Oracle of Delphi

Breaking up GM will be hard to do

53 posts in this topic

Toronto Star

David Olive

Business Columnist

As recently as 1980, when General Motors Corp. commanded about half of the North American market, it was unthinkable that the century-old company might someday face the prospect of bankruptcy. Yet it's the complacency that came with GM's sustained market dominance through most of the 20th century that accounts for the automaker's perilous condition today.

Last Monday, the Wall Street Journal shook up the auto world with a front-page report on GM's woes, and the radical steps the firm is contemplating to ensure its survival.

Little in the report was new. Wall Street long ago factored into GM's share price its litany of woes: The billions of dollars in losses GM has accumulated in recent years, and the continuing losses so far this year; the firm's effective negative net value in balance-sheet terms; GM's steady loss in market share, to a lowly 23 per cent or so; the desperate cash position of a firm that burns through some $3 billion (U.S.) each quarter and must raise at least $10 billion in a hostile stock market to make it through to 2010. And looming cuts in GM's white-collar workforce, after the company threw tens of thousands of workers on the street with plant closures including four announced last month alone, in Oshawa, the U.S. and Mexico.

That's why GM stock is trading at about $10, a 54-year low. And why its shareholder value is a pitiful $5.73 billion, which makes what was the world's biggest automaker less valuable than the larger video-game makers.

For investors in GM bonds and stock, the big shocker last week was a Merrill Lynch analyst's report asserting the possibility of a GM bankruptcy could no longer be dismissed. GM critics have long argued that the firm is on a glide path to insolvency and a bankruptcy-court administered breakup.

The Journal shocker, more internal to the industry, was that GM insiders were talking to the paper along nearly the same lines. The GM officials in the Journal piece were quoted anonymously, but for the first time were going outside the company to admit that the idea of selling or killing most of GM's eight brands was at least "on the table." Which means some of the global industry's most venerable brands – conspicuously Buick and Pontiac, and the younger Saturn – could soon join Oldsmobile, closed down by GM a few years ago with few tears shed even if the legacy of Ransom Olds was Olds' status as the world's oldest auto brand.

The Journal article was a crack in the united front at GM, which has maintained it resolutely stands behind all of its flagship brands. It scared suppliers like Magna International Inc. of Aurora, Ont., the auto supplier whose largest single customer is Detroit, with GM ranking among its top five clients. More worried still were the thousands of GM dealers across the continent, many of them the largest businesses in the small towns in which they're located, which suddenly learned they might have nothing to sell.

Thus GM's top North American sales executive quickly fired off a memo this week to the dealers assuring them the Journal piece had no substance. And CEO Rick Wagoner himself informed GM employees the firm was not skating toward insolvency.

But the media reports and Wall Street's assessment come closer to the truth. Some realities are difficult to hide. North American auto sales are down 10 per cent so far this year. GM's are down 16 per cent. And GM sales of the only vehicles it makes money from – large trucks and sport utilities – are down 25 per cent.

GM has little credibility with Wall Street, having failed with a succession of promised turnarounds over the past decade and a half. "Wait until next year" has been its executive-suite refrain for too long. Wagoner's current fix-it plan was advertised as the mother of all turnaround efforts in GM history. And now even GM insiders are conceding it's too little, too late. Wagoner himself might not survive GM's board meeting early next month.

In fairness to Wagoner, he has cut labour costs as rapidly as possible over the past year. The veteran new-model guru he recruited, Bob Lutz, has come through with vehicles that actually have curb appeal, a novelty for GM since the mid-1980s. Lutz has even arrested the decades-long decline of Cadillac, long ago given up for dead against rivals Lexus, Mercedes-Benz and BMW. (Although, to be sure, Cadillac and its Detroit rival, Ford Motor Co.'s Lincoln brand, remain also-rans in the luxury sweeps.)

And Wagoner's unstinting investments in new-product development, despite a dwindling GM cash position, has yielded at least one potential industry game-changer, the all-electric Chevrolet Volt, due in showrooms in 2010.

For all the "halo" effect of Toyota's Prius, which has cast an eco-friendly glow over the entire company (even though Toyota makes its share of gas-guzzling large cars, trucks and SUVs), Prius remains a niche product even after several years on the market. Its anticipated 2008 sales are a mere 100,000 vehicles. And the Prius is a hybrid, using both electric power and conventional gasoline.

Not only is the Volt's all-electric technology revolutionary – the biggest industry advance since automatic transmission and perhaps even the perfection of the internal-combustion engine in Germany in the 19th century – but GM alone has the sprawling dealer network to make the Volt readily available to curious tire-kickers.

Wagoner's dilemma is that he launched his deep cost-cutting far too late. That also applies to the breakthrough deal he forged last year with the United Auto Workers to shift the enormous burden of employee health-care costs to a new trust to be administered by the UAW with a one-time mega-contribution from GM.

