Driving South At General Motors

We just came across a post at the blog “The Truth About Cars” (TTAC) that is spreading a rumor (could you imagine that… RUMOR mongering !) that Rick Wagoner, the CEO at General Motors, will be taking a much needed vacation within the next couple of days. A permanent vacation.

According to this profile at forbes.com, Mr. Wagoner’s compensation for FY 2007 was just shy of $5 million. And that’s despite shareholder value that is melting away faster than an ice cube on a hot August day. Not a bad gig if you can get it, in our opinion.

We have no idea whether the story posted at TTAC has any basis in fact. It will be interesting to see if Rick Wagoner gets to take his “vacation”… whether he resigns, is dismissed, or takes a different position within GM (he’s been there for the past 30 years). If the rumor is true, it shouldn’t surprise anyone, especially the motorheads here at Routing By Rumor. In the past, we have written about why we are one GM customer that will never buy another vehicle from this company. And since we are a die-hard proponent of that quaint notion of “Buy American”, and we were a loyal GM customer for nearly our entire driving career, you know that something is very wrong with this company. We feel that if they couldn’t hold on to us as a customer, they have little chance of holding on to anyone else.

Those poor GM shareholders. Back in January, 1999, GM’s share price was sitting pretty at $90. When we checked it this morning, it was below $10 (view the current GM share price). That equals a loss of shareholder value of almost 89% from it’s all-time high. GM shares are also more than 76% off their 52-week high of $43.20. If you’re invested heavily in GM, chances are you can’t afford to buy one of the gas guzzling GM SUVs piling up in dealer’s lots, no matter how worthless they become. Thanks to $4.00 a gallon gasoline and an economy that is on life support, the only thing dropping faster than GM’s share price is it’s SUV and pickup sales.

This is probably just a cruel coincidence, but the TTAC blog runs ads on their site, and the ads that appeared on the article we cited above happened to be for a vehicle from KIA. How fitting.

So Rick, if it turns out you’re looking for work, and you have any writing experience, send us your resume. Blogging experience, a familiarity with WordPress, and some Internet savvy will all be helpful. Please include a cover letter with your salary requirements.

– Routing By Rumor

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “Driving South At General Motors

  1. Anthony

    Hi
    None of this surprises me. It was GM that drove me to the offshore auto makers. Essentially, the problem was a worn lobe on my cam shaft while the car was still under warranty. GM/dealership under no circumstances acknowledged it as a GM problem – no way no how, forget about it!! Of course they were happy to fix it at my cost – talk about having “ball bearings”. In the end I took the car to an auto repair shop to have the cam replaced, then sold the car and have never looked back. I have been driving Hyundai’s ever since (10 years and counting). Thanks GM u have done me a huge favour 🙂

    – Toronto, Ontario, Canada

  2. Brian in Charlotte

    MAN oh MAN, I am shocked!

    I have been dealing with GM over a front tire wear issue that has been documented and substantiated by a third party…the story is way too long to get into, but suffice it to say that I have been completely and utterly floored at their repeated disrespect, blatant documented false statements and absolute lack of any concern whatsoever for a loyal customer with two GM vehicles.

    I tell you, besides being extremely upset, I’m saddened as well to see this kind of treatment of good customers. They have us over a barrel, and simply do not care.

    They have sown some very bad seed, and although I do not wish them harm, I do hope they enjoy their harvest.

    I have been dealing with a Lemon Law attorney here in NC and I have come up empty…UNREAL. This is so egregious to me I can’t see straight.

    If I want to go forward with a lawsuit, it will cost me $125, plus $75 hour and I may end up having to pay more if things don’t go well.

    All I want is for them to take this vehicle back and issue me a new one.

  3. Marilyn Wittke

    I have been fighting with General Motors since July 12th.

    My daughter bought a car down in TN last May. She came up in July of this summer and went home July 12th and her truck has been in the shop since and today is August 25th. The dealership which is in Dayton TN told us that there was a recall on her truck which we found was untrue. They said that the engine light was on for a missfire in one of the cyclinder heads and they took the motor out and did all kinds of compression tests and found nothing wrong with it. Mind you, she drove the truck in and now it doesn’t even run. They then put four ECM’S (which are computers) on it and still wouldn’t start. Then they where told to put an electronic ignition switch in it. Still no good. Then they were going to check out all the wires… still no good. Last but not least, a new battery. Still no good. So some engineer from GM said that it needs a new ECM. That makes five.

    We have spoken to many customer service people but we can’t get any higher up to speak to anyone. I was just looking to get the CEO’s email and no luck. Maybe if I post my problem I will get somewhere. We don’t want the truck back it is a problem truck they have replaced to many parts that should have not been replaced. I am asking for a buy back. The dealership owner, who is some guy Keith, gave us the impression he was going to do right by us but he didn’t.

