Plenty of things went wrong with GM and Chrysler.  From management to unions, from high wages to a perception of lower quality, from changing consumer preferences to design failures.  Well, these companies failed.  Big time.  Is it really a good idea to stick with the same way of doing business?  Keep the same management?  Keep the same union agreements?  I don’t know about that, but I do know it’s a good opportunity to finally start making safer cars.

1) Every GM and Chrysler vehicle should get top NHTSA and IIHS crash test ratings.  We have plenty of experts in the government who can advise them on how to accomplish this.  There’s no reason we should be seeing anything less than “5-stars” or “Good”, especially since the currents tests are relatively obsolete and due for updates.  They should pass any updated tests with flying colors, too.

2) Let’s make the back seats safer.  Include pre-tensioners and force limiters on seatbelts.  Include shoulder belt adjusters that work for kids.  Make sure any possible spot where a rear passenger’s head can strike has some energy absorbing capability.  Make sure those head restraints are adequate for passengers of all sizes.

3) Bring back built-in boosters and harnesses.  Make them better and easier to use.  Make them standard in minivans and family cars and include them in desirable options packages so dealers order them on other cars, too.  Work with the child seat manufacturers and co-brand them, like what is done for audio systems and other interior features.

Yeah, maybe these ideas are expensive.  Even so, the one domestic auto manufactuer we don’t own (Ford) is making advances in rear seat safety for kids.  Maybe management is afraid consumers won’t be interested.  Well, here’s a news flash, they haven’t really been interested in much of anything from these brands in decades.  Some changes are needed and this is just the tip of the iceburg.  What changes would you like to see, now that you are part owner of a major auto corporation?