What's good for the General Boomers (boom) is good for the USA.
But all is not well at the giant car maker. There is talk of 25,000 jobs to be cuts over the next 3 years and already one of the brands stateside has already suffered the chop, one can no longer buy an Oldsmobile.
Of all the brands in the GM group worldwide, there are only 4 that turned a profit in 2004; Isuzu, Vauxhall, Daewoo and Holden.
Isuzu Trucks picked up a major boost in 2002 when Sumitomo Bank started to write off bad debts in Korea. This then meant that in Japan Isuzu's biggest competitor, Mitsubishi was cash-strapped and when they suffered a league of poor reports of poor build quality then Isuzu came in and stole market share.
Vauxhall of the UK is closely tied to Adam Opel AG. Opel itself has this lingering image of cheapness which plays against it in Europe, whereas Vauxhall over the last 15 years has slowly come to a point of domination of the British Touring Car Championship.In 2003 Vauxhall added to this new image when it rebranded it's BTCC team VX Racing, and on top of that started to import Holden's Monaro under the new tie-in brand VXR.
Daewoo on the other hand is a tale of an underlying company being sound when the management was insanely corrupt. Daewoo Group ran into deep financial trouble in 1998 due to the Asian financial crisis and the defunct Korean government under President Kim Dae Jung.
The government could not keep their own deficits down to a respectable level, so had to push companies like Daewoo off the chart. This ended with the ultimate destruction and dismantling of the Daewoo Group without much opposition. Chairman, Kim Woo Jung was exiled in silent force overseas and was named as a fugitive after he did not return.Daewoo in an effort to stay alive more or less de-branded itself and when Holden bought out 51% of the company in 2003 Daewoos were rebranded as Chevrolets in Europe as it was felt that the name Daewoo would not shift product.
Holden Motor Group has either sat as number 1 or 2 in the Australian market for nearly 40 years. The Family-2 engine and its derivatives have long been exported and sold in Opels, Vauxhalls and Daewoos for quite some time. The Monaro which is exported to the UK and to the US as a Pontiac GTO has also built a handy little earner for the company.When Holden bought 51% of Daewoo in 2003 it had long term plans to replace all the cars below Commodore with Korean built examples.
Now that GM has faltered, Holden has taken a further step and it looks like that the Vectra, Astra and Corsa (Barina) will all be replaced with jointly developed cars.
So what is the problem for GM in the US? It has been said that their biggest problem is simply economies of scale. GM operates the Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, Hummer, Pontiac & Saturn brands in the US alone with little to no cooperation in the group. R&D and doubling-up has to occur in there no doubt.
Perhaps an elimination of the brands is in order, people buying a GM car outside of the US will usually only see one brand for sale but not in the US. I hope that the General does get out of its woes, for at one time it was the largest corporation in the United States ever, in terms of its revenues as a percent of GDP. In 1953 Charles Erwin Wilson, then GM president, was named by Eisenhower as Secretary of Defense.
In 1955 it was the first company in the world to make over US$1bn in a calendar year, so what's good for the General Boomers (boom) is good for the USA.
NB: I drive a Ford and wouldn't have it any other way.