• Sep 3, 2010
Steven Rattner, former automotive adviser to President Barack Obama, has just written a juicy account of last year's automotive bailout, complete with insights on the coming and goings of CEOs, courting foreign saviors and the General Motors plan to abandon its Renaissance Center headquarters. In his book, "Overhaul: An Insider's Account of the Obama Administration's Emergency Rescue of the Auto Industry," Rattner says that GM wanted to walk away from its expensive towers in downtown Detroit and move to Warren, MI. While the move would have likely saved the company plenty of money and lent the impression of a hands-on management approach, the Obama administration apparently refused to allow the move, saying that it would cause a double-digit drop in property values in the area.

There's also the fact that GM pays around $20 million in taxes to Detroit per year.

According to The Detroit News, Rattner also offered the GM CEO position to none other than Nissan/Renault head honcho Carlos Ghosn after Rick Wagoner was shown the door. Ghosn, who had previously sought a partnership between his empire and The General, politely declined the offer. How's that for a head job?

Even through all of the turmoil, The Detroit News quotes Rattner as saying that the automotive bailout is one of this administration's "unambiguous successes."

[Source: The Detroit News | Image: Neison Barnard/Getty for Fortune Magazine]


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  • 51 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      makes me even more proud to be a ford man, and drive a 2011 Ford Mustang.

      screw GM and Chrysler, buisnesses should be allowed to fail, i dont see the govenment making rent payments for me!!
        david schneider
        • 4 Years Ago
        I can't believe all you deficit hawks did not come out and assail Bush for spending $1 trillion on having jobs shipped out of this country. Why did you wait untill President Obama got elected then decide the Government should have no control in business. When Bush stole your Social Sedcurity of $650 Billion and you tax dollars of $550 billion of Tax Dollars to pay incentives to move jobs overseas, why were not raising hell then? For 8 years our jobs were being shipped overseas with the blessings of Washington. Isn't that governmental intervention? Just asking.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I don't find this unusual. It's not like the government types actually know what's going on in the auto biz. So they would just like names they perceive to be successful. I'm sure there were a few Dieter Zetsche's in there too (and he's lived in Detroit before!).

      It's like asking people "if they made a movie of your life, who would you like to play you..." Answer: Brad Pitt.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Carlos Ghosn isn't just someone who is *perceived* as successful. He has a proven track record of turning around failing companies. Nissan is only the most recent of his successes. He made such a difference in the fortunes of Nissan that he's achieved something akin to rock star status in Japan.
        He was willing to make tough decisions, slash costs and turn the company around despite its inefficient and convoluted internal structure. That's exactly the kind of leadership GM needed, so it made perfect sense to offer the job to Ghosn.
        • 4 Years Ago
        By saying he was perceived as successful I did not preclude the possibility that he is actually successful. What, like Brad Pitt isn't successful?

        I was merely pointing out that the people making this call likely knew so little about the actual situation that perception was the key, reality didn't matter.
      • 4 Years Ago
      So, Obama wanted to give away both American icons. Wonderful president.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Sure, you throw enough tax payers' money at anything and you can save it. Only a Democratic administration would refuse a major money saving idea the company wanted to do. Heaven help those home values of those campaign supporting voters in downtown Detroit. After all, what's more important, saving money or votes. Obama didn't save GM, the American people saved GM with OUR money. That wasn't Obama's bank account that was tapped, it was the money of all of us, the struggling American public who need help in MANY areas.
      Bill
      • 4 Years Ago
      What a disgusting person.
      • 4 Years Ago
      One would think that to declare Obamas handling of GM's woes an UNAMBIGUOUS SUCCESS, would be akin to the Umpire calling the game because of rain, before the showers start. Even with all the claims of sales on the rise nationally, it seems that locally all the dealers are of a far different opinion. One may be inclined to believe the positive reports if only to improve the mood, but the Media is so "in the tank" for the Administration, we've all come to doubt EVERYTHING they report. So don't bother with the BS. We expect the worst anyway.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Regardless of the extent or necessity, this whole government foray into business makes me uncomfortable. Companies should be free to choose their headquarters and their management, regardless of what the president thinks.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Yes companies not owned by the government.
        P
        • 4 Years Ago
        What the Obama administration did was illegal. I don't understand how they get away with what they do, hopefully they won't.
        • 4 Years Ago
        From what school of economics or business is your rationale from?

