GM: Genuinely Misguided

Since the government bailout, GM moved production of its state-of-the-art Cadillac SRX to Mexico

By Joel D. Joseph

The United States of America owns 60.8% of General Motors. After the US taxpayer generously bailed out GM in 2008, GM began importing Buick Regals from Russelsheim, Germany, and Cadillac SRXs from Mexico. To add insult to injury, the Buick Regal is also being manufactured in China for the Chinese market. The US is being treated like a second-class nation by a company rescued by US taxpayers. It is infuriating that China gets its Regals made locally while we (American taxpayers) get them from Germany.

The 2011 “made in Germany” Buick Regal includes 21% US content (the engine). The transmission is made in China and most of the components are made in Germany. Look what we get for bailing out General Motors with $50 billion of American tax dollars: A slap in the face and a kick in the pants!

Since the government bailout, GM has also moved production of its state-of-the-art Cadillac SRX to Mexico, where it is manufactured with 65% Mexican parts. Selling for from $34,000 to $55,000, the SRX is a luxury crossover vehicle. I can understand GM or Ford or Volkswagen making its low-end cars in Mexico, but not a top-of-the-line luxury Cadillac.

In 2009 the Cadillac SRX was made in Lansing, Mich., while the 2010 is now made in Ramos Arizpe, Mexico. Ramos Arizpe is not on the US border; it is more than 1,000 miles from the US. Besides costing American jobs, shipping tens of thousands of Cadillacs thousands of miles adds unnecessary pollution while needlessly wasting petroleum.

The unemployment rate in Michigan led the nation in 2010 with 15% officially unemployed. Unofficially, the unemployment rate was much higher because many workers have given up looking for jobs. What was the GM board thinking? Taking hard-earned American tax dollars and moving production to Mexico and Germany?

GM has done this before. For years, Genuinely Misguided has moved production offshore while proudly waving its red, white and blue banner. Chevrolet, the largest GM nameplate, has had a multimillion dollar ad campaign called “An American Revolution.” As a part of this campaign Chevy introduced the Chevy Equinox, a vehicle that is neither American nor revolutionary. Chevy’s claim that it is “An American Revolution” are false, misleading and, quite frankly, revolting. The Chevy Equinox has a Chinese-made engine, a Japanese-made transmission and is assembled in Canada. Nothing about this Chevy is American.

The Chevy Equinox is not revolutionary in any sense of the word. It is an old-tech sports utility vehicle that gets poor mileage. Consumer Reports concluded in its review of the Equinox engine that “the 3.4-liter, 185-hp V6 powerplant is an old-tech engine that lacks refinement and returns poor fuel economy.”

GM has had a long history of deceptive advertising, ads that have clearly implied that its vehicles were made in the United States when they were not. For example, in the early 1990s GM had TV ads boasting that the Chevy Camaro was “from the country that brought you rock and roll.” Unless rock and roll was created in Canada, this was a big fat Genuinely Misleading lie.

America deserves a GM board of directors that has the cojones to stand up for American jobs. What did we pay $50 billion for? As owners, taxpaying Americans have the right to call the shots. While I recognize that President Obama does not want to run GM, his staff should be looking over the narrow shoulders of the board of directors, especially when it moves production overseas to Germany and Mexico. We taxpayers did not save General Motors to create jobs in Russelsheim, Germany or Ramos Arizpe, Mexico.

The entire GM board of directors should be replaced. I have not heard a dissenting board member protesting the board’s decision to import more cars from Germany and Mexico. US taxpayers, as majority shareholders, have the right to elect the GM board of directors. We must throw the GM board overboard.

Joel Joseph is chairman of the Made in the USA Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting American-made products. Email Phone 310-MADE-USA.

From The Progressive Populist, September 15, 2010

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