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June 2nd, 2009
09:55 AM ET

GM CFO: We admit errors in the past

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="GM CFO Ray Young tells CNN's Kiran Chetry that General Motors will learn from their mistakes."]

GM’s bankruptcy is viewed by many as a failure of historic proportions. GM’s chief financial officer says he views it as a once in a lifetime opportunity. GM CFO Ray Young spoke to Kiran Chetry on CNN’s “American Morning” Tuesday.

Kiran Chetry: Under the restructuring plan, the government will give the company $30 billion additional in taxpayer money, amounting to $50 billion so far. It's the largest amount, besides AIG, dolled out by the government. In a nutshell, can you explain what went so wrong for General Motors?

Ray Young: Kiran, we admit there have been errors in the past that we’ve made at General Motors. We’ve had a lot of extra excess costs, excess capacity over the years. We’ve got…defined benefit obligations that have really hurt us in the balance sheet. But going forward, Kiran, we're going to learn from our mistakes. And we’ve been given a once in a lifetime opportunity to restructure the balance sheet, to shed a lot of our extra capacity, extra costs, and move forward with a profitable new General Motors that’s going to be smaller but more focused with four core brands and with a cost structure that is very, very efficient.

Chetry: Can you explain to the American public how you're going to do that? How you're going to get back on track. Do you plan on being able to eventually return the billions in taxpayer money?

Young: Well clearly, with four core brands, we’re going to be very focused in terms of our product development and our marketing dollars. We're going to shed our extra capacity or our excess capacity in order to bring down the break-even level of our cost structure. But we're going to be very much focused as a product and customer oriented company…a lot of investments in this area, in terms of advanced technologies. Our intent is to return this investment by the American taxpayers both in terms of the loan they’re providing to us as well as the shares that the American public will initially own in the new General Motors.

Chetry: How do you convince people who doubt GM’s ability to compete and to get people to buy your cars in the future?

Young: Well, if you take a look at the last 60 days after President Obama gave us the June 1st deadline, it’s an example of how fast the new General Motors could move. In the last 60 days, we negotiated a historic UAW labor contract. It gets the labor costs in the United States close to the transplant levels here in the United States. We did the same thing up in Canada with the Canadian autoworkers. We basically negotiated with the bondholders and worked with them on an arrangement that we could emerge from bankruptcy…with their support. We negotiated an arrangement over in Europe, an MOU with Magna, in order to restructure the European business. We were able to accomplish a lot in the last 60 days, which is indicative of what the new General Motor is all about. We’re going to move quickly, we’re going to fast, and we’re going to take a lot of risks.

Chetry: Speaking of risks, one of them could possibly be the Chevy Volt. This is the plug-in hybrid you guys are touting. Reportedly, the retail price is $40,000. If you contrast that with the Toyota Prius, that’s selling for $25,000. One "Washington Post" columnist said it's a lot to pay for altruism. How do you stay competitive with a car like the Prius if your Volt is going to be several thousand dollars more?

Young: Well Kiran, we haven't talked about the selling price of the Volt yet. What we're working on is the battery technology, bringing down the cost of the vehicle, going through the learning cycles. We think the Volt is going to be a revolutionary vehicle. It's not a hybrid vehicle. It's an extended-range electric vehicle. We have a lot of confidence in this product, a lot of confidence in this technology. We actually think it’s going to be revolutionary in both the U.S. and global markets.

Chetry: When you start firing up these new cars, the new models, are you going to use these shuttered U.S. plants or are you going to continue to make a lot of the models overseas?

Young: Well right now, 2/3 of the vehicles that we sell in the United States are built in the United States. We made a commitment in the last UAW negotiations that we would reopen one of these stand-by or idle facilities in the United States to build a new small car for the United States. We have a commitment here to build in the United States. Going forward, we'll see a new small car here. This is an example of our commitment to the United States, a commitment to America.

Chetry: Do you have details about the sale of Hummer?

Young: We've been negotiating with three potential buyers of Hummer. The Hummer brand and some of the Hummer assets. We've reached an MOU. We're actually very, very pleased with this arrangement because we will be able to continue the Hummer brand with this purchaser and also maintain production here in the United States.

Chetry: Will you tell us who?

Young: We're not disclosing the name of the purchaser at this point in time.

