Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Friends and LM supporters host their own Burgers, Cars, and Welding - California Style

Long time friends, car builders extraordinaire, and overall quality folks, Dave and Mary Borden, recently completed a picnic and welding clinic at their home where they:

-invited like-mined folks,
-set up 3 welding stations (2 MIG + 1 TIG),
-brought in a ringer (Matt Rogers - friend but no relation),
-provided the grub,
and voila.....

Fun, learning, and food was had by all.


















Here is the gallery for some more pics. Can you pick out the GTM that Dave so lovingly created?

Bravo team Borden and West Coast car folks.

Join us on July 10th, 2009 at 5pm at 16 Kendrick Road where we will try to replicate the experience of our West Coast family.

This stuff is contagious! Go Local!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

How to answer questions about a disruptive business model - NOT EASY

When starting a disruptive business, there is usually not an identifiable precursor company which makes it easy for interested people to understand what the new business is doing. Consequently, early interactions with interested people are defined by questions that assume a lot (incorrectly) and that make it difficult to redirect questions.

For example, each of these following questions is an example of one directed to the founders of the business before it was well-known, and each, quite innocently, is looking for an answer that doesn't exist, because the question is predicated on old business models that the new company has not espoused:

On IKEA:
"Oh a new furniture store, I love that. What brands will you be selling?"

On Cold Stone Creamery:
"I love ice cream, how did you decide which ice cream flavors to order before opening?"

On Build-a-Bear:
"My daughter adors Teddy Bears, do you have a Michael Jackson one in stock?"

On Zara:
"Great blouse, can you check your other stores to see if you have it in my size?"

On Linux:
"How can you possibly employ enough good coders to beat Microsoft?"

On Digg:
"Cool, a news popularity contest. Should I read the Times first to see which articles are the most popular, before I Digg one?"

On American Idol:
"Live music is cool, Simon, but what makes you think that you can pick someone who the audience will want to watch?"

On Local Motors:
"Cool! a new car company...what kind of engines will you make?"
"Cool! a new car company...what car model (singular) do you make?"
"Cool! a new car company...how could you possibly raise enough money?"
"Cool! a new car company...but isn't this the worst time ever to be in that business?"

I think you get my point. At Local Motors, we encounter these same questions every day, and we do our best to answer by focusing on the business at hand. It is a challenge, however, because we are so different from the status quo and want to make a statement in the market that makes that clear enough so that the world understands.

Drive the Design!

Go Local!

Friday, June 26, 2009

An additional look for the Rally Fighter. Tell us which wheel you like the best, Please!






Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The field is dividing - Maya - Riversimple - Local Motors

Maya:

Today ExxonMobile in concert with Electrovaya announced the introduction of a low-speed, 2 seat, electric car called the Maya 300 which is due out by 2011 and will get 120 miles on an 8-10 hour charge.
















(Maya from http://gas2.org)



Riversimple:

Recently a non-profit cooperative between private citizens, private companies, and the UK government has introduced a lightweight, two seat, hydrogen fuel-cell, capacitor boosted, personal mobility leased vehicle, Riversimple, that will never be for sale but available for leased used.




Local Motors:

2009 will see the introduction of the strongest, lightest, safest, and sexiest vehicle every to be conceived of a crowd. The Rally Fighter runs clean diesel, will get 40+mpg, carry 4 adults, and fly at high speeds across the roughest desert terrain...and that is just the first of hundreds of styles and models that you can own, build, mod, and fetish over.



















Let's recap, because these are actually highly divergent concepts that may be the future of the market.

Maya: Lowest cost, neighborhood vehicle, will not meet US highway regulations, will probably not try to. Mass production of one single style. You can own and make it your own. It will not change quickly.

Riversimple: Small but expensive (for a long time into the future, that is if you could own it), dependent on a future hydrogen economy. You cannot ever call it your own, as you merely steward it before it goes to the next person. Style has no place in this equation as this is purely utilitarian. Very handy, and very plain.

Local Motors: Style, personalization, and the latest technology available today, always. Serviceable, available, made just in time, irresistable. Not Mass market, many niche markets.

Mass v Style. Future v Now. Practical v Desirable. Green vs Green. New vs New.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Serious news about government financing + a little automotive laugh

Today the Obama administration announced the first loans under the Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing Loan Program (ATVMLP).

The loan commitments announced today by the President include:

-$5.9 billion for Ford Motor Company to transform factories across Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, and Ohio to produce 13 more fuel efficient models;
-$1.6 billion to Nissan North America, Inc. to retool their Smyrna, Tennessee factory to build advanced electric automobiles and to build an advanced battery manufacturing facility; and
-$465 million to Tesla Motors to manufacture electric drive trains and electric vehicles in California.

These are the first conditional loan commitments reached as part of the Department of Energy's Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing program. The Department plans to make additional loans under this program over the next several months to large and small auto manufacturers and parts suppliers up and down the production chain. Local Motors has applied to be one of those.

