Points taken. I would point out that I have not placed all blame on the unions, as I also did list product quality and public perception as issues that need or have needed serious attention. While I did not specifically say anything about management, believe me, I do not hold them faultless for the current state of GM.
I probably should have pointed that out before but it seems clear to me by way of inference [after all,who makes the decisions on what vehicles to design, build and market] that management was very sorely lacking at GM for a long time, and still has it's problems.
I too think that the current system of rewarding management (mostly the top-most tier - CEO, CFO, COO) even when the company is failing to meet expectations is just flat out wrong. The term "golden parachute" has been popularized as of late and it rings true time after time, and not just in the automotive world.
If you (as a Chief -whatever- Officer) are at the head of a company that is underperforming and is getting battered by it's competition then you also need to feel the sting financially and not just be given $10 Million and a pink slip that says "there's the door, don't let it hit ya where the good Lord split ya" so the company can find another big-shot to overpay in the hopes that the next quarter's earnings will be better. This is a distinctly American problem that is going to have to be addressed as all the pisants are getting mightily disgruntled [myself included].
As to the popularity of America bashing, I hold my ground on this one. Some would accuse me of blind devotion to America [which is untrue, I have plenty of complaints about my country as does most anyone] and I will agree that US carmakers in particular have made (and still make) some losers.
The problem is that some people will say things like "All US cars are crap and I'll never own one as long as I live". Well, guess what - this is a stereotype based on nothing more than ones opinion. Even if millions of people share this opinion it still isn't a fact. Think about it, millions of people can say "I'll never eat brussels sprouts because they stink and have no redeeming quality" and yet there are millions more who like to eat them, so the notion of completely denying the quality of something because you don't like it is silly.
Equally silly is the notion of giving one's allegiance to one brand of car, blue jeans, bottled water or anything else just because of the name and the image. Some people will buy a certain brand just because it is that brand, or because other people of similar background and interests buy the same without regards to the cost, quality, or value for the dollar. Thus are spawned more stereotypes - yuppies all drive BMW's, etc. And yet there is definately a lot of group-think at play here. Then again, that's what marketing is all about.
Where it become America bashing is when people have such strong opinions against US made cars that it comes across as outright hatred of them. And trying to discuss the merits of US cars with someone who refuses to believe that anything GM or Ford makes can ever approach (much less exceed) the quality of Toyota or Honda or VW (or whoever) will cause them to become irrational and simply resort to generalizations about one vs. the other without providing any factual or statistical basis for their argument.
This happens because they have protrayed their position as a fact, when knowing that is is really just an opinion. Since nobody likes to be wrong, when they are cornered and cannot back up their "fact" [read: opinion] with any solid points they just come out shooting from both barrels.
Of course this seems to have become the preferred method of debate for any issue in the US these days, as there is less and less respectful and intelligent discourse on touchy subjects. This is a shame because tempers flare all to often over trivial issues that don't deserve the kind of dead-horse beating treatment they receive while real problems go unsolved.
For the record, I am not directing any of this towards anyone who has repsonded to this thread thus far, so please don't let this denegrate in to a pissing contest. I am simply sharing my observations on the subject based on how I see people both on and outside of this forum approach the subject. And oftentimes it isn't pretty, that just how it is.