General Motors Sinks… But Will It Survive?

gm-sinks

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?

-tgriffith

2 Comments

  1. Your obiturary could just have easily been written about many other American industries, including our textiles, railroads, steel mills, mines, heavy manufacturing, machine tools…. the list is long and painful.

    You can tour our cities and see the hulking ruins and plains of broken concrete that mark the graves of these industries, all of whom were brought down by the very things you mention.

    For some reason, even though this has been going on for decades now, we just don’t seem able to learn the lessons and choose a different path. The world I grew up in was one where some railroads still ran steam engines, there were bomb shelter stores, and my hometown was the heart and soul of Pontiac and GMC truck operations. Now most are gone and the last few in the area– Pontiac truck and Orion– are following. The city itself is a rotting hulk that has been turned over to the human cockroaches that can’t afford to move anywhere else.

    People like Bob Lutz are the conductors of this tragedy, and it’s time to turn our backs on them and find leadership elsewhere. Bob will climb in his jet fighter and fly away, taking his bloated ego with him.

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