By on July 30, 2012

Panic at RenCen. It’s not that people are leaving GM. It’s how they leave. Two weeks ago, Opel  chief Karl-Friedrich Stracke presented numbers to Dan Akerson. Akerson fires him.  Opel gets two interim chiefs in a week.  Last Thursday, Opel’s new design chief Dave Lyon doesn’t even start his job.  Today, media in the U.S.  and Germany report that Lyon had been escorted from the building and to a waiting car by GM’s head of personnel. A day later, global marketing chief Joel Ewanick suddenly leaves. Instead of wishing him all the best for his future endeavors, GM spokesman Greg Martin puts a knife in Ewanick’s back: “He failed to meet the expectations the company has of an employee.”

It took them two years to come to that uncivilized conclusion? Ewanick was hired as U.S. marketing chief in May 2010. Apparently, he exceeded expectations, because half a year later, Ewanick was promoted  to global chief marketing officer. The leaked reasons for Ewanick’s ouster. Facebook and soccer, don’t ring true. In a normal company, when a marketing chief decides not to put ads on Facebook and to ditch football for soccer, a Facebook and football loving CEO simply would call the marketing chief and ask whether he’s serious. The same day, there would be a comment that the marketing chief was misquoted, in a normal company.

It all looks like Dan Akerson is panicking. The GM stock is at an all-time low. GM is losing market share. When July numbers will be announced this week, GM won’t look so good, industry oracles say. Mass executions always are great to deflect criticism – for a while.

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105 Comments on “Series Of High Level Executions Paint A Picture Of GM in Turmoil...”


  • avatar
    Zackman

    In view of GM’s stock price and the strings associated with having relations with the government, can you spell “P-R-E-S-S-U-R-E”?

    I’m sure the administration doesn’t want the bailout or whatever you want to call it be a failure. It hasn’t – yet – but it doesn’t appear to be a raging success, either. Seems GM is in panic mode, of sorts.

    I, as a taxpayer, certainly hope they are successful.

    • 0 avatar
      car_guy2010

      I’m a diehard liberal but even I believe that the bailouts of the auto industry and banks were total utter failures.

      Where’s MY bailout?

      I would rather GM fail and go belly up for real this time. It will show that they’re nothing more than a bunch of clowns in business suits.

      • 0 avatar
        dolorean

        “Where’s MY bailout”

        Tired Tea-bag diatribe. Situation is still in flux and I for one, would like to see GM become masters of the universe again. If for nothing else, so we got something to feel good about again.

        I disagree this is a panic at the executive level. I think somebody finally had enough with successive failure and decided to clean house.

    • 0 avatar
      onemp21

      . A belly up GM would not only put my dad out of work, who has been a loyal employee and customer for over 30 years, but thousands of countless others. Lost tax revenue to local municipalities would be even more stressed then they are now! More homes in bankruptcy, less retail purchases. Do you even understand the magnitude the death of GM would have on an already weakened economy? Most GM products are top class, the biggest problem is a tarnished image.

      • 0 avatar
        KixStart

        I agree. This isn’t ideal but the alternative was likely worse.

        If GM can’t pull it together, they can go Tango Uniform when the rest of the economy is in better shape and better able to take the strain.

      • 0 avatar
        Pig_Iron

        I am not happy about this, but I foresee more GMs from low wage countries, and more North American Plant closures, including Mexican ones. GM has been heavily offshoring parts since 2000. Vehicles are the next logical step for them, especially now that China has excess capacity, and other Asian countries are hungry for a slice. What happens in Europe will be interesting.

  • avatar
    dejal1

    Regardless of the competence of the players, that is not how you play the game.

    Who in their right mind would hire on with these people? You might get paid and have an iron clad contract, but your reputation is shot when you are shown the door. I doubt all of sudden everyone being canned or sent to “Siberia” turned into morons overnight.

  • avatar
    PintoFan

    From the article, you never would have guessed that GM has returned to record levels of profitability. Maybe because that fact didn’t fit well with the agenda that the author was trying to push. There wasn’t “leaked” information that pinned the blame for Ewanick’s departure on Facebook and soccer sponsorships; that was pure conjecture ripped right out of the comments section. I guess it must be great to work at “normal” companies if you can not do your job and still expect to keep it.

    • 0 avatar
      Volts On Fire

      It’s not mentioned because anyone with half a mind recognizes those “profits” aren’t real as long as company still owes billions to the taxpayers who saved their a$$ in 2008. Besides, it’s only a shell game – “look over here! Not over there… oh God, please don’t look over there!” I sense Lyon (and even Ewanick) figured out the game, and decided they had to get out while they still could.

      GM is always one crisis away from overwhelming failure, and right now there are far more signs of impending doom than shining optimism. It’s fun to consider what that crisis will be – looming, devastating QC issues in all those badge-engineered, UAW-built Daewoo compacts? Opel going tango-uniform? The China market tanking?

      Given how deeply GM is in bed with Obama’s Chicago-style administration, no doubt a couple of “assistants” are stationed outside Dunce Cap Dan’s office as we speak, to “remind” him that GM must appear to be an overwhelming success for the next 100 days. I smile at the image of Akerson sullenly gazing out the window of his office at the top floor of the RenCen, thinking “there’s only one way out of this mess, and it ain’t through the front door…”

      • 0 avatar
        doctor olds

        Strange that it is so hard for some to understand: Bankruptcy, no matter what your emotions around the details, created a new company. That company owes precisely ZERO to any government. You may not like the stock value, but selling it is the only means government will get any return.

        And GM’s record profits are real, the vast bulk generated right here in America.

        Ewanik was dismissed because his job performance wrt the financial implications of the manchester united deal was substandard. The truth is simple, but not found in the spin of many posts on this site.

      • 0 avatar
        Volts On Fire

        Speaking of “spin,” your proclivities as a fawning and drooling GM sycophant are well known, doc. No one except maybe mikey and Impalaboy seems to take you very seriously.

      • 0 avatar
        doctor olds

        Thanks for the emotional response. It reaffirms your unwillingness to understand reality in a logical, fact based way.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTheDriver

        Actually Volts, I rather put your posts in the drooly fawny category. And why you can attack other posters like this when we just got over the use of the word “moron” I cannot say. You see, I actually read TTAC for the stuff about cars, the adle-brained political nonsense you can keep to yourself quite frankly.

