By on January 7, 2010

The straight shooter meets the gang who couldn't shoot straight.

GM’s CEO and Chairman Whitacre gave Automotive News [sub] some choice nuggets of quote today. Addressing almost everything except his firm’s stagnant sales, Whitacre took on some of GM’s most staggering challenges in the most… folksy tone imaginable. Mr Whitacre, your explanation of GM’s bankruptcy dealer cull if you please:

The way it came out, if you fell above or below a line, you were removed. But you had to do it that way. You can’t just go around flipping coins, so you had to have a process.

Ok, take a minute to wrestle with that one. Then hit the jump.

Mr Whitacre, do you have misgivings about dealer arbitration? Could it be that the legislated arbitration is less of an improvement on coin-flipping than GM’s process?

I think a large number will get reinstated. I think that’s a given. It’s in the hundreds…. The bad thing would be if they’re a lousy dealer that has a lousy storefront and through some process they’re put back in arbitrarily. If they’re a good dealer and would really push GM in a classy manner, like we want it done, then it would be really good.

“Push GM in a classy manner.” You know, walk the nuanced and mutually-beneficial line GM walks with its potential (or not) customers. Having a hard time with the whole “classy” concept? Just think WWHLD? (What Would Howie Long Do?).

But CEO/Chairmen don’t need to be details people. After all, Big Ed has the vision thing for 2010: Profit. And despite having the highest incentives in the business, he really thinks it’s in the cards this year.

You want to be a profitable company, and I think everything else just sort of flows from that — numbers of vehicles, how many fleet, how many in retail. We’ve kind of restructured, put our priorities in the right place

Forget jumping the shark, the big moment for a GM CEO is when he goes down the rabbit hole. This may have been Ed Whitacre’s big moment.

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