• Jul 29, 2006

General Motors chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner chose to fill us in on GM's turnaround progress via the company's FastLane Blog, a soapbox usually reserved for one Bob Lutz.

GM's chief reiterated some of the statements he made earlier in the week to the business media, spinning away a second quarter loss of $3.2 billion by focusing on the company's success in cutting the ranks of hourly workers, promising June numbers in terms of retail sales and market share, and building up an enviable product pipeline including the nation's "most affordable hybrid SUV" in the Saturn Vue Green Line, the sold-out Pontiac Solstice and Saturn Sky, and the scene-stealing Chevrolet HHR.

While the ship might not have done a complete 180 yet, it's well on its way, Wagoner says.

[Source: GM FastLane Blog]



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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 31 Comments
      • 8 Years Ago
      I think I'm going to start a "GM Deathwatch Deathwatch" and keep it going until Farago folds his ridiculous column.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Mikesright:

      Your friend Wagoner is a career man at GM!! It doens't matter if his is the head-honcho or not. Even when he was an underling VP he had an financial and MORAL obligation to speak up and PERFORM!

      The state of affairs today is a DIRECT RESULT of "Rubber Stamp" mentality...a mentality ENGRAINED in the company culture.

      So of COURSE he brings to the CEO positon oa lackadasical attitude...one of "GOOD 'NUFF". I see NO evidence whatsoever of Rick being a "WORLD CLASS" leader...THROUGHOUT HIS ENTIRE CAREER AT GM!

      Bean counting is just that...

      One Cavalier, Two Cavaliers, Three Cavaliers...

      ...30,000 lost jobs here, 12 Plant Closures THERE...

      ...All the WHILE counting HIS MULTI-MILLION DOLLAR PAYCHECK.

      I stand by what I said.
      • 8 Years Ago
      #25 And you are left wing bomb throwing, commie loving latte drinking, tree hugging, god hating, I believe whatever the media tells me, I'll make peace with anyone even if they want to blow me and my kids up, brainwashed Al Gore voter.

      How do you like that? See, anyone can play that game Mr. Lowe. You are an idiot for suggesting that someone who made an ass of himself on this blog must be a "Bush voter". Name calling and guild by association are poor debating tactics. This is not a political blog, it's about cars so keep your silly uneducated remarks to yourself.

      Oh, by the way when are you democrats and libs going to give blacks any real power like the republicans have? I don't see any black democrats as Sec of State, NSA director, Sec of Education. Oh that's right, the republicans did! I don't see any black democrat candidates for Gov of Ohio, Gov of Pennsylvania, or the US Senate in Maryland. Oh that's right, they're republican candidates!

      You know it's like the whole domestic vs import thing. The dmestic supporters can't figure out why anybody would want to buy foreign. They got their heads stuck in the sand. The rest of us look on in amazement at why they can't see it. You just can't understand why people would support Bush or any other republicans. You just won't believe that people would vote that way so you make excuses, "they must be ignorant rednecks", "it's becuase Karl Rove is such a genious, he pulls the wool over the voters eyes", whatever. You fail to see the problem is YOU and your fellow democrats. Why is not only the federal government, but most of the governorships, and most of the state houses republican? Why is America's biggest city run by a republican? Even lib-land California elected a republican governor because that pathetic loser Gray Davis screwed things up so bad.

      You need to look in the mirror to see where all your problems lie. Then you need to change. Just like GM. Maybe then, IF you can get the voters to trust you they will vote you into office again. But until you realize that the problem is you, you will continue to say people like me are brainwashed, uneducated, whatever to make excuses as to why you can't win elections.
      • 8 Years Ago
      #25 And you are left wing bomb throwing, commie loving latte drinking, tree hugging, god hating, I believe whatever the media tells me, I'll make peace with anyone even if they want to blow me and my kids up, brainwashed Al Gore voter.

      How do you like that? See, anyone can play that game Mr. Lowe. You are an idiot for suggesting that someone who made an ass of himself on this blog must be a "Bush voter". Name calling and guild by association are poor debating tactics. This is not a political blog, it's about cars so keep your silly uneducated remarks to yourself.

      Oh, by the way when are you democrats and libs going to give blacks any real power like the republicans have? I don't see any black democrats as Sec of State, NSA director, Sec of Education. Oh that's right, the republicans did! I don't see any black democrat candidates for Gov of Ohio, Gov of Pennsylvania, or the US Senate in Maryland. Oh that's right, they're republican candidates!

      You know it's like the whole domestic vs import thing. The dmestic supporters can't figure out why anybody would want to buy foreign. They got their heads stuck in the sand. The rest of us look on in amazement at why they can't see it. You just can't understand why people would support Bush or any other republicans. You just won't believe that people would vote that way so you make excuses, "they must be ignorant rednecks", "it's becuase Karl Rove is such a genious, he pulls the wool over the voters eyes", whatever. You fail to see the problem is YOU and your fellow democrats. Why is not only the federal government, but most of the governorships, and most of the state houses republican? Why is America's biggest city run by a republican? Even lib-land California elected a republican governor because that pathetic loser Gray Davis screwed things up so bad.

