Pay Now vs. Then

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General Motors CEO Mary Barra reportedly received almost $30 million in compensation last year.

For one year’s work. For about nine year’s work, she has been paid about $200 million, according to the trade publication, Automotive News.

That’s nice work – if you can get it.

GM – all of it – currently has about a 17 percent market share in the U.S. It’s up slightly from the 16-ish percent GM had circa 2021 but it’s still a lot less of a share than GM’s Chevrolet division had by itself back in 1970, when then-CEO James M. Roche was paid $822,000 for the year.

The rest of GM – back then – had about a 50 percent market share.

This included GM’s Oldsmobile and Pontiac divisions, which, together, once had more market share than all of GM does today. They no longer have any market share – having been disbanded in the early 2000s due to not having much market share left by then.

Of course, $822,000 in 1970 isn’t what it is today. But it’s not almost $30 million, either.

And neither is 17 percent of what used to be 50 percent.

Adjusted for what is styled “inflation” – the term used to describe the devaluation of the buying power of money via increasing of the supply of it, as performed by the “Fed” – Roche was paid the equivalent of about $6.5 million annually back in 1970.

Put another way, Barra is being paid a bit less than five times as much as Roche was paid – for selling less than half as many cars.

Also: GM’s profits last quarter were down by about 40 percent. But not Barra’s paycheck!

Only in America. Well, what’s left of it, anyhow.

Res ipsa loquitur.

There is another interesting number to chew on as regards GM today: $52,849.

The average price paid for a new GM vehicle last year.

Now, GM still sells some vehicles that sell for less than that – models like the $21k Chevy Trax, for instance. Chevy sold 26,598 of them last year. It also sold about twice as many of its Bolt electric car – which it just announced it will no longer be selling.

But the lion’s share of GM’s sales – and profit – comes from the sale of trucks and SUVs, most of all big ones such as the Chevy Silverado and Tahoe (which is built on the same chassis as the Silverado). Chevy sold a healthy 520,936 Silverados last year – and 105,754 Tahoes. Plus a goodly number of GMC Sierras – which are fancier Silverados – as well as Yukons and Cadillac Escalades, which are fancier Tahoes.

These typically “transact” – that is, sell – for at least $40k and the fancier models like the Sierra, Yukon and Escalade go for much more than that, accounting for the $52k average price paid for a new GM vehicle.

What’s interesting about this is that Barra’s GM – which depends hugely for the market share it still has on big trucks and SUVs – is determined to replace them with what does not sell and which for that reason will inevitably result in GM selling less (and making less). For which Barra is paid more.

Models like the electric Hummer – sold, so to speak – through GM’s GMC division.

Last year, 854 of them were sold. It works out to about 17 of them per state. You probably haven’t seen one.

This  ought not to be very surprising, given the price of one new Hummer – $98,400 – is equivalent to about twice the price of the average price paid for a new GM vehicle last year.

You probably haven’t seen a Cadillac Lyriq, either. Its sales – fewer than 200 so far – make the Hummer’s look successful.

More such models are on deck, including an electric version of the Chevy Blazer scheduled to arrive later this summer. Chevy touts the “affordable” base price of $45k – but that’s only for the base model with the limp-dick battery and an “estimated” (meaning, hugely over-optimistic) 247 miles of range. To get the “available” range of 320 miles, the price rises to near $60k.

As GM “electrifies,” prices will continue to rise – while affordability will fall. It’s a perfect nexus of sales disastrousness.

In a couple of years from now, $52, 849 may seem like a Blue Light Special. And a sound investment, too – given a Tahoe can go almost 500 miles on a tankful. People tend to buy what they can use. And what they can afford.

Perhaps the time has come to change GM’s name to Exclusive Motors. The idea seems to be: Sell fewer cars for more money.

The Porsche business model, basically.

Interestingly, the guy in charge of Porsche – Oliver Blume – doesn’t make Barra Bucks. He earns just shy of $5 million, so a bit less (in real terms) than Roche earned heading up GM back in 1970, when GM had more than twice the market share of Barra’s GM, today.

And – even more interestingly – Porsche sells more cars today than it did back in 1970.

A lot more.

Last year, some 70,036 of them. Back in 1970, Porsche sold 1,744 911 coupes and 729 Targa tops. Put another way, Blume is being paid a lot less – for selling more cars – than Barra is paid to sell fewer (proportionately/historically). Probably because Porsche caters to its market while GM thinks it can conjure a market for that which the market does not want. Mary Barra is paid very well for doing that.

