Dear GM and Other Dying American Auto Companies,
I know you didn’t hire me, but this is a freebie. KNX1070 recently broadcast that GM offered a shit ton of stock to the government in exchange for picking up the tab on half of your debt while you guys restructure. I balance this latest news against decades of bad news stories surrounding your company: Plant closures, auto-worker strikes, etc. My age long impression of GM is that it is constantly struggling to survive and keep its employees employed, almost for the sake of keeping them employed. What the hell would the government want with an epic fail car company?
I’m neither an economist nor a auto-enthusiast. I’m a consumer and a humor writer, and my only two qualifications to write this is that I’m literate and that I made a conscious choice a few years back to NOT buy a GM product. So here are my recommendations to you GM, and in fact to ALL American automobile companies in a similar boat, and I guess to the US Government who may or may not soon be half partners with Godawful Mess. So let’s start with the idea that you are able to land your favored deals with the government for bailout. Now what?
* Cut the bloat! A bad economy should encourage competitive labor. Salary caps for brain-dead jobs regardless of the number of years the ambitionless employee has served oiling the wheel bolts. You can get someone to do it for cheaper. Follow that path. Oh, but you’re bound by the unions? Fuck the unions. Hire illegals instead if they don’t like it. Or interns — even cheaper than illegals!
* “Buy American” is a nice sentiment, and I do that wherever reasonable, but I will not settle, especially if I am going to buy a depreciating asset. I have no loyalty to GM families because none of them are loyal to my blog. Loyalty is reciprocal, y’know?
* Sever the throats of ancient product lines. Just because someone’s grandparent drove that product line doesn’t mean that it needs to live. Oldsmobile wasn’t a person, it was a car. You eventually discontinued Olds because of its shitty financial performance. Uh, good job? And you’ll be discontinuing Pontiac next year because your company is about to collapse. Uh, good foresight?
* Stop thinking about people’s grandparents and start thinking about tomorrow’s grandchildren. Grandma kicked the bucket in Q2 2009. Uh oh! Now what? Exactly, Detroit. You have no fucking plan. WAKE THE FUCK UP!!
* Hey, remember the 1977 Datsun B210? Low HP, but phenomenal MPG. WTF?!! 50 MPG HWY? And more incredible, 37 CITY? In 1977? Geo Metro? Same deal. Do that again, but this time use 21st century technology. Carbon fiber and fiber optics and drive-by-wire and goddamn shit like that. Think you can manage that? No, I’m sure you have some stupid excuse about unions or whatever…
* Pull the plug on the fucking Hummer! I don’t care if people WANT it, they don’t deserve it! You’ve created a need for a product that should not exist. WTF do soccer moms need a Hummer for? Have you ever seen the parking spaces at the mall? If GM is adamant to continue the Hummer line, can you at least offer a fuel conversion package? One that will allow you to directly power the vehicle with the blood of dead soldiers? Nine pints is a little more than a gallon and that’ll probably get you about 8 miles down the road in an H2.** Have a spine, assholes.
* If GM made clothing nobody would buy it because the buttons would be too big or there would be too many zippers or too few pockets or the fabric would be acid-washed or something. Your styles are totally wack! I’m not sure if all of your designers are farmers and hillbillies, but if so, you may want to rethink that. Hire a Japanese anime otaku. She’ll design an awesome car for you, and it’ll be lighter, stronger, cheaper, more efficient, way cooler.
* Cars shouldn’t look like they BELONG in car rental joints. The Chevy Aveo was fun to drive for a few days, but it was fuckin’ ugly because it looked like it was designed for a rental car outfit. Sure, the radio knob was nice and big for Joe Average’s thick American sausage fingers, but the car has zilch style.
* Don’t just offer the people what you think they want. Offer them what they will need down the road. SOMEBODY at GM must have said three decades ago, “hey guys, we just came out of a gas crisis, do you think we should start thinking about alternative fuels soon?” Why didn’t you listen to her? Did it really necessitate two wars in Iraq to seriously entertain that discussion again?
* Rebrand, rebrand, rebrand. Chevy logo is played out. It’s old and funky. Like a pastel candy on your grandma’s coffee table. Redesign the brand. Redesign all of your brands.
* Build the iPod of American cars. Apple is an American company, do shit like they do. Changing the subject, the Scion xB was very attractive to a lot of young people because it was visually different, cute, had a slick interior design, was roomy, had great gauge lighting a good price point and some pep. Not saying that Detroit needs to re-release the Helms Bakery Truck, only that you need to come up with a futuristic-looking car that reeks of 21st century technology. I want to drive a car that looks like the interior of a Virgin airline jet. Space-age bachelor pad. Technology, comfort, sleekness, shine, blue lights, blinky things, clean lines, useful gauges, tons of information about my automobile, digital interface, blah.
* In all new cars, the OIL LOW warning should come on when you’re a quart low, not when you’ve already caused irreparable damage to your engine. Jerks. That’s not so much a survival tip as it is just something that’s really pissed me the fuck off over the years.
Okay, thanks to me you’ve got a lot on your plate now. Use these strategies to win back American consumers and let me know when you have your shit together. Although I’m pretty sure it’s too late and you’ll get swallowed up as you so richly deserve. Detroit is also advised to rebrand their city for the inevitable day when automobiles are no longer manufactured there. Maybe Detroit could become the psychic detective capital of the world, or the echinacea capital, or the Wiccan hub of North America. Something. Anything other than cars, because you haven’t been able to hold that shit together for decades…
[c] 2009 Russ of America
Other fun: The Rise And Fall of Detroit by Alec Baldwin
** Not meant to denigrate soldiers, rather to denigrate American oil-lust. We appreciate all of the valiant bravery shown by our women and men in the service. We thank them for their sacrifices. No soldier should have to die to feed our oil demands, directly or indirectly.
Hey you! Purveyor of fine entertainment! Don’t be a time cheapskate, take a second to Digg, Stumble, ReTweet or otherwise mention this article via I’ve got bills to pay!