      You need to look in the mirror to see where all your problems lie. Then you need to change. Just like GM. Maybe then, IF you can get the voters to trust you they will vote you into office again. But until you realize that the problem is you, you will continue to say people like me are brainwashed, uneducated, whatever to make excuses as to why you can't win elections.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I'm sure all of you guys could do much better.
      gkz
      • 8 Years Ago
      "ever" seen... sorry
      • 8 Years Ago
      #24 When are EVER going to pass a bar exam and finally get a job instead of living off your parents
      • 8 Years Ago
      And let the GM bashing begin...
      • 8 Years Ago
      Raoul, some do and some don't, but you get my point that it's time to finally kill off the UAW:

      The effects of parasites on their hosts depend on the health of the host, as well as the severity of the infestation. In diseased, old, or poorly-fed individuals, parasite infestations can be fatal, but parasites do not typically kill their hosts, though they can slow growth and cause weight loss. Some plant parasites do kill their host and then live on its decomposing remains, and certain species of hymenopteran insect are parasitoids, whose larva feeds within the living body of the host, eventually killing it. Some parasites, such as Sacculina, castrate their host by infecting its reproductive organs. Cuckoos are brood parasites, and they lay their eggs in the nest of another bird species, evicting the eggs that were there and leaving the young cuckoos to be raised by the parents of the host species.
      • 8 Years Ago
      "I do not know ONE person who owns any non American car nor have I every even drove in 1."

      That's rich, JR, since you seem to pounce on nearly every import-related story howling "riceball," "Jap," and "fartpipe." Guess you'd rather be misinformed than have to challenge your assumptions...

      To stay on topic, though, I'm honestly quite confused by the controversy stirred up by nearly every post regarding GM. The deal is simple: some of their current products are very mediocre, others are very good, and they're making great strides with every product cycle. Are they building *better* products than the class leaders? Usually, no. Is management being fixed? By most informed accounts, not really. Will they turn in time to avoid the iceberg? With their recent progress, I certainly hope so, but most experts feel that it's already too late.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Has anyone else noticed that the American auto industry seems to attract the most incompetent executives? Wagoner, Ford.Nassar,Smith, etc..
      • 8 Years Ago
      Rastus, Wagoner was VP of ACCOUNTING when he was handpicked to lead GM. I admit he's not a very good "car guy," but he hired a real one in Bob Lutz to manage that aspect of the business. If you want to blame people for bad product at GM, you need to voice that to the three people that put Wagoner in this mess.

      1. Roger Smith-oversaw a pitiful product portfolio that took GM's marketshare from 45% in the 80's to 35% in the early 90's. Corner-cutting, not cost-cutting, was his legacy.

      2. Jack Smith-continued to corner-cut and invested $50 billion into robotics technology (which never panned out), and spinning off EDS, Delphi, and the FIAT disaster-all caused by him. He continued to cut corners for profitablity by cutting product spending.

      3. Ronald Zallarella (current CEO of Bausch and Lomb, which just had a disaster with eye fungus from poor product). Wagoner fired him because he sent products out like the prev-gen Grand Am, the old (before Lutz took off the cladding and put a new nose on it) Bonneville, and the infamous Aztek. He also managed a really f*ck'd up and redundant design process, which he fixed by firing him and redoing the structure and moving design up to the highest priority, and then placing Bob Lutz in to supervise and control it.

      Quality has now advanced under Gary Cowger to a close #2 overall, placing 11 vehicles as the most reliable (tied with Toyota for # of categories they are in). Also, GM is #4 in best productivity, a few minutes off of Toyota and Honda for 2nd place, all while they have had headwinds such as closing factories, cutting shifts, and the speed on the production floor, that decrease that speed #. In other words, they've gone from 22 hours/car down to the Japanese to being able to compete with anybody.

      Wagoner, to save the company, BEFORE the current crisis, raised spending heavily for product development, changed the structure of the organization to facilitate design better and cut costs, and now cut excess workers by buying them out to cut capacity and align better with what customers want by making the product they want instead of selling people on the product to keep a factory going. In roughly 6 years, he's changed GM around from an Aztek builder to producing the new Acadia, Tahoe, Aura, Corvette, and soon, Camaro, that people genuinely will pay a premium to own.

      Also, Wagoner has pulled off some smart business decisions, such as buying GM Daewoo, being #1 in China, despite being one of the last to invest there, and tying together GM's international prowess in design and technology to bring the new Zeta, Epsilon II, and Delta platforms to the US to better use its design budget. Also, the collaboration between Saturn and Opel will bring new, fun-to-drive, fuel efficient, and pretty vehicles from Opel here.

      As you can see, Wagoner is a better CEO than you or anybody gives him credit for. I doubt you or anyone else here could do those things under that much pressure and be as successful as he has. He had to take a redundant bunch of regional car companies and whip them into shape to become truly a world powerhouse. It's worked, and GM has continued to break production records ever since Wagoner came on. He's an inspiration, not a disgrace here. Why do you think Ghosn's interested in GM? There's a lot of value in them as a world partner!
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