GM vs. Toyota: The canoe race

July 3, 2008, 7:46 PM UTC

Laura Seydel, Ted Turner’s oldest daughter, typically barrages me with e-mails about environmental issues. But this morning, she sent a different kind: a “modern parable” about the fall of a great American car company. Have you read this story of the Japanese and American car giants squaring off in a canoe race? The story showed up on a few blogs last year. Now as General Motors stock trades around $10—its lowest level in half a century—this amusing parable is newly relevant. And downright depressing.

Toyota is the Japanese contender in this apocryphal canoe race. And while Ford is identified as the American company, GM is now a more apt contender. Enjoy the provocative parable. And for a dose of sharp analysis, read my colleague Alex Taylor’s recent column, “Deepening gloom at General Motors.”