By on April 23, 2010

For 90 years, the ad agency Campbell-Ewald has been Chevrolet’s go-to source for all-American ad messages, including the “See the USA in your Chevrolet,” “Heartbeat of America,” “Like A Rock” and “American Revolution” campaigns. But despite a track record of household-name campaigns, trouble has been brewing between GM and C-E for months now. In December, GM announced that C-E would focus on developing Silverado pickup ads for the Winter Olympic Games, while car and crossover advertising would migrate over to the French agency Publicis. Today, AdWeek reports that Chevy is terminating its nearly century-old relationship with Campbell-Ewald, and will move its entire Chevrolet business to Publicis. So what does this mean for Chevy’s advertising?

As you can see from one of the last Campbell-Ewald-produced Chevy spots (above) known as “We Carry,” C-E is still mining Chevy’s middle-America appeal and producing spots that walk the line between wholesome and hokey. Though this approach has been immensely successful for Chevy in the past, it may remind too many Americans of “Old GM,” where the ads were usually better than the cars. Besides, GM’s government-owned status makes C-E’s overtly American oeuvre considerably less effective. There’s no doubt that GM’s marketing and advertising forces need to have a laser-focus on vehicles and value, instead of pumping out more vague, gauzy, feel-good pap.

Not that Publicis’ work should be expected to be a dramatic departure. One of its first ads, a spot for the Chevy Malibu called “Dependable Friend” (below), has the same non-threatening, middle-class Chevy aesthetic, with more of a pragmatic emphasis on the consumer’s relationship with the vehicle than on tugging heartstrings. The downside to this approach is a tendency towards the vacuously generic, with the forthcoming ad tagline “Excellence For Everyone” highlighting just how far things look to be falling. But then, is that the fault of Publicis, or GM’s dim-bulb marketing boss Susan Docherty? We’d guess the latter, and humbly suggest that Ed Whitacre and Mark Reuss not hold out too much hope that this ad agency switch fundamentally alter Chevy’s image in the marketplace.

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42 Comments on “Chevy Dumps “Like A Rock,” “American Revolution” and “Heartbeat of America” Ad Agency...”


  • avatar
    undrgnd40

    i kinda figured putting the hondas and toyotas next to the chevy models and saying may the best car win was good free advertising for the competition. plus anyone who has owned gm cars in the last ten years knows that owning one is the greatest incentive for buying just about anything else.

  • avatar
    bmoredlj

    Sounds like they retained the same VO guy. Would it be so horrible to hire some famous actor like Jeff Bridges to do their ads, to add a bit of class? Whenever I hear the current Chevy guy, my mind’s eye fills up with images of Cobalts and the awful previous-gen Malibu.

  • avatar
    Robert.Walter

    I see this more as a sign of clueless management trying anyting to change direction and build momentum…

    Hopefully the customer will not do to Chevy what Chevy did to C-E.

    While management which understands the customer and knows the competition, and can define the product and the message are an important ingredient, nothing sells cars better than appearance/price in the short-term, and the quality/durability and dearlership experience in the long-term… lacking these, no amount of advertising, or marketing-agency-musical-chairs, will be enough.

  • avatar

    Hearbeat of America made such an impression that there is still merchandise with that tagline sold to enthusiasts.

    • 0 avatar
      undrgnd40

      more shit to collect dust in the trailer house.

    • 0 avatar
      Runfromcheney

      In the early 90s, Chevy dealers often cladded their vehicles with “The Heartbeat of America” decals. In fact, I think they still sell them; my friend recently put a set on his 1993 Cavalier.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      In fact, I think they still sell them; my friend recently put a set on his 1993 Cavalier.

      And there, in a nutshell, is the problem. If your ad campaign only appeals to your existing, shrinking, and (importantly) not new-car buying customer base, it’s useless.

      The kind of people for whom “Heartbeat of America” works are the kind of people who will buy Chevy no matter what. And they’re not profitable customers.

