There has been a lot of discussion from industry analysts about who will replace Ford CEO Alan Mulally, but he's not the only CEO of a major American automaker that will eventually need a successor.

Dan Akerson, CEO of General Motors since shortly after its emergence from bankruptcy in 2009, told Automotive News in an interview that he hopes his successor comes from within the automaker's ranks, as opposed to bringing in an outsider. Candidates are said to include GM Vice Chairman Steve Girsky, North American head Mark Reuss and global product leader Mary Barra.

Interestingly, Akerson himself was imported from a private equity firm called The Carlyle Group, and he has indeed had to learn how the auto industry operates, as he told AN:

"This is the funniest industry. Most industries people are straight up with it. Here everybody slaps everybody on the back, you just got to make sure they don't have a knife with it."

Despite this acknowledgement, Akerson is still not one to pull punches. GM's CEO famously said of Ford's luxury brand, "They are trying like hell to resurrect Lincoln. Well, I might as well tell you, you might as well sprinkle holy water. It's over." And he's not backing down. "A little bit of holy water wouldn't hurt, I won't back off that."

If a rumored billion-dollar investment and a slew of heavily updated models is equivalent to "holy water," we'd say Ford must agree with Akerson's assessment.


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 81 Comments
      JasonERF
      • 3 Years Ago
      Depressing fact: Hyundai having a proper V8 but not Lincoln
      roy
      • 2 Years Ago
      Akerson is right on this subject if Lincoln dont pull a V8 with rearwheel drive out its hat, This Ship Will Sink. The last 2 real cars for the brand was Town Car and LS, they should have been saved,invested on,and updated with a totally new look.The way these cars died off will be the same for the company A Slow Death if they dont get it together fast, A lineup full of frontwheel drive cars from Ford is not a Lincoln,I would never buy a mks or mkz when the Taurus and Fusion looks world better for 10grand less.That was a billion dollars wasted,The Writtings On The Wall...
      nsxrules
      • 3 Years Ago
      Another arrogant GM executive.
      John
      • 3 Years Ago
      He thinks Lincoln needs holy water, but we all know that the only thing that can resurrect a dying or dead automaker is a big fat check from the government.
      Radius
      • 3 Years Ago
      Interesting - kind of like the Holy Water (American Tax Dollars) that had to be sprinkled over GM to keep them from going out of business. All this talk about not being able to bring Lincoln back is kind of dumb. It will depend on the products, quality, and value that will make the difference. Its easier and cheaper to build up a old brand than start a new one (right Tesla?). Mini-Cooper, Bentley, and others are old brands that that were reinvented with new and modern products. I, for one, hope that Lincoln comes out with the right products that make them a viable American car company again. Or you can end up buying Korean cars from a country that does everything it can to keep American cars out.
      Micheals
      • 3 Years Ago
      He better ask Lincoln to save some of that holy water seeing how Buick and Cadillac sales are in decline for several months while the market is growing. Commenters talk about how great Cadillac is but after the CTS there has been nothing for years yet people think they are competitive with BMW because of one car? Not even close, but the enthusiast crowd will think you are if you sell a wagon in the states. Lincoln is not competitive either but it just needs some infusion of cash to design better cars after a decade of being ignored for the likes of Volvo and Jaguar. At point it was over for GM as well, until the treasury dumped billions of dollars of holy water on it. That is something Akerson needs to remember because it wasn't him who saved GM, even though he would like to think so.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Micheals
        [blocked]
      car-a-holic
      • 3 Years Ago
      Lincoln has been irrelevant for decades. But since it lacked serious investment maybe now it can be an interesting product, engaging even. Cadillac has just one market competitive model that sells in Luke warm volumes only. If I were ackerson I'd be worried too.
        Chris
        • 3 Years Ago
        @car-a-holic
        GM seems to be doing a lot more with Cadillac than Ford is with Lincoln. The level of concern you say he should have for Cadillac is not even in the same league. Lincoln looks like its trying to be Mercury right now, while Cadillac, with its current and up and coming CTS, its V variants, and its new 3 Series fighter, the ATS, the future looks bright. I can't help but have some level of respect for a guy who calls it like he sees it. Ford needs to quit ignoring the luxury segment and Lincoln's potential.
          montoym
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Chris