"We have an historic opportunity to help ensure that the next generation of fuel-efficient cars and trucks are made in America," said President Obama.

Amen.

The auto industry is turning around and this government support is a major step forward.

Now for a little levity...this is from a blog I have recently come to like The Carsala Blog by Michelle Naranjo, if you speak German, please translate for the rest of us!

Acceleration - So many exciting additions to the site...and it is just the beginning. Where is the Wallpaper?

In the last week, changes to the LM site have begun to accelerate to accommodate the rapid advancement at the Company. Some have already been launched and others are in the chamber ready for fire.

A Newsletter Signup
A Press Update Signup
Video Carousels on Home, Buy, and Build areas
New Buy Page Rally Fighter images
New Home page Rally Fighter images
New Build Thread updates with pictures of Rally Fighter and the latest mold pieces
Easily findable Twitter profile links

And then there are the items that you have yet to see or hear about because we have yet to put them into action. Why? Because no matter how hard we try, we are always humbled by community members that give us a blinding flash of the obvious. This is why we love the community so much because they always force us to improve. In this case, I am talking about the ...

Local Motors Wallpapers which you see notably absent from our intergalactic collection of great design community members and their works.

This weekend, a community member told me that he had been using BMW "Wallpaper" at every chance he could on his iPhone because it was so much fun to look at and so easy to use.

He then showed me a BMW concept sketch that he had downloaded at the BMW website.

CONCEPT SKETCH!! Yikes. We maintain one of the best and most robust suites of conceptual designers in the world right here in our forum; and it is bordering on criminal that our community members are going to old school sites like BMW to get some of that "leading edge stuff."











Criminal! But not for long. Stand by for a way to get easily the best of the best of the best designs in the LM community and to put them right onto your computer, laptop, or mobile device for your viewing pleasure.

Here is BMW served up LM-style highlighting the skills of Community member Ben Messmer ... I'd like to have some wallpaper with just this kind of work! Soon enough...like the rest of the cool things to be found at LM in this time of great change.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Weekly Leader Podcast

It has been a long and successful week of accomplishments, but perhaps the event with which I am most satisfied is the podcast interview with Peter Mello, founder of the Weekly Leader, who with I discussed leadership tactics and my approach to leadership within Local Motors. Weekly Leader is both a website and e-zine, that deals exclusively with questions of leadership. I am most impressed with Peter and his team and the leadership franchise they have created.

Check out the podcast, you can download it at the Weekly Leader or at iTunes.

We are going to finish up Part 2 of the mini-series this upcoming week. If you have any feedback, please leave it in the comment section and I will be sure to address the comments in the next podcast.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Yesterday was a day in the trenches

Some days as an entrepreneur you have those moments where you look back over the day and just say, "wow, I did all that and it doesn't even seem like I accomplished 1/2 of what I wanted." The tough part is that 2 years ago, I would have been elated to accomplish 1/4 of what was on the "list" for the day, but my expectations have grown, perhaps in a way that my capacity for accomplishment has a difficult time keeping pace.

Let review the tape:

0700: Breakfast with the boys and mom

0730: Review work done by a community member over the night.

0800: Get Facebook messages from community members that tell us about media covering LM

0830: Get to work first and do my chare of cleaning the office for the week (we call it field day).

0900: Try to get a haircut but forgot my wallet (a common problem for a crazy entrepreneur).

0910: Call investors to update

0915: Short team standup (networked from Japan, to Chicago, to Wareham)

0930: Sign checks to pay the bills

0945: Meet National news that has come to film me, the business, the product, the experience, and the team.

0945 - 1300: Interview and tour

1301: Holy Cow almost late....Change clothes FAST!

1302: Drive to Boston (really fast) for meeting with 9 person team from the State House discussing incentive packages for LM. On the way talk to 9 people on the phone. Schedule two investors to meet next week and two future customers to have a tour.

1530: Drive back down to LM in rush hour traffic.

1700: debrief progress on doors, seals and windows of the Rally Fighter. This is an awesome vehicle and to think that the community designed it, and we are bringing it to fruition with great engineering and fine build quality is humbling.

1900: Home to tuck the boys in. Read quick story of Go Dog Go.

1930: Off to dinner with the family of one of our team members. They are here visiting from France for the first time ever, so I must dust off my weak French vocabulary and conduct myself with care. How do you say "stem cell research" in French, I cannot even think how to describe because my mind is being stretched like Gumby today.

2130: Come home to download the days events to my wife, then twitter, then listen to a weekly podcast interview with which I was featured to discuss leadership, and then to Blog.

Lastly, today we unveiled on the site one of the latest images of the Rally Fighter - this time in its race configuration. Better known, of course, as the Rally Fighter Race Edition.


















And as a bonus, the tapas that keeps my auto life interesting, additionally today I watched a video of a Tango racing a Tesla... Awesome. Both over $105K but fun to watch. Can you hear the laughing in the background at the drag strip?

