What Will It Take To Save GM?

Even Wall Street analysts are surprised by the pummeling being absorbed today by the world's biggest automaker (for now).

Shares of General Motors are trading down nearly 18 percent on the day at less than $6 per share.

That means the company's value, or market capitalization -- share price times the number of outstanding shares -- is sinking, as well.

Most of the auto sector is hurting. Ford, for instance, is trading down about 11 percent today and has seen its value drop by nearly two-thirds in the past year.

GM's drop comes as the ban on short selling expired (and GM was covered by that ban). Also, JD Power and Associates today said that the global auto industry may experience an "outright collapse" in 2009.

Wall Street seems to care not one whit that President Bush only a week ago signed a bill to provide U.S. automakers with $25 billion in direct loans to pay for converting truck factories into hybrid factories and other projects to make them more competitive.

As of now, GM is worth about $3.25 billion. Analysts today have pointed out that sum is equivalent to what GM was worth just before the stock market crash of 1929. One CNBC talking head quipped that a GM car made in 1929 is much more valuable today than the company stock.

Auto sales have been hurt for most of the year by the general economic malaise and recently -- and probably into the future -- by the credit crunch, as potential customers are unable to get auto loans. That makes the automakers a real Main Street economic indicator, as the crisis spreads beyond Wall Street.

GM was strapped for cash even before the current crisis. All summer, it had to fight off suggestions that the company was going to run out of money. In July, the company said it planned to cut $15 billion in expenses by the end of next year.

GM needs to make it to 2010 to begin seeing the cost-savings negotiated into the 2007 labor contract (largely retiree-related), which analysts estimate will take as much as $5,000 out of the cost of producing a new GM vehicle.

But GM needs to make it through 2008 first.

-- Frank Ahrens

October 9, 2008; 3:09 PM ET  | Category:  business
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Please email us to report offensive comments.

Too bad "Main Street" doesn't give a flying crap about their own neighbors and keeps buying up foreign cars.

Posted by: Nym | October 9, 2008 3:24 PM

Not another dime for corporate thieves who didn't invest in zero-emissions technology and got us hooked on oil and low-mileage SUVs.

Let them fail!

Posted by: WilliamB1 | October 9, 2008 3:38 PM

Let's not save GM! Get those workers building public transportation and other public works that will get rid of polluting cars and allow us to get rid of our dependence on petroleum. The US Auto companies have been turning out badly designed over-priced gas guzzling vehicles. They are badly managed and don't deserve to survive. We could get to work on the rotting infrastructure, and change it for the better. Green industry is what we need.

Posted by: Barbara Guetti | October 9, 2008 3:48 PM

"Too bad 'Main Street' doesn't give a flying crap about their own neighbors and keeps buying up foreign cars."

Too bad Detroit didn't give a flying crap about American consumers, treating them with contempt by offering poorly-made, low-quality family cars, and low-mileage trucks and SUVs. If the Big 3 can't make cars and trucks the market demands, and screws itself with utterly ridiculous labor contracts, then the hell with them. NO MORE BAILOUTS FOR FAILED COMPANIES.

Posted by: Claudius | October 9, 2008 3:52 PM

I bet they're really kicking themselves for scrapping the EV1 now huh?? Tis better to have wasted such potential than ever have used it at all it seems. I feel for the workers though; it's always some fat-cat on the top floor that is so out of touch with the workers and consumers that destroys great ideas. GM could have had their Gen.1 Volt on the road for 10 years already!! Too bad...

Posted by: The Guju | October 9, 2008 4:01 PM

Well, my friend, if GM or Ford could build a decent car that wasn't ENGINEERED to fall apart the day the warranty expires, then maybe they wouldn't have this problem. Doggone it, dontcha know, wink wink goes the barfly....

Posted by: Foreign buyer | October 9, 2008 4:11 PM


Too bad Detroit didn't give a flying crap about American consumers, treating them with contempt by offering poorly-made, low-quality family cars, and low-mileage trucks and SUVs. If the Big 3 can't make cars and trucks the market demands, and screws itself with utterly ridiculous labor contracts, then the hell with them. NO MORE BAILOUTS FOR FAILED COMPANIES.

Posted by: DJPLATNUM | October 9, 2008 4:12 PM

This is easy

Step 1: Declare bankruptcy and renegotiate all employee agreements from the board room on down. This means eliminating 1970's benefits in lieu of 2008 style benefits - ouch, sorry. Close outdated factories and consolidate operations. Use third party suppliers as heavily as possible - this means even cutting deals to re-brand smaller existing cars from other manufacturers and selling those... like the Smart Car that gets 80 mpg? Yeah. That thing.

Step 2: License plug-in hybrid technology, licence the air-powered car technologies of Guy Negre/Zero Pollution Motors and the Australian firm doing the same thing with a better design. This probably means a share-swap so GM is partially foreign owned. Big deal. Get on with it and build the revolutionary cars we need in America. Start building those designs immediately and fire anyone who says it can't be done. Design the exteriors anywhere but the midwest - it isn't a bastion of style and modernity, is it? Go for 80mpg across the board.

Step 3: Pray a lot

Posted by: JBE | October 9, 2008 4:14 PM

I work too hard to squander thousands to buy the CRAP that GM, FORD, and CHRYSLER have been producing for generations!
-Get as good as HONDA (LOL) and I'll consider it.

Posted by: Kase | October 9, 2008 4:15 PM

EVERYONE should watch the above video. 2004 congressional hearings on Freddie and Fannie....


Posted by: Anonymous | October 9, 2008 4:16 PM

Let them all go down. The auto industry has been the worst managed industry in America for decades, especially the last one, when anyone with a brain would have seen the opportunity in going green; instead, they grabbed their wasted gonads and went the opposite direction. Let them fail.

Posted by: onehappycamper | October 9, 2008 4:19 PM

What ticks me off is that the auto industry has had the technology for gas-electric hybrid and fully electric vehicles for over a century (check the patent literature)! It's only because of the oil industry's power and the auto industry's quest for short term profits over technological efficiency that we don't have 200+ mpg equivalent cars. It would be disastrous if GM fails, but it would be deserved.

