[UPDATED: 8:13AM EDT] General Motors said this morning that its profit fell 86 percent, its worst quarter since came out of bankruptcy in 2009. A series of recalls hurt the auto giant, but excluding these one-time items, profits radically beat expectations.
GM is suffering not just from bad weather during the winter months -- but also from bad PR over its handling of faulty ignition switches going back ten years.
The problem has caused at least 13 deaths, and the belated recall -- in February 2014 -- could cost the company $1.3 billion. GM faces ongoing inquiries into its knowledge and handling of the defect, as well as lawsuits from consumers.
Since emerging from bankruptcy at the end of the recession in June 2009, GM has gone from a message of redemption to an acknowledgment of mistakes.
"We will not shirk from our responsibilities now and in the future," new CEO Mary Barra told a Congressional hearing earlier this month about the ignition-switch recall. "Today's GM will do the right thing."
That appears to include heads moving and rolling. Several top executives, in HR, communications and engineering, are out, says Paul Eisenstein of the Detroit Bureau, an auto-industry news service.
"Since the recall we have been seeing more and more changes in mid- to upper-management," says Eisenstein, and he adds that company executives have signaled to expect more of the same.
Meanwhile, GM plans to staff up two new engineering divisions -- one specifically to deal with safety and quality problems.
"The image of the company as a huge lumbering company where management holds back on innovation and change is an image that the company’s going to have to rid itself of very quickly," says Gary Chaison, a professor of industrial relations at Clark University who studies the auto industry. And he says HR shuffles alone aren’t likely to accomplish that goal.
The 15-year-old boy hid in the wheel well of a jet that flew Sunday from San Jose, Calif., to Maui. Though temperatures plunged and oxygen was scant, he survived. The father says Allah "saved him."
The iconic New York restaurant Tavern on the Green is reopening Thursday under new ownership after being shut down for years. It has a storied history, but suffered in recent years from a reputation as a tourist trap with dreadful food. The new owners vow to restore it to its old glory and have invested millions in revitalizing the space and the menu.
By Shea Huffman
In light of Tavern on the Green's return, we decided to look at some of the most well-known, or infamous "tourist trap" restaurants around the country. These restaurants may have originally gained noteriety for good food or intriguing historical origins, but have since become better known for their tourist draw.
Top of the World Restaurant - Stratosphere Hotel, Las Vegas
One could argue Las Vegas itself is one big tourist trap, but to pick one restaurant out of all of them, you have to go with the rotating restaurant atop the Stratosphere Hotel, the Top of the World. Like most touristy places to eat, this one banks mostly on the view it offers customers, but doesn't offer the high quality food to match its high price range (it costs $18 just for admission).
Zehnder's of Frankenmuth - Frankenmuth, Michigan
This all-you-can-eat chicken restaurant is somewhat of a landmark in Michigan, known for its massive 1,500 person seating area, making it one of the largest restaurants in the U.S. Zehnder's staff all wear traditional German-style uniforms to match the general style of the restaurant, though the food is decidedly American.
Fisherman's Warf - San Francisco
This is probably one of the most well known tourist traps in the world, and it would be unfair to single out just one of the restaurants that inhabit it for being unremarkable beyond the fact that they are in Fisherman's Warf.
The Billy Goat Taven - Chicago
"Cheezborger! Cheezborger!" The famous line from the Olympia Restaurant skit in Saturday Night Live was inspired by the Greek immigrant owners of the Billy Goat Taven in Chicago. To this day the restaurant is graced with long lines of patrons waiting to hear the staff recite the words, but the general consensus is that it's just typical diner food.
Times Square - New York
Another famous tourist trap whose restaurants we just couldn't single out. If we had to pick one though, it would probably be Guy's American Kitchen & Bar, the restaurant belonging to celebrity chef Guy Fieri, if only for its brilliantly scathing review in the New York Times.
P.O.V. Rooftop Bar at the W Hotel - Washington, D.C.
This lounge, sitting atop the W Hotel in Washington, D.C., offers patrons a great view of the White House and a number of the city's historic monuments, as well as a chance to rub elbows with a few classy politicos. But that might be all it has to offer, as reviewers contend the drinks are overpriced and the food isn't that good.
The Ivy - Los Angeles
Adorned with flowery cottage-style decor, this nouvelle American restaurant sits not far from the talent agency International Creative Management, which has prompted a number of visits from celebrities and pursuing paparazzi. The chance to spot their favorite movie stars drives many tourists to The Ivy, and they pay for it.
The Varsity - Atlanta
The main branch of this burger chain in Atlanta is the largest fast food drive-in in the world, and has become an iconic fixture in the city's culture. The unofficial catchphrase, "What'll ya have?" has become ingrained in Atlanta's folklore, and the restaurant has even been graced with visits from presidents Jimmy Carter, George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. But pretty much everyone who goes there agrees, the food is just "meh."
To celebrate its 25th year of bringing economics to life, Marketplace® is hitting the road.
On stages across the U.S., "How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Numbers" will provide an irreverent, insightful look at the numbers in our lives. Numbers in headlines, numbers without context. From the Dow to the NASDAQ to weekly unemployment, we're bombarded with newsworthy numbers every day, how do we make sense of what they all really mean?
Join Marketplace host Kai Ryssdal — plus reporters Adriene Hill, Stacey Vanek Smith, Lizzie O'Leary, Rob Schmitz and Paddy Hirsch — as they humanize the numbers. It's an evening of radio, with sound elements, interviews and engaging storytelling.
What Marketplace does best, but in person, on stage, at the Strathmore.
April 24, 2014
To purchase tickets visit: http://www.strathmore.org/eventstickets/calendar/view.asp?id=10819
Limited number of half-price tickets available from Goldstar.
Airbnb has had an up-and-down couple of days. On Friday, investors put an additional $500 million into the company, valuing it at roughly $10 billion. This week, they're in a New York courtroom, defending their model against a subpoena for their list of New York hosts. Hotel regulators argue that the company violates New York law that an apartment cannot be rented for less than 30 days.
Jeremy Rifkin, author of "The Zero Marginal Cost Society," thinks the way Airbnb operates is a sign of a shift in how business will be done in the future. The conflict comes down to the elimination of marginal costs. That's the term for how much it costs for a business to add an additional good or service. According to Rifkin, Airbnb's marginal costs are almost nothing, and that's problematic for brick-and-mortar businesses.
"Businesses have always wanted to reduce marginal costs. They simply never anticipated a tech revolution so extreme in its productivity that it could reduce marginal costs to near zero, making goods and services nearly free, abundant, and sometimes not prone to market exchange forces."
Rifkin also points out that this struggle between Airbnb and hotel regulators is different than, say, what the music industry went through when users tried to share content for free. In that case, the market had to adjust and learn to coexist with new technologies. Sharing economies, however, may have larger implications with how bussinesses operate. According to Rifkin:
"The capitalist market will stay. It will have a role to play. I don't think it'll be the primary arbiter of economic life in 30 years from now. I think the collaborative commons is here to stay."
A large piece of metal was found this week along the coast of western Australia. But authorities are convinced it is not debris from Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which disappeared on March 8.