GM- 100 years old!
On September 16, 1908 the General Motors Company was
founded by William Durant. Durant later on loses control of
creation and dies as a bowling alley operator. As some
speculate over whether or not GM can survive its current
seemingly insurmountable and many problems, perhaps it
is instructive to review some of the little-remembered
facts and incidents of its now 100 year past.
of GM’s 100th birthday today, the
Associated Press prepared a list of events that marked
the century of achievement. Some are little known and ironic,
some may supply some perspective on how to evaluate GM’s
present problems. Here is a sampling from the list:
16, 1908 – Durant forms the General Motors
In 1909 – They sell 25,000 units.
In 1910 – Durant
brings in Buick, Oldsmobile, Pontiac, Cadillac, Champion,
AC spark plug and others. Bankers give
Durant the boot after assessing the debt he amassed.
1916 – GM incorporates and Durant, after starting
yet another car company – Chevrolet – gets
back his seat at the head of the GM table.
In 1920 – Durant
quits. After a bout with personal bankruptcy, Durant dies
as a bowling alley operator.
In 1929 – GM becomes the owner of Adam Opel AG
In 1955 – GM brings a V-8 engine to the Chevrolet
In 1960 – With the growth in popularity of smaller
European imports, Chevrolet markets the Corvair. Safety
concerns with the vehicle were the subject of a book
by Ralph Nader (yes the same one running for President
in 2008), launching congressional hearings, Nader’s
career, and dooming the Corvair brand.
In 1980 – Roger Smith becomes chairman – vehicle
sales fall by 26 percent and GM loses $750 million.
In 1983 – After forming a manufacturing alliance
with Toyota and announcing the formation of a new car
line – Saturn – GM posts a profit of $3.7
In 1991 – GM loses $4.45 billion – announces
closing of 21 plants and plans to cut 9,000 salaried
positions along with 15,000 hourly worker jobs.
In 2007 – The company loses $38.7 billion – but
that loss includes a $39 billion charge taken for unused
tax credits. GM also negotiates an historic labor agreement
that will allow the company to pay new workers at $14
per hour- the effects of this achievement will not be
fully realized until 2010, but will bring the company
into near parity with labor costs of key foreign competitors.
the toughest job in a car dealership these days?
one: Dealer/principal, general manager, finance manager,
service manager, parts manager. The Financial Times says
it has the answer. What’s the toughest job in a car
dealership these days? London’s Financial Times thinks
it has the answer.
The toughest job at North American car
dealerships these days, according to an article in the
belongs not to the sales or service staff but to the
" Extremely difficult" is how Carl Strobl, who holds
that title at Brown-Daub, a Chrysler and Jeep dealer
in eastern Pennsylvania, describes life at the office
compared to a year ago.
Almost every way of paying for a new vehicle, apart from
hard cash, has become less accessible or more expensive,
Mark LaNeve, General Motors’ North American marketing
boss estimates that tighter credit is costing GM about
10,000 vehicles a month in lost sales.
HSBC and Texas-based Triad Financial are among lenders
that have pulled out of vehicle financing in recent months.
Citigroup chopped its car loan advances by more than
half in the second quarter to $800 million, from $2.8
billion a year earlier. Even buyers with strong credit
records are being asked for bigger down payments to secure
AmeriCredit, a Texas-based finance company with about
$1 million vehicles on its books, charges borrowers 3-4
percentage points more now than in early 2007, despite
record low borrowing costs.
AmeriCredit has also become choosier, pushing up the
average household income of its customers from about
$50,000 a year to $60,000.
While the credit crunch is squeezing the entire industry,
it is most acute for the three Detroit carmakers and
their financing arms. Chrysler Financial shocked dealers
and customers by pulling out of the leasing business
last month because of the high cost of funds.
Mr. Strobl's dealership has struck deals with two independent
leasing companies. However, leasing terms have tightened
sharply, especially on big sport-utility vehicles and
pick-up trucks, to reflect lower resale values at the
end of the lease.
On another front, the housing slump has dried up access
to home-equity loans, an important source of funds for
CNW, an Oregon-based automotive research company, estimates
that home-equity loans financed 5.3 percent of vehicle
purchases in the first seven months of this year, down
from 11.8 percent in 2007.
Proposed settlement reached in GM class action suit
The Consumers’ Association of Canada has announced
the details of a proposed settlement of 17 class actions
that in 2006 alleged that nylon intake manifold gaskets
installed in certain GM vehicles were defective. The action
covers certain 1995 to 2004 model-year vehicles. A proposed
certification and settlement approval hearing will take
place in October in Toronto. The settlement provides anywhere
from a maximum of $50 to $400 per person, an amount equal
to the eligible repair expense, depending on when the repair
was performed. The settlement provides that fees and disbursements
of class counsel across the country are $2,816,000, including
taxes, for work up to August 28, 2008, and $131,250 for
further work after that date.
NFL players lining up for
Attack on Jaguar’s Richard Collier
was the latest incident Texas Armoring Corporation announced
company has been in contact with key security personnel
affiliated with the National Football League (NFL). Following
the recent attack on Jacksonville Jaguars tackle Richard
Collier, representatives of professional athletes and their
security staff have reached out to Texas Armoring Corporation
to provide them with custom bulletproof car solutions.
According to the company, approximately 80-90% of attacks
occur while victims are traveling by automobile, thus a
bulletproof vehicle is the first line of defense for individuals
in the public eye.
Trent Kimball, chief executive of Texas Armoring, said “Professional
athletes and celebrities are prime targets for attacks.
Because of this, we are working with a number of high-profile
clients who are following the examples of public figures
like Tom Cruise and David Beckham by acquiring bulletproof
cars for themselves and their loved ones. Mercedes Maybachs,
Cadillac Escalades, Range Rovers, and other luxury models
are our specialty.”
In addition to offering armored bulletproof cars and
SUVs to the NFL, Texas Armoring announced that it has
retained the exclusive services of two former CIA operatives
to help athletes and celebrities with a wide range of