Mickey Kaus isn’t buying the happy “green” talk that GM will be saved by building mini, enviro-friendly cars:
Environmentalism has become the latest distraction and delusion for Detroit. Chrysler admits that small, fuel efficient FIAT models aren’t going to sell in large numbers–but hey, they’re going to have a “halo effect” that will “burnish” the entire Chrysler line! Chevrolet will only sell a few thousand Volts–but the bicoastal elite appeal of green will suck media-addled buyers into the “reinvented” GM.
No. Detroit cars will sell when they’re bulletproof, not when they’re green (or, in [GM exec Bob] Lutz’s new spin, when they’re made by a company that also sells something “green”). But only one of the Big Three U.S. car manufacturers has made dramatic progress catching up to Japan on the bulletproof front–and it’s not Chrysler or GM.
Now it’s possible Detroit might have gotten obsessed with green cars all on its own and adopted a marketing plan showing no awareness of the public’s buying habits. (Hey, they’ve done it before!) But of course they have to adopt it because this is what their new government overlords want them to do.
GM has been bought by the equivalent of a crazy billionaire who knows nothing about car companies but has billions and so he thinks he knows a lot about everything. And besides, the crazy billionaire bought the company so every dumb idea popping in his head becomes an official corporate decision. (And unlike the real billionaires out there who get things right more often than not (as evidenced by their success), this crazy billionaire has never made money, runs a hugely inefficient operation, and knows nothing about any kind of business venture.)
The solution? Free GM! Mitt Romney first came up with the idea and now Sen. Lamar Alexander is running with it: make the billionaire give GM stock away, get government out of the decision-making loop, and hope GM management, once freed from the whims of crazy Uncle Sam, can figure out how to make “bulletproof ” cars. As Alexander said: “I think Americans are sick of the idea of the government taking over everything and trying to run it. We don’t know how to run a bank, a car company. . . And we ought to get rid of it as soon as possible.” GM still might not get it right, but at least it would have a fighting chance.