Related: GM deals Hummer to Chinese buyer

Filed under: Business
soundoff (332 Responses)
  1. Arkie

    GM's attitude about quality was like the childish rationalism "let's not do it and just say we did". Their problem got worse when they actually began to believe their own propaganda. They are incapable of building a quality product and ,even worse, the inability to produce quality doesn't bother them.

    Hypothetically, if they could begin to build reliable and durable vehicles it would be several years before they would regain the trust that they have abused for 40 years. Unfortunately, they don't seem to have changed their attitude and, even if they did, they don't have several years to perform such a turn-around.

    Now they are trying to appeal to American's patriotism and loyalty in order to sell their trash. There are 2 problems with that marketing approach. First, they want to move their factories to Mexico and overseas so they would no longer be American made. Secondly, they haven't shown any loyalty to Americans who have bought their junk so comsumers don't feel any obligation or loyalty to them.

    June 24, 2009 at 11:27 am |
  2. Marshall

    Who is to blame:

    Democrats: supporting extremely selfish labor union contracts

    Republicans: supporting totally selfish executive level pay

    Labor Union Leadership: supporting their own excessive pay at the expense of the membership while strong arming totally excessive labor contracts.

    Auto Manufacturers Leadership – Greed and lack of Vision

    As GM and Chrysler begin cutting dealerships, the most significant potential loss of jobs from this total demonstration of Greed. The average dealership employs 125 people. With over 5000 dealership cuts projected over the next 12 months by these two manufacturers, the total number of jobs at risk exceeds 650,000. These dealerships have supported their local economies for decades / generations and are not to blame for any of what is happening today, yet they have become the collateral damage in it all. If GM leadership had managed its business as well as these dealerships have run theirs, they wouldn't be in this situation today. How many of these dealerships pay their top executives the way these two companies did? None!. And if the labor unions had represented their membership as fairly and honestly as these dealerships have their own employees, perhaps the number of GM workers losing their job would have been significantly less too.

    What this whole thing demonstrates is how parisan party politics being influenced by special interest can destroy entire industries and systems. The time is NOW to follow the lead of the very first president this United States and kick ALL political parties out of our lives. This very wise man once told us "Issues Fuel Debate, not Political Parties". The most important issues are not being debated due to this partisan party politics. There is far more at stake than just the auto industry that is being negatively impacted by partisan party politics. If you have any doubts about my assessment of George Washington's view on this , I ask that you read and truly study his "Fairwell Address to the Union". It truly is one of the most important documents from our founding fathers.

    June 5, 2009 at 10:46 am |
  3. Charles

    I think it is stupid period to design, plan and produce a car (I'm referring to the Chevy Volt) and not DISCUSS THE SELLING PRICE as quoted by Ray Young ! This is just riduclouis.
    As for the goverment backed 5 year 100,000 warranty according to an e-mail I got today 6-4-09 from Troy Clarke President GM North America it will only apply to cars purchased between March 30 and July 31, 2009 excluding Saab.
    Sell the Hummer, an AMERICAN ICON "you got to be kidding". After dealers have invested millions into dealerships to sell these AMERICANS ICONS and GM has spent millions in training and advertiseing on a 3 year run of the H-3, this is riduclious.
    Pontiac GONE, I don't think so! All GM has to do is keep building Pontiacs and rebage them CHEVY, Buick or Cadillac, nope, I won't fall for that one. Time will tell the tale on this one.................
    Just stop and think:
    GM has bankrupted its-self and now with these wild ideas it can only bankrupt AMERICA.
    The " Heartbeat of America" is now The" Bankrupt of America" and if this bail-out dosen't work then GM will be The "Deadbeat of America".
    I won't even go into the 20 million dollar retirement package given to the former CEO Rick Wagoner who's leadership found GM in dire straits.

    Chevy Volt, RIDIUCLOUIS:
    Take the smoke from the exhaust pipes and create smoke from the power stations smoke stacks.
    How can an electric motor run without creating OZONE?

    I don't like to be negative but at this point I see nothing positive that GM is doing for the exception of Ray Young driving a Hybird car, which makes one wonder WHY?

    June 4, 2009 at 10:05 am |
  4. TOnyS

    Steve June 2nd, 2009 3:14 pm ET wrote.....
    Obama should:
    1. Set a $15 minimum wage + a $5 Social Security/Medical add-on.
    2. Begin hiring “every body and his brother” into the new GM.
    3. Expand GM’s charter to include road re-building, manufacturing, etc
    4. If private companies fail because of high labor rates, let them go.
    5. Revert tax rates back to the 1950’s (90% for upper incomes).
    6. Slam shut America’s borders to non fair trade countries (i.e China)
    7. Set CEO wage limits for all companies that sell stock (10X lowest)
    8. Raise taxes on all business entities.
    9. Insure all citizens have at least a $15+ job (and everyone works!)

