Today, General Motors (GM) announced that December sales were 5.2% lower than during the same month last year. This news, when added together with other ongoing problems at GM could mean that 2008 will be a make or break year for them as a company. There was a time when the financial health of General Motors was considered as the prime indicator as to how healthy the U.S. economy was. I remember as a child hearing my grandfather compare the U.S. economy to GM on many different occasions. In recent years, imported cars from Honda and Toyota have been chipping away at the lead of General Motors to where now GM is not the company it use to be and it is in real danger of either going out of business or being acquired by either Honda or Toyota at some future date.
I know some people here in Central Texas that are retired General Motors employees and at present they still have good retirement packages that include a monthly salary as well as health and life insurance benefits. Over the past year, some experts have made the unwelcome prediction that these hard fought for benefits that retired GM employees have earned, might be taken away at some future date. If that happens it will not only be a tragedy for retired GM workers, but for the United States as a whole. There was a time in this country when people would shake someones hand in agreement and stick with that commitment through thick and thin. However, those days have come and gone in a business world that only cares about what someone has done for them today.
I am truly worried about not only the future of GM, but also Ford and Chrysler as well. American consumers have lost faith in U.S. automobile companies so year after year, more and more consumers are choosing to spend their automotive dollars on imported vehicles. While quality does play a major role in this switch from domestic to imported car purchases, the system used to sell domestic cars is a greater problem. With a never ending supply of gimmicks from bait and switch pricing to here today and gone tomorrow teaser automobile interest rates – the American consumer is tired of playing the same old game when they decide to purchase or lease an automobile.
Detroit's big three are trying to make improvements to the quality of their vehicles and the way they are marketed. However, these changes may be coming too late to save these once great industrial giants from ruin.
Read more about the Big Three:
Ford Motor Company (F) Reaches UAW Deal - No Strike
UAW Next Strike Target - Ford Motor Company
UAW Workers Strike Chrysler As Contract Expires
UAW/GM Reach Quick Settlement After Strike
UAW Strike Could Destroy GM's Future