Sets Final UAW Deadline by Joseph Szczesny (2/19/2006)
Will there be a strike on March 30?
Workers at General Motors’
Pontiac Assembly Plant, a half-hour’s drive north of
The announcement comes in sharp contrast to others the automaker has made in recent months. Just weeks ago, GM revealed plans to sharply cut back on salaried pension and healthcare, while also “sharing the pain” with stockholders, who’ll lose half their dividends, and senior executives, who’ll lose up to half their pay. Last autumn, CEO Rick Wagoner announced plans to close five assembly plants and trim around 30,000 jobs.
Even the latest, upbeat
announcement has fueled skepticism. The
When the giant automaker began work on those SUVs, it envisioned a market segment of at least one million vehicles annually. Now, however, it’s more likely to run in the range of 750,000, according to vice chairman Bob Lutz. Even if GM can maintain its current share, an eye-popping 60 percent, that’s a significant shortfall.
Like the big SUVs, the
next-generation pickups face a new world order of high-priced petroleum, as well
as some increasingly serious import competition from the General’s most feared
That would be devastating to GM, in particular, as one senior truck executive — who spoke only on background — acknowledged this week. During a test drive of the Tahoe’s sibling SUV, the GMC Yukon, he lamented hearing from colleagues across the company. “You’ve got to save us,” said one, admitting his own project was almost certainly not going to meet its sales and profit targets.
Living up to expectations
With the exception of the obscenely profitable full-size trucks, few recent GM products have lived up to expectations. The automaker’s ungainly sport vans have proved an unmitigated disaster. Specialty vehicles, such as Chevy’s “Corvette pickup,” the SSR, and convertible/ute Envoy XUV, have answered questions consumers weren’t asking.
All the while, sales
and market share have continued to plunge. Just a few years ago, workers at GM
world headquarters in