By on May 6, 2013
Picture courtesy Bertel Schmitt

A terrorist, about to enter the RenCen

Even after Ed Niedermeyer put on coat and tie as proper attire for our Via Dolorosa to  GM’s towers, GM’s Über-PR Chief Selim Bingol did not like him. “We don’t negotiate with terrorists,” said Bingol, frustrating my naive attempts at fence-mending. Instead of being sent to Gitmo,  one of the terrorists writes frequent op-ed pieces at the Wall Street Journal, causing Bingol to go on the counter-attack.

“Edward Niedermeyer’s suggestion that China is the ultimate beneficiary of the U.S. auto rescue doesn’t stand up to basic fact-checking” writes Bingol in a letter to the Journal today. This in response to an op-ed piece penned by Niedermeyer in the Journal last week where Niedermeyer writes that China ” is disproportionately benefiting from the bailout of America’s erstwhile automotive icon.” Which is slightly different than “ultimate beneficiary,” but Bingol is paid to spin, and he is doing his job.

Wisely, Bingol side-steps the fact that GM will be creating 6,000 new jobs in China, while “since 2005 the number of workers it employs in North America has fallen by 76,000,” as Niedermeyer wrote.

Instead, Bingol focuses on what is more important than jobs at GM, money: “The $11 billion in capital that will be spent in China by 2016 is coming out of our joint ventures rather than Detroit and is far less than the approximately $16 billion in capital GM will invest in the U.S. over that time.” Commenters at the WSJ are not buying it, arguing that instead of spending the money in China, one could spend it here.

Bingol also says that Niedermeyer’s “speculation over the possible loss of GM jobs or technology to China is simple fear mongering, offered without evidence because it doesn’t exist.”

Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow and her colleague Carl Levin will be relieved to hear that from the horse’s mouth, so to speak. Debbie and Carl missed no opportunity to complain about jobs and technology making off to China. They should (but probably won’t) be glad to hear that it is not true.

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38 Comments on “GM’s Bingol Aims At Ed Niedermeyer, Fires...”


  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Geez, hit a nerve.

  • avatar

    I like Ed a lot, but I think GM wins this round.

    • 0 avatar
      sexyhammer

      care to qualify that statement? i appreciate that it’s your opinion, but i’d just like to know what you read in/outside of this post that would support your decision.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      Maybe a draw at best, IMO, because the bottom line remains that GM was a dead company resurrected by the taxpayers.

      If Ed didn’t write such a piece in the WSJ, someone else would.

      To take aim at Ed because he exposed some inconvenient truths about GM or maybe even opened up some old wounds that reminded former GM customers about what led to GM’s demise, is an act of desperation on GM’s part.

      MOST people do not buy GM products these days. Why would any former GM buyer in their right mind, who fled GM during the mass exodus, want to reward GM for its sins of the past by buying another GM product?

  • avatar
    Domestic Hearse

    Bertel, you must agree that GM must be focused on growth opportunities, which are now located in BRIC nations. Were GM not investing and expanding in China and elsewhere, would you and Ed not lambaste them for “business as usual” and for being shortsighted?

    It must be a balance — investment and home, while positioning for worldwide growth abroad.

    Are you suggesting that GM has disproportionately weighted its Asian prospects to the detriment of its North American and European markets?

    • 0 avatar
      carguy

      +1 but this sort of reason won’t convince anyone.

      Conservatives are fundamentally riled that the auto bailout, while not perfect by any means, is generally popular and mostly accomplished its aims. Get ready for at least a decade of revisionist opinion pieces like Ed’s that will attempt to convince the nation that it was the worst thing that ever happened.

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    Points to both sides. GM is right: its smart business to put the money where the opportunities are.

    Niedermeyer is right: bailout money didn’t stay in US and Canada, like the politicians promised.

    That last point is the important one: it’s the politicians who said the taxpayers’ money would save jobs in the US. GM and Chrysler didn’t say that.

    • 0 avatar
      dtremit

      “Saved jobs” and “saved all jobs” are not quite the same thing. There’s an argument to be made that GM has more US-based jobs today than it would in liquidation.

    • 0 avatar
      philadlj

      Well said. Not to mention no one was forcing anyone to believe the politician’s promises, especially when GM didn’t promise the politicians anything in exchange for the bailout.

      To do so would have been akin to a dying patient promising to pay a doctor back before restarting his heart.

      It was an emergency measure spuriously branded as a mandate for how the Brave New GM would behave down the road.

      Once the emergency passed and GM was back on its feet, hardly any measures the government instructed bore fruit, chief among them over-hyping the Volt.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      “… it’s the politicians who said the taxpayers’ money would save jobs in the US. GM and Chrysler didn’t say that.”

