Here's the note I wrote in 2008 about how the American automakers should have restructured back in 2008-2009. Let's see if how it compares to what actually happened.
Ditch all brands save for Chevy and Cadillac. Get Saab back to Sweden and put an end to the badge-engineered crap already. Ditch Hummer altogether.
--- Well, they ditched most of their brands, and kept four. They got rid of Saab, but it evaporated anyway. And as for "badge-engineered crap", there are only three examples I can think of. One is the entire GMC Truck lineup, which still blows my mind. Why keep the most redundant brand around?! The other two examples are the Cadillac Escalade lineup and the Buick Verano (which isn't really badge engineering so much as platform sharing).
Chevy: Simplify the lineup as follows, ditching all cars except the following:
Cobalt--Replace it with the upcoming Cruze economy car. Offer a 2.2 liter 4 as the base motor, and offer the 2.4 liter Ecotec as an upgrade, with or without turbo/supercharging.
-----They do indeed offer two motors on the Cruze, and one of them is turbocharged. Score!
Malibu--Keep as is, only offer a manual transmission with the four cylinder motor.
-----Welp...no stick shift version, but in the name of fuel economy, the V6 has been replaced by a turbo four and there's a mild hybrid version.
Impala--Replace the current design with a Chevy-badged Pontiac G8. Offer a 4.6 Northstar V8 in the LTZ model. The G8 GXP, with its monster motor and six speed stick, would become the new Impala SS.
-----They ended up redesigning the Impala and keeping it as a larger alternative to the Malibu, but it'll be powered by the Malibu's four-banger or the corporate 3.6 liter V6. However, the SS will be coming over, and it will essentially be a G8 with a Chevy badge, a big V8, and hopefully a 6MT>
Corvette--Don't change a thing.
New Camaro, don't change a thing. Just make sure they offer a turbocharged Ecotec 4 as the base motor.
-----Minus the fact that you still can't get a four-banger in the Camaro, they took my advice. Wouldn't be surprised to see it, given that the Mustang will probably be getting EcoBoost power soon.
Give Chevy a version of the Pontiac Solstice/Saturn Sky. It's a good product.
Equinox--Replace the current one with a rebadged Saturn Vue.
-----They did release a new, better Equinox, but it's not the Vue. However, the Captiva (sold only to rental fleets) is a re-badged Vue.
Traverse--Keep as is
Keep the Suburban as a fleet special only.
-----Unfortunately they still offer both the Tahoe and Suburban full-size SUVs. Not a fan.
Colorado--Redesign it; it's uncompetitive. Offer it with a turbocharged Ecotec 4, the 3.6 V6, or a 4.6 Northstar V8.
-----Gonna be redesigned. Not sure about motors yet.
Silverado--Keep as is, but replace the 4.3 liter V6 with the 3.6 liter one. Ditch the 4.8 and 5.3 V8s, and replace both with a 4.6 Northstar V8. Keep the 6.0 V8 and 6.6 diesel V8 for heavy duto models.
The only motors for the whole lineup would be 2.2 and 2.4 liter Ecotec 4 bangers, the 3.6 V6, the 4.6 liter Northstar V8, the Corvette's (and Impala SS's) V8s, and the Duramax diesel V8.
-----Aside from the 3.6L V6 being (practically) the only V6 they offer, they haven't done too much as far as engine lineup simplification goes.
Keep the entire CAR line-up as is....and offer a de-contented DTS sedan with 3.6 V6 for deflecting Buick customers (old farts). Ditch the XLR (too low volume). Move the Escalade onto the Chevy Traverse's platform and power it with either a Northstar V8 or the high power unit from the Corvette/Impala SS/CTS-V. Redesign the SRX and offer 3.6 V6 or Northstar V8 power.
-----They ditched the old-fart mobiles, kept the excellent CTS (and CTS-V), added a 3-series fighter (the ATS), re-did the SRX, and regrettably kept the Escalade.
Ok, one company down. Two to go....
Chrysler: Keep all three brands, but eliminate badge-engineering.
