Monday, March 30, 2009

Solid as a Rock (that has been crushed)

Blinded by the light(weight truck sales)
via The New York Times

I don't think I can remember a time when an American President or administration told two of the previously most prestigious of American companies what to do and how to do it. In the Trudeau era, Canadian governments seemed to always be throwing conditional monies at companies like Dome Petroleum, Bombardier or De Havilland and twenty years later it would be hard to say any of that money did any good.

What am I suggesting? Maybe that in twenty years time Chrysler will be a small niche player and General Motors will have been broken into parts and consumed by others to disappear into History's dustbin. No matter what happens, the photo above will be seen as endemic to GM's problems. Their ousted chairman seen surrounded by a variety of trucks. In other words, a severely wrong product line. A product line that was essentially different skins on one platform and that platform was pegged to a weak financing and credit model, faddishly oversold, and dependent on a strong construction industry. All the while they destroyed plans and prototypes for progressive designs and ignored all of the people in the world not buying trucks or SUVs. Let's not even mentioned that GM has been crippled by pension and health care costs that would have been significantly offset if the American government had provided that most evil of services to it's citizens, "socialized" medicine. National healthcare wouldn't have helped GM's sales of course, or made them more innovative or efficient. Then again, in the end, neither innovation nor efficiency could save Beth Steel and that pretty much looks to be the case of GM.

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