By on July 24, 2009

Earlier today, I spoke with Jim Dollinger (a.k.a. Buickman). The TTAC commentator was deeply rattled. Jimbo reported that GM had put the squeeze on the dealer for which he sells. “They’re clever,” he said. “But they made it clear to the dealer that their franchise was in danger if I didn’t shut down GeneralWatch.com.” I told Dollinger to let it go. In fact, I called him back and recommended that he let GM go. Give up his quixotic quest to save GM and find some more lucrative, less splenetic line of work, or at least another carmaker to represent. Nope. Ten minutes ago, I received one of his e-mail alerts. “Today General Motors threatened my dealer. Now I have to decide between keeping my job and running GeneralWatch.com.” I e-mailed him back, “Are you sure you want to go public with this?” Suffice it to say, Dollinger’s terse reply signified his assent. So there you have it: same old GM. In other words, knowing both Buickman and GM, I believe him. Your tax money hard at work.

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77 Comments on “GM to Dealer: Get Buickman to Lay Off or Else...”


  • avatar
    Dimwit

    Sad. It’s not like they have anything else to concentrate on, like, oh maybe, SELLING CARS?

  • avatar
    mad scientist

    Sounds like the former Bush administration is now running GM………”do as we say, or else!” Next thing you know, Jim will be blacklisted as a terrorist by Homeland Security.

  • avatar
    BDB

    Buickman–

    Go see if you can sell for a Ford dealership.

  • avatar
    RedStapler

    One would think after pulling this stunt with Ralph Nader eons ago they would have learned.

    Oh wait this is GM; Never Mind.

    Sounds like its time to call his Congresscritter and Senator and make some waves.

  • avatar
    Matt51

    GM never learned from when they had thugs trail Nader. Same mentality forty years later!

  • avatar
    Matt51

    Hey RedStapler, you beat me to it!

  • avatar
    Dukeboy01

    mad scientist :
    July 24th, 2009 at 9:00 pm

    Sounds like the former Bush administration is now running GM………”do as we say, or else!” Next thing you know, Jim will be blacklisted as a terrorist by Homeland Security.

    Of course, the small problem with your analogy is that the current Obama administration really is running GM…

    That’s okay. Feel free to keep using Bush as a metaphor for all the things you dislike. Reality is too hard to pay attention to anyway.

  • avatar
    HEATHROI

    look Buickman senior GM execs had whale of a time pissing away their own investors money, why the hell should it stop now they’ve got access to the public purse.

  • avatar

    Buickman,

    I’ll be happy to lobby your congresscritter about this for you. Give me their name and I will call them. Or ask me for any other lobbying you deem valuable. You can email me directly at motorlegends.com, although if you put it in here, others may do likewise. As for GM, if they really go after your dealer, they can forget about ever selling me a car, and I’m a former Saturn owner. I sympathize with RF’s advice to you, but if you don’t want to take it, I’m still happy to support you and your dealer. freedom of speech is one of the virtues of america, and I am appalled that GM is trying to stifle it, and I respect your advice for GM. (As well as RF’s.) If I had a significant number of shares of GM stock instead of just two, I’d raise hell with them.

  • avatar
    jerseydevil

    and i was considering a camaro.

    dammit

    ignorance is truely bliss.

  • avatar

    Buickman,

    Why not just “sell” the site to someone else?

    Make the sale legally binding and all, even transfer the domain name registration to the buyer. Then you can continue to post there under an assumed name and GM can’t do squat to retaliate.

    Tell GM that to honor their request, you’ve sold the site. Of course, since you won’t own it anymore, you can’t very well shut down what’s not your property.

    You can even tell them that you’d love to shut down the site, but since it’s not your property, you can’t really control what the site publishes.

  • avatar
    lw

    Just another tragic step towards disintegration for the General.

    Buickman – Best of luck.. You’ve tried hard to help the beast and now it bites you.

  • avatar
    golden2husky

    Ronnie Schreiber: You took the words out of my mouth. “Run Silent, Run Deep”…Buickman, if you can handle making it look like defeat, but in actuality having the upper hand, this is the way to go. In fact, it really is the better way. The satisfaction of revenge without anybody knowing but you not only keeps you out of trouble, it is a very tasty dish…and Dukeboy, while Obama may be at the helm, GM’s behavior here reeks of Bush mentality. Obama is too busy spending money as fast as it can be printed to be bothered with the likes of Buickman…

  • avatar
    VerbalKint

    Isn’t there some kind of 1st Amendment infringement here? Sounds like maybe a “whistleblower” suit…

    Or maybe you might try standing in front of the dealership and shriek “I’ll speak to Yo’ mama” and Obama will come to the rescue.

