Steven Rattner
, who headed up the Obama Administration's Auto Task Force during the quick-rinse bankruptcies of Chrysler and General Motors, is more pleased with the success of the auto bailouts than he ever thought he would be. "Overhaul," Rattner's controversial memoir of his time heading up Team Auto and navigating the murky Beltway waters is now out in paperback with a new epilogue that showers high praise on Sergio Marchionne and the efforts Chrysler has made, as well as recounting getting misty watching the new General Motors start trading on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

Throughout "Overhaul," it's clear that Chrysler almost didn't make it, which makes the latest news of a $212 million quarterly profit in Auburn Hills all the more incredible to Rattner. As for GM, Rattner doesn't think the common joke of "Government Motors" is hurting the company, and he says taxpayers likely stand to recoup most of the investment in the two automakers and ancillary investments in suppliers and credit institutions like GMAC (now Ally Bank).

On the one hand, Rattner calls it a story with a happy ending, though he tempers that with more caution later on, saying "the movie's not over yet." Things are certainly looking up for GM and Chrysler, though for how long will be down to management decisions and market conditions.


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  • 30 Comments
      axiomatik
      • 3 Years Ago
      It is a turnaround, even completely ignoring their new products. Just from a financial standpoint it is a drastic turnaround. Before the bankruptcies, there is no way GM or Chrysler would have been able to turn a profit in the current car market. In fact, GM couldn't turn a profit in the mid-2000's when US car sales were 16 million/year. The fact that they are able to turn a profit in the current car market means they are drastically healthier than they were before the recession. Now, whether they turn that new-found healthiness into future success is a different matter.
      Rich M.
      • 3 Years Ago
      nothing beats a witch-hunt in 2010 and a natural disaster in 2011 to help the american 3 sales. seriously their cars have gotten better but i'm still happy with my imports (AP2/987-r)...
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Rich M.
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          axiomatik
          • 3 Years Ago
          Both of you are idiots. There was a media frenzy because a police officer and his family were killed in a fiery accident after spending 2 minutes on the phone with 911 desperately trying to stop his out-of-control automobile. An incident like that is going to make headlines no matter what make of car is involved. And with the amount of news coverage, the NHTSA is compelled to investigate. There would have been public outcry if the NHTSA just ignored such a sensational and deadly accident. Finally, Toyota had made it worse for themselves by breaking the law. Automakers are required by law to notify the NHTSA within 5 days of identifying a safety issue. Toyota had issued a recall months earlier in Europe and Japan on their accelerator pedals, but hadn't said a thing about the identical units in North America. That is why they were fined.
      Dennis Clouser
      • 3 Years Ago
      What would one expect Rattner to say? Misty like Chris Mathews gets tingling feelings down his leg for Obama!!
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Dennis Clouser
        [blocked]
      Scott
      • 3 Years Ago
      Happy ending? I'm a former employee and they wiped out my retail bonds that I held for years so the union could get their money they weren't entitled to. I'm never buying another product from them again -- they already took as much of my money as they're going to get.
      • 3 Years Ago
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        Sean Conrad
        • 3 Years Ago
        I don't see the UAW mentioned a single time in this article or in the article that was linked.
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Sean Conrad
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          • 3 Years Ago
          @Sean Conrad
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      • 3 Years Ago
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        Julius
        • 3 Years Ago
        Huh? The 2012 Camry and Civic are out already, and the Civic has already been panned as "more of the same", rather than "better". Meanwhile, the 2013 Malibu and other Fiat-derived Chryslers have yet to hit the ground. While I agree that the jury's still out, I'd also say that the domestics aren't dead by any means.
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Julius
          [blocked]
      rlog100
      • 3 Years Ago
      'They were screwed up until I came along to fix it.' His depiction of events sounds like a massive piece of self-promotion.
      Jason Allen
      • 3 Years Ago
      I read the book and I think it was well done. The job he did as car czar was always going to be thankless no matter what because everyine who gets screwed think somebody else is to blame 100%. That is never the case. The unions went overboard expecting to keep getting "concesions" all the time no matter what it did to the bottom line, but really, you all realize that mangement agreed to all of what the union got. The unions sucked as did mangement as did sales as did the white collar workers who felt they deserved more than the blue-collars on the lines. And then stupid americans buying american even though it was often garbage let the union/management mess get away with it for so long. EVERYBODY got what they deserved it seems to me. So what now? We have to learn a lesson but we can't cut off our nose to spite our face; in other words, realize that unions aren't the problem. Entitled unions always expecting more and more when they were already earning more than most people with that rather elementary skill set and education. Manufacturing can't afford to pay people 70k and up and be competitive in the world today. People were in some cases grossly over-paid and it led to an entitled sensability that some union members still have. You shouldn't be able to have 5 kids and send them all to college by helping build cars. Not with what teachers make and with what we pay other professions. I'd like as many people as possible to have as good a job as they can do and to get paid a sensable wage or salary. Almost anyone could be trained to build cars, therefore you shouldn't get above average wages for doing that job. It's so simple but people just....
      crazymagman
      • 3 Years Ago
      Way too early to call this a success. Have these companies really changed their ways? Only time will tell.
        Sean Conrad
        • 3 Years Ago
        @crazymagman
        Ford? Yeah. The other two? Well, we'll have to see.
          DrEvil
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Sean Conrad
          Perception is not reality, Ford still has problems that GM & Chrysler left behind with bankruptcy. Another thing, Ford really is product starved, the Lincoln brand (6,094) sold fewer vehicles, by almost 50% than either Cadillac (11,795) or Buick (11,687). Other than the Fiesta and Focus, Ford's car line is pretty tired. The Fusion stayed too long, and the Taurus is still somewhat stuck in the starting gates. I think they took the car too far up market (also a problem for the MKS). Without their truck line and SUVs/CUVs Ford would be in trouble. That looks more like last century's Detroit 3's business model than either Chrysler of GM.
          DrEvil
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Sean Conrad
          To further support my point, FOMOCO sold 167,502 vehicles in the US in October 2011. Here are the Truck/CUV/SUV numbers: F_Series: --- 52,511 Escape: ----- 19,046 Explorer: ---- 11,987 Edge: -------- 9,161 Do not have the sales numbers for the Expedition, Navigator, Flex, MKT & MKX, let's be conservative and say combined, they sold 10,000 units. That's a total of 102,705 trucks and just 64,797 cars.
      Jim
      • 3 Years Ago
      "Rattner" is an appropriate name for that mousey little prick.
      chasegarcia
      • 3 Years Ago
      I wish the (former)big three the best.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @chasegarcia
        [blocked]
          hudkina
          • 3 Years Ago
          It depends on the month. GM and Ford are a firm #1 and #2 in the U.S., Chrysler is an occasional #3.
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