• Nov 12, 2008
In 2001, General Motors needed a revival and Bob Lutz was anointed The One. It was widely accepted that if anyone could breathe life into a struggling car company, it was him.
Fast-forward seven years, and GM is in the midst of a possible government bailout while its stock price sinks faster than a HUMMER's gas gauge on the freeway. It would seem that Maximum Bob's legendary straight-talking reputation for taking no prisoners and slicing through corporate red tape hasn't produced the results his supporters expected.

So if Bob Lutz can't save Detroit, who can? Steve Jobs, that's who. At least that's what Pulitzer Prize-winning Thomas Friedman says in his New York Times column. While some might be averse to the company, its products and/or its leader, Apple has made a ton of money while re-defining the computer, music and mobile phone industries. Isn't innovation what Detroit needs most?

What Friedman proposes is asking Steve Jobs to perform a "national service" for his country by taking reigns of one of Detroit's automakers for a year. The columnist has so much faith in the visionary talents of Jobs, he believes we'll all be lined up for a chance to buy a shiny new Chevrolet iCar. Or a JeepPro. Or a Mercury Lisa.

But we've heard in the past that Apple's CEO has been working for the other teams, so maybe Steve Wozniak could find some time in his schedule.

[Source: The New York Times via MacDailyNews]


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  • 68 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      Friedman can perform a "national service" and shut up.
        • 6 Years Ago
        ABSOFREAKINLUTELY!!!! Friedman is good at one thing and one thing only: snowing people. There is nobody better in perfecting the art of transforming absurd opinions and senseless ideas, into something that resembles high-minded thinking (at least for his sheepish, un-informed readers).
        I just can't believe crap like his gets published and his numbnuts followers would glow. Then, if a real expert would suggest somebody, like say...Ghosn, to fix one of the big threes, that opinion gets buried. What a whack job.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Mr Friedman is LUCKY that they don't RECALL Pulitzer Prizes... after writing extremely POOR articles. Tom is out of his element writing about the auto biz.

      Now I know where the term "NYC Know-It-All" comes from! Steve Jobs is ultra successful running Apple because his core knowledge (& passion) is computers.

      The hight of DUMB in Freedman's article? ... launching a new car model with a YEAR of total development! Even your beloved Toyota can't do that Tom!!! :( :( :(
      • 6 Years Ago
      The point of the article is well taken that Detroit needs a man like Steve Jobs who knows their industry and how to differentiate their products and make them desirable.

      Steve Jobs is one of a kind. However, Apple was and is still a relatively small computer company compared to the likes of Dell, HP, Toshiba, etc.
      Much different corporate structure and culture.
      If Steve tried to manage Ford or GM and their vast boards and red-tape, I agree that he would have a hernia, probably curse a few people out, and leave. (I saw him do it on "Pirates of Silicon Valley") :-)

      • 6 Years Ago
      What suprises me after reading all posts here, is how many people take things at the face value, without a pinch of abstraction and imagination.

      Seriously, is a pathetic re-take on a old joke "what if Microsoft made cars" everything you could manage?

      You judge Jobs' achievement only through your personal and highly subjective attitude towards Apple products and its business policies.

      But nobody can deny how Jobs changed Apple and other related industries. In 1997 Apple was dead company. Now it controls online music distribution, media player market, is third largest cell phone vendor in the world. Nobody forced people to buy Macs or iPhones.

      If Detroit had a 1/10th of Jobs managerial and business insight, we wouldn't have this argument.

      And as to outsourcing jobs to China.... EVERY major PC manufacturer did that and IBM sold its PC business to China altogether.

      BTW, this post was written on a Dell. Mac is in my studio.
      • 6 Years Ago

      What about putting Mullay in charge of all three automakers?
      • 6 Years Ago
      This is a Good idea..

      in 80s, Japan company dominated portable audiomarket.(eg, Sony Walkman, Panasonic, Aiwa)

      Nowdays, Apple iPod dominate portable audiomarket.

      "Yes, You can."
      • 6 Years Ago
      Apple just released the ipod durring the right time and ran a good marketing campaign.

      Apple still sucks.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Just split all the good parts of GM, For example worldwide Design, Manufacturing and name rights of all products past and present from the liabilities and let the rest go under, Including workers. Then start on a smaller scale again.

      It's a cold idea, But in these tough times you have to be cold to stay ahead. I would have no problems doing it.
      • 6 Years Ago
      If I kept a list of all the stupid things I've ever heard, that one would be right in the top 10.

      In fact, some of the aspects that have doomed Apple to be a niche player in the computer market are a part of the problems that automakers face. The difference that the big automakers can't possibly survive on such small market shares.
        • 6 Years Ago
        The difference ->is
      • 6 Years Ago
      Does anyone still take the NYT seriously?


      • 6 Years Ago
      The TRUTH of Friedman's article is the US auto industry needs to INNOVATE.

      This country needs new leaders in all corporate sectors. Our country will continue to decline if we have leaders who have no vision and who refuse to listen.

      It makes me think of a dysfunctional family where the bread winner is unhappy and being in this unhappy state of mind refuses to listen to the rest of the family who is yelling and screaming at him to do something different.


      • 6 Years Ago
      Steve Jobs turned company on the brink of bankruptcy into the industry leader.

      Jobs simply axed all time and money wasters - workforce and product-wise and came with a product everyone wanted - original iMac.

      He didn't write a line of code. He did it by managing Apple.

      Apparently, Detroit Three haven't had any competent managers for the past few years, this was Friedman's idea.
        • 6 Years Ago
        And by the way,

        Apple has $25 billion of cash. That would enable jobs to buy all shares of Ford and GM, GM's Tuesday market capitalization was about $2 billion...
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