Not long ago General Motors was a juggernaut in the global automobile industry.
Sadly, it appears that time has passed.
Just look at what has happened to GM in the past 15 or 20 years -- starting in 2000 when it bought a 20 percent share of Fiat Auto with $2.4 billion in stock, and then spent $2 billion to buy its way out of the deal in 2005.
It phased out Oldsmobile in 2004 and a few years later killed Pontiac, Saturn and Hummer. We understand why those brands were shut down, but it was painful to watch. Lots of dealerships closed and lots of dealership employees were fired.
And then there was the ultimate humiliation of the 2009 bankruptcy. The government had to save GM and the company has never been the same. The unwavering faith that GM could fix any problem is gone.
Today, GM is trying to solve its problems, and bolster its bottom line, by slowly disengaging from the world.
It is shutting down manufacturing in Australia, where Holden has been a GM subsidiary since 1931. An important part of GM's global manufacturing enterprise is turning into a distribution arm.
Australia was always a hotbed of talent and a training ground for U.S. and European executives. The new head of GM design, Mike Simcoe, comes from Australia, a product of the days when GM had a thriving design staff at Holden.