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Wagoner Drives Volt To Washington


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So the guy I spoke to in the Chevy display at NAIAS was right... I was surprised he knew so much, most of the time the people at car shows rarely know the cars they are showing, let along the company they represent.

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Good idea. I would have just drive the Malibu Hybrid and brought a Volt along as well. I wouldn't use a car with a Volt underneath and a Cruze body it would confuse people becuase not everyone understands car like us. Either way driving is a great choice. I do like Rick despite what some folks say.

Edited by gm4life
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i like what wagoner is trying to do, but undermining the companies previous plan to keep all 8 brands alive will be a waste of money in the long run... it is best to keep all alive, and in the upcoming years, GM should strive, as long as the sales begin to pick up, the camaro will do wonders for GM as soon as it hits the showroom, chevy will be selling again, almost like the old days... i think the camaro is GM's silver bullet right now, and i hope it can do for gm what the camaro did for gm in the 60's

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With all due respect, I don't think I've read some more tragically misinformed posts on this topic in a while....

GM just publicly admitted that they need $4billion by the end of this month, and you guys are talking about how good a guy Wagoner is or why they should keep all of their brands?

The short answers are:

RW has overseen the devastation of GM, whether his fault or not, he MUST go. It's simply the price he must pay, even if you believe he was in the wrong place at the wrong time for the past 8 yrs.

They can't afford to keep the lights on past Dec 31st and you want to keep money holes like Saab, Saturn or Hummer?

Guys: GM can't even afford the Kool-Aid anymore--better break the habit!

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With all due respect, I don't think I've read some more tragically misinformed posts on this topic in a while....

GM just publicly admitted that they need $4billion by the end of this month, and you guys are talking about how good a guy Wagoner is or why they should keep all of their brands?

The short answers are:

RW has overseen the devastation of GM, whether his fault or not, he MUST go. It's simply the price he must pay, even if you believe he was in the wrong place at the wrong time for the past 8 yrs.

They can't afford to keep the lights on past Dec 31st and you want to keep money holes like Saab, Saturn or Hummer?

Guys: GM can't even afford the Kool-Aid anymore--better break the habit!

return to greatness!

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>>"...you want to keep money holes like Saab, Saturn or Hummer?"<<

Repeated posts on this board advocating dropping the dead weight at GM in the form especially of saab, Saturn & Hummer.

And many more indicating that despite the abject distrust of the MSM, the story they are portraying is frighteningly accurate, yet many here cling to notions of a grand comeback.

Why did it take this situation to bring GM to its senses? The denial at the Tubes must literally clog the hallways. But its just as thick here, for many--certainly not all.

(And some of us have been advocating for a wee bit longer)

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GM is scrambling to make business moves they should have been making months and years ago. It's amazing that it took bankruptcy and the prospect of total collapse to get them into action. Rick Wagoner and other execs didn't have the foresight to see this coming before things got this bad? Before it got to the point where they would only have enough cash for a few months? They're reacting now because there's no other option, presenting a hastily prepared plan to stay afloat.

I know nobody could have predicted roller coaster gas prices or the fall of the SUV. But members here have for years commented on GM's tendency to react to market trends rather than take a proactive approach.

Why weren't "dead weight" brands being slashed or sold off before this?

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GM is scrambling to make business moves they should have been making months and years ago. It's amazing that it took bankruptcy and the prospect of total collapse to get them into action. Rick Wagoner and other execs didn't have the foresight to see this coming before things got this bad? Before it got to the point where they would only have enough cash for a few months? They're reacting now because there's no other option, presenting a hastily prepared plan to stay afloat.

I know nobody could have predicted roller coaster gas prices or the fall of the SUV. But members here have for years commented on GM's tendency to react to market trends rather than take a proactive approach.

Why weren't "dead weight" brands being slashed or sold off before this?

It is the fundamental flaw of the human nature, drastic actions are taken only when &#036;h&#33; hits the fan and spreads its aroma around the room.

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Good grief. Some of you guys think that jettisoning brands/dealers is going to be EASY. This is the way democracies and pure capitalism work: by crisis.

No way in hell the UAW would have entertained any sort of compromises 6 months ago. GM was not in this shape six months ago!

If 5 million vehicles hadn't been wiped out of the US market, GM would most likely be on track with its health care spin offs, new vehicle launches, normal dealer attrition, etc. and would have been profitable by next year, like the Board had projected.

To entertain wiping out brands, more lay offs or legions of dealers can only be done under the threat of death - OR ARE YOU GUYS UNAWARE THERE ARE LAWS THAT GOVERN THIS SORT OF THING?

This may just be the best thing to happen to GM, frankly, but it is going to be painful.

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Good grief. Some of you guys think that jettisoning brands/dealers is going to be EASY. This is the way democracies and pure capitalism work: by crisis.

No way in hell the UAW would have entertained any sort of compromises 6 months ago. GM was not in this shape six months ago!

If 5 million vehicles hadn't been wiped out of the US market, GM would most likely be on track with its health care spin offs, new vehicle launches, normal dealer attrition, etc. and would have been profitable by next year, like the Board had projected.

To entertain wiping out brands, more lay offs or legions of dealers can only be done under the threat of death - OR ARE YOU GUYS UNAWARE THERE ARE LAWS THAT GOVERN THIS SORT OF THING?

This may just be the best thing to happen to GM, frankly, but it is going to be painful.

Pretty much spot-on.

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Generally most people will not let you cut their leg off unless they are going to die otherwise.

The UAW, Dealers and other factors that would fight many of the things that need to happen are now on their knees willing to give to live.

It is oh so easy for all of us to be a CEO behind the keyboard.

Either way driving down in the Malubu was good and driving up in the Volt was good.

The poorest part here is the CEO's [accept Nardelli] are very poor at standing up to the DC creeps.

Rick did right by driving the Volt but he should have called out Dodd and the others on the panel to go out and let me not only tell you what we are doing but show you!

This whole deal reminds me of when they grilled Howard Hughes in DC in the 40's. He was crazy but sucked it up and stood up to them and called them out. Rick does not have to get in their face but he needs to stop the lies where they are given and should call out Senate districts and tell each Senater and Congress man how many jobs and tax dollars he will lose in each district. A little whats in it for them.

I think the autop makers should have give what the people in goverment would lose vs so much what the automakers would gain.

They also should remind them of the cost to meet all the goverment standard in Air quality and fuel economy standard coming up. Not to say they are wrong but just present the cost to revamp to meet them. LEt them know how much money Washington is adding to the cost and losses.

The Automakers are going to get their money as Rep Sharrod Brown has already said they have to bail them out because the banks would lose on the bonds invested. THis was a hint they will bail them out with the bank money to help the banks.

My hunch the money will come form the Bank bail out money and they will say it is to help the banks. The DC folks are just trying to make themselves look good.

Edited by hyperv6
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I consider the above posters fairly astute when it comes to GM history, but utterly blinded by love when it comes to judgments on GM's behavior....

While its obvious that cuts are difficult and, in the short term, expensive, I'll give you a few ways in which the current disaster--could have been minimized--if not avoided:

1. GM has thrown away BILLIONS on distractions for the past 10-20 years--Hughes, EDS, Fiat, Subaru, Isuzu, Saab---all of which would have provided the money to weather this crisis. (For the cost of NOT buying Fiat ($2 billion)--all Saturn dealers could be bought out!

2. GM has never shown a willingness to allow outsiders to render opinions that receive any weight where it counts--in the Boardroom and Exec-Suites. (And don't tell me Lutz---the product was so mediocre, anyone given authority with a brain could have done what he's done). When Ross Perot barked about the waste and stupidity, they paid him (alot) to go away. Jerry York, as recently as 2+ yrs. ago, suggested almost all of the things GM now must do.

