A Look Back…
August 1st, 2008 10:34 AM Share
It's hard to believe that General Motors was once the world's largest company. It's even harder to believe GM was once the world's most profitable company. If there's one factor connecting the GM money factory of old with today's sinking ship, it's a sense of a boundless (senseless?) optimism married to a mien of manifest destiny. One wonders if GM could produce something as… seamless as this PR piece today. Sadly, yes. [Any resemblance between this film and a hypnotic smoking cessation video are entirely obvious.]
Published August 1st, 2008 10:32 AM
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Believe it or not, I was actually there. I was only three, but I do have dim memories of being taken through that World's Fair by my parents.
Such arrogance...and naivety. No doubt, the realities of 2008 were inconceivable to both those who created this film and its intended audience. When competition from Japan was introduced, this dream began unraveling....and quickly turned into a nightmare! Arrogance is one of the reasons that domestic cars lagged so far behind Japanese even after 25 or 30 years. The only reason GM didn't falter a lot sooner is because of the "Buy American" consumer who considered choosing a color and body style as "comparison shopping". Now the majority of these people are either too old to drive or dead. Toss in a gas crisis and, even for the few that remain, all bets (loyalties) are off! It would be interesting to see what would happen if GM and Ford were given a fresh start. No repressive labor unions to constantly battle, no embarrassing past to overcome, no critical financial woes...I wonder what sort of vehicles they'd actually be capable of building???
My father once met Henry Ford--can't remember whether it was II or III, but whoever would have been running the company in about 1954--at a press function of some sort, and he asked Ford what he thought of the possibilities for this interesting "new" German car, the VW Bug. Ford looked at my father as though he was a bad smell and said, "Ridiculous. We'll throw 'em back into the ocean."
The "The END" screen for this flick was: --- Without END General Motors --- Was GM allready paranoid about its mortality in 1939? ;)