On a brisk January day in 1992, Chrysler's then-President Bob Lutz slid into the driver's seat of the first Jeep Grand Cherokee to roll off the assembly line at the new Jefferson North factory. Riding shotgun was Detroit's colorful and cantankerous mayor, Coleman A. Young. They were on their way to make a showstopping introduction at the Detroit auto show, but it would not be a smooth ride. As they turned onto potholed Jefferson Avenue, Lutz said: "You know, some of these streets really need attention, your honor." Young laughed and said, "What, you don't like them potholes?" As Lutz struck another road divot, he responded, "Who would?" Young laughed again, Lutz recalled, and said, "Well, you better learn to love 'em, because they're staying right where they are."
By David Welch April 29 (Bloomberg BusinessWeek) -- The 15 General Motors dealers who flew to Detroit last September for a dinner with GM management were not an easily rattled bunch. They had endured the worst auto sales slide in 25 years, as well as the bankruptcy of the iconic carmaker on which they had built their businesses. Only three months had passed since GM accepted a $50 billion federal bailout, announcing the retirement of four of its eight brands and the shutting down of 1,900 dealers—a third of its domestic retail network. These dealers were the survivors, some of the more prosperous people in their towns, and they wanted a little reassurance. CEO Fritz Henderson gathered the group in a private conference room at the Westin Detroit Metro Airport and tried to demonstrate that he had a plan, according to an executive in the room who asked not to be named because he was not authorized to describe the dinner. Henderson announced that GM was going on the
Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne drove the first new Jeep Grand Cherokee off the line at a ceremony on May 21, 2010, echoing Bob Lutz's famous roll-off 18 years earlier. This time, the breakthrough did not come via a glass wall. Rather, it was what the boss had to say.
U.S. labor isn’t working, to borrow Margaret Thatcher’s slogan, and many investors are bracing for a double-dip recession. With about one out of every six American workers unemployed or underemployed, what to do?