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How General Motors was Really Saved


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"Lots of people–including President Obama–have trumpeted their role in the success of the government-backed turnaround plan that saved General Motors, the most important industrial company in the history of the United States.

But on the fifth anniversary of the crisis, Forbes presents an exclusive, unprecedented look at what really happened during GM’s darkest days, how a tiny band of corporate outsiders and turnaround experts convened in Detroit and hatched a radical plan that ultimately set the foundation for the salvation of the company.

Author Jay Alix, one of the most respected experts on corporate bankruptcy in America, was the architect of that plan, and now, for the first time, he reveals How General Motors Was Really Saved."

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What went on inside GM is one of the few sides we have not heard from. Jay's story does a good job matching up and explaining the Old GM and New GM creation and liquidation.

Rick was never as bad as many wanted to paint him. He did make some mistakes but show me a head of a company that has not made a mistake and I can show you one that is not doing anything. Lutz also points out that Rick did a lot of good and took a lot of unfair blame in many areas. His biggest criticism was Rick was too nice and did not lay down the law at time when it was needed.

This now puts a kink in Lutz's story on how the government killed Pontiac. According to Jay the divisions were looked at in detail and what could be saved was saved and what could not was let go. The government only approved what GM presented.

Looking back I see what GM and Chrysler has done and I feel GM has made the most progress. To be fail Fiat has enough of their own troubles let alone sort out a stagnate Chrysler. If it were not for Ram and Jeep there would be no Chrysler today.

I hope Jay or Rick would write a book and give us the story on what went on inside GM when this was going down. Even many at near the top were not in on these plans.

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Awesome read, very insightful glad the story was published. Makes sense for the brands they killed at the time.

I could still see having a Hummer and Pontiac package for GMC & Buick. These would be niche packages for the public to purchase.

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Personally, I could care less if Hummer was sold by GMC or Chevrolet Trucks - as long as Hummer continued on is all I cared about (was really looking forward to the H4 coming out; based on the Hx Concept). This would have finally given GM a Wrangler competitor. GM should have done this from the get-go - tag it along with an existing truck brand rather than create yet another brand to market. Plenty of Chevy dealerships already existed, and if you wanted lower volume/higher transaction prices then putting it with GMC dealers would have made more sense.

I was a big fan of the 'new' Saturn - I had both a 2007 SKY roadster and a 2007 AURA XE sedan. I was really into the Outlook out of all the Lambdas too. Pontiac has been in my blood a long time and I've had several; they started to loose me with the Aztec and Grand Prix (2003) but the late 2000s models were winning me back (Solstice, G8).

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While it is regrettable... I understand why Pontiac was unable to be saved at the time given the situation. I felt that Saturn had most long term viability of all the brands killed/sold due to the just starting European connection.

The only way I see for Pontiac to have survived was this:

Saturn still has to die.

Cut all models except G8, Solstice, and Vibe.

Pontiac gets the Saturn Astra... call it the Pontiac Astra

This leaves Pontiac with 3 hatchbacks (3-door Astra, 5-door Astra, 5-Door Vibe), a large sport sedan, and a roadster.

Moving forward:

Complete the import of the G8 ST

Quick badge job of the Opel Insignia into a G6 replacement... keeps the Opel name, lower end trim from the Regal. Gets the 2.4 and 2.0T only.

This gets us to 2010

For 2011:

Hatch and Wagon Astras go to Pontiac while Sedan and Convertible go to Buick (all four versions will be in the same showroom remember)

For 2012:

Solstice Refresh

For 2013:

Alpha based Sedan to replace the Insignia, but keeps the name.

Opel Adam based Pontiac Tempest (the "Tempest in a Teapot" commercials practically write themselves)

For 2014:

G8 and G8 ST refresh using what we see as the Chevrolet SS now. Renamed Bonneville.

Chevrolet Trax based replacement for the Vibe, lower content than Encore, but otherwise the same.

At the end of 2014, there would be:

2014 Pontiac Tempest (Opel Adam)

2014 Astra 3-door, 5-door, Wagon

2014 Vibe (Chevy Trax based)

2014 Insignia Sedan (Alpha Based)

2014 Bonneville/Bonneville ST(Chevrolet SS based)

2014 Solstice

The rest of the Buick and GMC lineup would continue as we see today unchanged

This would give Pontiac enough of a footing to actually move forward while also giving Buick breathing room in the showroom and Buick/Opel breathing room in production volume.

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The only way Pontiac would have made the cut it to merge with Opel to become a global brand and replace Buick.

But seeing that China has no love for Pontiac since none of their emperor's or Party leaders owned Pontiacs and chose often rode in Buick there was little chance of them to have made this transition. Just being in North America is not longer enough.

Now if they had made a 77 TA with a Dragon on the hood and let Jackie Chan and Lucy Lu drive cross country running from the Cultural Police then things may have been different. Any one know how to say Sum Bitch in Mandarin?

Let GM and Buick/Opel unfold their new products we have yet to see and you will find they will cover anything Pontiac would or could have done and at a higher price point too.

We have to remember much of Pontiac's true base let go after 1979. Once they gutted the Pontiac V8 400 from the line up it really removed the soul of what made a Pontiac a Pontiac. Spend some time at the Pontiac Nationals or POCI event and you will find this out. They could care less about a $80K Firebird built on a new Camaro as they would rather buy the real thing for $40K less and enjoy it while it appreciates with time.

The last years Pontiac was not profitable and outside of GM fan web sites where have you heard much out cry of the loss of Pontiac or that they should bring it back. Lets face it the majority of the auto market cares little if they even noticed. I do not even see much hope for a niche market. I love and still own Pontiac's but I also know the damage was done. It was not like they pulled the plug on a division on the rise or in a very strong market position. It is hard to make money just by being sentimental.

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