Monday, May 16, 2011

Akerson doubles down

Last Thursday the CEO of General Motors, a man who sometimes speaks too freely about how he feels about GM's future products and prospects, spoke much more loudly without uttering a single word.

Dan Akerson took $939,900 out of his own pocket and purchased 30,000 shares of GM stock.

I like it. 

Akerson has admitted that he's not a 'car guy.' But my guess he's a money guy. His big bet on GM tells me he has confidence in where the company is heading with his team is in place.

If he wants to make sure his investment pays off, he needs to start by getting the Volt numbers up, make sure the new Malibu rocks, and not get in the way of the Cadillac that's being developed to compete with the BMW 3-Series, Audi A4 and Mercedes C-Class. None of which are as easy as they look.

As many previous CEOs of GM including Roger Smith proved, it takes more than financial acumen and marketing savvy to run a car company. 

Ultimately it's about the product.


  1. Good luck to GM! I think they are finally getting it sorted out.

  2. I cannot fault Dan Akerson, nor can I laud him for his stock investment in GM. CEOs invest in their own company for many reason, not the least of which is to reassure investors when things are shaky.

    GM still seems to be a behemoth that doesn't quite know how to be nimble and modern in its product development and marketing. The Volt is a positive step, but ended up being more than $32,000 for a vehicle that is quite plain. Is it worth $8,000 more than the available hybrid selections?

    Most agree that the future of GM and more specifically, Chevy is based on the family sedans: Malibu and Impala. While these model names have a venerable history, they seem stodgy and out of sync with today's market. Are young drivers inspired by these model names? Three-syllable names are out. Two-syllable "modern" words, such as Accord, Camry, Focus and Fusion are in.

    For that matter, are young drivers inspired by Chevy styling? GM was considered by many the best American body styles in the 1950s, 60s and into the 70s. Occasionally, they will do something daring such as recent Cadillac offers. The Buick LaCrosse is a step in the right direction, but the Chevy line still seems dull.

    People do enough driving that want a vehicle that's fun, sporty, luxurious and reflects their image, as well as being practical transportation.

    I'd like to see GM turn things around, but they still have some distance to go.