Published on 23rd June 2016 by

Detroit: Ain’t Too Proud to Beg (2009): What happened to the previously booming industrial city of Detroit, and can it be saved?

For similar stories, see:
Will GM Use Bankruptcy to Shed Union Commitments?

Can Detroit’s Kerbside Entrepreneurs Really Save The City?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vx9BPNkMdgg
Homeless and Hopeless in Detroit

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The city of Motown and big cars is turning into an industrial wasteland. As General Motors sinks to its knees, this story asks can the fortunes of the US car industry still be turned around?

Motown legend Martha Reeves believes there’’s hope for Detroit. ‘”The Motown mood is a good time and a party. There’’s sunshine in the music”’ she says. Yet driving through the city a different story is told – derelict buildings, deserted streets and abandoned factories. ‘”That’’s something you feel in your stomach every day’.”

At the centre of it all is the iconic General Motors empire. ‘”There were 17000 people when it started’,” says a former employee “‘it’’s gone down to 16000.”’ Thousands like him grieve for the company as for a loved one. The company’’s lack of innovation may be to blame. “”When there was a situation where you could do something that was hard or do the minimum amount, they always took the latter path’” says former GM executive, Robert Kleinbaum. With more competitive, greener products in the pipeline, GM still believes in its future. ‘”We are two, three years ahead. We can build very compelling vehicles’.”

But under the surface plans to file for bankruptcy are being put in motion. ‘Detroit has always been the industrial base. “We can’’t just give it all away”’ says long-time resident DJ Dick. It seems that the days of the classic Pontiac are truly over.

ABC Australia – Ref. 4431

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