• Mar 25, 2011
We know he's not a "car guy" but some think General Motors CEO Dan Akerson might not be a guy fit for a car company period. Akerson comes from the telecommunications world, and it seems some analysts believe it's that background that's driving him to cut costs and drive sales by means of heavy incentives and rebates.

GM has seen strong sales to start 2011, but other automakers are quick to point out these gains come courtesy of instant gratification tactics. By initially devaluing its product, GM also diminishes its future resale value. Additionally, customers shopping for a General Motors product will expect an incentive or rebate when they show up at their local dealership.

We haven't seen March sales figures yet, but as it was the month GM ended its current run of incentives and rebates, it will be interesting to see if sales take a dip as a result. Early estimates say that's the case, but we'll have to wait for the monthly By the Numbers to be sure.

[Source: MSNBC]


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  • 41 Comments
      • 3 Years Ago
      That side view of the volt looks bad. Just sayin.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Huh? are you the bizarro world version of me?
        • 3 Years Ago
        That side view of the volt looks really good. Just sayin.

      • 3 Years Ago
      Keep him around I think our government has some spare cash kicking around to help hardluck cases like GM again.
      • 3 Years Ago
      He is really smart and clever. He is doing great moves in this company that shall be felt very soon. GM will be back to the place it was made for: #1 !
        • 3 Years Ago
        Give me 1 example please.
        • 3 Years Ago
        He is leaving designers and engineers to define what the products will be in the coming years. His business is to take care about balance sheet, share value and government relations. Eng'g and Design are the ones to make cars. If a company depends on its CEO to have great products, it is certainly time to shut the doors...
      • 3 Years Ago
      He is doing a good job, profits are strong and so is cash flow. Next he needs to buy back the preferred A shares that are paying 9% and pay of the long term dept around 3.5 Billion. Sales are the mothers milk of profits at GM, and when the first quarter numbers come out we can see cash flow from all the sales flow to the bottom line. As Orion ramps up GM will take even more share.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Ghost of Rick Wagoner the rebate king.
      GM has a long history of short-sighted leadership.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Passion for cars, Passion for technology, Passion of quality and good in finance.

      Who can view the cars of 2025 should be there.


      All the GM show and products running now is done by Rick wagoner Lutz team. I wonder when the current guys cooking stuff comes out and hits the fan.
      • 3 Years Ago
      He seems to be the beancounter idiot-type that doomed GM to begin with. If he does not follow the 'quality and style' improvements of the recent years, he needs to be fired, and blackballed.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Which other automakers are these who have a leg to stand on criticizing GM for their rebates and fleet sales? This is where other (ahem) automakers gains came from too.

      You juiced on the sales of the Fusion? it has $2500 cash back right now. Mustang? $1500 ($500 on the few 2012 Mustangs that are out there right now). How about the Taurus. A great new car getting a lot of accolades. $2000 cash back, even on the SHO.

      I'm not saying cash back doesn't have downsides, especially long term. But I just don't know which automakers these are who have any way to call out GM for "instant gratification tactics".

      I agree Akerson isn't a car guy. I really don't like that about him.

      (All info from http://www.ford.com/incentives)
        • 3 Years Ago

        Of course you single out Ford, that's not a surprise. However, it was Hyundai's boss that called out GM by name saying they were creating an industry price war. And pretty much only the wounded Toyota was following suit to the same degree.

        All mfg's have rebates but it's a fact that GM spent the most in the first few months of 2011. (The articles are available with a quick search.)

        This AB posting is commenting on how Akerson is beefing up sales to make GM look better albeit in the short term with no regard for the long term effects. He is sacrificing profits for share and that's a dangerous tactic for any company, especially one emerging from BK. Akerson's background is from an industry of disposable products/services. New cellphones come out every month and there's no reason to worry about resale or rebates. That's not the case with automobiles.

        I'm sure this fact also had a lot to do with their CFO jumping ship recently. He of all people could see the direction the company's finances are heading and obviously didn't like what he saw (and it's not all about him feeling he was passed over for the CEO job). The Street is also seeing this (other than the houses that were the underwriters of the IPO) and investors are selling (you can look up the stock price if you want to).

        GM's relentless pursiut of short term share increase will in the end damage their long term viability. Of course, Akerson won't be there to see it.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Incentives are appropriate on excess merchandise, which of course no one wants, but it happens with older products. Even BMW, Honda and Toyota have to do that. The issue with the 'new' GM is incentives on brand-new Cruze, etc. Automakers spend a lot of money on all-new cars and expensive advertising campaigns to generate demand for new cars. If they can't do that, they're probably not long for this world. Look at Mitsubishi and Suzuki, they have some good products, but there's no demand for them because of their brand, so they resort to incentives, which destroy resale value, undercut profit, etc. It's a vicious cycle and GM is jumping in after one year back. The Volt and Cruze were their best shots and they both missed. That's ugly.
      • 3 Years Ago
      I am no CEO nor a "business guy" but GM needs to keep improving - as well as design unique - "products " prove to the consumer that their products are durable and reliable in the long run and for God's sake - remodel their dealerships and retrain their "stuck in the 70's" car salesmen and management - who are still around. If you go to any Toyota/Scion/Lexus dealership down here in South Florida - they are modern dealerships. They entice you to go in and look. The Domestics - on the other hand - all look like remnants of a 1970's used car lots except with flat screen computer monitors
      How I see it - the "Volt" - is a HUGE waste of money for GM for such a tiny niche vehicle that is totally impractical. Take all this "Volt" money and update the dealerships and focus on quality improvement.
      • 3 Years Ago
      I Think Rick Wagoner should have been left in charge at GM!
      The old GM problems were being adressed by Wagoner it was just too little too late for Wagoner.
      Rick Wagoner had inherited a mess when he took the job.
      What did the government know about who should run GM?
      GM couldn`t get small and pay the bills without bankruptcy.
      They tried to stay big by artifically moving product and discounting it. Tredding water so to speak.
      How many CEOs have they had in the last few years?
      I think Rick would be doing a better job.
      • 3 Years Ago
      What GM needs is car guys, the DNA is there but in a company that big I bet politics play a bigger role than passion. Send this clown to BMW or Audi and learn a thing or two about loving the product that you do.
      • 3 Years Ago
      WOW...I knew this guy was NOT the guy for the job, and have been vocal about it here but after reading that MSNBC article its been confirmed. Akerson has absolutely no clue what he is doing.

      The clown thinks he's selling $30,000 cell phones and cans of beans....OMG.
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