      • 0 avatar
        geeber

        Earning profits after having all debts wiped out in bankruptcy, and the receipt of a large infusion of taxpayer money, is not proof of a company’s prowess.

        I could look like a financial whiz compared to friends and neighbors if my mortgage were wiped out and the government gave me, say, $500,000 in cash, too.

      • 0 avatar
        Zackman

        I don’t know what or whom the “Impalaboy” moniker refers to.

        Me perhaps?

        If so, I wear it proudly, as I just bought a new one!!!

        It’ll be my new avatar soon…

      • 0 avatar
        jkross22

        @ Doc Olds:

        “Bankruptcy, no matter what your emotions around the details, created a new company.”

        Technically true, but GM didn’t get ‘fixed’, which is the main point of bk. GM couldn’t make a profit selling cars (lots of reasons for that), and that’s what caused their problems. Is GM profitably selling cars, or are those infamous carry forward tax breaks padding the numbers?

        Where is GM vis a vis its pension liability? 20% funded? 80% funded?

        Where is GM now vis a vis the rest of the industry for labor rates? Does it still cost them more to make a car than Toyota, Honda, etc.?

        Investors are voting with their wallets, and we’re seeing the results. GM is still a dog of a company, not because of the folks working the line, but because of lack of leadership, a sick company culture and a heavily politicized bailout that has failed to meet expectations.

      • 0 avatar
        Volts On Fire

        John – The term you’re grasping for is “addle-brained.” If you’re going to try (and fail) to insult me, at least take the time to use the goddamned term correctly.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        “Is GM profitably selling cars….”

        In 2011, GM generated a pre-tax operating profit of $5.6 billion and cash flow from automotive operations of $7.4 billion.

        “…or are those infamous carry forward tax breaks padding the numbers?”

        Judging from the operating figures, apparently not.

        If you would spend less time typing and more time reading the financial statements, then you would have already known that. (Then again, I’m assuming that you can read a financial statement, which is probably a bit optimistic on my part.)

        Of course, Dr. Olds hasn’t figured out that none of this new found profitability would have happened had it not been for the automotive task force’s plan to consolidate GM’s operations and the taxpayer money that went along with that. While you’re busy taking Intro to Finance, perhaps you could drag him along to the management class down the hall.

        And what any of your rants have to do with Mr. Ewanick, I don’t know. No matter how you look at it, it’s highly unprofessional for management to badmouth a terminated employee.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        ….Speaking of “spin,” your / / / proclivities as a fawning and drooling GM sycophant / / / are well known, doc. No one except maybe mikey and Impalaboy seems to take you very seriously…

        Isn’t this a banning offense?

        Isn’t sycophant just a synonym for moron? Doesn’t this violate very clearly stated TTaC rules and a crystal clear warning all posters were given to play nice with each other?

        Can we get a ruling from the judges?

      • 0 avatar
        Volts On Fire

        Toad, the words aren’t even close to being synonyms. I mean really, would 10 seconds of checking Google been so hard for you before posting?

        As for banning me, that is TTAC’s prerogative, not yours. However, I think Bertel’s last sentence in this article presents a good argument against doing so. “Mass executions always are great to deflect criticism – for a while.”

        Silence the critic all you like. That doesn’t make their arguments disappear, or less valid.

      • 0 avatar
        jkross22

        “Of course, Dr. Olds hasn’t figured out that none of this new found profitability would have happened had it not been for the automotive task force’s plan to consolidate GM’s operations and the taxpayer money that went along with that. While you’re busy taking Intro to Finance, perhaps you could drag him along to the management class down the hall.”

        It’s telling to read some of the more condescending comments like this. Telling that this poster chose to ignore 1/2 of the facts in the prior statements. Telling but not surprising.

        As his argument proves, pound the table when you can’t pound facts. When you take into account his political leanings and the commitment to being an apologist for the current and past president’s actions in dealing with bailouts, it all makes sense.

      • 0 avatar
        doctor olds

        GM actually generated over $9B in operating profit last year, with $7+B left as net profit before interest and taxes. GM’s newfound profitability EBIT is the result of the 2007 UAW contract allowing profitable construction of cars here in America. GM is, in fact, much stronger financially and globally than Ford. Anyone who thinks the auto task force saved GM by reorganizing the business is completely out of touch with what really happened. Bankruptcy lifted huge burdens off GMs bottom line, no doubt, but their current operating results are strong.

      • 0 avatar
        rnc

        GM’s profits were real, taking into account the massive interest payments not made because of bankruptcy and what appears to be renewed channel stuffing (let’s make inventory, changes expense into an asset, just don’t look at the cash).

        Long term GM is still starring at a pension abyss while Ford, which didn’t file for bakruptcy, just announced that it was going to begin funding its pension obligations with free cash flow and investment grade bonds (vs. 70% equity and praying, while accounting rules allow you to pretend a rate of return (say 7.5% in regards to Calpars when in reality it could be 1% or even a loss), which is the model GM is still using).

        Short term financials don’t mean anything, during the Jack Smith era, when ford was recording record profits from operations, all of GM’s profits came from accounting trickery and abusing the living day-lights out of GMAC.

        It’s the balance sheet that matters.

    • 0 avatar
      geozinger

      Ding ding ding, doggies! Can’t you hear the Pavlovian bell ringing?

      Here’s another thought.

      Maybe Captain Dan is cleaning house, like many people have wished one of the CEOs would have done.

      Underperform in your job? You’re out! Not the ‘everybody gets a medal’ or the ‘no consequences’ mentality GM has often been accused of having.

      I have no way of knowing, as I’m just an observer, relying on the same information everyone else is seeing in the media. I’m waiting to see how all of this shakes out before making predictions, like a TV weatherman. Many times TV weathermen are wrong.

      Ding, ding, ding doggies!

      • 0 avatar
        doctor olds

        @Geozinger- You are probably right on the money!

        He was dismissed, and the announcement of that fact is unusual for GM. Now, to feed the political conspiracy theorists, that does smack of a PR move designed to please Obama. After all Ewanick created the impression that Chevy was turning away from America by dropping Superbowl spending, and toward foreign markets with the sponsorship of Manchester-United.