Monday, June 15, 2009

Regional tastes - American Legends

At Local Motors we spend a lot of time thinking about regional tastes and fighting the powerful establishment which has sacrificed deep and varied regional taste in exchange for global consistency and the mirage of cost cutting by streamlining inventory.

When we find kindred spirits who share this commitment it is always my pleasure to showcase their position.

4 months ago Dominos Pizza announced its American Legends Pizza line based on 6 recognizable American regions and their affiliated tastes. At first, I simply thought that it was another gimmick of naming 6 new flavors, but then Dominos upped the ante by running a serious of TV spots that pit one region and its fans against those of another.

This is not so much a casual attempt to earn cheap points, it is an outright pitch to plant the maypole in the middle of each pizza party and to call out a different kind of allegiance - that of where you are from and what taste is in you.

The ad agency in charge of the creative is long-time Domino's ally Crispin Porter. I would include the embedded video here but it has not yet been released. So a description and an image will have to do. Next year, I expect to be running a similar image and writing about Local Motors' regional lineup...Stay tuned.























Honolulu Hawaiian — Sliced ham, smoked bacon, juicy pineapple, and roasted red peppers with provolone and mozzarella cheeses on a cheesy parmesan crust. Customers can make this pizza “fiery” by adding Tabasco® brand Pepper Sauce and jalapenos.

Cali Chicken Bacon Ranch(TM) — Chicken breast, white sauce, smoked bacon, tomatoes and parsley with provolone cheese and mozzarella cheeses on a cheesy provolone crust.

Pacific Veggie — Roasted red peppers, spinach, onions, mushrooms, tomatoes and black olives, with feta, mozzarella and provolone cheeses on a cheesy parmesan crust.

Memphis BBQ Chicken — Chicken breast, barbeque sauce, onions, and parsley with provolone, mozzarella and cheddar cheeses on a cheesy cheddar crust.

Buffalo Chicken — Chicken breast, Buffalo hot sauce, onions and parsley with provolone and American chesses on a cheesy cheddar crust.

Philly Cheese Steak — Steak, onions, green peppers and mushrooms with provolone and American cheeses on a cheesy provolone crust.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Great Car Fun Had this Weekend - and the Pictures to prove it

As promised, the Rogers family was to be found at the 12th Annual Factory Five Open House this weekend.

Good times were had by all. It is amazing that in this economy and in these days of automotive turmoil. Fans came, purchased gear, cavorted with friends old and new, and the spirit of real American automotive proved alive and well.

Hope you will join us at the next Burgers, Cars, and Welding (July 10 at 5pm) where we uncork this spirit every month. If you want an invite email us (contact on the website).


















(Dad and the Boys getting ready for some CARS...as taken by Mom)



















(What we saw as we came over the hill)


















(Cars everywhere)


















(and people loving those cars)



















(and people buying car parts to take back home and use with care)




(fun shirts)





(of course car seats so kids can ride too....this is what it is all about)



(my personal favorite paint job)




(from another angle - called "Black and Tan")





(The author's wife talking to Butch, our friend, and one of the latest Factory Five GTM builders)





(other builds)




(and long special builds)





(as seen from the rear)




(the latest FFR model on display)

Friday, June 12, 2009

Back to back enthusiast weekend events - Wareham and Pocono

This coming weekend (Saturday June 13th)
Factory Five's 12th Annual Open House
9 Tow Road in Wareham, MA

Then the next weekend following (June 19-22)
Le Belle Macchine d'Italia
Skytop Lodge in Skytop, PA

In an enthusiast sense, these events are in some ways opposite ends of the spectrum (American Muscle vs. Italian Pedigree), but in a broader automotive sense, both these events embody the same spirit of a reprieve and a retreat from the humdrum of everyday "minivan" life. For those who join in Wareham or in Pocono, each of these events promises a family time of togetherness and enjoyment as the spirit of hard work, beauty, and innovation are celebrated.

I think that it is especially important to note that, even in these tough economic times, people still like to get together to retell and hail the fruits of hard labor. Building an FFR kit or refurbishing an Iso/Bizzarrini Grifo ll is each an immense undertaking, and this bond of recount and record is part of the natural associated process. This is a time for parents to bond with children and mere spectators to become loving fans and customers for life.
























































From the food and hospitality to the bouncey houses and races, get ready for a roaring good time.

Hope to see you there.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

BIG Moment in LM History

The LM stickers have arrived!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

If Local Motors matters then Twitter matters - and vice versa - It's all about Local

















(Time Magazine Cover)



Now that it is on the cover of Time and has been featured on Oprah, it is unlikely that most have not heard of Twitter.

For the last year or so I have been trying to explain to myself and to others what Twitter is, and it is only in the last several months that I have come to at least a more concrete answer to that question. Ashton and Oprah do a good job giving examples (such as the power that Twitter returns to the individual over the news media) but those seem to be "effects", not an answer to what it is.

Said simply: Twitter is a broad window into what and where people are feeling, doing, and saying.

