By on September 11, 2008

Troy Clarke, President of GM’s North American operations, decided answer back on some issues plaguing GM while addressing students at Southern Methodist University (home of the George W. Bush Presidential Library). Clark started with the usual PR blurb; GM is one of the largest auto manufacturers in the world, and that they bring us household brands, like Chevrolet, Buick, Saturn, Pontiac, Hummer and Cadillac. Well, until they kill Pontiac and sell off Hummer. And Buick slips in the shower and dies. While we could read into Clarke’s reference to GM as “one of” the world’s largest automakers rather than calling it “the largest,” there were other gems from the presentation. Clarke went on to trumpet GM’s phenomenal fuel economy stable: they have 18 models that get 30 mpg or better. Ray Wert trashed this myth previously: these 18 cars represent 30% of GM’s overall line up, whereas Toyota’s and Honda’s 30+mpg club represents 55 and 60%, respectively. Then came the thorny issue of “the bailout”. Or not. Because it’s not a bailout. Is it? Clarke told the crowd that actually, it’s not a bailout. It’s just a return for the taxpayer. Nice! “Congress has mandated an industry average of 35 mpg or better by 2020,” Clarke said. “This was the figure that they thought was reasonable and would not bankrupt the car companies, but it just depends on how valuable sooner results in this facet are to the American taxpayer.” Fancy that! Even though, I’m not a United States’ taxpayer, I’d hazard a guess that citizens would want their taxes spent on things like roads, defense and fixing social security, rather than a company run into the ground by clueless executives.

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13 Comments on “Bailout Watch 38: GM President Does His Own Spinning...”

  • avatar

    I’m not a United States’ taxpayer, I’d hazard a guess that citizens would want their taxes spent on things like roads, defense and fixing social security, rather than a company run into the ground by clueless executives.

    Everyone has their priorities. Personally, I’d like seeing money spend encouraging sustainable economic growth at home and abroad rather than just straight into the arms of the lowest bidder for a defense contract. But yes, I’m sure a lot of people don’t want their tax dollars funding GM managements–and I use the term loosely–current strategy.

    Fact is, GM directly or indirectly employs a lot of people, and if it goes, so do they. A bailout, if there must be one, is to save those jobs and shore up the economy; it’s not, and shouldn’t be, a porkbarrel R&D gift.

  • avatar

    Are GM’s golden parachutes and disaster-proof executive pension plans widely publicized? Why the hell not?!

    I wonder how the public would react knowing that win, lose, draw or utter failure, the executives still come out on top.

  • avatar

    I wonder how the public would react knowing that win, lose, draw or utter failure, the executives still come out on top.

    If the public had a damn clue, they’d know that of course. But it’s just the way things work here. Some Bloomberg type was interviewing a financial type yesterday talking about the way things are. As in the bailout of Bear Stearns, Fannie, Freddie, maybe Lehman Bros, and almost certainly the 2.5. So the Bloomberg type asked the financial type whether this was socialism for the rich. The answer was yes. So an alert member of the public (how’s that for an oxymoron?) might focus on whether Wagoner qualifies as being rich. And even by McCain’s from-the-top definition of over $5 million as rich, Wagoner is rich.

  • avatar

    If GM goes bankrupt the employees will still find jobs. Its not like all candlemakers laid down in the ditch and died after the lightbulb was invented…

  • avatar

    Has anyone thought about National Security concerns?
    If the U.S. continues to try to force our poor foreign policy, then having a manufacturer that is secure with it’s military vehicles and air force is mandatory. Can’t have a miltary that is subject to parts from some 3rd world country. If they were to cut off parts supply during a time of need, then we’d be screwed.

    That’s why the next gen HUMMER is going to be domestic.

    So to keep a domestic manufacturer afloat is in our countries best interest.

  • avatar

    Has anyone thought about National Security concerns?

    Yes, the Chinese and Russians. Oh, you mean the people in DC? Evidently not. Too busy counting the bribes campaign contributions.

    But we have so much of their money that they wouldn’t dare to screw with us would they? Or is that not the way things work? Guess we’ll find out soon enough.

  • avatar

    monkeyboy you might want to do a little research in your Hummer statement, I think you are confused about who owns and manufactures the HumVee, the military uses, it’s not GM.

    Are military suppliers are a seperate issue to Detriots problems, they are pretty secure since they already have Washington in their pockets.

    And your statement doesn’t hold a lot of water when you look at the fact that GM and Ford manufacture, design and engineer a lot of their “strategic” products in other countries. They have been bailing on the US for decades.