Res ipsa loquitur.

It speaks for itself.

. . .

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  1. Ford sold its manufacturing plant in India to Tata Motors.

    Tata is going to manufacture electric vehicles at the plant.

    GM is negotiating a deal with Hyundai to sell its manufacturing plant in India. China and India eventually didn’t see eye-to-eye, and a deal with a Chinese car manufacturer fell through.

    Time for a change for Ford and GM in India. Not working out for them, time to move on.

    Looks like Asia is going all-in on electric mobility.

    India did ban Tik-Tok. Barley grown in India makes good barley malt for barley pop.

    The story was published on March 30, 2023.

  2. Given the strong leftist push toward EVs and the high price that EVs will have due to expensive, heavy batteries, I can see only one way out:

    The US manufacturers will source their EVs to China where the labor is cheap and the energy is reliable, reasonably priced coal.

    Ford recently sourced a Lincoln SUV to China. I think this is the beginning of a trend.

    • Of course. And mining lithium in the US will be declared verboten! by the EPA.

      Because much of the lithum in the US is on public land, Washington can continue to use it for collateral, much like Saudi Ariabia uses proven oil reserves to fund their regime. Don’t actually need to extract it, just the fact that it is there is enough to get banks to loan you money.

  3. Somewhat off topic, but maybe not:

    I saw this on the “news” this morning. As it says, this girl was accepted into four (probably the top four) ivy-league schools. She picks Harvard…

    But listen to what she says was in her essay that swayed the enrollment lords into letting her in. Give it a watch (about 1:12 to 1:56).

    My point here is not to pick on this girl. Not one bit. She’s likely put a lot of work into trying to improve her future, and good for her.

    It’s simply that I’m thinking, perhaps just like these car companies and their recent choices, that what these “educators” value these days might have less to do with personal aptitudes than it used to. I could be wrong.

    Then again, “Commuuuuuuunity!” was never one of my priorities.

      • Richard,

        Harris came to my mind as well, haha.

        No, I haven’t read her thesis. I’m sure it’s a page-turner! 😉 But I’ll give it a skim, just for feces and levity. Bachelor’s in Sociology, huh? How prestigious.

      • Appears to be a real mother lode of possible thesis titles there, Richard.

        Search and replace:
        Princeton-Educated [ ] and the [ ] Community
        Good luck with that.:)

        Notice that on page 1, M. LaVaughn describes herself as a “future Black alumnus.”
        When I went to school (admittedly, not at Princeton U.), “alumnus” described a male, whereas “alumna” described a female.

        Who knows, it might be Sociology.

    • ‘Give it a watch (about 1:12 to 1:56).’ — BaDnOn

      ‘Community involvement’ is like, soft data that can just, you know, replace sciency and mathy hard data like standardized test scores, and Greek letters ‘n shit. I told Hahhhhhvid how cliches are better than thought, which is hard and edgy, and makes my head hurt. ‘You go, girl!’ they agreed.

      Speaking of hard data, Clowngress is paddling its canoe toward Niagara Falls, as the roar of falling water grows louder:

      Jake Sherman

      Yellen says US could default by June 1. There are 12 legislative days scheduled in the House between now and then.

      4:39 PM · May 1, 2023

      On the third day of Christmas, the Congress sent to me
      Three French hens
      Two turtledoves
      And a pony in a pear tree

      — Trad., Twelve Days of Christmas

      • Hey Jim,

        I always laugh when there is a “threat” of a government shutdown. Somehow, we’re never that lucky, and there is always a “deal” to raise the debt ceiling. This deal usually culminates in an “omnibus bill”, declaring that it’s suddenly Xmas-time for the kleptocracy, and everyone connected with the District of Criminals gets showered with loot.

        Funny how it always works out that way. Let’s see if it repeats in 12 legislative days or less.

  4. “Anyone can steer the ship, but it takes a leader to chart the course. Leaders who are good navigators are capable of taking their people just about anywhere.” John C. Maxwell

    Madame Barra seems to have set course for a sandbar. At least it isn’t an iceberg.

    • You can back off a sandbar, GM is steaming all ahead full for a shoal of rocks. Too bad, l really liked my Gran Sports and Rivieras.