    Your insane, that's the dumbest thing I think I've ever read on these forums. Your plan woulf cause inflation to skyrocket and cause normal pricing to be outrageous. You $15.00 an hr would only serve to buy a happy meal since everyone at Mc Donalds will now make $15+ an hr, not to mention you just taxed them for half if not more of their measly profits which means they WILL increase prices to make up for it...... Nice going you just made me pay $25.99 for a Big Mac meal......

    June 4, 2009 at 9:25 am |
  5. TOnyS

    For Timithy... Again get your facts right...

    In 2006, the Wall Street Journal's Detroit Bureau Chief Joe White said "The EV1 was a failure, as were other electric vehicles launched in the 1990s to placate California clean-air regulators." [20] GM believes that the electric car venture was not a failure, and that the EV1 was doomed when the expected breakthrough in battery technology did not take place within the anticipated timeline[21] In fact, the NiMH battery packs (or Ovonic Battery) that were expected to dramatically improve range came with their own set of problems; GM had to use a less-efficient charging algorithm (lengthening charge times) and waste power on air conditioning to prevent the battery packs from overheating.[22] In addition, the elimination of the CARB environmental mandate that led to the car's creation was a potential factor in the program's cancellation.

    June 3, 2009 at 4:37 pm |
  6. Timothy

    "Actualy, it wasn’t hush hush, and they killed it because
    a. There wasn’t a big demand for it
    b. It was only required in CA and then CA legislature changed the rquirments and the EV1 was no longer needed."

    Actually, there was a pretty good demand for it in California (Aka where it was tested in the market.) There WAS a good demand, until GM went to each and every one of the people who were test-leasing the vehicles, and pointed out every single flaw in pretty successful attempts to get them to not to buy the car. A company trying to not make money? Insane.

    Also – They heavily protested the CA legislature and even lobbied against it. As we all know the design of a new car such as the EV1 would logically be the most expensive part of making a car of the nature. After completely designing the car, and having it on small product lines, why would they kill their own car? I'm sure it had just as much demand as one of their other broken vehicles.

    Why don't YOU get your facts straight before trying to "Flame" me for "Not knowing mine."

    June 3, 2009 at 1:40 am |
  7. Mark

    Patrick, Of course the price has been discussed internally. It just hasn't been decided. What's the point of deciding on the price this early before its actually being sold. GM executives have previously stated the $40,000 price range referred to in the interview

    June 2, 2009 at 7:14 pm |
  8. President Obamaaaaaa In The House!

    AH HA HA HA HA! Suckers! I run GM now!

    Hummer? Sold it to the Red Chinese!!!
    Pontiac? It's being packed up and loaded on to ships bound for Cuba!!!
    Saturn? North Korea!
    GMC? Iran!

    Mid-term and next presidential elections? Already paid for!

    And as for Ford: Just you wait. I'm coming for you next. I'll teach you some respect.

    June 2, 2009 at 6:54 pm |
  9. Amy

    d-lew: I am in total agreement with you on how the union worker rapes and takes advantage of their job "security" and I never walked an auto factory, what I have witnessed was within the food industry union and a union that was at a local HVAC plant. The arbitrator at the HVAC plant was a friend of mine and the stories he told me of the people and their behaviors that got them into arbitration were atrocious. It was my friends job as union arbitrator to go to bat for these thugs, drunks and outright users so they could keep their job and continue drinking on the job, sleeping on the job and taking two hour long breaks if they felt they deserved it. I was appalled my friend would even go to bat for those type of people but he was amply paid to ... by union dues.
    Tara: My flag went up yesterday, the same day GM died.
    Does the union realize that if they were to actually go on a strike (which the union hasn't walked like that in a very long time) that there are 50 people willing to work for a fifth of what one union worker makes, granted they may require a little bit of training but like it is said many times above my comment it doesn't take much more than a GED to know when and how to push a button, and add into it that those people working for a fifth of the wages are probably happy to have a job they will do it to the best of their ability.
    For some unknown reason, union workers believe they are elitist and simply cannot be replaced in the blink of an eye. Funny thing that is because I know of a man who is buying up companies that have union employees, shutting down said companies he purchased, forcing the union out and re-opening the doors 90 days later totally free of union taint.

