I think it's going to take some good spinning to get Maureen Kempston Darkes out of trouble. Darkes is president of GM Latin America, Africa and Middle East and spoke at the Hilton Americas in Houston about five weeks ago. I haven't seen the text of a speech she gave on June 26th until today, but here's the line that bugs me, both for the way it comes off as callous and the way it shows just how (not) committed GM is to worrying about oil prices. The title of her speech was "U.S.-Arab Relationship in 2020: After the Oil" and the thrust of it is that she's bullish on the Arab market (for GM cars). Darkes explains that growth in the region is sustainable because "Middle Eastern countries have embraced free trade". Oh, and she says that, "Record oil prices don't hurt".

Really? High oil prices don't hurt GM overall? They don't hurt the American consumer?

I know she's really just saying that parts of her division will benefit from all the money flowing into the region, but couldn't she have chosen a less abrasive way of telling us? Shouldn't she be able to see the bigger picture?

It's not all "record oil prices don't hurt" in the speech, though. Darkes says she believes "Arab nations have a role to play in alternative fuels, and in the infrastructure that supports their use" and that GM will someday have high-volume sales of a non-ICE vehicle.

[Source: GM]

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