By on July 10, 2009

I once asked a priest about confession. What was the point? I knew Catholics who’d sin, confess, sin, confess, wash, rinse, repeat. “It’s not a ‘get out of hell free’ card,” he insisted. “Confession means you fully acknowledge your sin, pledge to atone for the harm you’ve caused, promise God that you’ve learned from your mistakes and change your behavior.” Let’s say you do all that and commit the same sin. What good’s an unrealized promise? “None,” he said. “I have refused absolution to repeat sinners because I didn’t believe that they were ready, willing or able to abandon their sins.” And there you have it: New GM’s recipe for disaster. Let us turn to the first sentence of New GM’s first press release.

The new General Motors Company began operations today with a new corporate structure, a stronger balance sheet, and a renewed commitment to make the customer the center of everything the new GM does.

Leaving aside the fact that GM’s opening proclamation makes no mention of its bankruptcy, or what led to its bankruptcy, how can New GM claim it has a new corporate structure? Fritz Henderson was the CEO of Old GM. Fritz Henderson is the CEO of New GM. Mark LaNeve was Old GM’s VP of sales and marketing for North America. Mark LaNeve is New GM’s VP of sales and marketing for North America. Old GM’s ex-Car Czar Bob Lutz has been reinstated as New GM Car Czar. Meet the new boss . . .

Actually, GM is now run by the federal government, under the watchful eye of a twenty-five member, politically-appointed “Presidential Task Force on Automobiles.” As much as Old GM’s management needed a right royal arse kicking—which, as stated above, this isn’t—I still can’t see GM nationalization as something worth celebrating.

Sure, GM’s balance sheet is stronger than it was before the government assumed control. And yes, New GM is “only” carrying $11 billion worth of debt. But any realistic appraisal of its balance sheet must consider cash flow, current assets and future prospects.

New GM’s brands and product plans are in complete disarray. With the exception of its pickup truck, GM’s products are class-trailing. Incentives are high and getting higher (i.e. margins are low and getting lower). GM’s killer apps are, as always, on the horizon.

Meanwhile, when exactly was GM last committed to its customers? Before they allowed [now-bankrupt] Bill Heard Chevrolet to screw every single person that darkened the dealership’s doors because the man moved mountains of metal? Never mind because . . .

“Today marks a new beginning for General Motors, one that will allow every employee, including me, to get back to the business of designing, building and selling great cars and trucks and serving the needs of our customers,” said Fritz Henderson, president and CEO.

Somewhere in the back of my mind, I hear Elton John’s “I’m Still standing.” But if New GM’s so new, why are we getting the same old song and dance from its old—I mean, previous and current, CEO?

“One thing we have learned from the last 100 days is that GM can move quickly and decisively,” said Henderson. “Today, we take the intensity, decisiveness and speed of the past several months and transfer it from the triage of the bankruptcy process to the creation and operation of a new General Motors.”

Here we are again: faster, deeper, harder, oh baby! Anyone remember Chrysler’s contention that speed was the primary advantage of private equity ownership? That didn’t turn out so well. Besides, does anyone really believe that a government-owned General Motors (with the aforementioned twenty-five member oversight team) will be faster than Ye Olde GM?

As I’ve said before, GM’s problem is not speed. It’s direction. GM still doesn’t have a coherent plan for their brands or the models within. Or do they?

“Our goal is to build more of the cars, trucks, and crossovers that customers want, and to get them to market faster than ever before.”

More, faster. See how that works? Or, in fact, doesn’t?

“The success of our recent launches and the exciting new vehicles and technologies we have in the pipeline are evidence of our ongoing commitment to excel at everything we do,” said Henderson. “Our goal is to make each and every General Motors car, truck and crossover the best-in-class.”

According to Fritz’s previous pronouncements, GM’s whittling itself down to 39 nameplates. What are the odds that all of them will be best-in-class? But hey, Fritz feels me.

“Beginning next week, we will launch a ‘Tell Fritz’ website where customers, or anyone else, can share ideas, concerns, and suggestions directly with senior management. I will personally review and respond to some of these communications every day.”

Glasnost at GM? Sounds good! But then, confession is good for the soul. As long as it’s genuine . . .

[NB: Fritz is having a webchat on the FastLane at 4pm EST]

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

56 Comments on “Editorial: Between The Lines: New GM’s First Press Release...”


  • avatar
    Boff

    To extend the Christian metaphor…did you expect GM to cloak it’s first press release in sack-cloth and ashes?

    Corporate PR has always been about sunny spin and nothing else.

    Nothing to see here…move along.