    June 2, 2009 at 6:53 pm |
  10. Dean

    Jim in Ohio is the only person that got the answer right. Its not about big vs small, not about built here vs there, its all about healthcare in the US.

    June 2, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  11. bill b

    Yugo?Fiat?Renault? yeah america wants small fuel efficient cars!!!!! Huh!

    June 2, 2009 at 4:58 pm |
  12. Rick

    Steve: If everyone is making $15/hour what use is there for a lot of college degrees? Seriously though. Im an engineer making way more than that but i know a lot of kids that have business degrees and they are making about 35K a year starting which is about $16.90 an hour if you do the math...This leaves very little reason to pony-up the 6-50K a year tuition for a business degree when you are basically starting at the same place that you would FOUR years PRIOR to graduating college. Which would actually mean that you might advance financially quicker WITHOUT attending college than by attending college. In fact, about the only reason to go to college at that point would be for some sort of engineering, science, or other starting high paying job. You make no sense. We are trying to become a more inteligent human race...not less....

    June 2, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  13. Lawlz

    The Heartbeat of America has flatlined.

    The very fact that GM could waste their money in advertising instead of pouring it into Research and Development like their Japanese and German competitors shows a true disconnect from the reality of their situation. They began selling the "images" of vehicles instead of actually selling automobiles. That's what advertising is: not the product, but the spin on an image of that product. If you go back and count the number of commercials by brand from the 80s to present, I'd be willing to bet that you would see American Auto-Maker ads as being more prevelant than their foreign competitors. Why? Because actions always speak louder than words and while GM, Ford, and Chrysler were busy TELLING you how great their cars were, Toyota, Honda, and Nissan were busy SELLING great cars, silently. You always have to watch the quiet ones. Americans are waking up to the fact that the image you are shown on a screen IS NOT the reality of the product they are depicting. Advertising, by nature, is dishonest. Americans know this when they flip to a different channel during the commercials 'breaks.' We are tired of being lied to and GM has been lying to the public and themselves for decades. It's a shame that it took so long to catch up with them.

    June 2, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  14. uncle sam

    Perhaps some of short sighted people submitting comments should step back and look at the big picture. I live in america not europe or japan therfore i will continue to support an AMERICAN company whether the product is produced here or not. The american economy is what affects me directly, so if you enjoy your lifestyle the way it is then i would suggest you do the same.

    June 2, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  15. don

    For the most part, GM gave up on building cars 20 years ago and became a truck company. It's been years since I've seen a GM or Chrysler commercial for something besides a pickup.

    The only GM car that I would consider buying now is a SAAB.

    June 2, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  16. BC

    We Americans as a society are truly amazing, we have been trained by
    the media and the advertising agencies to always want the biggest the
    newest the fastest and the flashiest. The biggest house and the fanciest car, I could go on. At the same time we all want to make $100K and buy everything for less at Wal Mart. These two goals are a bit incompatible.

    Those that are castigating GM now for poor past decisions would do well to remember that up until April of last year they couldn't build SUV's fast enough. The other car makers as well because that was what we wanted. Both Toyota and Honda jumped into the full size pickup market. Sure the management made mistakes but over the years they built some beautiful cars remember the Chevelle, Corvette, Cutlass and GTO, the Mustang and the Barracuda. We would also do well to remember that not all of the imports were all that wonderful, witness the early Hondas and Toyotas that rusted out before they were off the boat and the VW's that ejected their occupants.

    GM can probably build small fuel efficient cars profitably but we will have to buy them, driving a tiny car sounds good until you have to pass an 18 wheeler on the interstate or enter heavy traffic. We Americans have to decide what we want.

    June 2, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  17. Rick

    Eric O.: The Volt is a hybrid by definition. So before you start saying other people are ignorant you should know your facts. It is the same basic principle that Apterra has been working on for years. An engine that is basically a generator. understand that there is huge costs involved in developing technology like this. Also, there is no reason to have TWO kinds of hybrids on the market. They already have the more common form of hybrid that they use for the Tahoe, and now they are developing a plug-in hybrid...WHY?

    June 2, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  18. Robert W.

