U.S. Auto Companies: Down The Crapper

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Comments

  • Reply 41 of 66
    sdw2001sdw2001 Posts: 17,721member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ShawnJ View Post


    The new Malibu is pretty sweet.











    It does [i]look[i] sweet. It probably even rides sweet and sounds quiet. Of course, it's still a Chevy, and I seriously doubt that it's any more reliable.
  • Reply 42 of 66
    sdw2001sdw2001 Posts: 17,721member
    100:



    Quote:

    Who killed the electric car?



    The Bush Administration, of course.



    Fran:
    Quote:

    This country has lost far too many manufacturing jobs to slave labor in Southeast Asia.



    That's subjective and blanket statement. Yes, we've lost manufacturing jobs to Asia and elsewhere. But we also import millions of jobs into the US because of our overall low tax rates and business climate, not to mention highly educated work force.



    The fact is that we're no longer an inustrial economy. We're a service economy. In my opinion this what, in part, caused the 1991-1992 recession and the economic slowness up until about 1995 or so. We were transitioning from an industrial economy to a service economy...even a digital economy if you will. The point is that I'm not sure the loss of manufacturing jobs matters. It's all a question of labor costs. Indeed, one of the prime culprits in the loss of manufacturing jobs, IMO, has been labor unions demanding crazy salaries for relatively uneducated workers...full benefits, etc. because their employees "deserve" it. Business is going to do what it needs to in order to make money. They can't pay $30 an hour for a line worker when someone in Singapore will do the same job better for $15 or $10 or even $5.
  • Reply 43 of 66
    iposteriposter Posts: 1,560member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SDW2001 View Post


    That's subjective and blanket statement. Yes, we've lost manufacturing jobs to Asia and elsewhere. But we also import millions of jobs into the US because of our overall low tax rates and business climate, not to mention highly educated work force.



    The fact is that we're no longer an inustrial economy. We're a service economy.



    True, any fans of the Tofflers' works here? The USA is solidly into the 3rd wave (Information revolution), Inda, China and Southeast Asia are just hitting the 2nd wave (industrial revolution) hard and fast.



    Quote:

    The Third Wave Transition



    The career, the social compact between the employer and employee, is a wistful nostalgia. Employees are responsible for their own careers now, which will involve many changes.



    Too often, Dad's job in the steel mill was gone. Mom got a job working in a phone center. The family unit has changed. It's not the nuclear family anymore; the blended family has replaced Ward and June Cleaver. Gender distinctions in the workplace are waning.



    Money isn't important the same way as it used to be. It's still the medium of exchange, and it's still good to have a lot of it, but the tangible, physical presence of paper doesn't translate to the Third Wave too well. The credit card is the new dollar bill.



  • Reply 44 of 66
    sdw2001sdw2001 Posts: 17,721member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by iPoster View Post


    True, any fans of the Tofflers' works here? The USA is solidly into the 3rd wave (Information revolution), Inda, China and Southeast Asia are just hitting the 2nd wave (industrial revolution) hard and fast.



    I'm not familiar with that, but yes...definitely a fan. Some very good points.
  • Reply 45 of 66
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 33,408member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mydo View Post


    What do you mean? Every compact sedan looks like a rip off of every other compact sedan. I can't tell them apart at a glance these days.



    The profile (side view) is a clear steal from the Passat's playbook (note: The Passat is still an extremely popular vehicle for it's class).
  • Reply 46 of 66
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 33,408member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SDW2001 View Post


    Ours isn't slowing. It's been growing for six strasight years, and overall it's been growing steadily since WWII. I think what you mean in "their" economies are growing more rapidly. That is actually a problem for "them" in itself.



    True enough. That's a more accurate characterization.
  • Reply 47 of 66
    ronaldoronaldo Posts: 439member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SDW2001 View Post


    100:







    The Bush Administration, of course.



    Fran:



    That's subjective and blanket statement. Yes, we've lost manufacturing jobs to Asia and elsewhere. But we also import millions of jobs into the US because of our overall low tax rates and business climate, not to mention highly educated work force.



    The fact is that we're no longer an inustrial economy. We're a service economy. In my opinion this what, in part, caused the 1991-1992 recession and the economic slowness up until about 1995 or so. We were transitioning from an industrial economy to a service economy...even a digital economy if you will. The point is that I'm not sure the loss of manufacturing jobs matters. It's all a question of labor costs. Indeed, one of the prime culprits in the loss of manufacturing jobs, IMO, has been labor unions demanding crazy salaries for relatively uneducated workers...full benefits, etc. because their employees "deserve" it. Business is going to do what it needs to in order to make money. They can't pay $30 an hour for a line worker when someone in Singapore will do the same job better for $15 or $10 or even $5.