Said more technically: It is location-tagged, microblogging over text.

Let me recap:

If the telephone let us talk one to one across the wire,

If the TV let one broadcast to all across the airwaves,

If google let one search and be targeted by all companies based on those search terms across the internet,

If blogging let one write letters to all who cared to check-in and to read across the 'net,

THEN Twitter allows all of us to talk to all of us across the phone and the internet.

Got it?

I know...I know, of course you get it, but what does this mean? really?

Again, more answers.

Time Magazine (courtesy of Douglas A. McIntyre) gives a list of the 10 ways in which Twitter will change American Business:

All these are true, and the detailed (click-through) descriptions are good. However, I actually think that this list can be boiled down again to one simple phrase:

"Twitter is a broad window into what and where people are feeling, doing, and saying."

Though Local Motors is not in the same business, it actually matters for the same reason that Twitter does. We access and deliver local content to the people who are interested - open and available at all time for people to see. Our micro-factories and regional focus on car manufacturing, selling, and service is a return to a connectedness between company and consumer last seen in the days of Wally's Service Station in Mayberry.


















(Andy Griffith at Wally's: http://www.imcdb.org/images/059/119.jpg)

We use 21st century tools to re-establish this connection, but the connection and the feeling is the same. We want to know what you are thinking locally and we want to deliver that to you in your auto experience. It should be no surprise that we also therefore use Twitter (#localmotors, @localmotors, @johnbrogers).

Gone is the days of the Mass product and the Dealership.

Use Twitter.

Use Local Motors.

Take back Local relevance.

(For a great simple tutorial on how to get started in Twitter, checkout this tutorial from viddler.com)

Monday, June 8, 2009

Wired does it again - Writing about LM and not saying it

On June 3, in the Vision Blog, I covered how Eliot van Buskirk wrote a piece on Wired.com probing the question "what if car dealerships were experiential centers". In this he did everything but outright name LM:

.....To rise from the ashes, automakers must think like Silicon Valley — blow up “stores” in favor of experience centers. Let people buy what they want, when they want and how they want. What would a car industry without dealerships look like? In our dreams, they’d be a lean network of showrooms offering hands-on experience with a range of vehicle.....
Little did I know, but one short week prior, Charles Mann, had already done the same thing in Wired Magazine, detailing how open innovation could revolutionize the tired auto industry by asking "What open innovation could do for the car industry". For example, he says:

"the [auto] industry will need to undergo much the same wrenching transformation that the US computer business did some three decades ago, when the minicomputer gave way to the personal computer. Whereas minicomputers were restricted to using mainly software and hardware from their makers, PCs used interchangeable elements that could be designed, manufactured, and installed by third parties. Opening the gates to outsiders unleashed a flood of innovation that gave rise to firms like Microsoft, Dell, and Oracle. It destroyed many of the old computer giants—but guaranteed a generation of American leadership in a critical sector of the world economy. It is late in the day, but the same could still happen in the car industry; it just has to harness our national entrepreneurial spirit to develop the next wave of auto breakthroughs."


"You betcha" is all I have to say to readers....to Wired, "why don't you just write the story you have been almost writing for the past couple of weeks."

L-O-C-A-L M-O-T-O-R-S

Perhaps, if you feel so inclined you could write the folks at the magazine and make the point.

Charles: ccmann@gmail.com
Eliot: eliotvb@gmail.com
John: jabell@wired.

Tell them that you saw the article on "What detroit can learn from the apple store" and the article "Beyond Detroit: On the Road to Recovery, Let the Little Guys Drive" Maybe they should have been "What Local Motors is doing to bring Apple Stores to Automotive - the birth of the Micro-Factory" and actually...... the second title just works as is.

Whatever the coverage and whoever the author, the stories are timely, engaging, and begging for a tangible example.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Burgers Cars and Welding - Edition 1

On the night of, came the Hotwash (a term we used in the Marines for a quick debrief after an intense engagement), now here we have a more complete post with pictures.

Burgers Cars and Welding (Edition 1) is over and the crowd has dissipated. Here is the recap......

It was a huge success:

-About 30 attendees.
-All were fed, great burgers from the Kool Kone - Local Burger joint run by Tom Strom.

















-All (or most of age) had a Narragansett (local) beer. Getting ready for the 'Gansett event shown here is the multi-talented LM team member, Karin Drake Ostebo.





























-All learned something about welding and about vehicle rear suspension... specifically the Watts Link, demonstrated by LM Master Welder, Colby Whipple, (facing camera, on left, in black) and Chief Motorhead, Jay Rogers (pointing and talking...as usual:)).































(Demonstration Board of The Watts Link - Subject of BCW #1 - Yes this was actually welded and assembled in less than 5 minutes in front of the crowd)

-People came from all over. NYC to France, and across all jobs - auto techs, finance, marketing, clergy, parents... what a diverse and wonderful crowd.
-Kids played in heaven in the pink foam squares.

