  • avatar
    Cicero

    Talk. Is. Cheap.

  • avatar

    As quite possibly GM’s biggest critic, I will share some positives I heard today. First, Fritz spoke with knowledge and authority, He directly answered questions and was much smoother than when he first took the job as CEO. Reading between the lines, he mentioned that LaNeve was in charge of sales “today” and responsible for results “this month”, leading to the assumption the needed change is coming within the Sales and Marketing at GM. He said outside talent is “being reviewed” and announcements would be made within weeks.

    Also encouraging were remarks claiming accountability will be integral to the new GM.

    The jury is still out on Fritz in my opinion, and based on this mornings performance, he may just be the right guy at the right time.

  • avatar
    educatordan

    As a “fallen” Catholic, let me say you do need to be truly sorry. GM is not sorry, nor does it think it did anything wrong. GM sees itself as a victim of consumers.

    Perhaps Chrysler’s attitude has been different through all this turmoil because they were always a bit of an “also ran” compared to Ford & GM in the sales department. GM must die. If the government is going to prop up auto companies they might as well pick 1 and my vote is for Chrysler. Let Chrysler raid GMs engineering and design departments and see what happens. I think they could actually build their sales up to the level of GMs in the 90s.

    BTW all of you who think it could never work, remember Chrysler’s renaissance after they bought AMC and took their Best and Brightest.

  • avatar
    rmwill

    Where is buickman when we need him?

    They might as well have kept Rick Wagoner. They are both descended from a long line of Treasurers Office winners like Roger Smith and Jack Smith.

    No wonder Rattner et al. like him. He is them!

    Death by Harvard MBA. MBA’s kill car companies dead.

  • avatar
    Ken Elias

    GM needs an outsider to be its new CEO, a person not tainted by the culture of the old GM, to set a new course for the company. GM never put its customers first, totally lost focus on product, and its culture elevated the best ass-kissers, not real talent. Can we really expect the same group to change direction?

    In my mind, it’s the same thing as asking your wife of 20 years to wear leathers, latex, and spiked heels for a night out – when she always was a J. Crew kind of gal. Ain’t gonna happen!

  • avatar
    SupaMan

    ““Our goal is to build more of the cars, trucks, and crossovers that customers want, and to get them to market faster than ever before.””

    Not if their future product plans have anything to say about it.

    We want: Cadillac to be all RWD with a car line that mimics that of BMW or Mercedes
    We will get: a FWD sub-CTS, a(nother) FWD ES350 (Cadillac Lacrosse?) competitor and no RWD flagship in sight

    We want: the Pontiac G8′s RWD platform to live on
    We will get: Another FWD Impala

    We want: a Camaro Z28
    We will get: nada

    We want: Buick to stop stepping on Cadillac’s toes
    We will get: much of the same

    As Cicero said:

    Talk. Is. Cheap.

  • avatar
    Bunter1

    Let me see if I get this straight-

    A company that could not find the motivation to change, to pursue excellence, with their backs to the wall will suddenly “get religion” on these issues with the loving arms of President Goodwrench wrapped around them to sheild them from the “mean ol’ world out there”.

    Gee sure mister, I’ll buy yur swampland.

    Cheerio,

    Bunter

  • avatar
    MikeyDee

    I’ll say what I said before…what guarantee does the “New” GM have that folks are going to get in line to buy their products? It’s the worst sales climate in many years. Credit is still very difficult to get. Consumers are still fearful for their jobs and holding back purchases.

    This is not a great time to launch a new company.

    What will happen if the “New” GM’s sales are the same or worse than the “Old” GM?

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    Besides, does anyone really believe that a government-owned General Motors (with the aforementioned twenty-five member oversight team) will be faster than Ye Olde GM?

    Actually, yes. The Old GM’s corporate oversight was about as bad as it is possible to get; government leadership at least forced some necessary change on a company that would have happily run right into the ground.

    Admittedly, it’s not perfect, but it is progress.

    I personally would like to see a little government testicle-squeezingintervention, but I realize that this is an American company and the kind of overt government involvement that, say, saved Renault a few decades back or continues to work well elsewhere in the world (Japan comes to mind) isn’t something that the American government, nor a vocal slice the American citizenry, could stomach.

  • avatar
    Stingray

    At least it’s better than for example… a Chavez run company ;)

    @Buickman: given the new shareholder structure… what happened to Old GM’s shareholders?

    they went to Bad GM or stay in Good “New” GM?

  • avatar
    RetardedSparks

    “Anyone remember Chrysler’s contention that speed was the primary advantage of private equity ownership? That didn’t turn out so well.”