    So please, can someone out there help us ?


    Response from Routing By Rumor…

    Marilyn,

    Congratulations on your firsthand experience with GM’s world-class customer service and sterling warranty service !

    If we we were in your daughter’s shoes, we wouldn’t want that truck back either. We don’t believe that any car or truck is unrepairable. Rather, it is usually a lack of knowledge on the part of the mechanics and technicians that service them, which leads to incorrect diagnoses of problems. It’s not necessarily the case that the dealership’s service department is incompetent. Vehicles today are extremely reliable, but they are also extremely complex, computer controlled machines. As you’ve experienced, when problems do occur, they can often be very difficult for dealerships (or anyone else) to diagnose and repair correctly. Another issue is that a dealership’s service department will never invest the time or money to solve a problem unless GM authorizes it. Dealerships don’t warranty the vehicle, GM does. Dealerships don’t even like to do warranty repairs, because GM doesn’t pay the dealership as much for warranty work as the dealership can charge their customers for non-warranty repairs (that’s where the real money is). It’s as simple as that. Dealerships could care less if your vehicle languishes on their lot for weeks or months. And don’t be surprised if they return the vehicle to your daughter, telling her it’s repaired, when the problem still exists. We’ve had this experience at GM dealerships numerous times. Basically, if the vehicle will start and can be driven off their lot, they turn a blind eye to any problems. You may be leaking oil, burning oil, or you may have a noisy engine, slipping transmission or some other serious problem, but they mysteriously can’t find any problems with the vehicle. The truth is that they are not motivated to find the problem or satisfy the customer. Money is what it’s all about. Like most companies, GM will never voluntarily spend a penny more than they have to to. And as we have learned through our own experience, GM’s new vehicle warranty isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on.

    A few thoughts come to mind, based on our own experience with trying to get General Motors to repair defective vehicles under the factory warranty…

    1) Tennessee does have a “lemon” law, which certainly appears to apply to your daughter’s truck. As a first step, go to Tenessee’s state government website and research the law. Here is a good place to start (click here). From your posting, it appears that you are located in New Jersey (based on your IP address). New Jersey also has a lemon law, and if your daughter had purchased the vehicle in New Jersey, we believe that General Motors would be required to replace it or refund the purchase price.
    From a quick reading of the Tennessee law, it appears that your daughter has to notify GM by certified mail, and they get another 10 days to try and fix the problem. The dispute may have to be arbitrated, but your daughter can still take them to court if she’s not happy with the outcome. Your daughter should also contact the Tenessee Attorney General’s office and their Consumer Affairs division. Don’t expect GM or their dealership to tell your daughter that her vehicle qualifies as a “lemon” under Tennessee law. Hell will freeze over before they voluntarily disclose that information.

    Most states have passed lemon laws because the automobile manufacturers have steadfastly refused to do the right thing, over and over, for years. Now, when you get screwed by GM or any other vehicle manufacturer, you have the law on your side.

    2) Talk to an attorney (in Tennessee). No corporation, not even GM, wants to be on the receiving end of a lawsuit that will cost them more to defend against than just replacing or buying back the vehicle would. You’d be amazed how fast companies respond when they get sued. (Oh, Ms. Jones, we had no idea you were having these problems with your vehicle. We’re very sorry, Ms. Jones, and we will see to it that the problem is corrected to your complete satisfaction. Oh, and thank you, Ms. Jones, for bringing the problem to our attention.) Yeah, right. Sometimes, just a letter from your lawyer is enough to get them to do the right thing. Sometimes, it takes an arbitrator, a judge, or a jury to do the right thing. You can bet that there’s plenty of perspective jurors out there who have experienced the same nightmare your daughter is experiencing.

    3) Don’t waste your time trying to contact GM management yourself. They won’t help you. We learned that the hard way years ago, when we were in your daughter’s shoes, and couldn’t get satisfaction. Not from our dealership, not from the regional GM office, and not from GM headquarters.
    It’s why we decided to never purchase another GM vehicle. Complaining to GM is like spitting into the wind. Actually, spitting into the wind may be more productive.

    4) Consider creating your own website or blog or youtube video, and tell the world about the nightmare your daughter is experiencing, courtesy of General Motors. Plenty of other people have done exactly that. It may or may not get the problem resolved, but take it from us, it makes you feel better. And you can believe that people at General Motors (and other companies) do read what people post about them on the Web. Like many website and blog owners, we get detailed statistics that show us who has been reading our blog. We’ve seen numerous visits from computers at GM offices in Detroit, Michigan and Warren Michigan. (Yes, it is that specific… we see the date, the time, their “IP” address, company name, city and state, what articles they viewed on our website, and how long they hung around.)

    Most importantly, don’t give up. They try to wear you down, and they hope you’ll get tired of fighting, and just go away. Don’t.

    Good Luck !

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