By on May 26, 2009

It’s pretty quiet today, news-wise. We’re picking-up dribs and drabs from here and there, but it’s the calm before the storm. The big news is, of course, GM’s forthcoming bankruptcy filing. As the Brits would say, it’s all over bar the shouting. Final confirmation arrives at midnight tonight, when the deadline expires for GM’s bondholders’ to swap $27 billion in debt for a 10 percent equity stake in a new GM.

Expect the MSM feeding frenzy/hand wringing to begin tomorrow, bright and early. Also tomorrow, federally-funded, Italian-controlled “new” Chrysler will be named “lead bidder” for “old” Chrysler’s prime assets. When you’re in a race of one, you win! At the same time (roughly), the United Auto Workers (UAW) will vote on concessions that will help usher in the new post-C11 GM. Expect more window dressing from the union whose health care fund will own a majority share in the reborn automaker.

Before you, the taxpayer, can “invest” in Chrysler LLC, federal bankruptcy judge Arthur Gonzalez must push aside—I mean, carefully consider—legal objections and challenges to the Presidential Task Force on Automobile’s cunning plan to foist ChryCo on Fiat. This he will do on Thursday.

Also on Thursday, bankrupt parts maker and former GM division Delphi is due in federal court to throw its hands up in despair and die. This is the umpteenth continuance of what would have been the company-killing coup de grâce. The judge will no doubt issue yet another postponement, out of respect for the dead.

On Friday, the UAW will announce that its members have ratified their new contract with GM! Huzzah!

Friday’s the big day for GM: bankruptcy. Or not. That depends on the President’s and the company’s spinmeisters, mostly. Traditionally, GM saves its bad news until Friday afternoon, when the markets are shut. If there’s no other news event taking place to help hide their shame, they could wait ’til Sunday, when GM will default on $1billion worth of maturing debt.

As Barack Obama personally announced Chrysler’s filing, expect (at the least) a concomitant presidential statement on the bankruptcy, reiterating the same rhetoric about leaner, meaner, government backed, etc. The MSM is going to play the GM-C11-story-is-still-something-of-a-mystery angle. But there’s no question that GM AND the economy will BOTH get the blame.

TTAC has a few GM obits/editorials ready to go. I will keep my powder dry on the final “General Motors Death Watch” until the day. We will not go GM mad; there will be the usual mix of features and reviews. If our servers melt, rest assured we have a technical team standing by to press the paddles to electronic chest. Irony, eh? You can’t escape it.

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19 Comments on “The Week Ahead: Chrysler Born Again (Again), GM Files for C11...”

  • avatar

    This is for you Robert- and each and every one of you out there who have been writing and contributing for the past 3+ years on the “GM Death Watch” series.

    It’s a series much like any Soap Opera such as “Days of Our Lives”, or “As The World Turns”. It’s has been filled with joys, anguish, harsh truths and of course greed.

    I have enjoyed the GM Death Watch series much more than I have enjoyed Luke And Laura on General Hospital.

    You called it some 3+ years and 250+ articles ago- and for that you deserve some recognition. While everyone else went down the rotten trail of “Well, things are not as corrupt as they may seem…we’ll turn this baby around. You just need some FAITH”.

    Well, faith is a last resort for those who have no clue as to how to run a 7-11, let alone a global empire.

    Congratulations on a job well done.

    Truth wins out each and EVERY time!!

    Goodbye GM, goodbye Chrysler- I can’t say I’ll miss you (now give the taxpayers their money back you bloody criminals. You ought to be in prison.).

  • avatar

    Reuters’ sources said GM will likely file for bankruptcy some time after midnight Tuesday, but before June 1.

  • avatar

    Well, it seems the moment you have predicted, and I have denied to myself for the 3 years I’ve read this site finally came.

    The train is finally going to wreck…

    I gave you my point of view in a previous post, and thank your answer.

    What has happened to once mighty/proud/powerful/innovative/leader GM is just a shame, I’m deeply deluded and sad. I stand with you and say they should have filed a long time ago.

    The (automotive) world will be very very different after 2009. Even as soon as next Friday.

    Said that, keep up the good work. I’m glad I started reading this site 3 years ago, and will continue to do so as far as doesn’t betrays its principles.

    PS: I said before, and I’m going to insist on it, signals are out for starting a Toyota deathwatch. GM mistakes are starting to show, and continue…

  • avatar

    What guarantee does the “new GM” have that sales will pick up dramatically in the next year?

    How many units does the “new GM” have to sell to be a viable concern?

    Who is going to buy the thousands of cars anchored in ships off the shore of Long Beach, CA?

    I think the cafeteria at the Grosse Pointe Yacht Club will be pretty quiet for some time.

  • avatar

    Is it now time to give our thanks to RF as chronicler of GM’s death spiral? The Roman Empire has Gibbons, GM has Farago. The death watch series is what first hooked me on TTAC and I’ve stayed with it every step of the way. Strikes me this one will end with a whimper rather than a bang…and a British Leyland-like reVOLTing plethora of truly awful cars as they continue to aim for the fences with pathetically mis-cued home-run attempts.

