DETROIT — The cars at the center of General Motors Co.’s February recall were still on the drawing board when a top engineer gathered more than a dozen managers and told them to build them for less.
At the time, around 2000, GM’s profit margins were shrinking as worker- and retiree-benefit costs rose and its U.S. market share leadership was eroding. GM’s plan to make money on small cars was crashing.
The message, while by no means a directive to build unsafe vehicles, reflected the environment at GM: The cars were the product of a culture of cutting costs and squeezing suppliers, as described by five people with knowledge of the automaker’s engineering, management and suppliers in the decade preceding its 2009 bankruptcy.
Read tomorrow's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.