In an odd turn of events, a David Brooks column that I almost completely agree with:
There are many experts who think that the whole restructuring strategy is misbegotten. These experts think that costs are not the real problem. The real problem is the product. The cars are not good enough. The management is insular. The reputation is fatally damaged.
But if you are in the restructuring business, you can’t let these stray thoughts get in the way of your restructuring. After all, restructuring is your life. Restructuring is forever. Restructuring is like what dieting is for many of us: You think about it every day. You believe it’s about to work. Nothing really changes.
When the economy cratered last fall, the professionals at G.M. went into Super-Duper Restructuring Overdrive. In October, they warned the Bush administration of a possible bankruptcy filing and started restructuring. In December, they came back asking for a loan while they … (wait for it) … restructured.
One thing I do take issue with is that American cars are all bad. I just don’t agree with that premise. I had a 1983 Chevy Celebrity that I bought from my grandmother’s estate while I was an undergrad, and that car drove every day, reliably, for 24 years. Beyond changing the oil every couple of thousand miles, some new tires and a battery here and there, that car was a gem. It had a great engine, got decent (for the time) gas mileage, started no matter how cold it was, and never once broke down. I loved that car and would own another one in a heartbeat. Sadly, they don’t make it anymore.
I’m sure there are people who have had miserable experiences with American cars, and I have no doubt that there was a time period where American cars were inferior. I know my father will go to prison before purchasing another Chrysler ever after an experience with a Chrysler wagon in the 80’s, but I think American cars have gotten a bad rap the past decade or so.
Having said that, my mother, sister, and I all drive Subaru wagons, my brother has a Toyota Corolla, and my father drives a Honda Pilot. I guess we just hate America, although my brother-in-law does own a Harley.
One other thing I think about regarding what I believe is the imminent demise of GM. years ago, it was not uncommon in certain regions of WV for there to be only one car dealership, and everyone in the area drove either a Ford pick-up truck or a Chevy pick-up truck, and part of the regional identity was whether or not it was a Ford or Chevy area. You would see hats that said “Ford- Fix or Repair Daily” in Chevy areas, and vice versa. I don’t know how much that has changed the past couple of years, but I wonder if it still holds true. Certainly WV can not be the only place that was like this.