GM sure sounded apologetic in its full-page ad in the trade journal Automotive News, this week, in which the beleaguered auto maker acknowledged its shortcomings and admitted mistakes like not paying attention to a changing market. But that was before GM’s Vice Chairman Bob Lutz gave a video interview with CNBC where Lutz appeared to shift the blame to the overall poor market conditions for the global auto industry.
When the interviewer asked Lutz what he thought of all the fingers being pointed at GM’s CEO Rick Wagoner, Lutz said:
That’s like blaming the mayor of a city that’s been hit by an earthquake. . . . That’s in the category of a sacrificial lamb.
Throughout the interview Lutz said GM’s failings were largely due to the overall collapse of the auto market globally, citing the weak economy and credit crisis, and he insisted that GM matched the productivity and quality of the Japanese automakers. He also said the situation has been severely misrepresented by the media. Well, that’s going to win them a lot of points this week as the details of the bailout are laid out. (Oh, and another thing: He actually argued with the term bailout, saying they are better categorized as “short term loans”).