A few weeks ago I issued a challenge that would reward one of Detroit’s Big 3 auto makers with all $25 billion in requested bailout funds. There was to be only one winner and that winner had to demonstrate it “got it” by presenting a plan for profitability. The challenge required each company show vision and commitment to smart design, resulting in vast improvements to natural resource consumption and reduced emissions.
What Detroit came back with was a bigger hat (to put money in), lots of cuts, lots of sales (buh-bye Hummer, Saturn and Saab,) agreements to renegotiate with the UAW, plant closings and a lot of other below-the-line, cost-cutting initiatives. Oh yeah, they all said – probably in the last paragraph of the leave-behind – they “would accelerate their timetables to make more fuel efficient vehicles.” RUKiddingME?
Had GM come back with a plan in which they decided to keep scaled back versions of Cadillac, Saturn and GMC only, had Chrysler committed $8B to research and development of electric cars and charging devices, had Ford suggested buying Tata Motors, we may have had a horserace or a winner.
What we got were cost-cutting solutions. Solutions to win the hearts of congress. No future-forward ideas. Nada. No winner!