$30.9 billion

That was the 2008 loss reported by General Motors — nearly $85 million a day. From the New York Times:

G.M.’s thin cash cushion continues to dwindle by billions of dollars each month, and the automaker is depending on $16.6 billion more in federal aid to survive through 2009 while it continues to cut employees, shrink its brand lineup and close more plants.

“G.M. requires this funding to continue operations until global automotive sales recover and its restructuring actions generate benefits,” the company said.

Even Toyota is struggling and plans to go back to basics. From the WSJ:

TOKYO — Toyota Motor Corp.’s incoming president, Akio Toyoda, has a sobering message for the giant company founded by his grandfather: It has gotten too fancy for its own good.

On Monday, three top executives who helped lead Toyota the past four years — including Mitsuo Kinoshita, one of the primary architects of the company’s global expansion — announced their retirement. The departures clear the way for Mr. Toyoda’s planned makeover of the world’s biggest auto maker.

He is expected to focus, most of all, on abandoning kakushin, or “revolutionary change,” current president Katsuaki Watanabe’s term for changing the way Toyota designed its cars and factories. It spawned technological advances, but led to cars that were often costlier to produce.

The 52-year-old Mr. Toyoda is also working to fix a pricing strategy that put the company at odds with some U.S. dealers, who felt its cars were getting too expensive, according to people familiar with the situation.

Mr. Toyoda blames more than the recession, according to people familiar with the matter. He is sending the message that his predecessors worsened the problem by straying from core ideas of thrift and efficiency.

The WSJ piece was a good read (subscription required).

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2 responses to “$30.9 billion

  1. HEYNA
    Welcome back – linda told me you had blogged – know you’re busy, but just to let you know we enjoy the updates!

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