GM and Ford have been given junk ratings by S&P, news which dovetails somewhat with what I'm studying today - Antitrust! Well, not really, maybe, but my professor did end the class with a rant against import quotas. We were discussing international trade regulation in the context of antitrust and merger law, and he concluded by telling us that he thought import quotas were a terrible idea.
A loose paraphrase of what he said was that GM shouldn't be lobbying for import quotas on Japanese cars. If they don't want to get killed by Japanese carmakers, they need to "stop making stupid cars." In Japan they don't say that imposing fuel efficiency standards is "legislating virtue," they recognize that fuel efficiency is what people want in their cars, since it hits them in the pocketbook.
The article linked above actually hits this point:
Ford's financial performance has been heavily dependent on the earnings of its SUVs but sales of midsize and large SUVs have plummeted of late, S&P said.
GM shares fell to a 10-year low in April after the company reported a $1.1 billion loss for the first quarter. Its sales have slumped in recent months, including those of its most profitable sport utility vehicles, as gasoline prices marched higher.
There's also an interesting union issue in there which I don't care as much about since I haven't taken labor law.