Posted by: David Kiley on June 2, 2009
Does Nobody like GM?
It is amazing to me how little slack the bi-coastal media is willing to grant General Motors. None. And what passes for analysis on TV is shocking.
For months and months, we have heard anchors and pundits on CNN, CNBC, Fox and MSNBC berate General Motors for lack of innovation and failure to deliver more fuel efficient vehicles to the public. The comparisons with Toyota and Honda on this point have been constant. And for good reason, though the actual accompanying analysis in these discussions has been less than illuminating most of the time.
As coverage unfolded yesterday, one of the recurring themes of commentary, continuing this morning, has been…”Oh boy…this focus GM has has now on greater fuel economy and offering smaller vehicles….there isn’t much profit in those vehicles is there?…Americans don’t like these fuel efficient vehicles unless oil prices are high and they aren’t that high now….Danger Will Robinson!!!! Danger!!!!How will taxpayers get our money back if GM isn’t selling those high profit gas guzzling trucks and SUVs?”
Give me a break! Which is it? Is GM dumb and backward because it didn’t have the Prius ready when gas prices turned high last year? Or is it dumb and backward because it is investing in smaller vehicles, smaller more efficient engines, batteries and hybrids?
Does it occur to any of these pundits that Toyota was investing in the technology that led to the Prius and its other hybrids in the mid 1990s when oil was cheap. Car companies cannot invest in technology and vehicles to deliver in real time. They have to keep innovating all the time because vehicles and engines take years to develop and you can’t bank on what the economy or energy prices will be when it is time to release the vehicles to the public.
In other words, smart companies don’t just study for the test they have tomorrow. They keep learning, studying, creating and innovating all the time to be prepared for anything.
Perhaps if General Motors drops the name, and changes to Chevrolet Motors, Cadillac Motors, Volt Motors of some such, the media that doesn’t follow GM week to week, but only when the company is crisis, will agree to stop looking at the company through the weird set of glasses it has been wearing for the last eight months. Nah.