In the current Print version of Automotive News dated 9/28/09 [because, YES, in fact, I still read the print versions of many titles…then the Online version’s, too], there are a number of interesting things going on in the US/Domestic biz, worthy of addressing. Two stories in particular, one on Ford, and one from Honda, illustrate a couple of the major OEM’s making good decisions, from very different places, for very different reasons. A third blurb concerns GM, which may be less optimal, in my view.
In this edition, Ford announces that it is reducing its regional DA group footprint to 36, from 62, in the coming months. While this does affect some staff, the reality is that for where Ford is now, the DA groups also need to scale to where both production & Share are now coming in. Good analysis, right call, makes sense. Those on the Sales side will need to stay close to their Media folks on these changes.
As for GM, no one knows. With truly great product finally coming on the market, what do they do? Feature their new Chairman guy, who came over from AT&T. Not cars; Ed. The guy from AT&T. Now, Mr Whitaker is quite a ways above my Pay grade, but every Sales 101 book out there says that no one cares about your company, its history, or who you are…until they care about what you offer, and what you can do for them. So…no VOLT, no Lucerne or Malibu or Acadia, none of the great new Cad’s being shown. Just Ed. Not ideal, as I see it.
Sorry gang, Lutz was right here. Show the product [which is now great, finally.] Make people care. THEN show Ed if you must.
With the last item, comes one of my broad assessments on the US auto biz, distilled from one tiny nugget of info that occasionally pops up. Honda announced this week, that it will be exporting Civic’s to…Mexico. Let me clarify: Honda Motors, one of the great Japanese companies, announced that its plant that makes Civic’s…IN INDIANA…will be exporting Civic’s to Mexico.
This capsule of info then, this nugget of detail, says…what?
It says that: A foreign company can come here, set up shop, and build world-class cars that people will buy. And not just buy in the US, either. It also says that this can happen, with US workers. But most of all, it says that this happened, with US workers and foreign management. What about these workers’ Union’s…and US Management? We know what has regrettably happened to those companies. They are not Honda, in Indiana, building world-class cars with US workers, for export to…anywhere.
How did both of those sides, Union’s and US Mgmt’s, let it come to this?
Last, this plant being in Indiana it should be pointed out, is one of those that Honda brazenly, and very plainly, said they would not put into Michigan, for obvious reasons. Very enlightening. And very telling, given how maligned the US auto worker him/herself is right now. It is clear to me where the failures arise from.
Seems like it is also clear to Honda, in Japan…and in Indiana!