The management of General Motors has a nickname in the Automobilwoche newsroom: We call the team led by Rick Wagoner, Fritz Henderson and Bob Lutz the "brand annihilation commando unit."
What haven't they already done to ruin once-shining names like Cadillac, Saab, Opel and Chevrolet? Last week, Wagoner again polished his reputation.
What was presented as a "rescue plan" was among the most absurd blunders in the history of the automobile industry. Wagoner solidified old structures that haven't been competitive for a long time.
If President Obama supports GM with billions more in tax money, he would seal the failure of what once was the largest automaker in the world, and he would squander his entire reputation.
Wagoner has tried to nurse GM back to health by closing factories, cutting jobs and the eliminating brands. The company has shrunk year after year. But talk of a recovery is out of the question.
That's because the "rescue plans" do nothing about GM's real problems: Retired employees retain their claim to pensions and health insurance.
As a result, they continue to burden GM on the cost side without any capacity to boost income with their output.
Absurd! Based on everything we now know, bankruptcy is a better alternative for GM. The company could free itself from its debt burden, reduce wages and benefits to a competitive level, and slash a dealer network that is much too large.
Wagoner's argument that customers don't buy cars from a bankrupt automaker has long been refuted, since customers aren't buying its cars anyway. Wagoner's management team should leave the company. It has demonstrated its incompetence quite long enough.
Bankruptcy could save GM's European businesses. Wagoner slowly seems to be giving up his opposition to the sale of Opel.
Together with other countries, the German government could establish a rescue company for Opel, Vauxhall and Saab. That would allow the government to seek new investors before GM finally destroys these brands.