  • avatar
    boyphenom666

    You know, Bob Lutz is 100% right. What this commercial is trying to be is urbanesque, or maybe even Seinfeldesque. I don’t see how the average person is going to connect with some urban spinster whining about going on yet another bad date. Come to think of it, why would she have a friend taking her and picking her up from a lunch date anyway? Maybe she has a thing for the friend and they have something going on? Where is the emphasis on the product?

    • 0 avatar
      texlovera

      That ad is aimed completely and solely at women (probably obvious).

      But I do know at least a few women who fit the stereotype being portrayed in the ad.

      The thing is, they already own Cadillacs and Lexi. GM’s ad fails IMO.

  • avatar
    CamaroKid

    The second comercial is only slightly better then the first. The first was just plain AWFUL. When I buy a car, I’m not buying a lifestyle or a feeling. I’m buying transportation. PERIOD. The advertisement should tell me why their truck/car/ute is the best, fastest, safest, coolest, most technological most reliable.
    We carry you, cause you carry us… Yes that’s true, we carried you will a huge ass loan and bailout in the fall of 2008 and the spring of 2009. WTF!

    In the second one at least we bring up the subject that the cars might be reliable now… and are recommended by an “independent” consumers magazine… But of the 30 seconds how long did we mention that the cars are reliable? 5 seconds? if that… Lots of wasted time.

    Most successful car manufactures do something radical with their ads… they focus on CARS… GM needs to drop all of this lifestyle crap already.

    • 0 avatar
      boyphenom666

      Having Chevrolet’s version of Elaine from Seinfeld is, I don’t know, not even much of a lifestyle statement. Who is your market? Thirty-something spinsters who never settled down? Why would they be interested in a Malibu? Not only is this a awful commercial from the standpoint of drowning out the product, it is does nothing to sell the car.

      I liked the series of Cadillac commercials earlier in the year with the guy or girl driving around in the SRX. While the music was playing, the commercials would focus in on and emphasize product features, focusing you on the product itself.

      You could even say the same thing about “See the USA in Your Chevrolet” or “Baseball, Hot Dogs, Apple Pie and Chevrolet”. They made you feel good about your car, and made the car almost like a family member in travel or family affairs. These were feel-good commercials, and even they did a better job focusing on products!

  • avatar
    lahru

    I agree that change for change sake is both stupid and arrogant. This agency produced some very good ad campaigns that connected Chevrolet to us, the American buyer. I just posted these several weeks ago sort of as a tribute to my time selling Chevrolets. They were and are the “Heartbeat of America” and stand “Like A Rock”. Look and listen and tell me you are not moved emotionally by theses ads. They, IMO go down in history as some of the most emotional ads of all time. Have we moved so far from those times that these ads could or would not make a connection with Americans today? I don’t think so, like I said, change for change sake is in most cases a FAIL moment. It is with great sadness on my part to see GM just ditch these guys and gals for some “new”. Gm is what they are and nothing less or more and as much as I don’t want to go where Robert Farago says they are going, I now believe they are. The car business is all about perception and these people had, have and will have perception down cold. We also owe them much gratitude for what they have produced over the years and tell them so as I am sure they are right now hurting from this decision.

    Thanks Campbell-Ewald. I’ve enjoyed all you have done. You have always known how to check the “Heartbeat of America”.

    http://anythingadirondack.blogspot.com/2010/03/sunday-seranade.html

    http://anythingadirondack.blogspot.com/2010/04/back-to-better-time.html

  • avatar

    I liked the previous ads, it felt like GM was trying to make it known they were American and proud of it. Now they have this mini soap opera that doesn’t even say anything to me about the car. Its lame. Tell me about the car! Tell me why I should buy it! Don’t give me some hokey stuff about a blind date that didn’t work out. It could have been any car there, the car didn’t matter in that ad. It is forgettable.

  • avatar
    Runfromcheney

    If these are the people who came up with those stupid Howie Long ads, then I am glad GM dumped them.

