Thursday, March 15, 2007

GM's Can't Do Attitude

Can General Motors successfully do anything other than sell behemoth SUV's that are moving toward extinction?

GM's CEO, Richard Wagoner, testified at a House hearing yesterday that it would cost GM as much as $44 billion to meet higher gas mileage standards Congress is considering imposing. He (and to be fair, other automakers) were there to oppose even President Bush's modest proposal to boost fuel economy by 4 percent a year over the next ten year, arguing they just can't get it done.

What bunk! GM has had 40 years--since the oil crisis in the 1970's--to come up with better technology. And yet they're basically selling the same thing now as they did back then--giant gas guzzling cars and trucks that aren't particularly well made and, by and large, aren't particularly stylish.

Fortunately for us, it doesn't matter that much what Congress decides to do--like it or not, GM will be forced by higher gas prices to compete on fuel economy.

If GM wanted to be a leader in the coming decade, if it wanted to show the way on reduced carbon emissions, it could do so. But that would take a corporate brain transplant from the can't do attitude that permeates its management today.

It's sad to see the American automotive industry continue its worldwide decline through a lack of leadership and innovation.

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