Posted by: Patent Searcher | October 9, 2008 4:19 PM

It's no coincidence that the abnormally big drop occurred with the expiration of the ban on short selling. Other countries banned short selling for the rest of the year. Bush and his cronies did it for only two weeks... Heck of a job Bushie.

Posted by: Stop Short Selling | October 9, 2008 4:19 PM


Right now, we need for American's to assume some patriotic responsibility. Stop buying these foreign automobiles.

Support all things Made/Grown In America. Food, Clothing, Automobiles, Electronics, EVERYTHING!!!

Unfortunately, with the crisis so bad, even American's who WANT to purchase American will not be able to secure the loans to do so.

Isn't it a shame that working class Americans have had to bail out the richest American's. We should treat the homes of the rich like public housing. We should have access to them at our leisure.

Posted by: Concernedaboutdc | October 9, 2008 4:22 PM

The incompetence of management at these companies is breathtaking. They are complete idiots for failing to prepare for high energy prices, among other things.

Posted by: Andrew | October 9, 2008 4:25 PM

so who cares if GM/Ford/Chrysler go down the shoot - like the bankers, these have been institutions of total greed, disregard for the environment and building juggernauts and shotr-term "vision". they deserve whats coming .. as do ALL the airlines bar Continental - at least they have a fine product, customer service, stress less boarding etc etc.. the tax payer must NOT save these aged dinos ... crap aircraft (some still fly the 727 !!!), awful service etc etc .. and GM "cars" - gawd has anyone designed worse cars than the Impala and Buicks and gawd knows what ... no one outside the gullible US would even touch those cars ... they have their come uppance and thoroughly deserve it ... truck into the sunset boy....

Posted by: Noor Jivraj | October 9, 2008 4:26 PM


Posted by: nick | October 9, 2008 4:26 PM

The world will be a better place without US automakers, their horrible vehicles, and their cynical, idiotic marketing campaigns.

Posted by: OD | October 9, 2008 4:26 PM

GM $70.00 BY 2012

Posted by: nick | October 9, 2008 4:28 PM

Why save GM? They have:

- Steadfastly resisted safety requirements going back, in my memory, to mandatory installation of seat belts.

- Steadfastly resisted measures to improve mileage and reduce dependence on imported oil. The latest CAFE standards debate is still ongoing, I believe.

- Had over 35 years, the time when people first noticed that Japanese cars were less trouble prone than American ones, to improve the quality of U.S. vehicles. But U.S. vehicles are still not as well constructed and don't last nearly as long - even though most Japanese nameplate vehicles are now constructed here.

- Steadfastly resisted air pollution mechanisms. Was it the president of GM or Ford who stated that the company would have to go out of business if they were required to install catalytic converters, back in the seventies?

- Sent parts and component manufacturing to China and assembly to other coutnries abroad, sharply reducing the number of U.S. auto workers and, thus, the contributions of the U.S. workers to our economy.

- Somehow failed to put aside money for pension and health benefits agreed in their contracts with unions over the years; now GM claims that it can't meet its obligations to the workers who gave them lifelong service.

The comment by Alfred Sloan, former President of GM, that the company's business was to make money and not to build cars, may be apocryphal, but it certainly seems to have guided their operations for many decades. Who needs these guys?

Posted by: Matt77 | October 9, 2008 4:28 PM

Thanks again UAW for striking GM earlier and extorting from them benefits that they cannot afford. I hope you are happy that you have driven the company into the grave.

Posted by: Bender | October 9, 2008 4:28 PM

It is complete nonsense that GM cars are inferior to their asian counterparts. They are not engineered to fall apart. The ONLY thing Japan has that we don't is paying their employees a living wage. The Japanese makers back load the expense of manufacturing on replacement parts. Go online and price an alternator for a Camry or a front fender. A GM car is cheaper to own in the long run because of a lower purchase price and more affordable replacement parts even with their higher pension & health care costs. This non-sense about japanese cars being better is based on a 1975 mind set by lemmings who buy a Honda because the girls at the club say its the best. Do you know anyone who didn't have the transmission in their Accord replaced before 80K miles? Oh the dealer did it on warrenty so it no problem right? Yes its a good car but it also cost about 5K more new and 5K more as you own it so yes it is better but by less than the 10K extra you financed to buy it. Lemmings

Posted by: Ken | October 9, 2008 4:29 PM

All I Buy Now Is Hyundai's

Screw Ford & GM With There Junk Gas HOGS
Let Them Fold
End Of Story

Posted by: me | October 9, 2008 4:29 PM

Oh well. Hard times are coming. I hope everyone hangs in there as best they can. No money, but we all have a lot to offer to each other.

Posted by: Worthy | October 9, 2008 4:29 PM

What will it take to save GM? How about a quality product.

Posted by: ns | October 9, 2008 4:29 PM

Nym, that's a piss poor reason to buy a product. Companies should be making products that people want to buy because it's a good product. If you have to beg people to buy your product because it's your patriotic duty, then you run a sh*thole of a company.

Posted by: Wang | October 9, 2008 4:29 PM

FORD - Found On the Roadside Dead

Do we really need to care about these companies? Yes they are built by middle class workers already in financial trouble. However, these companies have been sinking for years due to the bad product they have produced for the last 25 years or so, as Toyota, Honda, and now Hyundai superceed them in Quality, Style, and Technology.

If anything, Ford and GM were the first indicators of a bigger problem. Greed and arrogance produced a bad product, similar to what has happened in the stock market with these sub prime and other "Secure" market funds.

For the good of the American people we need to let Ford AND GM, slip into the abyss. The only reliable cars made by the US are Chrysler, and they're starting to slip as well

Posted by: FORD and GM | October 9, 2008 4:30 PM


Posted by: nick | October 9, 2008 4:31 PM

I don't think people understand what they are saying when they say just sit back and let American auto manufacturers die.

Do you realize how many working class hardworking American families would suffer? We are talking thousands, men, women and children.

I cannot believe that we have become such a selfish nation that we only consider our own personal financial well-being.

Have we become a godless nation? Is christianity a concept that has died?

Whatever happened to love thy neighbor? Treat them as you want to be treated?

Would you want people to wish for your employer to fold?

What is wrong with American autoworkers wanting the same living wage that autoworkers around the globe get?

