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  • American Auto Industry

    I am watching what happens as American auto sales plummet and carmakers are showing near-record losses.
    An interesting article about how it happened and why:
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081109/..._what_happened
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  • #2
    Re: American Auto Industry

    On a related note: jobless rate at 14 yr. high.
    If one of the big auto companies goes under, unemployment will be even worse.
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    • #3
      Re: American Auto Industry

      Here's my theory: the american consumer is tired of paying for crap with an american name and patriotism is going by the wayside in place of well built forigen named(american made) vehicles. Here's my suggestion, have the big 3 make a well built car at the same price of toyota or honda and the public will buy them. It's not rocket science, they hope that people will buy their vehicles because of consumer loyalty. This is capitalism at it's best.
      Buy cheap, buy twice.

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      • #4
        Re: American Auto Industry

        I think its pretty clear. From the article above:
        Critics say leaders over the years at Ford Motor Co., General Motors Corp. and what is now Chrysler LLC were slow to take on unions, failed to invest enough in new products, ceded the car market to the Japanese and were ill-prepared for the inevitable rise in gas prices that would make their trucks and SUVs obsolete.
        "There's been 30 years of denial," said Noel Tichy, a University of Michigan business professor and author who ran General Electric Co.'s leadership program from 1985-87 and once worked as a consultant for Ford. "They did not make themselves competitive. They didn't deal with the union issues, the cost structures long ago, everything that makes a successful company."
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        • #5
          Re: American Auto Industry

          In the 70s I had a guy working for me who was a great plumber but his dad got him a job at the GM plant. Instead of working 8-hours a day on new construction he became an assembly line worker at the Camero/Firebird plant with a big pay increase to boot. His job was to install the chrome trim on the drip rail above the drive side door. He found he could load up a bunch of trim pieces on a cart and walk backwards on the line installing them. By doing this he would have a couple of hours to sit and read his book until the line caught up to him again. It was great way to earn a living with very little effort and the Union protected his lack of productivity. Before too long the plant closed down and everyone wondered where the jobs went. I don't know how things are today but I know the Union still fights modernization of the plants. It seems it would be to the Union members advantage to teach them to operate more modern equipment even if it costs some jobs.

          Mark
          "Somewhere a Village is Missing Twelve Idiots!" - Casey Anthony

          I never lost a cent on the jobs I didn't get!

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          • #6
            Re: American Auto Industry

            Mark, I agree with you that there are probably conditions such as you relate that hold modernization and increased efficiency back. But that doesn't account for Detroit's lack of vision when it comes to putting out their next vehicle. Nothing that happens on the line affects whether they choose to build SUVs or 35 MPG hybrids does it? There's not much the union can do to stops them from making more fuel efficient vehicles is there?

            I believe if Detroit had started down the road to 30 years ago to create true fuel efficient vehicles they would not be in this mess that they want US (you, me, and every other taxpayer) to bail them out of. By now we should have had full size PU trucks getting 25 MPG or better. The REQUIRED (by law) MPG for a mid-size car should be >30MPG.

            We don't have any of that because the Big 3's lobbyists have bought off Washington, not the UAW.
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            • #7
              Re: American Auto Industry

              Originally posted by Bob D. View Post
              Mark, I agree with you that there are probably conditions such as you relate that hold modernization and increased efficiency back. But that doesn't account for Detroit's lack of vision when it comes to putting out their next vehicle. Nothing that happens on the line affects whether they choose to build SUVs or 35 MPG hybrids does it? There's not much the union can do to stops them from making more fuel efficient vehicles is there?

              I believe if Detroit had started down the road to 30 years ago to create true fuel efficient vehicles they would not be in this mess that they want US (you, me, and every other taxpayer) to bail them out of. By now we should have had full size PU trucks getting 25 MPG or better. The REQUIRED (by law) MPG for a mid-size car should be >30MPG.

              We don't have any of that because the Big 3's lobbyists have bought off Washington, not the UAW.
              Of course you are absolutely correct. I was only addressing one part of the problem but the cars Detroit has been marketing have not kept up with environmental needs (or quality).

              Mark
              "Somewhere a Village is Missing Twelve Idiots!" - Casey Anthony

              I never lost a cent on the jobs I didn't get!

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              • #8
                Re: American Auto Industry

                As I understand it, most auto workers make $30 an hour. If this is true their own greed among other things are causing their demise.
                The auto industry was not giving handouts in their hayday, so why should we bail them out now?
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                • #9
                  Re: American Auto Industry

                  The last time I spoke in defense of Unions things got ugly, but I trust Mark and others can debate the issue more sensibly. Before I get into my thoughts on the Auto industry, in general an awful lot of American jobs have gone south and abroad. Individuals with or without the benefit of a Union cannot compete with the cheap labor costs outside of the USA and that's a problem that will not go away. I agree that Unions do their best to keep workers working however they can, which is not always in the best interest of the industry. Many years ago I went to school to be a printer, Union jobs such as those on the Newspapers were scarce and the Unions settled a strike by agreeing to no layoffs for several years after which the employers could bring in as much automation as they wanted. Thousands of jobs disappeared, but that is the price of progress. Regarding the Auto industry, we need to have jobs in order to buy cars and trucks. Sure with a fifty billion dollar bailout the big three could retool and make a less costly, more fuel efficient vehicle but who will buy them? What makes more sense? Bailout the Auto industry, or put that 50 billion towards a new industry to employ more Americans? I'm just asking and waiting for another stimulus check! By the way, exactly how do we gauge the economy? Just because stocks are doing well doesn't mean Americans are working and spending.

