The overwhelming odds are that GM is dead.
It suffers from a fatal combination of aging infrastructure, unimaginative management, oppressive union contracts, unsupportable health care costs, and now an emerging recession which has shaken consumer confidence. Any one or two of these could probably be remedied but the entire battery of ills is simply overwhelming.
A doomsday scenario is being painted by those espousing a huge effort to save GM from its own excesses and stupidity. While letting GM fold now will be painful, it will be just as painful and much more expensive to let it fold in the future.
The fact is that GM’s market share will be picked up by the other auto manufacturers strengthening them during these difficult times. Even if the previous level of manufacturer is never achieved again (I think sheer demographics makes that unlikely but it is an argument that some make) dividing the reduced demand among fewer manufacturers makes everyone healthier. In order to meet the demand of that increased market share, the other manufacturers will either have to purchase some of GM’s facilities or hire a lot of current GM workers. Many of GM’s current suppliers will be needed by the remaining manufacturers.
From a political standpoint, I tend to favor an immediate bailout which covers the next three months, dump this in the lap of a President Obama, and demagogue it to no end for the next two years. The best solution for the nation, however, is to swiftly send GM into Chapter 7 and automobile history.