Well, they sure have gotten desperate, haven't they? Today GM released a letter to the American people explaining their mistakes of the past years, along with what they plan to do with a possible bridge-loan. It's no coincidence that this is due to the negative response country wide from congressional constituents. On a FOX News poll, over 70% of those who answered said they did not want to see a "bail-out" or "bridge-loan" of billions of dollars to the auto industry. The letter is pretty effective, as it specifically spells out some of their mistakes over the years. However, does this really mean we should still bail them out for 30 years of mismanagement and poor product? You make the call.
I figured I'd take the time to come out with my own idea of what the auto industry should do to reform its ways.
True GOP's 4-point Plan
-Produce Quality Vehicles
Reform the way Americans perceive domestic brand automobiles. Get creative and bring back some of the great looks that lead people to them in the first place. The easiest way to attract someone to a vehicle is with a flashy look. Spend time coming up with quality interiors. Spend time coming up with quality body styles. Don't settle for the old look that worked before. Continue to lead the field, rather than follow.
Overhaul the engine quality and efficiency. For too long the auto industry rolled out SUV after SUV without paying attention to rising oil prices. The American people want common sense vehicles that are still fun to drive. Focus production toward hybrid cars and crossover vehicles. The future of America is not going to rely on gas for $1.55 a gallon. America has the best workers in the world, let them lead the world in technology and production.
-Reorganize Top-End Management
Rick Wagoner had his chance to shine, however, throwing out the top CEO and replacing him with a person from the government is not the right choice. Leave him in there to get them out of the mess he contributed to. Consolidate management by eliminating positions that overlap. This will make management decisions more smooth and will reduce the budget for the top-end management structure. Cut Wagoner's pay - when times are tough we all need to make cuts.
-Restructure Deals With the UAW
Everybody needs to make a living wage. However, when someone with a high school education works on an assembly line they should know that wealth is not in their future. The UAW has crippled the auto industry with renegotiation of contracts at their mercy. While it's true that they haven't received a penny that the companies didn't give them - that doesn't make it right. Ron Gettelfinger needs to continue on his word that he will restructure deals with workers to make wages and benefits competitive with other automakers.
Consolidate plants and dealerships that overlap. Toyota sells just as many vehicles as GM with 1/3 of the dealerships. Dealerships don't need to be found within 15 miles of each other. Consolidate these dealerships and cut costs of vehicle transport and wages. Also, plants that overlap in production and purpose need to be consolidated into one functional, efficient shop. Parts makers, window makers, and vehicle assembly lines make up a huge part of the infrastructure in the Midwest. The consolidation of these companies will cost jobs, but cutting a percentage of jobs is much more beneficial than cutting all of them if they were to fail.
General Motors is in a lot of trouble, along with DaimlerChrysler and Ford. Common sense consolidation, restructuring, and reorganization will lead the U.S Automakers out of this - not taxpayer money.