Recently General Motors, or as I like to call them, Government Motors announced plans to invest nearly $300 million dollars in a joint venture with a Chinese company to build GM trucks in China. If you are at all like me, this announcement probably leaves you a little confused. After all, wasn’t this company on the verge of bankruptcy. Wasn’t Jack Wagner, its CEO crawling up the Capitol steps begging lawmakers for a bailout? Weren’t thousands of American GM employees being laid off and factories being closed? Where does a bankrupt company get $300 million to invest in a foreign venture? The American taxpayer; where else?
GM has been building cars in China for years now, and currently builds Buick, Chevy and Cadillac models. This venture will add light trucks and minivans to their Chinese production. To date almost none of this production ends up in U.S. showrooms, but how much longer can we expect that to last?
This week Government Motors managed to add insult to injury for the American taxpayer when they announced a new sales strategy, a sixty day money-back guarantee. That’s right, buy it and drive it for sixty days (up to 4,000 miles) and if you don’t like it, they’ll buy it back. No wonder this company has lost $88 billion since 2004. This may just be the worst idea in the history of automotive sales. A returned car with 3,800 miles is worth thousands less than it was new. It will not take very many of these to off-set any gain in market share GM manages to snag with this gimmick.
When this silly stunt fails to save the company, the management team will undoubtedly come up with another. Or perhaps they will decide to invest further in China. Either way, more of the American taxpayer’s hard-earned money will be wasted trying to save a dinosaur that was brought down by complete management incompetence and grotesque union greed.