The Thick Plottens: GM Tried to Merge With Ford

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago
the thick plottens gm tried to merge with ford

New York Times scribe Bill Vlasic set the U.S. automotive industry abuzz last night, reporting that GM and Chrysler were discussing a merger. Careful reading of the article revealed that the story had more holes than a block of Emmantal. It included unocorrobrated, unnamed sources; backpedalling a plenty and language couching that seemed carefully designed to maintain what Ronald Reagan’s administration famously called “plausible deniability.” Oh, and it didn’t make any sense. Today’s follow-up— declaring that GM and Ford were looking to hook-up– is even less credible, AND less equivocoal. [NB: Again with the “two people.”] “In July, G.M. approached Ford with a proposal to combine the operations of the two biggest American automakers. The talks involved several meetings between G.M.’s chairman, Rick Wagoner; its president, Frederick Henderson; Ford’s executive chairman, William C. Ford Jr.; and its chief executive, Alan R. Mulally, people with knowledge of the process said… Ford broke off the talks in September, these people said. Mr. Ford and Mr. Mulally were said to have concluded that their company had a better chance to reorganize on its own than in tandem with another automaker.” TTAC’s take: While such a high-level meeting may have taken place (and it may not), again, the automakers had plenty of things to talk about other than merging: federal loans, federal bailouts, federal regulation, etc. [thanks to Robert Schwartz for the link]

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4 of 18 comments
  • John Horner John Horner on Oct 12, 2008

    " What?? The NYT got its facts wrong or is basing assumptions on faulty data? Well this is just a complete shock." Would you have thought differently if the story first appeared in the New York Post? You would have to search long and hard to find two papers with a more different political bias than the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. When both are reporting similar stories it is highly likely that there is indeed fire to go with the smoke.

  • BlueBrat BlueBrat on Oct 12, 2008
    Usta Bee: I want that sticker.
  • Charleywhiskey Charleywhiskey on Oct 12, 2008

    “Plausible deniability” notoriously surfaced in US politics during John Kennedy’s administration. The term was well worn by the time of President Reagan.

  • TireGuy TireGuy on Oct 12, 2008

    It would economically in the end not make sense - but why do you deny that such ideas of Merger between GM and Chrysler or Ford took place at all?