    That aside, they still made some good ads. Particularly this one:

    I nominate it because it makes the 2nd gen Chevrolet Lumina, arguably the worst midsized, mid-priced sedan of its time, and made it almost appealing.

    • 0 avatar
      boyphenom666

      Sorry to comment so much on this thread, but it is an interesting topic. You could argue that the famous “Baseball, Hot Dogs, Apple Pie” commercial was also a lifestyle commerical, but at least they had the jingle reinforcing the Chevrolet message, along with prominent pictures of the car. The commericals today don’t have jingles to reinforce Chevrolet and neither the photography nor the story line focuses the car except for fleeting shots of the vehicle. Not only are these commercials just plain awful to look at, but the vehicle is lost in the clutter. The commercials just don’t resonate. In fact, the much criticized recent Dodge commercials are far better because at least there is a point in the commercial where the photography focusses on the car, and the car is at least the “punch line” of the commercial. The Dodge Charger commercials are very memorable.

      Updated “Baseball, Hot Dogs, Apple Pie and Chevrolet” commercial:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_rYXmWY9HY4

      Here is the South African version:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x1wvQ7ERXhY

      And “Baseball, Hot Dogs, Apple Pie and Chevrolet” was “Football, Meat Pies, Kangaroos and Holden cars” in Australia:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VGW-WX77zjY (80’s Version)
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s4Ic3RqPIJo&NR=1 (70’s Version)

  • avatar
    Corky Boyd

    What you will see is many of the C-E folks gravitating over to the new agency, especially at the account management level. The marketing folks at GM will probably insist on working with some of the same folks. Major agency changes like this are mainly for new creative, and only time will tell if they are successful.

    As you said, C-E’s commercials were often far better than the products they promoted. But that’s life in the ad business. Very often agency changes are at the whim of the CEO who is just looking for a change to prove he is shaking things up. Some times it is a buddy of the CEO. Ultimately it is the product that produces the sale.

    No agency can make pig manure smell good.

    • 0 avatar

      “No agency can make pig manure smell good”.

      Actually, C-E did just that with “Baseball, Hot Dogs, Apple Pie and Chevrolet” in 1976. The Caprice that year was the ugliest full-size Chevy ever. Overweight, overwrought Chevelles, Novas that dog-walked, and oh yeah, Vega. Not to mentioned everything rusted away within three years. Talk about making pig manure smell good…C-E made that junk look like Angelina Jolie! “Baseball” was a campaign for the ages. So was “Heartbeat of America”, and look at what the division was doing then. If it wasn’t a Caprice, Corvette or truck/SUV you were SOL (although those 350 TPI engines are great for swapping into older Chevies!).

      I’d like to think that if C-E, Chevrolet’s ONLY agency of record EVER, could successfully polish the turds GM produced from the 70’s – 90’s, they’re certainly capable of branding Chevy’s product line today…especially now that Chevy finally has product worth considering for more than just “the deal”.

  • avatar
    mtymsi

    I thought C-E did an excellent job over the years. As most posters stated it wasn’t the advertising it was the product. The new agency will do well if they’re as good as the C-E campaigns were.

  • avatar
    obbop

    Borrow the faux ad from Rolling Stone magazine to commence a new generation of ad-types.

    The “Do this or we will shoot the mutt” ad that made so many folks chortle.

    Watch that in HD TV and ponder the attention that ad will receive.

    To assist in avoiding repetitiveness maybe threaten to shoot kitty in a few of the ads, the wife in a few more, the kids in a few and maybe granny and gramps in SUV ads.

  • avatar
    romanjetfighter

    I think you can have a commercial that doesn’t emphasize product.

    Search ‘lexus moments’ on Youtube!

    The 2nd commercial I’ll agree with earlier posters, seemed urban and makes you go Huh? at the story. First one was just so boring.

  • avatar
    Revver

    While, yes changing agencies is sometimes done on a desperate whim, staying with the same agency for 100 years, that still has nothing better than “Excellence for Everyone” is just not gonna do what needs done: transform the GM image.