3. GM has been losing the ALL-important PR wars for decades---are you telling me they couldn't have hired better? Engaged the same people Toyota does? Done market research that wouldn't simply be short-sighted reflection of internal decisions preordained? I got off the phone with a well-placed GM exec on Friday who couldn't believe how GM's brass didn't anticipate the 1st visit to Congress and how badly that would play with the public. How could they not of considered the possibility?

4. The UAW issues have already been handled---and fairly well, IMO. Det3 are 1.5 yrs. away from real freedom from the shackles of the historical commitments---this indicates to me that the UAW has fairly pragmatic leadership that would have been a partner in working this whole situation a little sooner IF the Det3 were willing to communicate and demonstrate the dire need.

5. If GM wanted to, they could sell Saturn lock, stock and barrel to the Chinese--or perhaps Fiat--or Tata or Mahindra---there are 400 standalone dealers, right? There is no provision in any dealer agreement I know of that requires that GM produce Saturns. I'm sure that Hummer can be given away with a small dowry, with Saab in the same boat. 2 years ago (when this should have happened) there was plenty of credit available for potential buyers of these brands--which brings me to my last point:

6. Ford, a competitor, was far behind GM's restructuring efforts 3 years ago---their product pipeline was thin, they had little spare cash & their crown jewels like Jag, LR & AM were bleeding. Yet, they brought in fresh leadership, borrowed money at historically low interest rates, shed non-core assets and decided to reinvest in product--the roadmap was clear and right in front of GM's face---they did nothing and now they are weeks away from death!

It's sad. And inexcusable.

Edited by enzl
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I don't pretend to understand the Fiat debacle. $2b is not chump change, but I'd bet some pretty bad legal advice had a lot to do with it. I don't see why GM backed out of the deal. GM-DAT has turned out to be a pretty good investment. Why not Fiat, too?

EDS, Hughes and a few other investments resulted in OnStar. As you know full well, finding an exclusive does give a marketing tool. I'm not entirely convinced OnStar is the end-all and be-all, but GM does have stats to prove that OnStar is growing and there are legions of very loyal customers now because of it. The fact that Toyota and others are scrounging to play catch up is a pretty sound indication that GM is on the right track. Most of these investments were made when GM was raking in the billions - is that not the time when companies diversify and strengthen their position? We are playing retro-history again. It's not like GM could just have kept the cash in the bank; the IRS would be only too happy to relieve GM of it.

I agree with you on the PR war. I don't understand how Detroit (and many other American industries, for that matter) have allowed the Japanese to walk into our countries and take over. It says as much about us as a people as it does about Japanese corporate culture. Part of Detroit's past arrogance is really all our shame: Americans (and the West in general) constantly underestimates the strength and tenacity of its 'enemies.'

The Saturn argument is disingenuous at best. In this moment of crisis, it may look like a great idea for GM to 'sell' Saturn to a foreign competitor, but why would you want to make it easy for them to gain a toe-hold in our market? Wal-Mart became #1 in Canada over night by buying up all the bankrupt K-Mart stores. I'd bet Eaton's (once Canada's largest, proudest department store chain) would have loved to prevent that if they could. GM may now have no choice but to shut down Saturn, but in my experience of dealing with lawyer's, I can only imagine the quagmire Gm is facing with the myriad of State laws governing the Saturn dealers in the U.S.

I suspect that Ford's changes (having only 3 brands, for example) have been easier to handle. Mercury is gone in Canada. I've no idea what that cost them, but I see more Ford stores closing around here than GM.

A goodly chunk of GM's problems stem from the fact that they are #1. They always draw the focus of the competition and the ire of the media. Detroit may be an insular place - I can't personally confirm or deny that, but I look at Wagoner's career and I can't think of a better way to promote someone to King other than have that person work their way up and work in many different departments in the kingdom. Mulally may have the advantage of having no allegiances to anyone at Ford; however, I'd still rather have a 'car guy' running a car company than a 'corporate guy.'

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I don't pretend to understand the Fiat debacle. $2b is not chump change, but I'd bet some pretty bad legal advice had a lot to do with it. I don't see why GM backed out of the deal. GM-DAT has turned out to be a pretty good investment. Why not Fiat, too?

EDS, Hughes and a few other investments resulted in OnStar. As you know full well, finding an exclusive does give a marketing tool. I'm not entirely convinced OnStar is the end-all and be-all, but GM does have stats to prove that OnStar is growing and there are legions of very loyal customers now because of it. The fact that Toyota and others are scrounging to play catch up is a pretty sound indication that GM is on the right track. Most of these investments were made when GM was raking in the billions - is that not the time when companies diversify and strengthen their position? We are playing retro-history again. It's not like GM could just have kept the cash in the bank; the IRS would be only too happy to relieve GM of it.

I agree with you on the PR war. I don't understand how Detroit (and many other American industries, for that matter) have allowed the Japanese to walk into our countries and take over. It says as much about us as a people as it does about Japanese corporate culture. Part of Detroit's past arrogance is really all our shame: Americans (and the West in general) constantly underestimates the strength and tenacity of its 'enemies.'

The Saturn argument is disingenuous at best. In this moment of crisis, it may look like a great idea for GM to 'sell' Saturn to a foreign competitor, but why would you want to make it easy for them to gain a toe-hold in our market? Wal-Mart became #1 in Canada over night by buying up all the bankrupt K-Mart stores. I'd bet Eaton's (once Canada's largest, proudest department store chain) would have loved to prevent that if they could. GM may now have no choice but to shut down Saturn, but in my experience of dealing with lawyer's, I can only imagine the quagmire Gm is facing with the myriad of State laws governing the Saturn dealers in the U.S.

I suspect that Ford's changes (having only 3 brands, for example) have been easier to handle. Mercury is gone in Canada. I've no idea what that cost them, but I see more Ford stores closing around here than GM.

A goodly chunk of GM's problems stem from the fact that they are #1. They always draw the focus of the competition and the ire of the media. Detroit may be an insular place - I can't personally confirm or deny that, but I look at Wagoner's career and I can't think of a better way to promote someone to King other than have that person work their way up and work in many different departments in the kingdom. Mulally may have the advantage of having no allegiances to anyone at Ford; however, I'd still rather have a 'car guy' running a car company than a 'corporate guy.'

'Biz....I think Enzl was spot on.

As far as OnStar.....I don't know what revenue or profit it brings the corporation......but I don't see Toyota and the others "scrounging to play catch up" as you say. While I do come across customers that have subscribed to OnStar in the past....in no way is it a closing tool for my customers....nor do very many of them show much interest in it.

As far as having a "car" guy versus a "corporate" guy......as Enzl noted....Mullaly has seemed to have been way more effective in his short term than The Rick has been for over 8 years.

Not understanding how Detroit could allow the Japanese to walk in and take over? Isn't this clear now, or do we have to rehash all the product missteps, market misreads, and blunders that Detroit made, and sadly, didn't learn from?

Oh, finally.....you mentioned GM's (Detroit's) "past arrogance." One of the major problems still confounding GM today.....is not their "past" arrogance, but the current arrogance that still sweeps over the entire corporation.....today....even considering the challenges staring them in the face.

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As far as having a "car" guy versus a "corporate" guy......as Enzl noted....Mullaly has seemed to have been way more effective in his short term than The Rick has been for over 8 years.

Agreed.

I think Mullaly cornered the "old schoolers" in Ford right from the get go. He's rumoured to have said in a meeting that he wasn't a car guy, but since he was used to oversee a company that made products with millions of different parts he'd me more than able to oversee a carmaker.

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'Biz....I think Enzl was spot on.

As far as having a "car" guy versus a "corporate" guy......as Enzl noted....Mullaly has seemed to have been way more effective in his short term than The Rick has been for over 8 years.

Not to take anything from Mullaly who I like and believe has finally tamed the beast over there, but you need to step back and rethink what you wrote. If not for the 30 billion set of loans Ford took on 2-years ago, Ford would be bankrupt or bailed out by the Feds already.

