Ford and Toyota

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Model T Ford Forum: Forum 2008: Ford and Toyota
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Herb Iffrig on Saturday, December 13, 2008 - 12:41 pm:

I just got this in an email and wanted to see what you guys thought of it.

SOMETHING TO REALLY THINK ABOUT! (MAKES YOU WONDER WHY THEY DON'T)

Subject: American Ingenuity

A Japanese company (Toyota) and an American company (Ford
Motors) decided to have a canoe race on the Missouri River Both teams
practiced long and hard to reach their peak performance before the race.

On the big day, the Japanese won by a mile. The Americans, very discouraged and depressed, decided to
investigate the reason for the crushing defeat. A management team made up of senior management was formed to investigate and recommend
appropriate action.

Their conclusion was the Japanese had 8 people rowing and 1 person steering, while the American team had 7 people steering and 2 people
rowing.

Feeling a deeper study was in order; American management hired a consulting company and paid them a large amount of money for a second
opinion.

They advised, of course, that too many people were steering
the boat, while not enough people were rowing.

Not sure of how to utilize that information, but wanting to prevent another loss to the Japanese, the rowing team's management structure was totally reorganized to 4 steering supervisors, 2 area steering
superintendents and 1 assistant superintendent steering manager.

They also implemented a new performance system that would give the 2 people rowing the boat greater incentive to work harder. It was called the 'Rowing Team Quality First Program,' with meetings, dinners and free pens for the rowers. There was discussion of getting new paddles, canoes and other equipment, extra vacation days for practices and bonuses. The pension program was trimmed to 'equal the competition' and some of the resultant savings were channeled into morale boosting programs and teamwork posters.

The next year the Japanese won by two miles. Humiliated, the American management laid-off one rower, halted development of a new canoe, sold all the paddles, and canceled all capital investments for new equipment. The money saved was distributed to the Senior Executives as bonuses.

The next year, try as he might, the lone designated rower was unable to even finish the race (having no paddles,) so he was laid off for unacceptable performance, all canoe equipment was sold and the next year's racing team was out-sourced to India.

Sadly, The End.

Here's something else to think about: Ford has spent the last thirty years moving all its factories out of the US , claiming they can't make money paying American wages.

TOYOTA has spent the last thirty years building more than a dozen plants inside the US. The last quarter's results:

TOYOTA makes 4 billion in profits while Ford racked up 9 billion in losses.

Ford folks are still scratching their heads, and collecting bonuses.

IF THIS WEREN'T SO TRUE IT MIGHT BE FUNNY

Herb


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Michael F. Thomas on Saturday, December 13, 2008 - 01:45 pm:

Dakota tribal wisdom says that when you find yourself on a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount. You can change riders, you can organize a committee to study the dead horse, you can compare your dead horse to other dead horses in your industry, you can declare it is cheaper to feed a dead horse, you can harness several dead horses together,....but sooner or later you are going to have to dismount.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Frank Harris on Saturday, December 13, 2008 - 02:51 pm:

We have been promised change by the upcoming administration. Perhaps they will change the cafe standards and take away some of the silly protection devices forced on to the industry by do gooders. This will lower the cost of the vehicles.

The green folks don't like winshield washer fluids that contain chemicals so you can no longer purchase windshield washer fluid that will stay as a fluid below 32 degrees f. New cars have heaters in the windshield washer storage bottles to keep the fluid from freezing. These heaters go 24-7-365 just what is this world coming to ?

With gas a $4.00 a gallon people like green cars with fuel under $2.00 they don't care about green as much.

We do build good cars in this country, finally, and it was caused by the fact that they cost so much that it takes five years to pay them off. So the companies had to build a car that would last at least five years.

We went to the Los Angeles Auto Show a couple of weeks ago and the G M folks told us that they were going to close down Buick and Pontiac and only make Cadillacs, Chevrolets and Saturns. G M trucks will stay and will be based on Chevy trucks as they are now.

Ford will shut down Mercury and Chrysler will drop Dodge but keep Jeep.

