Sunday, June 25, 2006

Why General Motors is Full of Shit.

When I read the news about GM's fall -- the loss of thousands of good paying jobs, the loss of worker's pensions, and all the rest of the bad news the company has heaped on the backs of blue-collar and middle-class America during my lifetime -- I honestly have to balance it with the rest of the ongoing saga of the mega-carmaker.

This is a company that has only recently begun the process of evaluating the role of its managers and executives in a series of incredibly bad marketing and consumer-related decisions.

Yet, this is a company that I get sentimental about when I remember that they built the first car I ever drove. A 1971 Chevelle SS with a 350 V8 engine that squeeled the tires if accelerated while moving at 60 mph. The guys called it "cherry." The girls said it was "tuff."

And it got an amazing 30 mpg on trips to school when Dad had it tuned up.

Many will say that's because in those days, there was no pollution control on the motors, thus making them more efficient. Bullshit. Pollution controls were coming up in the 60s. In fact, we almost didn't get this model because it had a smaller engine than the '67 we were looking at (it had a 396 V8), and the pollution controls. Dad said that would probably make it run like shit in a couple more years.

Actually, it ran like one mean sonofabitch until the guy who bought it wrapped it around an elm tree out on Rt. 52 and killed both himself and Myrtle, my little green Chevelle.

But wait a minute. GM's latest marketing gig is to brag about how many of its 2006 models get a whopping 30 mpg. Consider that, weighed against my dear Myrtle, and you have one great reason to tell all of Detroit to simply go fuck itself.

American-made cars should be getting 50 mpg today. No fucking kidding. That should be a typical car. Instead, GM got sidetracked whorring to morons who got erections watching the Humvees tool around during Operation Desert Storm, and spent loads of its resources making and promoting one of the stupidest looking vehicles I have ever seen.

Now in its third generation of stupidity and excess, the H3 is the smallest Hummer ever made! And it's still too fucking big, heavy, dirty, and gas guzzling (and under-powered) to be GM's centerpiece vehicle. Yet GM has spent billions on the Hummer.

GM counters by saying that they built what the market wanted. Brilliant. Blame the consumers. Using GM's logic, they should go in and fire those miserable fuckers who build Hummers. That's right. Start with the ones who have busted their asses for you for 30 years. That ought to send a message to those young guys coming up behind them in the ranks. But that would just follow GM's logic.

They should fire the short-sighted, moronic bastards in the marketing suite at the top of their glitzy tower in Detroit who assured the other executives that spending billions to gear up for new parts and plants was going to return their investment many times over. Just look into the cost of getting a new auto design into the plant, and you'll see what I mean.

Know what? Automakers should be building what we need for now and tomorrow. And that ain't a big mother like a Hummer, or a 4-door luxury pickup truck aimed at a special brand of Collossal Dickhead who doesn't even need a truck.

Has GM ever done anything like this? Oh, yes. Remember the Opel Kadet? GM spent billions on that, too, then spun Opel off into oblivion to build superior cars for the European market. They said we didn't want them here.

Frankly, I don't remember a single Opel ad during the time they were being sold as the redheaded stepchild of the GM dealerships. While we're talking about GM's overseas ventures, let's talk about Diesel engines.

They're making some whoppers for the UK market, some of which rival the muscle engines of the '60s. But you can't find one in a U.S.-made car. I guess that's because we don't want Diesel cars here. Maybe we don't want Hydrogen fuel cells and other Buck Rogers 2020 promises, either.

Nobody wanted another Yahoo when Google came around. There was Yahoo, Lycos, Alta-Vista and a host of other search engines. Google made a better search engine and narrowly focused on that, and it instantly dawned on internet users that what they really needed was a better search engine.

When you put all the pieces together, it is no wonder that Google is today 100 times the market cap value of GM, once the world's largest corporation.

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