Dodge: Re-do the Caliber's interior, but keep its functionality.
Re-do the Avenger entirely and re-name it the Stratus. Offer a manual gearbox with the 2.4 liter 4 cylinder and make the only V6 upgrade the 3.5 liter one.
----Nope, they didn't upgrade this car too much aside from the interior. They did add the company's excellent Pentastar V6 though as the only upgraded engine.
Freshen the Charger and offer with the 3.5 liter V6, 4.0 liter V6 from the vans, and the Hemi V8s. Ditto for the Challenger, and offer the SRT8 versions of both with 6 speed sticks to take on the Impala/Camaro SS.
----They upgraded it with the Pentastar V6, but forgot to make a stick available on the hot versions.
Grand Caravan: Re-do the interior and replace the 3.3 and 3.8 liter motors with the 3.5 V6 from the passenger cars. Offer 8 passenger seating.
-----They did exactly that, minus the 8 seat capacity and plus an even better motor (the Pentastar).
Dakota: Re-do it, and offer with 4 liter V6 from vans and Charger/Challenger as the base engine. Offer the Hemi as an upgrade.
-----They dropped this model, and rightfully so.
Ram: Keep as is, replace the 3.7 V6 and 4.7 V8 with the 4.0 liter V6.
-----They added the Pentastar and are phasing out the 4.7 V8. They also added an 8AT with a rotary shift knob.....strange......
Chrysler: Make this strictly a premium brand. Ditch all models except the.....
300....freshen it up and make it a genuine luxury vehicle. Offer with a 4.0 liter V6 or Hemi V8.
-----They did exactly that, but instead of a 4.0 V6, they used the Pentastar V6.
Town and Country: Keep as is; limit engine choices to the 4.0 liter V6. Freshen the interior and offer 8 passenger seating.
-----See above, and what I wrote under Dodge Grand Caravan.
Jeep: Ditch everything except the Wrangler and Grand Cherokee. Replace the GC's current V6 and 4.7 V8 with a 4.0 liter V6. Keep the Hemi as an option. Offer a stretch version with 3rd row seating as a hook for deflecting Dodge Durango customers. Nicen up the interior.
-----They still have a few crappy models out there, but the Grand Cherokee is a hell of a lot nicer than it was a few years ago. Still no seven seat version, though (oh wait, they re-introduced the Durango and it's basically a stretched Grand Cherokee).
Ditch the Mercury brand altogether.
-----Look what happened!
Import the European Focus. Our current one stinks.
-----Look what happened!
Keep the 2010 Fusion as is. Ditto for the Taurus.
-----New Fusion looks KILLER. Taurus is getting a bit old.
Kill off the Crown Vic and Lincoln Town Car.
-----Look what happened.
Re-do the Ranger and offer with turbo 4 or 3.5 V6 power.
-----It's no longer sold here.
Keep F-series as is, replace engine lineup with either Eco V6 or 5.4 V8.
-----Yup, it has the EcoBoost V6 now and it's selling crazily well!
Keep extended length Expedition for fleet sales.
-----Both Expedition models are around, still.....ugh!
Ditch all other SUVs except the Flex and Edge. Offer 8 passenger seating in the Flex, and offer a turbo 4 motor in the Edge.
-----Nope.....the Explorer was re-done, as was the Escape. Both are decent. And indeed, I'm pretty sure they all offer the EcoBoost four-banger now.
Keep the Mustang as a niche vehicle. But make the manual gearbox a 6 speed already?!
-----Look what happeened.
As for Lincoln.....keep the MKZ and MKS as they are, but offer a V8 in the MKS. Move the Navigator to the Flex platform and make it visually distinct. Differentiate the MKX from the Flex more than it already is and offer a 3rd row of seats.
-----This brand still needs a kick in the butt!
And I'll still happily be driving my 99 Honda Accord for years to come as these 3 companies try to get their shit together.
-----In summary, all three companies ended up implementing several of the changes I thought (in 2009) that they should implement. I still might do a couple things differently but color me impressed.