Thursday, November 20, 2008

A Billion For Your Thoughts

I'm so damn sick of the auto makers begging Congress for a $25 billion freebie - that I actually threw up a little in my mouth when I saw GM's ads on Yahoo Finance this morning.

Here's a couple of screen shots:

Now THAT'S an absolutely brilliant way to spend whatever's left of the money you threaten will "run out by the end of the year." Talk about holding a gun to America's head - that's one of the most outrageous, fear-mongering pieces of bulls**t I've ever seen.

Correction: that's the second biggest piece of crap I've seen - THIS GM site takes the cake.

GM (and Chrysler and Ford for that matter) deserve to go out of business. That's the way business works. Here's some business 101 tips for car company executives:
  • Don't build shitty cars
  • Don't stop building fuel-efficient cars because gas prices are low
  • Don't go to Congress to beg for more money in your private jets (this REALLY happened!)
  • Try not to lose $6.9 BILLION per quarter
  • If you DO lose $6.9 BILLION - try to cut costs and come up with a plan to NOT lose $6.9 BILLION the following quarter that doesn't include getting free money from the American taxpayer
  • Do not try to get free money from the American taxpayers using scare tactics
  • Stop kissing the ass of the UAW (United Autoworker's Union) - and fire them all and hire non-union folks (like Toyota and BMW have)
  • The corporation is not your personal piggy bank
  • Try some humility - admit your mistakes and tell people exactly how you would spend the money rather than just ("Re-tool for more fuel-efficient cars")
  • A "hybrid" Escalade - yeah, great idea!
I mean, really, if you're blowing through $6.9 billion per quarter - the $25 billion will just barely fund the golden parachutes of the top executives of the 3 companies. It will not be enough money or enough time to completely re-tool companies that should have had their heads out of their collective asses for the past 5 years.

According to - GM has a market cap less than toy maker Mattel - and there are rumors floating around that the Chinese government may be interested in buying GM - AND Chrysler. And, in my personal opinion, they should. GM should be treated fairly like every other business in the world - if you fail, your assets get broken up and sold off.


No hand-outs. No bail outs. No loans that don't need to be repaid. Not now - not ever.

The government SHOULD help the displaced workers and maybe tie it into the conditions of the bailout of the financial industry (give those laid off people a break on their mortgage payments for 6-9 months).

Spend the money re-training life-long assembly line workers for new tasks. Stimulate local economies by suspending state and federal taxes for 6 months. Create business incubators that give workers the chance to start their own business.

What about all the suppliers and the "trickle-down" theory? Yeah, sure, there will be single-source suppliers that go belly-up (especially given the tight credit market). But, they can also start supplying whatever they supply to OTHER car makers here in the US. They can look to similar industries or - hey - I know - find out what people ARE buying that they can manufacture - and sell THAT.

This is not something that has taken place in the last quarter, the last year, the last 3 years - or even the last 5 years. It's been 50 years in the making. Remember the 1970's when gas got "expensive" and people stopped buying gas-guzzling cars and bought smaller, more fuel-efficient cars? That's how Honda got started in the car business.

Did they really think that things would change? How short-sighted do you have to be? Really. I mean you're running a multi-billion dollar, worldwide conglomerate. You're not Joe The Plumber. Did you ever once get out of your "fat cat" mentality and take a look even 2 years down the line and think to yourselves "Hmmmm... customer tastes seem to be changing. Let's really get behind good-looking, high-quality, affordable products that are also fuel-efficient?"

Of course not! You just assumed that everything would be status quo, and as long as the gasoline was flowing (regardless of the price) - what could happen?

Short answer: THIS.

So long GM (and Chrysler and Ford) - I wish you wouldn't have totally screwed the pooch and destroyed companies that have survived for 100+ years... but, "Oh well." My new car is a Toyota anyway...
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