A column in today’s Wall Street Journal was hidden behind the “subscribers only” section to the detriment of many industry watchers, as the Journal’s Holman Jenkins outlined what he sees as GM’s biggest threats to becoming successful again; a resurgent Volkswagen, and a UAW that Jenkins feels is representing interests that run counter to the workers and the company’s recovery.
While Jenkins labels VW a “has-been” in the U.S. market, he notes that while other manufacturers are adopting the “world car” approach and creating one model for the entire globe, VW is tailoring their efforts to the U.S. and the rest of the world, while cutting their sticker prices. Purists may complain that the cars are losing their character, but the current generation Focus, which was a U.S. market car, trounced Saturn’s Astra, which followed the “world car” formula, in the sales race. Jenkins cites the new 2011 Jetta as a promising example of VW product to come.
Jenkins reserves an equal quantity of barbs for the UAW, blaming them for the foreign automaker’s decision to move all future plants to the South and escape the clutches of the UAW, after a disastrous effort by VW to establish a UAW staffed plant in Pennsylvania. Stating that “The union has no function except to seek uncompetitive wages, benefits and work rules from the Detroit segment of the industry,” he questions whether the policies of the Obama administration and the UAW are really in the best interests of GM and America as a whole.
[Source: The Wall Street Journal]