Blog: Dave LeggettHindsight is a wonderful thing

Dave Leggett | 7 November 2008

Amid all the analysis and comment about Detroit results today - Ford (not too bad) and GM (very bad and liquidity is a big worry) - Chrysler's future has been thrown into further uncertainty. What will happen at Chrysler if GM doesn't take it? How do we take Wagoner's comments today that the talks are off? Is that really final or are there further acts to be played out involving US government money?

I'll just say this: what a state. I know people are saying (with the all-seeing benefit of hindsight) that this was a car crash waitiing to happen, but few could have predicted what's going on now. While Chrysler (seen by some as the US Rover) was perhaps always a bit vulnerable, it strikes me as ironic that GM and Ford outside of the US are still doing very well. And they have been doing the right things to rebalance and resize in North America, painful though it is.

I guess the 1990s/early-2000s drift into relying on truck sales in North America has ultimately been proven to be a costly error, along with the laid-back culture that went with those easy sales. The error wasn't identified until very late in the day, but you'd have been locked up back then if you had suggested anything different. Companies exist to make profits and those vehicles did the business for some years. Hindsight is a wonderful thing. Tonight, thoughts are very much with everyone in the US auto industry in these extremely difficult times.

In the week when Obama won the presidential election, GM paints a very bleak picture. It is a grim situation obviously, but if you wanted more federal help, well, that glass is perhaps half-empty rather than half-full. Have we enough cash? Maybe not. Ooh, it's real, real bad Mr Obama. Got your chequebook handy?

(There's an interesting thought here on US auto market prospects for 2009.)

US: Chrysler could be broken up


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