Mr. Wagoner Goes to Washington

Just a man of the people in a Chevy Malibu, looking for $34 billion

Consider it a form of self-flagellation: GM CEO Rick Wagoner drove one of his own company's cars to Washington, DC instead of taking one of the company's private jets.

Wagoner and a driving partner took one of the company's more modest vehicles on a road trip to ask Congress for a $34 billion bailout of the Big Three automakers. The car was a hybrid Chevy Malibu, which gets 34 m.p.g. (highway) and starts at a price of $26,225. Considering Wagoner's agreed to take only $1 in salary in 2009 if Congress approves a salary, we expect his co-driver split the gas with him. A round-trip drive from Detroit to DC costs approximately $100 in gas and tolls, according to the Associated Press.

All three CEOs of GM, Ford, and Chrysler were derided for their prior trip to Washington to ask for a bailout, when they arrived in three separate private jets. Both John Mullaly (Ford) and Robert Nardelli (Chrysler) also made their trips to Washington by car in hybrid vehicles, according to the New York Post.

Wagoner and his co-pilot did stop twice during the long drive from Detroit, once stopping for lunch at a Quiznos sandwich shop.

Today, Wagoner presented his blueprint for corporate recovery in front of Congress.

Highlights include:

  • A renewed commitment to new technology.
  • Increased production of fuel efficient vehicles.
  • A reduction in manufacturing and structural costs.
  • Working with labor unions to ensure labor competitiveness.
  • Restructing of GM's balance sheet.
  • Continued suspension of the common stock dividend, changes in executive and boardmember compensaition.
  • And the jettisoning of GM's corporate jets.


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