Wagoner has been especially late in addressing GM's notoriously bloated white-collar workforce, whose natural bureaucratic tendencies are to block innovation. And he has been slow to remove even those top executives culpable in GM's biggest blunders.

GM should have foreseen the spectacular increase in pump prices, one could very persuasively argue. But the entire industry was blindsided by the 70 per cent jump in crude prices between last fall and this spring, as were the airlines and government forecasters worldwide. GM's problem, shared with Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler LLC, is that its product mix is skewed to the large trucks and SUVs that North Americans are no longer buying – especially in the aftermath of a collapsed U.S. housing bubble that has erased an estimated $8 trillion (U.S.) in residential real estate value and accounts for the current 16-year low in consumer confidence.

Today's weak economy follows several years of robust total North American vehicle sales, so motorists are less inclined to trade in their relatively new vehicles. Meanwhile, on the horizon potential buyers see the Volt and other innovative products and are postponing new-vehicle purchases until they can check out the ultra-fuel-efficient vehicles on offer in 2010-2011.

Wagoner has been a staunch defender of an eight-division GM, but ultimately it's not his decision to make. It's the call of an increasingly restless GM board that has a fiduciary duty, if nothing else, to curb the cash burn and preserve as much of GM's value as possible on behalf of shareholders. Wagoner's credibility is undermined by his failed attempt to revive Saturn with a slew of costly new models that are showroom dust-collectors.

The hard reality for Wagoner is that he has had his kick at the can, having run GM since early this decade.

There's a precedent for sacking CEOs set by Robert Stempel's ouster by the GM board in the early 1990s. And there's a promising replacement on deck in Frederick "Fritz" Henderson, the former GM chief financial officer recently promoted to president and head of auto operations, a post he took over from Wagoner.

Henderson turned around GM's troubled European and Asian operations, now regarded as among the few crown jewels GM can use as collateral in its urgent recapitalization effort. No sooner had Henderson stepped into his new job than GM hung a for-sale sign on Hummer, a brand which, like Saab, commands a negligible North American market share of 0.2 per cent.

It's difficult to see a future for GM except after being stripped down to Chevrolet, which accounts for well more than half of GM's total business, and a reviving Cadillac that could serve the same purpose that Lexus and Infinity do for Toyota and Nissan Motor Co., respectively.

It probably will take a wrenching bankruptcy to achieve that transformation, since buyers for most of GM's assets are non-existent. Buick and Pontiac long ago lost their value as brands. And foreigners have twice been burned purchasing North American automaking assets – Renault SA with its acquisition of an ailing American Motors Corp., RIP; and the more recent Daimler-Benz AG disaster over nine years in trying to fix Chrysler, which served only to cut parent Daimler-Benz's market value in half.

To pull itself back from the brink, GM needs to wholly commit itself to the costly task of replicating the Volt and becoming the undisputed leader in the small, fuel-efficient vehicles of a 21st-century market. It is a market in which vehicle sales will fall to a permanently lower level as climate change, energy security and urban traffic congestion compel more and more motorists to forsake their vehicles – or their current extensive use of them – in favour of cycling to jobs closer to home and making more use of public transit.

There is no silver bullet for GM and its Detroit rivals, which soon will face still more competition from cheap Chinese and Indian "microcars." (Likely price: $5,000 to $7,000)

One sure measure of an enterprise's worth is the answer to the question: if it didn't exist, would you launch this business today? The answer in GM's case is that the world would function perfectly well without it.

You could not have said that when GM was providing half the automobiles in North America. But today GM lacks not only direction but also a raison d'être, which in all probability will be determined by a bankruptcy-court judge.

HOW GM COMPARES IN MARKET SHARE — THEN AND NOW

Of General Motors Corp.'s eight divisions, only two, Cadillac and Chevrolet, are considered untouchable by GM's management.

At next month's board meeting, the automaker's six remaining brands are all under review for sale or closing.

Here's how GM products stack up in market share from 2000 to 2008:

Chevrolet

2000: 15 per cent

2008: 12.9 per cent

GMC

2000: 2.9 per cent

2008: 2.5 per cent

Pontiac

2000: 3.5 per cent

2008: 2.1 per cent

Saturn

2000: 1.6 per cent

2008: 1.4 per cent

Cadillac

2000: 1.1 per cent

2008: 1.2 per cent

Buick

2000: 2.3 per cent

2008: 1.0 per cent

Hummer

2000: 0.0 per cent

2008: 0.2 per cent

Saab

2000: 0.2 per cent

2008: 0.2 per cent

Note: 2008 figures are year to date.

Sources: Ward's Auto, Autodata Corp.

Link: http://www.thestar.com/Business/article/459290

Edited by Pontiac Custom-S
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closed down by GM a few years ago with few tears shed even if the legacy of Ransom Olds was Olds' status as the world's oldest auto brand.