  5. Oh my, oh my … *wrings hands in distress*

    ‘Lordstown Motors shares fell 29% Monday after the EV maker said in a filing that Taiwanese electronics contract maker Foxconn wants to end their deal. Lordstown warned that without Foxconn it will be “deprived of critical funding necessary for its operations.”

    ‘Lordstown and Foxconn, also known as Hon Hai Technology Group, announced the deal in 2021 and in May 2022 Foxconn bought Lordstown’s factory. The two parties also have an investment agreement.’

    Why do bad things happen to good EeeVee makers? Surely we can get some federal War on Carbon funding to save Lordstown, and the climate too! 🙂

  6. “$822,000 in 1970 isn’t what it is today. But it’s not almost $30 million, either.”

    $800,000 [aid to a GM CEO in 1970 dollars is $6,223,423 in 2023 dollars.

    Mary Barra is paid a lot of money.

  7. Amerikan corporations would be wise to adopt Swiss political salaries after the fact. After serving a term in office, the voters decide if you should get paid.

    If a CEO runs the company into the ground, should they get paid? HELL NO!

    What exactly does a CEO do, besides parties, call girls, and cocaine?

    Do they design the car?

    Do they build and tool the factory?

    Do they assemble the car, or do the accounting, ordering, shipping?

    Do they sell the car?

    Do they service or fix the car?

    What exactly do these worthless pieces of shit do? I am asking sincerely. So why do they get paid so much damn money AND we all know damn well that if you get paid 30 million a year, and sock that kind of wealth away offshore, what the hell do you care about that company?

    Amerikan Capitalism is a giant farce. How many people want that job, and are competent for that job, and would gladly accept a far smaller salary?

    Hundreds if not thousands.

    Like George Carlin says, it’s a big club and we ain’t in it.

    • Frankly, Eric Peters would be a far more competent CEO than her. And if they paid you a million a year, would you take the job? Hell yes you would.

      Their needs to be a great reckoning in Amerika, and all this bullshit needs to end.

    • Hi Jack,
      Couldn’t agree more; I just saw an article saying GM laid off hundreds of workers over the weekend. They were from the product development group so I guess Ms. Barra has given up on any new products, so why pay those people when she can keep that money for herself. Really hard to understand how these companies hire these CEO’s and pay them exorbitant salaries to run the company into the ground. Then that CEO will be hired somewhere else and do the exact same thing! Makes my teeth hurt.

    • Two reasons: Poison pill stock options and incestual boards of directorships.

      Remember the film Wall Street? Recall that Gordon Gekko was a master of taking over old fossil companies, gutting the business and dressing it up for a merger with another company. This was happening a lot in the 1990s… Al “chainsaw” Dunlap comes to mind as an inspiration for Gekko. Most corporate boards approved “supervoting” stock shares that will prevent the sort of shareholder takeovers, which also managed to fossilize the C suites of big US corporations. Before these changes beyond the founder CEOs the average tenure was less than 5 years. These days CEO is a forever job.

      Once they’re in, they get invited to join other company boards of directors, where they get to approve pay increases for each other, network, and schmooze with the political class.

      At this point the cheap money consolidation and big-firm friendly regulatory enviroment means companies are frozen in time, so why not set yourself up as upper class twits? Worked a treat in 18th century Europe, so it seems the logical progression.

      • Jeffrey Epstain is back in the news, his private calendar revealed:

        WSJ: Epstein’s Private Calendar Reveals Prominent Names, Including CIA Chief, Goldman’s Top Lawyer

        So this Mostsad operative is getting the dirt on top US officials and banksters, it would be logical they are doing the same for CEO’s. Why are the CEO’s on board with the woke agenda? They are compromised, just like the politicians.

    • What does a CEO do?! Why, Jack, a CEO provides vital functions! (Much like we all do when seated on porcelain).

      A CEO like Yogi Mare-y:

      Ensures that GM’s workforce will be comprised of a carefully determined ratio of various races, ethnicities, sexual perverts and people who think “the right way”, to ensure that there will be no discrimination against any ‘person’ other than straight white Christian males.

      Ensures that no corporate advertising will contain any purely caucasian, traditionally masculine or feminine, or conservative person. (Such people are always such ‘bigots’ and ‘racists’! Surely they are not worthy to buy GM’s products).

      Ensure that GM will dutifully meet all government mandates and agendas.

      Ensure that GM will conform to all virtue-signaling Green environmental climate-change affirming socialist multicultural philosophies.