    Give them some credit – they were the first into bankruptcy, weren’t they? ;-)

    This whole soap opera has been myopically liability-focused, with no idea whatsoever about how they will make better vehicles, get people to buy them, or make money on them when/if people do.

    GM’s REAL liability is the top ten floors of the Ren Cen. Until you get rid of that, the government’s “quick rinse” hasn’t gotten the stain, or the smell, out of GM.

  • avatar

    AN’s story on the structure changes:

    http://www.autonews.com/article/20090710/ANA02/907109995/1178

    These are substantial. They are removing layers and organizational complexity. Troy Clarke’s position is gone. And LaNeve is losing responsibility for marketing.

  • avatar
    ajla

    Beginning next week, we will launch a ‘Tell Fritz’ website where customers, or anyone else, can share ideas, concerns, and suggestions directly with senior management.

    Remember how great the “Ask Dr.Z” website worked for ChryslerCo?

    Going off the live chats GM did on the Fastlane blog this past month: 40% of the questions on “Tell Fritz” will be complaining about bad dealer service, 40% will be begging GM to keep a Zeta platform sedan in North America, and the remaining 20% will be ass-kissing comments like “I just bought a Traverse and it is greater than 50 Venzas combined!”.
    ____
    “Our goal is to build more of the cars, trucks, and crossovers that customers want, and to get them to market faster than ever before.”

    Thetas and Delta IIs for everybody!

  • avatar
    loverofcars1969

    Lol Meet the new boss who just happens to act like the old one. What’s happening in America would be funny if I wasnt American.

  • avatar
    MichaelJ

    The guy got up there and addressed most of the issues that have been ranted about on this site over and over again: 35% reductions in executive headcount (more than the rest of the workforce), customer focus, speed, aspiring to lead instead of being just competitive, commitment to paying back the money, making the “including me” comment in order to make sure the accountability is clear, driving more accountability to lower levels in the company where it belongs, a website where folks can communicate to him directly, having folks at the top levels of the company visit dealerships, plants, etc, revamping the marketing leadership (including hints that LaNeve won’t be around forever)…

    Not sure what he could’ve said to make folks happy, besides “I quit.” And frankly, just because the guy has worked at GM a long time and worked with Wagoner doesn’t make him the same. Is everyone a carbon copy of their boss? Don’t folks normally think to themselves that “if I ever had the chance to take that guy’s job…”

    Talk is cheap. But you gotta start somewhere, and at least he’s saying the right things. I guess we can quibble over whether “stronger” really means “strong” and “gee how can you ‘go back’ to something you weren’t doing,” if that’s the best we can come up with.

    We can be skeptical about whether he can actually execute what he says. But at least he’s come out and said it.

  • avatar
    john.fritz

    …right royal arse kicking…

    ?

  • avatar
    oboylepr

    Sooo..what now? NGM is down to 11 Billion in debt and is re-structured and trimmed down appropriately, what happens if it continues to lose money and accrue more and more debt. Is the bailout open ended? Is NGM going to keep sucking money into the abyss? How are they going to suddenly start paying their way, make a profit and pay back the taxpayers? One would like to be super positive about NGM’s future as a viable company in the grand tradition of American Capitolism but somehow I cannot get over the feeling that NGM will be in CH11 again within a year and NNGM a year after that and so on!

  • avatar

    Nicely put, MichaelJ. The thing is, there’s nothing he can say that hasn’t been said. The real proof will be in the doing. And some people talk as if they already know what’s going to happen, but I don’t think anyone–inside or outside–really does. It’s early.

  • avatar
    GS650G

    There is nothing in their business plan that says I have to buy their products(at least not directly) so they can go pound it.

    If asked why i won’t buy a GM car I reply “because I gave at the office”

  • avatar
    gslippy

    And old, bad GM becomes the dirt swept under the rug – the sooner forgotten, the better.

    Nearly every sentence set off the BS detector.

    The company is also a leader in the development of extended-range electric vehicles, with its first model, the Chevy Volt, currently undergoing road testing and scheduled to launch in 2010.

    Uh, except for Tesla, who has actually been selling extended-range electric cars for a while now, and whose price point approximates their performance point. The dual-fuel Volt won’t do that.

    “fewer, better entries” Sure, except for the unrelenting badge engineering efforts [Converj anyone?].

  • avatar
    Matt51

    If GM emerged from CH11 and cut the list price of their remaining models 20% across the board, they might have had a chance. Instead, they are saying they want to eliminate incentives to increase profitability. Their cars are not competitive, they need a 20% price cut just to sell their current products. So GM is doomed, might as well stop worrying about it, they are headed for Chapter 7, sooner than later.