  • avatar
    Robert Schwartz

    Now that GM is a wholly owned subsidiary of the United States of America, it no longer has the discretion to act like this. It is bound by the First Amendment, and it cannot use its economic power to deprive people of their civil rights. So Buickman, time to lawyer up.

  • avatar

    I’ll be contacting my congressmen over the weekend and will maintain the site upfront and in their proverbial faces. remember, when the lights come on the cockroaches run for cover.

    so they’re out to get me, they better come big because fear is definitely not a factor on this end.

    let’s not take it out on General Motors though. innocent people need not suffer, they’ve had it rough enough lately. there are many good people there. it’s the head of the snake that needs to be cut off.

    Fritz, if you read this take heed, stay in the shallow end. it’s safer for you while your minions drown and your time ticks away. before long you’ll be gone just like Rick.

  • avatar
    Wolven

    Buickman : “It’s the head of the snake that needs to be cut off.”

    Like Medusa, this is a multi-headed snake… and they ALL need to be cut off.

  • avatar
    supremebrougham

    A few months ago I went down to meet Buickman. Nice guy. Definitely a no-nonsense, extremely knowledgeable straight shooter. Truth be told, I think it would be fun to work under him!

    Two things struck me as sadly ironic during my visit with him. One, despite his best efforts, he told me that my loaded and well kept HHR was worth well, not much, and two, as we sat there at his little desk in that large showroom where he, the world’s premier Buick salesman, makes all the magic happen, I noticed that parked next to his desk was a shiny new Aveo5, complete with some balloons tied to the mirror. I thought to myself, if he can sell these with a straight face, then GM really needs to make him CEO!

    Seriously though Mr. D, it was a real pleasure getting to meet you. It pains me to watch the company that I dreamed of working for as a kid turn into such a monster. I truly wish you all the best, and hope that I can stop in and say hi again sometime.

    -Richard

  • avatar
    mpls244

    I don’t know about whistleblower laws, but I think 42 USC section 1983 — providing a civil cause of action for deprivation of civil rights under color of law — might be applicable. It would be interesting to see if actions taken by a gov’t-owned corporation are under color of law. If they are, this is pretty clear effort at punishing speech, and a violation of his 1st Amendment rights.

    Some states have anti-SLAPP statutes (protecting speech aimed at procuring favorable gov’t action) — these might also apply.

    And, yes, I am a lawyer.

  • avatar
    namstrap

    Oh no! I work for a GM dealership. Does that mean I can’t express an opinion?

  • avatar
    Rix

    Mr. D has what economists call a portable skill. He can go down the road and sell Fords, sell Toyotas, sell Hyundai’s etc. OK,maybe not in Flint, but its a big country. Or even leave the business and sell something else. A good solar installation will run about the price of a car.

  • avatar
    ExtraO

    Oh my gosh!!!

    General Motors doesn’t believe in free speech.

    WHY DOES GENERAL MOTORS HATE AMERICA???

    WHY DOES GENERAL MOTORS HATE AMERICA???

    WHY DOES GENERAL MOTORS HATE AMERICA???

  • avatar
    no_slushbox

    Private corporations have very strong control over what their employees say, and may have strong control over what franchisees and their employees say, depending on the franchise contract.

    GM is no longer a private corporation; it is a government owned, government controlled entity.

    If GM, as a government entity, tries to restrict Buickman’s speech then Buickman’s first amendment rights are being violated by the government, and he has the right to enjoin and sue the government for violating his constitutional rights.

    The Supreme Court has held “that the government ought not to be able to do indirectly what it cannot do directly. The Court took the position that public employment cannot be conditioned on a surrender of constitutional rights.”

    http://www.law.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/conlaw/publicemployees.htm

    Buickman, as a government employee your rights are protected, the government cannot fire you (a man who is apparently the highest volume Buick salesman in the country by a wide margin) because of your website.

  • avatar
    pariah

    This situation is a big quagmire.

    According to the mission statement on Buickman’s site: “… It will unite those striving to help GM RETURN to GREATNESS.”

    But to expose this act of bullying to the mainstream could cause much defamation to GM, and perhaps (more so) negatively impact the general perception of the automaker. How can you return the corporation to its greatness whilst simultaneously publicly humiliating them?

    Of course, that’s not to say they don’t deserve it. Suddenly there’s a fine line or two between helping them, hurting them, or helping them hurt themselves.

