View Full Version : GM Makes its Case to Americans; Admits Mistakes

12-08-2008, 03:30 PM
Monday, December 08, 2008

GM Makes its Case to Americans; Admits Mistakes

General Motors (GM (javascript:stockSearch('GM');): 4.79, +0.71, +17.40%) needs $18 billion from the government and taxpayers and wants the American people to know why.

In an open letter titled “GM’s Commitment to the American People” which ran in Automotive News, a trade journal ready by industry executives, lobbyists and other insiders, the beleaguered car maker candidly acknowledged it has disappointed U.S. consumers and pledged to do better. It said recent strides to improve the company have been hurt by the economic downturn, which is why it needs the loans.

“We are in the midst of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression,” said GM in the missive. “Just like you, we have been severely impacted by events outside our control. Despite moving quickly to reduce our planned spending by over $20 billion, GM finds itself precariously and frighteningly close to running out of cash.”

Still GM acknowledged that while the economy is hurting the car company, it has made missteps it only has itself to blame.

“At times we violated your trust by letting our quality fall below industry standards and our designs become lackluster,” wrote GM. “We have proliferated our brands and dealer network to the point where we lost adequate focus on our core U.S. market.” What’s more GM said it wrongly focused on pick-ups and SUVs over other brands and as a result “paid dearly.”

Indeed last week GM reported that sales fell 41% in the month of November.

According to GM, the Detroit, Michigan car maker has overcome its “quality gap,” its newest designs are getting accolades and nearly all of its new products are cars or crossovers instead of pick ups and SUVs.
GM, which last week made its case to Congress as to why it should get the loans, is taking its case to the American people. With bailout fatigue running high, it’s not clear if politicians will be willing to anger their constituents and back a massive rescue plan for the car makers.

In its open letter, the company reiterated that a collapse of GM and the U.S. auto industry would accelerate the downturn of the U.S. economy and would put millions of jobs at risk. “By lending GM money, you will provide us with a financial bridge until the U.S. economy and auto sales return to modestly healthy levels,” said GM. “This will allow us to keep operating and complete our restructuring.”

GM, which is now committed to making car consumers want to buy, said its restructuring actions should enable the company to start repaying taxpayers in 2011.


Ought Six
12-08-2008, 04:03 PM
Too little, too late. Any goodwill from the public for the American auto industry has already been squandered, IMO.

12-08-2008, 04:36 PM
Not sure about goodwill, but I was annoying people about the dumbness of some of these big cars and getting nowhere since 2002. One American car that is good is the Chrysler C300 (I think) it's big, but it has a diesel and it's made by Steyr in Austria and the quality is excellent.

What annoys me is that if America had decided to make and sell the most fuel efficient vehicles in the world, instead of leaving the French, Japanese and Germans to do it, and really tried to get Americans to buy them, perhaps with some government "encouragement' in the form of taxation, the oil price would be tiny, the camel jockeys would have no leverage, and the air would be cleaner, export sales of cars would boom, the balance of payments would be healthier and industry jobs would be safe.

But I guess that the friends of big oil in various legislatures would have done their best to stop that.

My son just bought a turbo diesel M Class Mercedes 4WD, not bad for a 26 year old who hasn't finished high school. Sales of everything but micro cars are down, and brand new GM vehicles were auctioned last week "Unreserved". It's a good time to be buying a new car.

US Blues
12-08-2008, 04:46 PM
Too little, too late. Any goodwill from the public for the American auto industry has already been squandered, IMO.

just out of curiosity, what brand do you drive?

Ought Six
12-08-2008, 06:18 PM
Right now, I drive a Japanese mid-size SUV, which I bought used.

12-08-2008, 06:34 PM
I drive a Ford F-250 (bought it used), diesel because I need the long bed and torque a diesel engine provides for hauling and towing various things and I can't get comparable power from a foreign manufacturer.

What pisses me off about the statement from GM is they admit their quality falls below industry standards and their designs have become lackluster -but they (and I include Ford and Chrysler in this as well) have no problem over-charging for the shit they're selling. But now because they said "sorry", I'm supposed to be compelled somehow to have sympathy into going along with a bailout or saying "Gee, okay"? WTF?

Why was this letter written in the first place? It's insulting to me. Either they don't mean in -which would be even more insulting- or they're playing on people's emotions to somehow lessen any backlash that may be directed at politicians who would agree to vote on funding this crap. Obviously, they didn't give a crap about what I or the rest of the American public thought while they were shoveling these sub-standard products out of their plants but now that the fun is over they're awfully contrite.

12-08-2008, 07:41 PM
The only thing missing from the letter is "I resign and forfeit my bonus, signed.. Executive Management Team" at the end of it.

But I won't hold my breath.

GM is already dead. Bury it, and stay the hell out of my wallet.

US Blues
12-08-2008, 07:50 PM
Right now, I drive a Japanese mid-size SUV, which I bought used.

well, right now I drive a Chevy passenger one ton van, which was bought used.

I just retired a 10yr old version with 333k miles on it.
Yes, I've used Duralube since day one, but I've had to let it run 8hrs straight for 3 days in a row in Miami on an install job... we needed a/c as it was 105 on the Bank thermometer, 120 on the pavement.
Went 2 days without water in the radiator (exhaust manifold leak), filled it up with 2 gallons, and kept on going since 2001. Accidently went airborne over a 40 foot cliff, missed all kinds of trees, and nestled in a swamp. Next day they boomed it out, and I drove away. The tools in the back were perfect balance. I've owned Chevy vans for 20 yrs, and have gotten over 150k on the 6cyl vans. I'd love if GM put a 49hp engine in a one ton van to run a generator for the batteries on a big electric motor.

The other vehicle in the house is a 2001 Honda Insight, for which they have never made an equal since.

12-08-2008, 08:01 PM
Not difficult to make a boxy tank.

And even then the quality sucked on my GM truck.

But they failed to make decent mid-size and compact cars.

12-08-2008, 08:29 PM

12-08-2008, 11:07 PM