-Adults mingled and learned about the automotive industry's newest entrant.
-The Rally Fighter was exposed for the first time to the prying public.

















(LM Rally Fighter in its most natural environment)


-Everyone is ready to come back with a friend who loves cars on July 10th at 5 pm.

I simply couldn't be happier. We had one primary goal and that was

"to introduce Local Motors as a local car company that is reinventing the way in which people experience cars."

We achieved that goal in spades. Join us at the next one July 10th 5pm. The burgers, the teaching, the fun, and the Pride in Local auto is free! The bragging right to say you attended the few events where it all began is priceless.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Two Big Stories today on LM - Both about LM, only one knew it and one did not.

The Buzzmachine.com by Jeff Jarvis:

The New Detroit Isn't Detroit

Wired-o-Nomics by Eliot van Buskirk:

What detroit can learn from the apple store.


Jeff details in explicit terms why the Local Motors model is disrupting the status quo industry.

It’s collaborative. .... What’s fascinating is that (as I predicted could happen) they make economic decisions and trade-offs. Some really wanted an incredible taillight and Rogers said, fine, that’d cost a fortune to tool up to make and would raise the price of every car by $1,000. Nevermind, the community said; they took a $99 Honda lens and designed around it so you’d never know where it came from....

The community takes ownership. .... This isn’t anarchy or democracy. Rogers coins a rather high-fallutin’ phrase for what he advocated: bimodal intelligence. That is, everyone has a voice but at the end of the day, the company has a role to guide the process and product; that is the value the company adds but that works only if the company listens well....

It’s small. And small is the new big. That is precisely why GM and Chrysler are at a disadvantage against him, like newspapers against online entrepreneurs: The incumbents are saddled with huge infrastructure costs and have to do everything in big ways, including fail. And this means…

The mass market is dead, replaced by the mass of niches.
I don’t want the same car you want. I want choice. Hundreds of microfactories can give it to me.

It’s a platform. I saw this more than Rogers did, but it’s clear that because Local Motors publishes its design data openly, I could start a company to provide parts and products for its cars. It enables others to build business on top of its platform. This means that…

Business is public. The more openly and collaboratively Local Motors does its business, the better it is for its products, customers, and relationships.

It’s local. I also didn’t understand this at first. But seeing the car being made for Arizona drivers, I get it. A car for New Yorkers will surely be different.

Middlemen are doomed. Local Motors has no dealers. The factory is the showroom. The customers are the salesmen.

And on and on….


Eliot writes a compelling thought piece on dealerships being a thing of the past, building upon the precise theme that Jeff ends with. Only Eliot does not even know that LM exists.

.....To rise from the ashes, automakers must think like Silicon Valley — blow up “stores” in favor of experience centers. Let people buy what they want, when they want and how they want. What would a car industry without dealerships look like? In our dreams, they’d be a lean network of showrooms offering hands-on experience with a range of vehicle.....

THIS IS LOCAL MOTORS

I rarely make requests of you, our earnest LM Vision readers, but here is a simple one. Write Eliot and his editor, John, a note, and let's help them to write the story about LM that was already embedded here. America needs to know that automotive is not only alive but coming on strong.

Eliot: eliotvb@gmail.com
John: jabell@wired.com

Tell them that you saw the article on What detroit can learn from the apple store. And maybe it should have been "What Local Motors is doing to bring Apple Stores to Automotive - the birth of the Micro-Factory".

.....especially now that Hummer is going to be Chinese....Yikes.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

GM - Gritty Details

Unless you are not plugged in to any type of news the title of this post will be synonymous with the fall of an American Business Icon. Though the details are readily available below, first, some stunning facts, all of which are part of the pain of watching a Company, once so strong, fall into bankruptcy.














(Local Motors and fyi.gmblogs.com/images/old_chevy_truck_070306.jpg)

GM's press release claims that it has reached an agreement to "accelerate its reinvention and create a leaner, stronger "New GM".... reinvetion? .... It has gone bankrupt and destroyed all of the value of its equity and much of its debt.

Taxpayers just finished lending $19.4BN to GM and will now inherit only $6.7BN of bonds. What a loss!

We will now lend another $30BN ($15BN available (i.e. spent) immediately today) to GM in exchange for $2.1BN in Preferred Stock and 60% of GM's Common Stock. Another loss?

What could other businesses do - and who could they employ - with $49BN of capital?

....This is Painful, but please read on.

GM has blamed most everything on most everyone but themselves: "last week, G.M.’s newly retired vice chairman, Robert A. Lutz, said the automaker had experienced a 'world of hurt, much of it not of our own doing.'" What? In the end, the management was in charge and they (and their predecessors) should shoulder the burden. Who's doing was it?