Step back to where Ford was 10 years ago, the company is a shadow of its former self today. In the US it is 1/2 the company it used to be. Its product lineup is not complex in the US because of that. It has only one division. Lincoln and Mercury are after thoughts at this point. PAG is gone and Volvo should be gone as well. What's left.

Mullaly gets credit for imposing dicipline and sticking to a plan. But the plan is a no brainer and not very complex becuase the company really only has to juggle 1 brand. Adopting the Euro vehicles is also a no brainer becuase that is where the fleet is heading in the US. Plus they are better looking cars.

Now Wagoner and his team has done a very good job at trying to right this disaster called GM in the US structurally given the limited resources since he has been CEO. I cannot fault him much for his strategic decisions. Since he has been CEO GM has been chasing one crisis after another:

Scattered organization (VSSM, 1 engineering center)

Unfunded pension (fixed)

2001 Recession

911

Escalating healthcare cost (White collar fixed, UAW VEBA)

Too many dealers (condolidation in place (BPG)

Too many brands (Olds)

Unprofitable cars (Malibu, CTS, Crossovers)

High labor cost (07 UAW contract)

Katrina

Dephi

CAFE

4 dollar gas

And now the credit crisis.

The damn company could no catch a break. If the last two had not happened and GM were to have played out the rest of the plan, the company could have been on its way to finally righting itself in the US. The truth is, the 900 were to save the company and provided the funding to fix the car side. Nuff said on that one.

With bankruptcy "not" an option to fix the company, Wagoner gave it a fighting chance.

Maybe now that the government is likely to oversee the bailout will the company make the deep cuts they were never able to do before.

PS: at the time the FIAT deal was spot on.

PS2: BTW most of those distractions such as Hughs, EDS made a lot of money when they were spun off.

Edited by evok
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Pass the kool aid, Evok. :smilewide:

Exactly. Armchair critics like to blame the latest quarterback for everything, but running a multinational car company is a helluva lot tougher than any football team. The only reason I can see for throwing Wagoner out at this time is for optics, plain and simple.

He had nothing to do with GM strangling/ignoring the car market. Lutz was putting out fires as fast as he could (de-cladding Pontiac, axing the new Cavalier, dealing with Olds) and he was brought on board by Wagoner to do something about the product line up, which he has done.

It would be interesting to follow the parallel time lines between Toyota's decision with respect to the San Antonio plant plan and GM 'bringing forward' the GMT-900s. Both decisions were made at a time when gas was below $2.50 and both made a lot of sense at the time. Hindsight being 20-20, it would have been better if GM had poured the money into the Cruze or the Volt, but neither decision would have made sense in '04/'05 when the go-ahead for an all new truck would have to have been made (remembering that the pickups got a major refresh in '03 already.) I am sure Cadillac soaked up a lot of development energy as well. If the total bull&#036;h&#33; oil bubble hadn't thrown the train off the tracks in '08, GM would look pretty smart having successfully defended its domination of the pickup market against a third attempt by Toyota. Even in hindsight, I don't see what choice GM had but to defend the only turf it still owns.

Luck has a lot to do with success in business, as in life. Toyota gambled on the Prius and (seemingly) won; GM gambled on trucks, and not so much as lost but squandered the cache that those products brought to the company.

Timing is everything.

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Not to take anything from Mullaly who I like and believe has finally tamed the beast over there, but you need to step back and rethink what you wrote. If not for the 30 billion set of loans Ford took on 2-years ago, Ford would be bankrupt or bailed out by the Feds already.

Step back to where Ford was 10 years ago, the company is a shadow of its former self today. In the US it is 1/2 the company it used to be. Its product lineup is not complex in the US because of that. It has only one division. Lincoln and Mercury are after thoughts at this point. PAG is gone and Volvo should be gone as well. What's left.

Mullaly gets credit for imposing dicipline and sticking to a plan. But the plan is a no brainer and not very complex becuase the company really only has to juggle 1 brand. Adopting the Euro vehicles is also a no brainer becuase that is where the fleet is heading in the US. Plus they are better looking cars.

Now Wagoner and his team has done a very good job at trying to right this disaster called GM in the US structurally given the limited resources since he has been CEO. I cannot fault him much for his strategic decisions. Since he has been CEO GM has been chasing one crisis after another:

Scattered organization (VSSM, 1 engineering center)

Unfunded pension (fixed)

2001 Recession

911

Escalating healthcare cost (White collar fixed, UAW VEBA)

Too many dealers (condolidation in place (BPG)

Too many brands (Olds)

Unprofitable cars (Malibu, CTS, Crossovers)

High labor cost (07 UAW contract)

Katrina

Dephi

CAFE

4 dollar gas

And now the credit crisis.

The damn company could no catch a break. If the last two had not happened and GM were to have played out the rest of the plan, the company could have been on its way to finally righting itself in the US. The truth is, the 900 were to save the company and provided the funding to fix the car side. Nuff said on that one.

With bankruptcy an option to fix the company, Wagoner gave it a fighting chance.

Maybe now that the government is likely to oversee the bailout will the company make the deep cuts they were never able to do before.

PS at the time the FIAT deal was spot on.

Spot on with all points here.

The Loans Ford took looked like the end and they would not save them now look to be a winning move. Ford made the loans because they had to not because they knew the market was going to drop.

The biggest thing Rick has donw wrong is not make some changes faster. But that is a GM trade mark as they never make many radical moves over the years.

The biggest problem has bee CEO's that just don't rock the boat. There has just been too much inaction at times some big calls needed to be made in the past. Rick ended up with a mess and a system that could not deal with it. GM is bigger than any one person and that needs to change if they want an effective leader. Being a CEO is tough when your trying to make changes with one arm tied and a lot of bad luck in timing.

Read the story on Page 92 of Fortune magazine Dec 8 issue. It has a good story of GM and the CEO's since 1960.

Rick has done as well as he could with the system he was given. How many of the past GM CEO's would have brought in a product guy like Lutz when they did not know product? That is a sign od wisdom many before him never showed.

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So... how many miles did that Volt mule do before switching on the ICE range extender? :P

You think that wasn't just a Cruze with decals???? See, Chevy can learn a thing or two from the ricers. :wink:

Actually, apparently they only drove it 2 miles. But Lutz did give some information recently from a Volt mules test drive that indicates ~32 miles highway.

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Not to take anything from Mullaly who I like and believe has finally tamed the beast over there, but you need to step back and rethink what you wrote. If not for the 30 billion set of loans Ford took on 2-years ago, Ford would be bankrupt or bailed out by the Feds already.

Step back to where Ford was 10 years ago, the company is a shadow of its former self today. In the US it is 1/2 the company it used to be. Its product lineup is not complex in the US because of that. It has only one division. Lincoln and Mercury are after thoughts at this point. PAG is gone and Volvo should be gone as well. What's left.

Mullaly gets credit for imposing dicipline and sticking to a plan. But the plan is a no brainer and not very complex becuase the company really only has to juggle 1 brand. Adopting the Euro vehicles is also a no brainer becuase that is where the fleet is heading in the US. Plus they are better looking cars.

Now Wagoner and his team has done a very good job at trying to right this disaster called GM in the US structurally given the limited resources since he has been CEO. I cannot fault him much for his strategic decisions. Since he has been CEO GM has been chasing one crisis after another:

Scattered organization (VSSM, 1 engineering center)

Unfunded pension (fixed)

2001 Recession

911

Escalating healthcare cost (White collar fixed, UAW VEBA)

Too many dealers (condolidation in place (BPG)

Too many brands (Olds)

Unprofitable cars (Malibu, CTS, Crossovers)

High labor cost (07 UAW contract)

Katrina

Dephi

CAFE

4 dollar gas

And now the credit crisis.

