By Kevin Meyer
Forget for a moment all the financial convolutions the GM bailout foisted upon the taxpayers, and the accounting machinations they're going through to show a profit. Forget that they are in effect using U.S. taxpayer dollars to invest in China – although perhaps that's a more direct route than interest on the growing U.S. debt in effect being an investment in China.
Companies succeed when they focus on creating value for the customer… which only then creates value for the shareholders and stakeholders, and only then creates value for management. The old GM forgot that – if they ever knew it in the first place, and tried to skip those initial couple of steps. If you forget it all begins with the customer, you crumble.
The new taxpayer-enabled GM claimed they were different. Some pretty nice designs were created, some pretty pathetic ones discontinued. But somehow the internal philosophy of the company apparently hasn't changed.
General Motors Co is seeking to dismiss a lawsuit over a suspension problem on more than 400,000 Chevrolet Impalas from the 2007 and 2008 model years, saying it should not be responsible for repairs because the flaw predated its bankruptcy.
The lawsuit, filed on June 29 by Donna Trusky of Blakely, Pennsylvania, contended that her Impala suffered from faulty rear spindle rods, causing her rear tires to wear out after just 6,000 miles.
"New GM's warranty obligations for vehicles sold by Old GM are limited to the express terms and conditions in the Old GM written warranties on a going-forward basis," wrote Benjamin Jeffers, a lawyer for GM. "New GM did not assume responsibility for Old GM's design choices, conduct, or alleged breaches of liability under the warranty."
Technically GM is probably correct. But if you are a customer and see GM trying to weasel out of any commitment to quality and responsibility, how would you feel? Is that creating value – in terms of confidence among other things? Of course not.
Nice job GM. Old GM.