    But perhaps the best way to help them is to hurt them a little. Who knows? I’m just glad it’s not my decision.

  • avatar
    folkdancer

    In 2008 the Bush administration bailed out the banks and in 2009 the Obama administration bailed out GM and Chrysler but I don’t see any civil servants running the banks or the auto companies.

    Unfortunately the same people are deciding how to run the banks and the auto companies.

    For 30 years every single president has promised to cut the U.S. dependency on oil without any progress. The laws requiring better efficiency in our vehicles have VERY gradually been added but it is obvious we need much better efficiency so blaming the current administration for saying the auto manufacturers need to bring out more efficient vehicles is silly because we are decades behind in protecting our country.

    So I don’t see the connection in calling GM government motors when our government has not taken over the company, we don’t have civil servants running the company, GM executives are still trying to kill the company, and paying themselves far more than civil servants get paid while doing so.

    Maybe it is time we call our bailout loans, nationalize GM, and have civil servants run it.

  • avatar
    pnnyj

    “folkdancer :

    In 2008 the Bush administration bailed out the banks and in 2009 the Obama administration bailed out GM and Chrysler but I don’t see any civil servants running the banks or the auto companies.”

    No, the Bush Administration bailed out GM and Chrysler in 2008. Those supposed bridge loans, the hearings in Congress that resulted in the jet-gate fiasco and GMAC’s backdoor conversion into a bank holding company all happened last year, before Obama took office.

    “GM executives are still trying to kill the company, and paying themselves far more than civil servants get paid while doing so.”

    Yup, they certainly are. And that’s probably why they’re trying to crack down on Buickman. Can’t go on having people pointing out that the emperor is naked. When the truth of the matter is this ugly it must be killed or at least beaten into silence.

    It’s good to see Mr. Dollinger continuing to speak up and call things as he sees them, most people never have the guts to speak up in the first place.

  • avatar
    Matt51

    What GM did was probably illegal. Buickman can offer GM a deal. He won’t prosecute if they publicly apologize.
    Buickman – contact Ralph Nader.

  • avatar
    Dimwit

    Looking on the bright side: Someone in GM is paying attention.
    Buickman, keep it up. They’re reading!!

  • avatar
    HarveyBirdman

    Keep fighting the good fight, Buickman. Your “Don’t Tread on Me” mentality is one of America’s cornerstones that GM has long disregarded, in spite of their ironic-on-so-many-levels “American Revolution.”

    Perhaps GM should try humility out for a change of pace (seriously, still bullying people and business as usual after Ch 11?) so they may learn not only from your website (and TTAC of course), but from your response to their threats as well.

  • avatar
    commando1

    Buickman is a salesman.
    There is no such thing as bad publicity except your own obituary.

  • avatar

    General Motors bullying a dealer to stop fair criticism? Hah! That’ll never happen.
    Move along folks. Nothing to see here.

    Oh, almost forgot…

    F*ck You GM. And I do mean that in the kindest, most Christian way possible.

  • avatar
    Dynamic88

    Buickman,

    Great website. I’m going to post a link on fb, and various forums. We’ll see if we can get readership up.

    You may as well transition to Toyota or Honda right now. Even without General Watch, your job is in jeopardy because you sell Buicks.

  • avatar
    eyeonthetarget

    I can think of one way to help Buickman out. If we knew which GM dealership he worked at, wouldn’t it be great if all prospective GM customers made a special trip to his facility to plunk down their cash, and bought directly from him, so as to propel Buickman to the all-time, unassailable, stratospheric, unreachable world record for car sales in a month. Now GM could still be so obtuse as to find a way to give him the bum’s rush, but it sure couldn’t be about his performance!

  • avatar
    pianolessonsonline

    This is for eyeonthetarget:
    I know Jim very well. It wouldn’t do much good to assend on the dealership he sells for. He is generally so busy, you need an appointment just to have one of his assistants work with you on a purchace.

  • avatar
    akear

    It is amazing that they still act this arrogant even when they are posed to become the world’s number 4 carmaker. That right when Opel is sold off GM will be virtually invisible in Europe. That is unless you include the few thousand Cadillacs and Corvettes they manage to sell there.

  • avatar
    lahru

    I have always said that those that know best what General Motors should do is everyone who do not work at General Motors.

  • avatar

    Uh, dukeboy,

    If Larry Summers had time or the interest to go after Buickman, he’d be here in Wellfleet, on Cape Cod right now. I don’t expect to see him at all this summer, although who knows, maybe he will get a weekend up here. I’m sure everyone else in the Obama admin is just as busy as he is. And believe me, I don’t support the Obama admin on everything. Their immigration policy, open borders, is awful, and will undercut their efforts to reduce CO2 emissions and health care reform.