The benefits paid to employees still seem to be outsized. For a prominent example, Rick Wagoner, recently ousted CEO, left a month ago with $20.2MM in pension, because the Company was barred from paying "severance". Who cares whether it is called severance or pension benefits? $20.2MM seems like a lot no matter what you call it for the CEO of an about-to-be bankrupt company. We could all be upset with this outcome in the face of the bankruptcy until you read that only $1MM of that CEO pension was guaranteed and that the rest may never be paid if the Company goes bankrupt...which, again, it has. I am not sure now whether to feel justified or sad or both. Please note though that only certain high-level execs like Mr. Wagoner could lose their outstanding pension benefits, whereas the rest of the employees will see theirs. And watch the fine print in the future, becasue when the dust has cleared, and no one is watching, I wonder what Mr. Wagoner will actually be paid? This is just messy and sad. It is hard to know whether to feel pity or anger, since we all own this company now.

A decade ago, GM's stock stood at $70 per share. It closed at $0.75 per share on Friday and is worth nothing ($0.00) as of yesterday.

GM has been removed from the Dow Jones Average and delisted from the New York Stock Exchange, and GM's new stock will likely not trade publicly for 2 years or more. In actuality, it will not trade publicly until the public wants to buy that stock, which may be never.

Pontiac, Saturn, Hummer, Saab are dead (or sold, if possible). Appears there is a China-based buyer for Hummer. Only Chevy, Cadillac, GMC, and Buick remain. Will Corvette survive as part of Chevy? Again, watch out for the fine print in the future. An American military truck icon - owned by the Chinese. Not Hummer - Bummer.

6,000 dealers in the US will become 3,600 dealers over the next 1.5 years creating job losses of 100,000 and those jobs aren't even on the Company's books.

In 1979, GM's U.S. workforce peaked at 618,365, making it the largest private employer in the country. In 2008, GM employed only 116,000 in the US (only 243,000 worldwide). 20,000 of those 116,000 are about to be cut with plant closures associated with the bankruptcy.

If you divide up the Government funding the US has offered GM this year by employee it would be $203,703.70 per each GM employee worldwide, or $426,724.14 per each GM North American employee, or $129,973.47 per worldwide retiree. If all of this effort was being made to stem the pain to those losing jobs, there seems to have been plenty of pain-relieving money to go around. Have we really done a good thing. I would have liked to have received$130-426K.

Time will tell, but these stunning facts are only the beginning of the story.

To learn more, I would start with GM's release. And here is the video to go along with it.



Release:

DETROIT, June 1, 2009 - General Motors Corp. (NYSE: GM) today announced that it has reached agreements with the U.S. Treasury and the governments of Canada and Ontario to accelerate its reinvention and create a leaner, stronger "New GM" positioned for a profitable, self-sustaining and competitive future.

Pending approvals, the New GM is expected to launch in about 60 to 90 days as a separate and independent company from the current GM ("GM"), with two distinct advantages: it will be built from only GM's best brands and operations, and it will be supported by a stronger balance sheet due to a significantly lower debt burden and operating cost structure than before. The New GM will incorporate the terms of GM's recent agreements with the United Auto Workers (UAW) and Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) unions and will be led by GM's current management team.

The New GM will execute the key elements of its April 27 viability plan, along with additional initiatives, to achieve winning financial results by putting customers first, concentrating on adding to the company's line of award-winning cars and trucks through four core brands and continuing to invest in green, energy-saving technologies.

Under its plan, GM will sell substantially all of its global assets to the New GM. To implement the sale agreement, GM and three domestic subsidiaries have filed voluntary petitions for relief under chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York, and the sale is subject to the approval of the Court. Because GM's sale of assets to the New GM already has the support of the U.S. Treasury, the UAW and a substantial portion of GM's unsecured bondholders, GM expects the sale to be approved and consummated expeditiously.

GM has asked the Court to approve a number of steps to protect current and new GM customers, ensure that its operations will continue uninterrupted during the court-supervised process, and provide for a smooth transition to the New GM.

  • GM dealers will continue to service GM vehicles and honor GM warranties, and U.S. and Canadian government guarantees of manufacturers' warranties are designed to reassure consumers.
  • GM will use its cash-on-hand and a new Debtor-in-Possession (DIP) financing of approximately $33 billion to: ensure an uninterrupted supply of goods and services and provide for other cash requirements prior to closing of the asset sale; fund liabilities to secured lenders; and provide contingency funding to handle any potential unexpected needs. Furthermore, in conjunction with the sale, the U.S. Treasury and the Canadian and Ontario governments will provide funds to administer the wind down of the remaining assets and the closing of the chapter 11 cases.
  • GM employees worldwide will become part of the New GM.

"Today marks a defining moment in the reinvention of GM as a leaner, more customer-focused, and more cost-competitive company that, above all, can quickly generate winning bottom line results," said Fritz Henderson, GM president and CEO. "The economic crisis has caused enormous disruption in the auto industry, but with it has come the opportunity for us to reinvent our business. We are going to do it once and do it right. The court-supervised process we are pursuing provides us with powerful tools to accelerate and complete our reinvention, as well as strong safeguards for our customers and our business. We are focused on the job at hand, for the benefit of our customers, employees, dealers, suppliers, retirees, taxpayers, investors and other stakeholders.