    While some of you guys are not getting the obvious, not every woman (at least 50% of the auto shopping market) needs to be sold through the “hockey mom” approach.

    Getting out of a bad date with the help of a friend? That’s something that’s pretty freak’n universal in a woman’s world. Is the fact that there’s no shots of sweeping corn fields or mountain ranges automatically making this “urban?”

    This opening salvo, is saying there’s a big shopping segment of single women who want dependable transportation. . . it’s hardly revolutionary, but it’s a place to start.

    • 0 avatar
      boyphenom666

      Point taken, but this commercial had annoying actors and an annoying story line that as someone else said was an annoying soap opera that drowned out the car. Who cares about this woman’s pathetic spinsterhood? The story line was too rough, and not in an entertaining way. That woman isn’t going to buy a Malibu anyway. Maybe she buys a Cobalt, but not a Malibu.

      Now, take the Dodge Charger commercials from the Super Bowl everybody was complaining about on this board. The camera is slowly zooming in on various males while Dexter narrates in his droll voice. Love or hate that part of the commercial, there is at least a punch line at the end where there is complete focus on the vehicle. You remember the car. That is a far more effective commercial, not to mention amusing.

      Bottom line is, if you have to tell a story, make sure it relates to the car instead of some life lesson where the car is background scenery.

    • 0 avatar
      undrgnd40

      I have three children, and all the “hockey mom” spin on the advertisement made me feel was anxious. I thought please god don’t let me spend the equivalent of two years of my life carting my kids to sports events. That said, “Heartbeat of America” worked because it was geared toward working class rural america, where a majority of their dealerships are embedded. I think that’s where the hockey commercial was going but like others said there is too little emphasis on the vehicle too sappy feeling. Too bad Billy Mays died, it least it was damn obvious what he was selling.

  • avatar
    NoChryslers

    There was always something very yahoo about those “Heartbeat” and “American” commercials. They may have been able to get away with it if the product was superior, but since the shit they put out was (and still is in some cases)so mediocre, the “buy American” BS was annoyingly jingoistic.

    • 0 avatar
      undrgnd40

      I agree completely. I wasn’t being apologetic for them in my previous post. I stay away from GM shit like it’s plague ridden. Just seemed that the “Heartbeat” ads pandered to the people most likely to buy the junk.

  • avatar
    Accazdatch

    Hmmm…

    Some things IRK me.. like none other, for the sheer fact that the stupidity and the concept exists.

    1. The Malibu thats being shown is the LTZ model, with the 2 tone interior. (Never mentioned in the ad, but most of the damn things I see, all have the base LT or LS interior.) — SO that’s a moot point.

    2. I don’t count dependable.. from a company STILL IN BANKRUPTCY. Ya don’t pull the wool over MY EYES that easily. — Ya’d have be pretty damn blind / stupid / uneducated not to read about the auto industry’s issues..and How Id bet dollars to sense.. this shit is still around… but I wont get into that DIETRIBE.

    3. GM is still not building the cars that are comparable in the B and C classes., and if one meager little bastard leaks out, it doesn’t cut it in the 3-4 comparables in the C-D segment.

    4. NOW onto topic.
    The Ad just shows.. time an time again, that GM isnt consistent. If I didnt know better Id think BMW is taking a tag line from GM. If theyd just keep with the same tag line and stop changing things.. it would be easier to sell and market. Heck even the positive buy American b.s from the post 9-11 days are long gone.

    5. In the end..
    Im not surprised here.

  • avatar
    GeneralMalaise

    I don’t know about all that. What I DO know is that I’d give my left testicle for a 1963 Chevy Impala SS, 409 w/4 speed, black on black convertible.

    Had an uncle who owned one like that and I’ve been in love ever since.

  • avatar
    Dynamic88

    I’m not convinced that advertising works. I think Chevy should just not advertise for a year or more and see if that has any impact on sales.