  • avatar
    mikey

    I like buickman and I’m an avid general watch reader.

    Facts are, the dealers are under GM’s thumb,buickman works for the dealer. The dealer,Jims boss says “kill your website,or get canned” pretty fu–ken simple eh?

    Buickman decides to call a friend. The friend,Mr Farago himself says,”dude, dump your web site unless you want to lose your job”

    Now this is none other than Buickmans call. He talked to his boss,he talked to his buddy.

    Make your decision Jim and I sincerly wish you good luck.

  • avatar
    Deepsouth

    Why would powerful GM be fearful of one single man’s message? Maybe some, if not all of what he supports makes sense. After all, he’s face to face with the actual consumer. Buickman must have finally hit a nerve somewhere in the GM hierarchy.

  • avatar
    DweezilSFV

    Mr.Dollinger: as my Father used to say: “Fug ’em.”

    Acura is lost in the woods and could use your sort of skill.

    BTW: GM still probably has enough cash left in an off shore account to set the dogs on RF too.

    There’s an internal dossier on TTAC & RF sitting in Aunt Fritzi’s desk somewhere, growing and growing and growing. Not that it would do them any good.

    If the Establishment Press had been doing it’s job, GM wouldn’t be able to do this sort of crap. Again. Still. 40 years later.

    I second that “F*ck GM” suggestion. The new Cruze was on my list, but no more. Even with a Gov’t funded discount, I’d still be paying for it twice. 3 times if you count the depreciation.

  • avatar

    Do whatever your heart says, Jim. Can I call you Jim? At the end of the day, you only answer to yourself.

    That’s why I think I do what I do…here on TTAC. :)

  • avatar

    Thanks for a look at Mr. Dollinger; I roamed his site and looked at his earliest plan. I only wish that this plan had been shown to Congress when Rick was first on his knees there last fall. It might have shown our otherwise ignorant elected officials how much Rick was talking out of two sides of his mouth, claiming that they were done in by the monetary crisis and high gasoline prices.

    As one who simply enjoys automobiles, don’t sell ’em, make ’em and don’t buy a lot, I feel I am a pretty disinterested observer. What attracted me to TTAC was the first “GM Death Watch” I read, and the hope that since someone was publishing the truth, it might get through to the GM shareholders. Alas, like Mr. Dollinger’s various plans, executive bullshit overruns the truth, and we taxpayers now own a majority in a totally dysfunctional operation.

    Buickman – thanks for your courage and willingness to hang there with the truth. Your site pretty much tells you what to do, as the illusion of a rebuilt Titanic will remain an illusion so long as they don’t cut out the (ass)holes which took it to the bottom in the first place.

  • avatar
    Aqua225

    edgett:

    I also checked out his site last night, and I read “The Plan”. It’s interesting to note that GM had little or no interest in anything in “The Plan”, even though as I read it from a customer perspective, it was just impressing the tears out of my eyes.

    Buickman should be the head of GM, not Fritz Henderson. Buickman may need bean counters below him to keep a leash on expenses, but they should not be leading the company.

    folkdancer:

    Whether or not you agree with us free market types, the reason the laissez faire among us call GM Government Motors, is that GM would have actually gotten shaken, and not merely stirred, had GM had to have to gone into Chapter 11 alone. The dream would have been Chapter 7, so that the valuable names & designs could have been sold off to startups or even veterans with a fresh perspective on the market. This “soft crash” approach has done what many predicted: most of the GM management before the meltdown is still GM amangement after the meltdown. Everyone has a different perspective here, so I won’t argue about it, just stating my views and what I gather to be what many others see the situation as well.

    One more view: you noted that maybe public servants *should* run GM. This is another perspective question: my perspective is that GM is being run by civil servants. Fritz and his ilk are serving at the good (?) graces of the PTFOA. If you borrowed money from Bush to stay solvent, the Obama PTFOA has a say in your ongoing operations. That’s where the view for me stems from…

    I can only wonder what benefits the New GM management is making from what is apparently a resumption of the course to oblivion that they insist on pursuin. The obvious answer is usually money, but are they really making any money from continuing to bury the GM corporate ship into the sandbars of history?

  • avatar
    commando1

    commando1 :
    July 25th, 2009 at 6:40 am

    Buickman is a salesman.
    There is no such thing as bad publicity except your own obituary.

    Well GM, as judged by the responses so far, all you did was give Buickman publicity for his great site.

