Hmmm … maybe those Reapers were onto something after all?

DETROIT – Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services cut its corporate credit ratings to junk status for both General Motors Corp. and Ford Motor Co., a significant blow that will increase borrowing costs and limit fund-raising options for the nation’s two biggest automakers.

Shares of both companies fell 5 percent or more after Thursday’s downgrades, and the news sent the overall market lower.

The decision by one of the nation’s most respected ratings agencies comes as the two iconic American automakers are losing market share at home to Asian automakers, seeing sales soften for their most profitable models and are facing enormous health care and post-retirement liabilities.

The credit ratings agency said its downgrade of GM’s long-term rating below investment-grade status reflects its conclusion that management’s current strategies may not be effective in dealing with the automaker’s competitive disadvantages.

My free advice to Ford and GM: spend more time and resources innovating and less time fighting against CAFE standards.