Today, GM ran a full-page advert in the print edition of Automotive News frankly apologizing for their several missteps.
Although the letter is worded in such a way that GM appears to be addressing the American people, as one fellow industry trade professional astutely remarked, “This is bullshit. Consumers don’t read AutoNews, it’s a trade publication.” While his vocabulary leaves much to be desired, he’s right, which means GM’s “open commitment to the American public” is about as sincere as a stage whisper.
While the letter does offer ambiguous apologies for “violating consumer trust” and allowing the quality of their product to “fall below industry standards”, the larger tone of the letter seems to be aimed at generating some sort of pity from the reader. After offering their heartfelt apologies for their epic failure, GM’s ghostwriter devotes the rest of the page to explaining why consumers shouldn’t resent GM for the unholy amounts of taxpayer money they’re requesting. Bottom line: we forgive you, GM. Now stfu and actually do something, would you?
Read the full apology after the jump
Source: Auto News
We deeply appreciate Congress considering General Motors’
request to borrow up to $18 billion from the United States. We want
to be sure the American people know why we need a loan, what
we will do with your money and how it will make GM viable for the
For more than 100 years, we have been serving your personal
mobility needs, providing American jobs and serving local
communities. We have been the U.S. sales leader for 76 consecutive
years.Of the 250million cars and trucks on U.S. roads today, more
than 66 million are GM brands — nearly 44 million more than Toyota
brands. We value your business and appreciate the confidence
you have in our products. Our goal is to continue to fulfill your
aspirations and exceed your expectations.
While we’re still the U.S. sales leader, we acknowledge we have
disappointed you. At times we violated your trust by letting our
quality fall below industry standards and our designs become
lackluster. We proliferated our brands and dealer network to
the point where we lost adequate focus on our core U.S. market.
We also biased our product mix toward pickup trucks and SUVs.
And we made commitments to compensation plans that have
proven to be unsustainable in today’s globally competitive industry.
We have paid dearly for these decisions, learned from them
and are working hard to correct them by restructuring our U.S.
business to be viable for the long-term.
Today, we have substantially overcome our quality gap; our
newest designs are widely heralded for their appeal, such as
the Chevrolet Malibu and Cadillac CTS; our new products are
nearly all cars and crossovers rather than pickups and SUVs; our
manufacturing operations have greatly improved productivity, and
our labor agreements are much more competitive.
GM is also driven to lead in fuel economy — with more hybrid
models for sale and biofuel-capable vehicles on the road than any
other manufacturer — and is determined to reinvent the automobile
with revolutionary new products like the Chevrolet Volt* extendedrange
electric vehicle and breakthrough technology like hydrogen
Until recent events, we felt the actions we’d been taking positioned
us for a bright future. Just a year ago, afterwe reached transformational
agreements with our unions, industry analysts were forecasting a
positive GM turnaround and our stock price reflected that confidence.
We had adequate cash on hand to continue our restructuring even
under relatively conservative industry sales volume assumptions.
Unfortunately, along with all Americans, we were hit by a
“perfect storm.”Over the past year, all of us have had to deal with
volatile energy prices, the collapse of the U.S. housing market,
failing financial institutions, a stock market crash and the complete
freezing of credit. We are in the midst of the worst economic crisis
since the Great Depression.
Just like you, we have been severely impacted by events outside
our control. U.S. auto industry sales have fallen to their lowest per
capita rate in half a century. Despite moving quickly to reduce our
planned spending by over $20 billion, GM finds itself precariously
and frighteningly close to running out of cash.
We know some Americans have questioned why the Federal
Government should assist the auto industry, specifically when so
many other sectors of the economy appear to be at serious risk
too. The answer is because we have already lost a number of
industries that spin raw materials into finished products that can be
purchased by the citizens of this nation and, just as importantly,
those of other nations.
A healthy manufacturing base generating exports is critical to
the economy and national security of the United States. The auto
industry is the backbone of this country’s manufacturing base.
This is why we need to borrow money from U.S. taxpayers.
If we run out of cash, we will be unable to pay our bills, sustain our
operations and invest in important advanced technology. A collapse
of GM and the domestic auto industry will accelerate the downward
spiral of an already anemic U.S. economy. This will be devastating
to all Americans, not just GM stakeholders, because it would put
millions of U.S. jobs at risk and further deepen our recession, a crisis
that would not merely be localized to the Midwest.
By lending GM money, you will provide us with a financial
bridge until the U.S. economy and auto sales return to modestly
healthy levels. This will allow us to keep operating and complete
We submitted a plan to Congress on December 2, 2008, detailing
our commitments to ensure our viability, strengthen our competitiveness
and deliver energy-efficient products.
GM’S COMMITMENT TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE
Specifically, we are committed to:
• producing automobiles you want to buy and are excited to own
• leading the reinvention of the automobile based on promising new technology
• focusing on our core brands to consistently deliver on their promises
• streamlining our dealer network to ensure the best sales and service
• ensuring sacrifices are shared by all GM stakeholders
• meeting appropriate standards for executive pay and corporate governance
• working with our unions to quickly realize competitive wages and benefits
• reducing U.S. dependence on imported oil
• protecting our environment
• paying you back the entire loan with appropriate oversight and returns
These actions, combined with a modest rebound of the U.S. economy, should allow us to begin repaying you in 2011.
In summary, our plan is designed to provide a secure return on your investment in GM’s future.We accept the conditions of your loan,
the commitments of our plan, and the results needed to transform our business for long-term success. We will contribute to strengthening U.S.
energy and environmental security. We will contribute to America’s technical and manufacturing know-how and will create high quality jobs for
the “new economy.” And we will continue to deliver personal mobility freedom to Americans using the most advanced transportation solutions.
We are proud of our century of contribution to U.S. prosperity and look forward to making an equally meaningful contribution during
our next 100 years.
*Chevy Volt Target Launch: 2010.