The ongoing General Motors ( GM) saga gets more messy by the day. Now the talk is about hiving off the best parts of the company into a new GM and letting other units take their chances in bankruptcy court. This is the chop-shop option, harvesting the best parts and junking the rest. GM will need a new name after all this is done. It's "motors" won't be so "general" any more, which is probably a good thing. Maybe it should be called U.S. Motors, reflecting the reality that the government is calling the shots at the former world leader in cars and trucks. It's the same story over at Chrysler as that carmaker looks at bankruptcy too. All the reports say that President Obama thinks a court-managed reorganization would be best for both. Who knew the leader of the Democrats would turn against the unions so quickly? That's another reality of bankruptcy - unions tend to take it on the chin. For that matter, who knew Obama secretly wanted to run a carmaker? I guess being the leader of the free world just isn't enough for some people. Chrysler better hurry up and get a deal with Fiat. This will be round II with a foreign partner after Daimler ( DAI) ditched Chrysler like a rusted jalopy left in back alley to rust. Turns out Chrysler wasn't well heeled enough for the German parent company of Mercedes. It seems like a better fit with Fiat, an Italian carmaker that never quite made the big leagues after fits and starts struggling to decide whether to make cars for the masses or race car drivers. Chrysler's had some of the same issues. At least they understand each other.
For GM, though, there's no savior on the horizon. The company's really too big and too disjointed to fit neatly in any other carmaker's strategy. So chopping it up for its parts might work. On the other hand, who except maybe the nascent Chinese auto industry would want any of it? I'm sure Toyota ( TM) and Honda ( HMC) wouldn't mind seeing GM just vanish from the face of the earth. The Koreans, Kia and Hyundai, don't have much need for a bloated, expensive production line -- that doesn't fit with their low-cost, low-price formula. Ford ( F) is busy cleaning up its own mess and taking on GM's scraps wouldn't do it any good. Ultimately, we're probably going to end up with two smaller U.S. carmakers -- Ford and GM-light -- plus an Italian-American amalgamation that sounds like another temporary life support system for Chrysler, which has already been through most of its nine lives. This may be its last. These are sad times for American car lovers.