I have some neat pictures but this site will not let me download them today. If you want to see what is coming soon I will attempt to post pictures later on.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Dick Lodge - St Louis MO on Saturday, December 13, 2008 - 02:59 pm:

The following editorial cartoon from the Detroit Free Press was published in the St Louis Post-Dispatch this morning:

http://www.freep.com/article/20081210/BLOG24/81210002/1214


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By bob sell on Saturday, December 13, 2008 - 03:23 pm:

the sad thing is we are those americans in the boat rowing, or at least wanting to row.but sinking as well as rowing .
no japaneese = no race
ever think of that?
i live in an area of the countryt that was deemed the pottery capitol of the world over 150 us potteries in the boom days.hundreds of beautiful victorian and arts and crafts period homes and buldings, stores galore,bustling main street,2 cars in every garage and a chicken in every pot!
city park, ball teams and the whole american dream everywhere we look!

then along came Japan and China
guess what now we have abandoned homes, buildings , and 2 potteries that are doing everything to stay alive.
it is our fault the Americans who support the foreign stuff i would not drive a toyota if i had to walk!, regaurdless of the price oh yea we dont do that anymore either, might loose weight and feel good enough to work instead of dissability!
i have had chevrolet trucks, ford vehicles , buicks,and just about every other American car and until we started trying to compete with Japan, they lasted 20 years! real steel, chrome ,iron etc. now aluminum, plastic and God knows what else!
why?
i remember some of those old iron cars,that got as good gas mileage as cars today, with real 8 cylinders and real steel that were big enough to tow trailers, and serve the entire family, now we need 3 cars just to fit everyone! my wife drives a chevy cobalt she gets around 18 miles per gal give or take, .
i drive a chevy 3/4 ton truck for my profession i get about 12 mpg,

we also havea chevy suburban, because we are a family of 5 there is nothing else that will hold us all comfortably and also have room for groceries etc. guess what it too gets 18mpg! i know there are those of you who will dispute that but i have done the math both with the on board computer and just plain per gallon checks, on trips it can reach 20 mpg!

now where is the problem with those vehicles?
do we need to just shrink our families in order to have a green car? come on ! its all politics!

close down China and Japan not ford and chevy what is wrong with you camry driving,numb skulls!
the entire population of America can't sit in front of computers and survive we are industrialists by nature! lets close China and Japan, and get back to work!


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Adrian Whiteman on Saturday, December 13, 2008 - 03:26 pm:

I will risk stirring thing up. Here in NZ the Japanese dominate the market, in the last few years "left hand drive only" kept US cars out of the market, although RHD models are coming available now and we are starting to see a few US cars on the road.

US cars just don't make the grade here (unless they are from the years up to the 60's):
1) fit and finish well behind Japanese (buttons and knubs tend to break off, electrics seem ro have been purchased from Lucas etc),
2) fuel use way too high - just too thirsty and too big for what is really needed
3) price is way more than Japanese (sales incentives have brought prices down - but see the other points listed here)
5) they just don't last as long given the tough conditions/ usage
6) technology appears to be behind the Japanese (eg. cruise control on US cars I have driven is no where near as smooth as Japanese or European versions, aut shifts seem smoother in European / Japanese cards too - I admit, this is a personal impression only)
7) styling is very US centric (understandable, but not a good idea when you want to sell abroad).

also, 5 years is a "normal length of time" for us to pay for a car. We expect at least 10 years out of it.

You can blame management, unions, workers, congress, the interest rate, economy, factories in China etc etc but at the end of the day consumers buy what works and what is value for money to them.

How do you measure what is value for money vs. style/ design that appeals? Hard one - unless you look at what the Japanese (and increasingly the Koreans) are managing to sell.

Case in point - why DO people shop at Wal-Mart? It is not Wal-Mart's fault they sell Chinese cheapo products - Don't they just sell what people show a preference for buying based on a price/quality/design trade off??