:rolleyes:

Well, I guess that's just how apathetic the media has CONDITIONED americans to be, right?

The Journal article was a crack in the united front at GM, which has maintained it resolutely stands behind all of its flagship brands. It scared suppliers like Magna International Inc. of Aurora, Ont., the auto supplier whose largest single customer is Detroit, with GM ranking among its top five clients. More worried still were the thousands of GM dealers across the continent, many of them the largest businesses in the small towns in which they're located, which suddenly learned they might have nothing to sell.
And thus, why the piece was created in the first place.

But the media reports and Wall Street's assessment come closer to the truth.

Based on what facts? How does this author know jack sh*t about the internal dealings of GM?

GM has little credibility with Wall Street, having failed with a succession of promised turnarounds over the past decade and a half.
Umm, yeah... GM was raking in RECORD profits not 6 or 7 years ago. There was ONE turnaround and it wasn't complete in time for this storm of bull$h!, caused in the first place by the very same people that fear it (Wall Street) hit.

Lutz has even arrested the decades-long decline of Cadillac, long ago given up for dead against rivals Lexus, Mercedes-Benz and BMW. (Although, to be sure, Cadillac and its Detroit rival, Ford Motor Co.'s Lincoln brand, remain also-rans in the luxury sweeps.)

Okay, 1) Lutz hindered the comeback of cadillac as much as he helped it. and 2) Cadillac is in no way comparable to Lincoln and is NOT an also ran.

And Wagoner's unstinting investments in new-product development, despite a dwindling GM cash position, has yielded at least one potential industry game-changer, the all-electric Chevrolet Volt, due in showrooms in 2010.
Umm, what about the 900s? The CTS, the Lambdas? the Malibu? etc...

For all the "halo" effect of Toyota's Prius, which has cast an eco-friendly glow over the entire company (even though Toyota makes its share of gas-guzzling large cars, trucks and SUVs), Prius remains a niche product even after several years on the market. Its anticipated 2008 sales are a mere 100,000 vehicles. And the Prius is a hybrid, using both electric power and conventional gasoline.

Since when is 100,000 sales considered 'niche'?

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Wagoner has been especially late in addressing GM's notoriously bloated white-collar workforce, whose natural bureaucratic tendencies are to block innovation. And he has been slow to remove even those top executives culpable in GM's biggest blunders.
I agree 100%

GM should have foreseen the spectacular increase in pump prices, one could very persuasively argue. But the entire industry was blindsided by the 70 per cent jump in crude prices between last fall and this spring, as were the airlines and government forecasters worldwide.

Everyone saw the price increases coming... GM is relatively well positioned with future product. It's not GM or anyone elses fault that the speculators (READ, the same people who are bitching about GM's position right now and mostly caused it) were allowed to screw over 90% of the population by atificially inflating prices.

GM's problem, shared with Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler LLC, is that its product mix is skewed to the large trucks and SUVs that North Americans are no longer buying – especially in the aftermath of a collapsed U.S. housing bubble that has erased an estimated $8 trillion (U.S.) in residential real estate value and accounts for the current 16-year low in consumer confidence.
Yeah... and this has happened in 6 months. You can't change your product portfolio in 6 months... Like it or not.

Wagoner has been a staunch defender of an eight-division GM, but ultimately it's not his decision to make. It's the call of an increasingly restless GM board that has a fiduciary duty, if nothing else, to curb the cash burn and preserve as much of GM's value as possible on behalf of shareholders.

So that board is going to BURN more cash, LOSE more share and LET GO of more equity by closing divisions. That makes a lot of sense to me. (Sarcasm) If anything, GM needs to try and weather the storm by treading water. Stay the plan FOR ONCE and see the predicted results in a couple of years. If you downsize now, you will never see an increase in sales again.

Wagoner's credibility is undermined by his failed attempt to revive Saturn with a slew of costly new models that are showroom dust-collectors.
Pontiac is up...

With OLD product that is a blatant rip off of Chevrolet. And speak of the devil, Chevrolet is doing just fine. GM global is phenominal, because GM STUCK TO THE PLAN. What does Wagoner have to fear?

Screw Saturn, we never needed it anyway.

The hard reality for Wagoner is that he has had his kick at the can, having run GM since early this decade.

In which he has KILLED the competition on the truck side, hired Bob Lutz and completely revamped product development to be second to none, cut MORE COST than any other CEO in GM history, fought off a MASSIVE media tirade of negativity, which like this one was UNFOUNDED, focused and built 6 out of the 8 divisions and signed a HISTORIC/REVOLUTIONARY deal with the UAW. Wagoner is NOT the problem. It's middle managers that don't have the companys best at heart, a media hellbent on killing Detroit, a dealer base that is greedy and whiney and a public that is either so broke or so apathetic that they don't buy GM cars... YET. (GM is making headway)

There's a precedent for sacking CEOs set by Robert Stempel's ouster by the GM board in the early 1990s. And there's a promising replacement on deck in Frederick "Fritz" Henderson, the former GM chief financial officer recently promoted to president and head of auto operations, a post he took over from Wagoner.

