America’s auto industry is going down and while I know there is little I can do about it at this point, I can’t help but find myself thinking about the movie, “It’s A Wonderful Life”. You know the one with Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed. If you haven’t seen it as of late find it and check it out. Pay particular attention to the part where good Ol George Bailey is trying to convince the worried shareholders not to take their money out of the cash strapped savings and loan.
Talk about life imitating fantasy. That movie, which played to poor reviews in its day, could certainly be held up today as a primer for what is going on at GM and Chrysler. President Obama, Congress and the American Public are all standing at the counter waiting for their money and they want it now. The bad news for all of us is there is no George Bailey, no money we can get our hands on and no one to plead for the institution. Corporate CEOs are long gone with pockets of cash, having left the companies in shambles and it’s down to scrapping with investors and unions as to who will get the last piece of meat!
Playing the part of both investor and owner the government appears to already have pulled GM into the garage and walked away leaving the motor running with all of us waiting in the back seat for some final word from on high as to what is to come next. It has been reported that GM will file for bankruptcy as early as Monday and that will in effect signal the end of an era that quite frankly is tantamount to the surprise that must have been on the faces of the people on the Titanic when that first splash of water hit their faces!
I know it’s hard to feel bad for either company given their disdain for not only their customers but also the dealership owners that have been with them from the beginning. Last week, as the final two sent out letters to their dealerships telling them to turn the lights off we don’t love you anymore, it’s rumored there was no return address on the letters. Truly the heartbeat of America was in cardiac arrest. The sad part is that as it all goes down, you and I just drive on by with little or no concern at all.
Now don’t get me wrong, neither company is playing the role of Eva Peron singing, “Don’t cry for me Fernando”. We will get by. Far from. It’s just a job to the higher ups, who will be the first rehired to turn the thing around. Sound familiar Wall Street watchers? You and I have problems of our own and scant little time to sit around and worry about a big billion dollar company with a failed business plan when we can’t afford our mortgages or Billy’s tuition. It appears the once mighty do fail and it’s happening right before our eyes. Bad news is that you now own the company and are helpless to prevent the vultures from around the world from carrying off the prize pieces of meat from their collapse.
How will the collapse of this company affect you? Well, the next time you attend an outing of any sort check for the sponsors. Remember Bob’s Chrysler Plymouth that was just down the street that sponsored every baseball team in town for thirty year? He’s gone now and so are the teams. Get ready for the United Way to tell you donations are off 85% because Bill’s Chevrolet isn’t there anymore. Not to mention the fact that you now have to travel thirty miles to get your warranty work done on that great deal you bought just last fall that suddenly has a humpty thumpty sound in the rear end!
And that is just the beginning…(more to come)