Thursday, November 20, 2008
GM in Crisis—5 Reasons Why America's Largest Car Company Teeters on the Edge
Strapped for cash, GM is on the brink of bankruptcy. It's a dramatic shift for a car company that had begun to right itself after decades of trouble. So what happened? We turned to PM Advisory Board Member and Chairman of the Center for Automotive Research, David Cole, for his take. Ironically, GM's perfect storm of troubles hit just as the company seemed to be making progress on a number of fronts: The company is producing its most competitive cars and trucks in decades, and the upcoming 2011 Chevy Volt has generated more excitement for GM than any product in recent memory. On the cost side, the market slowdown has closed factories, which has removed most if not all of the industry's overcapacity of cars and trucks. And when a new labor agreement kicks in, GM's cost to produce a car will fall to a point where it can once again be profitable. That's the good news. The question is, will GM be around to benefit once the economy improves? The troubles at GM are vast and complex, but Cole summarized what he sees as the immediate and long-range factors that have brought the once dominant automaker to its knees.