The damn company could no catch a break. If the last two had not happened and GM were to have played out the rest of the plan, the company could have been on its way to finally righting itself in the US. The truth is, the 900 were to save the company and provided the funding to fix the car side. Nuff said on that one.

With bankruptcy "not" an option to fix the company, Wagoner gave it a fighting chance.

Maybe now that the government is likely to oversee the bailout will the company make the deep cuts they were never able to do before.

PS: at the time the FIAT deal was spot on.

PS2: BTW most of those distractions such as Hughs, EDS made a lot of money when they were spun off.

For the same reason Baseball Managers get canned because of a slow start to the season--injuries, bad luck not withstanding---RW must go.

He's simply a symbol of a system that has crashed and must be rethought--probably a smart, nice man---but it must be done.

You conveniently omit the fact that EVERY car maker, to some degree or another, faced most of the abovementioned hurdles and managed to clear them...GM's single largest problem was a lack of focus on product--EDS, Hughes, Fiat--all took time, energy and, sometimes, capital away from prioritizing what the most simple person would think is the most important GM does: Design & Produce Vehicles.

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You think that wasn't just a Cruze with decals???? See, Chevy can learn a thing or two from the ricers. :wink:

Actually, apparently they only drove it 2 miles. But Lutz did give some information recently from a Volt mules test drive that indicates ~32 miles highway.

Assuming it is cold in DC this time of the year, that range information bodes well for the final version's electric-only range. I sincerely hope GM pulls this Volt thing off...

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For the same reason Baseball Managers get canned because of a slow start to the season--injuries, bad luck not withstanding---RW must go.

He's simply a symbol of a system that has crashed and must be rethought--probably a smart, nice man---but it must be done.

You conveniently omit the fact that EVERY car maker, to some degree or another, faced most of the abovementioned hurdles and managed to clear them...GM's single largest problem was a lack of focus on product--EDS, Hughes, Fiat--all took time, energy and, sometimes, capital away from prioritizing what the most simple person would think is the most important GM does: Design & Produce Vehicles.

fyi - baseball is a game!

For your information, EDS and Hughes were purchased what? 20 years ago. Like it or not, current management did the right thing and divested both as they should have. Both also brought in a healthy dose of capital when GM needed it. Blame Roger B. Smith if you still have a problem with that!

FIAT? Well as I know I explained on here at least once before, FIAT was about fixing GMEurope prior to the GM-DAT deal. If it were not for the problems surfacing back in 2005, the deal ultimately could have been a success. However, GM's problems were very big and they could not afford the distraction or potential obligation of try to sort out FIAT if the put was exercised. In the end given the powertrain advances, the whole thing was a wash.

Other companies? Ford and Chrysler have not been exactly prosperous this decade and for many of the same legacy problems GM has in the US.

Product? To me at least, the product coming out of GM the last few years looks solid, profitable and well accepted in the market. The product in the pipeline, also looks exceptional and when they were planned should have been spot on target.

I have always said, it takes a lot of time and money to turn around a car company. Given what resources GM and Wagoner have had, there is not much else he could have done outside of reorganizing under a bankruptcy which realistically was out of the equation.

If Wagoner goes and Fritz takes over, Wagoner's plan will continue for the most part except all the things he could not do will likely be done under government oversight. Maybe GM will also fix the US industry and take on and liquidate Chrysler.

GM needs to be allowed to do in the US what Wagoner and his team have done so brilliantly with Daewoo and China.

I also give Wagoner a lot of credit for keeping the Volt program on track even as the rest of the company in the US has been put on hiatus.

http://www.cheersandgears.com/index.php?showtopic=26988

http://www.autonews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/arti.../812080320/1200

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One also needs to give credit to Rick in that he admitted years ago he was not a product guy and brought in Bob Lutz and trusted him.

Bob has not hit them all out of the park but he has done pretty well converting lame product into very good models that have improved with each upgrade.

It takes a big CEO to admit a weakness and bring such a strong personality in to take over for his weakness.

This shows he was putting company first.

Ricks weakness has been like most GM leaders and that is to make radical changes or adjustments to the company. He was very conservitive many times he needed to make a little bolder change.

GM tried to keep selling cars to the same people while the imports worked hard at winning new buyers and non traditional import buyers to their product.

GM like many on this web site tried to hard to live in the past.

But again Armchair CEO is a easy game years after the fact.

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fyi - baseball is a game!

For your information, EDS and Hughes were purchased what? 20 years ago. Like it or not, current management did the right thing and divested both as they should have. Both also brought in a healthy dose of capital when GM needed it. Blame Roger B. Smith if you still have a problem with that!

FIAT? Well as I know I explained on here at least once before, FIAT was about fixing GMEurope prior to the GM-DAT deal. If it were not for the problems surfacing back in 2005, the deal ultimately could have been a success. However, GM's problems were very big and they could not afford the distraction or potential obligation of try to sort out FIAT if the put was exercised. In the end given the powertrain advances, the whole thing was a wash.

Other companies? Ford and Chrysler have not been exactly prosperous this decade and for many of the same legacy problems GM has in the US.

Product? To me at least, the product coming out of GM the last few years looks solid, profitable and well accepted in the market. The product in the pipeline, also looks exceptional and when they were planned should have been spot on target.

I have always said, it takes a lot of time and money to turn around a car company. Given what resources GM and Wagoner have had, there is not much else he could have done outside of reorganizing under a bankruptcy which realistically was out of the equation.

If Wagoner goes and Fritz takes over, Wagoner's plan will continue for the most part except all the things he could not do will likely be done under government oversight. Maybe GM will also fix the US industry and take on and liquidate Chrysler.

GM needs to be allowed to do in the US what Wagoner and his team have done so brilliantly with Daewoo and China.

I also give Wagoner a lot of credit for keeping the Volt program on track even as the rest of the company in the US has been put on hiatus.

http://www.cheersandgears.com/index.php?showtopic=26988

http://www.autonews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/arti.../812080320/1200

Baseball is being used as an analogy...not an example....sheesh....and, if you understood the analogy, you would also understand that I have some sympathy for RW's plight---but I'd still fire his ass.

GM has never embraced the changes necessary to adapt --- that is the chief reason that a change agent is needed for that organization. It must start at the top---identifying every avenue possible to fix what is clearly a broken system---and then it must be followed by the troops to the letter.

Allowing RW to stay will never allow that to happen. Fritz as his successor is also a bad idea...

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You seem to advocate removing RW almost for symbolic reasons. I can't say I agree with that. If you remove RW, you still have the same corporate structure in place that causes GM to be so slow in the first place. Leave Rick, but trim the fat out of upper management instead. They need to get from idea to action a lot more quickly - there are too many obstacles that slow things down. And that brings me to my second point: the internal politicking within GM needs to stop. The different fiefdoms all need to be made aware that they work for the same company, and they may have to suck it up and sacrifice their personal interests for the sake of GM's livelihood.

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Baseball is being used as an analogy...not an example....sheesh....and, if you understood the analogy, you would also understand that I have some sympathy for RW's plight---but I'd still fire his ass.

GM has never embraced the changes necessary to adapt --- that is the chief reason that a change agent is needed for that organization. It must start at the top---identifying every avenue possible to fix what is clearly a broken system---and then it must be followed by the troops to the letter.

Allowing RW to stay will never allow that to happen. Fritz as his successor is also a bad idea...

Sorry - But you just do not understand the gravity of the structural changes the company has made since 2001.

Change Agent - sounds like MBA text book buzzwords mubo jumbo than a real solution. Even with a "Change Agent" the situation today would likely be no different. No "Change Agent" could delete a large portion of GM's bloated, inefficient dealer body or make the UAW and their legacy costs go away or give them more cash to fix their damage brands.

However if their is proper authroity given to the Federal Overight Board, that will finally happen and debt, UAW obligations could be restructured, brands could be rethought. Most of GM's long term debt was used to fund its unfunded pension IIRC circa 2003. Something GM was obligated to do. I advocate that sort of "Change Agent".