    "Why would I want a volt when: The electricity is generated by dirty coal?" -- Where I live we have a lot of nuclear power. I can't install one of those in my car. We do not import much coal from other countries as far as I know and solar and wind technology are getting better all of the time. I drive 20 miles to work and 20 miles back. With a 40 mile range on the battery I might use a quarter cup of gas if I go to the store. I'll be charging it when the grid is at lower usage at night. Later on maybe the gasoline engine can be replaced with hydrogen fuel or even a fuel cell. Emissions are near zero from the car itself. The motor is far less complicated then the standard ICE, meaning less maintenance (no more oil changes, spark plugs or spark plug wires and most electrics are air cooled). Can you imagine the impact on the environment?

    June 2, 2009 at 3:50 pm |
  19. wjohn1428

    I worked as a non-union contractor in a major GM plant for two years. Without taking into account the cost of their contracts added to the cost of the vehicles, the day-to-day time-wasting rules they had negotiated (and bragged about) were the antithesis to a work ethic most of us in this country bring to their jobs without complaint every day, and none of them seemed to know how the rest of the world works with ethical labor or fear for their jobs. This was two unions, not just the UAW. They wouldn't have been worth minimum wage and no benefits for these time-wasting practices alone. There were few examples of work ethic in thousands of line workers at the plant. Overpaid executives are a thin excuse by comparison. This was the mid-1990s and one plant, but I can't forget what I witnessed. My 2005 Silverado had a bad intermediate steering shaft. The replacement part came out in 2003, but hadn't been installed on production trucks by 2005. However, I had a Toyota Corolla that had a bent shifting fork. I was able to drive the truck to the dealer. I had to leave the Corolla in another city and ride a bus home. I had a small Nissan truck that would hydroplane and spin on anything but perfectly dry pavement. It was a deathtrap. I buy American after experience with VW, Nissan, and Toyota. All foreign manufacturers sold me unreliable or poorly designed cars and trucks. There is no free ride. I don't have a clear preference at this point. Caviat emptor. It's GM's turn to rebuild from ashes. It happens to everyone.

    June 2, 2009 at 3:47 pm |
  20. To president Obama and GM.

    My comments are directed to whoever is in charge of GM now as well as President Obama.
    Both of you need to stop talking long enough to read a few comments as well as listen to the American Taxpayers.
    If you will please read the numerous comments made here today you will begin to get an idea of what the American people think about GM. As well as exactly what we expect for our HARD EARNED TAXPAYER DOLLARS all 50+ Billion of them.
    This guy Ray Young Obviously does NOT get it. With him its all the same old rhetoric we’ve heard from GM for decades. Mr. President do all Americans a favor and get rid of this guy NOW. PLEASE!
    If GM does what he is talking about then we have just thrown 50 BILLION + dollars of taxpayer money down the toilet.
    The very first thing GM should do If it wants American Customers ever again is to start closing Plants in OTHER countries rather than here in the U.S. If GM intends on building cars and trucks in other countries and selling them here Then you’re in for a shock because Americans will NOT BUY them. Is that so difficult to understand? We the Taxpayers have had it with that “Plan” If We the taxpayers are footing the Bill Then Keep our Plants open and our workers working. You can talk all around this issue BUT we the American people aren’t buying anything GM builds until you start proving to us that you are AMERICAN! And That you stand behind Americans Not just with your words but with ACTION.
    You can BOTH talk all day long about Unions and contracts BUT this is what will make a difference to the taxpayers who are footing the bill for GM.
    This is after all OUR MONEY you are using Mr President.
    The second thing GM needs to start doing immediately is to scrap all the so called Ideas they have for future autos. GM has proven beyond a doubt they are currently incapable of understanding what the American auto buyer wants or needs. A Prime example of this is when the Chevrolet VOLT was first shown a couple of years ago everyone loved it. They loved the styling and design. BUT when it got closer to being actually built it was a completely different car.
    The thing they are now planning on building will be a complete disaster Just like the Pontiac AZTEK was. Remember that thing No one wanted but was tauted by GM as being HIP and cool. WRONG! Thousands of Americans have already made it clear the VOLT is UGLY and in fact many pre orders have been canceled for that very reason.
    Unless GM gets its head out of the sand Wakes up and Hires some new people who actually have fresh ideas about what they should be building. And actually have some idea of what American want and need And can see it through to the factory floor And build it with the same IF NOT better quality than any of the Japanese or European competitors and do so at a price that directly competes with the competition as well as a warranty that is just as good or better No ONE will even bother to walk into a showroom much less pay for one of GM’s cars trucks or anything else they build.
    It’s up to you to STOP just pretending like you hear us and actually listen for a “CHANGE”
    We WILL BE WATCHING and It is our Money after all. Every single dime of it!
    If you plan on making a “new” GM then do it right. This will be your only chance.
    Keep our Plants open, Keep our American workers working and build something we’ll all be proud of for a real Change.