I guess history repeats itself.... A worthless bean counter ruining/running GM. Well, at least it's not that pussy Forster.

Edited by FUTURE_OF_GM
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:censored:

This would suck big time, but like I said my prediction is CHEV-OPEL-BUICK-CADDY by the end of the decade.

Edited by vonVeezelsnider
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Henderson turned around GM's troubled European and Asian operations, now regarded as among the few crown jewels GM can use as collateral in its urgent recapitalization effort. No sooner had Henderson stepped into his new job than GM hung a for-sale sign on Hummer, a brand which, like Saab, commands a negligible North American market share of 0.2 per cent.
So sell it... And sell Saab too... One has potential that GM refuses to recognize (Hummer) and one is utterly worthless, always has been. (Saab)

But DO NOT sacrifice your core divisions!

It's difficult to see a future for GM except after being stripped down to Chevrolet, which accounts for well more than half of GM's total business, and a reviving Cadillac that could serve the same purpose that Lexus and Infinity do for Toyota and Nissan Motor Co., respectively.

And what factual information is the "vision" based on? Your desire to see GM destroyed? That's what I thought... No facts = opinion = total :bs: You're no better than me at this game, the only difference is; I'm smarter and more entertaining.

Buick and Pontiac long ago lost their value as brands.
They hold share and equity, right? then obviously they have value as brands. 'nuff said.

Renault SA with its acquisition of an ailing American Motors Corp., RIP;

Umm.. Jeep? yeah..

and the more recent Daimler-Benz AG disaster over nine years in trying to fix Chrysler, which served only to cut parent Daimler-Benz's market value in half.
So it was Chryslers fault that Daimler effed the company up so badly? That shows your blatant bias right there. Daimler, with their 'plan for world domination' bit off more than they could chew. Mercedes was already crashing faster than a B52 with no wings, Chrysler gained its mojo back when Lutz ran the company and was doing excellent and Mitsubishi was a disaster from day one. Daimler f*cked up, not Chrysler. Chrysler wasn't calling the shots. (Of course, I'm sure you're too stupid to know that -- like many americans and wannabe americans [canadians])

It is a market in which vehicle sales will fall to a permanently lower level as climate change, energy security and urban traffic congestion compel more and more motorists to forsake their vehicles – or their current extensive use of them – in favour of cycling to jobs closer to home and making more use of public transit.

Anybody got any Windex??? because I think this guys crystal ball is a little dirty. You can't/and won't reverse what its taken this country 200+ years to build. Maybe pansy little apt dwellers like yourself intend to give up freedoms, but I'll not give them up until my gun lie beside me and my heart lie still.

My point is, we will innovate and adapt. WE HAVE TO, there is no other way.

You could not have said that when GM was providing half the automobiles in North America. But today GM lacks not only direction but also a raison d'être, which in all probability will be determined by a bankruptcy-court judge.
So it doesn't count that GM still provides 25% of the cars in the NA market? What about europe and VW. Does VW not have a raison d'etre now since the market has split and it no longer controls the majority share. What about China? As that market matures and share numbers dwindle amid competition, will GM and VW not need to exist anymore?

And that's not even factoring in the SIZE of the market in the first place... Less share in a larger market equals just as many or more sales. Oh, I forgot, your an idiot with no common sense, sorry.

One sure measure of an enterprise's worth is the answer to the question: if it didn't exist, would you launch this business today? The answer in GM's case is that the world would function perfectly well without it.

Yes... Your world would. But for the thousands of people, towns and clients that depend on this company and their contribution to our economy through jobs and R&D it would not.

This author illustrates exactly what is wrong with our society today. To quote a Marilyn Manson song:

"YOU CAN'T SEE THE FOREST FOR THE TREES. YOU CAN'T SMELL YOUR OWN $h! ON YOUR KNEES. CAPITALISM HAS MADE IT THIS WAY. OLD-FASHIONED FASCISM WILL TAKE IT AWAY."

This guy is a cultural/social fascist, just like many in the media and "trendy" or "green" crowd. GM does not fit in their world, so they will try to destroy it. WE do not fit into their world so WE do not count.

Edited by FUTURE_OF_GM
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GMC

2000: 2.9 per cent

2008: 2.5 per cent

Wow... Despite the downturn in the market and their line up of trucks only, GMC has only lost .4% That to me means GMC *SHOULD* be safe. GM would be dumb to phase the division out.

Chevrolet

2000: 15 per cent

2008: 12.9 per cent

Probably due to fleet.

