If you judged the fortunes of DamilerChrysler, Ford Motor and General Motors by newspaper headlines and TV sound bites, you'd think the automakers were shooting themselves in the foot as they stumbled into extinction amid sagging sales and shrinking market share.
All three, in fact, are doing some of the right things even if things are going badly.
Auto industry watchers Jean Jennings of Automotive Magazine and Dave Sedgwick of Automotive News shared their checklists with Sue Herera.
Jennings says Daimler's U.S.-based Chrysler unit needs to reclaim its great design history, while Sedgwick says the company needs $500 million a year in health care concessions from its unions.
Ford's been hurt by a parade of CEOs in recent years while terrible name selection is hurting great design, says Jennings. Sedgwick agrees, saying Ford makes some "beautiful" cars for the European market but needs to globalize its product rollout.
General Motos won the highest marks from Jennings, who endorsed the company's turnaround efforts by declaring "the fix is in." GM has created "global synergy" and has a "good PR machine." Sedgwick says GM must avoid price cuts and still needs to determine the future of damaged brands such as Pontiac.