By on December 10, 2013

mary-barra-gm

There will be a formal announcement by Dan Akerson later this morning, but now that the U.S. government has divested all of its bailout related shares in General Motors,  Detroit radio stations are reporting that Dan Akerson will be stepping down as Chief Executive Officer of GM and be replaced by Mary Barra. Barra, who has been seen as Akerson’s possible replacement since she took over responsibility for global product development, will be the first woman to run a major American automobile company. More information later, after the Akerson press conference.

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253 Comments on “Breaking News: Mary Barra in as GM CEO, First Woman to Run Major Car Company...”


  • avatar
    IHateCars

    These comments should be interesting…where’s my popcorn?

    • 0 avatar
      rpol35

      I was thinking the exact same thing…..What I would like Ms. Barra to do is commit to paying back, to the U.S. taxpayer, the $10.5 BB (+ interest) shortfall from the recent Treasury stock sale. That would get her some cred.

      • 0 avatar
        th009

        GM doesn’t owe that to the government, though. The shortfall is a result of the Treasury’s timing of their share sales (GM had no control over that).

        So “making it up” would require making a donation to the Treasury.

      • 0 avatar

        She doesn’t have the authority to do that. It isn’t GM’s fault if Treasury sold its stock too soon.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          There was enormous political pressure for the Government to divest itself from GM. One less talking point for the detractors of the now-unpopular O*ama.

          And the $10B+ wasted is just what is easily identifiable at this time.

          I believe that at some future time in history when all the accounting is done and all the crying is over, we will learn that a lot more taxpayer money was lost on this misbegotten venture to prop up the UAW and keep its members living large on the taxpayer dime.

          • 0 avatar
            tonycd

            Good God, it took — what — four posts for somebody to start whipping on union workers?

            Okay, I’ll do this again, real slow: The point of the bailout was not for the government to break even or turn a profit on their expenditure, any more than the point of paying for police protection should be (not to be confused with “is”) to turn a profit on fines. The point was to head off the country’s cataclysmic slide into the next Great Depression by stepping in when the crippled banks wouldn’t, to prevent the abrupt loss of a million jobs and the income those salaries pumped into other industries such as retailing and housing.

            As a taxpayer, I’m a helluva lot more comfortable with the value we got from this expenditure than the trillion dollars flushed down the toiled to save Wall Street.

          • 0 avatar
            OldandSlow

            FYI Folks – the mutterings on TTAC are tame compared to this week’s Rant by Peter De Lorenzo over at autoextremist.com.

          • 0 avatar
            dtremit

            To be fair, with a domain like that, you kind of know what you’re going to get…

          • 0 avatar
            APaGttH

            Never mind the bailout was started and architected by the Bush Administration. The O*ama administration basically, by all reports, executed on the Bush plan reaching the same conclusion. Letting GM and Chrysler die would have the United States go from great recession into full blown depression.

            Tie in the Japanese Tsunami that eviscerates the, “other manufacturers would step in and fill the hole” argument when we would go, “holy butt crackers, we’re woefully dependent on foreign manufacturers, what the heck happened.”

            When you do the big picture math, the $10.5 billion in the hole is chump change. Alas, there are those who, to cling to their dogma refuse to look at the big picture. They didn’t get their way, hence no matter what was reaped, good bad or indifferent, it was wrong.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            tonycd, it is inevitable, and an interwoven and integral part of the bailouts and nationalization.

            I am not a revisionist, like some. I call it what it is; the good, the bad and the ugly.

            It happened and it cannot be undone although some would like to downplay the favoritism that was evident. It was bad when Shrub did it — worse when O doubled down on it.

            The far-left liberal Democrat union lovers won this one, fair and square. I say let them pay for it!

            The return to the US taxpayers is -$10B below nil. That’s less than zero. Ahhhh, but for the UAW? Whatta win!

            I was against bailing out Wall Street, the mortgage lenders, the banks, Freddie, Fannie and the US Postal service as well.

            But if you bail out any financial institution whose sole function for existing is to make money, you stand a much better chance of getting your money back.

            With GM and Chrysler, no way in hell! But at least Chrysler is no longer an American company and Italy’s worry now.

            ————————

            APaGttH, I suppose that you think that $85B a month in QE is a good thing too. eh?

          • 0 avatar
            el scotto

            Uh, I though UAW employees worked for car companies and not the government? The car companies got the “taxpayer dime” and then paid their employees. You missed a step.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            el scotto, the taxpayers are still out at least $10B+.

            I know I oversimplified my argument and omitted many steps. I also did not point out how many bailed out financial entities have repaid the government many times over for the bailouts and handouts that were hurled their way, and that others are still paying now for scams they did not even commit, as in BoA for instance.

            The bottom line remains. I am against all bailouts, handouts and nationalization of any failed entity under our economic system because it is selective.

            It simply does not make sense to take 6% of the workforce that belongs to failed industry and keep them living the high-life at the expense of the other 94% of the taxpaying workforce.

            The return on that investment was -$10B, and that’s not counting Solyndra, A123, et al.

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            @HDC,
            I do not think the bailout dramas are going to be a one off. The “New” GM appears to be in worse shape than the old one before it folded. As the Chinese say we live interesting times.

          • 0 avatar

            http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/cars/2013/12/09/gm-treasury-bailout-jobs-saved/3928767/

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            RobertRyan, this is a dynamic and ever changing industry and I hope that no more bailouts, handouts and nationalization will be found necessary again by any president of any political party.

            That said, the precedence for bailouts, handouts and nationalization has been set, and cast in stone.

            It was, is and will be forevermore the policy of the US to selectively decide who will live and who will die in business.

            GM has nothing to fear because, if need be, GM will be bailed out again no matter who is in the White House or who controls the houses of Congress.

            In for a penny, in for a pound. GM is free to operate with the full faith and credit of the United States backing it.

            And if the UAW pension should fail, fear not, they will be converted over to the PBGA, courtesy of the working taxpayers in America.

            Hopefully Mary Barra can do for GM what Alan Mulally has done for Ford.

            And Ms Barra can start by selling more feminine Cadillacs to the ladies currently driving BMW, M-B, Lexus, Infiniti and Audi.

            The name of the game is to sell and make money, something that has been eluding GM for decades.

            Hence the death of GM in 2009.

          • 0 avatar
            bomberpete

            I read yesterday’s DeLorenzo rant. It really made me sick. It was his most vile, obnoxious and personal ever written. I really cannot ever read him again.

            It’s rare that you see such foaming-at-the-mouth hatred directed at another human being. Akerson may be as greedy, venal and clueless as DeLorenzo alleges, but to my knowledge he hasn’t killed anyone. Then after lobbing unsubstantiated charges at Barra, he says he has nothing personal against her.

            After this, I can’t believe anyone still takes DeLorenzo seriously, or thinks what he writes has some reality-based connection to “the unvarnished truth.”

            You can love his writing style all you want Buickman, but what a bitter old creep!

        • 0 avatar
          rpol35

          I’m not buying it! She may not have the authority but the board of directors does. It is no different a situation than when a commercial bank calls in a loan at their discretion. The Treasury (which I will remind you is you and me) made the call. Anyway you cut it, the taxpayer is out $10.5 B and GM, at the generosity of the U.S. Taxpayer, is well back in the black.

          • 0 avatar
            el scotto

            Uh no. Company stocks are underwritten by banks and security firms. The underwriters take their fees and return money to the company. A loan is money given to you by a bank with you promising to pay it back. When a loan is called it has to be repaid; usually new loan terms are negotiated. Should GM repay the 10.5 Billion in question? Maybe. Will they? I’ll be married to a supermodel before that happens.

          • 0 avatar
            APaGttH

            Anyway you cut it? Simply not true.

            There has been endless post-mortem analysis, slicing and dicing of numbers, consideration of the economic impact with the clarity of 20/20 hindsight. Had Chrysler and GM been allowed to die, the nation would have gone into depression, about 1.5 million jobs would have been lost (and less than half of those restored today) and the hit to the taxpayer in lost tax collection, backing up failed pensions by the national trust (sorry can’t remember the legal name), and unemployment and retraining compensation (remember, we pay for all of that too) would have been closer to $150 billion – with a “b”.

            The government got out leaving $10.5 billion on the table. It really is that simple. They could have held on, sold at a slower pace, and recovered a bigger chunk.

            I’m still stunned on how people fixate on GM, but give Cerberus, a private equity firm lets remember, a free pass. Taxpayer money went to bailout a private equity firm, that was already sitting on mountains of cash, so they could sell an American company to the Italians.

            Somehow, that’s OK – because we got our money back. It is insanity to me how bailing out a loaded private trust to sell it to foreign nationals on the taxpayer nickel was fine – go Dodge, go Chrysler, go Ram, and no mention of those pot smoking evil UAW Chrysler Co workers (nor never a mention on how Mercedes Benz drove the company already in freefall utterly into the ground). We got paid back baby – that makes it cool.

            The Italian government thanks you for your generosity.

          • 0 avatar
            rpol35

            Thanks El scotto but I don’t need an underwriting lesson in finance. I agree, GM will not pay back the $ 10.5 B, I get it but they should because they took the money, saved themselves and they have the cash flow now to repay their debt; it’s the right thing to do.

            APaGttH – How did we get on to Chrysler? I agree the buyout was the right thing to do for both companies and now that it’s done, GM should pay the Treasury back. They are a for profit corporation, they are making money and they need to repay the taxpayers.

            Good Lord, I don’t get why people don’t think an able-bodied, profitable corporation who is well into the black shouldn’t repay what they owe.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            rpol35, when I brought that up in an other thread I was chastised by people of the same mindset; the takers.

            There are givers, and there are takers. GM and the UAW obviously are takers.

          • 0 avatar
            th009

            @rpol35, it’s not a debt.

            It’s exactly the same as if you had invested $100K in Apple shares at the peak, and then resold them at a $30K loss. Apple would owe you nothing, you made the choice of when to sell them.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            The loan balance is zero dollars. There is nothing for GM to repay.

      • 0 avatar
        doctor olds

        The REAL value received was far more than the cost of the bailout:
        http://www.autonews.com/article/20131209/OEM/131209870/study-gm-chrysler-bailouts-generated-8-to-1-savings#axzz2n1zx4wNp

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          doctor olds, we will never know what the route not taken would have shown or presented to us.

          But if history is an indicator, we were better off when we let failed business die because new and better ones sprang up to take their place.

          Plenty of precedence in history for that.

          I am for unfettered capitalism. I believe that every business has a life cycle.

          I believe in America’s resiliency that always triumphs in spite of financial disasters and economic collapse.

          Plenty of precedence in history for that too.

          • 0 avatar

            best post I have seen from you.

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            @highdesertcat
            At the moment things are not going well for GM across the board(small profit in the US not with standing) and if it does wobble and fall over will a future US Government treat it like Margaret Thatcher did with Leyland and let it die?

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            RobertRyan, I completely understand the situation even though I have been removed from active participation since my brothers sold their dealerships some time ago.

            Every time I have raised the issue of this fragile situation both GM and Fiat find themselves in on a global scale, the American auto industry sadists and masochists have accused me of being a doomsday prophet and GM-hater.

            Nothing is further from the truth. Then again, these were probably the same people who in 2008 said GM and Chrysler would never go belly up.

            But hey, no fear! The American tax payers stand ready to bail out the next failed business, based on the political contributions made to the party in power.

            My message is, “Caveat Emptor” in where you decide to put your money.

            Although I did buy a Fiatsler 2012 Grand Cherokee for reasons already outlined elsewhere earlier, it’ll be a cold day in Hell when I buy another GM product.

    • 0 avatar
      mshenzi

      Popcorn? The, uh, stuff down below calls for Pepto-Bismol. Or maybe an enema.

  • avatar
    OldandSlow

    Well, Mark Reuss has been passed over. Akerson’s wife reportedly has late stage cancer. So, I can see why he’s ready to leave as early as possible.

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      Yes that is what Autoblog is reporting. Reuss does expand his role to all product development.

      • 0 avatar

        Ruess needs to stay in product development and away from GM’s dealers. He and Ackerson don’t understand the retail end of the business. I hope for everyone’s sake Barra does.

        • 0 avatar
          RobertRyan

          That is a big “if”. Product development has been GM’s biggest weakness so hope Reuss does a much better job.

          • 0 avatar
            mike978

            A weakness that current and new product (CTS, Corvette, Sonic etc) shows they are finally fixing (in large part).

        • 0 avatar
          AlternateReality

          ruggles, an observation… As a self-proclaimed automotive industry insider, you really should know how to spell the names of those in high positions within said industry.

          • 0 avatar

            I’ve been know to make the occasional typo. That’s why they have editors. I always spelled his dad’s name correctly, however. :)

          • 0 avatar
            AlternateReality

            That’s one. How about your other mistake?

          • 0 avatar

            RU my editor now?

          • 0 avatar
            AlternateReality

            You can’t afford me, though it’s obvious in this and your other posts that you desperately need one.

            I’ve found that one’s ability to properly and succinctly deliver a message directly affects the effectiveness of said message. Grammatically-challenged walls of text with numerous (cough) “typos” are… another way to go, I guess?

        • 0 avatar
          el scotto

          That statement screams EPIC FAIL to me. If your current CEO and the head product development guy are clueless how retail pushes product; the whole system is doomed to fail.