As I said before, if Mullaly is your idea of a "Change Agent" you are fooling yourself. He is executing a prior plan that saves product development cost because the products will be global. Ford does not have the money to do anything else. If not for the $30 billion home equity loan in September 2006, Ford would have had their hands out in December 2006. Other than that Ford followed GM's lead on all other moves. To make the situation easier, Ford only has 1 main brand.

In today's environment, by the time the "Change Agent" figured out GM's sprawling operations and understood the problems, the liquidation sale would have been over.

Strike II - I happen to be a fan of the sport.

Edited by evok
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Sorry - But you just do not understand the gravity of the structural changes the company has made since 2001.

Change Agent - sounds like MBA text book buzzwords mubo jumbo than a real solution. Even with a "Change Agent" the situation today would likely be no different. No "Change Agent" could delete a large portion of GM's bloated, inefficient dealer body or make the UAW and their legacy costs go away or give them more cash to fix their damage brands.

However if their is proper authroity given to the Federal Overight Board, that will finally happen and debt, UAW obligations could be restructured, brands could be rethought. Most of GM's long term debt was used to fund its unfunded pension IIRC circa 2003. Something GM was obligated to do. I advocate that sort of "Change Agent".

As I said before, if Mullaly is your idea of a "Change Agent" you are fooling yourself. He is executing a prior plan that saves product development cost because the products will be global. Ford does not have the money to do anything else. If not for the $30 billion home equity loan in September 2006, Ford would have had their hands out in December 2006. Other than that Ford followed GM's lead on all other moves. To make the situation easier, Ford only has 1 main brand.

In today's environment, by the time the "Change Agent" figured out GM's sprawling operations and understood the problems, the liquidation sale would have been over.

Strike II - I happen to be a fan of the sport.

I'm certainly not holding myself out as an expert regarding the restructuring of GM---however, I can tell you that there were many things that have nothing to do with legacy costs or structural changes that could have made a big difference during Rick's tenure:

1. Product, product, product--there is simply nothing unique about a majority of products developed and intro'ed in RW's tenure. I may not know much about GM's convoluted org chart, but I can tell you that the Cobalt, Impala, Lucerne, LaCrosse, Colorado, STS et al simply aren't that good. Design costs the same whether it looks good or mediocre---and all of these volume products look as bland as their Toyota competitors or worse! None on that list have a USP.

2. Marketing & Advertising---again, like design, it costs nearly the same, whether done wrong or right. It would be hard to argue these things have been done right by GM in the last 8 years.

3. Rejecting Ghosn's overtures and York's suggestions, because they threatened his hold on power. No matter what you say, this offer was GM's best chance in recent history to find a true leader who could manage a crisis (Ghosn) and had VAST experience with rescuing sprawling operations (Nissan had $20b in debt at his arrival, proportionately similar to GM's present debt load.) York's brand cuts would have worked back then: Private money would have flowed to a Hummer or Saab sale and Saturn's product revival could have been split amongst the other GM divisions if the dealer network and IP had been sold to others.

Lastly, the fear of doing something shouldn't make you do nothing. Chew on this: Is GM really running out of cash this month? Or is this a ploy to keep the present mgmt employed through the bailout by the fear you describe? Remember, if its true, then there's an SEC and Shareholder action just around the corner (RW was issuing denials publicly until last month.)

So, is RW lying now or 30 days ago? Either that, or he didn't see the disaster on the immediate horizon...in either case, he needs to go. Pick your poison, but one of the previous 2 possibilities MUST be true.

I'll take my chances with fresh blood than staying the course. Fear of the unknown is not an acceptable answer, given this mgmt team's track record.

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You seem to advocate removing RW almost for symbolic reasons. I can't say I agree with that. If you remove RW, you still have the same corporate structure in place that causes GM to be so slow in the first place. Leave Rick, but trim the fat out of upper management instead. They need to get from idea to action a lot more quickly - there are too many obstacles that slow things down. And that brings me to my second point: the internal politicking within GM needs to stop. The different fiefdoms all need to be made aware that they work for the same company, and they may have to suck it up and sacrifice their personal interests for the sake of GM's livelihood.

No. Symbolism is only one reason, the real reasons are outlined above.

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I'm certainly not holding myself out as an expert regarding the restructuring of GM---however, I can tell you that there were many things that have nothing to do with legacy costs or structural changes that could have made a big difference during Rick's tenure:

I am familar and understand the positive accomplishments. The transformation is nothing short of incredible.

1. Product, product, product--there is simply nothing unique about a majority of products developed and intro'ed in RW's tenure. I may not know much about GM's convoluted org chart, but I can tell you that the Cobalt, Impala, Lucerne, LaCrosse, Colorado, STS et al simply aren't that good. Design costs the same whether it looks good or mediocre---and all of these volume products look as bland as their Toyota competitors or worse! None on that list have a USP.

A legacy from the pre-Lutz days. All but the Lucerne were in development prior to Lutz's arrival and too late to axe. As for the Lucerne the numbers were relative good until recently.

2. Marketing & Advertising---again, like design, it costs nearly the same, whether done wrong or right. It would be hard to argue these things have been done right by GM in the last 8 years.

Every OEM has &#036;h&#33;ty marketing.

3. Rejecting Ghosn's overtures and York's suggestions, because they threatened his hold on power. No matter what you say, this offer was GM's best chance in recent history to find a true leader who could manage a crisis (Ghosn) and had VAST experience with rescuing sprawling operations (Nissan had $20b in debt at his arrival, proportionately similar to GM's present debt load.) York's brand cuts would have worked back then: Private money would have flowed to a Hummer or Saab sale and Saturn's product revival could have been split amongst the other GM divisions if the dealer network and IP had been sold to others.

That deal was BS and I outlined here in depth (summer 06) why it was dumb. It was one sided in R_N's favor and GM got nothing out it. The deal was orchastrasted so R_N could buy Kerkorian out. If the deal would have happened GM would be in the same boat today. R_N would not have coughed up the cash they need and R_N right now have their own problems.

GM's debt went to pay for their unfunded pension. All the assets GM sold off went to pay off the union and buyouts and the new product that is delayed right now that was to turn the company around if not for the Financial collapse.

In case you missed it, we are in the worst auto recession since the great depression. Last I checked the only product in the works right now in NA is the Volt.

Hummer has little value much like SAAB because of its integration into GM. There is nothing to sell besides a name and would not and will not command premium cash.

Lastly, the fear of doing something shouldn't make you do nothing. Chew on this: Is GM really running out of cash this month? Or is this a ploy to keep the present mgmt employed through the bailout by the fear you describe? Remember, if its true, then there's an SEC and Shareholder action just around the corner (RW was issuing denials publicly until last month.)

Shareholder action - The company is worthless. In anycase the company would be obligated to file Chapter 11 if they had to baring no bailout. Than the company gets liquidated when there is no DIP financing and sales drop like a rock. If the company went BK even under Chapter 11, shareholders would get squat. When the government steps in the shares will get diluted as the UAW VEBA and unsecured debt gets rolled into the equity.

So, is RW lying now or 30 days ago? Either that, or he didn't see the disaster on the immediate horizon...in either case, he needs to go. Pick your poison, but one of the previous 2 possibilities MUST be true.

The US auto market went from 16 million, to 15 and now to 10 million unit per year in less than 1-year. There is probably not one auto company doing business in the US making money right now. The cost structure in this business is not that flexible.

That is freaking 10 million sales a year.

I blame RW for not have more cash on hand but at current rates, a few more billion would do nothing for them.

I'll take my chances with fresh blood than staying the course. Fear of the unknown is not an acceptable answer, given this mgmt team's track record.

For the most part the current track record has be good given the task they had to do. This company was a train wreck when he took over and still paying for the Roger Smith era.