          Funny, I see it the total opposite. Caddy has more than one hot seller (CTS and SRX). The CTS sells well despite its age and will be replaced in the near future. The SRX has been averaging over 50k sales/yr the past few years. What has the Lincoln MKX sold recently? About 22-23k/yr. Sure, the SRX is beat out by the Lexus RX, but outside of that, there is no CUV or SUV from any other luxury manufacturer that sells more in the US than the SRX. They also have the hotly-anticipated ATS which does battle in against the 3-series. The XTS will surely bring in more sales than the DTS and STS that it replaces. Then there's the upcoming flagship sedan that will do battle with the 7-series, S-Class and A8's of the world. Now let's look at Lincoln. They have no cars that can be considered big sellers and they have released a single updated model which is just a refresh of what they already have (a significant refresh, but not much else beyond that). It's also still a FWD sedan, what M-B or BMW is that going to compete with I ask? Lincoln will not be taken seriously until they go after BMW and M-B head-on. They have not one vehicle that does that currently (unless you count the Navigator which sold 8k last year) and nothing on the horizon either. It definitley needs to start with at least 1 RWD model. Cadillac wasn't taken seriously until they made that jump either and now they are jumping in with both feet with the ATS, CTS and upcoming flagship all aiming directly at their German competition. How you can remotely state that Lincoln is doing better than Cadillac is beyond me.
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Chris
          [blocked]
          car-a-holic
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Chris
          They're currently not in same league. Caddy is treading water and has one platform that buyers seem to really like. Lincoln's potential is exactly what ford seems to be looking at. Ackerson knows the market share first lost to lincoln will come from GM pockets
        Micheals
        • 3 Years Ago
        @car-a-holic
        Exactly. The SRX is not competitive with the likes of the BMW X3, Lexus RX, Audi A5 or anything else in the segment. The ATS looks great but no one has driven one yet and that's what that segment is all about because it is full of strong models to choose from. The Escalde days are done, the XTS looks good too but is kind of a compromise between a mid size luxury car (E class) and a the upper end models (S class). Ford is no longer ignoring Lincoln since they announced that there will be 6 new or redesigned models for Lincolnin the next couple years. Ford is not benchmarking BMW for Lincoln like GM did with Cadillac. They are benchmarking the likes of Audi and Lexus. I know a Lincoln dealer who has seen the product plans for Lincoln and after he saw them put over $1 million into his Lincoln dealership as have many others. So they must have liked what they saw.
          montoym
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Micheals
          The SRX not competitive? The consumers must think so. The RX is definitley the big dog selling upwards of 80k last year (and over 90k for a few years before that). But, in 2nd is the SRX with it's 50K+/yr in sales. Where are the X3 and Q5, 28k and 25k respectively, both rounded up as well. The ATS, by all accounts will hold its own. Will it take the sales crown away from the 3-series, no, and I don't think anyone expects that. It will bring in new buyers for Cadillac however and should be a solid competitor. It's an all-new platform with the lightest weight in its class, I'm sure GM will be able to make it work. The XTS is meant to be a compromise car. It's a car for the blue hairs and that's pretty much it. Look at what it's replacing, the DTS (perennial blue hair car) and STS (never caught on). The next CTS will be the direct competitor for the E-Class and the upcoming flagship sedan will compete with the S-Class.
          MTU 5.0
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Micheals
          Why are the Escalade's days done? Luxury buyers have plenty of money to pay the fuel bills, and there isn't really much else that compares if you need the space and happen to tow a trailer.
      RobbieAG
      • 3 Years Ago
      If he's criticizing Lincoln, it means he's worried about Lincoln.
      mustsvt
      • 3 Years Ago
      Hey Lt. Dan: Pay up all the tax money then feel free to take pot shots at Lincoln.
      Hazdaz
      • 3 Years Ago
      Not sure how AB is spinning this to be a post-worth news story, but what Akerson is saying about both his successor and Lincoln are dead-on. His successor at GM should be from with-in. Knowing the culture of a company is important, but then again, we don't need someone that is blind to outside competition. Concerning Lincoln, as of right now, that division is dead... even with the latest new releases, I see little that will keep them going as a legitimate luxury brand. Until FoMoCo gives them unique product, Lincoln won't be able to compete.