        Interesting idea, but, again, it is probably just as simple as you write.

      • 0 avatar
        doctor olds

        @Zackman- Congratulations on the new Impala! When you say new, do you mean the 3.6L? That looks like a hell of a car and surely must have all the bugs out, being in its last year of production. Good luck with it!

      • 0 avatar
        Zackman

        Dear Doctor Olds;

        Yes. It is a 2012 LTZ. “PrincipalDan”-approved Cadillac 3.6L engine. Brand-new. Loaded. I’m itching to open this baby up real soon, too!

        Man, I love thoose chrome door handles!

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Did you pull the trigger on the 2012 Impala Zack?

        EDIT:
        Disregard the comment, congratulations! My brother is eying up an LTZ as well, evidently with all of the incentives its a no brainer.

      • 0 avatar
        geozinger

        @Zackman: Those things are bad@ss! Good for you!

        I love the 3.6 in my kid’s Aura, and it’s down 40 HP or so to the model you’ve got… ;)

        Just keep it between the ditches and the shiny side up!

      • 0 avatar
        geozinger

        @Doctor Olds: You know, I really didn’t think of it as a signal to the politicians/public. I personally believe if there is/was actual government control of GM, we’d see something different than what we see now. Your guess is as good as mine.

        I have no idea what it takes to do Ewanick’s job at the C-suite level. However, I never got the feeling that he was really making much of a difference or at least the dramatic difference (vis-a-vis Hyundai-Kia) marketing-wise.

        I thought at the time of the announcement of his hiring on at GM that the dramatic rise in reputation of the H-K line had more to do with drastically revamped product and not so much the overall marketing scheme. For a number of reasons I won’t get into here, thought the unemployment guarantee idea was rather bad.

        Marketing can only do so much, contrary to popular belief. If it were true that we’re all being herded like sheep into particular behaviors, the Brougham era would have never ended.

        Granted, this is an unusual circumstance to publically dismissed, GM like so many other corporations, is loathe to admit any kind of mistake. This situation, is very curious to me.

        But, back to the salivating doggies, ring the bell! Any news is bad news.

    • 0 avatar
      jkross22

      “From the article, you never would have guessed that GM has returned to record levels of profitability”

      And yet, the stock price is where it is. Hmmm.

      • 0 avatar
        Volts On Fire

        Exactly. Investors aren’t buying that GM has been magically “fixed.” Anyone who believes otherwise is delusional.

        Some are even so misguided that they’re willing to spend thousands of dollars on a clearly subpar automobile, manufactured by a inferior, decrepit automaker that may yet disappear entirely within the next few years.

        There’s a word for people like that, starts with an “m”…

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        And yet YTD, Ford is performing MUCH worse.

        https://www.google.com/finance?chdnp=1&chdd=1&chds=1&chdv=1&chvs=maximized&chdeh=0&chfdeh=0&chdet=1343678400000&chddm=56695&chls=IntervalBasedLine&cmpto=NYSE:F&cmptdms=0&q=NYSE:GM&ntsp=0

        The auto sector is down and had under performed against the S&P500 for years now.

        If you look at the data last 12 months Ford isn’t performing much better.

        So if on January 3, 2012 you put $10,000 in Ford versus GM, you’ve lost more money.

        Damn facts – always getting in the way of a great rant.

      • 0 avatar
        bunkie

        Here’s a possible reason for the low stock price that has little, if anything, to do with profitability:

        The Federal Government owns a large percentage of GM stock. Bailout-haters are clamoring for divestiture. Why the hell would I buy a stock that could experience a large negative price swing when the “party of no” gets its way and the big dump happens?

        It’s called a mitigating factor.

      • 0 avatar
        jkross22

        “And yet YTD, Ford is performing MUCH worse.”

        I see. So if company A’s stock is down and company B’s stock is down, that must mean they’re both going down for the same reason.

        Of course!

    • 0 avatar
      PintoFan

      I see that it didn’t take long for the usual suspects with the usual rants to come out of the closet. It’s fairly telling that you can get away with all sorts of personal nastiness as long as you have the “right” set of opinions.

      I’m sure now we’ll get a number of mocking comments calling me a crybaby for requesting that moderation policies be applied consistently across the board. This isn’t the first time a blind eye has been turned to personal invective and I’m sure it won’t be the last.

      • 0 avatar
        mikey

        @ PintFan….I agree, personal attacks have no place here. VOF srokes my ego, by beating me up before I comment.

        Nuff said.

        @Zackman….Dude… !WOOO HOOO! great choice. Ignore the critics. That Impala will blow the doors off most sedans out there. Some at twice the price

    • 0 avatar
      lopro

      Record levels of prof… ummmm… you need to read this:
      http://news.investors.com/article/620090/201207271807/gm-risky-subprime-auto-loans-fuel-sales.htm

      • 0 avatar
        jkross22

        There will be some here that find these facts offensive. This is nothing new – they find any use of facts that compete with their world view personally offensive and hurtful.

      • 0 avatar
        sunridge place

        Hey look lopro and jk…I can post links too!

        http://www.autosavant.com/2012/06/05/cars-that-are-popular-with-sub-prime-buyers/

        Perhaps GM’s stronger performance in small cars is a bigger part of their higher subprime %. I know their purchase of AmeriCredit (renamed GM Financial) is a part too.

        Perhaps GM is mirroring the almighty Hyundai/Kia in an effort to improve sales?

        Is that so wrong?

        I’ll pull a quote right out of the article:

        ‘Funny enough, another auto industry success story is also being fueled in part by sub-prime borrowing: Hyundai-Kia, where 31% of loans currently carry interest rates over 10%.’

        Do these facts offend you?

      • 0 avatar
        sunridge place

        Here’s a better link of the industry:

        http://www.automedia.com/Blog/post/Credit-Continues-to-Ease-for-Subprime-Shoppers-Delinquent-Auto-Loans-Drop.aspx

        Is GM just finally getting smarter?

        Wonder if subprime over 2009/2010 is what really fueled the Hyundai/Kia market share increases?

        Hmm…who worked at Hyundai during 2009?