      Ensure that GM vehicles will be too expensive for the average working person to purchase; that they will be festooned with overly-complex delicate non-durable electronics to control every function of the vehicle, from it’s basic operation to every creature comfort and needless ‘safety’ feature, thus ensuring that even if the common person manages to purchase one, it will drive them straight to the poorhouse once the warranty has run-out, and that there will be no possibility of there being any cheap durable used cars.

      Ensure that GM will ever make a legitimate profit (but guarantee that it will manage to subsist on tax-funded subsidies and bailouts), so that their stock will become worthless, so those terrible wealthy white men who invest in it’s stock will be divested of a good deal of their wealth.

      Ensure that anyone who knows anything about actual cars, actual business and marketing, or competent real-world engineering will ever get anywhere near a GM office or plant.

      Now you have to admit, those are things that none of us could ever do (or would ever do!).

      Sounds like Yogi Mare-y is doing a great job!

      • Spot on. But why? They are compromised just like the Jeffrey Epstain clients. I bet many of them are best friends with Biden – who does not set the agenda – but carry it out. I don’t think Klaus sets it either, I think he is a gopher boy just like Biden.

        Just so we know what we are dealing with:

        • Why? I can think of about 200 million reasons… 🙂 Either that, or these ‘tards actually believe in the rhetoric they’ve been indoctrinated with, and actually are so obtuse that they think it will work…despite all extant evidences to the contrary glaring in front of their very faces like a Roman candle. (A lot of highly-edumacated [indoctrinated] people are like that- they simply believe what they are told as fact, and are so blinded by their confidence in academia and the political system that they’ll never question it. I can think of so many examples of people like that whom I’ve personally observed, who truly take everything that is accepted as normal by contemporary culture that they are ot only incapable of reading between the lines…but don’t even realize that the spaces between the lines even exist!)

  8. You have to compare everything to Berkshire Hathaway’s stock price. BRKa is 504,546 USD per share this morning.

    In 1988, Berkshire’s stock price was in the 8000 USD range, a gain of 496,000 dollars per share. 60 times more than in 1988.

    BRKa has expanded its holdings and the stock has never split.

    Absurd gains there, if you have one share, find a buyer.

    I doubt the Sage of Omaha would pay the price, if you really want to know.

    Poor GM is a paltry 34 USD per share today. GM’s market capitalization is 47 billion dollars. Warren has 128 billion in cash, he could buy a call option on all 1.5 billion shares of GM, go private like he did BNSF, and give Mary the heave-ho, all in one day. Warren will still have 80 billion in cash, not too shabby.

    Plus, Warren will own GM!

    Barra’s salary is about 35 times more than the CEO salary of 1970. Barely catches up with inflation.

    • Warren Buffett doesn’t want to own GM, but he is making moves for Berkshire to hold a big piece of provisioning the All EV future, particularly here in Texas, consolidating control of Pilot/Flying-J onto his balance sheet and lobbying for a deal to provide “emergency” generating capacity to the state grid.

      Buffett’s only misstep in this scheme to date was failure to secure Oncor, the entity which actually owns the electrical distribution infrastructure in Texas. His bid for the company was beaten at the last minute by a group from California. Many people here still assume BRK won and control Oncor.

    • Berkshire stock has been below average for at least the past ten years:

      Over the past five years, Berkshire stock has risen 8.3% annually, behind the 10.5% yearly return on the S&P 500.

      It was also behind the index in the past 10 years with a 12.3% annual return, versus 12.7% for the index.

      • The growth in *book* value of Berkshire has lagged the S&P index, but, as Buffett has stated many times in the annual report, his primary concern is the *intrinsic* value of the company, which is not disclosed publicly but can be guessed if you look at the chart over the previous decade.

        • I commented on the stock price. BRK-A sells for 1.5x book value. If that premium was reduced, or disappeared, after Buffett passes, that would be bad news for Berkshire investors. The high performance returns were more than 10 years ago.

  9. So far, several companies led by token female CEO’s are slip sliding away. These token females didn’t just break that “glass ceiling”,,, they shot their way through it like that Tranny (she/he/it) did to that Christian school leaving 6 bodies behind. Same here except, instead of dead bodies, we have many thousands without gainful employment now on the government dole and a few very wealthy tokens that will likely move on to destroy other productive businesses. All Hail DIE. Diversity, Inclusion and Equity.

    • Mary Barra does have an Electrical Engineering degree and a credible early background, but she rose to CEO of GM through her last training “rotation” gig running HR.

