Writing for this blog every day, and hopefully by reading it too, it has been easy to chart the downward spiral that GM has encountered. As recently as the Detroit Auto Show, the company didn't seem to be doing so bad. The new Saturn Sky and Aura were promising case studies of what the company could do if given the chance. But all that good will has quickly evaporated and the sharks are circling.
Or so GM wants us to believe.
The news that came up today saying GM was pulling ads from the Los Angeles Times because of a Dan Neil article is the latest in a long line of disasters for the company. I am so happy that it is Neil and The Times GM has picked for this ridiculous fight. Dan Neil is the only automotive journalist to win a Pulitzer and the Times wins more awards then I can count. It?s not like GM is pulling ads from our pages because we?re silly bloggers. This is a long standing publication and terrific writer they?re aiming their retaliation against. And it will backfire.
The only good pulling the ads will do for GM is that they probably could use the money somewhere else. Neil simply points out what pundits like us, Autoextremist.com, The Truth About Cars and countless others are saying: GM is in trouble. And Wall Street is agreeing with us. GM is saying we?re wrong, the analysts are wrong and worst of all, the people buying the competition is wrong.
Take a look at the extreme reaction GM is taking to Neil?s article. The company is reacting to someone that is telling it straight, something that doesn?t often happen in mainstream auto coverage. As blogs like this one and other publications are providing unfiltered reviews, car companies are probably scrambling that the old guard of writers they?ve wooed over the years is losing influence. But Neil is not one of us. He is not a blogger. He is a Pulitzer Prize-winning writer for one of the largest newspapers in the country. This could be the end of GM saying they?re being attacked unfairly. That argument was already stale and this action actually makes GM look worse and without cause. If Neil had been the first to utter these words maybe GM would have more ammunition, but the writing has literally been on the wall for weeks.
I expect to see a full retraction and GM buying their ads back to cover their backsides after the dust up that will follow this move. Our advice to GM? America loves those that can admit their mistakes and sometimes loves them more for their faults (even presidents). While it may not raise the spirit of stockholders, it is time for GM to admit their problems, reshuffle the deck and focus on the products. It?s not like they could be in a worse place than they are right now anyway.
Note: We are not anti-GM and there are many positive reviews of GM products on this site. That doesn?t mean we shouldn?t comment on this developing story and that there are more than a few GM products that deserve criticism just as there are plenty of Ford, Chrysler, Honda et al products that deserve to have their flaws pointed out. We provide the same unfiltered treatment to everyone.