For 25 years, General Motors has been telling me to wait. It has some great cars and trucks in the pipeline, and if only I'll wait, I won't be disappointed.
I've been waiting for 25 years.
Sure, GM has to get the UAW to understand that the automaker has to have competitive labor costs. And the competition isn't Ford and Chrysler anymore.
Sure, GM has to get some relief on its health care and pension costs. But who agreed to those benefits and pensions in the first place?
Sure, GM has to bring its plants and production capacity more in line with its volume and share of market.
And, yes, GM is on the right track, sadly, of rationalizing its brands and models so that Pontiac, Buick and GMC will all act as one in a dealership.
But finally - and we've all been saying it for a long time - GM needs some gotta-have cars and trucks.
There is nothing quite like a sales increase to bolster the bottom line.
GM has its quality house in order, and that took a long time. Not too long ago, GM's manufacturing quality wasn't on a par with that of the competition. It is now building cars and trucks with competitive quality. But today, that's a given; it's the ante in the poker game. You can't play without it, but you're not going to win with it. It merely gets you in the game.
It doesn't seem that long ago that GM acknowledged many of its ills. It had too many look-alike cars, their quality was pretty shabby, and it wasn't building the vehicles the public wanted.
GM went to work, and although it took a long time, it has made its quality world class. It has gotten rid of some of the duplication of models, and you don't see as many models with just a change of the brand name.
But GM has been telling me, its dealers and its customers for more than a quarter of a century that what it has in the pipeline is great and just you wait. We're still waiting.
The clock is ticking, and GM has had more than its three strikes at bat.
It can't be just as good as the other guy. It has to be better than the competition's next car or truck - not the one on the market but the one it hasn't seen. That's the target.
Just about everyone wants to see GM as a winner. But it has to keep its promises, even after a quarter of a century.