Pontiac

2000: 3.5 per cent

2008: 2.1 per cent

The division was supposed to become more focused and that looks like what is happening. Remember, the division went without an entry level model for a while, canned the HUGE selling GP and completely eliminated the Aztek and Montana. Not to mention canning the Bonneville (One model replaced both this and the GP) and losing the name recognition of Grand Am in favor of a MORE EXPENSIVE G6 and eliminating half of the Vibe line up AND phasing out it's halo - the Trans Am. WTF do you think is going to happen?

Saturn

2000: 1.6 per cent

2008: 1.4 per cent

So despite having all brand new products, some of the nicest at GM and 2 additional products to sell, Saturn is still losing share? WHY IS THIS DIVISION SO SACRED AGAIN? This division has countless investment, supposedly a 'better' image than Pontiac, yet it still can't manage to pull MORE share much less AS MUCH share as a cobbled Pontiac line up of rebadges and old skool GM crap?

Cadillac

2000: 1.1 per cent

2008: 1.2 per cent

With GM's current situation, wasn't it quoted that VOLUME > PREMIUM??? Then why not phase out Cadillac in favor of Saturn or Pontiac? I'm just sayin'....

Buick

2000: 2.3 per cent

2008: 1.0 per cent

Yet again... Buick is down to 3 models from 6 or 7 (If I recall correctly) Looks like THE PLAN is working.. What's the big deal? And again, if VOLUME > PREMIUM, then why isn't Buick on the chopping block?

Hummer

2000: 0.0 per cent

2008: 0.2 per cent

I still say this brand has TONS of potential, but I wouldn't be against GM selling it if it keeps core divisions alive.

Saab

2000: 0.2 per cent

2008: 0.2 per cent

Yet again... WHY IS THIS DIVISION STILL A PART OF GM GM HAS INVESTED TONS OF MONEY IN THIS DIVISION AND HAS RECEIVED NO GAIN FROM IT IN EITHER MARKET SHARE OR PROFIT. WHY IS THE DIVISION ALLOWED TO CONTINUE DRAINING THE COMPANY ESPECIALLY IF PREMIUM < VOLUME?

So, in rank order, we have

1) Chevrolet/Chevy Trucks

2) GMC

3) Pontiac

4) Saturn

5) Cadillac

6) Buick

7) Hummer - tie

8) Saab - tie

Yet, despite SHARE being GM's number one issue in survival, factions in GM want to phase out the 2nd and 3rd largest divisions.... UN-BE-LIEVABLE!

Cut Pontiac and GMC and your share automatically falls to 19.4, down almost 5 points or a fifth of what the company sells.

Then the big plan is to 1) expand Buick, the core brand with the least appeal (apparently) into Pontiac territory except with more premium prices. So higher prices for less appealing products? And that's supposed to work? 2) Put Saturn in a showroom with Buick, so that the core brand with the least appeal can be partnered with a brand that can't even advance it's position in the market with a completely revamped showroom AND the best sales experience in town. Sounds like THOSE dealers are gonna be a happy bunch!!! How long you want to bet me until the GME boys have their sites set on a Buick phase out in favor of high end Opels/Saturns (That still wont sell) 3) Then try to make Cadillac compete with the best in the luxury biz, except use corporate Chevrolet platforms and corporate V6 powertrains. and they can sell these corporate cars right beside the lame duck, yet strickingly similar now, Saab which will set those two competing for resources/the next phase out.

From a factory standpoint, you'll have Chevrolets that are mostly generic with MAYBE a few fun cars. Buicks that look like they've been through a midlife crisis and are probably marketed just as bizzarely. Cadillacs that are the same thing you can find in a Chevrolet showroom minus the price. Saabs that will be as nice as they've ever been but still wont sell because they're bland and because the name resonates with less than 200 people. And Saturns that will sell like VWs, to the few who want that sort of thing but not to the masses.

If GM actually follows this plan, I predict a market share of 10% followed by bankruptcy within 5 more years.

Edited by FUTURE_OF_GM
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CPF was never slated to be CEO, he will however take Lutz' job in late 2010, or early 2011.

ORLY...

Last I heard, Reuss was in line for that job...

Of course, you've been saying that CPF is going to take over the GM world for 3 years now, so I'll take a wait and see approach

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ORLY...

Last I heard, Reuss was in line for that job...

Of course, you've been saying that CPF is going to take over the GM world for 3 years now, so I'll take a wait and see approach

Reuss, please, when is the last time you heard of a Managing Director of Holden moving that high up? The last one works for CPF in Russia. Besides many people above him on the ladder to the top, CPF being one of them, in the top 10.

Check out the GM Career Step Ladder, your boy Reuss has a way to go yet: http://www.gm.com/corporate/investor_infor...ers_content.jsp

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My gut feeling tells me GM might not even survive in NA....

They can only file in the US, beacuse GM is doing fine elsewhere.