Cheers
Adrian

(family fleet - 2 x Toyota, 1 x Nissan, 1 x Renault and 1 x Model T)


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jeff rey L. Vietzke on Saturday, December 13, 2008 - 03:28 pm:

I have two 1960's Pontiac GTO's. They are simple,excellent, enjoyable cars. I have owned each of them for over 25 years. The '67 has 242,000 miles with one engine overhaul. The'65 has 160k on more than one overhaul! For regular day-to day driving at present, I have two Toyotas that I drive. An '83 4x4 with over 250k on the clock, and a '94 4runner with 175k on the clock. The pickup has its original rear brake shoes, and has never had any major repairs, just maintainence. It does not use or leak oil.The '94 has required timing belts at 60k intervals and blew an axle seal at 169000 miles. Both vehicles get used off road regularly. When I was in industry, I was a journeyman automotive technician for over 14 years. I worked on a LOT of cars, all makes, from 1981 thru 1996, when I left the commercial end of the industry. The quality of early '80's American iron compared to most of the imported stuff was appalling. They leaked oil, broke down, caught fire, and just plain wore out quickly. American automakers had the arrogance and audacity to force feed us sub-standard cars for a long time. They used the buying public as their quality researchers, letting substandard and poorly designed cars hit the streets. They blamed their shoddy quality on the assembly line workers. The workers had NOTHING to do with the poor materials, poor engineering, and cost-cutting assembly mandates. The American automakers, tired of trying to meet CAFE fuel efficency parameters,got us convinced we needed Lincoln Blackwood pickup trucks and Cadillac Escalade SUV's with 24 inch wheels:truly grotesque and pretentious vehicles that don't have to meet the more stringent emissions and fuel mileage requirements that cars do. With the exception of the Corvette, GM has not built any vehilce I would consider buying since the '87 Grand National. They totally missed the boat with the new GTO, and are going to miss it with the new Camaro. They just don't GET it. The Model T started it with a simple, small, well built vehicle that offered good value for the money. VW was next, with the Beetle, until they went to the Dasher, Scirocco, etc. and ruined thier reputation for reliability; Honda was next up with the Civic in the 70's....What do WE have for the 21st century? How about a Hummer or an Excursion! Side note: we got a 2008 Impala in our fleet at work that blew the tranny with EIGHT miles on the clock!!!! In their defense, I think American car makers were much better at providing quality and satisfaction before they were regulated into the ground. Sorry about the rant, and all of this is purly opinion on my part!
Jeff


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Neil Kaminar on Saturday, December 13, 2008 - 11:10 pm:

Hmm, lets see. Henry Ford set out to make an inexpensive, reliable, economical car that was easy to drive and easy to repair. He was highly successful, putting more Americans on the road than anyone else. Granted that technology has come a long way in 100 years. But it appears that the vision has disappeared.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Rob Patterson (Aust) on Sunday, December 14, 2008 - 03:17 am:

Beating the Japanese at thier own game!?
The Europeans, eg VW, are doing it. The Koreans are doing it too. In 5 years the Chinese will be there as well.
Come on America, you CAN do it....but boy, you're gonna have to bite the bullet and make some B I G changes.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By ken parker on Sunday, December 14, 2008 - 09:09 am:

The "game" is called keiretsu and is not legal by firms "within" the US.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Royce Peterson on Sunday, December 14, 2008 - 11:00 am:

Both Ford and GM are beating all the Japanese companies in car sales in Europe. The reason: good cars that people want to buy. Toyota is tied for fifth place in European sales, a really minor player in that market compared to GM and Ford.

It is not just quality, it is everything about a car that has to appeal to the buyer. Design, performance, quality, and buzz - maybe buzz is the most important thing - but all those things need to be right.

Wages are basically the same at car companies around the world, and the tax rules for any car maker anywhere are the same too.

The real problem though is that GM, the #1 car maker in the world in sales, has not made a bit of profit since about 2003. This is mostly due to their US legacy healthcare costs. Other factors are wasting money on the dead end electric car program, wasting money on bad products like the Pontiac Aztec and Saturn Sky. Wasting money on massive undeserved executive pay, wasting money on stock dividends that mostly went to those same executives. BAD MANAGEMENT.

