Imagine my surprise yesterday to learn that Ed Whitacre, the former head of SBC, now AT&T, was named the new chairman of the Board for GM. It is rather astonishing that a person with no knowledge of the industry will become a member of the nucleus of GM's management team responsible for establishing its new strategy.
Whitacre is quoted as saying, "I am honored to be able to serve GM at this critical juncture and take part in its reinvention."
Those of us with decades of experience in dealing with the regulated ex-Bells seriously doubt any of their leaders can ever reinvent anything. One of my Broadvox coworkers penned this blog yesterday. I am happy to share it with you.
"...In my experience, here is what you can expect:
GM will buy every car company and dealer in the US. You will then only be able to buy a GM car. Maybe one other car manufacturer will be allowed - as long as it keeps to its own home market and does not compete directly with GM.
Price increases of 10% or more annually will automatically be approved by the regulators.
Technical innovation will be strictly forbidden. In fact, some of the features of new cars - particularly communication features, will be turned off until GM can charge by the minute for them.
The cars will be equipped with sensors so that every time you touch them (starting, putting in fuel, and especially servicing) you will be charged a fee. The fee will continue to be charged every month once it has started billing. The fee will never be credited - see below.
If you have a problem with the car or with a fee, and are actually making progress with a service rep, that rep will be reassigned or fired, and you will have to start over again with a new rep. After several iterations of this process, you will give up.
The only way to get GM to respond to any issue will be to file a complaint with State and/or Federal authorities.
Should any new car company be foolish enough to challenge GM's dominance, they will be subject to State and Federal rules written by GM for the benefit of GM, and will quickly disappear in a hail of financial problems.
This will cause GM to raise their prices, as the prices they had charged before were obviously artificially low due to the presence of competition. - Jeff Slater"
See you on Friday...