      • 0 avatar
        lopro

        sunridge place:
        Your articles talk about percentages of “buyers” with FICO score below 680 (traditional definition of “sub-prime borrower”), while my article about GM goes a little further and mentions growth in the number of borrowers with FICO score below 540 (“extreme sub-prime borrower”?). I think we need more consistency.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        “I think we need more consistency.”

        Some context would also be helpful. Subprime auto lending is currently a hot sector generally, because the returns are high and the default rates are low.

        From the lender’s perspective, there is no problem just so long as the interest rate is commensurate with the default rate. Meanwhile, default rates have been trending downward, which makes lenders more confident about the future and their repayment prospects.

        Lenders make subprime loans because of the spread. The returns are high, which makes the loans appealing to lenders: http://www.ibtimes.com/articles/365387/20120720/subprime-auto-loans-increase-securities.htm

        And as of 2011, 35% of the population with a credit score had a score of 649 or below. If no one was willing to sell cars to these people, then take a good guess about what would happen to the car market, particularly to Chrysler and Hyundai which lead the pack in sales to those with lower credit scores.

      • 0 avatar
        sunridge place

        So…lopro…GM is the only automotive company showing growth in deep subprime?

        Answer that question carefully.

  • avatar

    for many years now I have passionately, even ridiculously considering blow back, pleaded with GM to change marketing. it is the key to reversing results. General Motors is a fine organization, filled with loyal, dedicated, hard working people. the efforts of those in design, engineering, and production have been wasted due to ineffective marketing. it can be fixed if only we would do things that make sense.

    the solution to sales won’t only benefit the company and it’s investors. it will impact communities across the land. like Keith Crain said… “If we sold more cars, these problems would go away.”

    keep in mind these three simple words…

    “Return to Greatness”

    Buickman
    Founder
    GeneralWatch.com

  • avatar
    Polar Bear

    Failed? You don’t say that in public when firing someone. You say he wants to spend more time with family. Or go to Tibet to find himself. Or whatever. Only vindictive amateurs will go public with dirty laundry. It reflects poorly on the company.

    Nobody failed to meet expectations. Well maybe Jimmy Carter did. And Obama. And that guy who was going to save Saab. But apart from them, nobody failed at anything and we thank them for their valuable contribution and wish them best of luck as they seek interesting new challenges, OK?

  • avatar
    OldandSlow

    There could be more to the CMO story than what has been leaked to the press. Captain Dan Ackerson is in cost cutting mode, to include R&D and Marketing.

    As far as branding, the “Chevy Runs Deep” mantra didn’t resonate like the “Heartbeat of America” or “See the USA in Chevrolet”.

    • 0 avatar
      johnms

      “Chevy Runs Deep” really rubbed me the wrong way. A bankruptcy creates a new company. The old GM had ceased to exist. GM wanted to paper over that uncomfortable fact, so they rolled out a deceptive advertising campaign using nostalgic imagery to pretend to still be the dissolved corporation. The new company was rolled out with an overtly dishonest advertising campaign, focused on a lie.

      Maybe it was good advertising on other people, but it just made me mad. Was the old GM’s business model based on government subsidies, deceptive advertising, channel stuffing and credit sales to ultra-subprime borrowers? This new “General Motors” is a dishonor to the memory of a once great company.

  • avatar
    wstarvingteacher

    Somehow I doubt that being fired by GM in this day and age will ruin anyone’s reputation. Might even signify that you have something about you that doesn’t mix well with a company that manages to snatch defeat from the very jaws of victory.

  • avatar
    harshciygar

    It’s about time they shitcanned their marketing guy. “Chevy Runs Deep” is pretty bad as far as taglines go, who knows how much money was wasted on Facebook ad’s, and ditching football for soccer? That’s just a terrible idea any way you look at it.

    About the only decent commercials GM has done are for Cadillac and the Chevy Sonic. I was telling someone that’s the car my lady just bought, and they instantly knew what I was talking about. “Oh, that’s they car they did a kickflip with, right?” Right!

    Everything else, from the Volt testimonials to whatever the hell GM is doing with Buick right now, has been utterly worthless as far ad advertising and getting the brand out there.

    • 0 avatar
      Volts On Fire

      Ewanick had to figure out quickly how to market a brand and a company that over half of all Americans wanted to die four years ago, and many still do. Pretty much an impossible, thankless task.

      How is your Mensa candidate girlfriend enjoying her Daewoo?

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        I had told myself I would never reply to one of your posts but here goes.

        Horse hockey.

        Tylenol was killing people thanks to a crazed nutter. Everyone predicted it was a dead brand walking. Tylenol is a case study of a brand that went from trusted, to it will kill you, to trust us to coming back even stronger in brand equity.

        Firestone tires were exploding and killing their customers (although I blame Ford still for out of spec tire inflation requirements to give a soft ride). Oh its the end of Firestone as a brand. They’ll never recover. Firestone stores still on every corner. Bridgestone/Firestone still a respected brand – and post debacle Firestone returned to Motorsports for the first time in forever.

        Lets look at personal brands. Michael Vick was killing dogs. That puts him one step above child molester in most people’s scales of dirt bags. He was caught covering it up, lying about, and being completely involved in dog fighting. He was convicted. He went to prison. Talk about a dead “brand.” Vick was reborn.

        History is full of examples of destroyed brands rebuilding themselves through marketing. For someone of Ewanick’s caliber, he should have had the mojo for the job. Look what he did for Hyundai, which was little more than a late night talk show butt end of a joke as a brand a decade ago with questionable quality just 5 to 7 years ago – or do you plan to ignore that point also.

      • 0 avatar
        Volts On Fire

        Toad, in precisely none of your examples did the offenders in question take billions from taxpayers just to stay in business, and to preserve jobs for thugs, criminals, and incompetent dopes. That’s a significant difference.

        For the record, I also don’t use Tylenol, I don’t drive anything with Firestone tires, and I would still prefer to see Vick “dealt with” in a manner befitting someone who abuses animals.

      • 0 avatar
        Robert.Walter

        Half of Americans wanted to die? Actively wanted? Or ambivalently wanted? Or otherwise just kinda hoped the company would get fixed?

        When did America stop rooting for the underdog and start lining up to either kick him, or stand by gleefully and watch?

