NOTE FROM GENERAL MOTORS
HEADQUARTERS, circa 1976
"Damn these nips to hell! I've been trying to tell you stupid son-of-a-bitches for three freakin' years what we're up against here. What did you do? You sat on your fat country-fried steak asses and acted like I was crazy, didn't you? Goddamn you stupid assholes!
"I came into Detroit city two years ago and gave a little speech at the convention. You remember? Hell, no, you don't remember. You know why you don't remember? Because the guy just after me, your honorable Chairman and Chief Executive Officer spoke just after me.
"Do you remember his words? Those words that killed Detroit and the American automobile industry? Do I have to repeat those vile and shameful words to you? OK, here they are, then, and I hope you choke on that fuckin' veal scaloppini while you hear 'em:
"My fellow automakers,
Let us agree on one thing:
We are not in the business of making cars;
We are in the business of making MONEY!"
These last four lines were the actual words spoken at an industry meeting somewhere around this time. It was a sign that American automakers had gotten so slovenly in their treatment of the customer that the Japanese automakers could copy the good parts of what had been a great industry and then add flourishes which would insure that the customer would prefer a Honda over a Chevrolet. Flourishes such as making sure the car would run without major repairs for at least 100,000 miles. This primarily involved robotic assembly to make sure that devices such as shims to line up door frames were unnecessary. It is a sterling example of having the world in your hands and watching in ignorance as it is usurped in a lightning storm of brilliance from a small island nation.