GM, in honesty, really doesn't have a ready line up here to bat the 5 dollar gas, which should happen in a month or less. A few cars is simply not going to cut it.

Not only is the consumer going to really have to cut back (no new car every few years), those who can will still buy into a Honda or Toyota.

Their choices are getting cut in half. They won't be able to "try" a domestic....they simply cannot afford to...

So as the Average comsumer, what do you do?

Buy a Toyota, or buy from that loser company that might not be around in a few years?

You only have to look at Sears to see what happens to a company in question......

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:censored:

This would suck big time, but like I said my prediction is CHEV-OPEL-BUICK-CADDY by the end of the decade.

Maybe....

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I think it is about time to fire Wagoner, although they may hold on to him because there is no one better to replace him with. He's had 8 years, and they are operating with the same mentality they used in the 80s and 90s. They need to wipe out some layers of middle management also. GM seems to be more of a marketing company trying to sell a deal rather than an engineering company selling a great car.

I agree about the "wait til next year" thing. GM has been saying that for years, they are always a little behind the curve.

GM is in trouble for sure, they can't lose money at the current rate for very long, and "wait til 2010 when the union contract kicks in" is not the answer. The economy can still get worse, gas could hit $5 a gallon, and things could get worse. Leases on full size SUVs that they did a year or so ago based on projected resale values are going to hurt GM also, because at the end of the lease those SUVs aren't going to be worth anything and GM gets stuck eating the difference.

The number that hurts GM most is R&D spending. Toyota spends about $8 billion a year for their 40-50 models worldwide. GM spends $6 billion a year for their dozen brands and nearly 100 models worldwide. GM is spreading less money over twice as many vehicles and 3 times as many brands.

I say kill or sell Saab and Hummer and kill Saturn. Saturn is a brand of rebadges so it has no value to anyone else. They don't need GMC truck, Chevy already sells them. I could see a place for GMC as the work truck/fleet brand selling pickups and vans to cable, phone companies, etc. That cuts their marketing budget to about zero and still leaves some sales for B-P-G dealers.

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Buy a Toyota, or buy from that loser company that might not be around in a few years?

If you listen to the media, this might be your perception. If you are founded in reality you would know that GM has been fighting for it's life far longer and has proven before that it can and will survive.

(By "you" I'm just providing an example, not talking about you specifically dave)

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First off, I'm pretty sure GM is not going to go out of business in NA. I wouldn't really worry about that. This is a HUGE company that I think is pretty well funded (probably better than any of us on this board even understand). They make a ton of money in China, SA, and Europe and banks realize that this is a fact - GM won't have as much trouble funding their operations as these columnists (who probably know very little about this) have their readers believe. Like I've posted here before - most of these people writing these columns, especially in the Wall ST Journal and Forbes, etc, know very little about the car industry. I'm not an expert at all - my Dad worked for GM for many years, but that was long ago, and I'm merely just a car guy - but I do know that pessimism sells papers, and these jerks love to make things sound a lot worse than they are. It's human nature friends. It's bad, but not nearly as bad as what these writers want everyone to think.

This particular columnist thinks that bankruptcy is more than likely going to happen. I've seen some (more positive) analysis that says more than likely GM won't declare bankruptcy (and if it did, there would only be a 20% chance of it and it would be if we went into a really severe depression and it would be in 2011 or something). Nobody knows for sure - it's all speculation and BS. I'd say that 20+billion in cash and something like another 7B in credit + factories, brands, various business units, etc, etc...sounds like a company that is far from BK to me.

If I were a betting man - I'd put money on GM being alive (and well) in NA for a long time. But one thing is for sure- they'll be a shadow of themselves as we know it. We've watched it slowly happening since the 90s - they've let the Japanese take over the market here, and there's absolutely nothing they can do to stop them now. Not a thing. The damage was done years and years ago.

Now it's time for them to take a good, hard look at how they can maintain their business in an insanely competitive market which will primarily be made up of a 4 cylinder small and mid size cars. They know they can do it based on their European business - and from what I can tell, it looks like that will be the direction they go (utilizing Opel platforms).

I think we can certainly get an idea of what's happening by reading the internet (and simply watch what's happening - especially for you guys who actually work in the industry or at a dealer). But I think everything needs to be taken with a grain of salt here. Things change - gas prices change, people in charge change. I remember 3 years ago everyone was totally freaking out, Wall St. was throwing around the bankruptcy talk, etc, etc, and look - GM is still here.

We may see a few brands go away over time (although I have no idea how they'll do it, considering how costly and messy getting rid of Olds was) - but somehow we'll probably see it. Here's my prediction for what GM is going to look like - loosely based on what PCS posts constantly, and what I think GM will *think* they need to do to remain profitable. GM in NA, 2011

Chevrolet / Buick-Saturn / Cadillac / Saab

I'd be very pissed right now if I were a B-P GMC dealer - but I think GM is going to basically give them Saturn cars to sell. GM's probably figuring that with $4 gas here to stay, GMC is going to start losing sales anyway, so the dealers aren't going to miss what isn't selling that well anyway. I dunno. Just a thought.