        As a senior supplier executive, with no GM business but a sizable Chrysler and a very large ford one, I can tell you the supply base was very worried about a hard landing with drawn out restructuring. As it was we were drawn into several task forces having to deal with sub-suppliers who just threw in the towel and gave up.

        In those days, we had genuine concern that certain of our operations in the usa (not our european or asian ops by the way) would come to a standstill if either GM or Chrysler descended into chaos or paralysis. Not due to a shortage of orders coming our way from either of them, but due to Ford being stopped due to not being able to get some tiny but vital part and thus putting its releases to us on hold.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        By what definition has GM ever been an underdog? They’re a spoiled loathsome bully of a corporation that never learns a lesson and is now protected from ever having to learn one. Underdogs? GM put them all out of business for little other reason than to eliminate the risk of customers being exposed to innovation.

      • 0 avatar
        mike978

        CJ, out of interest who did they drive out of business? I see plenty of competitors around.

      • 0 avatar
        Robert.Walter

        At the time, late 50’s and mid 60’s, when GM put the independents (with the full cooperation of ford) out of business, GM was arguably one of the most innovative and highest quality OEMs in the business.

        Equally, at that time, the US still had a number of significant manufacturing sectors to fall back on, was not running crushing defecits and debt, nor ridiclously expatriating its wealth to the east for hyidrocarbons and to the west for a tsunami of chinese made wares, plus was not mired in a structural fiscal and economic debacle.

        The Chinese are laughing at your lasiez-faire free-market philosophy, all the way to owning your bank and mortgage. The middle east is laughing at your liberal western thinking as they bide their time by funding radicals and building first strike nuke capability.

        And in the meantime, rather than work toward energy independence by doing what America used to do best, innovateing and leading, what do we get? Drill baby drill, poison the water supply and destabilize underlying geologic structures by fracking, or talk about reliably and cleanly extracting oil from miles below the surface of the ocean or piping benzine laden tar sands across swaths of environmentally sensitive territory when its been demonstrated we can’t even be properly manage “shallow” extraction in the Gulf or piping thru a Michigan pipeline respectively.

  • avatar
    Herm

    Does Akerson support Romney?

  • avatar

    Run one, run them all!

  • avatar
    doctor olds

    Fortune says:
    “A source who declined to be named citing the legalities of Ewanick’s abrupt departure, said GM (GM) senior management had identified “improprieties” in connection with the Manchester United deal announced in late May. The source declined to discuss nature of the impropriety.”
    http://management.fortune.cnn.com/2012/07/30/joel-ewanick/?source=yahoo_quote

    • 0 avatar

      I wonder if the OP spent the time to do some due diligence before jumping to conclusions. Now, that wouldn’t make a great story to get all the lemmings excited, would it?

      Volts on fire, you need to chill man and go easy on personal attacks. Its making you look desperate and miserable. No reason to get all riled up over companies that really don’t care what any of us think.
      GM may be just fine or they may fold in couple of years. None of that is really going to matter. Save your breath. Hate not. Enjoy life and be less miserable.

      • 0 avatar
        Volts On Fire

        I have a great life, alluster, but thanks for the false concern. I’ve lived long enough to realize that nothing is accomplished by entertaining the foolish notions of inferior minds. It’s better to call a spade a spade.

      • 0 avatar
        rwb

        Inferior minds are generally the most firmly convinced of their own superiority.

  • avatar
    Gardiner Westbound

    The beatings will continue until morale improves.

  • avatar
    oboylepr

    Volts on Fire does not need me to defend him but he is 100% correct. GM is a sick and dysfunctional company that is destined to die and should have been let die in 2008. The bailout did 2 things; it delayed the inevitable and robbed the workforce of the chance of having their employer put on a stable sustainable footing that would secure their future. A proper bankruptcy process would have buried the GM as we know it now and allowed the best of its assets and people to be reformed under competent management. It would have been tougher medicine but better in the long run. What have we got instead? A company full of thugs and clueless management still building inferior, lackluster vehicles that still treats it’s suppliers, employees and most of all it’s customers like crap. Nothing has changed there except the fact that we now own the whole wretched shooting match!

    • 0 avatar
      doctor olds

      Its true you can’t defend the indefensible, the know nothing who presumes to know all.

      Those who have said GM would quickly be back to the trough for more federal money were wrong.

      Those who said they would die a relatively quick death have been proven wrong by consistant, substantial profits, including an all time record last year.

      It is hard to ascribe rationality to one who disregards the reality that GM is making a lot of money, commanding substantially higher prices and profit than any other maker in America.

      Hardly evidence of imminent failure. I can take the name calling, because all the facts are on my side!

    • 0 avatar
      mtypex

      Got a mess in Detroit? I’m sorry, but you didn’t build that; somebody else made that happen.

  • avatar
    Truckducken

    How about this scenario:
    a) wealthy Dem-leaning investor has a big stake in Facebook IPO;
    b) Ewanick’s pulling of Fbook ads appears to trigger the failure of said IPO;
    c) the well connected investor calls in a few favors with his pals in the administration, and
    d) out Ewanick goes, with prejudice.

    The noise about Super Bowl ads and Man U doesn’t add up to me. Both of these things are justifiable in light of what Chevy is trying to do as a brand, especially in Europe. On the other hand, screwing with the right of our economic elite to dump overvalued stocks on the average investor: this cannot be tolerated.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    Volts on Fire I used to live in Indianapolis, and GM/Chrysler/Ford had plants there. I can take you to some places where your comments would cause thuggish and criminal behavior from some UAW guys. Yeah, there are some bad apples in any job. I get incensed because your routinely and regularly insult every man/woman who walks into a plant. Whiskey and internet anonymity can lead to false bravado.

    • 0 avatar
      Volts On Fire

      We’re judged by the company we keep. When you associate with thugs and criminals, you have no right whatsoever to claim indignation when the world assumes you’re the same.

      • 0 avatar
        el scotto

        Can you prove that line workers are thugs and criminals?

      • 0 avatar
        Volts On Fire

        Absolutely. It’s called guilt by association. Those workers belong to a corrupt, criminal organization —

        http://bit.ly/N8Y2ot

        — And so they, too, are criminals. Period. No debate.

        As much as I hate to go Godwin here, I’m sure not all Nazi soldiers were bad people, either. That defense didn’t stand up at Nuremburg, and it won’t stand here.

