There is nothing wrong with General Motors vehicles; the problem is with upper management ["Inside GM's Fight For Survival," usnews.com]. All of us that have worked in the assembly plants have seen it for years and wondered how this management has gotten so far or who they are related to. We have all heard the line about "the operator knows the job the best," but when it comes to job changes or design changes, the operator is never asked. This arrogance seems to run more so the higher you go in the management chain, and we on the shop floor know this to be the truth. General Motors is not in this state because of the assembly plants; it's in this position because of upper management, arrogance, and greed.
Comment by Jim Shankland of Canada
The unfortunate truth is that GM must go through bankruptcy. I worked for Delta up until about eight months ago. My tenure with them was nearly 19 years, and I took a buyout to change careers. In the end, Delta is going to be a stronger company for having completed an orderly bankruptcy and GM will have a much better chance if they do the same. I hate to see a brand like Saturn go, but GM must become a much smaller and leaner company, because globalization will require this. In fact, one can make the argument that globalization is the root of GM's problems, aside from the strategic blunder of over investing in large vehicles versus a balanced portfolio of much more fuel efficient smaller cars. GM must ask everyone to sacrifice equally and change the way employees are compensated, including the benefits they receive. With a little luck, GM should be moving forward with a bright future once Hummer, Saturn, Saab are sold or shut down. These are hard but correct choices GM must make and put in place this year. The Volt, Cruze, and Spark will then have a chance to lead the way toward moving customers to increasingly fuel efficient and electric vehicles.
Comment by Jay of GA
I am a retired GM employee. People say that I should not have made $28 per hour. What would they have preferred that I had worked for, $14 per hour with no medical benefits? Well, I would not have worked on an assembly line for that. However, many of the same people feel sorry for Rick Wagoner because he lost his job. I say it's about time. You and I could have done every bit as good of job of running GM as Wagoner did, and he was paid millions and million and millions of dollars. Now poor Rick will just have to take 23 million more dollars and go into retirement.
Comment by Richard S. Day of MI
Like any company, downsizing might be good. A controlled effort to restructure in order to get rid of the high-cost union contracts is the best thing that can happen to any company. GMC needs to keep the core business, and then rid itself of SAAB, Hummer, and Saturn. Pontiac is mainly Australian anyway, so no need to mess with them, a good clone that is still selling well in this country. Buick, Pontiac, and GMC handle the middle market while Cadillac and Chevrolet cover the ends. And the latter are your main export models.
Comment by Frank Gentsch of TX
As an auto repair shop owner for 20 years, I have always preferred driving and servicing GM vehicles. But to see the devastating quality decisions made in design and production in the last eight years, I am not sad to see Wagoner go. The nitpicky little quality changes made to save money in order to cover the legacy costs are frustrating. Anyone who has owned a GM vehicle in the last eight years has dealt with faulty handles, power windows, ABS systems, fuel pumps, intake gaskets, poor dealer service, and poor paint quality. I service all brands and makes. GM owners have been particularly unhappy these recent years. The neglect of everything but SUV's home office is a mistake that keeps being made ever since the '70s. Bankruptcy is now the best and only option. They just could never adapt fast enough, make hard choices and concentrate on all the many things that they were doing really well. Disgusting how a few nitpicky, sloppy, short-term, short-sighted, cost-cutting, lazy, low quality decisions resulted in the collapse of the once mighty GM. But we could say the very same for America in general I suppose. For the very little things in life make the difference in the end.
Comment by Mike Smith of NM