Bailout Watch 172: GM Marketing Maven Launches Legislative Crusade

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago

Dear GM Dealer:

Earlier today, during a GM Dealer IDL broadcast, I provided you with a GM Business update and significant information about the vital role the U.S. automotive industry plays in the health of the country in terms of employment, annual economic output, exports, R&D investment and retail business. As we’re in the midst of the deepest crisis our industry has ever faced, GM’s priority is on seeking support from various U.S. government agencies and congressional leaders. We need your help now to ask government officials to approve an additional loan package to help us deal with our current liquidity crisis.

Next week, Congress and the current Administration will determine whether to provide immediate support to the domestic auto industry to help it through one of the most difficult economic times in our nation’s history. Your elected officials must hear from all of us now on why this support is critical to our continuing the progress we began prior to the global financial crisis.

As you know, we have taken the tough, necessary actions over the last few years to strengthen our competitive position. With our UAW partners we have reshaped our business and will have reduced our structural costs by more than $13 billion by 2010 and have closed the quality and efficiency gaps with our competitors. We also are building products that have received great customer acceptance and acclaim, as we have seen with the Chevy Malibu, Cadillac CTS and our family of crossovers. And, there’s more to come with the Chevy Volt which will position GM as a global technology leader as well as more hybrids and fuel efficient passenger cars like the Chevy Cruze.

The consequences, however, of a portion of the domestic auto industry collapsing extend far beyond GM’s ability to continue its transformation. One in 10 American jobs depend on our industry, as well as the health of communities, dealers and suppliers in all 50 states. As you know, nearly 3 million employees, retirees, and their families also depend on us for their pensions and health care. Because of the economic contributions of GM and its dealers, the cost of allowing this industry to fail would be catastrophic: 3 million jobs lost within the first year; U.S. personal income reduced by $150.7 billion; a government tax loss over three years of more than $156 billion. This level of economic devastation far exceeds the $25 billion of government support that our industry needs to bridge this current period.

Today, I want you to take the time to contact your members of Congress to ask them to support America’s domestic auto industry. Please call the following number to be connected with your legislators 1-866-874-9356. To assist you with contacts to your Congressional representative, attached are two documents: 1.) Telephone call directions and script for your use in speaking with your representative, a sample letter from you to your representative and a sample “Letter to The Editor” for your use with local media; 2.) Talking points (that include the economic figures cited above) are in the attached document to assist you with the calls. Additionally, you can visit to obtain further information on the auto industry and GM and the ability to create a letter from you to your respective congressional representative urging them to take action in support of the auto industry. Once you’re on the homepage, click on the “I’m a dealer” tab.

Support for the domestic auto industry will contribute to a stronger economy, save millions of jobs, and establish U.S. manufacturing and technology leadership in the global marketplace. As an employee, you have a lot at stake and continue to be one of our most effective and passionate voices. I know GM can count on you to have your voice heard.

Thank you for your urgent action and ongoing support.

Mark LaNeve

GMNA Vice President

Vehicle Sales, Service and Marketing

Join the conversation
2 of 7 comments
  • Ricky Spanish Ricky Spanish on Nov 13, 2008

    I emailed my congresspeople and told them NOT to support the bailout because the companies are just going bankrupt anyways, and they'll never repay the loans once they do.

  • on Nov 14, 2008

    "Mark LaNeve must be shaking with fear that GM will fail before his hair transplants are complete." Criticizing an individual for their physical traits shows absolutely zero integrity. Also cruel, useless, irrelevant and plain stupid.

  • Johnster Another quibble, this time about the contextualization of the Thunderbird and Cougar, and their relationship to the prestigious Continental Mark. (I know. It's confusing.) The Thunderbird/Mark IV platform introduced for the 1971 model year was apparently derived from the mid-sized Torino/Montego platform (also introduced for the 1971 model year), but should probably be considered different from it.As we all know, the Cougar shared its platform with the Ford Mustang up through the 1973 model year, moving to the mid-sized Torino/Montego platform for the 1974 model year. This platform was also shared with the failed Ford Gran Torino Elite, (introduced in February of 1974, the "Gran Torino" part of the name was dropped for the 1975 and 1976 model years).The Thunderbird/Mark series duo's separation occurred with the 1977 model year when the Thunderbird was downsized to share a platform with the LTD II/Cougar. The 1977 model year saw Mercury drop the "Montego" name and adopt the "Cougar" name for all of their mid-sized cars, including plain 2-doors, 4-doors and and 4-door station wagons. Meanwhile, the Cougar PLC was sold as the "Cougar XR-7." The Cougar wagon was dropped for the 1978 model year (arguably replaced by the new Zephyr wagon) while the (plain) 2-door and 4-door models remained in production for the 1978 and 1979 model years. It was a major prestige blow for the Thunderbird. Underneath, the Thunderbird and Cougar XR-7 for 1977 were warmed-over versions of the failed Ford Elite (1974-1976), while the Mark V was a warmed-over version of the previous Mark IV.
  • Stuart de Baker This is depressing, and I don't own one of these.
  • Stuart de Baker Chris! When asked for car advice, I just ask 'em what they want out of a car. And I have my prompts: fun to drive, safety, economy, longevity (I have Consumer Reports annual auto issues going back so I can help people with used cars, too), road trips vs in town, etc, and what sort of body style do they want and why. (If they want an SUV because they think it's safer, I'll suggest they consider large sedans, but if they put major emphasis on safety, I'll check the latest safety stats for whatever cars might satisfy their other desires.
  • Stuart de Baker I don't speak to Jeeps and I don't approve of driving off road, especially in places like Utah where the vegetation won't come back for years.
  • Kanu Actually, I think this makes a certain amount of sense.The average age of light vehicles in operation in the US is now 12.2 years. This means that the typical useful life of a light vehicle is around 25 years.The big virtue of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is that the infotainment system in your car uses the relatively up-to-date technology of your smartphone rather than the vintage technology that existed when your car was built.But the useful life of EVs is nowhere near 25 years. It’s more like 8 years. That’s when the battery needs to be replaced, and that’s when you discover that the price of the new battery is more than the market value of your eight-year-old car with a new battery.So if your EV has built-in infotainment technology, that technology will still be relatively up-to-date when your EV goes to the scrap yard.