    Once again, you shot yourselves in the foot.

    Just like the time you sent the goons to intimidate the guy who leaked the Corvette Z06 photo.

  • avatar

    Buickman:

    What is the name of the GM exec who delivered this message to your dealer? They’ll need someone to scapegoat.

    And what, exactly, did they say? I gather from “they’re clever” that they veiled the message in a way that they could deny threatening you.

    As for GM being part of the government–legally this is not the case. I guess commenters saying otherwise already know this, but why pass up an opportunity to reiterate the party rant?

  • avatar
    gmemployee

    Critique: Not an attack.

    While I can certainly respect Jim’s right to free speach there comes a fine line where dissent decends into lible.

    Quote from Jim’s site. “They deserved to be tarred, feathered, and made to walk the plank.” Its one thing to attack product. Its a totally different issue when you start attacking people.

    Jim its one thing to be upset, disturbed and even pissed. Its another totally different thing to wish or propose harm on an individual or individuals.

    The appropriate response to your concern is: I don’t like them and they don’t have it on the ball. When it decends into an emotional rant that wishes harm its gone to far.

    Robert, More information is needed.Exactly what did GM have issue with? Past product truth or the expanse of lible written there? My bet is the latter. I would also like to know if Jim is putting his dealership in violation of its franchise agreement?? If that is the case I don’t care how good he is he’s wrecklessly endangering his fellow employees and his employer for his own personal satisfaction.

    Jim. As much as you take issue with GM I take issue with the damage you cause to your fellow GM salesmen around the U.S.

    Is this part of the return to greatness plan? Seems to me you need to add personal respect to that plan.

    We all have someone we work with who we think is a total knob. Public tar and feathering threats on the WWW is the wrong way to handle it and only diminishes your professional credibility with the mainstream. The fringe will love ya but what good is that.

  • avatar
    gmemployee

    Maybe you need to reevaluate your method. Not your opinion

  • avatar
    gmemployee

    Namstrap
    Not if that means you differ with Jim’s opinion. (insert sarcasm)

  • avatar
    Hippo

    I’m the last guy in the world to speak FOR any of the 2.8, but not even the dumbest animal in the world shits where it eats.

  • avatar
    late_apex

    A few thoughts:

    1. gmemployee: Please put down the kool-aid. You drank too much. I read that editorial regarding tar and feather and after spending a bit on buickman’s site I agree! Too funny the truth can be out there for years being ignored, but a figurative comment is over the line? Business is about one thing…making money. GM has been losing money for a while, maybe it’s time to listen to somebody who makes money the old fashioned way by earning it?

    2. I would not consider a GM vehicle today (at more than 50% retail) any more than I would have considered a Hyundai 10 years ago. I’m the exact buyer these companies need. Mid-career, financially stable, influential within my circle, etc… Honestly it’ll take 10 years of proving GM products and services to become a contender to many folks out there.

    3. I don’t think GM has another 18 months going as it currently is. Wacky promotions, bright banners, the marketing would be great for a carnival or yard sale. I might try to steal, as the marketing seems to indicate I should, a G8 GXP for way below cost. Of course I’m more likely to walk onto the Lexus/BMW lot and pay near sticker for what is marketed as a far superior vehicle. That’s sad, but true.

    4. The suggestions made by Buickman would likely help keep GM alive longer than the current endless-toe-tag-throw-a-dart-to-win-just-like-before tactics employed. The fact that he was nominated for the GM BoD speaks volumes to what others, not in power, think of the Return to Greatness Plan.

    5. This whole process with GM is embarrassing to me as a citizen and taxpayer. Completely torch existing CH11/CH7 rules, bully parties, favor parties, and invest where the public would not. Let’s put this aside. Here we are on the far side with the same almost-as-good-as-the-one-you-bought product, same management, same marketing, same problems as before. Nothing new. Damnit, why not??? Somebody do something, please. Show me how I can do something (outside of buy a 2nd place product).

    6. I’m willing to put my money where my mouth is. Buickman, if you’re serious about standing up for what you believe, I’m serious about helping. Post an address for paypal donations. You’ll see $20 from me. Gosh knows the govt took thousands from me last year in taxes and that didn’t help this mess. I’m thrilled to think that my few dollars, along with others, could help support the platform for change that obviously isn’t going to happen without this type of movement.

    7. I’d like to thank the B&B, TTAC, and manufacture employees and reps who contribute to this site for continuing to do so.

  • avatar
    zerofoo

    The sooner GM goes chapter 7, the sooner the entire industry can start to recover.

