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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