I’m not one to nitpick on manufacturers, nor am I one to provide any loyalty to them, either. That being said, the trumpeting being repeated around the world that General Motors (GM) in on track to announce its first annual profit since 2004 is one that simply isn’t good for GM, its shareholders (which include the United States of America), the various people they employ and those who own General Motor’s products. It’s good for them, and a whole lot of other interests, too.
There’s a misquote of former GM president Charles Erwin Wilson that has found its way into many facets of life. The misquote is “What’s good for General Motors is good for the country.” The actual words Wilson uttered, during his congressional confirmation hearings after being picked by President Eisenhower to become Secretary of Defense, were this “…because for years I thought what was good for the country was good for General Motors and vice versa.”
In this case, both the misquote as well as the actual words Wilson spoke have a ring of truth to them. General Motors has gone from envy of the world to bankrupt and in dire need of handouts from the United States government. The impact GM has on the U.S. economy is staggering, hence they’ve been referred to at times as “too big to fail.”
The federal government has recouped the vast majority of its funds, but still has significant investment in General Motors. The Obama administration retooled the leadership of GM as a condition of federal assistance, so the impact of the U.S. government has been more than just financial in nature. GM’s performance is a good sign that future events like the ones that shook the core of the U.S. auto manufacturing sector to the very foundation may have real-world solutions if they creep up in other areas of the economy in the future. Not to mention, it is a huge win for the Obama administration as well.
And profit isn’t the only area GM has to celebrate, as they led all automakers in car sales in the first month of the year – although Toyota disagrees, as they claim to have sold more cars to consumers. GM has new models like the Chevrolet Cruze and Chevrolet Volt that are proving popular with buyers, and their traditional stalwarts continue to perform well as buyers snap them up.
We’ll know tomorrow when GM reports its 4th quarter earnings just how much profit they made. And then, we will see if GM can continue to produce products that are well designed and engineered, as well as get consumers into showrooms to purchase them. But for now, the news with GM is good for just about everyone.