.. Maybe the Union wants commitments from the new owner to maintain wages and benefits for X years which kills the deal…

    I think of GM, Ford and Chryco as American business cess pools.
    None of them have viable business plans. Ford seems to have the best shot by changing the rules.. New union deal, cut a deal to lower the debt…

    All of the owners (unions, shareholders, bond holders) have just been working over the management for years trying to get to the head of line for the scraps left over after Ch. 11.

    So far they have all bet right.. Even when the company was bankrupt, they were able to bring in a new sugar daddy to keep the payouts coming.

    You can bet all of the employees and management are stocking up on drugs, dental work, elective surgeries and such courtesy of Uncle Sugar..

    Why can’t they fire Rick? Who in their right mind would take his place?

  • avatar
    Rastus

    Uncle Rastus has been here the entire time. Thanks for the trip down memory lane…it brings tears to my eyes :)

    I want to say you’re brilliant Robert. In some respects you are…and a lot of it has to do with the freedom of the internet. It allows one to say it like it is in a completely uninhibited manner. Put two and two together and you get a nice 4yr running…which is damn cool in my book.

    But at the same time, most anyone with a lick of sense saw GM’s demise. Some were in denial, some where too arrogant to admit it…but the average Joe, including myself, who has owned and driven one of their P’s-O-S….it doesn’t take more than that to know GM was doomed.

    Thanks GM for fulfilling the prophecy. See…you’re good for something after all…your piss-poor performance is almost Biblical.

    God Bless.

  • avatar
    ZoomZoom

    I’m glad my red Trans Am never had the “Screaming Chicken” on its hood!

    Thanks for the trip down memory lane. I mean about the Deathwatch #1 and all; not the chicken.

  • avatar
    Stein X Leikanger

    Can GM cure its Biggus Dickus complex?
    That’s what it will take. As Niedermayer points out above, GM doomed itself when it butchered the Cadet program in 1947, saying no to small cars.

    At GM, working on smaller cars in foreign places became the entry level OJT before you got to go gigantic on one of the cooler brands – but being stuck with a smaller car was a clear sign that your contributions were considered sub-par.

    The mantra became fixed: you can’t make enough money on small cars for it to be worth the bother.
    “Load ‘em up, drag ‘em out!” became the war cry for GM (and a number of other car makers. Just look at what happened to the SUV category as they became as large as vans. Try driving that off-road.)

    Will they be able to downsize? This is the company that put hybrids in their large trucks, and that turned out a pre-bloated Chevy Volt before bloating it some more.
    It’s not in GM management’s genes to build sensible, smarter vehicles. It just isn’t.
    The people running GM don’t deserve to be saved – they’d just screw up again.

  • avatar
    Patrickj

    @Carnotcycle

    The United States has been a second rate industrial power for the past 35 years, in terms of its ability to build manufactured goods.

  • avatar
    bubbagump

    And then there are folk like me. Just bought an ’07 Accord v6 for 20k otd with 14k miles on the clock.

    Bought my ’99 Bonneville from the same folk back in ’00. Both deals didn’t leave bad tastes in my mouth and I didn’t have to eat the first year (overpricing premium) depreciation.

    I suspect that like a majority of vehicle buyers, and a minority of folk on this site, to me a vehicle is merely an appliance, purchased to serve a purpose, nothing more.

  • avatar
    tankd0g

    It took a little longer than expected, but then again, they had some undeserved life support.

  • avatar
    KatiePuckrik

    And today is the day of GM’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

    On 03/04/2005, TTAC called it and everyone else thought they were barking mad.

    I think a little smugness should be permitted….

  • avatar
    Mervich

    Rastus: “…most anyone with a lick of sense saw GM’s demise. Some were in denial, some where too arrogant to admit it…but the average Joe, including myself, who has owned and driven one of their P’s-O-S….it doesn’t take more than that to know GM was doomed.”

    There is a vast difference between foreseeing the demise of GM and wishing/hoping for its demise. Many, like yourself, who have owned or driven one of their P’s-O-S have wished and hoped for the eventual failure of GM.

    There are likely just as many who have hoped, wished and prayed for the failure of Microsoft for their arrogance, business practices and never ending stream of crap software. At this juncture in time though, I don’t believe anyone has foreseen the demise of Microsoft.

    When the prophet Farago originally posted this article, I certainly wished and hoped GM’s arrogance and business practices would result in their eventual demise, but I only dreamed it would actually come to pass. After all, most all others were preaching, “GM is too big to go down.”

  • avatar
    Lee

    And with decisions like not continuing the G8 under another brand, they are doomed to failure, again.

    Wouldn’t it just be cheaper to liquidate GM and pay the employees a pension?


Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Subscribe without commenting

Recent Comments

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Contributing Writers

  • Jack Baruth, United States
  • Brendan McAleer, Canada
  • Marcelo De Vasconcellos, Brazil
  • Vojta Dobes, Czech Republic
  • Matthias Gasnier, Australia
  • W. Christian 'Mental' Ward, Abu Dhabi
  • Mark Stevenson, Canada
  • Cameron Aubernon, United States
  • J Emerson, United States