GM's disaster CEO, Roger Smith, finally kicked bucket

The guy probably most responsible for the bad business decisions that tanked GM as a world leader in the auto business has died...Roger Smith, target of Michael Moore's widely viewed documentary, "Roger &
Me," died after an "unspecified illness" near Detroit (probably Royal Oak; GM's press hacks wouldn't say) at 82.
Smith was GM's first "bean counter" CEO, not a car guy, not an engineer, and finished the long, hard attempt by the headquarters accounting wing of GM to take over all of GM's business decisions, in contradiction to the "loose federation" business model put in place by Al Sloan in the '30s, which made GM an inventive and successful powerhouse.
Among Smith's disasters were Saturn, which turned out to be somewhat of a fraud to the car buying public, which was promised "no hassle, no haggle" dealerships, which turned out to simply be an advertising hoax. Instead, GM wasted the opportunity to truly remake the "GM culture" but simply extending it to yet another division building and selling mediocre designs. Meanwhile, while keeping Saturn a separate division, Smith succeeded in destroying the car, truck and bus division that made GM what it was by "badge engineering" corporate headquarters designs and placing all former "division" functions into a single, accounting-controlled "manufacturing department," with the exception of Cadillac. Cadillac was still trimmed excessively, which hampered their efforts to compete with the Euros, the Japanese and with Ford's Lincoln-Mercury Division. The public got wind of this really quickly, and, despite accolades today from the auto cognoscenti in Detroit, Smith saw GM's market share in the US fall from 46% to 32% under his watch. This wasn't in spite of Smith's efforts, it was directly because of them. Bean counters don't build cars...car guys do, and Smith was anything other than a car guy. GM does now have a couple of "car guys" in top management (Bob Lutz from Iacocca's Chrysler comes to mind) but they're kept in check by the accounting honchos and aren't allowed to innovate.
Under Smith, all GM cars were simply "GM this or that," with no brand individuality in engineering or model offerings. Smith directed the newly formed "manufacturing department" to use the cheapest possible drive train components, such as using the inferior Chevy small block V8 and Chevette HydraMatic even in Cadillac lines, and the tired Buick V6 for almost everything else. Chevrolet, the lowest regarded of all GM divisions for decades, was allowed to keep its own engines and transmissions, while superior power train products from Olds, Buick, Detroit Gear, Saginaw and Delco were trashed to cut costs.
Wagoner, the current flailing GM CEO, praised Smith for 'preparing GM for the global competition it now faces.' Pretty words, but too bad they're a lie. The truth is that Smith started the long, steep decline of GM that they're suffering today. Continuing the slaughter, Smith descendents Stempel and Wagoner stripped GM of GM Truck and Coach, all car divisions, Delco-Remy, AC Spark Plug, Electro-Motive Division, Detroit (Cleveland) Diesel, Allison Division, Frigidaire Division and practically everything of value that GM had since the 1920s. Wagoner's hardly any better; since he took over from Stempel, GM's market share has sunk now to an all-time low of 24%, with promised hot models never making it to market, instead content to try to sell rebadged Aussie Holdens as "GTOs" and similar cheesy GM rebadge gaffes.
Nice going, Roger...hope you'd enjoy Honda, Nissan and Toyota posthumously eating your lunch...and breakfast...and dinner...and desserts. You deserve it, as well as having a thousand UAW members piss on your grave, not to mention the populations of the cities of Flint, Lansing and half the state of Michigan.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Fri, 7 Dec 2007 12:56:37 -0800 (PST), "David E. Powell"

The operative word in that sentence being "eventually."

Smith finally broke down and agreed to a sit-down with Moore AFTER filming was wrapped and the picture was already through post production. He had his chance, but decided to do a Jack Welch and stonewall. He got what he deserved. The wreckage that is GM now is mostly due to bad decisions he made, continued as they were by Stempel and Wagoner.
Smith's two biggest boners: shedding the "Sloan model" and making GM just another bean-counter-run money grubbing American corporation. All of the inventiveness, creativity and drive to excel that marked GM's rise to #1 all during the Sloan era was gone. The second was Saturn, which COULD have been a good thing, but wound up just being part of Smith's failed "southern strategy" to move all GM manufacturing out of Michigan, the Midwest and California and into backward southern states, which are reliably anti-labor and whose desperate state and local governments were forking over billions in tax breaks.
Saturn's designs were mediocre at best (the plastic skin idea was robbed from Pontiac, everything else was also-ran GM designs not used by the other "divisions") and, although quality of assembly was higher than other GM products, it still couldn't match that of the Japanese competitors. The whole "no-hassle dealer" idea turned out to just be yet another GM advertising gimmick. Lee Iacocca even questions the wisdom of hanging onto Smith's failed idea, as he also questions the validity of Ford's Mercury line, which now is just a "dress-up" option for the Ford line.
Ford, however, is coming out with some pretty darned good new products, while GM's got their design transmission stuck in permanent reverse. The real sleeper was the 500, which got a Fusion grill and was rebadged back to Taurus...a VERY nice car. Chrysler, now a toy for private equity hacks to play with, will probably tank soon due to mismanagement, since La Sorda probably won't put up with the new owners for very long if they don't behave. Remember, it was Ford's going public and AWAY from total Ford family control in 1956 that saved the company, even if drunkard King Henry II didn't necessarily see it that way. The reverse could be very true of Cerberus' grabbing of Chrysler. Lack of oversight and accountability always breeds bad management, no matter what the industry.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Well, yeah. That's a standard part of Moore's "documentaries".
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
the whole movie was based on the crap that asshole pulled and gm still uses today to fuck people who work for them
"David E. Powell" wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
GM is the biggest car company in the world, ahead of Ford, Chrysler, Honda, Toyota, et. al.
if that's doing "bad", I'll take some more
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_automobile_manufacturers#World.27s_larg est_vehicle_manufacturers
you fellas need to learn, you can't argue with success. Michael Moore is about the more unreputable source of info you can listen to.
GM didn't get "small"- they bought up everyone else, and got even larger- they now OWN 12 car lines, listed below:
1. General Motors ( United States) - 8,926,160 vehicles Buick Division North America, China Cadillac Division Global Chevrolet Division Global Daewoo Subsidiary Asia, Europe GMC Division North America Holden Subsidiary Asia Pacific, Middle East Hummer Division Global Opel Subsidiary Continental Europe Pontiac Division North America Saturn Subsidiary North America Saab Subsidiary Global Vauxhall Subsidiary United Kingdom

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Motorsforum.com is a website by car enthusiasts for car enthusiasts. It is not affiliated with any of the car or spare part manufacturers or car dealers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.