The somewhat perplexing message of the missive, released today as a statement and in advertising, is that while GM admits it has allowed its quality to 'fall below industry standards', issued 'lackluster' designs, agreed to untenable labor compensation plans and focused unduly on pickups and SUVs, it nonetheless recognizes these faults and therefore deserves government aid.
While these two ideas may seem to be at cross-purposes - and to all common-sense metrics, they are - they oddly fit the ethos of the past several weeks of Congressional posturing, during which the Detroit companies first brazenly flew in on private corporate jets, then bashfully returned at the wheels of fuel-efficient in-house offerings.
The more personal message, directed to the U.S. consumer, reveals what may be a genuine desire to reconnect on a basic level, and to assure the folks who will eventually be footing the loan package bill, via income taxes, that GM is back on course. Blaming the unexpectedly sudden downturn in the global economy and the car market in particular - to a degree, justifiably so - GM nevertheless manages to promise a bright future while apologizing for the current dim outlook.
A recap of the recent events in Congress, the plan GM has submitted in order to seek federal aid, and a timeframe for recovery, which GM schedules for 2011, occupy the remainder of the statement.
Publicly revealing its regret and detailing its poor judgment may be the sort of contrition that flies well in Congress, but one has to wonder if it will just spell more dissatisfaction and doubt in the brand's future for the average American, equally hard-hit by the poor economy, but without the benefit of a multi-billion-dollar bailout.