They need to stay in business, and will if they adopt a workable business model. Fair pay for everyone, and benefits in line with those in other industries.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Eric Watson on Sunday, December 14, 2008 - 11:01 am:

91 Chevy Silverado hits 1 million miles
Built like a rock...

http://www.autoblog.com/2008/02/01/wisconsin-mans-91-silverado-set-to-hit-1-mill ion-miles/

Wait until China owns your mortgage.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Steve Jelf on Sunday, December 14, 2008 - 11:33 am:

In 1973 my aunts bought a new Suburban. The same year my dad bought a new Plymouth Duster. The Suburban came with separate lap and shoulder belts, with a hanger behind the door for the shoulder belt. The Duster also had separate lap and shoulder belts. There were clips above the door and you were supposed to fold the shoulder belt and insert it in the clips along the top of the door. Chrysler "engineering"! The 1968 VW beetle, the 1968 Toyotas, and the 1968 Renault R-10 all came with modern single-anchor belts, and FIVE YEARS LATER the US manufacturers still hadn't figured out that one simple detail. I see that as a symbol of the boneheaded "we know best" attitude in Detroit that has brought us to the present mess. Ironically, the US companies apparently were starting to make serious efforts at getting smart and turning things around when the housing bubble burst and started the current slide into the economic dumper. By the way, if you want to wipe the windshield on that '68 beetle you can pull the wipers out away from the glass and they'll stay out until you put them back. How many cars have that convenient little feature forty years later?


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By George on Sunday, December 14, 2008 - 12:33 pm:

Royce comments are spot on to me, but yet the perception of the masses here in USA is totally different. They spend millions and millions in advertizing and association is just not clicking.

We can all joke about China holding mortgages and etc., but look there...one of the biggest, if not the biggest, builder in China IS GM Shanghai! OK, so they went for brand recognition first...everything built there for the longest time was a BUICK...whether it was the actual legacy Buick, or Saturn, or Chevy. The Chinese people now believe that a GM Shanghai built product is a sound investment in the price ranges they sell at. Lately, on the streets in the city you see a few 'bowtie' badges on product. Not many yet, but a few. I am surprised that GM is now playing with 'badging' after being so successful in establishing brand recognition within China.

Yet this brings about another curious question in the current turmoil of things. Things may change, but rumor within China for the last 2 going on 3 years has been that the real Buicks built in Shanghai were going to be exported to USA starting in 2010. While word on the street here was that China could not build to our own environmental standards and that is why Chinese built Buicks have not exported previously...this too was another play on 'words'! GM Shanghai products are built to a different emission standard, specifically they have been built to California emissions standards since inception!

Will be interesting to see what does pan out. Chinese consumers will typically only put perhaps 8,000 miles or less a year on a car. They still pleasure in walking to market or taking a bus to downtown...China has not yet figured out the parking situation. Also, there is currently a rule on the books that a 10 year old car can no longer be re-titled for street use. Chinese will get around this without a law change...simply get them out into the country somewhere where the country mentality leaves the rule books at the city gates.

So my curiosity is that there is a 10 year product life for all the city dwellers...and under present conditions that will only be an 80,000 mile car! Think it may be easy to have good customer satisfaction ratings with that kind of service life...probably not too far from what 'expectation' levels were in the age of a 'T'!

Above, someone has commented that there is another rumor at the west coast show where several divisions will be 'retired'. Buick was one of them and I would say idle rumor...unless GM has already decided that the Buicks will be 100% imported.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Barry DeLong on Sunday, December 14, 2008 - 12:58 pm:

Apparently Daimler AG was able to unload Chrysler to Cerberus earlier this year...as a privately-owned Company, why are they in the welfare lineup at all? Surely the people who own them should be covering expenses..
With four Fords(1912,1914&1923 T's plus her toy, a '98 Mustang convert) in the garage now, and needing a pick-up truck this past summer, I really wanted to buy a Ford, but set a dollar limit then went shopping. Came down to Toyota and Ford Ranger- fit,finish, and overall quality- no comparison at all! The Toyota came home.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Kenneth W DeLong on Sunday, December 14, 2008 - 02:27 pm:

Steve,Did the VW ever have a heater?? Sorry to say i bought a new 1971 and sometimes our kids still laugh about freezing in it.It was a fun car and went through the snow&mud very well but at less than 40,000 miles it was time for a overhaull the fun went out of it.Royce,Even though those old people built GM and some of us still are stock owners what would YOU do with us?? Bud.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Steve Jelf on Sunday, December 14, 2008 - 03:10 pm:

