GM’s Ransom Note to America

With the president-elect, Congress and the current White House divided on how or if American taxpayers should save the domestic auto industry, General Motors is taking its case directly to the public with this video and accompanying web site. More threat than appeal, the message, in a nutshell, is "Do it, or else."

On gmfactsandfiction.com, the reeling giant "Tells It Like It Is":

From plants to parks. From dealerships to driveways. From gas stations
to grocery stores. What happens in the automotive industry affects each
and every one of us. In fact, the collapse of the U.S.-based auto
industry wouldn’t just impact the more than 239,000 Americans directly
employed by the Big Three. One out of every 10 people in America is
employed in a service that is related to the U.S. auto industry. If a
plant closes, so does its suppliers, the local stores, the hot dog
vendors, and the local restaurants.
The effect would be devastating in ways of which you never have thought.

Writing your congressperson yet? Well what are you gonna do now that your "suppliers and dealers" can’t get credit? Who’s gonna keep you supplied, man?

In all seriousness, while its fate is on the minds of many, New Yorkers included, GM may not be helping its case here. Rather than inspiring confidence that the company would put taxpayer dollars to good use, the "Facts and Fiction" campaign reeks of desperation and even paranoia. (See the web site’s "Submit a Myth" widget: "If you’ve read or heard something about GM we’d love to know about it so that we can have an opportunity to address it.") Again revealing itself to be two steps behind, GM doesn’t seem to have caught on to the fact that Americans are currently more receptive to change than fear mongering.

So that’s the problem, huh? Think GM can’t change? GM can change, baby. Just give GM another chance.

  • the car industry makes me mad for lots of reasons. especially the american car companies. as my co-worker often says, “you did this to yourself man.”

    this is not to fault the workers of the companies, who i sympathize with a great deal.

    but the people who make the big decisions – “you did this to yourself.”

    for years, american consumers have been patronizing american car companies, many out of nationalistic loyalty and pride. the stark reality is: they make crappy cars. period. ford, chrysler, chevy, GM… all of them, continually score worse on reliability tests than their japanese counter parts. they’ve also drug their feet when it comes to joining in on the fuel economy debate, only now getting in when it promised to be trendy.

    when they start making cars that are worthy of the american public’s patronage, then they are worthy of a bailout. they make an inferior product. no one to blame but themselves.

  • Dr Knox

    Well, GM workers did protest legislation that would have raised CAFE standards in 2002: “Higher CAFE Equals Wasted Resources”, “America Means Choice”, “Put Consumers First”. You can’t make this stuff up!
    There is obviously a lot of blame to go around. The federal government, Congress, automakers, consumers, …
    A major reality check seems necessary. For the automakers AND the public.

  • Steve

    While the big 3 had a (deserved) reputation for poorly built cars in the past on the whole that is no longer true. Survey after survey in the past few years show almost no difference in the quality rankings of “domestic” vs. “foreign” vehicles. Unfortunately, people just assume that domestic cars are not as reliable as the foreign built cars are because that’s how they were in the past. So many don’t even consider a domestic when they’re in the market.

    As far as fuel efficiency, yes, they should have planned better. But the next time you’re on the road look around and note how many SUVs and minivans and trucks you see around you. So the American car buying public is just as much to blame, the car companies just built the vehicles that people wanted to buy.

    And no, I don’t work in the auto industry. But I also don’t want to see several million jobs disappear and the country thrown into a major depression, which is what would probably happen if one or more of the big 3 were to go bankrupt.

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