By on December 29, 2008

I’m sorry to keep harping-on about this. But I am flabbergasted by Fortress Detroit’s reaction to the bailout. Today’s the day that GM and Chrysler actually get their checks. And today’s the day that the doyenne of Motown media Keith Crain continues his incessant, indignant whining. The headline of his Automotive News [sub] column asks “Does it matter anymore?” Intriguing. Does what matter anymore? The $60b or so Uncle Sam’s pissing away to sustain a brace of unsustainable automakers? That would, of course, make sense. As the Brits might say, those of you looking for sense should look away now. “Across the globe, governments are reaching out to help their auto companies survive. Other governments are giving assistance without any of the theatrics that the Detroit 3 had to endure to get bridge loans. And General Motors and Chrysler will be required to return to Washington for more hearings so all the politicians can have more TV time, which they find invaluable.” Yeah, ain’t democracy a drag? There’s more of Crain’s paranoid passive aggressive paternalistic pandering after the jump…

“It won’t be a slam-dunk. There are still people in Congress who are out to get GM and Chrysler, and they’ll be loaded for bear. Plenty of them are still smarting from the last encounter so chances are good that it won’t be pretty even though there will be a new administration and Congress.”

Just because Crain thinks people are out to get GM and Chrysler doesn’t mean someone shouldn’t rake them over the coals for their ongoing incompetence and subject their taxpayer-funded “viability plans” to the oxygen of public debate, does it? Keith?

“It’s going to be tough for everyone except perhaps the UAW, which will have a few more friends than last time. It will be painful for most of us, but you do what you need to do.”

How, exactly, is Mr. Crain going to share GM and Chrysler workers’ pain? And, if AN’s publisher and editorial director is going to suffer from blowback after years of lapdogging his hometown heroes, I’m beginning to wonder if that’s really such a bad thing. Not in any vindictive way, of course. Just in the sense that the free market has a certain… wisdom to it.

Anyway, I’m still not sure what what Crain was wondering about.

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8 Comments on “Bailout Watch 307: Keith Crain Has A Chip on His Shoulder the Size of Montana...”


  • avatar
    John R

    Across the globe, governments are reaching out to help their auto companies survive. Other governments are giving assistance without any of the theatrics that the Detroit 3 had to endure to get bridge loans.

    Umm…I’m going to nominate “Have you driven a Sebring?” as a new internet meme. Specially made for these guys. Short of standing on top of a large hill in the “D” and shouting, “THE CARS WERE BAD AND THESE COMPANIES ARE POORLY RUN THAT’S WHY THIS IS SO HARD!”

  • avatar
    TexN

    What Keith Crain and the rest of the Detroit apologists fail to realize is that when you’ve screwed up (like the Detroit 3 have) you should sincerely apologize, take your beating, move on and do better going forward. The blame game is VERY tired at this point.

    As for me personally, I will NEVER buy another GM or Chrysler product primarily because of the bailout. I’ve owned Pontiac, Buick, Chevy, Ford, and Chrysler among the “domestics”. I’ve also owned Nissan and Honda. I’ve had good and bad experiences with all.

    The Detroit 3 are absolutely crushing themselves in the public relations and goodwill game. I think this is why they continue to lose market share and they will not be viable going forward. If the economy rebounds, Ford still has a fighting chance.

  • avatar
    John Horner

    Keith me boy, you have to make your friends in the good times in order to have them there to go that extra mile for you in the bad times. At the very least, don’t piss nearly everyone off in the good times. It is stunning how many individuals and companies don’t understand this ancient rule of human relations.

  • avatar
    olddavid

    If a tree falls in the forest, and no one is around………………..

  • avatar
    no_slushbox

    “Across the globe, governments are reaching out to help their auto companies survive. Other governments are giving assistance without any of the theatrics that the Detroit 3 had to endure to get bridge loans. And General Motors and Chrysler will be required to return to Washington for more hearings so all the politicians can have more TV time, which they find invaluable.”

    Please Keith, enlighten me. The Japanese and German automakers were actually profitable enough to build up reserves; they are not relying on anyone but themselves.