Edited by evok
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I am familar and understand the positive accomplishments. The transformation is nothing short of incredible.

A legacy from the pre-Lutz days. All but the Lucerne were in development prior to Lutz's arrival and too late to axe. As for the Lucerne the numbers were relative good until recently.

Every OEM has &#036;h&#33;ty marketing.

That deal was BS and I outlined here in depth (summer 06) why it was dumb. It was one sided in R_N's favor and GM got nothing out it. The deal was orchastrasted so R_N could buy Kerkorian out. If the deal would have happened GM would be in the same boat today. R_N would not have coughed up the cash they need and R_N right now have their own problems.

GM's debt went to pay for their unfunded pension. All the assets GM sold off went to pay off the union and buyouts and the new product that is delayed right now that was to turn the company around if not for the Financial collapse.

In case you missed it, we are in the worst auto recession since the great depression. Last I checked the only product in the works right now in NA is the Volt.

Hummer has little value much like SAAB because of its integration into GM. There is nothing to sell besides a name and would not and will not command premium cash.

Shareholder action - The company is worthless. In anycase the company would be obligated to file Chapter 11 if they had to baring no bailout. Than the company gets liquidated when there is no DIP financing and sales drop like a rock. If the company went BK even under Chapter 11, shareholders would get squat. When the government steps in the shares will get diluted as the UAW VEBA and unsecured debt gets rolled into the equity.

The US auto market went from 16 million, to 15 and now to 10 million unit per year in less than 1-year. There is probably not one auto company doing business in the US making money right now. The cost structure in this business is not that flexible.

That is freaking 10 million sales a year.

I blame RW for not have more cash on hand but at current rates, a few more billion would do nothing for them.

For the most part the current track record has be good given the task they had to do. This company was a train wreck when he took over and still paying for the Roger Smith era.

You say potato, I say potato....Your defense to RW's track record is that:

a)RW couldn't tell good product from bad, so he hired Lutz, despite the fact he's an industry lifer.

b)Everyone else's marketing sux, so its OK to be as bad---haven't seen a Mini ad lately? Or VW ads of a few years back?

c)You know the intimate details of the R/N deal with GM? Never disclosed...all that we do know is what leaked from GM's side---and that is going to be slanted, no? GM couldn't use partners now, huh? Weeks away from bankruptcy and they'd be worse off---that's simply a lie and you know better.

d)They sold off the family jewels to pay for underfunded liabilities---and I'm supposed to say that's a good idea? They HAD NO choice.

e)None of their 'turnaround' product is company-saving---and the cadence should have been identified as too little volume for a company the size of GM, right up front.

f)Hummer and Saab could have found homes a few years ago when times were good---if Aston or TVR could find investors, so could Saab or Hummer--especially b/c money was very cheap.oa

g)Then, if there's no money for SH's, send him to jail. He was still UNTRUTHFUL, a Federal crime, my friend. He either lied under oath to Congress or in an SEC filing he signs off on---either way, that's a crime. Simple logic dictates one of those 2 scenarios is accurate.

h)The reason GM's sales are off MORE than the market (a true indicator of management competence) is because upon the loss of GMAC's help, no other banking partner was brought in to fill the void. There should have been a deal in place the minute GMAC began hemmoraging money months ago.

Please don't defend this guy. It demeans you. He doesn't deserve it.

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You say potato, I say potato....Your defense to RW's track record is that:

a)RW couldn't tell good product from bad, so he hired Lutz, despite the fact he's an industry lifer.

b)Everyone else's marketing sux, so its OK to be as bad---haven't seen a Mini ad lately? Or VW ads of a few years back?

c)You know the intimate details of the R/N deal with GM? Never disclosed...all that we do know is what leaked from GM's side---and that is going to be slanted, no? GM couldn't use partners now, huh? Weeks away from bankruptcy and they'd be worse off---that's simply a lie and you know better.

d)They sold off the family jewels to pay for underfunded liabilities---and I'm supposed to say that's a good idea? They HAD NO choice.

e)None of their 'turnaround' product is company-saving---and the cadence should have been identified as too little volume for a company the size of GM, right up front.

f)Hummer and Saab could have found homes a few years ago when times were good---if Aston or TVR could find investors, so could Saab or Hummer--especially b/c money was very cheap.oa

g)Then, if there's no money for SH's, send him to jail. He was still UNTRUTHFUL, a Federal crime, my friend. He either lied under oath to Congress or in an SEC filing he signs off on---either way, that's a crime. Simple logic dictates one of those 2 scenarios is accurate.

h)The reason GM's sales are off MORE than the market (a true indicator of management competence) is because upon the loss of GMAC's help, no other banking partner was brought in to fill the void. There should have been a deal in place the minute GMAC began hemmoraging money months ago.

Please don't defend this guy. It demeans you. He doesn't deserve it.

a) Wagoner when he took over - brought in Lutz who some argue is the best auto guy in the business.

b) Don't recall them. Last car ads I remember seeing were Cadillac and Chevy. I still stand by what I said and most mass marketing is ineffective, a waste of money and just horrific.

c) Please refer to SEC filings Sept./Oct. 2006 available on GM's site. As for a partner now, the only partner that makes sense in the federal government as they have the power to allow GM to restructure correctly. A parner does not get them what they need in today's climate. Any products shared would still be on the drawing board and potential cost savings still a pipe dream.

d) Family jewels? GMAC? GM is better off without GMAC right now. BTW - what they sold they had to. Where else were they going to get the money to pay for all of their unfunded obligations when Wagoner took over?

e) Under Wagoner, product volume targets were scaled back to realistic levels such that money would not be wasted in underutilized tooling forcing the company to fleet etc. An no one product would save the company but all the product as a portfolio would have.

f) You might be right as far a the ease of sale but again SAAB and HUMMER are not worth very much because of the integration in the greater GM. It is not like you can take a spoon and cut out a self contained entity like Ford did with Jag, LR and AM. That is a fact. In order for HUMMER to be attractive they had to establish a corporate structure where previously it was just a managed brand. You assume they would have received top dollar if they could have been sold. Few if any would want them because all GM can sell is the name and the purchaser would have to go out and spend billions on product to replace the GM product built in many plant one of which GM does not even own (AM General).

g) Read the statements as in "Bankruptcy is not a viable option". Bankrupts under Chapter 11 will likely lead to Chapter 7 very quickly. That is not viable. The shareholders will get nothing.

h) Who is to say they have not tried. Again, in case you missed it at the time there were not many choices as credit froze. All that TARP money is still sitting in the safes at the banks. There was speculation that GM went to Toyota for help on the financing side. Hell I just looked at sales last month and it looks pretty gruesome for all. Nissan was down 43% slightly more than GM. Hyundai was not far off either and it is not like Toyota and Honda were spectacular either being down over 30%. Seems to me to be an industry problem.

Please get your facts straight and or assesment of the situation as it demeans you!

If Wagoner goes tomorrow so be it, little will change. In any case, GM under RW has made serious changes at the company given the aweful situation he inherited. If not for truck sales, the company would have died a long time ago. GMNA needs the enema it could not get without the government's help to deal with their debt, UAW and dealers.

In any case to the average person looking at GMs results I can see where they are coming from.