    Neither of the ads makes me want to buy a car -any car. Neither makes me want to buy a Chevy. The first commercial offers me the amazing feature of being able to carry passengers. I’m pretty sure other cars can do that too. The second commercial is some sort of urban-hipster/vagina monologue that a 53 year old male isn’t going to get (assuming there was anything to get).

    Perhaps the bigger problem, for any ad agency, is that many of us no longer watch TV. The only time I see car commercials is when the topic comes up on TTAC, and then it’s after the fact Youtube vids. My eyeballs have to be looking at TV for these commercials to have any chance of success.

  • avatar
    tpandw

    I think you’re right about the fact that TV watching, at last traditional TV watching, is not what it used to be. Now I know I’m an extreme example, and therefore not at all representative. But I watch no TV at all. We have one TV which my wife has on while she dresses in the morning and occasionally at other times during the day. But I not only don’t watch TV at home, I assiduously avoid it elsewhere–airports, hospitals, clinics, etc. But with that caveat that I’m not a typical American (at least in this way), I thought these ads were terrible. I agree with an earlier poster that the second was slightly better than the first (perhaps because it was shorter), but neither would move me to look at a Chevy. Especially when I can anticipate the kind of experience I’d have at a typical dealership. There’s an interesting review of the new Hyundai Sonata in today’s WSJ, and one of the points the writer makes is that the internet has changed car shopping. People compare cars at a site like Edmonds.com and essentially decide before they even show up at a showroom. So these lifestyle ads are even less pertinent than they used to be.

  • avatar

    Lemme see if I’ve got this straight. Government Motors, after screwing taxpayers out of billions on the flimsy premise of “saving” an American institution… dumps its Detroit-based ad agency in favor of (the American offices of) a French outfit?

    (“Dey tuk er jerbs!”)

    Yeah, Chevy… the ads are why so few Americans are buying your bailout-tainted products today. Sure.

    • 0 avatar
      rodehardputupwet

      I’m wondering if C-E wanted out & so the split was mutual. It wouldn’t surprise me if any payables due to C-E got put in the ‘Bad GM’ bucket & they got screwed out of big money owed. GM is classy like that.

  • avatar
    boyphenom666

    Do you realize what you are saying? You’re saying GM and Chrysler should have gone under, along with all the dealers and suppliers and employees and their lenders. Do you realize the economic chaos that would have caused, not to mention the fact that both companies seem to be doing rather well at this moment. Now I agree you don’t keep bad companies on life support, but from everything I’ve seen it looks like these two companies are on the path to doing very well. Give credit to both Obama and Bush on this one.

  • avatar

    Yes, I realize exactly what I’m saying. And yes, I believe in a free market economy that allows failing companies to do exactly that, with the chips falling where they may after. Long-term security is worth some short-term angst; ultimately the end result is a stronger financial picture.

    How are GM and (seriously?) Chrysler doing “rather well at this moment?” Neither has yet to turn a genuine profit; GM may be able to work the numbers to show one before year-end, but Chrysler is a lost cause for at least another two years. The only thing I’ve seen so far out of the Mopar gang are millions of dollars wasted on a revamped truck that no one wants.

    For all its talk of higher-value vehicles, GM continues to depend on rebates to move metal.

    • 0 avatar
      boyphenom666

      First, let’s get this out of the way. Chrysler is doing rather well right now. They had a $143 million operating profit in the first quarter when they slightly lost sales. More significantly, NewChrysler started out with $4 billion in cash after exiting bankruptcy, they now have $7.4 billion in cash. So, while they are showing losses, it looks like those are paper losses. On a cash basis, it looks to me like they’ve made $3.4 billion dollars so far. That’s not bad … especially for a bankrupt and restructured company. What this tells me is that the company was fundamentally sound, it just had too many legacy costs. Ratner did a good job.

      Now as to your philosophy of Darwinism when it comes to business, I generally agree. But not in this case, because it was an example of fundamentally sound companies with good products, good technology and good people whose financials were simply out of whack, for this reason I think you had to save them. Furthermore, there is a high barrier to entry in this business. Whereas you can let your local supermarket go under and someone will probably come in and take their place, the same can’t be said for automakers. No domestic company will ever rise from the ashes. If one of these companies goes under, our money and (and the technical development work it funds) will go to foreigners.