    We still have too many manufacturers chasing too few buyers of cars. The weakest players must die for the industry to thrive again.

    Shutdown production, close the plants, and liquidate what is left, and just maybe, the taxpayers can recover something from the carcass of GM.

    -ted

  • avatar
    gmemployee

    Hippo: Werd! That would be doesn’t shit where it eats :)

    Alex between you and Artie I’m not suprised. P,S. tell artie he needs to get a job.

  • avatar
    Stein X Leikanger

    Strange. Buickman, while critical, has continuously been on the lookout for the silver lining. And they want to silence him?

    I will go out of my way to never buy another GM product again if they enforce their threat, and I will go out of my way to ensure that no one I know or can influence does so, either – with the catch that I expect we have heard the whole story.

    GM – just a shameful pile of mediocre asshats, aren’t they? Imagine destroying that much wealth, while remaining so oblivious AND full of themselves.

  • avatar
    Matt51

    gmemployee – you have convinced me to never consider a new or used GM car, if the rank and file support this type of intimidation.

  • avatar
    Hippo

    Looks like the one thing we agree on is they should have gone Ch7

  • avatar

    late_apex, Matt51:

    I don’t see how gm_employee’s comment supports intimidation. If anything, he’s offering constructive criticism. He seems to think that Buickman’s position is largely correct, but that he has erred in attacking GM executives by name rather than their strategies and policies. Must say I agree. Attacks on people very rarely have positive outcomes. Which might be why RF doesn’t permit them on this site.

    Even if gm_employee had supported GM’s approach, there’s no reason to believe he is representative of GM’s employees. No doubt opinions vary as much among GM’s employees as they do among the general population. As they say, opinions are like…everyone’s got one.

    There’s very little truly constructive discourse these days. Many people seem more concerned with “having their say” than in producing change.

    Buickman’s platform, overall, would have helped GM, but it would not have saved GM. It offered some very good suggestions on how GM should sell and service its cars. But GM’s problems extended beyond sales and service.

  • avatar
    late_apex

    Just a reply to confirm that I was not intentionally attacking gm_employee. I expressed my views against the continued failure of what was unquestionably once The American Icon. I agree with gm_employee in the sense that the greater message here is not about failures, but how to succeed and that a straight forward no insult approach is the best tact.

    Buickman’s plan is just that. A plan. A real plan with actual steps that don’t involve whimsical market swings or heavy subsidization. When the competition’s sales are up and your sales are down, you wait it out…for a while. When this trend extends multiple quarters you either making radical changes or going out of business. That’s always how it’s been for me and every other small business owner I know.

    Where is the GM plan? Buickman has a plan, and it’s not new. We invested how much into the new GM and where’s the clear plan? Where’s a multi-point list of common sense changes that are realistic? These are open questions not directed at any specific TTAC poster. :)

  • avatar

    late_apex:

    GM has a plan. Is it a viable plan? Maybe not. But they definitely have one. They have lots of plans, for all sorts of things. But, like other companies, they don’t publicize their plans.

    Also like other companies, they frequently fail to properly execute their plans. When I was essentially living inside GM for my Ph.D. research a decade ago, it was a running joke that all a given plan needed was “execution.” The problem with execution is that it requires that various people throughout the organization to follow a plan that someone else came out with. In general, people don’t like to follow other people’s plans.

    One solution that goes against conventional business practice: involve those who will be executing a plan in the creation of the plan. In common business practice, “planners” are a separate function. Pick just about any planner, and you’ll find someone who is frustrated that their plans are not followed.

  • avatar
    lahru

    What I perceive as the problem is ALL car companies have been in smaller than GM and focused and interested in getting a larger share of the market.

    Now we have GM getting smaller yet senior management, middle management and subordinate associates protecting their areas of responsibility. Fritz is not a leader so everyone goes off on their own tangents trying as best they may to do what they believe will right for the company.

    Somebody at General Motors needs to step up and provide the leadership. To bad Alan Mullaley is busy!

    Maximum Bob might be the guy! He has the star power.

  • avatar
    jolo

    Buickman, when you told SOS about this, how did they respond? I looked at their web sites and there is nothing from them.

    It seems that you have ideas that upper management doesn’t care about and the radical arm of the UAW could care less about.

    Get away from GM, they are toxic and dragging you down. You have a reputation that you can sell any car from any company, go to one that is thriving and will appreciate you.

    Your call.