Edited by evok
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a) Wagoner when he took over - brought in Lutz who some argue is the best auto guy in the business.

b) Don't recall them. Last car ads I remember seeing were Cadillac and Chevy. I still stand by what I said and most mass marketing is ineffective, a waste of money and just horrific.

c) Please refer to SEC filings Sept./Oct. 2006 available on GM's site. As for a partner now, the only partner that makes sense in the federal government as they have the power to allow GM to restructure correctly. A parner does not get them what they need in today's climate. Any products shared would still be on the drawing board and potential cost savings still a pipe dream.

d) Family jewels? GMAC? GM is better off without GMAC right now. BTW - what they sold they had to. Where else were they going to get the money to pay for all of their unfunded obligations when Wagoner took over?

e) Under Wagoner, product volume targets were scaled back to realistic levels such that money would not be wasted in underutilized tooling forcing the company to fleet etc. An no one product would save the company but all the product as a portfolio would have.

f) You might be right as far a the ease of sale but again SAAB and HUMMER are not worth very much because of the integration in the greater GM. It is not like you can take a spoon and cut out a self contained entity like Ford did with Jag, LR and AM. That is a fact. In order for HUMMER to be attractive they had to establish a corporate structure where previously it was just a managed brand. You assume they would have received top dollar if they could have been sold. Few if any would want them because all GM can sell is the name and the purchaser would have to go out and spend billions on product to replace the GM product built in many plant one of which GM does not even own (AM General).

g) Read the statements as in "Bankruptcy is not a viable option". Bankrupts under Chapter 11 will likely lead to Chapter 7 very quickly. That is not viable. The shareholders will get nothing.

h) Who is to say they have not tried. Again, in case you missed it at the time there were not many choices as credit froze. All that TARP money is still sitting in the safes at the banks. There was speculation that GM went to Toyota for help on the financing side. Hell I just looked at sales last month and it looks pretty gruesome for all. Nissan was down 43% slightly more than GM. Hyundai was not far off either and it is not like Toyota and Honda were spectacular either being down over 30%. Seems to me to be an industry problem.

Please get your facts straight and or assesment of the situation as it demeans you!

If Wagoner goes tomorrow so be it, little will change. In any case, GM under RW has made serious changes at the company given the aweful situation he inherited. If not for truck sales, the company would have died a long time ago. GMNA needs the enema it could not get without the government's help to deal with their debt, UAW and dealers.

In any case to the average person looking at GMs results I can see where they are coming from.

You're twisting my words to suit your POV--and here's how:

a. Wagoner doesn't need Lutz if he knows the product as he should from 30+ years in the biz---and Lutz has been about 50/50 with product that is 'passionate' (his forte)--the GTO, G8, Solstice & Sky are all "Lutz " products---none have made GM a dime.

b. VW has the 'doo-doo-doo' TV ads and Mini's ads have been ad industry award winning---not my opinion, but the ad industry's opinion--their print ads were especially clever--whether you noticed them or not isn't my criterion

c. Nissan/Renault would have been a help as a shoulder to lean on---How can you deny that when GM just went to Congress and testified they are insolvent without a $4billion bridge loan? I'm not saying it would have been a great partnership, just a better result, given how things have turned out...

d. GMAC had to be sold. GM couldn't borrow money at competitive rates. It was no stroke of genius. Allison transmission was responsible for much of the engineering of hybrid buses--think there might be a future in that? and the list goes on for fire sales of assets that were sold to pay debts.

e. But, the portfolio of product was mediocre, so the strategy failed, despite Lutz' presence. The pull ahead of the GMT900's really didn't work either. Starving Saab and Saturn didn't really work---stuffing Saturn with product didn't work. Large CUVs didn't really help stem the losses---where were they right in all of this?

f. If TVR found a buyer, they could have sold Hummer or Saab--not for alot--but the new 9-5 would make a great Pontiac or ES competitor for Caddy--the new 9-4X might make a nice Buick small CUV, no?--all of the new Saturns would be great in other divisions--Astra at Pontiac, Aura at Buick, Outlook not cannibilizing other Lambdas--It's a cumulative downfall---a bunch of poor decisions resulting in a larger problem.

g. He lied in one of those two places mentioned---either the SEC or Congress should be concerned---forward looking statements regarding GM's viability only appeared in the last SEC filing---Wagoner stated that they were effectively out of money in Congress--so either you're mistaken or Wagoner made materially false statements to gov't officials---the SH will get screwed---but if GM survives, I'm sure they'll find a lawyer that will sue GM due to the unprecedented loss of SH value.

h. GM's sales slide was GREATER than industry average. Again, cherry picking the worst examples doesn't make GM look better, it merely indicates there were those that did as poorly or worse.

RW isn't completely to blame, but his track record gives me little confidence as someone with a vested interest in GM's survival---and that's the bottom line--I'm finished, out of a job, out of an investment, out of a future if GM goes down--you're damn straight I've been paying attention closely.

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You're twisting my words to suit your POV--and here's how:

a. Wagoner doesn't need Lutz if he knows the product as he should from 30+ years in the biz---and Lutz has been about 50/50 with product that is 'passionate' (his forte)--the GTO, G8, Solstice & Sky are all "Lutz " products---none have made GM a dime.

b. VW has the 'doo-doo-doo' TV ads and Mini's ads have been ad industry award winning---not my opinion, but the ad industry's opinion--their print ads were especially clever--whether you noticed them or not isn't my criterion

c. Nissan/Renault would have been a help as a shoulder to lean on---How can you deny that when GM just went to Congress and testified they are insolvent without a $4billion bridge loan? I'm not saying it would have been a great partnership, just a better result, given how things have turned out...

d. GMAC had to be sold. GM couldn't borrow money at competitive rates. It was no stroke of genius. Allison transmission was responsible for much of the engineering of hybrid buses--think there might be a future in that? and the list goes on for fire sales of assets that were sold to pay debts.

e. But, the portfolio of product was mediocre, so the strategy failed, despite Lutz' presence. The pull ahead of the GMT900's really didn't work either. Starving Saab and Saturn didn't really work---stuffing Saturn with product didn't work. Large CUVs didn't really help stem the losses---where were they right in all of this?

f. If TVR found a buyer, they could have sold Hummer or Saab--not for alot--but the new 9-5 would make a great Pontiac or ES competitor for Caddy--the new 9-4X might make a nice Buick small CUV, no?--all of the new Saturns would be great in other divisions--Astra at Pontiac, Aura at Buick, Outlook not cannibilizing other Lambdas--It's a cumulative downfall---a bunch of poor decisions resulting in a larger problem.

g. He lied in one of those two places mentioned---either the SEC or Congress should be concerned---forward looking statements regarding GM's viability only appeared in the last SEC filing---Wagoner stated that they were effectively out of money in Congress--so either you're mistaken or Wagoner made materially false statements to gov't officials---the SH will get screwed---but if GM survives, I'm sure they'll find a lawyer that will sue GM due to the unprecedented loss of SH value.

h. GM's sales slide was GREATER than industry average. Again, cherry picking the worst examples doesn't make GM look better, it merely indicates there were those that did as poorly or worse.

RW isn't completely to blame, but his track record gives me little confidence as someone with a vested interest in GM's survival---and that's the bottom line--I'm finished, out of a job, out of an investment, out of a future if GM goes down--you're damn straight I've been paying attention closely.