  • avatar
    CarnotCycle

    The elephant in the room no one acknowledges is that Fritz is the puppet ruler of GM. A Pu Yi “running” Manchukuo if you will…

    GM as configured will respond to its customers appropriately. But its customers (and “owners”) are political interests, not vehicle buyers.

    A troubling trend for NGM is now all its resources for R&D and branding (Green logo!) are going into compact cars. That market is a vicious, low-margin world with very established competitors. I see a problem where GM lets the truck business – a vicious, high-margin world where GM is as established and proficient as anyone – atrophy away, because the political markets it serves now are not interested in such a business. Sigh.

  • avatar
    beken

    The problem I have with this speech is I’ve heard it all before. As a former, very loyal, GM customer, I just can’t get myself to believe it’s going to be any different. I’ve been fooled too many times already and am tired of listening to excuses and apologies. It will take a good 5 to 10 years of watching GM very closely before most of us can truely say GM has turned the corner. In the meantime, if I need a car, GM cars, though a few of their models may look compelling, are not on my radar.

  • avatar
    bjcpdx

    “Our goal is to build more of the cars, trucks and crossovers that Americans want…”

    Goals are specific. “More” is not a goal. If he had outlined a coherent plan for their brands or the models within (as Robert mentioned above), now that would be a goal.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    @CarnotCycle: Quite right. Actual paying customers don’t want ‘green’ cars. GM ought to – but won’t – stick with profitable vehicles.

    They’ll produce the Volt to satisfy Washington, and consumers will hate it despite the $7500 tax rebate. Then California will raise its zero-emissions requirement, and the Volt will become a subsidized niche product for the elite.

    GM’s eventual demise will have cost the taxpayers $50-100 billion, and they’ll blame the ‘economy’ or ‘credit crunch’.

  • avatar
    lw

    Remember when everyone said that a bankruptcy of this size would take 2-3 years? Well they all assumed that folks wanted a successfully bankruptcy.

    Imagine what a completely objective investor would do when his ONLY goal is the return of his investment and ONLY THEN A NEW GOAL of making billions by selling the company. That guy would WANT a 2-3 year process with a judge to do the dirty work for him the whole way.

    Now GM is royally screwed. No more judge, no private investor will get near GM and the public is generally pissed off at them.

    I can understand why they aren’t getting rid of any key executives. Anyone qualified for those positions wouldn’t touch GM.

    The ONE tool they had left was Ch. 11 and they blew it. An accurate headline would be:

    “GM Leaves Rehab / Calls OnStar for Directions to Nearest Bar”

  • avatar
    rmwill

    GM Executives have mouthed change for decades. Just because Fritz gave a good speech reciting the obvious does not mean he should stay.

    Also, the middle ranks of management are the biggest problem and most responsible for stagnation. Cut half of middle management, then maybe I would begin to come around.

    Besides, lets see who actually gets shown the door. My guess is less than the announced number.

  • avatar
    CarnotCycle

    “GM Leaves Rehab / Calls OnStar for Directions to Nearest Bar”

    Not to make a joke in bad taste – actually it is to make a joke in bad taste – the new GM will probably last as long, and meet the same fate as, Michael Jackson’s comeback tour (10 Xanax a night! This is it!).

  • avatar

    in a room where Rockefeller sits…
    he took his licks,
    so now is bringing out the sticks,
    while making his picks,
    of useless execs to nix
    and give well deserved kicks…
    Puttin’ on the Fritz.

  • avatar
    th009

    bjcpdx: Goals are specific. “More” is not a goal. If he had outlined a coherent plan for their brands or the models within (as Robert mentioned above), now that would be a goal.

    A plan isn’t a goal, either; it’s the roadmap for reaching that goal. However, selling more cars than GM sold in 2008 is indeed a goal. And not an easy one, either, given the economy, the fallout from Chapter 11 and the disappearance of Pontiac, Saturn and to a lesser extent Saab and Hummer.

  • avatar

    I personally would like to see a little government testicle-squeezingintervention, but I realize that this is an American company and the kind of overt government involvement that, say, saved Renault a few decades back or continues to work well elsewhere in the world (Japan comes to mind) isn’t something that the American government, nor a vocal slice the American citizenry, could stomach.

    I personally think that Canada should scrap its orwellian Human Rights apparatus that is little more than an attempt to suppress politically incorrect speech but I realize that as an American it’s really not my position to tell Canadians how to govern their country.