    Propping up Detriot isn’t going to do a thing for National Security, that statement is just a big load of sh*t.

  • avatar

    No research necessary. It’s AM General in Ohio. They bought the molds and castings for the old 6.5L diesel.

    Their strategic product was sadly the SUV truck. Those were made in the U.S. Cept for the Silao MX product.
    And the Cobalt is a U.S. baby.

    GM also still owns Electromotive and i believe, some of Hughes for their military concerns.

    What was your impression?

    I can only speak of what I know, so I can’t say anything of FORD.

  • avatar

    The car companies do not need to develop any new technologies. Here it is:

    Lite materials, Fiberglass, carbon fiber, aluminum, keep car weight under 3000 lbs

    Engine tech: Direct injection, turbo charging,
    Variable Value Engine control,
    4 valves per cylinder, aluminum engine, light weight moving parts internal engine, intake manifold and out take manifolds designed with best airflow, CVT transmission for best engine RPM for conditions, electric power steering, electric fuel pump, electric oil pump (turn it on b/4 engine starts and reduce engine wear from friction by 90%), one wheel for drive train get rid of rear end differential (reduces weight cost and improves efficiencey by 20%) passengers will sit in diamond shape, driver in center car can be sold in any country.

  • avatar

    The car, boat and plane manufacturing companies are what saved us in the U.S.

    The bullets were made by high speed presses in the small parts devision.

    The grease gun or cheap hand held machine gun was made by the accessory division that made small parts like the head lite covers. Cost was $10 unlike the thompson that cost $150 and jammed less.

    The Tanks were made 11.5 mile road on VanDyke in warren owned by Chrysler.
    Our steel casting companies created the turrets that had to be made to the thousands of an inch with mechanical measurements a real art and we are proud of it.

    The jeeps were made by ford and willies and a few others.

    The willow run plant from ford created bombers by the hour.

    The diesel engines were made by Detroit Diesel

    The bombs were made by mading of our forging companies in detroit from steel from Pennsylvania.

    Decoding machines were made by NCR in Dayton Ohion

    After the war, we all were moved into middle class incomes because we were the only folks with any factories left to manufacture products.

    So I donot want to hear rewrites of history!

  • avatar

    No history here. Worst subject.

    We just have to be able to be completely self sufficient. Like a Hurricane plan. You have to have all you need to support yourself in case of a catastrophy.

    Ours is just leaving office.

    We need steel, ships, munitions, air planes, banking, food etc., right here. and able to make things for defense, and the domestic market.

    If that means a bailout then so be it.

    Toyota isn’t going to come to our aid if North Korea goes ballistic.

  • avatar

    monkeyboy: Check out what happened (or didn’t happen) at a recent military march of a holiday in N. Korea recently.

    blindfaith : An American family-owned business the rights to an additive that a number of German machines needed and managed to make a lot of money off of that during the war.

  • avatar

    blindfaith I’m not sure who you think was trying to recreate history. No one is saying they didn’t manufacture a lot of weapons during WW2 but that was 60 years ago.

    We need steel, ships, munitions, air planes, banking, food etc., right here.
    We have all that here already, not sure what your point is. My point was we have dedicated military manufacturers and if added capacity is needed again it can be handle just the same as before but using Toyota, Honda, etc. You must forget that Americans work in those places, just because they aren’t UAW branded doesn’t mean they wouldn’t jump right into the effort. And the government has the capacity to use those factories, labor and resources as they need during a wartime effort, whether the owners like it or not, just look at GM and Ford production in Germany under Hitler. The Big 2.8 can barely handle the car biz handing over highly advanced weapons production to them might not work out to well, something they would have to be accountable for. Would you want your life to rely on a Chrysler build tank transmission.

    Just because they don’t get bailed out doesn’t mean they will disappear, they just wouldn’t continue on in the form you are used to, it’s called evolving. Propping them up doesn’t force them to change to meet the times.

    Toyota isn’t going to come to our aid if North Korea goes ballistic.

    Japan is reliant on teh US for their defence, especialy in a major conflict, if we get hit they get hit worse. Last time I looked at a map North Korea and Japan weren’t that far apart and don’t have good relations. Toyota, Honda and Nissan would probably offer up their factories, labor, and money before we even asked if any sort of conflict that might threaten them were to happen.

    I agree that we import way too much stuff. We need to start making our own stuff in house and quit buying cheap disposable crap. Man I hate Walmart.

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