  • avatar
    Matt51

    Michael Karesh –

    We will just have to disagree. gm employee should have condemned GM thuggishness, as you should. There is no place for that type of behaviour. If gm employee wants to tell us this is his position, but not GM employees in general, let him. If he had condemned the GM threats, but said he wished Buickman had toned it down, that would have been acceptable.

    gm employee tries to justify the GM attack by proposing GM was responding to “lible”. This may or may not be true, but the GM behaviour is not acceptable.

    “Tarred and feathered” is a common figure of speech. Anyone who says Buickman was inciting violence is wrong, wrong, wrong.

  • avatar
    Matt51

    Dealers are the front line in the economic car wars. All of my posts here have been supportive of dealers in general.
    Buickman is doing GM a great service – he is giving them the unvarnished truth. Often senior management has no idea what is going on, because everyone in their organization is afraid to speak up. Don’t punish those who are providing honest feedback. It can only help the company. GM in particular needs to learn to listen to their dealers.

  • avatar
    DrivnEZ

    In this case, we have the same dog with old tricks.

    Good luck Buickman. I commend you for your efforts, however, I don’t think corporate GM wants to change their company. It’s easier for them to try to change you.

    Best regards,
    DEZ

  • avatar
    flintisover

    Does he really want to add to the 27.3% unemployment rate in Flint because he can’t learn the difference between offering advice and haranguing?

  • avatar
    BuzzDog

    I have no reason not to believe Mr. Dollinger, but something tells me not to be surprised if GM responds in the next few days with a denial, or a statement that this was all just a misunderstanding.

    At which point, I’d hate to be the GM employee who handles the relationship between GM and this particular dealership…

  • avatar
    derm81

    Being in the Detroit I may be an apologist for the industry and the area but goddamn GM has really lost me here for good. What the nimrods at GM don’t realize is that millions of people are pissed at them and this whole situation in general. Mr. Sloan is rolling in his grave at this amateurs running his beloved General into a not-so-freshly dug grave. Hell, even the people in Metro Detroit are rooting for Ford more and more everyday while brushing GM off like a spoiled kid needing a slap.

  • avatar
    incog43

    Michael Karesh :
    July 25th, 2009 at 3:40 pm

    Well thought out post Michael.

    Quote from Jim’s site. “They deserved to be tarred, feathered, and made to walk the plank.” Its one thing to attack product. Its a totally different issue when you start attacking people.

    Jim its one thing to be upset, disturbed and even pissed. Its another totally different thing to wish or propose harm on an individual or individuals. – GM Employee

    Its a phrase, common even in my country,its an expression of ire, which as it happens in this case to totally justified.
    Physical harm, you actually think Jim meant that?
    Okay, fair enough, as you like or more to the point, need :)

    I find it ironic, that you once posted “you would walk across fire” to make your customer happy,I don’t know, maybe you would. Jim as a top selling salesman has done that repeatedly for his clients. See, he actually contributed to GM sales and profits. I don’t know, maybe you do?

    I’m tired of GM, in my country, Holden just received 200 million in green funding to build a fuel efficient 4 cylinder car(Cruze), this is breath taking stuff, a fuel efficient 4 cylinder car, wow. Our Federal government has also increased fleet purchases of Holden product, we all know why.

    As a side note, Ford was to commence building the Focus in Oz, they have canceled this, not financially viable apparently. Do they know something Holden does not?

    I wish GM/Holden would stop taking my taxpayer dollars, truly, they tried and failed, its like an endless nightmare. I would prefer that my children and grand children did not have to pay off this debt.

    Problem with the world is no one can stand the thought of short term pain, lets try and keep everyone happy, no matter what the cost. Our kids and their kids can deal with this in time, they can live with and pay for our weakness, what we avoided.

    Nothing has changed at GM, we hear a lot of talk from some posters, same talk as 1,3,5,10 years ago probably. The reality is, talk is cheap, its only performance that matters.

  • avatar
    VerbalKint

    Does he really want to add to the 27.3% unemployment rate in Flint because he can’t learn the difference between offering advice and haranguing?

    If Flint’s unemployment rate further increases it will be because GM “management” continues to approve vehicles that no one wants. It will not be because one man has the guts to point out management incompetence– the first to suffer from the $ix figure a year manager’s denials are the working stiffs on the assembly line.
    Those workers should rally behind those who shine the light of truth on management failures. Only then is there a possibly to salvage what’s left of the industry.

    The Party bureaucrats that ran the USSR industries into the ground and created a “third world nation with nukes” were real good at excoriating those who dared note incompetence. And, like Buickman, those of integrity were hung out to dry if not murdered outright.

