General “Motors”

Toyota to build $1.3 billion plant in Mississippi | Reuters

The account of the events contained in the above article is the final affirmation that Toyota will overtake General Motors as the largest auto manufacturer in the world. And, this prediction, of course, came to fruition in the last few weeks.

Given the tattered state of GM, one is left to wonder whether the word “Motors” belongs in the name. After all, the company’s most profitable division is its finance division, GMAC, and as of yesterda, May 2, 2007, even GMAC profits are slumping as a result of the bursting of the “sub-prime” mortgage bubble. As soon as GMAC is separated from GM, GM will become a company treading water: losing market share while it attempts to maintain pricing points that at least recoup its costs. It will be General “Motors”, for the motors are hardly high tech and barely selling. GM is a victim of its own arrogance (as documented in Roger & Me nearly 20 years ago), gross mismanagement and lack of foresight ( as documented by Who Killed the Electric Car).

It is a wonder, then, why anybody entertains GM’s or any American car maker’s laments about worker costs. American car companies blame worker costs for declining sales, while foreign automakers ascribe their increasing sales to the low cost of American auto workers.

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