GM: We're not married to Detroit

Maybe the bailout has resulted in clearer thinking at Government Motors.  New CEO Fritz Henderson, who got his job after Barack Obama pressured GM into firing Rick Wagoner, says that the automaker has an open mind on how to rebuild the business.  One of the options on the table is relocation to somewhere other than Detroit … and maybe anywhere other than Detroit:

General Motors has received $15.4 billion in federal loans, and the government deadline to restructure or seek Chapter 11 protection is just over two weeks away. But the company must reach concessionary agreements with unions, persuade thousands of bondholders to exchange $27 billion in debt for 10 percent of GM’s stock, cut thousands of dealers, close plants and lay off more salaried workers.

Under Chapter 11 reorganization, a company can stay in operation under court protection while sheds debts and unprofitable assets to emerge in a stronger financial position.

Also Monday, Henderson left open the possibility that GM would move its corporate headquarters out of Detroit. The company, he said, is looking at everything within its business.

This makes sense, if a CEO wants to take reorganization seriously.  Every option should go on the table for discussion, including the location of executive and manufacturing facilities.  Bankruptcy allows contracts to be rewritten or canceled, and unprofitable arrangements need to be reconsidered.  Something tells me, however, that the Obama administration won’t sit quietly while Government Motors packs its bags and heads the Mayflower to another city, and especially not another state.  Democrats need Michigan too badly in national elections to have the Obama administration take the blame for the departure of American automakers from their ancestral city.

But if GM does flee, it presents a bit of a problem for us in the punditry class.  Last night, when Brian Faughnan tipped me to this story on Twitter, I wondered what cities could replace “Detroit” as shorthand for American automakers.   Here are a few suggestions:

  • Nothing, AZ
  • Bummerville, CA
  • Experiment, GA — this describes the Obama administration’s business sense
  • Accident, MD
  • El Mirage, AZ

Got any others?  Leave them in the comments, and I’ll add the best ones in updates.  Make sure they’re actual names of American cities.

Update: Some great suggestions from the comments:

  • Truth or Consequences, NM
  • Union City, NJ
  • Last Chance, CO
  • Deadwood, SD
  • Purgatory, CO
  • Thief River Falls, MN