  • avatar

    I’m of mixed feelings here. One hand I feel sorry for all the rank and file who may (almost certainly) lose their jobs as a result of the bankruptcy. They did nothing wrong and yet will pay the price.

    However, on the other hand I feel somewhat proud and smug.

    Rastus is right. For 3+ years, 253 “death watches”, numerous news atricles (of which I contributed a few) and comments (of which I contributes loads!) TTAC called that GM was in a tailspin which will culminate into a death spiral. Other websites said TTAC was mad and “anti-domestic”.

    Now, everyone knows that TTAC was right and the proof is on these pages. I also feel proud to have been on this lift from the ground floor.

    I’m going to kick back watch this massacre happen from across the pond. I lost my job because of these wankers, so I’m going to enjoy this.

  • avatar

    I remember that this site (I think) said earlier that GM will file tomorrow (May 27). Strap yourselves in, folks.

  • avatar
    Steve Green

    The Roman Empire has Gibbons, GM has Farago.

    Sivadj, that was perfect.

  • avatar

    I don’t remember how I found TTAC or when I started reading it, but I’ve read plenty of GM deathwatch articles. I wish RF only had to write about 50 of them. Things probably would be a lot better if that was the case because by now GM would possibly be able to hold their own like other car companies (except for Chrysler). I’m sure with the way this bankruptcy is going to happen, GM will end up a government owned zombie company for a long time.

  • avatar

    The roughly five thousand GM deathwatch and bankruptcy editorials and posts would make an interesting book, no? RF should search out a publisher.

    Certainly it will be a far more truthful tome than Wagoner will write when he pens his auto(not!)biography.

  • avatar

    I have nothing to say at this point, except “do I need to bring anything?”

    Usually, at potluck celebration diners, I’m the reliable escort of the store-brand orange soda. (Except it’s called “pop” in the Midwest.)

  • avatar

    The Roman Empire has Gibbons, GM has Farago.”

    +1 – That was brilliant.

  • avatar

    KatiePuckrik :

    I’m going to kick back watch this massacre happen from across the pond. I lost my job because of these wankers, so I’m going to enjoy this.

    Katie, sorry to hear about this. I hope you find alternative work soon!

  • avatar

    It didn’t have to happen. We saw it coming. It’s damn waste. It’s damn shame. What foundation do they have to rebuild on?

    PS Katie, you’re not alone. There’s thousands of us in the same boat. :-(

  • avatar

    Now that it’s going to happen, I hope everybody is ready for the ramifications. The economy is going to continue to spiral out of control. Current’s administration to prop this mess up, is only going to get worse. Don’t misunderstand, I still believe they need bankruptcy, but it’s going to get ugly.

  • avatar
    Stein X Leikanger

    I’ve mentioned tidbits from my GM-travails. Years ago I was told I was deeply delusional for ever thinking that GM would implode – it was simply too obvious. You simply can’t run an organization that large with a board and top management completely divorced from reality.

    Kudos to Robert for telling it as he saw it, and for pushing the grim consequences. It cost him readers and revenue – but this is TTAC, and it wouldn’t be if he had pulled his punches.

    This is incredibly sad, but it’s also a lesson.

    1. Nothing is too big to fail.
    2. Accountability, accountability, accountability.
    3. Superior products, presented with flair, supported with honor. Where were they?
    4. Advertising can’t solve your real world problems.

    GM will break up into smaller units, and will be a part of the mobility solution of tomorrow – something previous management never even accepted as an R&D spec.

    My sympathies to all those hard working men and women who are seeing their livelihood and lives destroyed by the absolute idiocy demonstrated by their top executives.

  • avatar

    I feel sorry for the R&F too, but not very much. If they didn’t also see this coming, I think a good part -probably the majority of them- are at the very least guilty of complacency & tunnel vision -and to be guilty of that is functionally to have done something wrong. Doh. The eventual (or, inevitable?) bankruptcy was just as visible for them as it was for those of us here. They shoulda’ seen it coming & gotten out when the getting was good. As a very wise guy/gal once said: “It’s better to leave things before they leave you”.

    It DID have to happen. It NEEDED to happen, and that’s why it has happened. It needs to happen to several more, frankly. Including at least one Asian manufacturer. There is WAY TOO MUCH excess capacity in this industry for at least the next several years.

  • avatar

    @ Stein:

    To paraphrase a local politician, we weren’t led by bad people, but we were badly led.

  • avatar

    You called it some 3+ years and 250+ articles ago- and for that you deserve some recognition. While everyone else went down the rotten trail of “Well, things are not as corrupt as they may seem…we’ll turn this baby around. You just need some FAITH”.

    These types of things insiders knew about even years before that. D3’s problems are nothing new, and their continued existence was only possible through credit from idiot financiers who though they were too big to fail, and demise was always one down cycle away.

    Not to take anything away from this blog, tho, it’s good to have the discussion in public. The only trick is to dig deep enough to find accurate info and filter out illogical fuzz, because clearly most of the world don’t bother, which is why correctness is generally incidental.

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