• ModerationIsBest Posted: 3/26/2011 11:21am PDT

    This is an excellent post. While underscoring longer-term, strategic questions (e.g. not issues lending themselves to easy, black-and-white, screaming discussions), the importance of these issues are difficult to overstate. I am rooting so very hard for GM. I want the taxpayers to get their money back and, longer term, to show that the bailout created a great, job-creating company. Any evidence of back-sliding is really, really devastating to this narrative.

  • fb_1510606196 avatar Carl Posted: 3/27/2011 10:34am PDT

    In the period before 1980 the five GM divisions were each strongly differentiated and had unique styling and engineering traits. Beginning in late 1970 the focus changed to reducing costs, increasing sales with incentives and placating the unions. Thus began the demise of Pontiac and Oldsmobile, and the overall loss of character of GM, except for Cadillac. Now management is behaving like that again.

  • Mark Posted: 3/27/2011 4:07pm PDT

    What is needed are great cars. While this is delivered by engineering, having the right leaders and marketers who effectively "know the market" is what drives the activity in the right direction. People like Iaccoca, Lutz are some of these leaders. In my experience in the industry, there are precious few of those people and they often are seen as mavericks in the business. Applying the cookie cutter approach only delivers boring, albeit reliable, products that broadly appeal to customers wanting "A to B" transport. What this approach doesn't deliver, is better margins, created around products that drive passion and excitement. It's fair to say that some products are for the A to B mentality, particularly if you are a GM, Ford or Toyota etc. With the Koreans and Chinese building on the horizon though - the companies who develop exciting, stylistically bold and innovative products,are going to be the ones that attract brand loyalty and better margins for manufacturers, dealers and utlimately the customer, in the form of re-sale values. I would like to see the American makers re-gain their confidence in design - and not try to make their cars look like Japanese or European products. American cars used to have a style all their own - bred of a confidence that led the industry. Some cars do this today - like Mustang, Cadillac, Dodge with its Charger, Camaro etc - and you see it most of all in the trucks - where it is the Japanse who try to emulate the American product.