Bolling: A Letter to Detroit

Dear Messrs. Mulally, Nardelli, Wagoner and Gettelfinger:

The popular reality program "The Biggest Loser" pits obese people against each other in a competition to see who can lose the most weight. Sound familiar? You, Detroit's Big Three automakers, are obese companies that need to drop the excesses weighing you down. You can't compete with foreign auto companies doing business in the U.S. and abroad. Each of you has an issue that should infuriate every taxpayer. On top of that, the United Auto Workers, the union representing your employees, has only exacerbated your problems.

Ford (F)

Mr. Mulally, as Ford's CEO you are asking for a $9 billion line of credit ... "just in case." You have testified under oath that you really don't need that money but want it just in case one of the other automakers goes belly up. That would help your business sell more cars, right? With all due respect, good-bye. No money for you!


A few years ago, you, Chrysler, decided to get into bed with Cerberus Capital. Cerberus thought it would make a killing by changing your management and business plan. Cerebus took you off the market so that it could get all the profits. It didn't want to merely invest in Chrysler alongside us, regular Americans. Cerebus wanted it all. Greed got the best of Cerebus, and it bought a lemon. Sorry, Cerebus and Mr. Nardelli: You wanted all the profits, now you get all the losses. No money for you!

GM ( GM)

All I can say about GM is that you, Mr. Wagoner, have been asleep at the wheel. You should have been selling or closing units to raise money long ago. There is no reason to hang on to Saturn, Pontiac or Hummer. Keep on making Cadillac, Chevy and Buick. (We hear Buick is popular and profitable throughout Asia.) And what the heck took you so long to move on the Chevy Volt (hybrid/electric)? That car unfortunately will never see the light of day under the GM logo. Mr. Wagoner, you were slow to change, and we don't feel responsible for your errors in judgement. Sorry, no money for you!


Mr Gettelfinger, you, sir, should be ashamed of yourself. I spend most of the day on TV talking about the demise of the U.S. auto industry. I am bombarded with emails and calls from Americans who are disgusted with the industry's situation. Most don't want to bail your business out with taxpayer money, but all want to know where ground zero is. I can only blame you, sir. Your union is the reason why the cost-per-vehicle for Detroit's Big Three is significantly higher than that of foreign companies (BMW, for example) building cars here with American workers. Your "legacy" costs burden Ford, GM and Chrysler so much that the following is true, according to S&P.

Profits per Employee

  • Audi: $56,471 profit
  • Toyota (TM): $38,645 profit
  • Honda Motor (HMC): $29,840 profit
  • BMW: $29,810 profit
  • Nissan (NSANY): $22,555 profit
  • Ford: ($46,841) loss
  • GM: (90,444) loss

It is your union, Mr. Gettelfinger, that negotiated absurd items likejob banks, where idled workers play crossword puzzles and video games while receiving up to 95% of their pay and benefits. It was you, sir, who refused to grant the wish of every American watching your Capitol Hill testimony: a complete rewriting of your contracts with our auto industry.

I have the utmost compassion for the employees of Detroit's Big Three. I hate to see anyone out of work. It pains me to recommend that your group not get bailed out, because there will be job cuts.

But I will make this promise: I promise to purchase a vehicle from each of the Big Three carmakers that undergoes a reorganization under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

I hope to buy a vehicle from a reorganized U.S. automaker, one that is devoid of the shackles your union has put on Detroit. My view is that, contrary to the pleas you have been making to the American people, we will, in fact, buy your cars, SUV's and pickups even if you are being restructured in bankruptcy.

The public outpouring of "Buy American" will never be stronger. I will be a foot soldier in the battle. I will tell everyone to buy American cars and trucks from a reorganized U.S. auto industry. Not from bailed-out, unionized Detroit.

Know What You Own: Bolling mentions Ford and GM. Other companies in the broad auto sector include AutoNation (AN) and Tata Motors (TTM).

At time of publication, Bolling was had no positions in stocks mentioned, although holdings can change at any time.

Eric Bolling is a host on the new Fox Business Network. Bolling was one of the developers and original panelists (nicknamed "The Admiral") on CNBC's "Fast Money."

Bolling is an active trader specializing in commodities, resource trades and ETFs.

Bolling is a member of several exchanges including The New York Mercantile Exchange (NMX), The Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) and The Commodity Exchange of New York.

After spending 5 years on the Board of Directors at the NYMEX, he became a strategic adviser to that Board of Directors where he assisted in bringing the company (NMX) public. He has been included in Trader Monthly Top 100 in 2005 and 2006. Bolling was the recipient of the Maybach Man of the Year Award in 2007 for his contribution of philanthropy and willingness to de-mystify investing to Main Street.

Bolling graduated from Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida and was awarded a fellowship to Duke University. Bolling was an accomplished baseball player. He was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates where he played before his career was cut short due to injuries. He honors his baseball past by sporting the NYMEX trader badge, R.B.I.

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