General Motors: Preventable or Inevitable?

Monday, June 8, 2009

I'm following General Motors on Twitter and caught I some of the President's televised speech about GM filing for bankruptcy. I won't pretend to understand all the politics and implications of the decision as it relates to the state of the auto industry. I changed my major from business to journalism after sitting through a semester of economics, but it seems this is a simple case of supply and demand. Consumers demanded more fuel efficient cars and US auto makers failed to supply them.

I'm sad for the workers who will lose their jobs. I'm sad for their cities and towns because their economies will suffer too as will that of the supporting industry's like steel. There will be many ripples in this pond. There's a lot of history and tradition in the US auto industry and it's sad to see it come to an end this way.

But I think US auto makers needed a big Ty-from-Extreme-Makeover standing-outside-their-offices-with-a-bullhorn sized wake up call.

When we were shopping for Phil's car we test drove at least 10 mid-sized SUV's, including the Ford Escape, but feature for feature the US cars fell short. We wanted to Buy American but in the end we just couldn't sacrifice performance and price for patriotism.

I know there are plans in the works to save some of the brands that fall under the GM umbrella, like Saturn, and to speed up the development of their electric and hybrids, but doesn't this seem like they're using sippy cups to bail water from their sinking ship? Shouldn't they have been pushing the other options well before now? If I'm wrong, or missing something vital, I'd love it if you could explain it me.


  1. I think they bet the farm on the wrong horse--big gas-guzzlers.

  2. It's not about gas guzzlers or other types of cars. It's about GM's (and other car companies') poor business practices and failing to file for bankruptcy when it was time.

    I don't believe the government should be involved in this. They have other, more important things to deal with at this time. For them to take on running a car company (or any other entity) is a terrible waste of time and money.

    I, too, hate to think of all the people who are losing jobs. I saw it happen with my dad when I was younger and airline deregulation came into play. But airlines bounced back, to some extent. The auto industry would and could, too.

    I always think of government involved in private industry as a bit of the old fox in the henhouse scenario. It's not good no matter how much you hate the chickens, you know?

    And Mel, thank you for saving me!


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