    The only problem I see with a sevice economy, rather than a manufacturing economy, is if we ever get in an all out war such as WWII was, we will be screwed, if we don't have any heavy industry.
  • Reply 48 of 66
    splinemodelsplinemodel Posts: 7,311member
    GM will be alright, I think, and may even come back with gusto. We will see. Ford, I think, is in greater trouble. I actually spoke with a former Ford employee this past weekend at a wedding. Basically, he reiterated the thing that we all know is killing US industry in general: over-regulation and unsavory union litigation. But he also brought up an interesting point. Ford has a great business unit. In one decade, they turned around Jaguar, Volvo, and Mazda, and even brought Aston Martin into its first profitable quarter in the history of that company's existence. But Ford doesn't listen to or abide by it's own, proven operational protocol.



    The guy himself worked on some of the sexier projects like the GT40 and the like, which he admitted weren't as problematic as, say, the Explorer project, which has been overrun by Dilbertian pointy-haired bosses. For example, the new Explorer looks almost identical to the old one -- ugly -- yet they tooled entirely new body panelling equipment for it. It's an exercise in excess and arrogance.



    Just some fodder.
  • Reply 49 of 66
    shawnjshawnj Posts: 6,656member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Splinemodel View Post


    Basically, he reiterated the thing that we all know is killing US industry in general: over-regulation and unsavory union litigation.



    It'd be nice if we could take care of those health care and pension costs like they do in Japan.
  • Reply 50 of 66
    sdw2001sdw2001 Posts: 17,721member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ronaldo View Post


    The only problem I see with a sevice economy, rather than a manufacturing economy, is if we ever get in an all out war such as WWII was, we will be screwed, if we don't have any heavy industry.



    Totally agree. Of course, we do have industry...plenty of it for something like that. But one wonders about the future.
  • Reply 51 of 66
    sdw2001sdw2001 Posts: 17,721member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ShawnJ View Post


    It'd be nice if we could take care of those health care and pension costs like they do in Japan.



    You're really taunting the sharks with that point, aren't you. If you notice I decided not to bite the yummy piece of meat in the net.



    Seriously, I don't think you can say that the problem is our nationwide pension and healthcare system. Other companies have been able to manage their helathcare costs, benefits, salaries, etc. The problem is that GM made promises that in 1960 were easy to keep. Now, they're impossible. They offerd generous pensions and I believe, full benefits to retirees.



    No one gets that...not even we teachers. In PA I have own of the best retirement systems in the country (PSERS). After 35 years I get 87.5% of the average of my three highest years salary for life. Medical is very low though...I think it varies by district. I also contribute to that pension to the tune of 7.5% mandatory per year. My bet is GM retirees did even better, and probably made more money than I do too. I mean, what is the world coming to....corporations offering better benefits than those of us that rape the taxpayer every summer!
  • Reply 52 of 66
    mydomydo Posts: 1,888member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post


    The profile (side view) is a clear steal from the Passat's playbook (note: The Passat is still an extremely popular vehicle for it's class).



    Meh. They all look the same to me.



    Passat

    Neon

    Civic

    Fusion

    Focus

    Sentra

    Carolla





    You can select out elements that are different but to some extent none of them have unique elements. Plus the compact sedans all borrow style elements from big brothers. There is very little that is unique in car design these days.
  • Reply 53 of 66
    splinemodelsplinemodel Posts: 7,311member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ShawnJ View Post


    It'd be nice if we could take care of those health care and pension costs like they do in Japan.



    Japanese automakers succeed in the US market largely due to US assembly performed by non-union laborers. They are not hit with the same, grandfathered-in union bullshit that detroit is.
  • Reply 54 of 66
    iposteriposter Posts: 1,560member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Splinemodel View Post


    Ford has a great business unit. In one decade, they turned around Jaguar, Volvo, and Mazda, and even brought Aston Martin into its first profitable quarter in the history of that company's existence. But Ford doesn't listen to or abide by it's own, proven operational protocol.



    Turned around in the sense of being profitable, maybe. I've heard anecdotal evidence from a number of longtime Volvo owners (including my father) who are jumping ship to Toyota, Honda, Lexus, etc. due to a steep decline in Volvo's reliability and quality control since being taken over by Ford. Now they may as well be just another American car company...



