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Jerry Flint's "Backseat Driver" column in Forbes is a consistently great read. And his columns concerning portfolio holding General Motors (GM) are especially worthy of praise, because of his evenhanded analysis throughout the GM hoopla over the past year-and-a-half. That's the case even if you or I don't always agree with his opinions.

Flint's latest column stresses that GM and Ford (F) need to do more than cut costs:

One thing is clear: GM and Ford did not lose a million annual sales apiece because their costs were too high. Those sales were lost because the product, particularly the passenger cars, did not hit enough high spots.

Then a bit later he pens this:

The problem is that Pontiac only expects to sell 25,000 G6 convertibles a year. Why not 50,000? It's the best convertible bargain in the world. And if I were looking for family sedan for myself, I'd probably take the Chevy Impala over the six-cylinder Toyota (TM) Camry or Honda (HMC) Accord. The Impala has more room and a lower price.

This part of the column will pop out to any GM shareholder:

GM's second quarter loss in North America was only $85 million compared to nearly $1.2 billion a year ago. Several men deserve some credit for that improvement. The first is Rick Wagoner, Jr., GM's besieged chief executive. Second is Robert Lutz, vice chairman who has pushed hard to improve the cars, outside and inside. Third is Gary White, the creator of the new big pickups and sport utility vehicles. These SUVs are off to a promising start despite the sharp increase in gas prices. While I am praising GM executives, I believe that Mark LaNeve, who heads sales/marketing, is the best man in that post at GM in half a century. You read me right, half a century.

Talk is cheap and anyone can have an opinion. But that's some praise coming from Flint. I hope it gets shared with the car-buying public.

GM-F 1-yr comparison chart:

GM-F 1-yr comparison chart

Source: Forbes' Jerry Flint: Product, Not Costs, Are the Real Problem With GM and Ford