By on December 12, 2008

Important Message Update: White House Statement
Mark LaNeve, Vice President, GM North America

Dear U.S. Dealers:

Last night the United States Congress failed to reach agreement on a $14 billion emergency bridge loan in support of the domestic auto industry. Obviously, we’re very disappointed in this development. As critical a situation as this is, GM’s leadership continues to look at options to restructure and stabilize the business in this exceptionally difficult economic period.

I can’t possibly express my appreciation and pride for your participation in this effort. General Motors dealers could not have done more to show support for the loan legislation. You and your teams made thousands upon thousands of contacts with our congressional leaders. Many of you traveled to Washington to meet with your representatives personally, while others organized funds to place ads in local media. I truly believe that your voice was heard and that your efforts will impact the future outcome…

While the federal government may need to step in to prevent an immediate failure, the auto companies, their labor unions, and all other stakeholders must be prepared to make the meaningful concessions necessary to become viable.”

We are continuing to work with the Bush administration, the Obama transition team and congressional leaders for action yet this year.

It goes without saying that these are historic times for our economy and for GM. But we cannot lose sight of the fact that customers will still walk into our stores today and that we still have the best cars, trucks and crossovers we’ve ever had to sell. We have great incentives in the market and our December sales pace has been strong compared to October and November. Make no mistake that we intend to work our way through this crisis. We are aggressively managing down our cost structure while executing key product programs, such as the new Camaro, LaCrosse, and hybrid pick-ups coming soon. I’m asking you to keep a cool head and the commitment you demonstrated in speaking out to Washington. We must continue to order and sell products and satisfy customers.

Rest assured, my team is also committed to helping you to drive the business, as we have always done.  As we get more information and clarity on developments, we’ll communicate them to you as soon as possible. In the meantime, it is important that you continue your great efforts by personally contacting President Bush and his administration. You can easily do this by sending an email to http://[email protected] and ask President Bush to take action now.

Mark LaNeve

Vice President
GM North America

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17 Comments on “Bailout Watch 285 (no less): LaNeve to GM Dealers: Call Bush...”

  • avatar

    You can easily do this by sending an email to http://[email protected] and ask President Bush to take action now.

    No, you really can’t…

  • avatar

    We must continue to order and sell products and satisfy customers.

    Continue to satisfy customers? How about STARTING to satisfy customers.

    And, I note that he specifically says “We must continue to ORDER…products”

  • avatar

    I just read that Saturn is a separate legal entity from GM (Saturn Corporation). That may mean that GM can basically have Saturn go bankrupt with none of the dealers, employees or suppliers having any recourse against GM. That would be interesting.

  • avatar

    Rest assured, my team is also committed to helping you to drive the business, as we have always done.

    Load of BS. Drive the business under, perhaps.

  • avatar

    Saturn was absorbed borg-fashion, into GM proper a few years ago, no_slushbox.

  • avatar

    executing key product programs, such as the new Camaro, LaCrosse, and hybrid pick-ups coming soon.


    What about the Volt?

    My most hated automotive moniker: “crossover.” It’s a damn van. Salve for your SUV hatred/guilt/animosity/whatever.

  • avatar

    …http://[email protected]

    Please tell me this is a joke. The message, not La Neve. I know La Neve is a joke.

  • avatar

    A good vehicle does not need incentives. A good vehicle does not sit on your lot along with 50 identical vehicles, not being sold.

    LaCrosse? Seriously? Even the name sucks.

  • avatar

    Even a good vehicle can sit on your lot too long if the price is too high.

    Why should the dealers waste their time sending emails? The bailout does nothing to sell cars- nothing to make cars more affordable. Worse- the automakers will force dealers to take the cars whose manufacture the bailout now funds, hitting the floor plans even harder. Beyond that, since competition is out of the picture a bailout would bring no incentive for increase in quality- to the contrary: think Lada, Volga, Yugo…

    The best thing for dealers is a reorganization with a reduction in costs so that an equivalent, lower cost vehicle. This translates into a very competitively priced truly American car with prideful quality which customers will snap up.

  • avatar

    LaCrosse? Seriously? Even the name sucks.