    \
  • Reply 55 of 66
    splinemodelsplinemodel Posts: 7,311member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by iPoster View Post


    Turned around in the sense of being profitable, maybe. I've heard anecdotal evidence from a number of longtime Volvo owners (including my father) who are jumping ship to Toyota, Honda, Lexus, etc. due to a steep decline in Volvo's reliability and quality control since being taken over by Ford. Now they may as well be just another American car company...



    \



    New Volvos do not have the same feel as old Volvos, which is always going to cause long time devotees to change their opinions. But, honestly, volvos have always been regulars in the shop. The pre-ford volvos had abysmal electrical systems.



    Low quality production among American manufacturers is, as a rule, very outdated. Japan dreams about having a V6 + drivetrain as bulletproof as the ones GM builds, and in reciprocal, America dreams about having four-bangers as bulletproof as the ones Honda builds. Toyota is somewhere in the middle, although I can't say enough good things about their old stalwart, the 2GZ 3.0L six. Anyway, I've never met a GM owner who has had trouble with his V6, or for that matter a Honda owner who has had trouble with his 4. But when you step out of those comfort zones, you'll find unhappy owners. The only car company I'm aware of that has nearly universal owner discontent is VW. After 60k miles, they never leave the shop.
  • Reply 56 of 66
    iposteriposter Posts: 1,560member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Splinemodel View Post


    Japan dreams about having a V6 + drivetrain as bulletproof as the ones GM builds, and in reciprocal, America dreams about having four-bangers as bulletproof as the ones Honda builds. Toyota is somewhere in the middle, although I can't say enough good things about their old stalwart, the 2GZ 3.0L six. Anyway, I've never met a GM owner who has had trouble with his V6, or for that matter a Honda owner who has had trouble with his 4. But when you step out of those comfort zones, you'll find unhappy owners. The only car company I'm aware of that has nearly universal owner discontent is VW. After 60k miles, they never leave the shop.



    I didn't mean to suggest that American cars don't have their good points, I have to agree with you about the GM V6s. I've owned a Corsica and a Lumia, each with the 3.1L V6; have to say that they were bulletproof and had fantastic power/size. Now, for the rest of the car, well... !



    IRT the Volvos, I've never owned one so I can't speak from personal experience...same with VW, though it's unfortunate they've dropped in quality, VW's used to be easy 500K mile cars.



    When it comes to auto reliability, in my personal experience with cars I've owned, I've found Consumer Reports' data to be just about dead on in terms of overall reliability, and specific trouble spots (the dreaded black circles!).



    CR chart of overall make comparison.
  • Reply 57 of 66
    skatmanskatman Posts: 609member
    You can argue about health benefits, etc... but the fact is - when your product sucks, the company suffers and after a while no amount of tarrif shielding can help.

    Make a quality product that people want to buy consistently... not just once in a while, and you will not have these problems.
  • Reply 58 of 66
    spcmsspcms Posts: 407member
    Well, I have worked at the four big car plants here in Belgium (GM, Ford, VW, Renault) over the last few years (implementation of HR systems). The Renault plant is closed, the GM plant just lost his night shift last week, the VW plant lost most of it's cars for the next two years but will get a new model in 2009, and Ford is doing OK but was almost closed a few years ago. I cannot comment on how or why, but what I do know is that often whole families and half cities depend on those plants and their contractors, and that the decision which plant goes and which one stays often has a whole lot more to do with politics than with productivity, even to this very day. It's only one example, but at every plant we had to manipulate the absenteism statistics that were being sent to headquarters, because that one numer could mean the loss of a massive amount of jobs. Unions are traditionally very powerfull over here, but lately they spend more time convincing employees to swallow whatever is asked from them, rather than to defend them against corporate greed. Those people fear for their jobs almost daily, and often rightfully so.
  • Reply 59 of 66
    splinemodelsplinemodel Posts: 7,311member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by skatman View Post


    You can argue about health benefits, etc... but the fact is - when your product sucks, the company suffers and after a while no amount of tarrif shielding can help.

    Make a quality product that people want to buy consistently... not just once in a while, and you will not have these problems.



    People do buy American vehicles consistently. Just not American compacts, which is an area of the market where American car companies suck, and also one that is growing in popularity, vastly, in America. Back in the 90's when fuel prices where low and large vehicle were posh, Ford, GM, and Chrysler were doing great.
  • Reply 60 of 66
    trick falltrick fall Posts: 1,271member
    For as long as I can remember the blue collar auto worker in one way or another has been blamed for the American auto industries woes, but the reasons I have not bought an American car are styling, drive feel and low grade materials all of which seem to relate to errors on the management side. Hell look at the deal GM made with Fiat. How much money did it cost them not to buy the [email protected]#
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