      I liken this to a war zone or the Detroit riots. They always say war is good for the economy because it creates a lot of work replacing what was destroyed, but they never consider all of the assets and capital lost during the war. If somebody blew up your house, it’s good for everyone else, but probably not for you and the insurance company. Likewise when you allow all of the technology, systems, know how and intellectual property to get blown up due to a financial blip. It was smart to save these companies for the same reason all preservation (home maintenance, etc.) is smart. Because if you lose an asset, you it them forever. Another example of this phenomenon can be seen with the Detroit riots which obliterated large blocks of Detroit that have never been rebuilt. Again, it was analgous to a war where assets and savings were destroyed forever.

      There has been a lot of bad decision-making over the last 30-years based on these Darwinist business theories that has resulted in a hollowing out of our manufacturing base while Wall Street profits. Although some of those theories are sound, the answer is not always black and white.

      Like I said, auto execs are no dummies even if they made some boneheaded decisions in the past. Their cost structure is now pretty competitive and they shouldn’t have those issues forcing them to cheapen the product anymore. Let’s see if they can take advantage of it.

  • avatar
    Mullholland

    Having worked for these yahoos in the mid-90’s in Northern California, I can assure you that the agency’s Detroit based management was as clueless and inbred as their bowtied client. Spent several fruitless efforts trying to get them to support the Geo brand as the way for Chevy to make inroads in the local market(the Prizm was built in Northern Cal at NUMMI)that had been dominated by Toyota and Honda for years, their response: How’s Ford doing?!?! WTF, you’re both getting your asses kicked!!!
    Since the mid-seventies, CE’s brand creative (Like a Rock, Heartbeat, Apple Pie, etc.) did get people to consider Chevy. But that just makes them an accessory to Chevy’s ultimate demise. As smart advertising and marketing people everywhere know, a great ad can make people buy a bad product–once.

  • avatar
    OldWingGuy

    @boyphenom666

    So, how’s that working out for Ford ? They are left saddled with what, $30B in debt, or some astronomical amount. Are Ford employees exempt from paying Federal income tax ? Ford Dealers and their employees exempt as well ? Ford suppliers ?
    Same for domestically produced Toyotas, Hondas, etc…
    So all these people pay tax to help out the competition, who went bust all by themselves.
    Amazing system, really.

    • 0 avatar
      boyphenom666

      It kind of is what it is. They saved two companies, their employees, their intellectual property, their new engines, their way of doing things, not to mention all the engineering and technical jobs that would have disappeared, not to mention the dealers. If you look at all that as an asset, that’s what they call preservation/conservation and it’s a smart thing to do. You don’t let your house rot away, do you?

      I’m with you when it comes to saving unviable companies just for the sake of saving them, but these companies are proving to be viable. Do you throw that away just because you want to be stubborn about darwinist business dogma? If it’s an asset, it’s something you save and protect. The government did the right thing.

      By the way, just in case you’re interested, I’ve been a buyer of Honda products for the last 25 years or so. Nonetheless, I still support the bailout.

    • 0 avatar

      That’s where our points-of-view fundamentally differ. In my mind, easing short-term pain isn’t worth the long-term costs, nor is it worth abandoning your principles as a nation. And that’s what our government (both parties) have done here. They ditched capitalism when it became financially inconvenient.

      I don’t consider GM or Chrysler to be non-expendable assets; they are merely companies offering a product, that the majority of Americans soundly rejected over the past 10 years. More accurately, the market refused to pay the prices those companies needed to survive, because Sebrings and Malibus aren’t worth $40K a pop to cover UAW pensions and the like.

      So, in my system, they die… and the employees who chose to ride out the resulting Ponzi scheme deserve what they get as a result. It really is as simple as that. The stronger among them will rebound. Let the technological property be divided up among the victors; that’s capitalism at its finest, and I frankly don’t care what flag those companies are flying over their headquarters.