  • avatar

    The simple fact is that GM must make not competitive cars, but superior cars whose quality forces consumers to consider them despite negative feelings about the company.

    While consumers are not completely rational actors, for the most part they are looking for quality and value. A long time ago Steve Jobs described Apple’s task as designing and manufacturing products that will provoke wonder and awe in consumers. The phrase he used was “amazingly great”.

    The usual suspects of the good cars in GM’s lineup are not enough. Yes, the Malibu is competitive in its field, usually ranking with Camcords in comparison tests, sometimes coming in #1, but what GM has to produce are products that are unquestionably superior to their competitors in terms of value, and have some element of “amazingly great”, some distinctive sparkle that catches consumers’ attention.

    Don’t compete. Leapfrog.

  • avatar
    Loser

    “Our goal is to build more of the cars, trucks, and crossovers that customers want, and to get them to market faster than ever before.”

    GM has been playing this same old song in various versions for the past 30 some years. Maybe I’m just too cynical but GM is the boy that cried wolf a few too many times. Why should anyone believe this isn’t just another Roger Smith moment.

  • avatar
    Runfromcheney

    I already know that New GM will crash and burn just because of the fact that the management was left in tact. Even though Bob Lutz was moved up into a high-ranking position, the hopes of him engineering a GM product resurgence similar to what he did with Chrysler in the 90s is a pipe dream; The beancounters will have no part in it. The reason why Lutz was able to turn Chrysler into a powerhouse was because Iacocca had engineered a positive corporate culture where everyone did what was right for the company. Lutz just opened the gates for the engineers to run free, and the rest worked itself out.

    Chrysler is the only one that I think is going to work, just because they had their management swiped clean and replaced, as well installing Marchionne, who has proven that he is an effective manager with his turnaround of Fiat.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    I personally think that Canada should scrap its orwellian Human Rights apparatus that is little more than an attempt to suppress politically incorrect speech but I realize that as an American it’s really not my position to tell Canadians how to govern their country.

    Sure it is, all you have to do is justify it as “liberation”. Poke, poke, poke.

    I think my point is valid despite my passport’s having a lion and unicorn on it instead of an arrow-wielding eagle. Americans as a culture have issues with overt nationalization, and instead allow themselves to fall victim to a kind of apparently limp-wristed, backdoor form of it that’s both far more ineffective, and yet nastier for it’s underhandedness.

    GM would, I think, be better off under direct, decisive government control, not this four-hundred cooks nonsense.

  • avatar
    venator

    Psarhjinian, when you say that you would have preferred something like the French government’s intervention to save (sic) Renault, do you mean that Waggoner should have been murdered in prison like Louis Renault was before his company was nationalised?

  • avatar
    TomG

    pathetic
    no more… no less…

    CNN ran the comment “GM reinvents itself in 40 days”
    They weren’t able to do so in 40 years, now they do it in 40 days? That would be a grand joke if it weren’t for the taxpayers (BTW,not only in USA) having to bail out decades of incompetent management. They didn’t learn in the late 70′s when the Japanese overran the US auto market. They didn’t learn inn the 90′s when the rest of the world developed economic vehicles and now the same management has “reinvented” itself…

    IMHO, GM is what it is, a dinosaur best left to do what it is good at: becoming extinct. Or to put it in other words, where is the famed American neo-liberal philosophy? Where is the philosophy of markets that regulate themselves?

    On the other hand if GM would disappear, I would have no further case studies of mismanagement (on all levels) for my lectures.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    do you mean that Waggoner should have been murdered in prison like Louis Renault was before his company was nationalised?

    Tempting…

    On a serious note, no. I do think that, for the good of the economy as a whole, that the decisions that need to be made ought to be made more quickly. Renault’s restructuring in the 1980s is the model I was pointing to, and Louis had been gone for forty years at that point.

    Chrysler’s path was actually quite quick and I think we’re all the better off for it now that the company has direction. There was very little of the kind of “too many cooks” behaviour we’re seeing in the handling of GM, it’s creditors and it’s dealers—something we’re seeing because the government isn’t acting quickly and wholeheartedly, but is dithering and acquiescing to other parties.

  • avatar
    George B

    lw :
    July 10th, 2009 at 6:22 pm

    …Now GM is royally screwed. No more judge, no private investor will get near GM and the public is generally pissed off at them.