Isn't it the greedy CEO's the real villan vs the average worker?

Lets be sensible.

Posted by: Concernedaboutdc | October 9, 2008 4:48 PM

Every great company that has made America the envy of the world is either dead or dying.
On the eve of the attack on Iraq, George Bush said:
"This is a rich country!!"
Remember that, when you next examine your savings.
He was talking about OUR money, not his.
But the dry drunk has been spending like it was ALL his, not ours.
There is no question that GM has had very poor foresight and this is the price they are paying for that lack.
They picked up patents and buried them that could have, had they been developed, saved the company, in friendly cooperation with the oil companies, who wanted to keep gas-guzzling autos on the road.
But way beyond today's tragedy, didn't it occur to anyone that this situation of spiraling debt and extreme spending on the military-industrial complex, couldn't continue forever?
There had to be a bottom somewhere.
Of course, I'm sure there are many in the GOP bewailing the fact that all of this is coming to a head in October, rather than in November, AFTER the election, when it would have been too late for the American electorate to question if they could survive another 4 years of this mess?
God is good to us -- He allowed the truth to come out in time for us, as Americans, to make a better decision than we would have otherwise.
It's time for the renegade war-profiteering GOP to take their medicine and get out of the way.
We have to shut down the Chinese Communist credit card and return to rebuilding our country.
We have a mess they made to clean up.

Posted by: Judy-in-TX | October 9, 2008 4:48 PM

Thanks Judy-in-TX, I agree.

Posted by: Concernedaboutdc | October 9, 2008 4:51 PM

Goodbye GM and good riddance.Our family swore off of GM garbage back in the 70's when my moms Chevy Vega broke down on the way home from the dealership after she purchased it. Since then we now have lemon laws because of the arrogant approach the manufacters used to defend their severe lack of workmanship and quality. Let them die. Use my tax dollars to reward innovators, not proven losers.

Posted by: Nelson | October 9, 2008 4:52 PM

I just sold Honda Civic that I bought new in 1992. I now take the BART (subway) and intend to timeshare via ZipCar. For the last few years, I would shout out an epithet at SUV's "$5 per gallon!" What incredible waste.

You'd think that we would have learned from the 1973 Oil Embargo. Back then my Dad owned a Cadillac/Pontiac dealership. After the Oil Embargo he started to sell electric cars. Then he sold the dealership.

Fifteen years ago, I worked on a computer animated demo for the GM electric vehicle, called the Impact. Too bad GM didn't stick to it. Instead we gave a tax breaks for owning obscene 3 ton behemoths that put them in the same class as trucks. That is simply sick. Sick!

So, yeah, I hope that GM pulls it out. I might even buy a Volt from them someday. Or, at least time share it. Meanwhile, I'll be riding a bike that needs only 35 calories per mile, versus a car that needs 1860 calories – do the math: that 53x more efficient. In the bargain, I'll be improving my health, reduce my global warming profile, and helping this country wean itself off of foreign oil.

Posted by: Warren Stringer | October 9, 2008 4:53 PM

"Support all things Made/Grown In America. Food, Clothing, Automobiles, Electronics, EVERYTHING!!!"

Um, a lot of those foreign automobiles are made right here; so should I screw over the American in Detroit making Chevys or screw over the American in Ohio making Hondas?

Posted by: Craig | October 9, 2008 4:57 PM

It won't be too long before one or more the the Detroit's Big 3 becomes Japanese-owned. Honda/Chrsler, Honda/Ford, Honda/GM, Toyota/Chrsler, Toyota/Ford, Toyota/GM... hey, take your pick, but it's a REAL possibility, if not a probability! And, of course, there's still Nissan, Isuzu, Mitsubishi, or Subaru - all Japanese auto companies - that also has an outside chance to buy up one of the three.

Posted by: AmericaForSale | October 9, 2008 5:03 PM

Oddly, I bet GM and Ford have relevant technology sitting somewhere right on the shelf. Air bags were developed in the 70s. they finally were utilized in the 90s. I understand the anger but we canno let them die. where would Americans work? frankly that the problem. what do we make/produce? what do we sell? We are in debt to china cause we pay them to make everything we buy! We need our American automakers to be viable industries.

Posted by: OKNOW101 | October 9, 2008 5:05 PM

My Toyota was made in TN by an American who makes just as much as a GM employee in Detroit.

Last year Toyota paid 3 times more in taxes and import tariffs to the US gov't than GM and Ford combined (they used NAFTA to import parts and vehicles from Mexico and Canada with no import taxes).

I’ll buy American I’ll buy Toyota!

Posted by: Proud TN Toyota driver/owner | October 9, 2008 5:10 PM



They'll make a better product (by far) if your fears come to pass...

Posted by: Kase | October 9, 2008 5:10 PM

Both GM and Ford will survive as soon as Japanese yen falls below 0.90 and stay there for a while.
Main reason for this Auto Disastor in USA is because of Japanese unjust competition keeping their yen lower therefore gaining and unjust advantage of 25% or more over US made cars.

Posted by: Tayfun | October 9, 2008 5:17 PM

karma for how gm and ford treated workers and consumers...fare thee well...

Posted by: david c. | October 9, 2008 5:18 PM


Posted by: ED_SCOTT | October 9, 2008 5:21 PM

It is too bad that GM, Ford and Chrysler have done nothing for America but decimate hundreds of thousands of lives thru layoffs and begnefitw cuts. Take a look at the Rust Belt. Where have all the American auto companies gone? Overseas. That's patriotism for you.
Then, the auto companies put their short term profit ahead of sensible long-term planning.
They now are stuck So, they have the temerity to go begging, hat and campaign contributions in hand, to Washington for welfare loans saying they're American need help, and using the remaining American auto workers basically as hostages for their ransom bailout.
GM is more Chinese than American. Go begging to them when you're a penny stock. Did Toyota and Honda and Nissan get the bailout loans? What was the going `campaign contribution' rate for a senator's `yes' vote?
The American auto companies are harvesting what they sewed: by making cheap cars that nobody wanted; by not planning for theier own future competitively and by turning its backs on the America it now desperately needs to save it from itself.

