And now, a brief ode to General Motors as its day of reckoning has arrived.
For nearly a hundred years GM was the epitome of American manufacturing and extravagance. It built cars with huge fins, dripped cars in vats of chrome, and gave the world the Corvette.
GM was the Titanic of the corporate world: huge, formidable, and utterly unsinkable.
Now, just barely into its second hundred years, the company has hit an iceberg and is going down. An event that would’ve been called laughable a decade ago, that would have been downright inconceivable in GM’s heyday, is happening today.
Part of GM’s iceberg was avoidable and could have been seen up ahead had someone taken the time to notice it. Outrageous union benefits, vehicle inefficiencies, bad management, and the Chevy Vega all conspired with the oil crisis and an economic downfall to crush the once mighty GM.
GM is actually lucky it had a rescue ship in the form of the U.S. government, or the company would be history by now.
With the United States propping up the badly hobbled General, there is hope to rebuild. Former GM CEO Bob Lutz said the new GM will be a smaller, leaner powerhouse. I agree.
The days of arrogance and extravagance are long over in Detroit, and I sincerely hope that Mr. Lutz is correct and GM’s ship can be trimmed, righted, and saved through this bankruptcy.
Here’s to you, General.
Do you think General Motors will pull through bankruptcy and become a stronger, leaner company?