        If there had not been problems in the first place, there would not have been the need for any government to intervene, whether Obama's governement or any other for that matter. If the government had not intervened, GM was headed for "BANKRUPTCY" not to even mention the many jobs that would have gone with it.

        Remember the days of $4.39 per gallon gas prices and the glut of vehicles sitting in dealers' lots with no takers? Remeber the days and months when jobs were flying out the door and no one seemed to know what would happen next?

        Many like you seem to have selective memory or down right amnesia when it suites you.

        Leave politics alone, then may be, you can think a little bit clearer. Or may be, it's not politics at all. You be the judge.
        • 4 Years Ago
        And the government should never have owned these companies to begin with. I guess I'm the only one that shudders when the President of the United States is hand picking people to run companies that were supposed to be privately owned. And apparently the President had more interest in preserving Detroit real estate value (which is tanking anyway) than saving the taxpayers' money. I sure hope the worst auto market in 27 years doesn't get in the way of us getting our money back.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Scorch, perhaps you forgot that GM was essentially bankrupt, both financially and management-wise. It needed a strong leader to make some decisions, which GM sorely lacked. Yes, some decisions were political. But overall, I think this was handled pretty much perfectly. Just look at GM now. Poised for a strong and sustainable comeback.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Scorch

        The president thought that management was sub-par and the vehicles were terrible. And really, did any of us except the die hard GM fans think any different of the old GM?

        I was with you and thought GM should have been allowed to fail. But in this instance I was glad to be proven wrong. And in the end it is our money, GM should be held accountable to the people through the only political process we have that would allow GM to be held accountable. Or would you prefer they be like the banks and just be doled out billions with little or no oversight so the sr. management could buy a yacht?
        • 4 Years Ago
        Well some companies are government owned, or at least government backed - Fannie and Freddie.
      Alan Weierman
      • 4 Years Ago
      Folks the Govt. cannot run a business. A story was told in business class about the infamous chicken ranch in nevada. They didn't pay taxes so the Govt. took it over and in no time it was out of business. If the Govt can't sell booze and hookers how can it run any company?

      I say get the Govt. out and let the economic forces shake things down a bit. OBTW how come Ford never gets any credut FOR NOT Needing Govt money??
      CMDundon
      • 4 Years Ago
      Those of you that think Obama and his taking over GM is just wonderful, I'd love to know what else you think he ought to take over??? GM was failing because of their own poor decision making. They should have been allowed to go bankrupt. This would have allowed them to renegotiate each of their contracts with the unions, and their vendors. Obama could not allow that as that would not have made the unions happy. Obama went against the US Constitution by taking over GM, thus he failed to uphold and defend the Constitution - which is what he is required to do as President. It started with GM now where else will it go??? How many companies are going to be bailed out at the tax payer's expense? I've got news for GM my next car will most likely be a FORD, as they chose not to receive nor ask for bailout $.

      Wake up America before you don't recognize the country in which you are living! Our US Constitution and our freedoms are being trampled on one by one. Do your own research, start by actually reading the US Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. Another great item to read is Liberty and Tyranny by Mark Levin.
      • 4 Years Ago
      As much as everyone loves saying they don't live government involvement in business--and I understand all the issues with government actually owning businesses--but one thing is clear: American business rarely does anything without government help.

      It seems no upstart even considers going into business unless they get a government grand or tax break. I don't have a problem rewarding successful businesses who create jobs and show proven longterm viability, but new businesses shouldn't get tax payer money or tax breaks when they start out.
      • 4 Years Ago
      this is the same people that screwed up education and schools in America that are running the country now and there going to flush America down the crapper thats not the change i voted for
      • 4 Years Ago
      So, we missed the opportunity for a Buick Juke?
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