    June 2, 2009 at 3:20 pm |
  21. Steve

    The American, capitalistic, system has been dead for two hundred years. It's just that no one knew it. It never made money or improved the average person's life until the post World War II era. BUT, it wasn't the system the made Americans wealthy. It was that fact that the economies of Europe and Asia were ruined by the war and the USA was the only viable and intact manufacturing entity that could provide goods. Hey, talk about a "no-brainer" to accumulate wealth. The top 2% were able to pay a little more to keep the bottom 98% in check. But now, things are different. These regions, Communist and Socialist, have developed manufacturing capabilities that are reinforced by strong protectionist centralized governments. Guess what, they're beating the pants off of us.The top 2% have done a good job in getting the bottom 98% to beat up on each other (see above comments) while the money continues to be concentrated in fewer and fewer hands. THE AMERICAN CAPITALISTIC SYSTEM IS
    DEAD. The top 2% and the portion of the 98% they've been able to convince to agree with them will try to save, resurrect, whatever to keep the system in place. But they're efforts will be futile. They will attempt to "rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic" to, somehow, "make it all better again". BUT it ain't goin to happen. People are starting to realize they (and their children) have no future in this country other than stark poverty and servitude to the rich.

    Obama should:
    1. Set a $15 minimum wage + a $5 Social Security/Medical add-on.
    2. Begin hiring "every body and his brother" into the new GM.
    3. Expand GM's charter to include road re-building, manufacturing, etc
    4. If private companies fail because of high labor rates, let them go.
    5. Revert tax rates back to the 1950's (90% for upper incomes).
    6. Slam shut America's borders to non fair trade countries (i.e China)
    7. Set CEO wage limits for all companies that sell stock (10X lowest)
    8. Raise taxes on all business entities.
    9. Insure all citizens have at least a $15+ job (and everyone works!)

    June 2, 2009 at 3:14 pm |
  22. AlexV


    1. people buy cars that are better in quality / price scale. It is impossible create image without substance in the market where everybody use and judge models every day. Crash test results, reliability surveys, customer satisfaction surveys - were they cooked for last 20 years?

    2. Cost of work. Yes, in America it was high (will no more). Now Chinese and Bulgarian workers do the same cheaper. It would be stupid blaming them or Globalization per se. Blame America and American worker / technologists / designers / managers who loosing intellectual advantage USA had in last century....

    June 2, 2009 at 2:49 pm |
  23. Tom from Atlanta

    You all remember these comments in November 2010 and November 2012; you get Two-Two-Two chances to thank Mr. President, Madam Speaker and the rest of 'em about putting GM on your shoulders.

    On the other hand, I look at the companies I, a "typical" taxpayer, now have in my portfolio and it's quite an impressive list : GM, Chrysler, AIG, CitiBank, Bank of America, more impressive than my 201, er 401(k).

    June 2, 2009 at 2:45 pm |
  24. Steve Osen

    I have yet to read a positive comment about GM, UAW or the bailout. Maybe CNN should print all comments and send them to GM CEO and all the top 4 levels of management. Then send them registered mail to Obama. I don't think GM will have to many management people committed to reading these posts to see how their "new owners" feel about this mess. I doubt the president or congress really cares either. Lets send all these comments to every member of congress. Lets have every registered voter send comments to the White House and each Rep/Sen . Lets make a difference – we have the WEB and the USPS and lots of cell phones – lets use them

    June 2, 2009 at 2:44 pm |
  25. Rono

    Bob June 2nd, 2009 1:46 pm ET

    "Rono — Not to argue, but there is a night and day difference between the Volt and Prius, not just semantics. Despite the fact that the Prius gets great gas mileage, that has more to do with aerodynamics and being a sub-compact. Its use of a traditional mechanical transmission and drive train takes the worst parts of traditional ICE vehicles and mates it with the worst parts of an electric vehicle. About all the electrical part does is help recover some lost power from breaking, allows the use of a smaller gas engine because the electric motor is used to augment total power to the wheels (for short periods of time), and allow the engine to turn off when stopped. The lack of plug-in charging means we have no chance in breaking away from oil imports, and continue to be tied to liquid fuels."

