A Tough Question Raised at NAIAS


NBC News - January 21, 2013

“The ill­ness” that sent two of the Detroit Big Three automak­ers into bank­rupt­cy and near­ly wrecked the third “was hor­ri­ble and brought on by our­selves,” stress­es Ser­gio Mar­chionne.

But indus­try watch­ers take it a step fur­ther.

“We’re back. And now the world knows it,” pro­claimed local Detroit talk show host Paul W. Smith, as he addressed a gath­er­ing of indus­try insid­ers and deal­ers who had gath­ered in the back of Detroit’s Cobo Hall to cel­e­brate the debut of the 2013 North Amer­i­can Inter­na­tion­al Auto Show ear­li­er this week.

But this year, momen­tum is clear­ly in the industry’s favor. Sales surged to 14.5 mil­lion in 2012, end­ing with a burst of show­room activ­i­ty few had expect­ed.

Iron­i­cal­ly, that leaves some with­in the indus­try wor­ried.

“I hope we learned a lot” from the bank­rupt­cy process, says Mark Reuss, GM’s pres­i­dent for North Amer­i­can oper­a­tions.  “It’s tempt­ing,” he says, to “do some bad things” to try to regain sales and mar­ket share the way the com­pa­ny did in the past, over­build­ing and then offer­ing prof­it-bust­ing incen­tives.

“If we get greedy and try to blow the indus­try away, that’s a dan­ger­ous place to be,” Reuss sug­gests.




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