Gasoline prices are falling like a rock. It doesn't seem to matter that oil prices are still around $60 a barrel. Prices at the pump are edging below $2 a gallon.
I can't think of a better Christmas present for General Motors as it prepares to launch new pickups and SUVs than dramatically lower fuel costs. They will help make GM's new models a lot more appealing to hundreds of thousands of potential buyers.
The danger is that GM will declare victory and believe that it has done its job. The job would be only half over.
GM dealers all over the nation are clamoring for cars that have enough appeal to get consumers out of the cars they have been driving for the past couple of decades.
In the '70s, GM and Ford lost millions of customers because their cars didn't have the look, quality and fit and finish that consumers demanded.
Those customers went to the competition, and they won't come back unless they are offered cars that are not just as good as the competition but considerably better.
GM and Ford are not going to cut their way to prosperity.
They are going to have to design, engineer and build cars that are demonstrably better.
That's a tough challenge and one that GM hasn't been able to meet for the past 30 years. GM's car sales have eroded over that time, and now we're seeing the results in the form of lower sales and market share.
Successful new pickups and SUVs will keep GM alive but not well. The company needs cars, and it needs car sales badly.
Let's hope that everyone at GM realizes that the company has to introduce breathtaking automobiles.