    The ONE tool they had left was Ch. 11 and they blew it…

    Exactly! I wanted to see a restructured GM that made a dozen high volume Chevrolet models at a profit plus a few interesting unique models. They don’t have to be RWD performance models, but I’d like to see interior plastic that looks at least as good as the stuff used in my 10 year old Honda plus and exterior with some of the styling magic of the 60s. Chapter 11 was GMs one shot to get rid of the redundant rebranding gone wild BPG sales channel and tell the UAW to go pound sand. Yes they also need to cut some dead wood out of management, but they don’t need a bankruptcy judge to help clean out Ren. Cen. Instead of a clean start, the government backed Chapter 11 injects taxpayer money and restarts the GM Death Watch.

  • avatar
    lw

    @ George B

    Yep.. I wanted the same thing. I’ve bought GM all my life. A perfect client for them.. In my mid 30s, good paying job and I love anything with a gas tank. Currently own 3 cars, 2 motorcycles and an RV.

    I’ll never touch GM until they pay every cent back to the government. Even the government debt that was forgiven must be paid back for me to step foot in a GM dealership.

    So now we can start a cash burn watch. With a few months of data we can predict when Obama will need to slide them some more cash. I’m thinking within 12 months. Maybe less depending on how high the unemployment #s go.

    I just didn’t get the feeling that they really addressed a significant part of the cash burn problem in Ch. 11. It feels like they just diffused all the debt time bombs that were out there for the next few years.

  • avatar
    Blastman

    Isn’t corporate socialism fun. And by that I don’t mean the government running GM, but the hiring and promoting practices exercised by GM for the last 25 years.

    The corporate philosophy of GM is reflected in this pronouncement from the General Motors website …

    ” … All managers are expected to meet or exceed their diversity goals set through the Affirmative Action Program and initiatives and efforts. Executive representation goals have been set for each GM Sector and performance and targets are expected to be fully satisfied ……”

    From a Ward’s a Auto World article written in 2001 …

    ” … He says since 1988, Chrysler’s policy has been to make half of its engineering hires minorities or women. At GM 57% of job offers made to engineering students last fall went to minorities and women …………….”

    See … http://waw.wardsauto.com/ar/auto_high_demand/

    Socialism is egalitarian, and it deteriorates into the belief that everyone is absolutely equal (quite different from the idea of having equal rights before the Law which everyone doesn’t have to be equal to have). It’s pure fantasy. Everyone isn’t equal in the sense that they bring the same talents and abilities to the table as someone else.

    I’m sure other basketball players work just as hard as Michael Jordan does, but why don’t they produce as well as he does? Differences in talent — which demonstrates that all people are not equal in ability. It doesn’t matter how hard some people work at basketball, they just won’t achieve as high as Jordan will.

    In the case of GM, it doesn’t matter how hard some of the employees of GM work, if they were hired or promoted for political reasons rather than excellence, they won’t produce the same quality of work as more talented persons will that were hired or promoted for excellence rather than political reasons. This corporate socialist egalitarianism that pretends everyone is equal is a fantasy, a fairy tale to make everyone feel important. The strive for diversity for diversities sake, produces corporate failure and mediocrity when compared against other companies that have better hiring and promotion practices.

    And when employees see that the hiring and promoting system in a company is based on political reasons rather than excellence, it poisons the corporate culture. Why should an employee work their butt off to produce excellence when it doesn’t matter? They will just end up getting overlooked for a promotion political reasons. So employees just do the minimum required and put in their 9-5 hours to get a paycheck. Well, … as long as the company survives.

    When the Berlin Wall came down in 1989, the socialist East Germany was a backwards, economically and technically underdeveloped country compared to West Germany. They were driving automobiles that were 20 years out of date technically and engineering wise. These corporate socialist/egalitarian hiring and promoting policies do the same thing to companies as counties, only on a smaller scale. Good luck in fixing 25 years of these GM corporate policies.

    And GM only has $11bn in debt now? What happened to the other $50bn in debt that GM was carrying? The government cover these debts for Wall Street so they don’t have to take the loss on a bad bet?