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            @el Scotto
            That AE Rant was based on a more than a bit of fact. looks like GM is a leaderless ship at the moment. I always thought Ford was worse.
            Anyway it will be Happy Holidays for people at VW, Toyota and Renault-Nissan.

          • 0 avatar

            The CEO and product development people NEVER trained in retail. Buys like Bob Lutz, however, understood who GM’s customers are, their dealers. Outsiders come in and think they can dictate to the dealers, who have collectively a LOT more money invested than they OEM and a LOT more experience retailing vehicles.

            Barra? Time will tell. GM culture has been mixed regarding the OEM/dealer relationship. It has been typified by arrogance.

  • avatar
    ash78

    The only question I have for her is as follows: Given GM’s surprisingly successful trajectory following the government bailout, does she feel that the burden of performance falls not on Akerson’s legacy, but on whether or not she’s happy that Paul Walker is dead?

    Just answer the question, ma’am.

  • avatar
    RetroGrouch

    I don’t give a crap which restroom she uses. Is she a car person or is she in marketing?

    http://search.dilbert.com/comic/Marketing

    • 0 avatar
      jmo

      If it helps, she has a degree in Electrical Engineering.

    • 0 avatar
      jz78817

      Degreed engineer from Kettering, family history of GM employees, she’s been a plant manager and had several manufacturing and engineering posts with GM over 30+ years. At least on paper, she’s far more qualified to run a car company than that private-equity hack ever was.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        She also appeals to members of the fairer sex, many of whom were vehemently opposed to the selective bailouts, handouts and nationalization.

        This was a smooth move to elevate her to CEO! And because she has the pedigree, it further endorses her qualifications to run GM.

        But all this goodwill comes to naught unless GM can win back its former customers and regain marketshare. And that’s the challenge she has to answer.

        • 0 avatar
          mike978

          True, at least the market share drops of the past have stabilised and well away from the 15% predicted by some.

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          Who cares about market share? A company needs to make money. The two are not synonymous, though a lot of idiots in the industry certainly think they are.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          Also keep in mind that SAAR is up to 16.4M for the first time since 2007, so that is a good thing in her favor.

          So she has the momentum of the market place and her effectiveness is going to be in the execution of how she reels in the demographic that she needs to foster in order to spur new car sales.

          The challenges for her are staggering. And maybe the men who held the job before her did the best they could with the goods they had to sell.

          If that’s the case, then marketing her and presenting her to the buying public with her management message is what’s going to attract the buyers, because she’s still selling the same old sh!t the previous CEOs were selling.

      • 0 avatar
        tonycd

        The moment I heard it was a woman, I knew she’d be 10 times more qualified to run GM than Akerson was. On that basis alone, this is great news — anybody remember Akerson’s contribution to that boffo Malibu launch?

        • 0 avatar

          GM is making some pretty good vehicles. Their dealer network is really cobbled up after they terminated so many. For example, Cadillac is making some great cars. But the gaps in their dealer network means they have no coverage in vast areas of the country.

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            Strangely they are not selling many. On the other hand BMW, Audi, Lexus, BMW and Mercedes have a hard time keeping up with demand.

  • avatar
    tresmonos

    She’s a car person. Electrical engineer from GMI (Kettering University) – my alma mater.

    • 0 avatar
      redmondjp

      I started school at GMI in 1984 so was there for her last year (didn’t know her – I bombed out in my 4th semester, finishing my EE degree back in Pullman, WA, my home state). My personal opinion is that she has a very good insider’s view of the company – I think all white-collar employees should go through some kind of apprenticeship or internship program, so they more fully understand how their own company/business works. I learned a tremendous amount from my time out on the factory floor at Delco Electronics while a GMI co-op student for two years.

      I know you know this, tresmonos, but for others reading: Mary’s reported GM start date of 1980 is when she entered college at GMI and started working for the company as a cooperative education student, not when she went full-time there.

    • 0 avatar

      I’ve never thought it was a good idea for GM to separate from GMI, now Kettering. Yes, it contributed to an insular corporate culture and a not-invented-here mentality, but when GM was the most powerful car company in the world, a lot of its engineers and managers were educated and trained at GMI (and Lawrence Tech to a lesser extent).

  • avatar
    EquipmentJunkie

    I consider myself a better-than-average follower of the auto industry. Despite this fact, I have no knowledge or opinion of Mary Barra. What is her history? Usually, this industry tends to publically groom its young…or the young already have a penchant for self-promotion. Barra appears to be a slate that is more blank than usual. Something tells me that this might be a good thing.

    • 0 avatar
      tresmonos

      Depends. Do you think someone who has been GM their entire life (college included) will be good for the company? Or do you believe the company will benefit from an outsider’s perspective?

      • 0 avatar
        EquipmentJunkie

        You ask a very good question. Generally speaking, I don’t know how to answer it since I’m torn. I will just say that outsiders with “brand management” backgrounds didn’t appear to do GM any favors in the past. GM’s current product portfolio appears to me to be the most competitive in a long time. Now that the product side is in better shape, a long-time GM person might be OK.

        My personal opinion is that any leader is only as good as the folks around them and their management style. Mullally and Marchionne are good examples from across town. That puts the pressure on Barra.

      • 0 avatar
        KixStart

        Akerson was from outside. So was Whitacre. How’d they do?

        I think it depends more on the person than on the one fact of lifer vs outsider. The lifer does have some advantages that the outsider lacks. And it also depends on what you need in a CEO. Mullaly seems to be pretty good at what he does as an outsider but he maybe he has skills that support that. It might be useful for Ms. Barra to have a deeper understanding of the products and specific knowledge risks of the auto industry.

        Hmm… GM is off $0.35.

        • 0 avatar
          danio3834

          “Hmm… GM is off $0.35.” Oh no! News! Sell Sell!

          In the green now, we’ll see how the market feels about it after the press conference.

        • 0 avatar
          jz78817

          IMO if you’re going to run a company which designs and manufactures things, you should have a technical/engineering background. Mulally does (engineer w/Boeing,) Barra does (engineer w/GM,) Akerson didn’t. It’s not enough to know numbers and have an MBA, you have to have the knowledge to understand how those numbers apply to running a successful manufacturing enterprise. If you don’t, you end up being another Nardelli.

          • 0 avatar
            th009

            For a few more …

            Marchionne doesn’t.
            Varin doesn’t.

            Ghosn does.
            Reithofer does.
            Winterkorn does.
            Zetsche does.

            Do you see any correlation to success?

          • 0 avatar
            Lichtronamo

            Add Ferdinand Piëch to the list of people with the technical/engineering background.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      She’s a GM lifer with a typical educational path for GM executives (engineering undergrad from GMI, coupled with an MBA), but part of her trajectory was a bit unusual with a stint in HR.

      If an article that I’ve read previously was correct, then there are engineers who are unhappy that she got to the top via the aforementioned odd trajectory.

      If the old boys club is strong enough to compromise her position, then she runs the risk of becoming another Roger Smith, i.e. a CEO who lacks internal support. A lot of what Smith tried to do was resisted by his contemporaries, only to be unwound by his successors.

      • 0 avatar
        tresmonos

        Which article did you read this in?

        I agree with you. Engineers usually parrot their favorite ‘buddy’ in the management hierarchy. Ford was rife with career posturing and favoritism.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        This is one example of where I’ve read this:
        __________

        “She (Barra) had a difficult time getting credibility because she was in HR before, even though she is an engineer,” says Rebecca Lindland, an industry consultant. “It’s sexism, and I think it’s the HR title.”

        http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-06-13/mary-barra-the-contender-gms-next-ceo-may-not-be-a-car-guy

        I don’t know if it’s true — journalists often get things wrong — but it wouldn’t surprise me if it was.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          I know squat about this lady to comment so hopefully this was a wise business decision with minimal political motivation. However working at an HR firm, the last person I put in charge of a manufacturing conglomerate is an HR executive.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            To be fair, she didn’t spend her entire career in HR, she just did a stint there.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Fair enough, hopefully that stint didn’t warp her mind too much.

          • 0 avatar
            OneAlpha

            28 Days,

            It’s been my experience that women and corporate politics are inseparable, and that women at such a rarified altitude generally didn’t get there through talent or industriousness, the way a man would.

            I hope she works out. I really do.

            Personally, I’ve never met a woman who could handle command. They all thought they had something to prove, and that mindset completely wrecked their ability to actually COMMAND.

            Just so we’re all clear here, I want women to succeed, but on their merits. That applies to men too.

            Nobody should be promoted because of their connections or their sex, or because the company’s cowering before some loudmouthed PC loons.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Agreed on your points.

          • 0 avatar
            th009

            @OneAlpha, I’ll counter that … the best manager on my team is female. Nothing to prove, but she simply does the right things.

            People are individuals, not stereotypes.

  • avatar
    Ron

    This is absolutely amazing — GM was the archetype “old boys” club.

  • avatar
    stephenjmcn

    Following this move I expect to see great innovations in automatic parking technology from GM.

  • avatar
    Lorenzo

    Moving Reuss up to Barra’s last job puts him in the heir-apparent chair and gives the board a fallback position if things go bad. It’ll be interesting to see if Akerson retains a seat on the board to influence the company behind the scenes.

  • avatar
    ash78

    Wasn’t she the one in the GM ads several years ago, touting that “as a woman” she helped shift their focus towards things like adjustable pedals in the large SUVs? I can’t recall if it was her, but it definitely features a high-profile female exec from GM.

    That ad stuck out with me more memorably than any other GM marketing effort. It was well intentioned, but it came across as “Hey, little lady, that giant Suburban a little too big for you?” Problem solved!

    The height of the SUV boom was an interesting time.

  • avatar
    AMC_CJ

    I think Akerson was kind of asleep behind the wheel. More of a ok’d kind of guy than someone to lead and envision. We haven’t had a visionary come through GM in a good while. Maybe Lutz, but GM was pretty messy then.

    Engineering background, meh. HR background? That doesn’t strike me right. At least her latest sting was in product development and not accounting, so that should be a good sign. I guess we’ll find out, but it would be nice to see us tax payers get paid back. We pretty much handed them free money and that’s not right.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Good luck to her; it’s an unenviable job.

    • 0 avatar
      AlternateReality

      And a job that doesn’t attract the best or brightest, at that. Maybe Hail Mary will change that; history is not on her side.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        I believe she will be instrumental in drawing more female new car buyers to GM. I also believe we will see a lot of her in ads, documentaries and automotive news like on CNBC and Bloomberg.

        Elevating her to CEO was the only route not yet traveled at GM, and everything tried up to this point resulted in disappointing outcomes.

        My guess would be that this lady will pitch Caddies to accomplished professional women and wannabees, and Chevrolet products to Sally Homemaker and her sisters.

        She may surprise us all since she was there to see what hasn’t worked for GM so far.

        • 0 avatar
          mikey

          @ HDC….Right…”she saw was hasn’t worked”

          IMHO, That, and her background can only be an asset.

          Okay, I got this. From an older male perspective? She is easy on the eyes.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            I agree, mikey. Right now she’s got everything going for her. IOW, it’s hers to lose.

            But the goods she sells also have to be different and better from what her predecessors peddled.

            What comes to mind is as much value as a Camry gives the buyer and as much machismo that the F150 evokes from its buyers. There’s a reason why these two outsell GM’s vehicles.

            The bread&butter money makers for GM are the same-old same-old mildly tweaked old-looking heavily-discounted-already Silverado and the less than stellar Malibu.

            If the goods don’t change, she will be in the same predicament as her predecessors.

            (Easy on the eyes…. when I married my wife 47+ years ago she looked like Diane Kruger does now. What more could I ask for? I quit looking at other women 47+ years ago, but I do not disagree with you)

          • 0 avatar
            mike978

            I would say GM also makes money off the Lambda crossovers (good sellers with minimal changes for over 6 years). Also you could say the Camry or Corolla are not that changed over time (Corolla has same 132 hp engine and 4 speed auto) and that works for Toyota.

  • avatar
    jacob_coulter

    If she’s qualified for the job, great, but I have a feeling Government Motors is still all about domestic politics. Somehow, I see a few phone calls being made to make sure a woman landed this job.

    And yes this tin-foil hat gets itchy sometimes.

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      Some thought when there was the bailout that the Federal Government would run the company and dictate product plans etc. That didn`t come to pass, there was full managerial independence. It was clear it was between her and Reuss. Seems a reasonable call and as someone else said Reuss is now #2 so if this doesn`t work out, or she has had enough in say 5 years he can then take over.

      • 0 avatar
        jacob_coulter

        Yea, because a resume of an executive assistant (secretary) and stint in HR is the typical career path of a CEO of General Motors.

        This reeks of identity politics to me.

        • 0 avatar
          piffpaff

          1. As a young high potential employee, she worked as an assistant to the CEO, not as his secretary. This is a fairly common practice in some companies (all CEOs of IKEA has held this position early in their career for instance) which enables someone pretty early in their career to get exposure to company-wide issues and see up,close how top management works. Typically a very valuable experience.
          2. She was given the HR role base on her operational understanding of the business in order to clean out the bureaucratic tendencies of that function – it was a short stint and then she took over product development.

          To me this looks like someone who was groomed early on for a top executive role and then met expectations and has been given bigger and bigger jobs. Sometimes insiders can be better change-agents because they knownthe organization, so I will just hope that this goes well (or in reality I don’t care; GM means nothing to me).

