Dear General Motors

Dear General Motors,

Things are finally looking up for you. After a bailout, a bankruptcy, having a majority of your shares bought by the U.S. government, dropping four brands, and three solid years without making a profit, you finally seem to be back on track. And according to this article it's because for the first time ever, you sold more cars in China than you did in the U.S. In fact, you are the number one brand in China.

I think that's great. It's about time the Chinese bought something, read the 'Made in America' sticker and rolled their eyes. "All the cars are made in America these days."

It sort of reminds me of when G.M. used to sell a lot of cars in another industrialized nation... cough, cough.

People were excited. The new models were highly anticipated. People were American car crazy, and you were leading the charge. Well... maybe not always leading the charge, but the biggest contender. Remember this little guy?

Now I'm no gear head, but this is an aesthetically pleasing shape. I'm told they performed OK too. This is a letter, not a photo blog, so I won't cram in pictures of the Corvette from this same year (1967), or a decade earlier. Besides, you know what your cars looked like. The point is, they looked good. From 1908 through the sixties in fact, they looked good. They ran well too, for the most part.

Then something happened. Something awful. I'm guessing you got arrogant. American cars had reached their zenith, you and Ford were on top of the world, and you thought,

"let's see if they'll buy this-"

...during a gas shortage... for the equivalent of $50,000 in today's dollars. (and the '79 model above was the new, smaller version)

And we did buy it. It was a big-time seller, actually. Despite being hideous, getting horrible gas mileage, and having quality control issues out the ass, Americans were buying almost 100,000 Cadillac Eldorados a year by 1984.

But the slap to America's face didn't stop there. The 70s, 80s and 90s were a tri-decade of consumer rape on an scale unheard of outside of the showers at a state penitentiary; the equivalent of a giant middle finger and a hearty 'Fuck You' to every man, woman and child in America.

This steady stream of fecal matter on wheels finally culminated in the release of the Pontiac Aztek in 2001; a car so hideous, so cruel and unusual, it finally broke the hypnotic spell you had over American car buyers once and for all. This TIME '50 Worst Cars Ever Made' lister was the last straw.

The baby boomers may have eaten your cars up with a spoon, but their children grew up with the understanding that "G.M.s are shit." You foisted your ever-worsening lineup on a generation that trusted you, abused your customer base like a red-headed step child, and surprise, surprise- you aren't the top dogs of the auto industry anymore. You deserved worse.

Still, I'm glad to see you're getting back on the horse. It will take a long time to rebuilt your reputation here in the U.S., but like a brand new friend, the Chinese are blissfully unaware of your horrible past transgressions. Take advantage of this fresh start. Sell those Chinese some American muscle... just leave out the megalomania, the maniacal laughter and the sadism this time.

Domestic abuse is one thing, but don't mess up again and embarrass us in front of the neighbors.

Sebastian Braff


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