      I’m pretty certain that in November 2008 Wagoner and Nardelli went in front of Congress and said that the bailout would save around 3 million jobs.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        That’s the way I remember it too. GM and Chrysler didn’t say the bail out was about saving American jobs? There should be a paycheck involved in putting one’s name on that statement.

  • avatar
    KixStart

    What’s GM’s employment in US and Canada for 2009 through 2013?

    • 0 avatar
      mikey

      In Canada during the boom years 1997 to late 2006 we were around 37,000 hourly including trades. Windsor transmission,St Catherines,St Therese, Woodsstock, Scarbough Van,and London Locomotive. Oshawa alone employed 17000. Also we have the Cami plant in Ingersoll.

      Today, Oshawa numbers are around 4300. Windsor tran. is gone. Scarbough, and St Therese along with Woodstck parts,and a huge chunk of St Catherines is now history.

      With Cami I think we got just over 5000 in all of Canada. Impala/Consolidated line is at one shift,and is scheduled to close June 2014. Personally I don’t see consoldated going much past XMAS 2013. Another 900-1000 jobs gone.

    • 0 avatar

      GM says they have added 23,000 jobs in the U.S. since emerging from bankruptcy in 2009.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        All they need to do to get to that number is ignore the 63,000 they cut loose with revoked dealer franchises and the 22,500 manufacturing jobs they freed themselves of during the bankruptcy and then count a five times multiplier on rehires. I’m convinced.

  • avatar

    welcome to the club Eddie. I’ve been up top of those Tubes numerous times and have almost always left wondering why I bothered. the one exception was Letters of Intent.

  • avatar
    mikey

    What sort of welcome would Rush Limbaugh expect from a Democratic convention? I think they would ignore him,and put thier own spin on it.
    How about the anti gun crowd showing up at the NRA?

    Heres one..What about someone signing up at TTAC. What happens to those that criticize,or question the intergrity of TTAC and or its management?

    I like young Mr N, I think the kid is going a long way. I think young Edward is smart enough to understand, that for every action there’s a reaction.

  • avatar
    Compaq Deskpro

    Things have changed.

    GM is a good company making good cars.

    You are a good person who runs a good website.

    Niedermeyer is all winged out and no longer writes for this site.

    You, GM, and the world are on a roll right now. Let’s not dwell on the past.

  • avatar
    marc

    “Wisely, Bingol side-steps the fact that GM will be creating 6,000 new jobs in China, while “since 2005 the number of workers it employs in North America has fallen by 76,000,” as Niedermeyer wrote.”

    Here We Go Again.

    I thought this was cleared up by (a few of) the B&B last week. Ed is cherry picking facts for his convenience and to obstruct the truth. And now you are running with the same nonsense again.

    You CANNOT compare jobs now to 2005, you have to compare them to the depths of the recession, late 2008 or 2009. GM has added jobs since then. Argument over.

    New topic please?

    • 0 avatar
      chuckrs

      I think it would be more interesting to look at employment for 4 years either side of the meltdown. GM was neither purely victim or perpetrator of the meltdown. Picking a specific set of two years to compare just adds fuel to the fire.

      • 0 avatar

        you are wrong. it was planned and orchestrated very well. Red Ink Rick was their puppet, Lutz their putz, Fisher lead Gargoyle, and Girsky resident bankster eyes and ears guy. wake up and smell the coffee dude.

  • avatar
    rpol35

    GM is no different than any other publically traded corporation, they invest where they can make the biggest return on investment. Markets shift and they realize that (finally!). Their market presence in China is growing significantly and it is shrinking, or maybe finally stabilizing, in the U.S.

    The issue should be that the U.S Treasury needs to not be stupid with taxpayer’s money and demand that GM pay back all of the $50 BB, with interest, that the Treasury extended to them. If that happens, and it turns out to be a good investment for the Treasury (and ultimately the taxpayer), I don’t think it matters where GM invested the capital to generate their returns.

    Letting GM off of the hook without a full repayment, however, is unacceptable.

  • avatar
    Dubbed

    Isn’t the ultimate benefactor here the state of Michigan.

    And come, on how much longer do we have to rehash these same tired arguments over and over again. We are so long past the point were any actual truths will be brought up..

    When this was an ungoing drama or boondoggle(depending on your point of view), there were so many mistruths and untruths that folks took as the honest truth. Things that were never proven to be incorrect. The peculiar thing about the present age is that in comparison to the past time allowed actual truths to bubble to the top.