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            “To me this looks like someone who was groomed early on for a top executive role and then met expectations and has been given bigger and bigger jobs.”

            That’s a good summary of her bio.

            She is indeed being touted as a change agent. Whether she will attempt to be one and succeeds at the effort remains to be seen.

        • 0 avatar
          mike978

          Jacob – you seem pretty debunked by piffpaff. Also she has been in GM for 30+ years so is isn`t some supercharged, fast track appointment. The CEO of my company (a major pharmaceutical company) was in his early 40′s when he became CEO.
          Just because she is a woman doesn`t mean it is identity politics, especially since the Government was not involved in the decision.

  • avatar
    Sceptic

    Typical GM market thinking. Putting an attractive female up front does not make their product any better. This is a start of the road to a second bankruptcy for them.

    • 0 avatar
      jz78817

      too bad their product lineup is far better than its ever been. But of course, a woman is going to drive the company right off the road, right?

      @_@

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        GM has been talking product, product, product for thirty years. I don’t fully understand the auto industry but excellent product isn’t the end-all-be-all nor is it a guarantee of success… otherwise Volvo wouldn’t have been sold twice and VAG wouldn’t be a 20 billion dollar company. FTR while some product has improved, I think GM product on average is about as low as its ever been, too small, too expensive, too underwhelming. Sure the Corvette is tits and its technology filters down into trucks and “Cadillacs”, but those are just a few truck models and CTS-V. Everybody else can sell lackluster product and badge-whore it out RenCen, can you?

        • 0 avatar
          RobertRyan

          ” I think GM product on average is about as low as its ever been, too small, too expensive, too underwhelming”

          My comment previously about the state of the
          product. She was in Charge of Product development before becoming CEO. Does not look good.

        • 0 avatar
          tonycd

          “I think GM product on average is about as low as its ever been, too small, too expensive, too underwhelming.”

          Too young to remember the ’80s and ’90s, huh? I envy you.

          • 0 avatar
            mike978

            Underwhelming? The Sonic, Verano, ATS and CTS are all well regarded. That covers a wide spread of car segments.

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            @tonycd,
            Not young, remember driving US GM cars in Hawaii. Abysmal.

            @Mike 978
            “Underwhelming? The Sonic, Verano, ATS and CTS are all well regarded.” Maybe in the US.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            “Maybe in the US.”

            If GM products are well-regarded in China and North America, then the company should be fine.

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            @ajla
            “If GM products are well-regarded in China and North America, then the company should be fine.”

            90% of the Corporations Global profits come from the sale of Pickups in NA. Suggesting a lot of problems with current overall product mix.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            “90% of the Corporations Global profits come from the sale of Pickups in NA.”

            Link? I’ve never seen GM publically break out segment profitability like that and some quick searching did not turn anything up.

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            @Ajla
            “Full-size pickups and SUVs remain a pillar of profitability in Detroit, accounting for more than two-thirds of U.S. automakers’ global pre-tax earnings, a Reuters analysis indicates, even though they make up just 16 percent of North American vehicle production.
            http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/11/21/us-autos-detroit-trucks-insight-idUSBRE9AK09820131121
            “There is no doubt that full-size trucks are still the single largest component” of pre-tax profits at General Motors Co, Ford Motor Co and Chrysler Group LLC, a unit of Italy’s Fiat SpA, according to Sterne Agee auto analyst Michael Ward.

            Representatives at the three automakers confirmed that assessment but declined to provide specifics”

          • 0 avatar
            mike978

            @Mike 978
            “Underwhelming? The Sonic, Verano, ATS and CTS are all well regarded.” Maybe in the US.

            We are talking about sales in the US (their most profitable market). So that is relevant.

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            @Mike978
            “We are talking about sales in the US (their most profitable market). So that is relevant.

            But GM is supposed to be a Global entity, not a US only one.
            As it stands you still have the Toyota Camry being the best selling sedan in the US, which does not say much for GMNA’s sedan offerings.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I remember the 90s well. I drove 80s and early 90s GM product in the mid to late 90s to 2001. My 87 Shadow was abysmal in terms of, well everything. However my 87 2.8 Celebrity was great for what it was, my 92 Cavalier 2.2 as well and it was wrecked twice before my third accident totaled it in 2001. My dad’s (bought new) 87 4.3L S10 drove well for 110K or so till he traded it in 1998 for the Saturn I now drive (currently at 165). My gram’s 81 Monte Carlo (bought new) served well as a grandma car until it couldn’t pass inspection anymore in 1997. I can’t really relate to the world these cars were sold in because I was too young to understand, but in their times I would imagine most of them were no better or worse than their competition, but as you imply they were not Earth shattering. However this isn’t the 80s and GM no longer commands 1/3rd of the US marketshare. Now there are several major competitors in each segment beyond Ford and Chrysler, this is not the time to be building mediocre product.

          • 0 avatar
            mike978

            “As it stands you still have the Toyota Camry being the best selling sedan in the US, which does not say much for GMNA’s sedan offerings.”
            If that is your arbiter of whether something is good or not then you no doubt think the Yaris (outsold by the Sonic 5:1) and the Tundra (outsold by the Silverado) are underwhleming.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            The only one of those I haven’t driven is Sonic, but I did ride as a passenger in a Sonic sedan.

            Sonic

            I try to reserve judgment with a car until I really drive it (preferably more than a test drive) and as I stated I have not driven it. I rode as a passenger in a sedan that belongs to my mechanic’s brother who was cleaned out in a recent divorce. My initial thought sitting in it was pretty nice for what basically looks like a clown car. Sure its worlds better than the Geos that came before it but no matter what brand you make it (Opel/Daewoo/Chevy whatever) it looks/feels like a 21st century Geo. I’d have to see transaction prices but MSRP for LT is $17.8 + dest. Ridiculous.

            CTS

            I drove an ’11 AWD (base, no moonroof/nav) this past summer after my now ex boss bought one CPO. To describe it in a word, Oldsmobile. Getting past the looks which I did not like, the car drove well but there was nothing particularly impressive about it. Had decent pickup from stop to 30 and felt a little heavy and firm in drive (so the opposite of a soft driving Cadillac). I thought it was rather small on the inside, almost as if it needed another foot or so of rear legroom. The soft touch fabric on the doors was nice, but the gauge cluster looked cheap. The center console looked nice but honestly the center console on the equivalent MY12 Cruse/Malibu are “nice” for being Chevys, this wasn’t as a “nice” for being a “Cadillac”. So to review, GM V6 midsize sedan, leather, powertoys, somewhat nice touches but clearly beancounted, minus the AWD I just described a loaded Eighty Eight or base Ninety Eight. Semi-premium, stylish for the time, but by no means elite or ultra desirable, sooooo Oldsmobile. Checking the current offering online, new MY14 ranges from 45K to 72K [!]. Maybe the ’14 is much better than this ’11 was? Still think its a little pricy but maybe transaction prices are much off the 45K mark, but again its not your father’s Oldsmobile.

            ATS

            I drove ATS at a Cadillac event over the summer, although they only let me drive it literally around two blocks and under 30mph so I didn’t get to really experience all of the good driving dynamics everyone’s is raging about. I liked its interior much more than the Catera’s and it felt much more premium in comparison. The trouble here is this was the 2.0 turbo model and it was priced in the mid 40s, so comparing it to the base car I had driven a few weeks prior was apples and oranges. My basic thoughts were (1) nice car but entirely too small for a sedan, (2) why even offer a trunk its so narrow, (3) V6 should be standard and if buyers really want it make them pay for turbo (stick for both motors too). For 33K MSRP to start I might say ok to a V6, for a N/A I4 to start at that price, knock off about $5 grand. Since the cars are now based on each other, you should have offered ATS with a name and gone coupe/conv only, and kept Catera as its midsize sedan compliment (and volume seller). Catera Coupe is awful and ATS as a sedan is just too small to be practical for rear passengers… and if I’m young hip and single without any rear passengers why do I even want a sedan?

            Verano

            This was the only one of those four cars I actually liked for the money, and its the only one of those I think shows marked improvement for GM. I demoed one in March (along with Acura Cimmaron) and if the stealership hadn’t stonewall me on a recently expired lease special I may have just got it. The irony is Verano is the lower end semi-premium product GM want’s to convince you Chevrolet Cruze should be but is not.

            So of those four, I see two phone ins from the past, one neutral, and one improvement.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            28-Cars-Later, watch the C-Suite Cadillac episode on Bloomberg presented by Jeffrey Hayzlett.

            I think you will be surprised in more ways than one.

            I’m not going to spoil it for you so you can see what I mean.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @HDC

            I saw the ad for it but I’m not sure it was posted to Bloomberg as a video. I’ll paraphrase what I think its going to be about based on the 30 second commercial: well for thirty years [and millions sold] we lost our way [despite millions of units sold] but now we’re finding our way back with captive brand only platforms [as sport Oldsmobiles with corporate engines], SUV and CUVs [which are Chevrolet rebadges], and building them all here in the USA [except the Mexican production]. Cadillac is the fastest growing brand? It helps when you pepper models in that don’t belong in the brand (like SRX) and when you will sell or lease a car to anyone with a pulse. GM wants to make money, offer a little sizzle without the steak? Sure they are welcome too, but I just don’t want to hear about this Cadillac reborn marketing bulls***. The brand for what it was died years ago along with Buick and neither is coming back. The Buicks today are nice don’t get me wrong, but they aren’t true Buicks, as the Cadillacs aren’t true Cadillacs.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            28-Cars-Later, yeah, I think you summed it up pretty well even though you did not see it yet.

            Howsomever, it was interesting with the El Miraj in the background, the shots at Nurburgring, and the various detailing shots, like the lady who decides on the interiors and materials used.

            The boys and girls at Caddy have high hopes and were candid in a careful sort of way during the interviews. You know, the corporate talking points. Jeffrey Hayzlett asked decent questions.

            But IMO what Caddy is trying to do NOW is what BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi have been doing for decades.

            And this is where I see Mary Barra as playing a crucial role in repositioning Caddy in the market place.

            The new Caddy isn’t like the old masculine Caddy at all. My dad’s last car was a 8-6-4 HT Caddy. It was a disaster but it was masculine.

            The new Caddy is made for girls; there is nothing masculine about them. Trying to be like or outdo BMW, M-B and Audi is not going to pull any sales away from them.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @HDC

            I could see OEMs thinking “we don’t want to turn anyone off” with their products and thus go unisex, but the problem you describe isn’t unique to Cadillac or the car industry at large. All of society is becoming too touchy-feely and frankly somewhat feminized I believe by design. Maybe its all the birth control remnants in the water supply?

            Distilled water people, start drinking it.

            http://www.livescience.com/20532-birth-control-water-pollution.html

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            28-Cars-Later, yep, I agree with that.

            But…. there still are some masculine vehicles out there, even in GMs line.

            Among them are the Suburban-based (not Tahoe) SUVs, and for those who like trucks, the Silverado-based trucks.

            As far as the rest of GM’s line, it should not surprise anyone that the femininity shines through since so many women are actually involved in the design and development of them.

            OTOH, the new Ford Taurus Police Interceptor and Explorer just ooze masculinity, as does the F-series of trucks.

            And the Fiatsler 300, Durango and RAM trucks will never be mistaken for a girlie ride.

            And this is where BMW, M-B and Audi seem to be lightyears ahead of everyone in the business.

            Their styling and qualities appeal to men and women alike and are something to aspire to as one progresses in life.

            The last car we owned that was that way was the 1992 Towncar I bought for my wife when she joined her family’s real estate business full-time.

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            @Mike978
            “If that is your arbiter of whether something is good or not then you no doubt think the Yaris (outsold by the Sonic 5:1) and the Tundra (outsold by the Silverado) are underwhleming”

            No far from the sole arbiter. GM is in Meltdown across the Globe(Will stop production in Australia in 2017, the reaction has been similar renaming Holden the Hitler car company). Cadillac has ceased to be the top Luxury car in the US being replaced by the Germans and Japanese and Ford outsells the Silverado. I could go one but GM is in more trouble than it was before the bankruptcy.

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          @28 Cars Later

          If you think Volvo has had great product and you think VAG doesn’t, then you REALLY don’t understand the auto industry at all. And I say this as a long time multiple owner of both brands cars.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Volvo *had* great product and I know this because I own one and so has VAG as I did own an older Audi for four years (MY90 100). Whether VAG or Volvo still do is another story.

  • avatar

    executive assistant to Jack Smith? that made her a colleague of Red Ink Rick. hopefully she learned something there. well wishes and congrats are nice, now let’s get down to work and fix the marketing. if our new CEO can accomplish that she will make history, otherwise her being the first female is a footnote.

    a separate Chairman and CEO has been a long time coming. this is a positive, as is the departure of Mr Girsky. other than that, until the marketing is radically alterted the results won’t change much, just the excuses and org chart.

  • avatar
    TW5

    This announcement is made one day after the US Treasury sells all of its remaining stock. Not much of an endorsement.

  • avatar
    vcficus

    Go Mary Go!!!

    Tresmonos, although I was on the tail end of the General’s last crop of GM only students when I attended I’ve seen Kettering’s student body get more diverse and less ‘GM lifer” that it was in the old finishing school days.

