New York Times: Obama “dictating” GM’s direction
Posted by danishova on May 3, 2009
This is from the latter half of a Times story entitled, Chrysler’s Fall May Help Administration Reshape G.M. – a point which is not well-clarified, but I digress:
The huge federal stake in G.M. — even if temporary — means that for all of Mr. Obama’s protests that he is a reluctant investor, eager to fix the company and sell the controlling interest ( hoping for a hefty profit), he will be judged by whether his plan actually works.
If you believe that Obama is a “reluctant investor” I have a bridge to nowhere to sell you.
Mr. Obama has said repeatedly that he is not an automotive engineer and has no desire to pick models, engines, factories or corporate governance structures. But while he may not be choosing automotive designs, he has already started dictating the company’s direction.
That speaks for itself.
The president has made it clear that G.M. must produce small, fuel-efficient, low-carbon-emitting cars — steps G.M. has taken only haltingly. Its vehicles range from the Cadillac Escalade, which gets 12 miles to the gallon in the city, to the experimental Chevy Volt, an electric car that it says will go 40 miles gas-free.
In other words, GM must produce cars that no one wants, and that he himself will not ever have to ride in (because Libs always exempt themselves from the rules they impose on the rest of us).
Members of Mr. Obama’s auto task force say that even after the government owns a majority of the company, it will have no role in management. That, they say, will be farmed out to professionals, the work supervised by government-appointed members of a new G.M. board.
The fact that the government is only appointing “professionals” to the board to do its bidding, and not directly involved in the day to day operations is a mere technicality. And how many of those government appointed “professionals” will be affiliated with the U.A.W.?
But at some point, some task force members acknowledge, the drive for profitability is likely to collide with Mr. Obama’s fuel-efficiency and low-emission goals. G.M. produced heavy gas-guzzlers because they were among the most profitable in its line and, for a long time, the most popular. It is unclear whether smaller cars can be as profitable — or, for a few years, competitive with offerings from Toyota and Honda and a raft of inexpensive cars under development in China.
When the plan fails (which is the inevitable result) Obama will claim he “inherited” the problem, and will blame recalcitrant Americans who refused to “sacrifice” and buy dangerous sardine cans to drive their families around in.