    That is mostly correct, but the Prius does run only on electricity as it is a true hybrid. It can start rolling on electricity as long as there is sufficient charge. The Malibu "hybrid" is as you speak, only a partial hybrid, where some power is drawn and stored from braking, etc, but the car can not start from 0 on electricity alone. (which begs the question of why Ford can build a Fusion hybrid, which has been very well reviewed, while GM tries to foist the Malibu off as a hybrid and charge a $5k premium for it?) Yes the Prius isn't a plug in and the Volt is, which can be an advantage, especially if the cost of electricity remains relatively low. But there are still questions, when you are at work, can you plug in somewhere and if so, who pays? What this means is that there is no infrastructure and no policy to support plug-in electric vehicles outside your garage. The Volt mitigates that by having a gas engine, but if your running out of power a lot and you have no place to plug in, your back to square one. Conceptually the Volt is a good idea, and if the market buys in, GM might do ok with it, but I think there are a lot of issues that wil come to light once people start driving them, that will keep it a niche vehicle.

    June 2, 2009 at 2:42 pm |
  26. Zoltan

    Some of you folks complain about losing the American way of life if GM is not saved.

    Well, guess what: I don't want to pay for your way of life if I need to buy you a gas guzzler. Thanks, I have a better idea how to spend tax money. One idea would be to educate you about the environment, global warming, and limited natural resources. If you need fuel for your SUV, feel free to burn your own dollar bills!

    June 2, 2009 at 2:41 pm |
  27. Dumb Guy

    The board and mgt should be fired. Get rid of the unions, and build cars at a realistic price and offer US people jobs and everyone one will be happy (excpet the UAW). If they continue like they want to, they will be dead before they ever lift a finger or start a production machine.

    The board, mgt and the UAW dont see it. Sad that all of them make more money off the car than GM itself does. The shareholders are being robbed, very sad. New shareholders as of this week and they are already being robbed!!

    June 2, 2009 at 2:39 pm |
  28. Saab Owner

    If this whole thing lets them sell off saab and have it become a respectable brand again then so be it. Saab went downhill after GM took it over.

    June 2, 2009 at 2:34 pm |
  29. Obamahood

    You all know that this destined-to-fail bailout will cost way more than $50B, right? Not only Obama and the worthless unions fleecing us now, but their actions will fleece us later. We are not sending the right message to the rest of the world. We don't let the big boys fail, we pump them up with US citizen tax dollars. Seriously, if I was a big shot foreign investor, I'd think twice about the US right now.

    If you want a perfect example of a failed socialist experiment, just look west to California. Is this what Obama considered 'change?' I'm heading for hills.

    June 2, 2009 at 2:33 pm |
  30. Mike

    Marketing genious international destroyed the American automobile business! Using a spring board like the environment, amongst others, was a great way to get the American people to buy foreign!

    Slogans like " a really realiable car " easily get embeded into peoples brains whether its true or not.

    It's not just greed –

    American cars are more expensive becuase American autoworkers get paid more than than the overseas competition. The competition can lower their price tag because they simply don't have to provide health care and other benefits to their workers.

    Qualtiy –

    I have have had many more problems with my Camry than my Silverado. both are 10 years old and have over a hundred thousand miles on them. You're going to have problems with any vehicle you own eventually. Thats just the way it is.

    Just my 2 cents....

    June 2, 2009 at 2:31 pm |
  31. Enough

    In reading the comments above one gets the impression that many of the writers have a sense of revelry over the demise of huge American corporation. This group of people is overjoyed at the opportunity to vehemently attack the president's "socialist" (please, this tactic is getting old fast) agenda, auto workers, and unionization in general. Nevermind the fact that many of these workers are extremely proud and diligent employees, perform a job that most Americans would never do, and are merely trying to provide for their families in tough economic times. If the benefits provided to the UAW are so great compared to other professions, I would ask why more of you did not choose the factory life as a career path?

    Here in Michigan many people are struggling from the collapse of the automotive giants, not just the folks directly associated with the corporations. As a nation we need a viable working class employed in manufacturing. We all should be hoping and pushing for a successful manufacturing base instead of kicking our neighbors while they are down.

    June 2, 2009 at 2:30 pm |
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