Essential GM crisis readings for today

Here are some of the best articles I’ve seen covering the GM crisis in the last few days. Many of them are long articles, but are well worth the effort if you want to round out your understanding of the situation.


AutoExtremist: Pete’s latest rant is a compare and constrast of the way the Detroit CEO’s have been treated in Washington vs the way the CEO’s of financial institutions are treated.

What’s going on is the activation of a New American Double Standard, one that goes something like this:

Washington to Detroit: Drop Dead.

Washington to Wall Street: Who do we make the check out to again?

He definitely has a point.


The Local – “Swedish carmakers should come home”

This is a translation of an article that appeared recently in Dagens Industri. It was written by Rolf Wolff, dean of the School of Business, Economics and Law at Gothenburg University, and in it he argues that it’s time to nationalise the Swedish car industry, or more specifically, Volvo. Saab doesn’t get a mention beyond it’s single mention in the fouth paragraph.


Why I Still Support Those Boneheads at the Big Three – John McElroy

On Autoblog, J-Mac discusses the apparent lameness of the testimony and leadership provided by the big 3 CEOs at the congressional hearing last week. He also has some travel tips:

Why didn’t they car-pool and all drive to DC together? That would have sent a message. Especially if they had been in a hybrid.

Better still, next time they should each take a fuel-cell car, a plug-in, or a two-mode hybrid. They should caravan down together, asking supporters to join them along the way, pulling into Washington with thousands of American-made cars and trucks, pitch pup-tents on the Mall, hold a march, and turn it into a movement.

As silly as it reads at first glance, that would actually be quite a sight and a show of support.


Ford Europe beats GM Europe if the worst happens in Detroit – Detroit News

This is the article from which my Don’t Call Me, Dude article was written. It’s got a lot more in it than just The Dude and is well worth a read.


The Czechs do it, so should Detroit

An excellent article by an intellectual capital specialist about Detroit’s need to innovate with a lot of references to the way VW run Skoda.


11 other countries with big auto industry problems – Huffington Post

As the title says……

It spends most of its column space on GM’s problems in these various locations and is therefore interesting by default.

6 thoughts on “Essential GM crisis readings for today

  1. Thanks Swade.

    Another take on this situation could be summed up as: Washington is going to pay. Either up front by supporting the companies or in the end by supporting unemployed staff. Option 1 is a hell of a lot cheaper.

  2. I think the backlash against the Big-3 CEOs (I’m referring to the Autoblog post) isn’t that they didn’t DRIVE to Washington, it’s that they flew in their own corporate jets, rather than flying commercial. It doesn’t look good to show-up hat-in-hand for billions of dollars after you showed-up in three separate corporate jets. Or am I just stating the obvious? How is it that Wagoner, Mullaly, and the other guy are so out-of-touch that they didn’t realize this would send the wrong message? My favorite quote is the one politician who asked them, “couldn’t you have downgraded to First Class?”. :-)

    Also, though it might seem like a double-standard that the auto manufacturers won’t get a piece of the bailout pie whereas Citigroup and everyone else do, keep in mind that Joe Taxpayer already gave these companies something like 75 billion dollars in the last few months, once for “re-tooling costs”, and a couple more times for some other lame trumped-up reasons. While I think bailing out ANY of these companies is questionable, if the gov’t bails-out the Big-3 it sets a bad precedent. Next you have all the airlines wanting a bailout. Where do you draw the line?

  3. Those were all good articles, but I have to disagree with John McElroy about showing up in a hybrid or fuel cell vehicle. What does that prove? That they can all drive to Washington in a poor selling Tahoe two-mode hybrid that is sitting on a dealer lot because nobody really wants one to begin with?

    Maybe Rick Wagner should drive to Washington in a 2005 Pontiac G6 or Chevrolet Cobalt with 40,000 miles on the clock to see why GM’s bread and butter products simply don’t compete with some of those fuel efficient imports. Maybe when he hears those cheap grinding brake rotors at every stop or the clunk of front control arms with the bushings falling out he will get the picture of why people don’t always come back to GM for a new vehicle. Once that new car smell wears off it is a whole different experience.

    And let’s be honest – how are hybrids the answer to everything anyway? One day one of those Prius owners is going to have to put a new hybrid battery in one of those things and that will pretty much wipe the green grin right off their face. Sure, they like to gloat to us how they are saving the planet, but I am willing to bet when the green they see is pouring out of their wallet – they will be singing a whole new tune.

    At any rate – technology isn’t Detroit’s problem; it is the lack of quality and failure to get things right the first time that has beat them up time and time again.

  4. By Jeff Green and Greg Bensinger

    Nov. 26 (Bloomberg) — General Motors Corp., working to cut costs to win $12 billion in government loans, is studying whether to shed its Saturn, Saab and Pontiac brands in addition to Hummer, people familiar with the matter said.

    Selling or dropping brands would save money and reduce overlap as the biggest U.S. automaker struggles to avoid running out of operating cash by year’s end, said the people, who didn’t want to be identified because no decision has been made. GM’s other U.S. brands are Chevrolet, GMC, Buick and Cadillac.

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