    I firmly believe the experience of having to work in (sorta) real job assignments while in school helps broaden one’s perspective… exactly what GM needs while maintaining focus on the product.

    It’s about time to get the phone execs out of there and let product rule again… while keeping a solid and hopefully tight balance sheet.

    Mulally succeeded because he’s got manufacturing experience but he’s also focused on changing culture… GM’s still got culture problems but I can’t believe her and Mark Reuss don’t ‘get it’ more than clowns like Akerson or Rick Wagoner.

    Or their potted plant board… Perot was right, that rubber stamp board room did more to let GM go down than their horrible management did. The board is supposed to fix things when management is tanking, not help rearrange the deck chairs.

    Change is good!

  • avatar
    juicy sushi

    I hope she succeeds admirably and leads GM to both great cars and business success. There’s no reason to wish for anything less.

  • avatar
    nguyenvuminh

    I have never been impressed with GM cars and even less so with their lack of respect for the “local market” by way of their overly simplified re-badging tactics (e.g. Cimarron). Having said that, I see rays of hope when I read GM pulling back their plan to introduce Chevrolet (aka Daewoo cars) into Europe where their local GM brands (Opel, Vauxhall) have a much better understanding of European markets (whether Opel cars are competitive is a different issue, I just don’t like GM trying to bluff European car buyers with Korean cars designed/built for Asian markets). Now only if Ms Barra withdraw their plan to use Holden in Australia to import the same Korean Daewoo crap for an Australian market that is quite different from the Asian market, that would be a good sign that GM is getting away from their old ways. I guess my points are the same as many already stated above, I just wish GM would focus on making good cars and knock it off with this re-badging stuff.

    • 0 avatar
      RobertRyan

      They GM have lost their way dumping Reuss for Barra is a very backward move.
      “to use Holden in Australia to import the same Korean Daewoo crap for an Australian market that is quite different from the Asian market”

      They were doing that and it hurt Holden. Building the Cruze locally has stopped the Cruze “dying. The Korean Impala/Barina/Captiva are not selling well. The Thai built Colorado is not making an impact.

  • avatar
    seabrjim

    I like women, I really do. I just hope she is better than Susan.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    I remain thoroughly convinced that General Motors can become an industry leader again. Before the bankruptcy, a lot of GM cars were complete crap, but these days, the company is producing some really nice stuff. What seem to be stopping GM now are fundamentally-good products that are somehow flawed in comparison to the competition. The 2013 Malibu was completely botched, from the Eco-only launch, to the shrunken legroom versus the 2012, to the anonymous styling–and even the 2014 refresh can’t rectify all of that. GM also could have stood to make the ATS a bit more accommodating in the rear, and incorporate an 8-speed transmission into it. And while the new Silverado and Sierra look glitzy and shiny right now, they really don’t make compelling cases over the cheaper RAM 1500, and it doesn’t seem like GM had any forethought as to what Ford will bring with the upcoming 2015 F-150. That’s not to mention the people that thought it would be prudent to waste money on Chevrolet of Europe.

    Much progress has been made since 2009, the most notable of which might be the Cruze, Sonic, Spark and Encore. But there’s much more progress to be made. A giant ship like GM doesn’t turn direction on a dime, but hopefully Ms. Barra will help the product-planning people to make better decisions.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    She can start by killing the ELR.

    • 0 avatar
      th009

      There is no reason to kill it at this point. The development, the tooling and the marketing is paid for. Wait and see whether it sells; that will make the decision very easy 6-12 months from now.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        GM’s own sales expectations are low. The exact expectations aren’t public, but I would presume that GM probably doesn’t expect to move more than a couple of thousand of them per year.

        It’s not a full fledged launch, it’s a trial balloon to test acceptance for high-priced plugin cars. With fuel economy/ greenhouse gas regulations looming, there isn’t much choice but to experiment.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        Yeah, they might as well try selling some at this point. While I don’t find the car particularly attractive, attempting to make PHEVs visually appealing is a good approach. If someone’s going to buy an expensive car, it should be somewhat sexy.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        And Federal mandates require all car manufacturers selling more than x# cars in America to also sell Electric-mobiles.

        Ultimately it is up to the new-car buyers to either accept or reject the Electric-mobile. I, for one, reject them.

        But even so, we’re all still helping to pay for these range-anxiety plagued Electric-mobiles since the manufacturers raise the prices on conventional cars to mitigate their losses on the Electric-mobiles.

        • 0 avatar
          sunridge place

          ‘And Federal mandates require all car manufacturers selling more than x# cars in America to also sell Electric-mobiles’

          That is a state mandate from California…not a Federal mandate.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            You’re right and I knew it was from CA but I read somewhere that there was a movement afoot to adopt that mandate nationwide.

            I believe it was part of the article I read about the FTA negotiation with Europe which included the dropping of the chicken tax and the expansion of European automakers making them in the US because it was cheaper to make them here and send them back home.

            But I could be wrong.

          • 0 avatar
            sunridge place

            Several other states are considering it….and it really is a de facto federal mandate because California requires it in order to sell new vehicles in their state.

            As its the biggest market in the country, everyone does it so they can continue to sell in California.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            Yes, I agree, that is exactly my assessment as well.

            I was around when the catalytic converter became mandatory in CA and everybody jumped on that bandwagon.

            I remember when there were cars for sale in 49 states but CA had their version for sale only in CA.

            And so it was that many years ago my youngest brother bought a new car in NM, moved to CA to take a job in retail new car sales, and was unable to register his NM car in CA because he could not pass the smog test.

            CA mandates do have an impact.

  • avatar

    as to the departing CEO, Captain Queeg as he’s referred by Peter Delorenzo…

    he should have been a dealer (I don’t mean retail franchise) the way he shuffled executives like playing cards. his tenure has been marked by turmoil in house, the flight of top tier talent, an authoritative, dictatorial style that wasn’t warranted or appreciated, and governed a company still in the throws of a downward spiral in market share. he allowed the worthless and brand damaging marketing to continue and has left no meaningful accomplishment other than the fantasies we are given by the PR staff and an acquiescent media.

    so long and good riddance.

    Autoexremist.com outta be special tomorrow…

    edit: it’s posted now, Peter can write quickly and with a passion I admire.

  • avatar
    TomHend

    @tonycd Obama and Bush will go down as the two worst presidents in US history, they are joined at the hip, no matter how hard the left and the right try to tell you they are different.

    Obama has spent $15T looting the US Treasury to keep us out of a depression, it aint working.

    Do you really think unemployment is 7%?

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      Mentioning Bush in the same class with Obama is absurd. You’re also forgetting Jimmy Carter, who came much closer to matching Obama than either flawed Bush did.

    • 0 avatar
      jmo

      “Obama and Bush will go down as the two worst presidents in US history”

      Worse than James Buchanan?

      • 0 avatar
        Dubbed

        Thank you for being an informed citizen. I really can’t get my head around the fact that folks don’t know how horrible of a president he truly was. What that man did to this country was just atrocious.

        Secondly if anyone wants to say Bush was the second worse really need to learn about William Henry Harrison.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Don’t forget Woodrow Wilson, FDR, and to an extent, Lincoln.

        • 0 avatar
          mike978

          FDR and Lincoln were bad Presidents? Really? I suppose helping the Allies before Pearl Harbour and Reuniting the union are considered bad in your world.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Put the kool-aide down and really look into some of what went on during those times in history. I’m not as knowledgeable on the Civil War as I am 20th century history, but Lincoln did suspend the writ of habeas corpus. He also enforced a blockade and engaged in warfare directly against the civilian population. Depending on the theories, some allege Lincoln was heavily influenced by Northern industrialists to destroy the South, etc. Maybe some of that was sound military policy given the circumstances of the time, I really can’t say. I don’t judge Lincoln as much as I would FDR or Wilson but on the same token I don’t think the man would have been a Nobel Peace Prize recipient… as our Dear Leader clearly was before he bombed Libya and continues to wage war in Afghanistan.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            It’s great to talk about and reference the presidents of old, but what concerns me most is how the current administration affects my lifestyle. Ditto when Shrub was president. And Clinton too.

            Granted, for 30 million Americans the current president and administration are the best ever because these Americans got something they never had before.

            My concern at age 67 is the quality of medical care we get because we have cancer and heart disease in my family.

            The best doctors and hospitals do not accept government-paid healthcare, so we are stuck with second-rate healthcare because we can no longer afford the private health insurance that was tailored exactly to our needs, in addition to the government healthcare.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @HDC

            The care existed prior to our Dear Leader’s Great Leap Forward, its just now going to be harder to find/afford should you need it. If you want to worry, worry for the state of healthcare of your children and grandchildren if there is a brain drain as the medical system is slowly destroyed.

            Off topic but for those of us who actually pay attention my sarcasm aside there actually was something called the Great Leap Forward implemented by Mao in the PRC from 1958 to 1961. This initiative cost 18 to 30 million human lives and quote:

            Historian Frank Dikötter asserts that “coercion, terror, and systematic violence were the very foundation of the Great Leap Forward” and it “motivated one of the most deadly mass killings of human history”.”

            Coincidence a certain re-election slogan was simply “forward”?

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Leap_Forward

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            28-Cars-Later, actually, in the case of the coverages we bought for the business employees who are all past the age of 55, the policies no longer exist because they were modified to include pregnancy and pre-natal care, birth-control, mental health, drug addiction, etc etc etc in order to comply with the mandate.

            My wife and I don’t need that sh!t so we chose specific coverages that pertained to us, and the others on the plan did the same.

            The family business paid for it all but with the mandatory changes the monthly premiums skyrocketed upwards from almost twenty-five hundred a month to over three-thousand a month for everyone covered.

            And we have not been able to find any insurer that can sell us exactly what we need.

            I’m hoping that we don’t get sick or need care because the government is hoping we’ll die off sooner rather than later to limit the pay outs.

            We’re not alone in this boat. We have plenty of people our age that are sweating it because the booklet we receive every year spells out specifically what is allowed and paid for. No more. No less.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            HDC have you looked into Europe at all? I realize the whole continent is in bad shape same as ours but I thought I’ve read different things over the years about being able to choose your healthcare and go to different countries for treatment on the socialist dime.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            28-Cars-Later, I wouldn’t be interested in traveling to another country for medical care.

            For one, I use up all the money I can get my hands on every month. I have three high-maintenance females living under my roof.

            And two, it is rare to find better healthcare than in America.

            I will say that when my wife’s niece got gang-raped in Chicago and got knocked up, we did take her to Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, just across the border from El Paso, TX, to get an abortion, D&C, and a three day hospital stay. Excellent experience for us but for the niece, not so much, of course.

            Cost us ~ forty-five hundred dollars out of pocket (in pesos), all in, for the expenses of the niece’s procedures, and included my wife and daughter’s stay at the hospital’s adjacent lodging facility and all the food they ate at the hospital cafeteria.

            The doctors and nurses all got their training in the US and spoke fluent American English, right down to the border-lingo slang prevalent in this part of the country.

            The niece continued to stay with us and was raised by us until she graduated from HS, at the same time as our own daughter.

            Some of our European relatives did travel to India to have certain procedures and elective surgeries done by UK-trained doctors and staff and were quite satisfied.

            If push comes to shove and our government healthcare doesn’t cover a procedure like a full body CatScan to detect tumors, or the 24-hr urine tumor-detection test, we’ll either have to pay out of pocket OR forego the test and chance it.

            Many of the old codgers I play cards with are distraught over the fact that they now have to travel to distant cities to get the care they need from the best specialists for their ailments.

            And many of those doctors do not accept government healthcare so these people have to fork over the money for that visit themselves. Things are changing, especially for old people.

            Many nearby doctors will treat a person, but that person has to sign an Advanced Beneficiary Notice that spells out that the person treated is responsible to pay the expenses up front, and is then free to try to get a fraction of the cost back from the government healthcare afterwards.

            And we are now finding out that in NM Medicaid enrollment is up a staggering 3X what it was before the mandated healthcare because so many people cannot afford to make the premium payments every month.

            This means that my property taxes and the taxes on all our rental properties will go up accordingly, which means we have to raise the rent to match the higher tax expense.

            Unintended consequences, to be sure. But the landlords are not going to absorb the additional expenses. The people who can least afford it will.

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      $15T? He did inherit a national debt, so the current $16T was no amassed all in the past 5 years.

      I agree with CJ (glad to see you back!) comparing Bush Jr with Obama is absurd, Bush was worse.

      • 0 avatar
        Dave M.

        Amen When we sent Bush to DC from Texas I was excited because he was a moderate Republican governor down here who picked decent teams of advisers.

        By 2003 I was mortified that we had inflicted him on this country. My apologies.

        Bottom line with ACA…for the first time since 2006 my brother (self employed) can afford to cover his family and himself, not just his kids as before.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        You’re not agreeing with me. Bush as president was like stepping in gum. Obama is…words fail me. He is unprecedented evil. Comparing him to realized horrors of past progressives like Stalin and Mao is just a failure to see what is on the horizon.

        • 0 avatar
          mike978

          I was being sarcastic, glad you picked up on it!
          You and hyperbole do have a stable relationship. Unprecedented evil. Really? Of all the world leaders we have, and have had you think the Obama administration is unprecedented evil. Wow.

        • 0 avatar
          84Cressida

          With you on that one. Obama is a tool and I can’t wait until that clown is out of office. Arrogant prick.

