The Detroit Free Press is doing an 8-part series of the woes of the U.S. auto industry, including a piece on Keith Seymore, a second-generation automotive engineer at General Motors in its highly profitable truck group:
“For 29 years, I didn’t have a care in the world,” Seymore said. “In the truck group, we were confident. People need trucks for their businesses and jobs. A sense of security comes from that.”
Then came 2008, when gasoline prices hit $3.50 a gallon in May and soon crossed $4.
“In a six-month period, everything went upside down,” Seymore said. Truck sales plummeted and once-mighty GM found itself begging for government loans to stay open.
Seymore, who lives in Troy and works at the GM Tech Center in Warren, was working on the Hummer H2 in March 2009 when GM said it would sell or close its Hummer brand. As the company outlined deep job cuts, Seymore suddenly wasn’t sure what the future held.
“It was unnerving, but I tried to stay positive,” he said. “I hoped that if the end did come, they’d do it in a palatable way with early retirement.
What happened next? The Chevy Volt.
I’d recommend readers check out the series.