    Quite literally, as Quebecois know…

  • avatar

    Even the rest of Canada caught on to that joke… :D

  • avatar

    http://[email protected]

    Really? A national letter? If you handed that to a potential employer while trying to convince them you were current and on top of things, I don’t think it would look too good.

  • avatar

    Quite literally, as Quebecois know…

    Chafes, not sucks. Unless you’re a contortionist.

  • avatar

    If you were writing an email to your committed and highly important US Dealer network, would you seriously include the LaCrosse, Camaro and Hybrid Pickup Trucks as the enticing, wait-and-see vehicles your customers will be lining up to purchase? WOW.

  • avatar

    I’ve got the answer.

    Fact: The US taxpayer should not be used to help GM, Ford and Chrysler. I don’t care that the banks got bailed out – two wrongs don’t make a right. Besides, it’s not looking as if the bank bailouts are working so well anyway.

    Taxpayers earning $14.00 with modest benefits shouldn’t subsidize auto workers earning whatever it is that they make, including very, very nice benefits.

    This seems to leave the Detroit three in the position of bankruptcy. Almost everybody loses big-time in bankruptcy. Especially the workers.

    All nastiness and rudeness aside, I feel that GM, Ford and even Chrysler have some good product offerings. Under better circumstances I’d bet that GM and Ford could prosper.

    They are paying too much for labor. This would include salary, benefits, jobs banks and work rules. They are saddled with too many dealers. They are saddled with too many brands. The problem is, that the US and state laws are such that it’s way too expensive for GM and Ford to rid themselves of the above problems. Yes, I understand that management got themselves into these obligations, but since they’re about to go kaput, blaming management presently, doesn’t seem to make much sense. It is, what it is. Deal with it.

    Facing reality, wouldn’t it make more sense for Washington to quickly enact some special laws that allow GM, Ford and Chrysler to pare their dealer networks to a realistic number? Perhaps GM and Ford should be allowed to drop some brands without getting sued for billions? Perhaps they should be allowed to force changes onto their workers? I’m thinking of some compromise agreed upon by management, Washington and the UAW. I’m thinking of wages, benefits and work rules that are similar to the ones of Americans working for Nissan or Honda. Perhaps substantial changes have to be made re the heavy burden of the retirees. I think that as painful as this might be, the workers would still get a better deal than many, many fellow American workers presently enjoy. Besides, at the end of the day, all of the above will be much better for the workers than bankruptcy. Bankruptcy would make my scenario look like a walk in the park.

    If GM could pare down to Chevrolet and Cadillac, and if they could work with a realistic amount of dealers, and if they could get their overall labor costs more in line with the transplants, GM should be able to prosper even if their market share falls to 15%. Ford without Mercury, could prosper with 10 or 12% market share. Heck, even Chrysler could prosper with a 7% market share. Honda and Nissan do rather well in America with modest market shares.

    I repeat: As unfair and lousy as my scenario may be, it’s tremendously better than most any realistic alternative out there. I assume that very few people actually believe that 15 billion dollars is going to make any long term difference for the Detroit companies. Nobody believes that the UAW is going to arbitrarily to agree to work rule changes that are going to help productivity. The Detroit business model is broken. Washington loans with silly attachments aren’t going to change or fix the broken business model. Does anybody really believe that a Washington appointed auto czar is the answer? Bankruptcy might allow the needed changes to fix the broken business model, but that’s a pretty brutal way off fixing the problem.

    Yep, my way’s the best way.

    Pardon my poor grammar and punctuation. I barely scraped by grade twelve. Thank God for Spell Check.

    Let the flaming begin.

    Marry Christmas,

  • avatar

    Shabster: spelling and message loud and clear.

    No flames from me. You are dead on.

  • avatar

    This letter is terrible in every way. As other posters have mentioned, Lacrosse, Camaro, and hybrid trucks are products people are going to be excited about? Lacrosse from a division that barely exists, Camaro because everyone wants a two door sports car, and hybrid pickups because trucks are selling so well.

    On top of that urging people to send Bush an email. Like anyone reads anything from that address. Letters like this are so reassuring when the treasury is going to step in and just give them the money. Good to know all that time Congress spent on this was spent wisely.

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