        That’s enough for you, scotto. You bore the piss out of me.

  • avatar
    TomHend

    I am no fan of Obama, but the conspiracy theory that the Chicago thugs are running GM makes no sense, because if they were, they would get Uncle Ben at the Fed to start buying up GM options and stock (can we audit the Fed please?)and the price of GM would not be at the lows, like interest rates which the Fed is currently manipulating.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      Yeah, I think you got something there. But two things stand out. The bail outs, hand outs and nationalization were not popular with the great unwashed masses who paid for it, and GM continues to be in trouble no matter how many billions in profit the GM fanboys claim GM made.

      It still ain’t enough to restore GM to a path of righteousness. GM’s liabilities outweigh their assets. Maybe if GM got rid of GMC, Buick, Opel, Vauxhall and the French connection? Maybe if GM cut its expenses by moving more production to Mexico?

      But regardless of how we each feel about Obama, the guy’s gonna be with us for four more years, barring divine intervention. Great, for the people who thrive in that kind of an environment. Not so great for the people who are paying for it and get nothing in return for their tax dollars.

      • 0 avatar
        mike978

        HDC – you usually have some good stuff to say but I have to jump in here.

        I like to deal with facts and not fan boy comments, but if GM’s audited accounts show they made a profit then it is a fact not some wild claim by people with a set perspective. Unless of course you subscribe to the conspiracy that they and the accountants liked, committed felonies and just made up numbers.
        Second and I really don`t like to get personal but it is a bit rich for you to say ” Not so great for the people who are paying for it and get nothing in return for their tax dollars.” when if I am not mistaken you retired early on the Government dime, have SS and have socialised medicine. I have a good job and pay plenty of income tax (one of the 53% for you conservatives out there) as well as all the other taxes we have which help support you and others. I don’t begrudge it.

        The other thing I recall was some, who objected to the bailout, said that if this Government was involved then Gm would only build fuel efficient cars. Well the Camaro ZL1 and Cadillac V series seem to belie that suggestion. Sometimes people have to admit they were wrong with their “fears” and move on.

      • 0 avatar
        FromaBuick6

        “I really don`t like to get personal but it is a bit rich for you to say ” Not so great for the people who are paying for it and get nothing in return for their tax dollars.” when if I am not mistaken you retired early on the Government dime, have SS and have socialised medicine. I have a good job and pay plenty of income tax (one of the 53% for you conservatives out there) as well as all the other taxes we have which help support you and others. I don’t begrudge it.”

        So somebody who served his country for 20 years and earned a pension doesn’t have a right to complain about taxes? I know you can’t bare to let any any anti-GM or remotely anti-liberal comment go uncorrected, but this is beyond the pale. If you think your amount of taxation is acceptable (or too much or, most likely, not enough), fine. That’s your opinion, you’re entitled; HighDesertCat is entitled to his as well. I hate to break it to you, but you are not the arbiter of whose opinion is the correct one. To chime in and scold someone for expressing a worldview you don’t like is stunningly arrogant and narcissistic.

        Protip: One of the reasons so many of us find the President so insufferable is because he’s constantly chiding anyone who doesn’t agree with him. The language in his little “You didn’t build that” rant the other week sounded an awful lot like the crap you just posted.

        As I recall, you drive imports. One of them is/was a BMW. For the life of me, I cannot understand why you waste so much time on here defending domestic products you’ll most likely never buy. You’re conspicuously absent unless “GM” appears in the headline.

      • 0 avatar
        mike978

        FromaBuick6 – I have never said someone is not entitled to their opinion. Nor did I say his service was not appreciated. But lets get some things straight.

        You are wrong to say I don`t like any “anti-GM” comments. What I don`t like are factual inaccuracies, such as saying they haven`t made a profit when independent audited results released to the stock market say they have. Fine to question if they are big enough or to say they should make a profit because of the terms of the bankruptcy. Further evidence that you are wrong in your assertion is the the recent review of the ATS which had a very good set of comments (over 200 I believe) and some valid complaints about trunk space, rear seat space etc were mentioned (I agree with those). There were some that were wrong such as saying it was really just a Cruze in drag. Should gross, demonstrable inaccuracies be allowed to go unchallenged?

        As for some of your other comments, do you chide people who only come on to defend or disparage certain makes? We both know there are several who do just that.Do you ask why those who come on here to, in your words, waste time doing such things? Do you crticise those who have a world view that means they criticize anything “liberal”? Lets be consistent.

        As for my driving choices. Yes I did lease a BMW. So. It was great to have for 3 years, but then twins came a long and it didn`t really work. The Sienna was the best minivan (since it had eight proper seats). No GM or Ford entry. Are you saying a person can only make comments about a brand of car he/she owns or drives?
        As for your assertion that “You’re conspicuously absent unless “GM” appears
        in the headline” is also incorrect. I won`t comment if it is something I have no knowledge in for example Murilee’s junkyard series since I wasn’t here in the 70’s and 80’s. I have commented on a variety of topics including VW (I owned one so is that OK that I commented?) and Toyota. If I commented on everything then you would be amongst the first to complain that I was commenting too much. Damned if I do, damned if I don’t.
        I could easily say your own comment was unnecessary because you only post in certain topics, and having had a bad GM experience have your own perspective. But I believe you are entitled to your view and didn`t comment.

        Could you do me the favour of letting me know what you currently drive since that seems to be a criteria of yours as to whether someone can comment on a given topic. Thanks.

        P.S. at least I didn`t question any bodies (including spouse’s) intelligence!

        HDC – I meant no offense to you or to diminish your service.

      • 0 avatar
        FromaBuick6

        “You are wrong to say I don`t like any “anti-GM” comments. What I don`t like are factual inaccuracies…Should gross, demonstrable inaccuracies be allowed to go unchallenged?”

        It’s the internet. You’ve got a lot of inaccuracy correcting ahead of you. If you’re so worried about people calling the Cruze a Daewoo, you really need to lighten up a little.

        And if “gross demonstrable inaccuracies” shouldn’t go uncorrected, why is it that for all the time I’ve seen you correct the most minor misinformation about, say, the Buick Verano option list, I have not once seen you say boo about all the “inaccurate” badmouthing Toyota gets around here?

