While deftly avoiding the General Motors buyout of Chrysler issue, GM Vice Chairman Bob Lutz did say that he can see one of Detroit's Big 3 dying off in the not-too-distant future. Citing increased market pressures and too much capacity, he said in Geneva that present trends lead to only one conclusion, that one of the domestic automakers will be squeezed out. It won't be GM, however. "Right now, we're in the best position," he said. "We're approaching the end of the beginning of the transformation of GM."
We agree that GM is closest to being on the right track, so it remains to be seen whether Ford can survive its own turnaround, or if Chrysler will weather the current storms and right the ship before somebody comes in and dismantles it.

Lutz went on to detail the legacy costs that are behind most of the pessimism about the domestic industry. It's stuff we've heard before like pensions and health care for employees (and retirees) that are a $2,000-per-vehicle "burden" on the manufacturers. The biggest question on everybody's mind, however, wasn't directly addressed. Rather than talking about a GM/Chrysler deal, Lutz discussed the breakdown in the Renault-Nissan talks. "Generically, synergies are easier to get in the same geography than across geographies," he said. "That was the problem with Renault-Nissan. What sane auto company would sign up for that?" What company indeed?

[Source: Detroit News]

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