Posts Tagged 'GM'

Is It Embarrassing to Drive a GM Vehicle?

Yesterday, I got back from a weekend road trip with 7 other fellow golfers.  We drove 222 miles north to the Bois Forte Band of Chippewa‘s Fortune Bay Casino‘s Wilderness Golf Course in Tower, MN.  In their “Top Courses You Can Play” ranking, Golfweek puts Wilderness as the #1 course in Minnesota, but Deacon’s Lodge (#4 according to them) is still my favorite.

Anyhow, we drove up in a Chevy Avalanche which Jerry described as the “most versatile vehicle on the road today.”  While it only got 13 miles to the gallon, it did fit three of us very comfortably with golf clubs, coolers, and suitcases piled in the back.  But, John summed it up best when he quipped “isn’t that company bankrupt?”  John drives a Honda Pilot.  JP laughed, he drives a Ford Explorer.

What makes matters worse, is that I too drive a GM vehicle that happens to be manufactured in Trollhättan Sweden.  That’s right I drive a Saab.  And, no, I don’t own a corduroy blazer with leather elbow patches either.  After GM’s bankruptcy announcement, I went to the Saab web site and the headline there was “Saab is not part of the GM filing.”  The period in that sentence seemed emphatic.  I think the Swedes would rather have said “Saab is not part of GM(period dammit!).  But, they can’t.  Apparently, a Chinese investment group just decided not to purchase Saab from GM.

So, how do I feel about driving a car from a manufacturer that even its own parent company doesn’t want?  I still like the car.  I like its unique styling.  If anything, I think that’s what Detroit has gotten wrong — making cars that look the same.  In fact, the latest Saabs have begun to look like just all the other sedans.  And, then they went an put the Saab badge on a Subaru Impreza and the GMC Envoy (Trailblazer/Bravada).  Are you willing to pay more for a Subaru Impreza because it has a Saab 9-2X label on it?  Why do they need three brands for the same truck?  Does anyone say “oh, I’d never be seen in an Oldsmobile Bravada, but I do like the GMC Envoy”?  It’s silly.

The other day I was walking out of a coffee shop and a thug yelled “German cars suck!”  I calmly replied, “good thing it’s not German.”  Most folks probably don’t know it’s Swedish let alone a GM car – and I like it that way.

Saab 9-3


Restructural Recidivists


There are two starkly different opinion pieces on GM in today’s New York Times – one written by William Holstein the other by David Brooks.  The former criticizes the Obama administration for removing Rick Wagoner as Chairman of General Motors, just when GM reaches the “high-water mark of revitalized American car design.”  I couldn’t help laughing out loud when I read those words, they were so absurd.  When Wagoner took the helm at GM in 1994, they had 50% of the US market.  Today they have 18% and continuing the erosion in the first two months of 2009, GM sales have fallen 51% while the industry declined 39%.

Brooks takes a more reasonable perspective and notes that GM has been “restructuring” since he took over.  Restructuing, he writes, is for GM “like what dieting is for many of us: You think about it every day. You believe it’s about to work. Nothing really changes.”  

This morning, GM’s stock is trading at 2.37 giving it a market cap of $1.45 billion.  How can anyone defend Rick Wagoner when this colossal failure is clearly at his doorstep?



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