Not Their Fault!!!???

Posted: November 16, 2008 in lean

I have no idea how people can either lie or be so deluded that they can’t see the obvious. Among the sources reporting the UAW’s view on the crisis in the US auto industry, USA Today has this alarming quote from United Auto Workers president, Ron Gettelfinger:

“We’re here not because of what the auto industry has done,” he said. “We’re here because of what has happened to the economy.”

I’m not blaming the UAW for what’s happened to the Big Three, but they have certainly contributed to what the industry has done to itself — not what some nefarious, external action has done to it. If the global financial crisis is the key cause, then  auto makers worldwide would need government bailouts or be in similar dire straits as those in the US because the economy is global.

For instance, on October 29, 2008, The New York Times reported that:

“During the third quarter, G.M. sold 1.28 million vehicles outside of the United States, accounting for 61 percent of its total sales compared with 56 percent a year ago.”

A significant reason why GM hasn’t totally collapsed is because of its international sales.

The US economy is not in good shape but saying that GM has been doing the right things to remain competitive and needs bailouts only because of the economy sounds like “passing the buck.”  What is really frightening is the thinking, tactics, and strategies that have gotten the Big Three into such bad shape are not peculiar to the auto industry. US businesses, in general, need to re-think how they create value in a global economy.


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