For the record I support at least the idea of the auto bailout. To me it was obvious that if Bush and then Obama had not employed tax payer financing to GM and Chrysler then they would have imploded dragging down most of the domestic supplier industry, Ford (because they get their parts from the same domestic supplier base), hundreds of thousands of jobs, hundreds of billions perhaps even a trillion plus dollars lost, finally the possibility that the entire US economy would have been annihilated in the process. Moron republicans can talk about how unjust and what a waste of tax payer money the auto bailout was. Many of these are the same people who mindlessly supported the Iraq war and the thousands it killed and trillion plus it wasted and now they finally get religion about not wanting to waste the public money even if it is an attempt to save the US economy.
Having said all of the above I always have had a problem with how the bailout was done. To me Bush should have bucked up and been a little more involved instead of extending a life line and then deferring to the next administration because Obama has definitely screwed the bailout up. Yes the Obama bailout is better than the financial ruin as the alternative but it sure seems a waste to have bailed out GM only to have allowed an incompetent bungler like Dan Akerson to be in charge over there. From his brilliant idea to keep GM’s European subsidiary Opel (which has lost billions of tax payer dollars since the bailout) instead of selling it like the ousted CEO Fritz Henderson wanted, to horrible interference on the latest Chevy Malibu that resulted in a brand new model being out sold by the older model it was replacing. It has since been announced that it will have an emergency redesign to help rid itself of the “Akerson Effect”.
The story is different at Chrysler but the result could end up being the same. Obama literally gave part of Chrysler to Italian automaker Fiat run by Sergio Marchionne. To his credit Marchionne has done a much better job of leading Chrysler and the results in sales are there to back him up. On the down side is that Fiat is getting destroyed in Europe and losing billions of dollars. Now you have Marchionne trying to buy the rest of the stake in Chrysler so he can use Chrysler’s profits from the US to prop his loser Italian auto brand. Enter the all new Jeep Cherokee, perhaps with the ugliest front end in the history of the suv. This” distinctive” front end design was brought about because Marchionne wanted to save money to help prop up Fiat in Europe. It’s not just me who thinks this but there have been articles about this in the Wall Street Journal and Autoblog (where I originally got the idea for this piece). The consistent theme between GM and Chrysler is that the bail out was necessary but if we are going to bail out these automakers with tax payers money we should at least set them up for success by not appointing someone with no automotive industry experience like Akerson or not throwing Chrysler to a bankrupt European automaker who is planning on stealing Chrysler’s US profits to keep afloat Fiat.