      Arguably, Barra running GM is a lot more credible than Meg Whitman or Carly Fiorina running what was left of Hewlett Packard after the Agilent split and Compaq merger.

  10. I really believe the big automakers, maybe some more than others, have a backroom deal that they know ICE will be regulated away. So the force into EV is coming way worse than currently. There is no other explanation that I can think of.

    • You can’t make a “backroom” deal to sell a product few can afford. So the car market drops by 75+%, how many car makers will float through that? If they are involved in any such deal, it’s a suicide pact.

      • What happens when they raise registration fees to $1000, then $2000, etc…
        IMO, that’s how they force you out of ICE vehicles. We will be called polluters to get the public to cry “you are a polluter!”. They will use shame and $ to get the average joe to buy an EV. Once they start, ICE’s days are all over.
        They obviously don’t care if you can afford it or not, they would prefer that you can’t.
        Seen it done with water: ‘we need to save the water!!!’, in every local newspaper for a year+, and then the public bought in and I lost my property rights. The farmers tried to fight it. Then they told us that we would be paid for our loss of property rights (I can’t build a house on my 60acres), so more bought in. That was 14? years ago, never saw a dime, nor would I have taken the bribe either.
        And they were smart, they left a loophole that if you have $3-400K, you can basically sue them and win to build a house. Not kidding. But no one cares because no one owns land, except the few.

        • “They will use shame and $ to get the average joe to buy an EV”
          But the average Joe can’t afford an EV, so they can’t be gotten to buy one.

  11. Yep, sounds like government at ‘work’ to me.
    GM should be renamed Twentieth Century Motors and move to Starnesville.
    GM is the live incarnation of Rand’s Twentieth Century Motors.
    Follow this path to ruin.

  12. “Chevy touts the “affordable” base price of $45k – but that’s only for the base model with the limp-dick”

    Speaking of which, “limp-dick” is exactly what that picture of Barra just induced.

    I sure hope she was cute when she was young…

    • I seriously dobut management will allow the workers to have a say in what products they should build. Maybe they’ll have a contest to name the latest EV abomination, or what colors of the rainbow flag are most appropriate for what vehicle, but that’s it.

      Think about it, rank and file UAW workers aren’t the EV customer. They’re buying Corvettes and trucks, not Bolts.

    • “I sure hope she was cute when she was young…”

      You might be surprised. I grew up near where she lived and both of us worked for a local grocery store. I don’t remember her that well, but know a guy who dated her in the 80’s. According to him, a guy I trust, she was a “looker”.

  13. ‘merica: rewarded for failure and punished for success. Guess I should change my old-fashioned work ethic to the more modern “what can I fuck up today?”

  14. Is it any wonder the US economy is going down the toilet? When very well paid board members who supposedly know what they are doing, are paying this kind of money to people who aren’t producing a damn thing of any value?
    I suppose it sort of follows, since the only thing the US exports anymore are weapons and debt.
    Could be that China is poised to do to the US automakers what the Japanese did to them back in the ’70s. That is, make a product people can afford, and are willing to buy.
    What a concept.

  15. ‘And a sound investment, too.’ — eric

    Wait … it’s gone:

    ‘First Republic Bank was taken over by the FDIC and immediately sold to JPMorgan. The FDIC estimated that it would have to pay out about $13 billion to cover First Republic’s losses. It will [be] the second largest U.S. bank by assets to collapse after WaMu in 2008.’ – NYT

    As the ‘other’ Eric Peters, a hedge fund manager, observed:

    ‘The Fed introduced the reverse repo policy (RRP) in 2014 when they lost control of market operations at the zero lower bound. But after losing control of inflation, they hiked interest rates so fast it sparked a bank run.

    ‘Now, investors are pulling cash from banks to buy money-market funds that invest in risk-free high-yielding reverse repos. This exacerbates the bank run, and contracts credit in the economy. Which scares investors into selling risk assets to park more cash in reverse repos.

    ‘Our central bankers wish they’d seen this coming and shut the program years ago. But they didn’t and it’s too late. So instead, they … will probably build another complex program on top of something that should no longer exist. And/or slash interest rates. In the hope of regaining control.

    ‘Even as it slips away.’ – ZH

    It had a long chain on
    They hung it in a tree
    They let depositors see

    It’s from the FDIC farm
    I didn’t know its name
    Another bank done gone

    – CC Carter, Another Man Done Gone


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