Quote Of The Day: Earth To Ed Whitacre Edition

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer

It’s easy to blame GM’s new Chairman and CEO’s recent webchat performance on the format. Webchats invariably combine the awkward claustrophobia of conference calls with the eloquent clarity of text-messaging, for a match made in communication hell. That’s no place to properly explain what the NSFW is going on with your company. Especially when you have yet to comment on the “Opel drama,” “palace coup,” “tilt-a-executive,” and “getting in bed with the Chinese” storylines (among others). Needless to say, the MSM is not amused. Nor, frankly, am I. Which is why today’s quote of the day is actually nine days old.

I promise all of you we’ll make ourselves available in the next few days to spend more time with you answering questions. And I know you must have a lot of them

Nearly ten days later now, Whitacre’s only attempt to make good on his promise was the webchat, which might best be summarized in the following exchange:

Even by webchat standards, that’s not even trying. Or has Maximum Bob been advising Whitacre on how to “exercise enormous skill in the non-answering of questions?” If so, it’s a questionable strategy for the new CEO of a 61 percent government-owned company. Sure, Whitacre talks to the government “about once a week,” but he has yet to explain his vision to the American public that made his expensive executive escapade possible.

Oh yeah, and that he’s counting on to buy his vehicles. :-)

Edward Niedermeyer
Edward Niedermeyer

More by Edward Niedermeyer

Join the conversation
3 of 18 comments
  • Porschespeed Porschespeed on Dec 11, 2009
    “Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but not to their own facts.” Uhh, apparently you have yet to read the Sarah Palin book. Discredited by her own insiders, emails she wrote, things published all over the place by both sides... The crowds that show up for her little book signings prove beyond a Rush Limbaugh of doubt that you should never let the facts get in the way of a ridiculous story.
    • Steven02 Steven02 on Dec 11, 2009

      So, you seriously going to bring up Sarah Palin to prove the point that you are entitled to your own facts?

  • Dimwit Dimwit on Dec 13, 2009

    Guys, welcome to the Brave New World. No exec and and I mean NO exec is going to say diddly squat without it being checked eight ways from Sunday by PR and Legal. Both the courts and the SEC have come down hard on anybody that has had any conversation that might "lead to material effects to the share price" considering it to be insider info if it isn't disseminated as a press release. Sad but reality. So don't expect any relevant off the cuff comments that might show anyone's hand. Ain't gonna happen.

  • Teddyc73 As I asked earlier under another article, when did "segment" or "class" become "space"? Does using that term make one feel more sophisticated? If GM's products in other segments...I mean "space" is more profitable then sedans then why shouldn't they discontinue it.
  • Robert Absolutely!!! I hate SUV's , I like the better gas milage and better ride and better handling!! Can't take a SUV 55mph into a highway exit ramp! I can in my Malibu and there's more than enough room for 5 and trunk is plenty big enough for me!
  • Teddyc73 Since when did automakers or car companies become "OEM". Probably about the same time "segment" or "class" became "space". I wish there were more sedans. I would like an American sedan. However, as others have stated, if they don't sell in large enough quantities to be profitable the automakers...I mean, "OEMs" aren't going to build them. It's simple business.
  • Varezhka I have still yet to see a Malibu on the road that didn't have a rental sticker. So yeah, GM probably lost money on every one they sold but kept it to boost their CAFE numbers.I'm personally happy that I no longer have to dread being "upgraded" to a Maxima or a Malibu anymore. And thankfully Altima is also on its way out.
  • Tassos Under incompetent, affirmative action hire Mary Barra, GM has been shooting itself in the foot on a daily basis.Whether the Malibu cancellation has been one of these shootings is NOT obvious at all.GM should be run as a PROFITABLE BUSINESS and NOT as an outfit that satisfies everybody and his mother in law's pet preferences.IF the Malibu was UNPROFITABLE, it SHOULD be canceled.More generally, if its SEGMENT is Unprofitable, and HALF the makers cancel their midsize sedans, not only will it lead to the SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST ones, but the survivors will obviously be more profitable if the LOSERS were kept being produced and the SMALL PIE of midsize sedans would yield slim pickings for every participant.SO NO, I APPROVE of the demise of the unprofitable Malibu, and hope Nissan does the same to the Altima, Hyundai with the SOnata, Mazda with the Mazda 6, and as many others as it takes to make the REMAINING players, like the Excellent, sporty Accord and the Bulletproof Reliable, cheap to maintain CAMRY, more profitable and affordable.