        “Do you chide people who only come on to defend or disparage certain makes? We both know there are several who do just that.Do you ask why those who come on here to, in your words, waste time doing such things?”

        I chide them when that defending/disparaging becomes personal. If someone wants to bloviate about why they love Brand X or hate Politician Y, I couldn’t care less. When that bloviating turns into condescending remarks and outright trash talking about other commentors or TTAC editors, I’m going to open my mouth. I’m sure you and I can both name some serial offenders from both ends of the spectrum.

        “Do you crticise those who have a world view that means they criticize anything “liberal”? Lets be consistent.”

        Yeah, I do. Fortunately, people like you fly off the handle whenever somebody makes an overly boneheaded right-wing remark, so I typically don’t have to be bothered. Thanks for saving me the effort. Your constant carping about being “consistent” might actually mean something if your criticisms weren’t so consistently lopsided. And, no, admitting that the ATS has a lousy trunk doesn’t count as consistent.

        “Are you saying a person can only make comments about a brand of car he/she owns or drives?”

        No, a person can spout off about whatever they want, ill-informed or not, provided they don’t dump on the rest of the community in the process. 90% of the comments here about cars nobody has seen in person, let alone driven. If you want to harangue about the Hispano-Suiza, be my guest.

        “I won`t comment if it is something I have no knowledge in for example Murilee’s junkyard series since I wasn’t here in the 70′s and 80′s. I have commented on a variety of topics including VW (I owned one so is that OK that I commented?) and Toyota. If I commented on everything then you would be amongst the first to complain that I was commenting too much. Damned if I do, damned if I don’t.”

        Oh, now you’re a martyr? Lighten up, man.

        “But I believe you are entitled to your view and didn`t comment.”

        Too bad you didn’t feel that way about HDC’s comment, then we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

        “Could you do me the favour of letting me know what you currently drive since that seems to be a criteria of yours as to whether someone can comment on a given topic. Thanks.”

        Fair enough. I have a VW. Fun to drive, fits my needs perfectly, jury’s out on durability. Before that I had a Mustang, which was so-so, a Toyota that was just okay, and three Hondas: one great, one disappointing and one very disappointing.

        “P.S. at least I didn`t question any bodies (including spouse’s) intelligence!”

        Touche.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        Guys, guys, guys! Please! My opinion and perspective of a topic near and dear to my heart is not worth wasting digital ink over.

        No apologies needed. No offense taken. Rest easy. Anyone can disagree with me because it is rare to find two people with the same life core-experiences.

        Here’s the deal. I was, at one time, an avid GM supporter. Drove GM cars for much of my life. I held a lot of stock in GM, and got rid of it at the top of the market. Lucky me!

        I would like GM to make a comeback. Whatever profit GM makes today in North America is offset by liabilities elsewhere around its global operations. There aren’t enough people on this planet that want to buy GM products. If there were they wouldn’t be in this mess.

        GM is in turmoil! The indicators are just too numerous to list here but the ttac writers are making mention of the more salient ones, like this article.

        The bailouts, handouts and nationalization do not rub all Americans the same way. To some it is a delightful handjob, if you are on the receiving end of it.

        But to most of the people paying the taxes, they’re getting jerked off. Not such a pleasurable experience when you don’t want to be your brother’s keeper, or pay for someone else’s lunch who orders the most expensive things on the menu.

        It is fair to point out that I worked and paid taxes during my 20 years of active duty with the Air Force, and have had to pay no taxes since because MY income was below the poverty level.

        It is also equally fair to point out that I am living on my military retirement, VA benefits, social security retirement and now have Medicare in addition to TriCare for Life and my VAHC for life for damages incurred in Viet Nam.

        That is all part of the public record. Can’t hide that. I paid for it. That’s also in the public record.

        But “not having to pay taxes” cannot be said for my wife and her family who are millionaires and own a lot of property, and who derived their family income from rentals and real estate transactions, until they sold the real estate business in September 2011. They still have all the rentals.

        So, yeah, I have a vested interest in Obama’s spreading America’s wealth around because my wife’s family built their real estate business since her grandfather came to this area with the other German rocket scientists kidnapped by the US military in 1945. The government didn’t do diddly for their business except take a lot of money every 90 days in taxes and matching benefits for their employees!

        At times it may seem that my comments are too abrupt, but that is only because I purposely did not want to get into the finer details that would make my comments insufferably long.

        I believe we are seeing some major moves at GM because the reality is that what they tried to do since 2009 isn’t having the desired results. In fact, things may even be worse than we can imagine as outsiders.

      • 0 avatar
        mike978

        HDC, I agree it isn`t worth more digital ink. I just wanted to say thanks for your graciousness.
        FaB6, I certainly don`t want to get in an argument with you since you have been one of the more “moderate” people on here in terms of tone etc. I just didn`t think my original remarks were that snarky compared to others on here. But I will be more careful.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        mike978, I did not want to leave things hanging unexplained because my comments, out of necessity, will be fewer and further between as we near Labor Day.

        After Labor day I have a new gig. I’ve been asked to teach an undergraduate course in Marketing and a graduate course in Organizational Management. I’ve taught them before. No big deal.

        I have contracted for ten weeks and received the books and lesson plans yesterday. I will be familiarizing myself with the materials.

        The courses are only 40 hours of seat time each, but they require at least 400 hours of prep time on my part, plus four nights a week. I’m going to be busy.

    • 0 avatar
      sunridge place

      mike…..hdc will just come back and say its his ‘opinion’ that GM Fanboys claim a profit….and that, if you don’t agree, then just ignore his opinion.

      some people here make fact-based statements and then hide behind ‘opinion’ when they are challenged with facts.

      others post outdated ‘facts’ as though they are still relevant…when presented with updated facts they disappear.

      others post one-sided facts…when faced with the full story disappear as well…only to resurface later with the same half-story.

      • 0 avatar
        sunridge place

        Aaaaaaaand now he claims:

        ‘I would like GM to make a comeback. Whatever profit GM makes today in North America is offset by liabilities elsewhere around its global operations. There aren’t enough people on this planet that want to buy GM products’

        He’s knocked the US govt for bailing out the US Postal Service as he takes his US govt pensions.

