Daily Archives: March 13, 2008

John Gapper

Jim Press, the former Toyota executive who is now a vice-chairman of Chrysler, made an intriguing comment in the New York Times this morning about relations between the car company and its dealers in the US.

When I first came to the company, the orientation was about wholesaling cars to the dealers as opposed to retailing cars. That change has occurred, and now we can be responsive to what out customers want.

That strikes me as one of the biggest challenges facing the incumbent Detroit companies at the moment. Not only do they make too many vehicles – and the wrong kind – for the demand, but their dealer networks are bloated and badly-structured. 

John Gapper

Hank Paulson has had an interesting time as Treasury Secretary, stepping into the role as the US was about to enter not only a possible recession but one of the most complex and worrying financial crises of recent decades.

He was on his feet again today,  proposing reforms for mortgage brokers and credit rating agencies, defending the dollar and talking about how Wall Street firms and regulators all made mistakes that contributed to the turmoil. 

John Gapper

Further to Eliot Spitzer, I agree in principle with the surprising editorial in the Wall Street Journal this morning, arguing that Client 9 should be treated on a par with Clients 1 to 8. The Journal is no fan of Mr Spitzer, and neither am I, but it is correct to say that, now he has resigned, state-backed vengeance is inappropriate.

Not being a US legal expert, I don’t know whether he broke federal prostitution laws by paying for “Kristen” to take a train down to Washington, or money laundering regulations by “structuring” his payments to avoid tax or scrutiny. 

John Gapper

eliot-spitzer.jpg

In my Financial Times column this week, I return to the compelling topic of Eliot Spitzer. I have nothing here to say about prostitution; instead, I argue that crusading populists rarely achieve what they promise in office. You can read it here and please comment below.