  • avatar
    mikey

    As a Canadian, I make a point of not commenting on U.S. politics. I saw Brian Williams do an interview with Jimmy Carter, last night.

    Mr Carter is certainly, still a very classy gentleman. A quality so lacking,and so rare, in modern politics.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      Mikey, I agree with you completely. Presidents largely inherit their predecessors mess. Carter, the elder Bush, Obama all came to the office at incredibly inopportune times. They get all of the blame and very little of the credit. Ultimately, Congress runs this country, but it is a lot easier to blame the one big name.

      Obama, of course, also gets the brunt of the latent racism in this country.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        Let’s not whip out the racism card since many of O*ama’s detractors are negroes themselves.

        I was around, working, when Carter was president and things didn’t get righteous until Reagan assumed the helm.

        That isn’t just my opinion. History has documented this as fact. America was much better off during the Reagan administration than during Carter, or Ford, or Nixon, or LBJ.

        Up to now, Carter was the worst and most ineffective president in recent American history.

        O*ama has succeeded in dragging America down even further than Carter did yet I can also clearly understand that some 30 million Americans think O is the greatest president of them all because he redistributed America’s wealth from the people who worked for it and gave it to the freeloaders and feather merchants.

        Hey, America always gets exactly what it deserves because we vote for it. What we got with O is what we voted for.

        If there are Americans who don’t like it, they should be in the majority the next time we vote because the majority rules.

        This has nothing to do with racism.

        • 0 avatar
          AlternateReality

          The boy king represents the very worst of this country’s “progressive” racial mindset: a dummy puppet, saddled with a massive chip on his shoulder yet with zero actual accomplishments to call his own, elevated to the presidency solely thanks to his party affiliation and dark (but not TOO dark, mind you) complexion.

          That, in my opinion, is an insult to every hard-working, ethical, and patriotic person of color, who are also completely undeserving of having hateful racial epithets hurdled at them.

          Barry’s actions preclude being treated with similar respect, however. So, just as I would not hesitate to refer to Carter as an incompetent, know-nothing, white trash peanut farmer whose tenure in this nation’s highest office was nothing short of disgraceful, I call Obama what he is: a class-dividing, Socialist-minded, entitlement n*****. If that makes me a racist to some, then so be it.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            There are many in America who espouse your views.

            While I object to the path that O has taken our nation on, we Americans voted for this.

            We have no one to blame but ourselves. The guy won twice by a landslide! Fair and square.

            And while many on the right believe that there is enough disgust in America today to restore power to the Republicans in 2014, as an Independent, I am not so sure. Most Independents are pretty disgusted with the Republicans as well.

            People like freebies as long as they don’t have to pay for it. At least 30 million people LOVE O*amacare because they could not get coverage before now and the young healthy kids are shelling out the big bucks to cover them. Whatta deal!

            As a 67 yo Portuguese-German American-catholic white male, I am mainly concerned about losing our two family doctors and our two surgeons who bailed and no longer accept Medicare and Tricare for Life, or have retired at the ripe old age of 55.

            We have cancer and heart disease in our family and for us having private health insurance in addition to Medicare was crucial, because the best doctors and hospitals will not accept Medicare or TFL.

            We got Blue Cross Blue Shield through the family business but when the monthly premiums went up from $489/mo to $602/mo (multiplied times the five families covered by the business) we had to drop it for the business-coverage.

            The coverage was still the same but had been augmented/expanded with pre-natal care, mental health, pregnancy, etc in order to comply with O*amacare mandates. I’m not going to knock anybody up at my age.

            So now we’re down to just Medicare and Tricare and hope to God we don’t get sick or need decent healthcare because the Medicare&You handbook for 2014 is quite specific what is covered and what is not.

            No amount of creative coding is going to get around that since it is always most advantageous to the government if beneficiaries die at the earliest possible time to keep pay-outs to a minimum.

            That’s my perspective from the old codger’s gallery.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            My reply to you has disappeared into the great ttac server void.

            There was nothing objectionable in it. I have read and re-read my copy of it.

          • 0 avatar
            typhoon

            ” I call Obama what he is: a class-dividing, Socialist-minded, entitlement n*****. If that makes me a racist to some, then so be it.”

            What’s disgraceful are the comments here whenever a vaguely political story is posted. What an embarrassment.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            typhoon, a lot of people feel that way, though.

            Hey, America got exactly what it deserves because we voted for it.

            Majority rules!

          • 0 avatar
            Dave M.

            Wow. I’m speechless, and checking the masthead to make sure I didn’t stroll onto Autoblog or Teabaggers United.

            Astounding.

          • 0 avatar
            AlternateReality

            Sorry to insult your delicate sensibilities, Dave. I call ‘em like I see ‘em, and that has served me well.

        • 0 avatar
          mike978

          Why do you say O*ama. Do you think it adds to your credibility?
          Redistributing wealth – with tax rates below where Reagan had them? You could make the argument that people who have been on the Government payroll for their main employment and then get subsidized healthcare and social security were gainers from the redistribution i.e. you!

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            mike978, several of my comments have disappeared into the great ttac server void.

            I can only assume that I am being censored. At one time my comments disappeared because I typed the O-word.

            But as far as my bennies go, I earned mine. I hope to live long enough to see socsec go broke.

          • 0 avatar
            mike978

            I love how you instantly jump to the conspiracy theory – you must be censored. It couldn`t possibly be a technological error.
            If you were being censored, then why is any of what you write visible. Better yet why aren’t you with, to some, this unprecedented evil administration whipped off to Gitmo where nobody knows you are there.
            I know – because it is all BS.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            mike978, you are free to believe what you want. No one is twisting your arm to read what I write.

            One thing that is real and not theory is that I survived a DoS attack on my gateway/firewall server yesterday.

            It was an ingenious routine that caused one of my CPUs of the Pentium D to loop infinitely. The Windows Task Manager clearly showed one CPU running full throttle while the other one had 1% usage.

            I have lost an inordinate amount of comments to the great ttac server void. I always have a copy since I draft/write in Wordpad and then copy&paste into WordPress.

            When I try to repost with even one line, the same thing happens. It disappears. Occasionally, I get the “Your comment awaits moderation” notice.

            I don’t know if this happens to others as well. I can only go by my own experiences.

          • 0 avatar
            AlternateReality

            HDC, it could be that your WordPad text contains some coding that WordPress is choking on. I’ve seen it happen before with other CMS.

            FWIW, NoteTab is a good HTML-free text editor.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            AlternateReality, I agree, anything is possible and I have tried Rich Text and others to see which transfers better. No difference, actually.

            Everything else I write I also draft/write in WordPad first then copy&paste over and it seems to post fine.

            But even the most innocent of comments often go to the moderation file. I’m using Opera v12.16 but have had the same problems with FireFox and IE8.

            Chrome was a disaster for me with Zone Alarm prompting me at least once a second if I wanted to send data to Google. What a pain! I dumped Chrome.

            It really is immaterial to me about my comments being lost in the great ttac server void because I read for the enjoyment of it.

            Better than watching TV. And if my comments somehow don’t make the current editorial staff grade, I have no problem with that.

            It’s a Canadian board. They can do as they please. They are responsible to the people that pay their bills.

            I have no problem with that. What concerns me is that my PC used solely to connect to ttac was hit by this DoS yesterday.

            This is an isolated machine. There is no way anyone can see it from the outside since it is a client-server setup using Novell as the bridge. (yeah, I know it is old, but it still works good)

            That bug was truly unique in that it crippled my Atheros monitoring software, by-passed my Zone Alarm firewall (leaving an IP trail), crossed the Novell bridge from the server to the client I was using.

            That took a worm that looks for infinite possibilities. Whoever wrote that jewel knows what they are doing.

  • avatar
    TomHend

    I had to post this.

    Too funny

    http://www.opposingviews.com/i/society/knockout-game-backfires-when-woman-defends-herself-against-attacker#

  • avatar

    today from GeneralWatch, a summary of analysis from GM announcements…

    The Ickey Shuffle
    Jim Dollinger
    Tuesday, December 10, 2013

    It concerns me that Ms Barra was an executive assistant to Jack Smith who promoted without merit and that she has been been shuffled on a fast track… obviously favored along the way. The last time we were surprised like this a little known finance fella, without even an accounting degree, leapfrogged other more experienced and knowledgeable executives to become CFO. His name was G Richard Wagoner and the then 39 year old evolved into Red Ink Rick. We all know how that worked out.

    In that she was a colleague of Red Ink Rick, I smell trouble and potentially another bankster puppet. Conversely, maybe she learned something during that time. Well wishes and congrats are nice, now let’s get down to work and fix the marketing. If our new CEO can accomplish that she will make history, otherwise her being the first female is a footnote.

    Mr Akerson he should have been a dealer (I don’t mean retail franchise) the way he shuffled executives like playing cards. His tenure has been marked by turmoil in house, the flight of top tier talent, an authoritative, dictatorial style that wasn’t warranted or appreciated, and he governed the company deeper into the downward spiral in market share. He allowed the worthless and brand damaging marketing to continue and has left no meaningful accomplishment other than the fantasies we are given by the PR staff and an acquiescent media. So long and good riddance.

    As to Mr Tolso, our incoming Chairman, this appears to be the announcement of the day… an independent, non executive chairman who is not interlocking with a bank. 66 isn’t all that old for a Chairman, 2-4 years is plenty of time to chart course and arrive. Good luck sir, I’ll be watching and pulling for you.

    A separate Chairman and CEO has been a long time coming. This is a positive, as is the departure of Mr Girsky. Other than that, until the marketing is radically altered the results won’t change much, just the excuses and org chart.

    Mr Reuss, although more than likely slighted will remain at GM. He is the definition of a company man.

    Mr. Amman, yes we still have the seemingly requisite Wall Street bankster, these dreadful creatures are worse than bed bugs! He can prove his value if he ditches Deloitte once and for all.

    Lastly, the head of North America, Mr Batey… since he couldn’t move Chevrolets in Europe he should have more time on his hands. Also, there is a difference between being no nonsense and rude. If he eliminates the hair brain, insane matrix incentive structure I’ll believe things are different, and that includes all the behind the scenes stair-step stuff and the private “In Market Target Offers” that only the Godfather Gerosa’s employer Al Serra seems to know about and cash in on. Audit that will ya? It’s time to stop the games and get back to basics.

    I doubt that any of this will matter much as time and market share go bye. Please, please prove me wrong!

    Buickman

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      I will defer to your superior inside knowledge but at least she is 51 not 39 like Rick so is nowhere near as fast tracked as he was. Also she at least has an engineering background which until we see how she performs is a positive.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Buickman – What do you think the chances would be for Mr. Reuss becoming disenfranchised and leaving to head up Ford Motor Co when Alan retires?

      • 0 avatar

        1 in 100. he is a born and bred GM lifer. besides that, Fields is heir apparent.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Thx for the reply.

        • 0 avatar
          bomberpete

          Don’t rule that scenario out for Reuss. Crazier things have happened.

          Why do I have an uneasy feeling that Fields will turn out to be a complete FU showboat w/out Mulally around to rein him in?

        • 0 avatar

          RE: “Why do I have an uneasy feeling that Fields will turn out to be a complete FU showboat w/out Mulally around to rein him in?”

          I share your concern. Fields has plenty of the arrogant buffoon going on. Mulally’s primary attribute is his humility, something completely lacking in Fields.

          Reuss is going nowhere and will stay at GM. He’s get a big raise now that the Feds are out of GM.

          • 0 avatar
            bomberpete

            Thanks Ruggles. Fields and Farley combined frighten me. If F looks like it’ll hit $23-$25, I’m outta there.

            You know better than I about Reuss. Given how well most “change agents” have done at GM, he’s smart to wait in the wings and see if Barra can meet her goals, keep the stock price and satisfy the BOD. If not, ta-dah!

  • avatar
    Halftruth

    Ok.. she is not that hot. so knock off the “she’s hot” and the “she’s easy on the eyes” crap. I’ll pass. GM has done nothing to impress me and this move even moreso. Let’s not forget that GM was still trading Toyota for the number one spot back in the late 2000′s (like now) when all hell broke loose and they still couldn’t stay afloat. Why will this new CEO-ship be any different? And about the 10 billion- please.. what about all of the write offs from the old GM? Oh ya, forgot about that. You know what, here’s a fin, go get yourself a coffee. That’ll do ya.. tell that to those who took a nice bath courtesy of the BO.

    I was raised on GM but you couldn’t get me in one unless it is a hearse and by then I won’t care anyway.

    Good luck with your “hot” CEO, GM.. It hasn’t gotten hot yet, it will though. Just give it time.

  • avatar
    Aaron2013

    Let’ see if a GM exec can make HONEST profits, without Uncle Sugar’s “free” money.

  • avatar

    There are a few things WOMEN know NOTHING about.

    #1 MEN
    #2 MUSCLE CARS
    #3 Light trucks
    #4 PC Gaming
    #5 GUNS
    #6 War

    Yes, they can LEARN about these things, and become involved in these things, but they’ll never understand them.

    Anyone see the fine job Carly Fiorina did at Hewlett Packard.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I was thinking Fiorina the whole time. Convenient how everyone forgets about her and her disastrous time at the helm of HP. I honestly hope Barra doesn’t turn out like Fiorina.