"We recognize the sacrifices that so many have been asked to make as we have worked to reinvent GM and the automobile," said Henderson. "GM deeply appreciates the support and the demonstration of confidence in our future by President Obama, the Presidential Task Force on Autos, the Canadian and Ontario governments, American and Canadian taxpayers, the unsecured bondholders who are supporting the proposed sale transaction, the UAW and CAW and their leadership, and the men and women of GM, including our retirees. You have enabled us to carry out this vital transformation for the good of GM, our customers and the economy, and we are working to validate your trust each day.

"From day one, the New GM will be well-positioned to capitalize on the award-winning vehicles we have developed and launched during the past few years, and on our investments in exciting new technologies like the Chevy Volt, so that we can build and return value to our customers and to the millions who will have a stake in our success. The New GM will play a critical role in the future of the automobile, and assure that the U.S. has a strong stake in this rapidly changing global manufacturing industry," Henderson said.

Business operations continue globally without interruption

GM's North American manufacturing operations continues to monitor production output to make sure it aligns with market demand, and currently intends to ramp up manufacturing operations as market demand improves during the latter half of the year.

None of GM's operations outside of the U.S. are included in the U.S. court filings or court-supervised process, and these filings have no direct legal impact on GM's plans and operations outside the U.S. GM confirmed that all business operations are continuing without interruption in its Europe; Latin America, Africa and the Middle East; and Asia Pacific regions.

"Worldwide, GM dealers are open for business, offering competitive financing options on our award-winning vehicles, continuing to honor our industry-leading warranty coverage, and providing outstanding service," said Henderson. "Furthermore, the U.S. Treasury and the Canadian governments have issued a strong vote of confidence by backing GM's vehicle warranties."

GM has filed various "first day" motions with the Court to ensure the company's continued ability to conduct normal business operations. Upon Court approval, GM will be expressly authorized, among other things, to:

  • Honor all obligations to customers and continue customer programs, including warranties, without interruption
  • Respect our operating and financing agreements with GMAC, supporting continued wholesale financing for dealers and retail financing for customers
  • Pay dealers' open accounts and continue warranty and incentive programs
  • Pay essential suppliers and logistics providers for goods and services provided before and after the company's court filings
  • Continue pay and benefits for employees and retirees; however, the amount of non-qualified pension for some executive retirees may be affected

The New GM

GM's agreements with the U.S. Treasury, the Canadian and Ontario governments and the UAW and CAW, in addition to the support of a substantial portion of GM's unsecured bondholders, will enable the New GM to be a leaner, faster and more customer-focused enterprise, consistent with the vision, goals and plans of GM's enhanced operating plan announced April 27.

The New GM will:

  • Focus on four core brands in the U.S. - Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick and GMC - with fewer nameplates and a more competitive level of marketing support per brand
  • Effectively close the competitive gap in active worker labor costs compared with transplant auto manufacturers
  • More efficiently utilize U.S. capacity while increasing over time the percentage of U.S. sales manufactured domestically
  • Feature lower structural costs enabling its North American region to break even (on an adjusted EBIT basis) at a U.S. total industry volume of approximately 10 million vehicles. This rate is substantially below the 15 to 17 million annual vehicle sales rates recorded from 1995 through 2007
  • Achieve its lower structural costs in part by further reducing 2009 salaried employment in North America from its year-end total of 35,100 to approximately 27,200, and continuing to improve its balance sheet by reducing retiree benefits for salaried retirees and non-UAW hourly retirees
  • Provide a higher level of customer service through a more focused U.S. network of approximately 3,600 dealers
  • Continue and increase its investment and leadership in fuel economy and advanced propulsion technologies

Capital Structure of the New GM

A critical element of GM's reinvention is to achieve a significantly stronger and healthier balance sheet. On March 31, 2009, GM reported consolidated debt of $54.4 billion, along with additional liabilities, including an estimated $20 billion obligation to the UAW VEBA.

Under GM's agreements with the U.S. Treasury, the Canadian and Ontario governments, and the UAW and CAW, and with the support of a substantial portion of GM's unsecured bondholders, upon closing of GM's sale of assets to the New GM, the New GM's capital structure will be comprised of:

  • Approximately $17 billion in total consolidated debt, including: $6.7 billion of debt owed to the U.S. Treasury, $1.3 billion of debt owed to the Canadian and Ontario governments, $2.5 billion of notes issued to the new Voluntary Employee Beneficiary Association (New VEBA), approximately $6.8 billion of other, primarily international debt, but excluding Europe
  • $9 billion of perpetual preferred stock with a 9 percent annual dividend, payable quarterly in cash, $2.1 billion of which will be issued to the U.S. Treasury, $0.4 billion of which will be issued to the Canadian and Ontario governments and $6.5 billion of which will be issued to the New VEBA
  • Common equity, 60.8 percent of which will be owned by the U.S. Treasury, 11.7 percent of which will be owned by the Canadian and Ontario governments, 17.5 percent of which will be owned by the New VEBA, and 10 percent of which has been reserved for GM for the benefit of the unsecured bondholders and other unsecured creditors of GM
  • Warrants granted to the New VEBA to acquire newly issued shares in the New GM equal to 2.5 percent of its outstanding common equity
  • Warrants granted to GM at closing to acquire newly issued shares in the New GM equal to 15 percent of its outstanding common equity, with various exercise prices and expirations

