• Dec 10th 2009 at 4:20PM
  • 40
Nine days ago, we posted about Michael Richards getting Susan Docherty's old post at General Motors, brand manager for Buick-GMC. Today, he walked away. According to The Detroit News, the official (yet still unofficial) reason is that Richards' previous employer – Trinity Automotive in Austin, TX – made him a very strong counter offer. Though it seems to us that Trinity would have made the counter offer before Richards packed up and moved north, and we've also heard rumblings from Detroit insiders that there's more to this story than meets the eye.

Whatever the actual reason for Richards' abrupt departure, Buick-GMC is currently without a leader. Chevrolet is in a bit of a better position, even though just yesterday its vice president and 31-year company vet Brent Dewar suddenly retired. Dewar was appointed to his position in July by ex-CEO Fritz Henderson, who just resigned/was outsted from GM... nine days ago. Dewar was immediately replaced by Jim Campbell, Chevy's Fleet and Commercial Operations manager.

It seems mostly obvious to us, that both Richards and Dewar's sudden departures have to do with Henderson leaving. Because honestly, it sure as hell ain't the weather outside the Renaissance Center. As for Richards specifically, it must have been odd and unsettling to start a new career on the very same day that the guy that hired you exits stage left.

[Source: The Detroit News]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      If they can't find anyone, I'll be their CEO. Hell, I'll do it for a paltry 300K a year :)
      • 5 Years Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      Ah the joys of restructuring.

      Good...get as many people out of GM that were around during the collapse.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Hmm...I thought he was. Oh well...my mistake.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Are you referring to Michael Richards? I don't think he was around then mate.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Gee, nobody wants to work for Govt. Motors. I wonder why?

      Mmmm, Mmmm, Mmmm

        • 5 Years Ago
        Did you miss a three letter acronym. :) ?





      • 5 Years Ago
      Remind me to not submit my resume to General Motors.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Saw GM cars at the San Francisco Auto show and many look surprisingly good. CTS sport-wagon and SRX (seems to be a taller version of the CTS model), Chevy Malibu, and Equinox/GMC Terrain smaller SUVs look good. Buick LaCrosse is much improved, too.
      Chevy Traverse/Buick Enclave siblings ideal for larger SUVs.

      Still, I wouldn't buy a GM vehicle because Honda is more solid--both the cars and the company. It'll take several years of superior service for GM to be on many peoples' shopping lists. GM has disappointed its customers too often in the past.
      • 5 Years Ago
      It does seem odd how so many seem to be jumping ship. Or how “Trinity Auto” (yeah I live in Texas and still said “Who”) can give someone a more lucrative deal than GM could. Seems odd to me.
      • 5 Years Ago
      It's Trilogy, not Trinity Automotive (which doesn't exist).
        • 5 Years Ago
        That makes much more sense. Trilogy seems to be fairly large software company for automotive OEMs and they probably could offer Richards a competitive offer.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Go back to basics. Sell each individual brand. Bigger you are, Harder You Fall or in your case FAIL.
      • 5 Years Ago
      They must be in bad shape if they couldn't keep ex-CEO Fritz Henderson a former head of the most hated corporation (AT&T) running the show, lol!..seriously why keep Buick instead of Pontiac?
      • 5 Years Ago
      Who can say why this guy left, I'm sure the truth will come out eventually.

      But just a couple of observations:

      First, this Government Motors nonsense is getting old. I understand that some people (including myself) are upset with how much money is being spent to keep these companies afloat. But, really, what was the option? Should we have let them go under even as the Chinese build up their car building capacity? I suppose these Republicans (and I was one until the Bush administration) would rather that we let GM and Chrysler destroy themselves so that we would have only imports and Ford as options. Would America have been better off with hundreds of thousands of blue-collar autoworkers heading to the homeless shelter? I'm really not sure what you would have done differently because the Republican party really never offered any alternative. It's unfortunate, but in my view, there really wasn't an acceptable option other than what we did.

      And for all the naysaying about government involvement, GM and Chrysler are WAY better companies than they were before the government got involved. If we'd left it to private industry, these companies would be extinct. Let's keep in mind, after all, that it was GM and Chrysler who went to Washington BEGGING congress to buy them. I'd much rather take my chances having the government run my healthcare than having Rick Wagoner at the helm, that's for damn sure. I know we'd all like to think that when left alone, private industry does a better job than the government. That's certainly the heart and soul of capitalism. But, hate to break it to you guys, in this instance, capitalism failed. Spectacularly. And the government was left to pick up the pieces. Don't rant and rail at Obama: It's the bankers and the CEOs that made this mess.

      And on the subject of American car quality: Look, I'll be perfectly upfront in saying that I own a Honda. An SI, in fact. And honestly, I didn't have a choice because the American choices were so awful. Yes, the Cobalt SS is a faster car in almost every regard, but have you ever sat in one? Compared to the Civic, it feels like a cheap rental car. Clunky shifter, boat helm for a steering wheel, dreadful ergonomics. It's a terribly designed car. I was appalled at how cheap the interior of the Caddy CTS-V feels. Sure it's fast, but few people well-heeled enough to buy one are going to choose that over the much better designed German imports. There's no doubt that American cars are improving. The Malibu is really quite a great car and I would certainly choose it over the new Accord (if I ever became mentally ill and wanted a car that size), but in most segments, they have a long way to go before they catch up to their imported counterparts. At the last auto show I went to, just looking at the faces of the convention goers as they sat in a Dodge Challenger or Charger told the story: Everyone looked like they were about to puke. Kias were getting better reactions than anything Chrysler had designed. KIA!

      My last point: No American car company produces a good, small car. Which is unfortunate because in the present economy, that's what's selling. Sit in a Cobalt or Caliber and then sit in a Mazda 3 and then tell me which car you think people will walk away with. American car companies have largely ignored this entire segment, ceding it to importers while focusing on trucks, SUVs and other gas guzzlers. Well, big cars don't sell anymore. Incomes are down and gas prices are up. The meek shall inherit the Earth. If American car companies want to compete, they have to get serious about small cars.

      Ford gets this and the Fiesta is a very important car. Chrysler never understood this, so they gave us the Caliber and the PT Cruise. Yuck. The jury is out on GM. The Cruze is an important car, but given its archaic suspension architecture and its still-too-large size, I think Ford is the only dog America has in this fight. At least, until Fiat brings the 500 over.

      Mind you, I want to see American car companies succeed. But they've made awful decisions in the recent past (and the not-so-recent past) and they're reaping what they sow. If people think Americans make bad cars, well, it's because for a very long time, we did. And there's a price to pay for that. Is it changing? I'd like to think so. It seems to be. But it's way too early to go patting them on the back.

      Long, sorry. But had to get that off my chest.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Musta been part of the Tiger Woods mess... and fact that General Motors is now Govmnt Motors because of bailout rules...

      (This is the same Government that underfunded the popular CASH FOR CLUNKERS program, and wants to run our HealthCare)

      Howabout an AD with TIGER in the backseat of a BUICK with a lot of BABES? Hehehehehe
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