Last month, General Motors said it will stop publicly disclosing monthly North American production numbers and will eliminate regional production reports.
You can't help but wonder what's going on at GM.
GM Vice Chairman Steve Girsky spent decades as an automotive analyst on Wall Street before joining the automaker.
More than anyone, he understands the importance and value of production numbers for companies and governments that measure the automobile industry's economic vitality. Girsky knows that industry analysts and economists, as well as GM's suppliers, rely on the data.
The data get folded into numerous economic indicators, including ones published by the Federal Reserve. They are a benchmark for industry insiders to forecast GM's future production.
This is the same company that last month celebrated its return to the Standard & Poor's 500 index. Surely, GM also wants to return to the Dow Jones Industrial Average someday.
The decision to stop publicly disclosing monthly vehicle production numbers is not the way to convince investors and analysts that GM's statistics are legitimate. GM executives must see something in their numbers that makes them nervous. Perhaps they would rather not have the public scrutiny.
If this was something that one of the many industry trade organizations was recommending -- with a plausible explanation -- then perhaps it would be worth discussing.
But that's not the case. GM appears to be afraid that its production numbers will come up short, particularly when compared with historical figures or GM's global competitors.
The automobile business is the world's most important industrial sector. It is followed by journalists, analysts, economists, investors, suppliers and governments all over the world.
On the face of it, the decision seems foolhardy.
After decades of cooperation, it would seem impossible for GM to try to convince anyone that it has a legitimate reason to withdraw the information.
At some point, the thinking behind this ill-considered decision will surface.
And that may hurt the company more.