GM has it's problems, to be sure. But, I don't think they're going out. Here's the situation I foresee:
GM already is at (or very near) the point of heaving a great, competitive product line across all brands, so the product is no longer the issue that is killing them. The three big issues are:
1. Consumer perception (i.e. let's kiss a$$ to the imports by way of blind devotion, but bash domestics just because we _THINK_ they suck, and it's the stylish thing to do anyway) is in need of improvement. Biggest way to do this is to improve the product. They've done that and it is just barely starting to get into people's minds that GM is making really good vehicles again. Only time, and continued perserverence on GM's part at developing and maintaining a desireable product line will fully solve this problem.
2. Service (or lack thereof). This also plays into consumer perception and we've all read the horror stories on these very forums about unsolved malfunctions and poor treatment by the dealers and customer service line. This HAS to be fixed ASAP, or it will keep people away even if the cars are outstanding. Much of this lies with the dealers to sort out, and GM has less direct control at solving this than the product quality issues. After all, the dealer is more or less independently owned and has to CYA for themselves to protect their own bottom line.
3. Cost of doing business. As pointed out in the above post, labor in China (among others) is dirt cheap. Yes this is a problem, and not one that GM can solve. The USA has to decide if we want to sacrifice our standard of living in the long term to maintain our standard of living in the short term. Shortsightedness seems to be a perrenial problem for America, we seem to have a habit of shooting ourselves in the foot when it comes to lowering costs and making goods more afforable; which is done by exporting the labor involved in making the goods, while eliminating the good dometic jobs that enabled the people who used to have them to live well. Kind of a paradox.This is more a political than a corporate problem, and it seems that it will be coming to a head in the not so distant future.
That brings me to this point, which is that someone (and my bet is on the UAW et al) is going to get hosed sooner than later like it or not. What Delphi has done is to file for bankruptcy protection in order to cut off a lot of overly expensive, underperforming chaff. Make no mistake, this is about expense reduction, and the pay/benefits of all the tens of thousand of employees affected are the key issue here. GM is in the same boat.
Back in the day when GM could absorb the hit from fattened-up contracts negotiated by the labor unions, no one cared and livin' was easy. Then something happened. The imports (namely Toyota) got bigger and more profitable while keeping their expenses under control (even with using union labor in US assembly plants) and GM started to bleed more money than it could cover.
In essence, GM was muscled onto overpromising pay/benefits based on circumstances and conditions that existed in a different kind of economy than we have now. So, we have the consequences for poor decisions made years and decades ago based on precedents that were set when the issue of foreign competition, and domestic profitability, was not as much of an issue as it is now.
Add to that the fact that they made products that were substandard, or average at best for most of the 80's and into the 90's, and the company - is big as it was - could no longer maintain a healthy balance sheet.
Now it's time to put up or shut up, and by my thinking, GM will eventually win major concessions from the unions in terms of pay and benefits going forward as their very jobs will depend on it. If this doesn't happen and GM cannot get more competitive on cost by shedding expeneses that their competitors don't have, then they too will file for bankruptcy protection and will use this as the "out" to get rid of the bloat associated with doing business under 1960's style rules. Think about it from the standpoint of the plant worker. Either you give up something and keep your job, or you stand your ground and decimate your employer financially and loose your job. As the saying goes, 50% of something is better than 100% of nothing.
This is what has to happen for GM to survive as a viable US atuomaker in the long term, like it or not. If they cannot regain the ability to be profitable this way then they will force the issue by doing it by way of a bankruptcy restructuring. Either that, or they will go the way of Chrysler and form an unholy alliance with one of their foreign competitors.
Delphi will emerge from this current mess as a leaner, meaner company that will turn a profit, albeit with a smaller workforce making less pay and benefits. That is the whole objective, and it will be achieved by using the bankruptcy as a means of escaping costs that they cannot possibly continue to incur.
We all should hope that GM can do this by less drastic means, or there are going to be a lot of casualties in the next decade as the house of cards finally collapses.
Ok, rant over.