Forget No. 1; go for profit,GM must focus on quality, not corporate ego

Forget No. 1; go for profit GM must focus on quality, not corporate ego http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20071028/COL14/710280666/1014/BUSINESS01
Who's No. 1? Who cares.
The sigh of relief around Detroit when sales figures this week showed General Motors is once again the world's largest automaker wasn't just premature. It was dangerous.
Keep the champagne on ice. GM's 10,000-vehicle lead over Toyota is paper thin, and focusing on sales leadership could distract it from what really matters: getting back to making the best vehicles, not the most.
Either company could be No. 1 at the end of the year, and who's on top is immaterial compared with who's best, and who's getting better.
Reality check
Talking way off the record, GM executives have told me the shock of slipping to second could do the company some good.
"There's still a few people here who don't realize just how serious our situation is," one said. "They buy the idea of our being too big to fail. If losing leadership after more than 70 years doesn't slap some sense into them, nothing will."
GM has spent a generation in the United States chasing short-term sales goals at the expense of long-term excellence. The result: a long, steady decline in its share of the U.S. market and millions of alienated customers.
Toyota took the opposite tack, with long-term planning that lifted it from a lightly regarded, little family owned company to No. 1 or No. 1a.
Who leads depends on what day you ask. Literally. GM's 10,000-vehicle advantage through nine months amounts to less than one shift's production for either company.
Unless GM or Toyota screws up, we're in for a long seesaw ride. They could easily trade leadership back and forth for years.
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Maybe GM could open sales with china. We sure buy enough chineese crap. It would be nice to sell them vehicles insted of giving them cash.

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Chevy Man wrote:

GM already does brisk business in China, where 'Japanese' is viewed with caution. Buick seems to be very well liked and considered stylish in China.
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