General Motors (GM) has, officially, emerged from bankruptcy protection (various articles announcing the “success” are here and here). The truth is that no matter how much you cheerlead for GM or how many large government bailouts they receive, nothing has truly changed. They’re still the same broken company with the same broken business model. The only thing that has really changed is that the hard-working folks who build the cars that management thinks the average American consumer wants have had to make major concessions in terms of their union contracts.
Fox News says that the “new GM is now leaner, cleansed of massive debt and burdensome contracts that would have sunk it without federal loans.” What they didn’t say is that the same management is still around. They do not appear to be “cleansing” management levels or forcing contract concessions amongst executives. Layoffs and concessions seem to be the domain of the hourly or salaried non-management employees.
The real problem with GM is that they haven’t made a product that I’m interested in purchasing. I’d much rather purchase a well-made, reliable, fuel-efficient car from a company like Toyota that is willing to take risks and deliver the innovative vehicles that consumers really want. I love the fact that I can get 500 miles on a tank of gas in my Prius and do it with mileage in the 45+ range. If Toyota brought out a hydrogen or all-electric version of the Prius that could get the same range as my existing gasoline/electric hybrid, I would be at the dealership talking to sales about how I could purchase such a vehicle. If they could do it in a truck, so much the better.
Come on GM, I just said what I’m interested in buying. Are you up to the task of bringing such vehicles to the market in the US?
Sadly, I don’t think any one at GM has the imagination and willingness to risk necessary to build the vehicles that would persuade me to become a GM customer, to keep my vehicle-purchasing dollars in the US.