  • avatar
    Campisi

    What did they actually say to you, Mr. Dollinger? If you want to go public and invite people into your problem here, then you may as well just print what the allegedly-threatening correspondence was so that people can opine and consider with something at least approaching an educated and balanced footing.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    Buickman’s platform, overall, would have helped GM, but it would not have saved GM. It offered some very good suggestions on how GM should sell and service its cars. But GM’s problems extended beyond sales and service.

    That’s a good summary. Sorry, but “Return To Greatness” is just not a very good idea. It’s built on a faulty premise that GM vehicles are fine as is and could be sold in vastly greater quantities with better marketing. While I’m sure that better marketing would help a little, a plan that does not improve product is not much of a plan.

    Buickman also has grandiose expectations for increased market share that are completely unrealistic. There are simply large numbers of Americans who like their non-GM cars and aren’t interested. The idea that GM can save itself with volume is one of the ideas that killed it — they’ve pursued market share at the expense of product quality and profitability for many years, and that has been a terrible idea.

    As for General Watch, it’s one thing for a third party such as Mr. Farago to unleash his wit against the personalities within GM, but it’s quite another for the employee of a franchisee to do the same. Mr. Farago doesn’t have any obligations to the company, but the dealership does, and I can’t imagine that any business anywhere in the western world would want a franchisee to operate a website like that.

    I’m sure that if a TTAC writer launched a TTAC Sucks And We’re Watching YOU! website that the writer in question would be persona non grata around here in about, oh, five seconds, and understandably so. It should be possible to be critical without making things personally nasty; whatever value that the message may have will almost certainly be lost when the tone is so abrasive.

  • avatar

    so many responses and suggestions. sorry I’ve been busy with the seven daughters and unable to sit down and reply. have had conversations with a few friends and appreciate their concerns and ideas. thanks to Robert, you’re something else. Jerry York had some good thoughts as did buddies at WSJ and Auto News. taking it one step at a time. appreciate the well wishes by email, text, and phone, on top of what’s here. should be able to sort this all out in the very near future and intend to offer feedback to your thoughtful comments.

  • avatar
    mtypex

    I appreciate GeneralWatch (long-term follower) and Jim’s advocacy generally, but it still won’t amount to a hill of beans at ‘The Tubes’ if they can’t listen to the people who actually sell their product to the consumer.

    Flint lacks an Acura dealer, but it lacks a lot of other things that make a place desirable. It’s a losing battle (GM, Flint, and even Michigan in general). Even if you don’t like Michael Moore’s works in general, I think he had it right in 1989’s “Roger and Me.” A lot of good people continue to get burned by GM.

    Michael Karesh: How long were you effectively living in the ‘belly of the beast’ for the research? Was it a dissertation?

  • avatar
    Bridge2far

    Believe me, The General Watch is not important or significant at all. Buickman just rails against GM because he wants “his” plan to save the company. And he seems bitter that they cancelled the Park Ave. Seems all too critical and self-promoting.

  • avatar
    incog43

    Bridge2far :
    July 26th, 2009 at 9:35 pm

    Seems signifcant enough For GM to have contacted BM’s employer. As such I don’t believe you, how’s that :)

    I love GM, walk away from billions of debt, ruin lives, live by welfare, threaten the US feds, with the old scary job loss stanza, Lutz back there to grab another couple of million, but hey, dont you write something about them, goodness no, they have feelings :)

    “Seems all too critical and self-promoting” ..actually that sounds like Lutz :)

    “Tarred and feathered” = threatening/wishing harm, some of you guys need to get a grip, or loosen it maybe :)

  • avatar
    Kurt.

    As much as we say it, GM is not a Government corporation and thus is not subject to civil service regulations concerning free speach.

    GM is a private corporation that the US Government owns stock in.

    The same freedom that Buickman uses for his website is the same freedom GM has in firing him for badmouthing his employer.

    I agree with what Buickman says and is doing, but he is not immune to the consequences and can’t hide behind the first amendment.

  • avatar
    incog43

    The same freedom that Buickman uses for his website is the same freedom GM has in firing him for badmouthing his employer. – Kurt

    GM does not employ BM, they cant fire him as such.

    BM is employed by the dealership he works for, thus GM applies the screws to the dealer. They force/encourage the dealer to fire BM. Perhaps they even threaten to “tarr and feather” the dealer if he does not :)

    Is BM a GM shareholder? Now that would be interesting to know.

  • avatar
    Kurt.

    Regardless, it is bad advise to tell someone to hide behind the 1st Amendment thinking that GM is actually a government entity and GM has every right to apply the screws to their franchises to keep franchised employees in line.

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