For a country that gets as cold as Germany, you'd think that they could have come up with a better heater than what the beetle had. It was a joke. I consider it the car's one big flaw. It would take a long drive to warm your feet. Other than that, it was a great little car. I drove mine to Mexico City, Cuernavaca, and down to the southern coast at Puerto Angel.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Ojd T Owner on Sunday, December 14, 2008 - 03:21 pm:

Where I live is a G M manufacturing city. A few years ago, GM made the edict that no other than GM products could park in the factory lot. Should have heard the hue and cry, especially the Union. The parking lots have been quite empty in all three plants. There are a few lessons in there. By the way the only Ford product I have owned were Model T, Model A And a 51 sedan.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By John Berch on Sunday, December 14, 2008 - 03:29 pm:

Steve, My first beetle was a 1965. It was the first car I ever used a windshield scraper on the inside,and didn't even have a dash to lay it on! At least the left edge of my left foot stayed toasty. Sure was a fun little car otherwise.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Royce Peterson on Sunday, December 14, 2008 - 04:32 pm:

Bud,

Referring to your stock in GM, when the executives give themselves massive amounts of stock options and then vote themselves huge windfall amounts of cash to roll around in by giving themselves dividends to collect on those options it hurts you. They are removing the money from the company and distributing it to themselves.

Look at the price of GM stock today. The reason your stock is worthless is those executives stole your money.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jerry VanOoteghem on Sunday, December 14, 2008 - 04:35 pm:

"Ford has spent the last thirty years moving all its factories out of the US , claiming they can't make money paying American wages."

READ THAT AS FORD CAN'T PAY AMERICAN UAW WAGES WITH HIGH LEGACY COSTS. NEITHER CAN TOYOTA, AND THEY DON'T!!!

TOYOTA has spent the last thirty years building more than a dozen plants inside the US. The last quarter's results:

TOYOTA makes 4 billion in profits while Ford racked up 9 billion in losses.

SEE ABOVE AND ALSO, DON'T BLAME FORD, SHARE SOME OF THE BLAME YOURSELF FOR POSTING AND PROMOTING NEGATIVE CRAP ABOUT SOMETHING YOU KNOW NOTHING DIRECTLY ABOUT.

I SOMETIMES WONDER WHY IN THE HELL ANY OF YOU FORD BASHERS EVEN COLLECT MODEL T'S. YOU CERTAINLY DON'T CARE TO DISCUSS THEM ANY LONGER BUT INSTEAD OPT TO BITCH ABOUT WHY FORD IS DOING SO BAD, AS IF YOU REALLY NOW WHAT YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT. I GUESS IT MAKES SOME PEOPLE FEEL VERY SMART TO BEAT ON AN AMERICAN COMPANY WHILE THEIR DOWN.

I'LL LEAVE YOU ALL ALONE NOW TO PRETEND THAT YOU'RE STILL AMERICANS.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Mark Gregush on Sunday, December 14, 2008 - 05:14 pm:

"I'LL LEAVE YOU ALL ALONE NOW TO PRETEND THAT YOU'RE STILL AMERICANS." Nice thing about being an American, gives us the right to bitch and even be wrong or right! That is what people have fought and died for.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Royce Peterson on Sunday, December 14, 2008 - 05:24 pm:

Jerry,

I drive a Dodge truck. I have 4 Model T's and two Mercurys in the garage along with my truck.

Ford is actually in fine shape right now, with good products in the pipe line and a reasonable chance at success. The only reason Ford and Chrysler went to Washington is they didn't want GM to be the only car company getting a big pile of zero interest cash. As you probably saw, Ford does not even ask for a loan. Mullaly (very wisely) is only asking for a line of credit that Ford expects to not need.

GM has been sucking for a long time and is dragging down everything in the auto industry.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By John Stokes on Sunday, December 14, 2008 - 06:47 pm:

I cannot let this opportunity go by....

Neil Kaminar makes a very valid point above - that Henry Ford put more Americans on the road than anyone else.

Except it that he did this not just in America, but all over the world, with the Universal Car. Very simply, he provided a product people wanted, that no-one else was offering.

To this day, the US remains the world's single largest car market, which is why that marketplace is so influential in the global market. But the 'Big Three' domestic carmakers do not necessarily provide what people want any more - they'd like to think they do, but they don't. Take a look on the freeway and just look at the proportion of smaller cars from abroad sharing the roads. These are the cars that Americans apparently don't want, according to the 'Big Three'.