    The present day is different. Misconceptions and and what basically are untrue things persist and never go away.. The bailout if GM is full of those. Obviously if you are an entity that finds such things a positive it isn’t a problem. But for actual discourse it isn’t. Especially when the thing is dragged out over and over to be flailed upon relentless. When the only thing it does is allow those with their incorrect opinion to become more ingrained.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      The State of Michigan certainly benefited from the bailouts and other Fed money. However, the effects are pretty limited to specific areas. People in Flint, Saginaw, and Pontiac haven’t seen positive results. Flint is down 70,000 GM only jobs from the 80s, and Michigan is still down 750,000 jobs since 2000. There are also numerous GM bondholders in Michigan that got dumped on as well. Things are better in the Detroit suburbs since the bailout, but the city is worse.

  • avatar

    I find the attitude towards TTAC of upper level management to be completely at odds to my own interactions with General Motors engineers and PR people. They’ve always been accommodating and so far I’ve never been denied access when I’ve asked for it. Heck, they let me build a LS9 engine at the Performance Build Center. At a press event last week I mentioned to Jim Campbell, head of performance cars for GM, that I was trying to arrange a visit to the shop in Detroit where they build the COPO Camaros for drag racing and he said that there shouldn’t be any problem doing so. Maybe the folks working in the trenches for GM have a better perspective on this site’s credibility with enthusiasts, industry insiders and consumers than guys like Bingol.

  • avatar

    Like it or not, China is where the action is and will be for the foreseeable future. Auto sales in China are expected to reach 32 Million by 2020. GM has to do everything they can to maintain or increase their market share. They can’t risk getting left behind in the world’s largest auto market. Market share doesn’t come easy especially now with increasing competition in China. By 2016 GM wants to sell 5 million units a year in China, an impossible task without investing a lot of money. GM sees opportunity with the Japanese Automakers hurting in China. Core GM sales are up sharply in April and the reliance on low margin Wulings is down.

    I am pretty sure the same nuts would be screaming bloody murder if GM had invested the money in the US, instead of China. The right wing pundits would crucify GM for investing in the US to benefit the UAW, and ignoring China. They would also be blaming the Govt. for strong arming GM into payouts for the UAW. It will be called the UAW Bailout 2.0.

    • 0 avatar
      corntrollio

      All of what you’re saying is very clear, alluster, it’s just some people refuse to see it and cherrypick certain facts without looking at the big picture.

      By the way, Mikey giving the counts of workers, that’s just a change in the times. More of this stuff has gotten automated in the years he’s talking about, so you can make more cars with fewer people. Welcome to progress.

  • avatar
    thegamper

    Why are you measuring GM job loss/creation since 2005? If you really want to make it look bad you should go back even further. It would seem more appropriate though to measure American job loss/creation since the bailout. Just sayin

  • avatar
    tikki50

    I find this entire thread funny. Let me get this straight, after DECADES of consumers buying foreign goods, which by the way all those bumper stickers that said that money was going over there, well guess what it was. Now we get to see China booming, and better than us, yeah I bet that was hard to swallow, but here’s a shot of Jack Daniels to help. Now that China is out pacing the us, companies must follow the money, and guess what, China is getting the new stuff, jobs and buildings, oh you didn’t like that? Perhaps you should have read those bumper stickers closer 20 year ago. GM is doing nothing wrong other than doing business. Im sure their China based sales can support a building or two or ten, after all they are selling more cars there than here without all the overhead.

  • avatar
    Chocolatedeath

    “GM’s Bingol Aims At Ed Niedermeyer, Fires”
    Most gun toting, law abiding citizens only fire upon another person when fired upon. Go figure.

  • avatar
    Freddie

    Corporate management has an obligation to its stockholders to run the numbers for different options and choose the path that makes the most money. That’s fine.

    US policy makers need to ask themselves why US companies don’t find it advantageous to serve the Chinese market by exporting products designed and manufactured in America. Properly addressing those tax, regulatory, fiscal and geo-political factors would have created more US jobs than bailing out what is increasingly a Korean/Chinese company.

  • avatar
    Emro

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/boblutz/2013/05/06/has-gm-become-general-tsos-motors-sweet-joke-sour-thinking/?utm_source=followingimmediate&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=20130506

  • avatar
    wmba

    Niedermeyer cherry picks facts, and gets everything wrong as I pointed out last week. He writes absolute rubbish. For someone so young to be so conservative and so cynical is a real shame.

    Good for GM in giving him a full salvo barrage. He richly deserves it.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      I disagree. There are a great many people not aligned with conservatives who also believe exactly what Niedermeyer has put into print.

      They are probably just as cynical as Niedermeyer, if not more. Many of them, like me, are much, much older than he is, and NOT conservative; Independent, Libertarians, whatever, but NOT Republican.

      GM has every right to give him a full salvo barrage, but I believe GM won’t win the PR war on this one because MOST people in America buy anything but GM.

      Trying to shoot down a critic when MOST people don’t even buy your product? It’s a p issing contest that has run dry.

  • avatar

    That’s a great photo.

    Bingol just replies cause he had to.


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