Detroit's auto dominance won't return

Detroit's auto dominance won't return http://tinyurl.com/4ga6ond
BY TOM WALSH DETROIT FREE PRESS COLUMNIST
WARNING! Do not mistake the happy buzz at the North American
International Auto Show for a harbinger that the good old days are coming back to Detroit.
They aren't.
No one should be lulled into old, parochial assumptions about Detroit being the hub of the world's auto industry, or into thinking that old ways of doing business are relevant anymore.
Just a few minutes on the show floor Tuesday with transplanted Detroiters Susan Docherty and John Krafcik was a vivid reminder of how much the global auto game has changed.
A year ago, Docherty, 47, was General Motors' top U.S. sales executive, with home and family in suburban Detroit. Now she has a similar role with GM International Operations (GMIO). She lives with her husband and 11-year-old child in an apartment overlooking the river in Shanghai, China, a mega-metropolis with a population nearly the size of Docherty's native Canada.
Docherty spends one week a month in China, the rest of her time traveling to India, Russia, Abu Dhabi and other faraway places.
When I asked what competitors keep her up at night, she didn't mention Ford, Toyota, Honda or the other traditional suspects.
"Hyundai and Kia," she said, rattling off market-share numbers for GM and the Korean automakers in Pacific Asia, Russia, Latin America, Africa and the Middle East.
"GM has a 9.1% market share in GMIO countries," she said. "Hyundai and Kia, with a combined 8.8%, are next, and the Kia numbers are floating up because they're doing well with a younger audience."
And oh, by the way, Docherty adds, 90% of the world's children under 15 are in emerging markets -- not the U.S., Japan or western Europe.
Krafcik, president and CEO of Hyundai Motor America, was a 14-year Ford executive before joining Hyundai in 2004.
Hyundai's U.S. sales grew 23% last year, double the 11% rate of the U.S. market. Kia sales rose 18%.
On Tuesday, Krafcik was explaining Hyundai's unconventional back-to-the-future moves to vertical integration -- such as spending $5 billion last year to build its own plant to make lightweight, stronger steel alloys to improve fuel economy. And it's doing its own advertising with a captive agency, Innocean, producing three new spots for next month's Super Bowl.
Encouragingly, new Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder seems to get that the world business order is changing rapidly. Touring the auto show Tuesday, he didn't just stop at GM, Ford and Chrysler -- but also visited Toyota, Hyundai and Kia (which have tech centers near Ann Arbor.)
It's important that all Detroiters open their minds to the opportunities in this changing world. Otherwise, the good buzz of our nascent recovery will fade fast.
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On 12/01/2011 3:21 PM, Jim_Higgins wrote:

What is going to happen to GM out of this is about the same as having piranha eat you alive, one piece at a time.
Seen GMs P/E ratio? What a manipulated propped up price.
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