Ford (and GM) are doing well with their European products - but those products are vastly different from those produced by their American parents, and they're beutifully made so as to compete with German, Italian and French engineering.

The values of Henry Ford's day (small, comfortable, reliable, strong, functional and economical to run) began changing with the "size war" that developed in the thirties, partly brought on by the development of the V-8. The success of the Volkswagen Beetle in the US during the fifties and sixties should have been an eye-opener, but things have never really changed.... more recently, while the rest of the world just loves the European Ford Focus, it was felt that car would be too small to succeed in the American market!

The warning bells were sounded with the first oil shock of the seventies. We've just had the third oil shock, with the price peaking at around $130 a barrel. Now oil has come down to under $40 a barrel and that may provide a false sense of security. But rest assured - there will be a fourth oil shock.

If we are really honest with ourselves, most of us don't need a huge car or pickup truck for everyday use (unless we are towning the T every day!).

When Ford - US releases the new Fiesta (was the Verve concept) in the US that will be a unique and long overdue opportunity for new car buyers in the US to come to terms with their own needs while also assisting American industry.

Ford's survival may depend on that support.

John Stokes
New Zealand


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Frank Harris on Sunday, December 14, 2008 - 10:18 pm:

Here is the story in a nut shell. Three good hard working honest union law abeiding employees are hired to take a sail boat to Austrailia from Los Angeles harbor. Each has a bonafied union contract to work an eight hour day with 16 hours of overtime for the Saturday and Sunday. Each man shall work an eight hour day at 40 hours a week with 16 hours of overtime for the week end.

They have enough supplies and all of the safety gear to make the trip. It is estimated that the trip will take 47 days depending on the weather.

There is a clause in the contract stating that if weather is a factor in the trip that the time limit will be null and void and they will be paid in a continuous uninterrupted manner irrespective of weather conditions. All agree and the deal is signed as a good liberal contract.

They set sail and are at sea for 11 days when the boat springs a leak and the manual bilge pumps must be manned 24-7.

Each man steers the boat and pumps the bilge for eight hours a day for another week and the boat and the men are safe.

The union calls an emergency meeting and states that all employees must now only work a 36 hours week at double pay with no overtime allowed and the three men and the boat are never heard of again.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Peter Nikolajevs on Sunday, December 14, 2008 - 10:49 pm:

As an employee of Ford, I sat here for a while. Should I comment? Should I let it go? I decided I could not let it go. I bought my Model T when I was 12 and was immediately drawn to Ford's history. I grew up in Massachusetts and dreamed of some day working for Ford and started as a technician in a Ford dealer and went on to teach dealership technicians. I now develop training that is delivered to our technicians in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.

I have to admit, it hurts when I hear fellow Model T owners (my family) bash the company that I work so hard for, every day, to support my two young kids and wife.

I am not one to bash other companies, but I do want to provide a couple of facts that speak to the issues raised by others.
-Ford has more trucks on the road with 250,000 miles than any other brand.
-16 2008 Ford vehicles are rated Best Pick by IIHS, more than any other automaker.
-2009 F-150 has unsurpassed fuel economy (up to 21 mpg hwy while still providing 7,500 lbs of towing capability).
-Ford, Honda, and Toyota are in a dead heat when it comes to quality. This is documented through internal sources and JD Powers. I am not always one to believe such reports, but when we have technicians leaving work early or being laid off because the warranty work has dried up, I know it is a direct result of quality improvements.


I believe Ford is definetly headed in the right direction, with ever advancing Hybrid technology, (The new Fusion will get better fuel economy than the Toyota Camry), SYNC (Cool voice recognition technology that we created with Microsoft), MyKey (great for parents),collision warning, and many other great innovations I beleive Ford will continue to give people the vehicle they want with the quality they expect.