Posted by: JMFulton, Jr. | October 9, 2008 5:27 PM

Let Ford and GM die. The people who are pro American cars will buy Japanese. With that, more Japanese car factories will open up to replace the lost jobs.

Posted by: mugengsr | October 9, 2008 5:28 PM

take a leaf out of Germany's book .. make quality products that even people who will never be able to afford one, will say yes thats worth it ...cadillac .. gawd a hugely over priced box that occupies more space than all the obese dallasians lined up end-to-end .. germany has some of the world's highest wages, a security net for the elderly, a working and affordable health system, fabolous freeways and trains, AND IS THE WORLD'S LEADING EXPORTER .... dont tell me it cant be done ...

Posted by: Noor Jivraj | October 9, 2008 5:29 PM

Don't blame the automakers for the big gas guzzling SUV's. They were only selling them , WE were doing the buying! Businesses will only sell what thier customers want and what they can make a profit on. I bought a small car to save on gas and got looked down on because i did.When GM sold the Geo Metro ,the car was 10,000 loaded ,got over 40 mpg and GM could not give them away! I bought one used and put over 250,000 miles on it with only a few minor repairs.It still ran great when i donated it.

Posted by: patriot | October 9, 2008 5:31 PM

I agree. Ford can just go away.

Posted by: Foreign buyer | October 9, 2008 5:34 PM

Now lets not trash GM and the others for making those huge behemoth SUVs - after all they only made them because we Americans demanded/bought them. And the lax CAFE standards that enabled them were enacted by a Congress that we Americans elected. We all share blame here. How many of us just adore our OWN Congressmen and Senators? Will we re-elect them next time?

Posted by: John C. | October 9, 2008 5:44 PM

Convinve the public that their cars are better quality than the Toyota

Posted by: suffered by GM cars | October 9, 2008 5:44 PM

gullible americans bought suburbans at ridiculous prices ... for snapping an aluminium hood on top of a truck, GM made NET $10,000 a vehicle ..... and did 10 miles to the gallon ...

Posted by: Noor Jivraj | October 9, 2008 5:52 PM

Why wall street analysts are surprised? All they have to do is check which cars they are driving.

Posted by: KVR | October 9, 2008 5:53 PM

Keep in mind the lengths that Italy went through to save Fiat back in the day.

Let's also not forget ford and GM either outright own or have controlling interest in several companies...Mazda, Volvo, Saab...Toyota's sales are down and they recalled a BUNCH of cars in 2006.

Every Japanese manufacturer has a plant in the USA.

This is NOT just about American cars, just like this is not just about the American economy.

Posted by: Silver Spring | October 9, 2008 5:53 PM

American auto makers alway make whatever has the highest profit margin. In 1980 we put a quota on Jap cars to let Detroit retool and build smaller cars. What did they do? Raise prices.

The last American car I will ever own is in my driveway. It's a GM (Saturn) and an utter piece of crap.

Posted by: fukuzatsuda | October 9, 2008 5:56 PM

To clarify about "buying American." Its nonsense that buying American is a cost-free way to help our neighbors. If you really wanted to help America in your car purchase, you would buy your Honda and send a check to Detroit:

Let me explain. If you prefer the comparable Honda but buy the Chevy at the same price, you have overpaid for the Chevy and getting the car you don't want. Thus you are both screwing yourself and simply making a transfer to the shareholders of GM. You, and everyone else, is better off if you buy the Honda and mail the check. This is basic Econ 102.

Now, it is actually unfair to say the U.S. makes low quality cars now. The problem is that they are not desireable. The profit on a a well-made SUV is huge, unless you can't sell it. The profit on a Civic Hybrid is tiny, but seems OK when there are waiting lists for them. Our engineering for our cars is excellent, its our management and product planning that is killing us.

Posted by: dmw | October 9, 2008 6:07 PM

GM still designs cars in Detroit. And the country, especially the coasts, have moved beyond the taste and style of the motor town. If GM was to survive they would need to retire their entire design staff and rebuild a design center in a hip place: San Diego, Seattle, Boston. I would build one in Germany and Japan too. But they won't. GM refuses to move into this century. Evolve or die. GM has decided to not evolve. Its that simple.

Posted by: mash | October 9, 2008 6:07 PM

I can tell you why GM and Ford are in the crapper.

They make crappy cars and trucks.

Ford didn't learn anything 40 years ago from the Pinto. They went on to make ANOTHER exploding Ford, the Crown Vic.

I won't buy Ford products anymore because of this. Any car maker who is stupid enough to build exploding cars cannot be trusted to build MY car.

As for GM, I currently drive 2 of their products and they are of substandard quality compared to Japanese cars.

The fuel pump went out after 50,000 and stranded me in a Trailblazer. I wouldn't have had that problem in a Honda Pilot.

GM and Ford SUCK. And that's not the unions' fault. Management makes these crappy decisions.

Posted by: Tom3 | October 9, 2008 6:09 PM

It is interesting to note that most foreign car companies have an advantage that Detroit does not: Universal Health Care.

Foreign companies save as much as $1000 per car because they DON'T have to provide health care to their workers. These saving can be passed on to us consumers.

I can't believe that major corporations aren't pouring tons of lobbying dollars behind universal health care.

Posted by: PhilipShade | October 9, 2008 6:18 PM

Pelosi and her cronies are the ones that just gave $25 billion to Detroit so Obama can get the Michigan vote, and today, General Motors shares fell as much as 21.6 percent to their lowest level since 1950 amid financial market turmoil and the car maker's report of European sales declines through the first nine months of 2008.

Pelosi is busy giving away our money like a drunken sailor down a bottomless hole. Shame. Shame. Shame.

Posted by: alance | October 9, 2008 6:22 PM

I hope everyone realizes that when any of the global automakers suffer, it doesn't just affect their own country. There is really no such thing as "buy American" anymore. All of the Big 3 buy parts from around the globe, same as the Japanese and European automakers. When GM hurts, European, Japanese, Chinese, AND American suppliers hurt. Likewise when the Japanese and European automakers do poorly, it is also felt in Detroit/South Carolina/wherever the parts and cars are being produced.