    • 0 avatar
      wmba

      @bigtruck

      Once again you demonstrate your compleat knowledge of absolutely nothing at all. My hearty congratulations. You appear to be a misogynist of the first order.

      Maybe you silly Americans can’t wrap your heads around sending women into combat, but we Canadians sent Army women to fight in Afghanistan, and they did damn well, should you need to ask.

      What in hell does Barra have to do with Fiorina? Nothing. Fiorina got a BA in philosophy and medieval history. Barra is a real engineer. And no doubt the old boy’s club at GM has made her life pretty exclusionary from the mainstream, what with all the geniuses nudging each other and making profound statements about women’s lack of knowledge about cars. All I ever hear is how great Reuss is, which arouses deep suspicion in me. Must be a hale fellow, well met. His tenure at Holden was hardly exemplary, but the excuse made is that he was done in by “market conditions.” Great. Wagoner was done in the same way if you look at it from a certain angle, like Doctor Olds.

      All the above BS comments from just about everyone is pretty typical. Nobody has a clue how she’ll do yet. Except all the giant brains around here who have already decided she’s a failure. I’ll bet on one thing – she’ll have a less trivial outlook on things than 90% of the posters on this site. That’s what happens when you have to exercise real responsibility, not off the wall opinions that mean nothing at all, other than revealing the depth of knowledge backing them.

      On her capability, she’ll sink or swim in her new job, just like everyone else.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        The Fiorina/Barra comparison is valid as both were/are heads of major male dominated corporations but as you point out they are both very different kinds of people, one a proven incompetent and one well educated and seemingly talented. I wish Miss Barra success.

      • 0 avatar
        TonyJZX

        i’m fine with people’s sexist attitudes however… look how great wagoner whitacre akerson were

        what about nardelli?

        surely there’s no way she could be as bad as these guys are

        maybe they need to take a chance

        by the same token, how bad is a black president? or a woman president?

        couldnt be as bad as GW

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          FWIW, I had a much better lifestyle during Shrub and Clinton than I do now, and skin color has nothing to do with it.

          • 0 avatar

            One of the issues we have in this country is that we will never be satisfied until we get back to the lifestyle we enjoyed during the best of the Reagan, Clinton, and Shrub years. We should remember that those “halcyon days” were all predicated on bubbles that blew up in our face. We need to adopt a different standard to compare to.

      • 0 avatar
        Dave M.

        Well put. I’m no GM-ista, but they really couldn’t do a Mulally since Akerson is/was an outsider.

        I wish her well.

      • 0 avatar
        doctor olds

        @wmba- “I’ll bet on one thing – she’ll have a less trivial outlook on things than 90% of the posters on this site.”

        VERY WELL PUT!

        On the other hand, Wagoner, and GM, were clearly done in by the US market collapse of ’08-’09. If you understand the importance of volume in the business, you would understand what happened at that time was not trivial.

    • 0 avatar

      And men have some kind of baked in understanding of these things? There are serious issues with macho culture. When you think you’re a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

      Everything on your list is also on the “adolescent penis measuring” list.

    • 0 avatar
      bomberpete

      bigcar, I’m pretty sure if your wife know you wrote these things she would smack you on the head with a rolling pin.

    • 0 avatar
      bomberpete

      bigtruckseriesreview: I’m pretty sure if your wife know you wrote these things, she would smack you on the head with a rolling pin.

  • avatar
    threeer

    I wish her well. GM has the *potential* as has been witnessed by several really good cars (heck, my mother traded Toyotas for 30 years for a new Verano last year…and loves it). Now if she could convince Chevy to drop in a real competitive engine in the Sonic to face off the Fiesta ST…

  • avatar
    porschespeed

    Simply the latest tool, thoroughly inculcated in the hive mind failure metric that is GM corporate culture.

    GM will be in BK within the next 10 years (likely sooner) just remember who was in charge…

  • avatar
    CarGal

    She is CEO of a sinking ship. My grandfather worked for GM and predicted that the factory he worked in wouldn’t be around in 30 years time.

    Sadly, he was right.

    • 0 avatar

      CEO of a sinking ship? Their sitting on $27 billion is cash, are making billions each quarter, and are producing world class vehicles. Sinking? All is not perfect at GM but replacing Ackerson was a good thing. Whether Barra is a good CEO or not remains to be seen. I believe she will be a marked improvement over the last 2 GM CEOs.

      • 0 avatar
        RobertRyan

        @ruggles,
        They are just about to close Holden and no doubt have withdrawn totally by 2017. They had debacle of Opel in Australia. They are not really doing well in Europe Chevrolet closed , Opel, Vauxhall struggling. Latin America they appear to be retreat. In Asia only China is doing well otherwise they would be losing money.
        The Current management is incompetent and I do not see the new one being any better, VW and Toyota make twice or 3 times the profit of GM, why cannot GM do the same?

        • 0 avatar

          I see plenty of incompetence at the CEO and BOD level, but the mid level managers at GM are first rate, considering the culture they work in.

          You’ll have to document your statement that VW and Toyota make 3 times the profit of
          GM. I just don’t believe that.

          Closing Holden might be smart. Chevrolet was never successful in Europe. The brand has zero cachet there. They need to concentrate on Opel. They are holding their own in Latin America and are highly profitable in N. America, their home market. They don’t build a single vehicle without a partner in China, so any profits there are split 2 or 3 ways.

  • avatar
    Kenmore

    Just one question… does that yellow thing behind her in the photo make her want to blow chow or no?

  • avatar
    jimmyy

    Mary, just don’t wreck the Tahoe and Suburban. The current ones are very nice and competitive with the Land Cruiser. These are last two decent sellers from GM in upper east and west coast zip codes. Cadillac is extinct.

  • avatar
    doctor olds

    General Motors is doing very well, achieving 9%+ profit margin in NA and taking quality leadership. This happened on Mary’s watch, though the momentum was well established before she took over product development. It is great to see the reigns being handed back after the last government installed leaders exit. Buy GM stock. It will be going up!

    • 0 avatar
      jimmyy

      Much of GM’s bottom line improvement can be attributed to debt restructuring and to the unbelievable IRS tax break for GM … a massive corporate tax break. This from the administration who is always complaining about corporate tax breaks.

      • 0 avatar

        I have also had issues with the loss carry forward granted GM. The decision was made because they thought it would bolster stock value, something that has benefited the taxpayers, even though the Feds exited sooner than they needed to, which cost us all money. But in the big picture, the taxpayers made out quite well.

        • 0 avatar
          doctor olds

          The real facts are that GM Corporation is dead, it’s corpse renamed liquidation motors.

          A new company was formed called General Motors Company. The challenge was to create a viable new business entity and maintain the momentum of the old names and brands.

          Some claim the tax credit carry forward is not typical in “traditional bankruptcies, which may be true. If it is true, neither is it typical for the new company to take on the liability for continuing to fund pensions.

          In the case of the entire auto industry, this liability would have fallen on the PBGC, bankrupting the system.

          Since it is backstopped by taxpayers, and the cost of pension funding for GM alone was in the $100 Billion range, it would have been 5-10 times the cost to taxpayers as the loss on the stock sale has turned out.

          The total payback was saving $80-$100B for a $10.5B cost. BTW that number is already dwarfed by new GM capital investment in the United States. Investment that would not have occurred if the company had been liquidated.

          In a “traditional bankruptcy”, GM pensions would have fallen on the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation.

          New GM took on a very costly liability, that would not have been traditional, in exchange for loss carry forward credits of less than half that liability, quid pro quo.

          The most maddening thing about comments here is that the cost to half of all Americans is ZERO! To those who DO pay federal taxes, the GM bailout is about the cost of a glass or two of beer. To the top brackets, ONE nice dinner out.

          Not a big price to “donate” to save one person’s job, let alone a million jobs.

  • avatar
    84Cressida

    “33 year GM veteran”

    Great. I’m sure she’ll live up to the lofty standards of her predecessors.

    • 0 avatar
      ZoomZoom

      “33 Year GM veteran”

      That’s it. They’re done, stick a fork in ‘em.

      No, really!

      So are they still making cars with the cheap chrome and plastic fake burled wood trim?

      Water pumps that must be replaced at 70,000? Radiator cores that leak like Wiki after 80,000?

      These are the minor reasons I won’t buy GM ever again.

      In my strongly held opinion, the bailout was morally wrong. That’s the big reason, and the only one I need. Bush was wrong. Obama continues to be wrong.

      The GM and Chrysler bailouts have set the precedent. I am waiting for California, New York, and Michigan to ask for bailouts. Will they? And just how quickly will we start taking them seriously, setting up the taxpayer to just give into their demands?

      Right is right, and wrong is wrong. I won’t buy GM, and for me it is a moral thing.

  • avatar

    RE: “You can’t afford me, though it’s obvious in this and other posts that you really, really need one.”

    Yes, I DO need an editor, especially as many posts as I respond to these days. You’ve already provided your services for free… why stop now? When stuff is published in trade mags there are all sorts of editorial services available.

  • avatar

    RE: “But if history is an indicator, we were better off when we let failed business die because new and better ones sprang up to take their place.”

    In most cases, this is certainly true. But when the IBM Selectric succumbed to “creative destruction,” it didn’t represent systemic risk. A meltdown of the auto industry in NA, along with the supplier base that supports it, at a time of 2 wars, wasn’t going to happen. It is telling that the bridge loans were provided by W after Congress turned down a package. Dick Cheney pleading with his fellow Repubs, “Do you want to be known as the party of Hoover forever?”

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      Yeah, I remember that, and Hank Paulson’s sad face with lines of deep concern etched into it as he argued in favor of saving his beloved financial industry, in particular Wall Street.

      But, I am an Independent, a true Independent, with no love for either political party, both who were directly and indirectly responsible for the financial mess we found ourselves in. Who can forget CRA or any of the brilliantly inspired government sponsored underwritings.

      Compounding the faux pas of the financial industry with two failed automakers, just reeks of self immolation, more accurately the financial immolation of the US taxpayers force to pay for it all. You work harder and you get further behind.

      I completely understand that there is a faction that truly believes that the US Treasury and the Fed should make whole all those too-big-to-fail feather merchants, when they fail.

      The Fed currently buys worthless paper at the rate of $85B a month and I believe Yellen is not going to change that very much even though the economy is now doing much better.

      Stop this stimulus called QE and car sales will drop like a stone in most markets. Money is cheap now. No time like the present to buy a new car or truck, regardless of brand.

      And there is no doubt in my mind that “bailouts, handouts and nationalization” is now the new norm in what used to be Capitalist America.

      And that is also fine with me, as long as I don’t have to contribute to it. Let the majority that voted for this economic strategy pay for it.

  • avatar

    RE: “But hey, no fear! The American tax payers stand ready to bail out the next failed business, based on the political contributions made to the party in power.”

    Based on the risk a failure poses to the overall economy. We’d better hope our government practices good sense in such a situation. We really want our government to allow the house to burn down to get rid of some rats?

    • 0 avatar

      Were political contributions the issue when the Bush administration provided the bridge loans? Were they pandering to the UAW? To the supplier base? Or to the American people and the U.S. economy overall? Maybe they wanted to help elect Obama?

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        I could understand why Shrub did what he did for 90 days. I didn’t agree with it and voiced my opposition to no avail.

        The 90 days gave O time to get his feet wet. But in my mind it was a foregone conclusion that O’s policies and vision for America included a rich redistribution of America’s wealth, because he advocated that on the campaign trail. (Joe the Plumber for instance)

        The party in power calls the shots. I say, this is what the majority wants, let them pay for it.

  • avatar

    RE: “And we are now finding out that in NM Medicaid enrollment is up a staggering 3X what it was before the mandated healthcare because so many people cannot afford to make the premium payments every month.”

    The Medicaid expansion is not paid for by the state. BUT most of the cost of state and local ER care IS. You can do the math, but if those new Medicaid recipients are paid for by the Feds it greatly reduces the cost that has to be born locally for ER services. These costs have been reflected in state insurance premiums since Reagan’s EMTALA.

    Additionally, if the so called young immortals are mandated into buying coverage it also relieves the state and local burden when they fall off their snow boards or have a car accident.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      That remains to be seen but your words do not comfort my wallet. My main concern was losing the private health insurance we bought in addition to the various government programs we already have.

      I outlined this elsewhere in detail, earlier.

  • avatar

    Japan provides better care while paying half what we pay as a percent of GDP. That, while keeping the world’s oldest population alive. I’d be happy to just copy their system. They lead the world in medical imaging machines per unit of population. Their emphasis is on prevention and catching stuff before it reaches the expensive stage.

    A complete yearly preventative care visit in Japan, including CT scan, is $500.

  • avatar

    RE: “At the moment things are not going well for GM across the board(small profit in the US not with standing) and if it does wobble and fall over will a future US Government treat it like Margaret Thatcher did with Leyland and let it die?”

    Not going well? Small profit in the U.S.? They have some issues, but their margins are healthy and they are sitting on about $28 billion in cash. With the exceptions of certain models, especially older models with upcoming redos, their volume has been capacity constrained.

  • avatar

    http://businessjournaldaily.com/economic-development/study-estimates-impact-us-rescue-gm-chrysler-2013-12-10

  • avatar

    http://seekingalpha.com/article/1869871-fords-high-return-on-equity-is-a-competitive-advantage

    Some people say to sell GM and buy Ford. Others recommend buying GM with the expectation of payment of dividends and stock buybacks.