      The age of us-versus-them “Amuricanism” is as dead as Government Motors should be. The world today is what it is.

  • avatar
    boyphenom666

    @Rob Finfrock

    Okay, Rob. Then let’s try this a different way.

    Let’s say, God forbid, you’re 50-something and lost your job. Let’s say it takes you three or four years to get back to your old income. In the mean time, in the period before you get back to your old income, you lost your house, car, furniture, etc. You lose your entire life’s work (financially speaking) due to an economic blip.

    Now all arguments aside of whether you had too much leverage or not, is your life’s work being wiped out because you rolled snake-eyes good for the economy? I think not. I think it would be devastating for you personally. Furthermore, is America any better off because you rolled snake-eyes and you lost, but someone else is able to snap up your assets at fire-sale prices? Yeah, they gain, but is the economy as a whole better off? Remember, you lost and you lost big. All I’m saying is that it’s not black and white. Using my analogy as applied to a person, I think wiping someone out who is a deadbeat is probably good. Wiping out someone who’s probably productive but going through a bad patch is absolutely bad.

    Now, as to GM just producing just another product, I also disagree with you. Does Boeing produce just another product? With all the electronics and technology that goes into cars these days, an automobile is a pretty complicated product.

    Mind you, I am a rock-ribbed economic conservative of the Reagan mold, and I bought all the dogma. But if you look at who has succeeded and who has failed over the last 30 years, any objective observer has to look at our current economics and say thay are swayed against people who do things and make things and swayed in favor of people who shuffle paper for a living. In past history people made fortunes providing products or services. When in the history of mankind have people made the obscene fortunes that have been made shuffling paper? So the bottom line is that I am a free marketer, but what we have is not a free market economy. We have a gangster economy where people (Wall Street) makes their money by skimming a percentage off the top of every investment transaction. They went after Rockefeller, Carnegie, Vanderbilt and their ilk, but they did something tangible. What did Eddie Lampert or George Soros ever do other then collect a pool of mone, gamble with it, and then skim their percentage off the top?

    But I digress. Bottom line is that these were sound companies with sound products (well, maybe not Chrylser) and NOBODY is going to walk into a building and be able to recreate them from scratch. Defense wins championships as they say and saving a strategic industry such as automotive is a smart defensive mood. You just need to step out of your Reagan-era dogma (like I have) to see that, though. Really, all the government did was be a vulture investor. They aren’t going to make any money off the IPO, but they will break even on their investment and if they can squeeze another 30-years of , wages and profits out of these companies, that will be good for the entire economy.

  • avatar

    boyphenom666, Government Motors isn’t a federal jobs program; at least, it’s not supposed to be. If that’s the core of your argument here, you need to find another one.

    GM didn’t get to where it’s at solely because of an economic “blip.” It was in a world of hurt prior to the economic meltdown, and would have gotten to this point eventually even if the Dow was above 14K today. If anything, finally forcing Gov’t Motors to face its own mediocrity is the silver lining on a very dark economic cloud.

    As for putting myself in the metaphorical shoes of a 50-year-old UAW member… this is gonna sound cold, but why is it our job to care about that guy, one way or another? Does our social contract extend to feeling bad about overpaid strangers suffering the throes of a (much-needed) market correction? I’d like to think I have some empathy, but truth is if he’s not family or a friend, I really couldn’t care less. I’ve got my own to worry about. Maybe our 50-year-old UAW member should have saved some of his money, rather than allowing himself to get spoiled from making over $100K annually bolting Cavaliers together?

    Oh, and yes, GM and Chrysler do only make “products.” You said it yourself. No matter how technologically advanced, in the end a Cobalt or Sebring (or a Boeing 777) is merely a widget manufactured to fulfill a perceived niche in the marketplace. If your product doesn’t succeed, you either work to sell one that does, or die. Or now, the government-mandated third option. You cry to the feds for help. But only if you’re “big” enough.

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  • Adam Tonge
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