Posted by: Dutch | October 9, 2008 6:35 PM

"Pelosi is busy giving away our money like a drunken sailor down a bottomless hole. Shame. Shame. Shame." Posted by: alance

What about all the Repukes who voted for the bailout?

Shame on them too. And shame on YOU for trying to blame the Dems for a problem the Repukes started.

Posted by: Tom3 | October 9, 2008 6:36 PM

GM is finished. They close plants here and build in Russia. Give GM to Russia. They might have a use for it.

Posted by: A-G | October 9, 2008 6:41 PM

Don't trash Ford. I've owned Toyotas, VWs, Chevys, Buicks, etc. My 2001 Ford Focus is up to 150,000 completely trouble-free miles, now being driven by my son.
My 2004 Ford Focus is COMPLETELY TROUBLE FREE - 75,000 miles. It's a five-speed, cheapest thing they make, roll-up windows, A/C the only add-on. I LOVE IT. It gets an average of 33 mpg around town and as high as 38 mpg on the highway.
The problem is the republicans let us get away from a manufacturing economy. The only thing we "MAKE" now is houses. That was the only thing we had to sell to ourselves besides fast food: HOUSES, and the stuff to build/repair/maintain HOUSES. So we HAD to sell them to SOMEONE.
That someone was greedy enough to add on all sorts of fees, and then sell the debt as some sort of commodity is a goddamned sin.
That's where you belong.

Posted by: Tomhere | October 9, 2008 6:41 PM

IOKIYAR - Its Okay If You're A Repuke.

The old double standard. Pelosi is bad because she bailed out GM for $25 Billion.

But Chimpy is okay for bailing out the entire financial sector for $700 Billion.

Go f*ck yourself, Repuke.

Posted by: Tom3 | October 9, 2008 6:42 PM

Don't trash Ford?

The exploding Pinto.
The exploding Crown Vic.
The rollover Explorer.

I don't have to trash Ford.

Ford already IS trash.

Posted by: Tom3 | October 9, 2008 6:44 PM

It all goes together so nicely: GM, the GOP, Wall Street and Americans. GM has known since the late 70s that gas guzzlers are dinosaurs, but has kept making them the firm's number one profit center. Wall Street execs, in rare moments of honesty, have admitted irrational exuberance and that a housing bubble existed, but have done nothing about it. Americans have been told for years that they consume too much, borrow too much and burn too much gas, but have refused to do anything about it. And they've been told by residents of every other nation in the world, and by a more than a few rational intellectuals and commentators in the U.S., that their insistence upon electing court jesters from Ronald Reagan to the mor*n now in office would eventually catch up with them. Oh well, as in 1929, the GOP gets us into trouble and maybe the Dems can do something about it. Read your what your Good Book has to say about greed, right- wing evangelicals.

Posted by: troutcor | October 9, 2008 6:46 PM

Did Bush resign already?

Posted by: Former Enron Executive | October 9, 2008 7:05 PM

I need Dick Cheney in the Oval Office so he takes me out of jail.

Posted by: Former Enron Executive | October 9, 2008 7:07 PM

And I need Dick Cheney in the Oval Office so I do not go to jail. Scrap McCain! We need to win this election no matter what!

Posted by: AIG Executive | October 9, 2008 7:09 PM

AIG Executive: One of my jailmates told me that is all already in the works. It is going to be Cheney versus Obama in November. Isn´t that great? Most likely with Dick in the Oval Office we will finally get our hands on the Social Security Fund! I bet by 2010!

Posted by: Former Enron Executive | October 9, 2008 7:11 PM

Thanks for the good news Former Enron Executive. I had started to look into a place in Reunion Island. Now, I will wait for Dick to become President.

Posted by: AIG Executive | October 9, 2008 7:13 PM

Good call AIG Executive. We have all this tied up! Dick is our Messiah!

Posted by: Former Enron Executive | October 9, 2008 7:15 PM

Former Enron Executive: You seem to be in loop. Do you think Dick will give us (GM, Ford) a bailout?

Posted by: GM Executive | October 9, 2008 7:17 PM

All the big giants who are collapsing never much cared for the common man. Why should anyone care if they are hit. The top management responsible should be stripped off their benefits. I understand that a number of families would be hit. In return you are hoping for good and not the same sh*t again.

Posted by: WHOcares | October 9, 2008 7:18 PM

Maybe these companies wouldn't be going out of business if they made high-quality small passenger cars, and stopped specializing in immense gas-hogs that are mostly driving around one suburbanite at a time.

They need to stop making large vehicles unless they're hybrids and/or alternafuel, and produce nothing but small cars, ideally hybrid/alternafuel, and bring up the quality of these small cars to close to their foreign competitors exceptional small vehicles.

You know that when people would rather buy a far-superior Sonata than a crappy Aveo, and nobody can afford to gas up a truck, it's time to change your production paradism.

Adapt or fail, Detroit!

Posted by: Thomas Hardman | October 9, 2008 7:18 PM

Of course GM Executive! We are all a big family! Wasn´t very clever from Dick to let McCain fight it all the way and now Dick enters directly at the very last moment to be elected as the Great Savior?

Posted by: Former Enron Executive | October 9, 2008 7:20 PM

It bothers me to hear everone rail against the the lack of quality for U.S. cars. I work at a Ford plant in Ohio. At one point we built both the Mercury Villager and the Nissan Quest on the same line. Same U.S. auto workers, same engineering, same parts. The differences were all cosmetic, front fascia, tail lights, etc. Then I read a car and driver review that detailed how the Nissan had better breaking than the Mercury. How? The parts were the same, the assemblers were the same, the engineering was the same. Yet, even a reputable magazine had a biased view on the quality gap. I admit we have had quality issues, and we have worked hard to shore that area up. But, there is still a bias out there. We are still paying for past sins. And, yes that poor reputation is our fault. We have worked hard to build a better car. I just wish more people would believe it.

Posted by: Vic | October 9, 2008 7:31 PM

Let us not forget that GM employs 1.2 million people worldwide. What do you think would happen to the global economy if 1.2 million people were all put out of work at the same time? This number does not include dealerships, sales, and technicians!!
I don't agree with bailing out everyone with taxpayer dollars, but in this case...how can we not?