    GM got itself in a pickle by allowing itself to become dependent on large high margin trucks and SUVs. As the fuel crisis of 2008 killed those segments, it was cash crunched by the mortgage crisis when GMAC’s mortgage unit took huge hits.

    This is not to minimize the poor decision making by its management. To give Rick Wagoner some credit, the new UAW contract was already being phased in. The restructuring accelerated that as the Bush administration mandated parity with the transplants on the UAW as a condition of the bridge loans of Dec 2008.

    During the MITI agreement period the D3 were protected against Japanese foreign competition when import caps were the rule. This created immense margins for the D3. Instead of investing in product, GM bought Hughes, EDS, and some other companies while Ford bought Jag, Volvo, etc. Chrysler bought AMC later on. GM started Saturn. Some of these investments turned out well. Looking back, they should have invested in quality and product development. Yes, their management made some HUGE mistakes that had nothing to do with the UAW.

  • avatar

    RE: “Yeah, I remember that, and Hank Paulson’s sad face with lines of deep concern etched into it as he argued in favor of saving his beloved financial industry, in particular Wall Street.”

    Perhaps it wasn’t saving the financial industry that was his concern. Perhaps he was concerned about saving the nation from Depression. Exactly how would he have done that without propping up Wall Street in the doing?

    • 0 avatar

      RE: “Who can forget CRA or any of the brilliantly inspired government sponsored underwritings.”

      So you believe a lender or insurance company should be able to deny a loan or coverage based on the zip code someone lives in?

      • 0 avatar

        RE: “Stop this stimulus called QE and car sales will drop like a stone in most markets. Money is cheap now. No time like the present to buy a new car or truck, regardless of brand.”

        QE will “taper,” NOT stop. Interest rates will most certainly rise. OEMs have already baked in the cost of interest subvention into the MSRP. There is a LOT of pent up demand to unwind.

        RE: “And there is no doubt in my mind that “bailouts, handouts and nationalization” is now the new norm in what used to be Capitalist America.”

        When did we stop being “Capitalist America?”

        RE: “And that is also fine with me, as long as I don’t have to contribute to it. Let the majority that voted for this economic strategy pay for it.”

        I had to help pay for the war in Iraq even though I didn’t agree with it. So there it is when you live in a country like ours. We all have paid a high price for the Great Recession caused when the free for all capitalists blocked the regulation of credit default swaps. The CRA had nothing to do with the mortgage crisis. NOTHING.

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fWNQza4CMwI

        What would have happened if TARP hadn’t been passed and implemented or AIG bailed out. When you put TARP together with the AIG bailout, taxpayers made a profit. More importantly, a huge financial disaster was prevented…. one much larger than what he have experienced. And all of us benefited from that.

        • 0 avatar

          RE: “the bailout was morally wrong”

          Depression or moral hazard, you choose.

          BTW, the companies are different companies despite the fact that they have many of the same brands and people in place and kept the same names. The BOD was replaced and most top level execs “broomed.” Would you feel better if the corporate names had been changed? What would have happened if they had been allowed to take down the N.A. auto industry? What would have happened to military procurement in a time of two wars? What would have happened to the pensions? State UE funds? What would have happened to transplant production? Canadian production? Even production in Japan, Korea, and Europe? Who would have bought up the pieces? Who had cash, since the credit markets were frozen?

          I disagree with many of the things that were done, but don’t disagree with the fact that government intervened. One can always second guess looking back.

          • 0 avatar

            RE: “My main concern was losing the private health insurance we bought in addition to the various government programs we already have.”

            Why did you lose your private healthcare insurance?

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            “Why did you lose your private healthcare insurance?” I explained that at length in another thread to someone else.

            You may be right in your assertions, IF things go exactly the way you anticipate they will.

            I am not that optimistic, and I do not agree that government intervention is a good thing, no matter who did it, Shrub or O*ama.

            We should recognize that for at least 30M Americans these are the best times they ever had.

            Healthcare for the uninsurable, free welfare money, free foodstamps and free cell phones. What’s not to like? Wish I could qualify.

            So a person’s point of view varies directly how the bailouts, handouts and nationalization has affected them, or benefits them, as is the case.

            I try to anticipate how economic changes can affect my own lifestyle and adjust accordingly to mitigate the effects.

            Sometimes I find myself at odds with many of the economic decisions that an administration makes.

            But I also understand that there may be a motivation behind those economic decisions, albeit for purely political reasons.

            I have three sons who were serving in the military from 1986 – 2012 and they also served in the war zones.

            I can understand the motivation of fighting wars, and I’ll support them. I do not share in the philosophy of bailing out failed businesses. Dead is dead.

            Americans are a resilient bunch. We overcame the Great Depression. We would have overcome the Great Recession as well.

            But we’ll never know because the decision that was made was implemented and the rest is moot.

            And that in essence is how the two camps are divided in America. Those who support bailouts, handouts and nationalization, and those who don’t.

            I’m in the camp that doesn’t.

  • avatar

    RE: “I could understand why Shrub did what he did for 90 days. I didn’t agree with it and voiced my opposition to no avail.”

    Shrub knew what had to be done, so he made the bridge loans conditioned on a number of items, not the least of which was the UAW agreeing to parity with the transplants and GM mapping out alternative strategies, which included the possibility of C11 BK. The UAW agreed, and signed, as did GM. But Wagoner refused to let anyone at GM even utter the word BK. When the time came, GM had done no advance planning. That cost Wagoner his job, not that he deserved to stay on any level.

    RE: “The 90 days gave O time to get his feet wet. But in my mind it was a foregone conclusion that O’s policies and vision for America included a rich redistribution of America’s wealth, because he advocated that on the campaign trail. (Joe the Plumber for instance)”

    A rich redistribution of America’s wealth? He was in favor of restoring the ill fated Shrub tax cuts, if that’s what you mean, and restoring some of the gifts to the highest earners and corporate interests that had been provided by the Shrub. Keep it mind it was Reagan who took 25 million completely off the tax rolls. Tax on top earners was at 90% under IKE, and 70% under Kennedy. The Reagan tax cuts sank Bush 41 when he had to increase revenue. This against the backdrop of the late 1800s when we had no real income redistribution and JD rockefeller, JP Morgan, and their buddies controlled wealth equal to 20% of GDP. In today’s dollars, that’s about $3 trillion. Does anyone think that’s Democracy by any definition?

    RE: “The party in power calls the shots.”

    The Shrub called that one. I think he was a Republican. Read his book “Decision Points” for his reasons for his actions. “If I had a choice of being known as Hoover of FDR, it was going to be FDR.”

    “I say, this is what the majority wants, let them pay for it.”

    You must think taking action cost more than not intervening. Did you read the CAR report? It ain’t even close. How would you have handled military procurement? The supplier base? etc?

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      I’m an Independent so I have objections to some policy enacted by both the Republicans and Democrats.

      The best way for me to judge an administration is by how its policies affect me and mine. Ultimately, we have to live with the decisions that were made on our behalf whether we support them or not.

      So it is also up to each of us individually to support those policies, or not. And there is a myriad of ways to do either.

      It is always interesting to learn from others how they view situations and support national economic policy. Our core values are shaped by our own experiences and my values do not support bailing out dead companies, anywhere, anytime, anyplace, no matter who does it.

      And these different views make the world go ’round.

      While it is informative to learn how the other side thinks, such a discussion could easily get even lengthier than it is now and irk some of the B&B, if not bore them.

  • avatar

    http://www.autonews.com/article/20131209/OEM/131209870/study:-gm-chrysler-bailouts-generated-8-to-1-savings?goback=.gde_106667_member_5816534941458014209#

    • 0 avatar

      RE: “I am not that optimistic, and I do not agree that government intervention is a good thing, no matter who did it, Shrub or O*ama.”

      Government intervention is good when it works and bad when it doesn’t. The transcontinental railway was probably a good thing. It wasn’t going to happen without government getting involved. Hoover Dam. GI Bill. NASA. Internet and DARPA. Social Security. Medicare. Sherman anti trust. Interstate highway system. Clean air and water. We take government for granted when it works well and are ready to get rid of it in a pique when it frustrates us.

      I’ve had to deal with the EPA throughout my auto business career. Trying to buy or sell a dealership without an EPA survey can’t be done. Who would have thought that those underground lift tanks and fuel tanks could leak into the aquifer?

      My entire neighborhood from grade school is ravaged with cancer. Why? A zinc plant just north blew toxicity all over the place. Our elementary school had to be torn down because of asbestos and lead….. not to mention the cadmium. The top 18″ of top soil had to be dug up and replaced. The entire area is a Superfund site. And Rick Perry is still trying to remember its name so he can abolish it. Oops.

      The neighborhood held a meeting in the 1950s and decided to withhold taking any action because preserving jobs was more important…. or so they thought. The meeting was held in my parents back yard. Later on my Dad became the first emissary to the EPA for the international oil company he worked for. He railed against the EPA. Let’s say he has a different view these days, as do I. Government intervention? Often we don’t have enough of it. I’m looking for a practical balance. My ideological days are long past.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        I understand your position, and in fact I have empathy for all the people that were helped by government intervention, because it worked for them.

        But having things work for people benefitting from socio-economic policies also means that others just have to suck it up and pay for it.

        Being in a leadership position means making the hard choices. These politicians vied for the job, got it, and were tasked to make decision for the benefit of ALL, not just some small percentage, of Americans.

        Interesting thing I heard on Bloomberg today about the popularity of O*ama throughout all age groups and income strata. Most Americans are no longer enamored with O because his policies do not work for them. Many of Shrub’s policies didn’t work for some either, but I’ll take Shrub over O.

        I believe that we should have let all the companies that died, in any industry, stay dead because what Shrub and O did was selectively revive and prop up certain companies while letting others die.

        I might have felt differently if the bailouts, handouts and nationalization had been applied equally, across the economy, rather than seeing the stratification based on favoritism.

        Earlier today a friend, a Russian Jew, who came to America in 1959 and became an American citizen, came to visit me to borrow something.

        When I showed him some of the banter going on in this thread, he said, “I don’t know what has happened to America. But it is not the same America as when I came here. It is worse now.”

        Here’s a guy who has worked all of his life and continues to work today, and he says that? Can an American-born citizen like myself see the change as well?

        Bailouts, handouts, nationalization and the redistribution of America’s wealth can never be a win/win because someone loses.

  • avatar

    RE: “I do not share in the philosophy of bailing out failed businesses. Dead is dead.”

    Actually, they weren’t bailed out, they were restructured according to law and precedent. The preference would have been for DIP financing to be available from the banking system. But the banking system was was frozen. Failed? Bankrupt? Insolvent? Aren’t they the same thing? What would have happened had the car companies been sold at auction? You think the brand names Dodge and Chevrolet would have disappeared? China had cash and didn’t need financing. How would you have gone for that? Humvees in the desert needing parts from Chinese companies?

    RE: “Americans are a resilient bunch. We overcame the Great Depression. We would have overcome the Great Recession as well.”

    We HAVE overcome the Great Recession. There simply is no politician alive who when faced with the facts of life would have chosen the unnecessary havoc liquidation would have brought on us. Other than Ron Paul, that is, and I have my doubts about him. What do you think the American people would do if they thought their government stood back and let a disaster happen when it didn’t need to? What is the perception of Herbert Hoover? The Republicans aren’t going there again, and certainly not the Dems. Its easier to be an ideologue when it isn’t your grandparents huddled under a bridge staying close the the fire in the 55 gallon drum.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      I could have easily gone for letting dead companies stay dead. The nation would have coped. We would have adapted. We would have overcome.

      New companies would have sprung up and taken the place of the dead ones. I hated to see Studebaker go. I loved those cars, but I’ll take my Tundra, Highlander and Grand Cherokee over any of that old iron any day.

      I thought GM should have been chopped up and given to China, just like Chrysler was given to Italy, along with a bribe of $1.3B. But that is my point of view because I believe that out of all that something new and better would have sprang to life.

      Remember when Detroit made some awful cars back in the late 70s and 80s and all of a sudden here came the Datsuns, and Toyotas, and Subarus and Dae Woos, and other awful stuff, but people snatched them up. The industry shook itself out and righted itself to what we have today.

      A dead Chrysler resulted in winners for Fiatsler. A dead GM could have given us quality Chinese-made cars at a price-point that is now owned by Hyundai, Kia and Nissan, especially in California.

      Most of America did not benefit from the bailouts, handouts and nationalization, and continues to suffer from the current redistribution of America’s wealth from the people who worked for it to the people who freeload.

      I don’t mind the people who earned their benefits by working for them, but the millions of people on the dole in America should tell us something. Many of them haven’t lifted a finger nor are they willing to move to where the jobs are. Imagine if that had been the philosophy of the early American Pioneers. We would not have progressed west of the Mississippi.

      If those people who lost their jobs were keepers they wouldn’t have lost their jobs. And hiring managers know this. That’s why the unemployed need not apply for a job. Only the working ones will be considered.

      Somebody made the hard choices there because some will feel that is heartless. It’s reality.

  • avatar

    RE: “I understand your position, and in fact I have empathy for all the people that were helped by government intervention, because it worked for them.”

