…and all the king’s horses, and all the king’s men, couldn’t put Humpty Dumpty back together again.
Was Humpty Dumpty a cannon used in the siege of Colchester, in 1648, the hunchbacked King Richard III, or Prince Humperdink of Romania? Exactly how that nursery rhyme came to be, and who it refers to, is one of life’s little mysteries. But in modern times, you might better apply the name to General Motors, which was forced to declare Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the hopes of putting things back together again.
This Humpty Dumpty’s fall was an agonizingly slow one. When I first started covering the auto industry, back in the late 1970s, GM still controlled nearly half the U.S. market – it held roughly the same market share, in fact, as the Big Three collectively do today. But each year, point by point, GM began to teeter and totter. To many, it was just a question of timing as to when this corporate egg would lay splattered on the pavement.
Barring some unexpected setback, the 101-year-old company won’t wind up as an omelet. In two days of hearings, earlier this week, GM and government officials repeatedly stated their goal of pulling off a so-called “363 Sale,” a move that would effectively ditch the old company’s debt and unwanted baggage, creating a leaner, more efficient “new GM.”