  • avatar
    BillK

    I get a laugh .. sometimes, that we continue to banter this ‘GM’ ( domestic car manufacturers ) bad / japanese good ( please grunt when you sputter that out again ) story around. We even have someone saying Chrysler should be put in charge of them. Guess he missed that Chrysler went bamkrupt too( twice for them ). I notice no one mentions that Toyota and Honda are both down 20 or 30% in sales. However, like Ford, they had cash on the books to ride the recession out. If I recall correctly it was only a few years back that the BIG 3 were most worried about 1 thing — the Japanese getting in the truck market. As I recall it was the year when the TITAN won big truck of the year. Ya, the japanese were so far ahead of the crowd. Bull. They saw where the profit margin was. They saw they were starting to loose business to the cheap Korean/Chinese. So they went truck happy. But when the oil prices spiked the Japanese had the product. Of course they did. With super high gases prices at home they had to have small cars. But good luck trying to sell a car in Japan.
    So where do we go from here. Let’s face it..those backward nations of only a few years ago are now democracies. People all over the world are getting 1st rate education, enough food and medical attention and education..education…education. So we can’t compete. Not when those nations pay an auto worker 6 or 7 bucks an hour. So you tell the Korea’s and the Chinese and the Mexicans that you’ll still buy some of they’re cheap cars ( helps those people working at walmart because of all the jobs that won’t come back ) as long as they buy an ‘equal value’ of product from you. They can buy toothpicks if they want. But no more deficits. It’s always harder to get ahead when you’re coming from behind.

  • avatar
    TomG

    Dear Bill,

    When you stop laughing, you may want to download the annual reports of GM and of Toyota. Then take some time to analyze them and figure out how has been making profit and and which business units were responsible for that. Maybe you will notice that the only division at GM with a positive ROI was GM Bank.
    Before you get your next laugh attack you may also want to research the hourly wages at Toyota…
    Oh, and then you may also want to research consumer satisfaction reports and ratings of international automobile associations (American as well as European and Asian), given you can read French, German and Chinese. If later is not the case you may also consider getting an education in one the countries you are bantering about.

    The point I am making is very simple: the pattern of thinking you are demonstrating here is exactly what lead to the situation that the American automobile industry is in. looking for mouse holes and arguments, blaming others instead of critically examining the reasons…

  • avatar
    Lokkii

    Pssst- Bill

    Did we forget that BMW, Honda, Toyota, Hyundai, and others all make cars in the United States, using American workers, and make money doing it?

  • avatar
    agenthex

    ” … He says since 1988, Chrysler’s policy has been to make half of its engineering hires minorities or women. At GM 57% of job offers made to engineering students last fall went to minorities and women …………….”

    See … http://waw.wardsauto.com/ar/auto_high_demand/

    Socialism is egalitarian, and it deteriorates into the belief that everyone is absolutely equal (quite different from the idea of having equal rights before the Law which everyone doesn’t have to be equal to have). It’s pure fantasy. Everyone isn’t equal in the sense that they bring the same talents and abilities to the table as someone else.

    A high ratio of engineering students in general are Asian, which would explain the situation better than the usual affirmative action bigot rant.

    -

    A long time ago Steve Jobs described Apple’s task as designing and manufacturing products that will provoke wonder and awe in consumers. The phrase he used was “amazingly great”.

    That’s apple marketing their wares. It only seems amazing to people with no prior exposure to whatever tech they decided to rip off their version of.

    Funny enough, the cutting edge amazing tech products in the auto world are exactly the type that a lot of conservative car guys hate like the prius or volt or tesla, ie. green.

  • avatar
    lw

    “Funny enough, the cutting edge amazing tech products in the auto world are exactly the type that a lot of conservative car guys hate like the prius or volt or tesla, ie. green.”

    Don’t confuse “cutting edge” with generating a positive return on investment. The secret to the iPhone is the iPhone app store. Nobody else can turn a phone into compass or into an All State claims processor.

    Poor people don’t drive hybrids so I know they don’t save you money vs. a comparable gas only car.

    My best guess is that middle to upper class folks with cash to burn buy hybrids to be different and/or feel like they are sacrificing something for mother earth. Most are hypocrites as they pull the hybrid into the 3 car heated garage, but as long as they sleep good.. WTH…

  • avatar
    agenthex

    And poor people buy apple products? It’s the same crowd sporting the iphones and prius’.

    -
    Poor people don’t drive hybrids so I know they
    don’t save you money vs. a comparable gas only car.

    Poor people don’t buy new cars sold at somewhat of a premium, period. In a few years, even if oil prices hold at the current level, common economy cars are exactly the type to benefit the most from the hybrid treatment.

    Prius tends to be bought by the educated middle class like most new tech. Looking for the destitute to become early adopters doesn’t make much sense.

  • avatar
    BillK

    Yup the informed response I expected. Dear Mr. Loci…latest numbers…# of north american content for:
    78% General Motors
    71% Ford
    67% Chrysler
    66% Toyota
    63% Mazda
    62% Mercedes
    61% Mitsubishi
    61% Honda
    58% Nissan
    55% Suzuki
    54% Subaru
    38% Hyundai
    29% BMW
    13% Volkswagen
    I believe they’re either 97 or 98 numbers.