    It worked for all of us, it just didn’t EQUALLY for all of us. We lost $10 – $12 billion and saved at least $80 billion in the doing if you believe the CAR report.

    RE: “But having things work for people benefiting from socio-economic policies also means that others just have to suck it up and pay for it.”

    Who has had to pay for TARP OR the auto restructuring? TARP is already in the black ink despite the GM loss. Then there is what was saved.

    RE: “Being in a leadership position means making the hard choices. These politicians vied for the job, got it, and were tasked to make decision for the benefit of ALL, not just some small percentage, of Americans.”

    I agree. That’s why they didn’t burn the house down to get rid of the rate.

    RE: “Interesting thing I heard on Bloomberg today about the popularity of O*ama throughout all age groups and income strata. Most Americans are no longer enamored with O because his policies do not work for them. Many of Shrub’s policies didn’t work for some either, but I’ll take Shrub over O.”

    I would caution you against making any judgments based on the poll of the moment.

    RE: “I believe that we should have let all the companies that died, in any industry, stay dead because what Shrub and O did was selectively revive and prop up certain companies while letting others die.”

    Again, the DID die. That’s what C11 is. The were reorganized as different companies. The ONLY difference is that the Feds had to provide the DIP financing.

    RE: “I might have felt differently if the bailouts, handouts and nationalization had been applied equally, across the economy, rather than seeing the stratification based on favoritism.”

    What favoritism?

    RE: “Earlier today a friend, a Russian Jew, who came to America in 1959 and became an American citizen, came to visit me to borrow something.

    When I showed him some of the banter going on in this thread, he said, “I don’t know what has happened to America. But it is not the same America as when I came here. It is worse now.”

    Here’s a guy who has worked all of his life and continues to work today, and he says that? Can an American-born citizen like myself see the change as well?”

    I have a similar situation with a family friend who ironically is on the Federal Reserve BOD of a particular branch. He is from another country and says the same thing, EXCEPT he doesn’t have his facts right. He thinks Ford didn’t receive any bailout and gives them high marks for that. Mulally came to capital hill to support his COMPETITORS because he know what a liquidation would do to his OWN business. PLUS, they got $6 billion from the Feds. The reason they hocked everything was so the Ford family could maintain its special dividend voting stock, which would have gone away if the Feds had had to intervene in Ford. Seeing storm clouds, the family gave Mulally his marching orders. It was more self preservation of the family than anything else.

    RE: “Bailouts, handouts, nationalization and the redistribution of America’s wealth can never be a win/win because someone loses.”

    An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure BUT when faced with a real life situation, pragmatism should win out.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      Yep, you have your views. I have mine.

      The decision was made on our behalf, and we have to live with it. You with your beliefs. Me with mine.

      The real life situation each of us faces today is exactly because of the direction that was chosen for us. And that is what the debate continues to be all about, whether pragmatism really did win out and if we truly are better off today because of it.

      But we’ll never know what was down the road not taken. So what we live with today may be better…., or worse than what could have been.

      I’m going to hit the rack. Thanks for your analysis. It was informative. I respect an enlightened individual like yourself. It’s so refreshing. There are a few well-thought out individuals on ttac. You are one of them. While they often disagree with my philosophy, they’ve never been disagreeable.

      Good night.

  • avatar

    RE: “I could have easily gone for letting dead companies stay dead. The nation would have coped. We would have adapted. We would have overcome.”

    At what cost? CERTAINLY MUCH more than the cost of the restructuring.

    RE: “New companies would have sprung up and taken the place of the dead ones. I hated to see Studebaker go. I loved those cars, but I’ll take my Tundra, Highlander and Grand Cherokee over any of that old iron any day.”

    Those companies did not represent systemic risk. Two new companies DID spring up. That’s what Chapter 11 is.

    RE: “I thought GM should have been chopped up and given to China, just like Chrysler was given to Italy, along with a bribe of $1.3B.”

    Chrysler was NOT given to Italy.

    RE: “But that is my point of view because I believe that out of all that something new and better would have sprang to life.”

    Something new and better DID spring to life without the chaos of liquidation.

    RE: “Remember when Detroit made some awful cars back in the late 70s and 80s and all of a sudden here came the Datsuns, and Toyotas, and Subarus and Dae Woos, and other awful stuff, but people snatched them up. The industry shook itself out and righted itself to what we have today.”

    I could go into that at length but just don’t have the time at the moment. That competition was ultimately a good thing. However, I take some issue with how it happened. I was in the Toyota business in 1977 and Datsun in 1978 and remember it well.

    RE: “A dead Chrysler resulted in winners for Fiatsler. A dead GM could have given us quality Chinese-made cars at a price-point that is now owned by Hyundai, Kia and Nissan, especially in California.”

    The FIAT deal isn’t a “done deal” yet.

    RE: “Most of America did not benefit from the bailouts, handouts and nationalization, and continues to suffer from the current redistribution of America’s wealth from the people who worked for it to the people who freeload.”

    We all benefited, just not equally.

    RE: “I don’t mind the people who earned their benefits by working for them, but the millions of people on the dole in America should tell us something. Many of them haven’t lifted a finger nor are they willing to move to where the jobs are. Imagine if that had been the philosophy of the early American Pioneers. We would not have progressed west of the Mississippi.”

    No time to go into this in detail. No one wants to pay tax money to have it go to freeloaders. But some think it is more important to cut off the undeserving and fraudsters so they cut off everyone. Recall my comment on ideologues. I used to be one.

    RE: “If those people who lost their jobs were keepers they wouldn’t have lost their jobs.”

    Now that’s just a tad arbitrary.

    RE: “And hiring managers know this. That’s why the unemployed need not apply for a job. Only the working ones will be considered.”

    Before unions, there were no HR departments. The shift foreman made the hiring and firing positions. Sometimes he might be paid off. And if his uncle had a boy who needed a position, it made no difference how good you might have been, you were gone.

    RE: “Somebody made the hard choices there because some will feel that is heartless. It’s reality.”

    “Let ‘em die on the sidewalk” is the quote that comes to mind. Ron Paul calls that “freedom.” He has euphemisms for everything. There are a bunch of wannabe economists that subscribe to laissez faire free for all market economies. They can’t cite a single success story of an economy that runs well using their theories. And that’s all it is, political and economic theory. Its called Austrian School. Ayn Rand would be a practitioner, the Godless drug addict who ended her life on Social Security. Other followers would be Alan Greenspan and Ron Paul, my favorite. I cite small government economies like Angola and Somalia, but they don’t want to claim those. There haven’t been any liberals there to impose their generational dependency on the dole. AND despite no dole, things haven’t improved. Let’s face it. Austrian School has lost in the free marketplace of ideas. There has never been a successful Austrian School Society. Markets require rules to function. And when things get out of whack, a little government is a handy thing to have around.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      Yep, you have your views. I have mine.

      The decision was made on our behalf, and we have to live with it. You with your beliefs. Me with mine.

      The real life situation each of us faces today is exactly because of the direction that was chosen for us. And that is what the debate continues to be all about, whether pragmatism really did win out and if we truly are better off today because of it.

      But we’ll never know what was down the road not taken. So what we live with today may be better…., or worse than what could have been.

      I’m going to hit the rack. Thanks for your analysis. It was informative. I respect an enlightened individual like yourself. It’s so refreshing. There are a few well-thought out individuals on ttac. You are one of them. While they often disagree with my philosophy, they’ve never been disagreeable.

      Good night.

  • avatar

    I appreciate the kind words. I try not to be disagreeable even when disagreeing. Sometimes I do a better job of that than others. I sometimes get too short when trying to respond to too many posts on too many blogs at once.

  • avatar

    RE: “The real facts are that GM Corporation is dead, it’s corpse renamed liquidation motors.”

    Thanks for bringing that up. Some people are confused by the fact that they kept the same company name and brands. It is a new corp. The BOD was flushed and the CEO replaced. Not all done perfectly, but done.

    RE: “A new company was formed called General Motors Company. The challenge was to create a viable new business entity and maintain the momentum of the old names and brands.”

    The purpose of Chapter 11 BK was accomplished quite well. Even Ford was saved through the BKs of the other two.

    RE: “Some claim the tax credit carry forward is not typical in “traditional bankruptcies, which may be true.”

    Yes, it is certainly true. I asked Rattner about this in kind of an unfriendly way. I also asked him about the $25 Billion of “blue sky”they arbitrarily put on the GM balance sheet when it emerged from BL in anticipation of the IPO. About the loss carry forward: “We felt it was a good move to bolster the stock price which certainly benefits the taxpayers by helping secure the viability of the new corp.” On the issue of the “blue sky:” There is such a thing as “Fresh Start Accounting” which has a formula that has to be followed. I had no idea it even existed, so Rattner schooled me on this in front of about 75 other journalists. Of course, few of them knew anything about it either, but I had to be the one to act the fool at the time. I later apologized to Rattner for the tone of my question and we shook hands and have been friends since. I have a world of admiration for that guy even though I still disagree violently with some of the things they did. But its easy to second guess.

    If it is true, neither is it typical for the new company to take on the liability for continuing to fund pensions.

    In the case of the entire auto industry, this liability would have fallen on the PBGC, bankrupting the system.

    Since it is backstopped by taxpayers, and the cost of pension funding for GM alone was in the $100 Billion range, it would have been 5-10 times the cost to taxpayers as the loss on the stock sale has turned out.

    The total payback was saving $80-$100B for a $10.5B cost. BTW that number is already dwarfed by new GM capital investment in the United States. Investment that would not have occurred if the company had been liquidated.

    In a “traditional bankruptcy”, GM pensions would have fallen on the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation.

    New GM took on a very costly liability, that would not have been traditional, in exchange for loss carry forward credits of less than half that liability, quid pro quo.

    • 0 avatar

      RE: “The real facts are that GM Corporation is dead, it’s corpse renamed liquidation motors.”

      Thanks for bringing that up. Some people are confused by the fact that they kept the same company name and brands. It is a new corp. The BOD was flushed and the CEO replaced. Not all done perfectly, but done.

      RE: “A new company was formed called General Motors Company. The challenge was to create a viable new business entity and maintain the momentum of the old names and brands.”

      The purpose of Chapter 11 BK was accomplished quite well. Even Ford was saved through the BKs of the other two.

      RE: “Some claim the tax credit carry forward is not typical in “traditional bankruptcies, which may be true.”

      Yes, it is certainly true. I asked Rattner about this in kind of an unfriendly way. I also asked him about the $25 Billion of “blue sky”they arbitrarily put on the GM balance sheet when it emerged from BL in anticipation of the IPO. About the loss carry forward: “We felt it was a good move to bolster the stock price which certainly benefits the taxpayers by helping secure the viability of the new corp.” On the issue of the “blue sky:” There is such a thing as “Fresh Start Accounting” which has a formula that has to be followed. I had no idea it even existed, so Rattner schooled me on this in front of about 75 other journalists. Of course, few of them knew anything about it either, but I had to be the one to act the fool at the time. I later apologized to Rattner for the tone of my question and we shook hands and have been friends since. I have a world of admiration for that guy even though I still disagree violently with some of the things they did. But its easy to second guess.

      RE: “If it is true, neither is it typical for the new company to take on the liability for continuing to fund pensions.”

      Also completely true! Rattner talked at great length about the decision to fund the pensions of white collar workers at GM. The company had reserved absolutely nothing for that and figured to pay out of ongoing operational income. At an industry event in San Diego several people stood up and thanked Ratnner, with tears in their eyes, for saving their pension.

      RE: “In the case of the entire auto industry, this liability would have fallen on the PBGC, bankrupting the system.”

      Again, YES!! Just the UAL BK dropped $6.1 billion on the PBGC. Imagine GM, Chrysler, and a host of suppliers all at the same time.

      The auto industry restructuring is such a success story there can’t be any real complaints from anyone other than the usual and real “moral hazard” whine.

  • avatar

    RE: “Thanks Ruggles. Fields and Farley combined frighten me. If F looks like it’ll hit $23-$25, I’m outta there.”

    I like Bill Ford a lot. I also like Mulally, but I don’t give him as much credit as some. I like his sense of humility, at least that’s based on his outward appearance. A good friend who knows him well speaks highly of him. Fields, we agree on. He might be bright but he doesn’t seem to understand the dealers. Farley, I just don’t know. I’m on the same wave length as you are on the stock, although I’m waiting for about $30. I think they will increase their dividend. still a lot of pent up demand before the next fall off. They seem to have priced in the next round of subventions which they will use when interest rates go up, IMHO.

    RE: “You know better than I about Reuss.”

    I thought better of him until I heard some stuff from a reliable source. I’m still giving him some benefit of the doubt. He must be pissed Barra was chosen over him. De Lorenzo’s piece says it all. I didn’t find it to be so objectionable. And I don’t think he was biased against Barra personally. He despises Akerson, as many do. The dealers hate both Akerman AND Reuss.

    RE: “Given how well most “change agents” have done at GM, he’s smart to wait in the wings and see if Barra can meet her goals, keep the stock price and satisfy the BOD. If not, ta-dah!”

    Between Reuss and his Dad they’ve seen a lot of people come and go. I just hope his personality isn’t what I think it might be. Its all about product and dealers. And GM has been trying to continue to bully their dealers. Same with Chrysler. I don’t have a read from Ford.


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