The GM television commercial above is circa 1978.
Regardless of your opinion on whether tax money should be used to liquify the American car manufacturers, this spot provides a fascinating look at the world's auto giant just as its cresting the hill.
The tone of the spot is happy, go-lucky. Buddies playing with tools, back-slappin', having a good time. You get the impression that a smoking BBQ is just off camera and "Ned and Ellen" are dragging a steel cooler of beer along the concrete. Foghat blaring on a portable 8-track - "Sloow riide...take it eeezay..."
But, while GM was making statements like, "We'll knock down engines for a bad paint job and that's no jive in that." Honda, Mazda, Datsun, Toyota were building cars that defied the culture of planned obsolescence.
It may be easy these days to take pot-shots at the American auto companies, but recognize their problems didn't start last month. They started back in the days of truly bad hair.
Mind you, the leadership at GM expressed their vision of the industry with the statement, "People building transportation to serve people."
Sweet jimminy! I bet the wind around Detroit kicked up a few knots when they let that one out...could anything be any more lackluster?!
The union workers were probably excellent folk who did their job to the best of their opportunity, their training and their leadership. Too bad that half a world away, Honda, Toyota and Datsun were listening...
"If the customer has problems with that car, then we got problems because he's not going to be a General Motors customer again."
Ahhh...the '70s. Cars that sucked, sweaters with more neck than sleave and bombs that "...killed people but left buildings standing."