Ask the Best and Brightest: American Leyland or Government Motors?

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago
ask the best and brightest american leyland or government motors

It was I who invented the name “Maximum Bob” for GM Car Czar Bob Lutz. That said, I also coined “Rabid Rick” for GM CEO Rick Wagoner; clearly, I should have stuck with the Buickman-perpetuated “Red Ink Rick.” John Horner, a charter member of out Best and Brightest and yeoman TTAC blogger, first mooted the moniker “American Leyland” for the federally-funded (one way or another, eventually) GM – Chrysler mash-up. But it’s a keeper. Or is it? Evan Newmark’s column over at The Wall Street Journal’s Mean Street proposes another way of characterizing the insanity to come: “GM = Government Motors.” While I’m not completely enamored by the new name, Newmark’s arguments are entirely seductive. In fact, it’s the best anti-GM bailout diatribe I’ve encountered, here or anywhere else– not that the topic is large enough to deserve a genre, yet. Anyway, I’ve excerpted some of the best bits below, and put it to you, our B&B: American Leyland or Government Motors?

“There will be only one big loser–and that’s you, the U.S. taxpayer. You will pick up the multibillion-dollar tab for the consolidation of a failed industry that should have consolidated on its own long ago… Detroit’s decline has been a slow-motion car wreck spanning four decades. GM, Ford and Chrysler have been losing domestic market share for years to Toyota Motors, Honda Motors and BMW. Who actually admires Detroit for its car-making prowess? So, bail out Wall Street and save the global economy. Bail out Detroit and save–well, Detroit…

“Let each of the Big Three do what is in the interest of its shareholders and creditors. Let them try and merge with each other–if they can. Let them each file for bankruptcy-law protection–when or if necessary. When Chrysler goes bankrupt, let GM or Ford or a foreign rival pick up Chrysler’s assets on the cheap. If GM or Ford head into bankruptcy, let the government step in–but only on punitive terms. Punitive terms? Reduce all management, worker and retiree pension and health-care benefits. Remove all union contracts. Replace senior management and the boards. Haircut the creditors and recapitalize the companies. This is the radical direction Detroit has to go in if it ever hopes to compete with Toyota or Honda.”

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  • Bertel Schmitt Bertel Schmitt on Oct 29, 2008

    I like both. American Leyland for the cognoscenti. Government Motors for the in-your-face crowd. If there is no consensus, the maverik option would be "PC" for People's Car. It's simple. It's American. Even Ford would sign on. It worked before. You put stamps in a savings book, be promised a car which everybody knows won't be covered by the savings, and get nothing in the end - the savings are funneled into a war (or two.) PC would be a-propos in a world where nipples cause an uproar, and where BS is castigated for using "Yellow Peril." Warranty cases would also be much easier: "My PC don't work." "You need a new driver." PS: The PC would of course be made entirely from parts from the PRC, a TKD car, totally knocked down. PPS: All TTAC B&B will go to camps for sensitivity training - to pain PPPS: The PC would take half an hour to start. PPPPS: "It's a PC. Expect a bug."

  • Nudave Nudave on Oct 29, 2008

    I've always been fond of "Generally Mediocre". The average American is too stupid to realize the significance of the word "Leyland".

  • Tassos BTW I thought this silly thing was always called the "Wienermobile".
  • Tassos I have a first cousin with same first and last name as my own, 17 years my junior even tho he is the son of my father's older brother, who has a summer home in the same country I do, and has bought a local A3 5-door hatch kinds thing, quite old by now.Last year he told me the thing broke down and he had to do major major repairs, replace the whole engine and other stuff, and had to rent a car for two weeks in a touristy location, and amazingly he paid more for the rental ( Euro1,500, or $1,650-$1,700) than for all the repairs, which of course were not done at the dealer (I doubt there was a dealer there anyway)
  • Tassos VW's EV program losses have already been horrific, and with (guess, Caveman!) the Berlin-Brandenburg Gigafactory growing by leaps and bounds, the future was already quite grim for VW and the VW Group.THis shutdown will not be so temporary.The German Government may have to reach in its deep pockets, no matter how much it hates to spend $, and bail it out."too big to fail"?
  • Billccm I had a 1980 TC3 Horizon and that car was as reliable as the sun. Underappreciated for sure.
  • Inside Looking Out I did not notice, did they mention climate change? How they are going to fight climate change, racism and gender discrimination. I mean collective Big 3.