Rick Bites Back

Posted by: David Welch on April 11, 2006

We know that General Motors Chairman and CEO G. Richard Wagoner Jr. played a little college hoops during his days at Duke University. You’d figure that during his time on the hardwood, he may have been exposed to some trash talking. He may have even engaged in some. But anyone who kows Wagoner or has interviewed him knows that isn’t his style.

Well, maybe putting GM in the gauntlet for the past year is bringing a little impishness out in the Blue Devil alum. I asked Wagoner during the Detroit Tigers home opener on April 10 if Saturn’s big push into stylish, almost sporty cars was a huge transition for a brand that once was the “car for people who hate cars.” His response: “That’s Lexus. Cars for rich people who hate cars.”

That’s uncharacteristically bare knuckles for Wagoner. Maybe he forgot that Lexus has outsold Cadillac 68,000 cars to 50,000 this year. But give him credit. He’s starting to show some swagger. And that’s just what his struggling company needs to hear to get its mojo back.

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Want the straight scoop on the auto industry? Our man in Detroit David Welch, brings keen observations and provocative perspective on the auto business.

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