Bail Them Out: Save Detroit

Right now my friend Liz is having a heart attack. Based on the post title she’s probably already walked away from the screen, but give me a minute y’all. I haven’t gone socialist on you.

I’m just really tired.

I was at the LA Auto show in 2008 and I had the pleasure of meeting Scott Monty. I’m not a Ford fan, per se, but I’ve owned them and I wouldn’t be opposed to having another if they were the best product for me, at the best price (and price includes convenience). In fact, part of me wants to own a Ford so I can go into a dealership and be all, “Yeah I know the dudes that pimp market these cars.” Also, they gave a 2010 Mustang to a soldier, and well, it was like a Hallmark Card. I’m easy that way.

GM then comes on the scene (and by scene I mean Twitter) and they’re saying stuff like, “If you want to see the bailout stimulus plan, we have it on our website.”

Here’s the glitch with Twitter. I’m asking questions as I’m reading, so at page 21 I read that there are alternate fuel plants in Brazil. Being me, I get pissed. Let the Brazilians bail them out.

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GM responds, not with great lovin’ at first, but soon they warm up to me. We move from icy to wary. I tell them I have a ton more questions, and they suggest I read other bloggers.

Huh? Thanks dudes.

Then I get a message later on, and finally a phone call. I’ve had time to read the whole stimulus appeal. I’d suggest that you do too.

I don’t have a sense from the phone call that GM has a great plan in place, that they’ll be successful, or that our generation has a Lee Iaccoca. Here’s what I did get from the phone call.

GM is a mostly a bunch of guys (and gals) just like me. I think they’d like to be good neighbors, I believe that they’d like to be more sustainable (both fiscally and environmentally) and they appear to be casting a wide net.

Much like all of us, in these uncertain times, they’re trying a whole bunch of stuff and hoping the cream rises to the top. Maybe two or three work and two or three can be called experiments?

GM was late to the party with Hybrid technology. They admit it, but they’d still like to sit at the table with the big kids. They’re mostly into hybrid tech with trucks. To be fair, trucks are completely off my radar. I don’t want a Tahoe, I want to be able to smile and say, “Geez, I’d love to pick your kids up, but I don’t have the space. How about you do the driving and I’ll crack open a glass of wine to reward you?” *Don’t knock it, it’s a no fail tactic*

Here’s where the real success is.

I like them. Not ooooh, I think that Cadillac is great. I like the guys I spoke to at GM. I think they’re passionate, I think they’re fearful, I think they’re working hard, and I know they’re just like me. We had the discussion about the expense of raising kids and the need for a safe vehicle. We talked about inner cities and why investing in them is the duty of a large corporation.

I like that they weren’t afraid to tell me they didn’t particularly care for the eff word. It made them authentic, I like authentic.

I appreciate that GM provides jobs for tens of thousands of people. People who are just like you and I.

I’m not going to talk to you about the stimulus package and why I think it works, and why I know it’s flawed. I won’t tell you that I think that GM should get my money, but I can’t tell you that they shouldn’t.

Here’s my challenge to you all today. You read the plan. You make your own decision. They’ve been late to two very important parties (hybrid tech and social media), so they’re socially awkward, but sometimes it’s good to let folks have a chance.

Read the plan here
Follow GM on Twitter

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Comments 8

  1. You know, I think GM has always just been the fat kid who hung out with the lunch lady. Now that they’re trying to trade in the candy bars for carrot sticks, who are we to say they’re wrong? I just really hope they can work it out and produce great and sustainable cars, because Jebus knows that big honkin’ Yukon I drive around (occasionally, mind you) the eco-friendly city of Berkeley is not cutting it.

    Time to downsize!

  2. It’s too late not to bail them out because of the ripple effect. The govt. missed the boat in a big way by letting the housing crisis get out of control and then trying to tackle it by giving the money to banks and such. Even Obama’s 75 billion isn’t going to fix what has already happened or keep too much more of it from occurring.

    Jobs need to be saved and that means bailing out Detroit: good plan, bad plan or no plan. We are so stuck.

  3. I’ll admit… it’s hard to say “Don’t bail them out”, when suddenly “they” become more than just a “Big” company in the north somewhere. When you realize that these are people just like you and I.

    I look at it and ask, “What if I worked for GM?”

    And I always come back to the same answer. The reason that the nation is in this mess is because the government (an entity) is being used to assist in the emotional aspect of this nation. Bail this person out, bail that person out, self-righteously saying “look at all the individuals we are helping” – when we are truly crippling the individual and the economy by doing so. The government is not supposed to be emotional — that is our jobs as individuals to be emotional.

    What is going to happen is that i don’t have a choice in the matter of who I’m going to help. What if the money that is taken from me through coercion (under which a normal person would be jailed) is money that could pay my father-in-law’s medical bills? Or help them pay for their rent (he has stage 3 colon cancer and can’t do chemo because his kidneys have failed)? And, frankly, it isn’t the government’s job to do these things. It is my job as his family to help out with medical needs or debt caused by medical needs. That’s not counting my mother who also has medical problems.

    I said all of that to say this — I, frankly, don’t care what they plan for the future. I was in Houston during the Enron failure and saw a ton of people laid off. And most of them found new jobs elsewhere. They may have had to change professions or move to another city — some even started their own companies (imagine that, human ingenuity providing a service that was a result of their loss of a job) but things weren’t as bad as that.

    The fact is that if you keep doing the same thing expecting different results — you’re insane (according to Einstein). We can’t keep pumping more and more dollars into the economy and expect it to continue working. I’m at the point that I don’t even save dollars — I go out and purchase gold, or silver, or something that isn’t going to depreciate in the next six months.

    But, I’m a heartless bastard…

  4. They are socially awkward because they are a bunch of engineers with pocket protectors. With the exception of Cadillac, GM isn’t a particularly sexy company. But I am hoping that when the Volt launches that will change that! While they have been so behind their curve, I still think that their success is crucial.

  5. I hope the Big 3 make it through this. I would NEVER buy a honda or toyota! I have always had American cars (except for a VW Rabbit). I bought an Chevy S-10 new in ’03 and loved it. I love Jeeps and after buying a ’95 Wrangler YJ, I traded in my S-10 for a new ’06 Wrangler TJ. I never had a problem with the TJ in the 3 years (and 45,000 miles) that I had it. Changed the oil, oil filter and air filter, that was it! I never even took it in for service! I only traded it in because I needed somthing with that would seat more than 4 people. I just bought a Chevy Colorado crew cab and I love it (I wish I could have kept my TJ too). I will NEVER EVER buy a japanese or korean car (I see plenty of them broken down on the side of the road, just because it is a honda or a toyota, it doesn’t mean it is bulletproof, nissan has had MANY recalls in recent years). BUY AMERICAN!!

  6. Oh, yeah the old Jeep YJ, when I bought it it had 89,000 miles, I changed the oil and filter and the head light switch then I drove it without ANY issues. Also, since I had to trade in the TJ my my wife gave me the green light to get a used Jeep so I got a ’92 YJ.

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