Other than the $8 billion of debt owed to the U.S. Treasury and the Canadian and Ontario governments by the New GM, all amounts owed by GM or the New GM to the U.S. Treasury and Canadian and Ontario governments would be equitized in exchange for the New GM securities described above, and no other debt will be owed by GM to the U.S. Treasury and the Canadian and Ontario governments.

GM Europe Restructuring

GM announced separately today, GM Europe has an agreement for €1.5 billion of bridge financing from the German government and a Memorandum of Understanding to partner with Magna International Inc. Under the agreement, the Opel/Vauxhall assets have been pooled under Adam Opel GmbH, with the majority of the shares of Adam Opel GmbH being put into an independent trust (the balance to remain with General Motors), while final negotiations with Magna proceed. Negotiations to close the agreement should take several weeks. Additional details will be available athttp://media.gm.com/eur/gm/en/.

New products and technologies on track

The New GM, with its strong financial base and best-in-class dealer network, will support a portfolio of award-winning vehicles, including the Chevy Malibu (2008 North American Car of the Year and J.D. Power and Associates' segment leader in its 2008 Initial Quality Survey), Cadillac CTS (Motor Trend Car of the Year) and its Buick brand (tied for 1st place in J.D. Power and Associates' 2009 Vehicle Dependability Study). The New GM will have a number of key vehicle launches in 2009 and 2010, including:

  • Chevrolet Camaro, a dramatic, moderately priced sport coupe with highway fuel economy of up to 29 mpg
  • An all-new Buick LaCrosse premium midsize sedan
  • The luxury midsize Cadillac SRX crossover and CTS Sport Wagon
  • The Chevy Equinox and GMC Terrain, midsize crossovers with class-leading highway fuel economy of 32 mpg
  • The Chevy Cruze, GM's new global compact car
  • The revolutionary Chevy Volt, an extended-range electric vehicle that can travel up to 40 miles on battery power alone with the extended-range capability of more than 300 total miles.

"Our products are our future, and our lineup of new cars and crossovers are a great foundation for success," said Henderson. "The New GM is here to stay, and our brands position us to compete well in profitable segments with vehicles that are second-to-none."

GM also reaffirmed its commitment to improve the fuel efficiency of its vehicle fleet, meet or exceed new federal fuel economy and emissions regulations, and push ahead with advanced propulsion technology. GM will launch the Chevrolet Volt extended range electric vehicle in 2010, expects to have 14 hybrid models in production by 2012, and will have 65 percent of vehicles alternative-fuel capable by 2014.

"The New GM will become a long-term global leader in the development of fuel-efficient and advanced-technology vehicles," said Henderson. "In doing so, the New GM will contribute to the development of advanced engineering and manufacturing capabilities in the United States, which are critical to the future of the U.S. economy."

GM's primary bankruptcy counsel is Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP. GM is also represented by Jenner & Block LLP and Honigman Miller Schwartz and Cohn LLP as counsels. Cravath, Swaine, & Moore LLP is providing legal advice to the Independent Directors of GM. GM's restructuring advisor is AP Services LLP and its financial advisors are Morgan Stanley, Evercore Partners and the Blackstone Group LLP.

More information about GM's chapter 11 cases is available at www.GM.com/restructuring.

Court filings and claims information are available at www.GMcourtdocs.com.

About GM

General Motors Corp. (NYSE: GM), one of the world's largest automakers, was founded in 1908, and today manufactures cars and trucks in 34 countries. With its global headquarters in Detroit, GM employs 235,000 people in every major region of the world, and sells and services vehicles in some 140 countries. In 2008, GM sold 8.35 million cars and trucks globally under the following brands: Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, GM Daewoo, Holden, Hummer, Opel, Pontiac, Saab, Saturn, Vauxhall and Wuling. GM's largest national market is the U.S., followed by China, Brazil, the United Kingdom, Canada, Russia and Germany. GM's OnStar subsidiary is the industry leader in vehicle safety, security and information services. More information on GM can be found at www.gm.com.

Forward Looking Language

This news release and management's comments on it contain "forward-looking statements." These statements are based on GM management's current expectations and assumptions, and as such involve a number of risks, uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those that we now anticipate -- both in connection with the Chapter 11 filings we are announcing today and GM's business and financial prospects. Those risks are described in GM's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2008 which was filed March 5, 2009, GM's Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarterly period ended March 31, 2009 which was filed on May 8, 2009, GM's Current Report on Form 8-K filed on May 14, 2009 and other GM filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.