        msspamrefuge
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Hazdaz
        That insularity is one of the things that got GM in trouble in the first place. Thanks to its culture, GM CEOs have been quintessential examples of what happens when you let short-sighted accountants run a company. Their focus was on turning a quick buck until the losses began piling up during the later part of Wagoner's leadership, and all familiarity with the company culture seemed to do was instill a hopeless, welfare-state mentality in dealing with the unions.
        Luke
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Hazdaz
        How the hell do you figure your logic? According to you, AM never would've made it at Ford. It's morons like YOU that got GM (and the rest of the industry) right where it is (was?). Bring up a fat GM pig that's been eating the slop from management for years and nothing will change. As evidenced by GM's required bailout by the government.
      MTU 5.0
      • 3 Years Ago
      Unless you are a performance enthusiast, the Lincoln vehicles compare very favorably with Cadillac. I would prefer RWD myself, but it's not as if there is any appreciable advantage to the majority of buyers cross shopping these two brands. Most won't care about the car's time around the Ring.
        Making11s
        • 3 Years Ago
        @MTU 5.0
        I like Lincoln and want the brand to succeed, but that's an absurd statement. They need to pick a target and compete directly instead of whatever it is they're doing. Seriously, who are they benchmarking? Acura in 2007?
        • 3 Years Ago
        @MTU 5.0
        [blocked]
        merlot066
        • 3 Years Ago
        @MTU 5.0
        I don't really understand it, the CTS offers leatherette seats that aren't heated or cooled, no wood trim, 17 inch painted rims, and no power passenger seat for $35,900. The MKZ offers premium bridge of wheir leather seats that are heated and cooled, power drivers and passengers seats (with power lumbar), SYNC with directions for 3 years, 18 inch machined wheels, and real wood trim for $34,900. I appreciate that the CTS is RWD but the MKZ holds its own in luxury features, reliability, and price.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @MTU 5.0
        [blocked]
      Luke
      • 3 Years Ago
      Duh....Cadillac shares the same platform as other GM vehicles. Why is this okay for GM but it's not for Ford? Or Nissan/Honda/Toyota for that matter? The new MKZ looks NOTHING like any Ford out there. As for the RWD claims, if that's what the American public TRULY wanted, not just a (very) vocal minority, then Caddy's RWDs would be seeing better sales. And more manufacturers would be doing it. But they're not. From a GM fanboy viewpoint, it's okay for GM to do it, but if anyone else does it...watch out! Up in arms! "Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large numbers."
        tylermars.design
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Luke
        the only cadillac platform that is shared is the escalade, with the yukon and tahoe.
          Randy
          • 3 Years Ago
          @tylermars.design
          I'm don't believe that the only platform shared is the Yukon. I am certain that every model shares a platform with a Chevy of sort.
          Matt Wood
          • 3 Years Ago
          @tylermars.design
          Yeah, all those RWD Chevy sedans. You caught GM trying to pull a fast one us, good job.
          Smitty1234
          • 3 Years Ago
          @tylermars.design
          No the SRX is NOT an Equinox
          Randy
          • 3 Years Ago
          @tylermars.design
          You said "PLATFORM" not drive·train. Automobile Platform Definition An automobile platform is a shared set of common design, engineering, and production efforts. A platform is generally regarded as the FRAME work! Not the hood and drive-train! Now I know that the new Explorer is NOT on the Taurus Platform. Morons!
        Jei Thom
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Luke
        Nothing wrong with sharing platforms b/t mainstream & luxury vehicles. I think overall, consumers like that Lincoln is still around, but the brand has no clear design direction. The brand literally went from large, plushy, old school iron to sporty-like vehicles with entry-level luxury content - no big luxury sedans to highlight its best luxuries that money can buy. Lincoln is globally known for its large luxury vehicles. Aside from the Navigator, the brand seems to have lost its identity & forgotten its roots. It would have made sense for Lincoln to have redesigned the larger sedans & CUVs initially, then move down the lineup for updates. I admit the new MKZ concept is slick, but I want to see a full-size Lincoln using the newest design language & indicating that they are really competing in the luxury car category --- otherwise these are just fancy Fords dressed up in prom-night tuxedos giving the consumer a half-azz take on real luxury.
    • Load More Comments