Now that GM chairman & CEO Rick Wagoner is out of the picture after a 30-plus year career--and a $20-million retirement package, we might as well add-- the Obama Administration is getting down to brass tacks on exactly how they intend to breathe some real life back into America's wheezing auto giants.
Turns out the answer may lie in applying the whole "bad debt bank" model to Detroit. That's what The Wall Street Journal is reporting on its Auto Industry Tracker blog.
So, reports WSJ, the federal plan to fix GM and Chrysler LLC would use bankruptcy filings "to purge the ailing companies of their biggest problems, including bondholder debt and retiree health-care costs," and essentially split both firms into their "good" and "bad" halves. Once that's done, according to "people familiar with the matter," the goal would be for the "good GM"-- featuring such winning brands (says me) as Chevrolet and Cadillac (and I'd add Buick and GMC in there, too) to emerge as a stand-alone manufacturer, while the "good Chrysler" operation (which I hope will include Dodge trucks!) would be (hopefully) sold to Italy's Fiat SpA.
And if all that doesn't pan out, they can try my idea-- which I floated last year for crying out loud!-- of creating a USA Motors... out of all the best brands left rolling.
2010 Chevy Camaro convertible: Now we're talking the heartbeat of America!
No matter how this all turns out, I am pulling for Detroit. American workers needs automotive jobs and American truckers need automotive freight and they need the trucks built by GM, Chrysler and, too. What's more, foreign transplant auto firms, Honda, Toyota etc., all need the extensive supplier base that is so dependent on our Big Three for them to build cars here.
And, yes, I think America-- and the world-- needs American cars, too. Geez, if you are not convinced at least of that, take a look above at what just hit dealer showrooms!