I do think that under that scenario, the upcoming G8 sport truck needs to be sold as a Chevy - it gives GM a "truck" that gets good mileage so that can help meet the new CAFE regulations with their truck fleet.

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If you listen to the media, this might be your perception. If you are founded in reality you would know that GM has been fighting for it's life far longer and has proven before that it can and will survive.

(By "you" I'm just providing an example, not talking about you specifically dave)

I know... :)

But for that person who knows nothing about cars (buys em' like a toaster), it might not leave a good impression....

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First off, I'm pretty sure GM is not going to go out of business in NA. I wouldn't really worry about that. This is a HUGE company that I think is pretty well funded (probably better than any of us on this board even understand). They make a ton of money in China, SA, and Europe and banks realize that this is a fact - GM won't have as much trouble funding their operations as these columnists (who probably know very little about this) have their readers believe. Like I've posted here before - most of these people writing these columns, especially in the Wall ST Journal and Forbes, etc, know very little about the car industry. I'm not an expert at all - my Dad worked for GM for many years, but that was long ago, and I'm merely just a car guy - but I do know that pessimism sells papers, and these jerks love to make things sound a lot worse than they are. It's human nature friends. It's bad, but not nearly as bad as what these writers want everyone to think.

This particular columnist thinks that bankruptcy is more than likely going to happen. I've seen some (more positive) analysis that says more than likely GM won't declare bankruptcy (and if it did, there would only be a 20% chance of it and it would be if we went into a really severe depression and it would be in 2011 or something). Nobody knows for sure - it's all speculation and BS. I'd say that 20+billion in cash and something like another 7B in credit + factories, brands, various business units, etc, etc...sounds like a company that is far from BK to me.

If I were a betting man - I'd put money on GM being alive (and well) in NA for a long time. But one thing is for sure- they'll be a shadow of themselves as we know it. We've watched it slowly happening since the 90s - they've let the Japanese take over the market here, and there's absolutely nothing they can do to stop them now. Not a thing. The damage was done years and years ago.

Now it's time for them to take a good, hard look at how they can maintain their business in an insanely competitive market which will primarily be made up of a 4 cylinder small and mid size cars. They know they can do it based on their European business - and from what I can tell, it looks like that will be the direction they go (utilizing Opel platforms).

I think we can certainly get an idea of what's happening by reading the internet (and simply watch what's happening - especially for you guys who actually work in the industry or at a dealer). But I think everything needs to be taken with a grain of salt here. Things change - gas prices change, people in charge change. I remember 3 years ago everyone was totally freaking out, Wall St. was throwing around the bankruptcy talk, etc, etc, and look - GM is still here.

We may see a few brands go away over time (although I have no idea how they'll do it, considering how costly and messy getting rid of Olds was) - but somehow we'll probably see it. Here's my prediction for what GM is going to look like - loosely based on what PCS posts constantly, and what I think GM will *think* they need to do to remain profitable. GM in NA, 2011

Chevrolet / Buick-Saturn / Cadillac / Saab

I'd be very pissed right now if I were a B-P GMC dealer - but I think GM is going to basically give them Saturn cars to sell. GM's probably figuring that with $4 gas here to stay, GMC is going to start losing sales anyway, so the dealers aren't going to miss what isn't selling that well anyway. I dunno. Just a thought.

I do think that under that scenario, the upcoming G8 sport truck needs to be sold as a Chevy - it gives GM a "truck" that gets good mileage so that can help meet the new CAFE regulations with their truck fleet.

You know gmcbob, when I 1st came to C&G we didn't agree on much, but I think over time a mutual respect has grown between us. Of course I could be wrong, I was once before. :AH-HA_wink:

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First off, I'm pretty sure GM is not going to go out of business in NA. I wouldn't really worry about that. This is a HUGE company that I think is pretty well funded (probably better than any of us on this board even understand). They make a ton of money in China, SA, and Europe and banks realize that this is a fact - GM won't have as much trouble funding their operations as these columnists (who probably know very little about this) have their readers believe. Like I've posted here before - most of these people writing these columns, especially in the Wall ST Journal and Forbes, etc, know very little about the car industry. I'm not an expert at all - my Dad worked for GM for many years, but that was long ago, and I'm merely just a car guy - but I do know that pessimism sells papers, and these jerks love to make things sound a lot worse than they are. It's human nature friends. It's bad, but not nearly as bad as what these writers want everyone to think.

This particular columnist thinks that bankruptcy is more than likely going to happen. I've seen some (more positive) analysis that says more than likely GM won't declare bankruptcy (and if it did, there would only be a 20% chance of it and it would be if we went into a really severe depression and it would be in 2011 or something). Nobody knows for sure - it's all speculation and BS. I'd say that 20+billion in cash and something like another 7B in credit + factories, brands, various business units, etc, etc...sounds like a company that is far from BK to me.