No twisting here:

a) It is called management and leadership. Just because RW has worked in the business for 30+ year I would not expect him to know how to design a turbo, a stamping press or every single financial instrument GMAC invested in. This goes for any CEO. Common sense. However, he recognized GM had a problem and brought in the talent to turn it around. Which he was on the cusp of doing with the recent releases.

b) don't know. I go back to earlier posts. Getting the Camaro and Volt to market would be money better spent.

c) Besides anecdotal theories, you have not brought anything to the table on the R-N deal helping them besides an arm to cry on. GM is requesting $4b to get through January. If R_N were a partner that money would have got them to January before hitting the tax payers up for money. Any partnership would not get at the root cause of their problems today which still remains the legacy cost and the debt associated with that.

d) If not for the asset sales the company would have been broke years ago. RW or whoever may have been CEO would have done the exact same things to survive since it was their fudiciary obligation as trustee of the company. Plus the BOD approved all of it.

e) First off Hummer is a legacy of Jack Smith and as I stated about cannot be removed and parted easily or if it ever will. To bad GM just cannot close down brands without the dealers getting their shorts in an uproar. Saab is another story and still might be a brand worth keeping. There is a bigger world than the US and according to the latest GM statements the brand was profitable before the collapse. Well all your other product selection fall into the too bad GM just cannot axe dealers and brands. 5+ years ago when product decisions were made, brand qualities were outlined as has been discussed on here forever. Given the contraints with regard to dealers and brands, it was a good strategy at the time. The 900s, well they were and still may be the only vehicle lineup generating a lot of revenue and allowed the company to stick around this long even under the current circumstances. With 5+ year long lead times, GM had to sit on old designes and arrange the portfolio given the support needed for the main brands. Hummer and SAAB programs are smaller expenses compared to the large programs. Astra is a bust because of exchange rates and would have been DOA at Pontiac. The Outlook, well that product didn't need to happen besides keeping revenue up at the dealer when the Ion got axed.

f) Talk about cherry picking words. Chapter 11 will mean certain death for the company under a traditional filing with a lined up DIP. How is that viable?

h) So was Nissan's. Out of the big companies Nissan was down more than GM. Yes GM for the last two months took a huge bath because of the credit crisis killing credit at GMAC. However, the whole industry tanked or collapsed as a whole with all the manufacturers expecting NA to be a blood bath. Varying degrees of disaster is still a disaster.

As part of the congressional bailout bill, the automakers may be required to study building transit buses. At the time the $4-5 billion they got for Allison was gold.

In any case - Ghosen or Iaccoca would not have done anything significantly different. RW had to deal with the cards he was delt. Iaccoca even went on the record today that a CEO change is a bad move. For such a failure, GM's directors have also maintained support for him. Given the balance sheet disaster since 2005, he appears to be doing something right.

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Enzl: from where I sit, about 80% of the trouble facing GM right now is customer fear and the money markets. People with money are watching their savings implode. People with jobs, fear for them. People who want to lease, cannot any more. Bill Gates himself would have trouble getting approved for a loan right now. And to add insult to injury, the major banks in Toronto (Canada?) have told us that they will no longer accept contracts put in a company name. 3 major banks have told us that. A fourth bank has said it will do so with TWO YEARS of audited financials, which is the same way as telling the prospect to f-off. This goes for all makes: the banks are gun shy and don't trust anybody these days, which pisses me off to no end since they are the bastards that made this mess in the first place.

How is any of this Wagoner's fault? If we back up only a year ago, with all the product launches and announced launches (Orlando, 'Nox, Cruze, Traverse, Volt, CTS coupe, etc.) it looked very much like GM was ready to kick ass in '09, then the wheels fell off the financial cart.

It would be an incredible shame for GM to collapse now, just as things were ready to unfold and as the U.S. will undoubtedly be facing a 20 million vehicle market within 18 months.

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Enzl: from where I sit, about 80% of the trouble facing GM right now is customer fear and the money markets. People with money are watching their savings implode. People with jobs, fear for them. People who want to lease, cannot any more. Bill Gates himself would have trouble getting approved for a loan right now. And to add insult to injury, the major banks in Toronto (Canada?) have told us that they will no longer accept contracts put in a company name. 3 major banks have told us that. A fourth bank has said it will do so with TWO YEARS of audited financials, which is the same way as telling the prospect to f-off. This goes for all makes: the banks are gun shy and don't trust anybody these days, which pisses me off to no end since they are the bastards that made this mess in the first place.

How is any of this Wagoner's fault? If we back up only a year ago, with all the product launches and announced launches (Orlando, 'Nox, Cruze, Traverse, Volt, CTS coupe, etc.) it looked very much like GM was ready to kick ass in '09, then the wheels fell off the financial cart.

It would be an incredible shame for GM to collapse now, just as things were ready to unfold and as the U.S. will undoubtedly be facing a 20 million vehicle market within 18 months.

You are right about the fear gripping the marketplace---however, I hold RW (as Captain of the Ship for 8 years now) for the fact that GM was not prepared for an emergency---and the denial eminating from Detroit for the last year didn't help.

If you feel that the man at the helm isn't responsible, I understand, but disagree. This precipice we're at is a result of the path set by RW. I disagree that the new product would have brought major sales increases---none of the other 'game changers' were dramatic winners (with the notable exception of the CTS). Even the 'bu has struggled to match its predecessor's volume---and its great. The LaCrosse, Lucerne, Aura, Astra, GTO, G8, STS et al have all struggled to match or exceed their previous incarnations sales --- why would the new ones do better?

Perhaps extreme change is scary, but IMO its long overdue.

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Considering that 5 million units has blown out of America's vehicle sales in the past 8 months, it is little wonder that ANY model could post a sales increase.

The fact that the Malibu sales are up at all, in view of the fact that both the Camry and Accord are 'all new' in the past 18 months, is also amazing. The CTS, from the last sales I saw, is holding its own against the ES, which is impressive in this awful market. We know too well that GM is facing at least a dozen model launches a year from its competitors and as the 'biggest' car company on the planet, it has an obligation to match every one of them - or at least it did in the past.

It was the decision (or lack of decision) to match the Camcord, Civic and Mazda3 of a decade ago (before RW time) that has led to the fiasco we are seeing today. We can only imagine what would have happened if the Cobalt came out in '01 or '02, rather than '05 and 'this' Malibu in '04; instead, resources were directed toward the pickups and SUVs - as we all know. But then without the profits of the pickups in '07, GM may have not lasted this far into '08.

I don't disagree or agree whether RW should go, but I can't see the real benefits to dropping a new captain onto the Titanic in the middle of the Atlantic. On the job training is not a good thing during a crisis of the proportions GM is facing at this time.

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Considering that 5 million units has blown out of America's vehicle sales in the past 8 months, it is little wonder that ANY model could post a sales increase.

The fact that the Malibu sales are up at all, in view of the fact that both the Camry and Accord are 'all new' in the past 18 months, is also amazing. The CTS, from the last sales I saw, is holding its own against the ES, which is impressive in this awful market. We know too well that GM is facing at least a dozen model launches a year from its competitors and as the 'biggest' car company on the planet, it has an obligation to match every one of them - or at least it did in the past.

It was the decision (or lack of decision) to match the Camcord, Civic and Mazda3 of a decade ago (before RW time) that has led to the fiasco we are seeing today. We can only imagine what would have happened if the Cobalt came out in '01 or '02, rather than '05 and 'this' Malibu in '04; instead, resources were directed toward the pickups and SUVs - as we all know. But then without the profits of the pickups in '07, GM may have not lasted this far into '08.

I don't disagree or agree whether RW should go, but I can't see the real benefits to dropping a new captain onto the Titanic in the middle of the Atlantic. On the job training is not a good thing during a crisis of the proportions GM is facing at this time.

I think you're right about the product...I'm not sure that the Titanic analogy is correct regarding new leadership---I believe that a turnaround specialist is needed, perhaps with a 2nd in Command that truly knows the Auto Industry to make sure the cuts made will not result in further damage.

I just don't see RW as having the stomach for the job---and the fact that most development work has stopped on vehicles ready for intro should mean that the key component of the biz (new, desirable product) shouldn't be affected too badly while a new guy gets up to speed....hopefully, there's alot of talent to unearth at GM that new blood might reinvigorate or promote after peeling away the layers of beauracrasy that need to go.

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I do wonder if GM would be better off if the engineering people dominated the upper ranks instead of the financial types, much like it is in German manufacturers like Porsche and Audi. Perhaps that could make a huge difference in efficiency...

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Assuming it is cold in DC this time of the year, that range information bodes well for the final version's electric-only range. I sincerely hope GM pulls this Volt thing off...

The test drive that yielded the 32 mile extrapolation wasn't in DC and it was a little while ago. But apparently it was still "colder". Not sure how cold it actually was or whether they had the heater on or not. I think the important take-away is that the "up to 40 miles" is most likely best case (city with no AC/heat/stereo).

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