One of the more unusual stories I’ve read about the automotive industry appeared this week in The New York Times. The article reported that Bob Lutz, vice chairman of General Motors, says GM has fallen behind
“One of the sad things is, Toyota is so profitable and has plants in so many states that, frankly, they’ve got more congressmen and senators than General Motors does,” Lutz said.
The article notes that, while both GM and
And Lutz indicated that, at least for now, its lobbying efforts aren’t achieving much for GM.
“It was, ‘Tough luck, guys. You made the deal with the unions decades ago, now live with your mistakes of the past,’” Lutz said, referring to a meeting the
I’m glad to hear it. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t enjoy seeing the
But their troubles don’t stem from government policies or unfair trade practices. They are the result of
Further, whatever increased respect
David Cole, chairman of the Center for Automotive Research, is quoted in the story on this point. “When you’re talking about adding new plants,” he said, “you get significant clout, with the possibility that if I’m nice to you, you’ll give me a plant.”
To Lutz’s credit, he also said that GM is now – finally – going to focus on profits more than market share, and will avoid using incentives to increase sales.
“It’s got to be honestly acquired market share,” he said. “The only way to get market share is to get 25 percent of American citizens, day in, day out, going to General Motors dealerships and saying, ‘I want that car.’”
The Times contacted
“We don’t really keep score (when it comes to political influence),” she said. “Our goal is to become No. 1 with the customer, not in