Posted by: GM Salesperson | October 9, 2008 7:37 PM

"For the good of the American people we need to let Ford AND GM, slip into the abyss. The only reliable cars made by the US are Chrysler, and they're starting to slip as well"

You've got to be kidding me. I have a 2001 town and country and we had problems with it since year 1. By year 5, it had a new tranny and 45K miles, new AC switch panel, new sterring system, drivers side power window. By the time I got rid of it, the AC was leaking and the new power window started to act up.

I always tell the dealership each time I go back - "You can get a Chrysler in any color you want as long as it's LEMON."

Posted by: Chrysler? | October 9, 2008 7:38 PM

Build a fun, sporty, reasonably efficient, reliable (according to Consumer Reports et al) all wheel drive as good as my 2007 Subaru Impreza that I can buy for $19,000, like I did the Impreza, and I will consider it. Build me a solid, safe, reliable vehicle like my 2001 Subaru Forester that made 190,000 miles, and I will consider buying it.

Posted by: PJTramdack | October 9, 2008 7:40 PM

CONCERNEDABOUTDC WROTE: "BUY AMERICAN!!!!! Right now, we need for American's to assume some patriotic responsibility. Stop buying these foreign automobiles."

So much for free-market capitalism, all hail! Aren't we supposed to buy the best product for our money? Real patriotism would be to stop buying SUVs to drive to the grocery store and back. Real patriotism would be to use public transportation or car pooling to get to work and back (or a bike). But no, I guess too many red-blooded Americans would rather keep Saudi Arabia and their terrorist buddies in business. Have you learned to speak Farsi yet? I'd get onto it if I were you, Mr. Patriot.

Posted by: Mike D. | October 9, 2008 7:44 PM

Frack Dick Cheney, frack Ford and frack GM. They all suck. I wouldn't buy from an American auto company if you paid me. They are still crap. Don't blame the autoworker - blame the GM/Ford 'executives' whose chief concern is which secretary they are going to bang tonight. Time to bang them - hard!

Buy Toyota...

Posted by: Anonymous | October 9, 2008 7:52 PM

This is a good thing. It will take nothing less than a catastrophe to change the mindset of Detroit. Maybe finally now they will take notice of our changing culture and needs. The time has long gone where gas was plentiful and cheap, and the suburbs were huge with plenty of space on the roads for beheamoths, and bigger was always better. For god's sake, how have they not figured out yet that efficiency is a value to be admired?

I saw the CEO of GM on The Colbert Report 2 weeks ago. He appeared very out of touch, and professed that climate change is not man-made. Ha! Detroit has fought CAFE standards tooth-and-nail for years, citing that tougher standards would destroy their companies. Pretty ironic that what they are fighting against is a major part of their problem.

On the other side of the spectrum, you have Honda and Toyota who have sought to exceed fuel efficiency requirements with each new standard, make their cars with tighter emissions than is required, and as reliable as is possible.

I know where I am going to put my money... not Detroit, anything but Detroit. They deserve exactly what they are getting.

Posted by: Matt C | October 9, 2008 7:52 PM

After swearing off American autos after a bad experience with Chryslers, I drove the Tahoe Hybrid with very good things to say about it. The fit and finish is a lot better than the model it replaced, it is much quieter than a Lexus and I can get up to 25mpg in the highway and 17.5 towing. You can't do that with a 3.3l Highlander!

Too bad, the technology came in 2 years too late.

Posted by: Hybrid User | October 9, 2008 7:53 PM

None of the automakers should fail. The cars that they produce does contribute a lot to our exports, especially the mid range to large trucks.

This is also a great opportunity for the factories to transition to hybrid lines of automobiles and hopefully keep those workers employed.

Shutting down the automakers would send unemployment sky high as the workforce for that sector is in the hundreds of thousands. Then the indirect affect it has on autoshops across the country.

I'm all for grilling the big wigs in suits for making poor leadership and management decisions, but I've got nothing but love for the guys and gals on the assembly line trying to make ends meet.

Posted by: luv4fellowAmericans | October 9, 2008 8:00 PM

This talk of inferior quality is utter rubbish. Simply look at reliablity statistics for the past few years and you will see that GM products have better reliability than German products and are equal to that of their Japanese competitors. For some reason people seem to think it's cool to just say that Honda and Toyota are built better, but in reality you would never know the difference.

GM clearly has problems, but to let them die would simply be foolish if you care about the country's long term economic prospects.

Their new cars are excellent by the way.

Ford on the other hand is probably going to die. There is no innovation and their cars and trucks are sub-par in reliability and

Lastly, to anyone that knows anything about economics, it's pretty clear that this massive financial crisis was at least initially caused by Clinton and the Democrats encouraging Fannie Mae to increase lending to people with lower income as well as deregulate Fannie and Freddie. These "sub-prime" loans continued from 1996 until recently due to the democrats voting against numerous republican bills which would have actually REGULATED the two mortgage giants. In 2006 McCain said the following-

"I join as a cosponsor of the Federal Housing Enterprise Regulatory Reform Act of 2005, S. 190, to underscore my support for quick passage of GSE regulatory reform legislation. If Congress does not act, American taxpayers will continue to be exposed to the enormous risk that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac pose to the housing market, the overall financial system, and the economy as a whole."

GUESS WHO DIDN'T LET THAT BILL PASS?!?!?! DEMOCRATS. But it's cool....keep blaming republicans for things you obviously don't understand or have any knowledge of.

It's almost a fact in this country- If you are smart,rich and made your money through legitimate busines ventures (not acting or singing) then you are a Republican. Honestly if you don't understand what it is you are voting for you shouldn't be allowed to vote- Yeah I am talking to you Obama supporters. This guy has no record of ever doing anything constructive in congress. Ever.

Posted by: Joe | October 9, 2008 8:02 PM

Meanwhile, Honda newest plant began producing Civics in Greensburg, Indiana today.

Posted by: Wyat Urp | October 9, 2008 8:04 PM

My wife and I have owned several GM cars, each which has given us years of reliable transportation. The Pontiac I'm driving now has 315,000 miles; the previous one had 304,000 miles. We have no complaints about GM products. In truth, there is no significant difference in the quality of cars manufactured by American, European and Japanese companies.