    Contrast that to the Detroit automakers, who could not even make profit during the economic boom, and entered the recession with massive debt because of that.

    Canada had to help bail-out the big-3. Australia is bailing out Holden. Britain has considered bailing out Ford’s failed and now sold Jaguar and Land Rover subsidiaries. Sweden has considered helping Volvo and Saab. And Opel has been begging Germany for money.

    The only automotive bailouts going on in the industrial world have been for the big-3, for subsidiaries of the big-3, or for past subsidiaries of the big-3.

    The Detroit automakers have ruined everything they have touched.

    Never cry about what other countries are doing. If the Detroit automakers were in any other industrialized country they would have been nationalized by now, with all private stakeholders wiped out, the executives on trial and the headquarters moved to the capitol. In other countries, without the 1st Amendment and with tougher libel laws, your libelous, lying paper would be shut down. Try to be proud of your country, even when it does not bend over and give you money without questions, or leave.

    Also, “[a]nd General Motors and Chrysler will be required to return to Washington for more hearings”? Really, who is requiring that? I didn’t hear anyone say that General Motors had to come back to Washington. They were free to take their $14 billion and leave. Oh, wait, they are going to burn through that $14 billion in a couple of months and then be facing bankruptcy again? I guess they might have to come back begging then. Begging for money from Congress is a very nice luxury that most companies do not have, the Detroit automakers should be appreciative of it.

    “It’s going to be tough for everyone except perhaps the UAW, which will have a few more friends than last time. It will be painful for most of us, but you do what you need to do.”

    Detroit’s automakers are bankrupt and failed. Outside of pretend pixie dust land (RenCen, etc.) this is not a loan for companies having a rough time. It is money down the drain to keep the big-3 alive until the economy has recovered enough to absorb the bankruptcies of the failed Detroit automakers.

    This is not about saving companies, that is not the government’s job; it is simply about delaying layoffs during a time of increasing unemployment. So yes, it is about the UAW. What did you think the bailout was about, saving the jewelry of the trophy wives of incompetent capital destroying automaker executives?

  • avatar
    timd38

    Crain is crying because if the Detroit 2.5 go down, he won’t have anyone left to sell Automotive News to.

  • avatar

    Detroit, the universal boogeyman.

    If a local newspaper does a human interest story about gifting a car for Christmas, it’s seen as hyping Chrysler. If a local paper says that since the auto industry employs a lot of blacks, the current crisis will hit blacks disproportionately, the paper is accused of playing the race card instead of being seen as covering a story of interest to the large black population around here.

    I’m no huge fan of Keith Crain. He’s another member of the lucky sperm club and like Dutch Mandell he walks around the auto shows like some kind of royalty, expecting, and getting, favored treatment. But at least Crain has some skin in the game, unlike most of the folks who reflexively bash Detroit. He has a financial interest in the auto industry. Apparently to some, that’s a crime.

    What’s interesting is that Daniel Howes of the Detroit News has been outspoken on the need to do things differently in Detroit, with criticism of all the stakeholders, and these articles never got noticed on TTAC. Perhaps they don’t fit the prevailing narrative or TTAC’s branding. Howes is not the only local critic of the domestics that thinks that redemption is better than condemnation. That’s not enough for the Detroit bashers.

    Some here won’t be satisfied unless the domestic automakers slit their wrists, beat their breasts and wail chatati, chatati, I have sinned, I have sinned. The Detroit bashers want their pound of flesh and then some.

    If you want there to be a viable US based domestic auto industry then offer some constructive criticism. If not, well, schadenfreude and vindictive behavior are not examples of moral behavior.

  • avatar
    PeteMoran

    Across the globe, governments are reaching out to help their auto companies survive. Other governments are giving assistance without any of the theatrics that the Detroit 3 had to endure to get bridge loans.

    This Detroit apologist refrain is particularly annoying. Other governments might well be assisting their automakers, because they have fundamentally sound and rather transparent businesses otherwise.

    This is not the case with the Bigish3.

    If VW asked for it, I’d loan them $1. GM/Chrysler, no way. The reason should be obvious.

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