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                  • #10
                    Re: American Auto Industry

                    I'm gonna take the conspiracy theory route here and note that the big car makers could be making more fuel efficient vehicles at a cheaper price, but they just don't want to.

                    We haven't seen a change in fuel efficiency since 1985. If you do want better, with a hybrid, it's cost prohibitive unless you drive 30000 or more miles a year.

                    They had experimental carburetors in the 1960's that gave phenomenal mileage in 8 cylinder engines. This was before the days of platinum spark plugs, high efficiency air filters, fuel injection, synthetic oil, etc. The big car companies in cahoots with big oil quashed all this, and the general public put up with it.

                    I say let the big companies go under. There'll be great deals on cars up to and during their demise. When the dust settles, maybe we'll finally get that lithium ion battery powered car that can go 300 miles on a single charge.

                    Either that, or by that time there'll be so much looting/rioting/firebombing by the angry/hungry/disillusioned/desperate mobs in the streets that we won't have any place to drive anyway.
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                    • #11
                      Re: American Auto Industry

                      Originally posted by tinmack View Post
                      I'm gonna take the conspiracy theory route here and note that the big car makers could be making more fuel efficient vehicles at a cheaper price, but they just don't want to.

                      We haven't seen a change in fuel efficiency since 1985. If you do want better, with a hybrid, it's cost prohibitive unless you drive 30000 or more miles a year.

                      They had experimental carburetors in the 1960's that gave phenomenal mileage in 8 cylinder engines. This was before the days of platinum spark plugs, high efficiency air filters, fuel injection, synthetic oil, etc. The big car companies in cahoots with big oil quashed all this, and the general public put up with it.

                      I say let the big companies go under. There'll be great deals on cars up to and during their demise. When the dust settles, maybe we'll finally get that lithium ion battery powered car that can go 300 miles on a single charge.

                      Either that, or by that time there'll be so much looting/rioting/firebombing by the angry/hungry/disillusioned/desperate mobs in the streets that we won't have any place to drive anyway.
                      GM already had the car you are talking about it was the EV1. Back when they took them away from happy consumers who were not allowed to buy them, the range was 50 or so miles per charge. Those same cars with lithiums would have a range of over 200 miles per charge, not too shabby. Wheter the big three make such cars or foreign automakers, there will be the issue of replacing and disposing of batteries every few years. I'm concerned for what happens tomorrow and the next few weeks and months, how many "industries" can go under or be bailed out? People are cutting back on purchases, travel, repairs, etc. Maybe it's not the right time to build economic cars or any cars! Seems our government (democrats and republicans) are throwing money at these different problems without a real game plan.

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                      • #12
                        Re: American Auto Industry

                        Wait till the retail numbers come out in January....they're gonna be nasty. This will be the worst Christmas retail season of the last 20 years probably. No doubt there'll be some casualties/closings come next year. Circuit City is already closing 25 percent of their stores, and it's only November...
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                        • #13
                          Re: American Auto Industry

                          Originally posted by tinmack View Post
                          I'm gonna take the conspiracy theory route here and note that the big car makers could be making more fuel efficient vehicles at a cheaper price, but they just don't want to.
                          ...

                          They had experimental carburetors in the 1960's that gave phenomenal mileage in 8 cylinder engines. This was before the days of platinum spark plugs, high efficiency air filters, fuel injection, synthetic oil, etc. The big car companies in cahoots with big oil quashed all this, and the general public put up with it.
                          as of recent I have started to question that, I have heard many stories but I have never found any one who first hand it was always I heard of some one that had heard of some one, many of the stories were similar. and most ended up saying they took there car to the dealer to get it worked on and the car company stole the carburetor off of it and put a regular one on and now would only get regular mileage,

                          this is why I wonder if there jsut Urban legends, is if the product was ever patented it would be in the Paten office and you and I could currently look it up the Paten's would have expired and basically there open to all to use.
                          second, I do not see the Japanese, or Europe, or Asia, or Chinese, making cars or trucks that are exceptional at there fuel mileage, (yes my BIL, bought a Japanese pickup that gets 40+ mph, but it is basically a golf cart, and is not even road legal and is registered as a four wheeler, for legal use in the US, it is not a pickup/truck as we think of one)
                          and some countries do not have there hands tied by a EPA, I think if there was a good way of getting gas mileage from a "full size" unit they would be doing it some where now. (maybe not in the USA) but some where, I think they would, I can not believe ever where there is a conspiracy between the oil companies and the auto industry,
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                          • #14
                            Re: American Auto Industry

                            I don't know if anyone can provide proof positive about the carb story, but when I watched the movie "Who Killed The Electric Car" there was mention of cutting edge battery technology being bought up by GM. The movie gave a strong impression that GM had a reliable working electric car that consumers raved about, and that it was too successful! GM stood lose on the sale and repair of many parts associated with the combustion engine. Some folks here are upset with the thought of Unions trying to protect members jobs, but they readily accept business practices that cost the consumer much more by comparisson. What is the best plan of action now, what should the government and "We The People" do to turn all this mess around?

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                            • #15
                              Re: American Auto Industry

                              Originally posted by Frankiarmz View Post
                              I don't know if anyone can provide proof positive about the carb story, but when I watched the movie "Who Killed The Electric Car" there was mention of cutting edge battery technology being bought up by GM. The movie gave a strong impression that GM had a reliable working electric car that consumers raved about, and that it was too successful! GM stood lose on the sale and repair of many parts associated with the combustion engine. Some folks here are upset with the thought of Unions trying to protect members jobs, but they readily accept business practices that cost the consumer much more by comparisson. What is the best plan of action now, what should the government and "We The People" do to turn all this mess around?
                              Actually, nobody said anything to support greedy corporate manipulations of the market. Who/what are you talking about?
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