    …and TomG…my French is pretty bad ..but what cars are French? As for German: Ja, ich kann Deutsch lesen. I spent 3 months in Europe one nice summer. Mostly in Germany with my cousins. The eldest has worked 17 years for BMW. And unless there’s another Toyota somewhere the one I know of lost ’7+’ billion in the 1st quarter. That at a time when Hyundai / Kia / and Volkswagen made sales gains. Please check above chart. Toyota and Honda make they’re vehicles in Japan or North American to a fairly large extent. How about Hyundai. How many plants do they have.
    Are there any Volkwagen plants in North American. I can’t think of any. But there sure are in Mexico and Brazil. I know, the answer, hoorah…let’s call the GM, Ford, Chrysler, honda, toyota guys back to the table and tell them they’re gonna get the average of the mexican and korean autoworkers pay. It’s a never ending cycle folks. And i’m not saying we get rid of foreign car companies that don’t use north american workers. Just that they have to buy equal value of our products. X-ray machines, computer programs….maybe they could just pay first the amount that gets pirated each year.
    ….keep well

  • avatar
    lw

    agenthex:

    Hybrids have been sold for over 10 years… If we are still in the early adopter phase, then something is wrong.

    Some folks have bought 2-3 non-hybrid cars since hybrids were introduced. People are generally bright… So why did nearly all of them not by a hybrid?

    Also the iPhone is PERFECT for someone of limited means. Based on who I see walking around with them, poor folks snapped them up early and often. They can buy one device for much less than a laptop costs and do 90% of the things that folks would do with a full computer. They also get a portable MP3 player, portable GPS and a whole host of other things that a laptop will never be.

    What is so significant about a hybrid that I would dive in head first? 100MPG average? Can seat 10 comfortably? Zero repair bills? Drives itself? I’m missing the point…

  • avatar
    steveo

    I am a professional investor and am careful with my money. I find it unconscionable that my money was used for this boondoggle of an investment. As a private investor, I would not have invested 1 cent in this company, secured or otherwise. Why have I been forced to by politicians? Better companies than GM have folded, Studebaker, Packard, British Leyland, even American Motors. GM should have folded also.

  • avatar
    agenthex

    Hybrids have been sold for over 10 years… If we are still in the early adopter phase, then something is wrong.

    Some folks have bought 2-3 non-hybrid cars since hybrids were introduced. People are generally bright… So why did nearly all of them not by a hybrid?

    Hybrids are maybe on their third gen at most. Smartphones have been around for about as long in absolute time, and given their dev cycles, are on about 10 gen or more, and their penetration is not absolute.

    Even some thing as successful the “internet” was around forever before it became mainstream.

    -

    What is so significant about a hybrid that I would dive in head first?

    For not that much more $, you can get significantly better mileage. Cars are not computers, and a hybrid is just one aspect of car tech, so I’m not sure why you’re expecting magic.

  • avatar
    agenthex

    I am a professional investor and am careful with my money. I find it unconscionable that my money was used for this boondoggle of an investment.

    It’s not an investment any more than the public cleaning up toxic waste left behind by that company you just made profits from.

    Except in this case, most of the investors were real idiots because they ended up losing everything in the bankruptcy.

  • avatar
    BillK

    Your right. Hybrids aren’t about you. They’re about you and me and the rest of the western world getting out from under the ARAB influence.

  • avatar
    lw

    Arab influence? Turn off “That 70s Show” and click over to CNBC, the Chinese own the USA now.

    We hocked the entire US supply chain to the Chinese for some granite countertops and a box set of DVDs.

  • avatar
    BillK

    That wasn’t the Chinese it was the CIA and a certain elite crowd. They believe, that like Russia, china will fold as its’ average citizen tastes of free enterprise. And they’re right. It wasn’t ol Ronny saying Mr. Gorbachex tear down this wall or the arms race that whipped the USSR. Ir was Olga in leningrad complaining to Boris that we only got to outerspace and the Americans landed on the moon and still had the balls to get they’re wives an electric washer/dryer. But in order to bring China to the same point they wiped out millions of decent paying middle-class jobs.
    Not on purpose. They didn’t think the economy would fold so hard. I guess they didn’t realize the rich were getting richer on Ponzi schemes and that most everbody else was not just buying the Chinese stuff they could afford. They were buying more. On credit. And the oil cartel not having any better a crystal ball saw all that spending and said ‘damn those guys must be able to afford higher oil prices’. Kaboom.

    Was it worth it?


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 Miquelon, United States
  • J Emerson, United States