the automaker’s attitude reminds me of nothing so much as my local, all-powerful teacher’s union.
Like the Rhode Island Federation of Teachers and Health Professionals, GM’s upper management truly believes that everything they do is for the greater good. Their real mission: consolidate their power; protecting jobs is job one. Though both groups pay lip service to the "end user," neither is willing to live or die by any qualitative metric. And both depend on PR and spin for their survival, without any real understanding that their actions--and inaction--create an unending stream of mediocrity.
If so, it might be common to some other organizations, as well.