The problem with the whole situation is that EVERYONE is to blame for the problem. Executives, management, the UAW, dealers and the accountants.
The Execs made awful decision after awful decision, and then patted themselves on the back. They gave priority to cost management and cost cutting over design and function. Well they cut costs everywhere they shouldn't have. Why look to cut costs in your PRODUCT when GM has the most ridiculously bureaucratic structure of any non-government entity. By simply cutting overhead, overlap, and streamlining work process they could save more money AND not depreciate their products with inferior materials and parts. They shiat all over customers by hardly ever standing behind their product. Anyone who has ever owned a GM realizes how hard it is to get warranty work done. They guided the ship straight into the iceberg all while spending money like drunken sailors right up to the point where it was too late to start pushing to cut and save money.
As a result of the push to control vehicle cost (as if oblivious to the fact that office overhead contributes just as much to the cost to run the company) managers were squeezed to pump out product quicker. This means less quality as you are hurrying to finish and less time for QC to inspect the finished product. Again, you are reducing quality for the sake of profit and the fit and finish will suffer. But if you are making a car that will just sit on a lot for months anyway, why not slow down and try to improve the product by making less mistakes in the first place and focus more on fit and finish of the product. All you end up doing is stressing out managers and workers pushed to perform based solely on the numbers they produce, not on how well they produce the product. A bad combination.
The UAW shares the blame thanks to their insane demands. Yes, when GM was the most profitable company in the world, they could afford to be extorted, though if they should have allowed themselves to be is another question. To be paid as well, with as cushy benefits as most are (granted new hires make far less nowadays) is great for them. But, no company can survive in a competitive market with the health care and retirement costs GM is saddled with when as stated, many of it's competitors do not. And the $70/hr number is fairly accurate for a grandfathered UAW member when you throw in pension, health, dental, etc. costs into it as well. The most crippling features of the UAW is the job bank (don't work but get paid 95% salary and full benefits for sitting on your ass) and the adversarial relationship with management that has emerged. When employees feel their employer is the enemy, NOTHING good will come of the situation. Granted the blame for that is shared by management ignoring good ideas and rewarding loyalty and ass-kissing over hard work.
Then you have the dealers, and believe me when I tell you, no dealer is a "joy" to work with, but far and away the most heinous I have ever encountered are GM dealers. I'm sure we could fill pages with how the dealers, who should be the face of the company since they are who the customer actually will interact with, will lie, cheat, swindle, and rob the customer of all they can. The dealership is the way people will experience your brand, shouldn't you want it to be the most pleasant experience possible so people actually WANT to come back. GM was on the right track here with Saturn. What happened? It's more profitable to screw your customer in the short term. Granted they may not come back, but you have their money for now.
It's all a massive cluster fark started by the fact you had useless executive management for years that believed their own rhetoric that nothing was wrong, their shiat didn't stink, and it was the CUSTOMER'S fault that people didn't want their product. A product that they continued to neglect in order to cut costs as much as they could in order to save a few bucks so someone somewhere could puff their chest and get a bonus. What every happened to the axiom "The customer is always right." If so, GM (and Chrysler and a lesser extent Ford for that matter) are very wrong.