Posted by: steve w. | October 9, 2008 8:41 PM

I haven't owned a non-American car since the 70s. I work in America, and the only way I'll keep my job is if other Americans keep theirs, too. Not to mention, I don't think foreign car makers hire too many black people.

Detroit HAS built the cars Americans want. We WANT big powerful gas guzzlers. Why else would Nissan and Honda and Toyota ALSO build them? I mean, have you SEEN an Armada? The problem is, those cars were SO profitable, it was crazy to spend money for new auto technology that would go into cars with a low profit margin. Detroit was selling its high gas mileage cars at a loss to lower their overall CAFE, so they could continue to sell those SUVs.

The fact is, not enough people have wanted fuel efficient cars. But of course, the simpletons posting here know so much more than people who have made their careers in the car industry...

Posted by: gbooksdc | October 9, 2008 8:42 PM

By the way, I put well over 130K miles on my 99 Explorer (an alternator was the only repair) and have 110K and counting on my 2003 Expedition. I have found Fords to be extremely reliable and they would be my first option for a new SUV (yeah, I need the size and the room).

Posted by: gbooksdc | October 9, 2008 8:49 PM

My father retired from GM in 1963 he had been there more than 30 years he started at Fischer Brothers in 1925, the car companies were prize jobs in the mid west and employed hundreds of thousands of people, the employment size is down and when they shut the doors of these companies where do people find jobs that make something? In order to make money we as a nation have to produce things, if we can't invest in future jobs for Americans, convert new cars to natural gas, the new electrical cars etc, if there are no jobs here no one will be able to buy foreign made cars either will they, if we lose all of our factories, and we have another world war, who or where are they going to build the machines necessary like WW2? Everyone can not work at McDonalds or Disney World.

Posted by: mikey30919 | October 9, 2008 9:17 PM

Too bad "Main Street" doesn't give a flying crap about their own neighbors and keeps buying up foreign cars.

Posted by: Nym | October 9, 2008 3:24 PM

Let me get this straight, are you suggesting Americans are to buy an inferior product because of patriotism?

With that kind of logic, you're undoubtedly a Palin/McCain supporter. Your point would have some resonance if American cars were as well made as foreign cars.

If you really want Americans to buy inferior products in the name of patriotism, then my friend, you're out of touch.

Posted by: jabreal00 | October 9, 2008 9:22 PM

"My Toyota was made in TN by an American who makes just as much as a GM employee in Detroit."

If you want to buy Toyota fine - BUT DON't PRETEND pretend that b/c the car was assembled in TN that the the American content (American made parts,engineering,SG&A,...) in said car has the same level of American content as Ford/GM/Chrysler car. Yes, I'm aware that American cars are less "American" than before but there is no comparison between an Asian car 'assembled' in America and an American car made in America.

Also, the assembly wage in TN might be similiar to those in Detroit but that is to keep the UAW out - not b/c Toyota is inherently generous.

I'm not arguing that anyone should buy GM/Ford/Chrysler simply b/c they are 'more American'. I am stating that an Asian nameplate assembled in America has much less "American" content or value added than an American nameplate car made in America.

Posted by: wibus | October 9, 2008 9:26 PM


Posted by: The Stig | October 9, 2008 9:57 PM

It is amazing the comments that most of you are posting on this blog, i.e., owning American cars, as opposed to foreign cars.

The problem that GM is currently facing is going to transcend "deeply" to other major corporations and businesses across this country.

This is major and I hope and pray that those of you who are critcizing some of these companies are prepared financially for the next several months.

Posted by: Lisa in VA | October 9, 2008 10:17 PM

I had a 1987 Dodge van, 250,000 miles and at least 150,000 was while towing a RV Trailer, don't think those little cars could handle that, or your boats, ATV trailers, etc. Also, had a Chevy Lumina, 275,000 miles, used no oil and still got the 25 miles per gallon throughout it all, was hit four times and no one got hurt car held up. Got a little Ford compact, can't remember the name, three months, good mileage but highway pileup almost shoved the trunk thru the back of our heads. Decided to go bigger, to be more defensive on those 80 mph freeways, got a Taurus. Freeway driving between 25 & 26 mpg held up well when someone fell asleep at 8:30am at the wheel shoved me out into oncoming traffic at a light. Crushed the front and the rear, no injuries but no car left. Had enough of those cars, so I got a Ford Ranger Pickup 4x4 2001. I am still driving it, in 2008, no problems and I love it. MPG aren't as good but I feel a lot safer, solid steel bumpers. What I am getting at is depending on what you want to do with your vehicle decides what you will buy. People who have kids, want those kids in a decent vehicle on the freeways and in the US people have to drive further to work than in some of those other little countries, families are scattered, try putting a couple of 3 or 4 year olds in some of those little cars and driving a couple thousand miles on vacation, that is why when gas was cheap the auto companies built the cars, trucks, SUV'S that people asked for and didn't build the little ones that people didn't ask for.

Posted by: Rosewren | October 9, 2008 10:26 PM

See this, for example:


And there are more first rate American cars in the pipeline. But you, the semi-illiterate rabble don't care about the facts. You have been spouting the "American cars are bad line" because you are lemmings. A mob of lemmings.

Posted by: John | October 9, 2008 10:46 PM

John, I agree.

The Washington Post should not allow readers to post comments. Doing so reveals what a pack of illiterate, ill-informed slope-heads are reading their publication.

These people are mocking GM when they themselves can't so much as construct a decent English sentence.

GM has made mistakes, but they have improved hugely. The semi-literates here in the States would rather burn the house down than dig a bit for the up-to-date-recent facts.

Posted by: Peter | October 9, 2008 10:51 PM

Sure, let GM fail, and let us all take the poisoned laced kool aid. Maybe we should look at some alternatives if things get so bad bankruptcy is in the cards. This industry is the single largest driver of our economy. We have lost predominance in steel and other major industries, and the loss of a major component of that industry would be catastrophic. A nation of consumers that don't produce will not long survive; guys, we are not going to make it on software development alone. Besides, the Asians are driving us out of that market. Get a grip.