If I were a betting man - I'd put money on GM being alive (and well) in NA for a long time. But one thing is for sure- they'll be a shadow of themselves as we know it. We've watched it slowly happening since the 90s - they've let the Japanese take over the market here, and there's absolutely nothing they can do to stop them now. Not a thing. The damage was done years and years ago.

Now it's time for them to take a good, hard look at how they can maintain their business in an insanely competitive market which will primarily be made up of a 4 cylinder small and mid size cars. They know they can do it based on their European business - and from what I can tell, it looks like that will be the direction they go (utilizing Opel platforms).

I think we can certainly get an idea of what's happening by reading the internet (and simply watch what's happening - especially for you guys who actually work in the industry or at a dealer). But I think everything needs to be taken with a grain of salt here. Things change - gas prices change, people in charge change. I remember 3 years ago everyone was totally freaking out, Wall St. was throwing around the bankruptcy talk, etc, etc, and look - GM is still here.

We may see a few brands go away over time (although I have no idea how they'll do it, considering how costly and messy getting rid of Olds was) - but somehow we'll probably see it. Here's my prediction for what GM is going to look like - loosely based on what PCS posts constantly, and what I think GM will *think* they need to do to remain profitable. GM in NA, 2011

Chevrolet / Buick-Saturn / Cadillac / Saab

I'd be very pissed right now if I were a B-P GMC dealer - but I think GM is going to basically give them Saturn cars to sell. GM's probably figuring that with $4 gas here to stay, GMC is going to start losing sales anyway, so the dealers aren't going to miss what isn't selling that well anyway. I dunno. Just a thought.

I do think that under that scenario, the upcoming G8 sport truck needs to be sold as a Chevy - it gives GM a "truck" that gets good mileage so that can help meet the new CAFE regulations with their truck fleet.

True.....

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>>"One sure measure of an enterprise's worth is the answer to the question: if it didn't exist, would you launch this business today? The answer in GM's case is that the world would function perfectly well without it."<<

Do you know HOW MANY BRANDS worldwide this question applies to ?????? Every single one, IMO

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I wonder if the author of the article considered that Bankruptcy is more likely for other Domestic and foreign makes rather than GM. Sure Toyota and Honda are in good shape, but other imports not so much. Likewise Ford and Chrysler seem more poorly positioned than is GM.

That said there is one more very negative consideration. Everyone always says build better cars and it will be all right. Throw in a little better marketing, and sales will be golden. The lack of market liquidity or the ability to borrow operating funds may supersede these issues and lead to disaster for most operations.

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So despite having all brand new products, some of the nicest at GM and 2 additional products to sell, Saturn is still losing share? WHY IS THIS DIVISION SO SACRED AGAIN? This division has countless investment, supposedly a 'better' image than Pontiac, yet it still can't manage to pull MORE share much less AS MUCH share as a cobbled Pontiac line up of rebadges and old skool GM crap?

Pull the fleet sales out of the equation and Saturn may have a better share than Pontiac. The last GP update was a major hurt to Pontiac. The G5 was nothing more than GM answering the bitching dealers. If GM wants to survive, they need to start telling thier dealer what they will do, not the dealers telling GM what they "want"

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haypops.... I'm fairly sure that Ford's in better shape IMO

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haypops.... I'm fairly sure that Ford's in better shape IMO

GM has more places to get a loan like

The 49 percent stake in GMAC

The rest of North America

GM's International business.

Plus Cerberus still must pay GM $4 billion ($2 billion in November 2008, $2 billion in November 2009) on the sale of 51 percent of GMAC.

Edited by Toyota.vs.GM
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You know, I'd like to see the share numbers for the niche Japanese brands to see if a phase out of those divisions could be 'justified' based on bias. (Like this article does for GM)

And I find it funny that Toyota is whispering about starting a FOURTH division (The "Prius" division that has been mentioned in the media more than once in the last few years) amid all of this talk that "The imports can do it with only 2 divisions"

That kinda defies logic, right? GM is 'having to downsize' while Toyota is appealing to more and more customers with a diverse offering of vehicle. I guess GM is happy with Toyota displacing them for everything they once were.

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Pull the fleet sales out of the equation and Saturn may have a better share than Pontiac. The last GP update was a major hurt to Pontiac. The G5 was nothing more than GM answering the bitching dealers. If GM wants to survive, they need to start telling thier dealer what they will do, not the dealers telling GM what they "want"

With the recent sales increases, I have a hard time believing that MOST of Pontiacs share is fleet.

It's politics... Plain and simple.

As far as I'm concerned, I'd love to see both Pontiac and Saturn stay. But Hummer and especially Saab need to go.

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