        And, then….acts as though US govt tax credit didn’t help build a real estate business:

        But “not having to pay taxes” cannot be said for my wife and her family who are millionaires and own a lot of property, and who derived their family income from rentals and real estate transactions, until they sold the real estate business in September 2011. They still have all the rentals.

        ‘So, yeah, I have a vested interest in Obama’s spreading America’s wealth around because my wife’s family built their real estate business since her grandfather came to this area with the other German rocket scientists kidnapped by the US military in 1945. The government didn’t do diddly for their business except take a lot of money every 90 days in taxes and matching benefits for their employees’

        So, none of their real estate holdings were helped by targeted tax benefits to encourage real estate investment?

        Really? Were in any of those investments in California? Did any purchaser of their propeties get a tax break?

        Maybe they didn’t…but I doubt it and don’t claim the govt didn’t help real estate over the last 50 years and just ‘took their money every few weeks’

  • avatar
    el scotto

    One of the many memes of the current administration is trying to call military retirement benefits and welfare benefits “entitlements.” One is a set of benefits earned through work and one set of benefits given for doing nothing. Most retired military personnel still have to get a civilian job to make ends meet after they retire. There is a gap between what age they retired from the military and when social security kicks in. Yep, they still keep paying taxes.

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      I agree a lot of retirees work to supplement their incomes. The individual you may be referring to (see above comment thread) has stated if I remember correctly that he doesn`t.
      The same applies to other public sector workers like teachers and policemen. They all pay into a scheme and then retirement benefits come out. Is the military a defined contribution or defined benefit scheme? If defined benefit then it is similar to SS i.e. you don`t get back (sometimes more, sometimes less) what you pay in. That could be classed as an entitlement.
      You state “One is a set of benefits earned through work and one set of benefits given for doing nothing.” But to get SS (which is classed as an entitlement) you have to have worked and paid in. So what is the difference?

      I also agree they (who do work) keep paying taxes, which is why I don’t like the 53% statistic used by some because most of the remaining 47% pay gas tax, sales tax, property tax or other sundry taxes masquerading as fees.

  • avatar
    jsal56

    I believe Obama will not be re-elected.

    Who would like to bet?

  • avatar
    Athos Nobile

    Unless someone has a real “deep throat” connection within RenCen, I don’t think we will know what’s really going on.

    If the CEO is getting rid of people that doesn’t meet their KPIs, then he’s doing what he’s getting paid for. We can discuss all day about the reasons, but only, maybe 10? people know really what’s going on.

    Is this a case of damned if you do and damned if you don’t? Move on guys.

    @Robert.Walter, spot on man.

  • avatar
    oldyak

    had to skip the politics…..
    How can u build a world class car with labor rates that are probably 20% higher than your competitors?
    Somewhere cuts and sacrifices must be made to match their prices..
    That worries me.

    • 0 avatar
      sunridge place

      Who has labor rates 20% higher than their competitors in the US?

    • 0 avatar
      Herm

      You have your parts and sub-assemblies made in low rate countries.. and you only need 25 man-hours of union labor to assemble them into a car. Lets say GM pays $75 an hour for that union labor then that works out to $1875 per car.

      • 0 avatar
        doctor olds

        @Herm- GM never paid UAW workers anything close to $75/hr. At one time, GM’s total cost for labor amounted to $73/hr, but that included $7Billion a year in cost for UAW retiree health care. The 2007 contract with tier 2 jobs have brought labor costs down to less than $50/hr, still approaching twice what the average worker actually makes.

  • avatar

    IMO this management change shows that Akerson is holding executives accountable for performance. this is a significant improvement from the GM of old. I don’t know Mr Batey but word is he has a no nonsense approach and, if I’m not mistaken, he and Mark Reuss were quite the success story working together in Australia. let’s hope they are able to work some magic here in the US.

  • avatar

    “He failed to meet the expectations the company has of an employee.”
    Code for either inappropriate behavior/harassment of a fellow worker, or something to do with money. If it was performance they would have said so. Note how they were not talking about his role as a marketing exec.

    Its funny GM is being criticized for doing exactly what they were criticized in the past for not doing. In the past there would be no accountability, never a sense of urgency, and no feet were held to the fire. Now, incompetent people are either being let go or leave on their own, unable to stand the heat anymore. Dan Akerson is slashing Ad budgets, white collar workers, platforms and engine choices.

    Everyone’s favorite Toyota OTH has done nothing about losing billions in their home market. $13 Billion lost in the last 4 years, compare that to Opel losing $4B in the same period. Toyota has no way out, unlike Opel which is waiting for contracts to expire in 2015 to burn the house down. They can’t/will not lay off anyone in Japan, nor are they willing to shift production outside of Japan. The Yen has been flirting all time highs for a while now. The Govt’s teats have gone dry and can no longer prop up their dying auto industry. Nissan was smart to shift most of their production elsewhere. Honda did too, to an extend. Toyota is just stuck in this quagmire and there is no way out in the near future. Don’t be surprised if all the top execs at Toyota take the honorable route and launch themselves onto swords.

    “GM is losing market share.”
    Reason: Transaction prices and MSRP’s. You cant increase prices across the board and expect to maintain the same market share. They had to choose between market share vs profits and it seems they have chosen the latter. A billion dollars MORE in profit for 1Q 2012 in North America while losing market share at the same time. On an average a Sonic is $4500 more than an Aveo, the Cruze is $4000 over a cobalt, the 2012 Malibu sold at around $20,000 is slowly being replaced by one starting at $26,000. The bargain basement Equinoxes/Torrents have been replaced by the much better, much pricier Equinox/Terrain averaging $5000 to $7000 more per sale. Segment topping ATP’s across most segments. Cruze, Sonic and Equinox have the lowest incentives for their segment, even lower than the new Civic and CR-V that came out later. Buick’s fleet sales are down to 9% from 20% last year. Buick’s ATP is up $13,000 per car over the last 4 years. The base Lacrosse was raised in price to match the V6 with the addition of E-Assist. There is a huge resistance for pricier Chevys and Buicks with people used to seeing them heavily discounted. Sales are obviously going to suffer with this pricing strategy. They would just have to tough it out and wait for consumers to realize the new, pricier products are worlds ahead of their predecessors.


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