Posted by: ChuckB | October 9, 2008 10:54 PM

Repubs had majorities in all branches of govt for six straight years and did nothing about freddie and fanny. What stopped them? Who stopped them? Yeah, McCain loves to quote himself on something he conveniently forgot all about when his party had the leverage to do something about it. Oh, and BTW the federally mandated low income loans account for less than 25% of the sub prime loans that have led to this mess. There is plenty of blame to go around on the current crisis, being partisan about who's fault it is shows that you are blinded by sports team loyalty to your party, not the country.

BTW, the two greatest peace time periods of govt growth and debt were the Reagan and Bush Jr years. If you are truly conservative and want small government the Republican party is not for you.

Posted by: Bif | October 9, 2008 10:55 PM

To those who say Toyota workers make just as much as UAW workers, that's absolute rubbish.

To those who say that GM and Ford today are producing lemons or rolling gasoline bombs, utter, that's rubbish, too.

I'll bet most of you making these claims are liberals, too.

Let me ask you this: which auto companies are forced to operate under the New Deal labor model? Which companies have, for decades now, been subject to the labor agreements, pension arrangements, health care benefit schemes and so forth demanded by liberals and the Democratic Party?

If you believe in the Democratic Party and the great concern for the American worker, if you believe you are a champion for the little guy and blue-collar America, you disgrace yourself if you are not driving on Detroit steel because you are a hypocrite.

Posted by: Ken | October 9, 2008 11:08 PM

Hello all,

Although I currently do not own a GM product, I am looking into a Cadillac CTS. I closely follow the automotive sector and many of your comments, remarks and rebuttals are riddled with gross errors.

On Quality: GM's Oshawa assembly plant has always been at the top or top 2 production sites in N.A. In fact, it was recently awarded the JD Power Founder's award for assembly excellence.

You may also recall that Buick was tied for 1st place as the #1 brand in Initial Quality for the fewest problems per 100 vehicles. Yes, read it again, better than Honda, better than Toyota, tied with Lexus. So please do not state that they are unable to build quality product. It is an inaccurate statement.

On Product: GM has recently been overwhelmed with fantastic reviews of their latest models; Buick Enclave, Cadillac CTS, Chevrolet Malibu et al.

On the front of Fuel Consumption, I am often amazed at how public perception can dummy so many. We are blinded to the point of fatuity by a comment of an ill-informed peer. General Motors currently employs more fuel saving techniques than ANY other manufacturer. In fact, they also provide MORE VEHICLES THAT RECEIVE 40 MPG THAN ANY OTHER AUTOMAKER!


For large Trucks (GM’s 1500’s are the most fuel efficient, more so than Toyota’s), please reference the innovator's dilemma-- the actions GM took then were to maximize profit in an environment where consumer’s requested that want. It was GM's responsibility to their stakeholders to operate in that manner. The trends have shifted, as have GM’s with their upcoming vehicles all Small cars or Crossovers.

So where are you getting your data, where is your evidence. I feel it would do many of us a great favor to read The Unconscious Civilization by John Ralston Saul (1995).

Our biggest issue is the disinterested individual, and by this I mean one who does not have ulterior motives, has simply gone away. We are not making decisions to better the whole, but rather to only improve our own self, and operating well beyond our means. Look at our housing crisis, our spending trends, and our economic environment.

It's not that the economists' advice hasn't been taken. It has, in great detail, with great reverence. And in general, it has failed (Saul).

This is also not to say GM is perfect, but for many of you to present a perceived knowledge when none exists is simply wrongful.

In ending, Socrates: "Let no day pass without discussing goodness."

Posted by: Prof. Sustainability | October 9, 2008 11:10 PM


check out these links for more on the Toyota workers:


Posted by: Elizabeth | October 9, 2008 11:16 PM

Why is it that so much negativity is drawn against these companies. The american automobile industry is massive, and employ literally millions of individuals. 1 in 30 Americans in some way works for the automotive industry.

Yes, Detroit profited largely during the good times. The good times for them was really good. Unfortunately, the bad times have been really bad. The cost structure that is in place for these companies is horrendous. During times of economic growth it was hard to expand and adapt quickly to industry change.

Raw material costs, labor costs, fuel costs, energy costs, health care costs, retirement costs have all squeezed the companies.

Now many of you blame all of these things on these companies. They have no room to compete on many levels such as health care. Health care is a non issue for many companies because that cost is picked up by the government derived from higher employee taxes.

Posted by: DCSGuy | October 10, 2008 12:33 AM

Yes, that's right, DISGUSTED. I have one question to all the bashers of the Big Three. If one or more of the automakers goes out of business,where will your children get their part-time employment? If such a catastrophe happens, could this not bring about the collapse of businesses such as Burger King, MacDonalds,Wendys or even the corner stores, gas stations and mall stores. I pray that each and everyone of the.."Hurrah, the automakers are failing", mentality are prepared for the day when their children can't find employment due to the loss of those off-shoot jobs brought about by the auto sector. How many kids actually become Doctors, Lawyers etc? Somebody has to afford the services of those above-mentioned careers and if people aren't workin' nobody is hirin' Oh yeh, the depression couldn't happen again. Rrriiight?

Posted by: Disgusted citizen of N.A. | October 10, 2008 9:52 AM

My new Chevrolet 4/4 CK pickup gets 20 MPG.
My wife's 3rd Lesabre (Buick) gets over 30MPG @ 140,000 miles and no serious problems that GM didn't attend too.
Why buy foreign (dumping price or higher) and get the same or less mileage. True GM has steered the public in the past but most of the time the consumer dictates the type of vehicle. The big SUV market grew because of "safety and power". E.T Home!

Posted by: E.T HOME | October 10, 2008 12:44 PM

All I Buy Now Is Hyundai's

Just Look At The Hyundai Genesis it Gets 18/27 MPG On It's 3.8 V6 And 17/25 MPG On It's 4.6 V8 And There Rear Wheel Drive :):) And Only $32,250.00 Before Rebates And No Recalls To Speak Of,, Like Ford And GM.


FORD & GM Are 3 Year Cars , After That You Can Take Them To The Junk Yard

Screw Ford & GM With There Junk Gas HOGS
Let Them Fold
End Of Story :):):)

Posted by: Me | October 10, 2008 3:37 PM

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