But wait a minute – doesn’t GM arguably have the finest product lineup in its history? Yes, it does. As a matter of fact, I don’t think there’s ever been a time – even in GM’s much-vaunted heyday (roughly 1957 to 1977) – that the company has even come close to offering the quality product lineup with the kind of depth and breadth they have on the ground today. Given that then, things aren’t all that bad, right? Is it possible that I might be overstating my doom and gloom assessment of GM just a tad?
Well, let’s take a look at the hard numbers.
Out of the depths of The Great Recession, when the U.S. car market plunged to a seasonally-adjusted annualized selling rate (SAAR) of around 9 million vehicles back in 2009, to where we are today, which will probably end up at a rip-roaring 16.7 million vehicles (even accounting for Marchionne’s drunken sailor, scorched earth incentive spending orgy, it’s an impressive amount of cars), you would think that GM would have made considerable hay with the upturn in the market. After all, this has been one of the greatest – if not the greatest – five-year improvements in the history of the U.S. automobile business.
And what has GM done with this grand opportunity, exactly? When GM succumbed to its humiliating dive into bankruptcy, the company’s retail market share was around 21 percent. Wait a minute – GM was at death’s door yet it still was taking almost one out of every four retail sales in the U.S. market? Yes indeed. It wasn’t the 48 percent juggernaut number that it once achieved back in its glory days, of course, but it was still considerable and noteworthy nonetheless.