So I ask you, stop bashing Ford. Better yet, go out and drive/buy one of their new products. I will be the first to admit there has been quality issues in the past. This is probably the biggest obstacle for the domestic auto manufacturers. As they say in the stock market however, "Past performance does not necessarily reflect future results."
Take a look at some of the innovations here http://www.fordvehicles.com/forddriveone/ and stop by your local Ford dealer to see it in person.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By George on Monday, December 15, 2008 - 12:32 am:

Peter,

I think that if any bashing is implied, it is simply just frustration over the whole mess the industry finds itself in! No particular maker the object.

In fairness, I did comment on the GM story for China and how GM has convinced Chinese the Buick 'badge' is the badge of a new global standard...

Chinese are just like the rest of the world! They actually LOVE the newer Ford Focus!

By the way...I had a visitor from one of the 'stan' countries the other week at my own factory in central China. His first remark? He looked over the car park and said he was surprised. Not ONE car was a Chinese 'brand'! Equally divided between Toyota/Honda/Hyundai...and Buick variants/Ford Focus'...


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By George on Monday, December 15, 2008 - 12:37 am:

Peter part duex......

Visited the son tonight...he informed me that in light of the current situation for a 30 year old...he's going to lug out the old 1975 F-250 with the sort of F-600 rear end in it that he blocked up about 3 years ago.

Mechanicals on it still strong...odometer is way up there...he has all the confidence in the world on it...he adds...Built Ford Tough and they meant it :-)


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By alex.brown on Monday, December 15, 2008 - 01:19 am:

I think you guys need to get The Australia Falcons in the US

Mine has done 203K Nothing wrong with it and friends of mine have done over 500K with only a relatively minor fix on the gearbox. 300K+ is standard with little or No maintenance at all.

I got 37 MGP out of mine on a trip a few months back. Not bad for a 4ltr 2003 engine!!!

Attached is a couple of pics! Reckon they would sell over there?






Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By alex.brown on Monday, December 15, 2008 - 01:19 am:

What do you reckon?


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Ray Elkins on Monday, December 15, 2008 - 04:11 am:

In our business we own, our take at the end of the day is totally dependent on our success at running a profitable business. Our CEO/co-owner (my wife) and the Maintenance Superintendent (that'd be me) do not receive a salary, much less a bonus, if we are not profitable. After all bills are paid, employees salaries paid, etc., we get the remains if any. We don't vote ourselves a raise, bonus, etc. and then claim it as a "loss". We don't lay off employees or cut their benefits in order to give ourselves a raise.

If big business can't run the same as a small business (management's salaries and bonuses based on profitibility), then to hell with them. They are no better than we are (in fact we are the better ones since we aren't having to fly a corporate jet to Congress to ask for a handout) and I have no pity for them.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Ray Elkins on Monday, December 15, 2008 - 05:14 am:

Alex, that looks better than most of what they are trying to force down our throats here


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Rob Patterson (Aust) on Monday, December 15, 2008 - 05:48 am:

Yes Ray,
Its such a pity that Ford in thier wisdom has decided that even with these credentials, this will be the last of the Aussie Falcons. Instead there will be an American Ford with a Falcon badge taking its place in a couple of years. Its got big boots to fill, because this car we build out here, is a goodun.

However, just like in the US, it's losing market share. As is the GM equivalent, the Holden Commodore. The Australian built Commodore is badged as a Pontiac in the US and isnt a bad car either.
Rob


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Ray Elkins on Monday, December 15, 2008 - 07:07 am:

My wife was a Holden...'nuff said :-)


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Ricks - Surf City on Monday, December 15, 2008 - 10:16 am:

The Detroit bailout talk is just a bunch of CONgressional grandstanding. They're pestering the mice while the rats make away with big $Billions.

Using corporate jets makes a lot of sense, and you don't have to be "earning" $10,000 an hour to justify it. Maybe Royce will explain the business case for the fleet he maintains.

----

rdr: Where are the Wall St. cops?
----
Dec. 15 (Bloomberg) -- Federal investigators working through the weekend to unravel Bernard Madoff’s alleged $50 billion Ponzi scheme found evidence he ran an unregistered money-management business alongside his firm’s brokerage and investment-advisory subsidiaries, two people with knowledge of the inquiry said.

Ira “Ike” Sorkin, a lawyer at Dickstein Shapiro LLP in New York representing Madoff, didn’t reply to a phone call and e-mail seeking comment. Calls to residences listed in the Madoffs’ names in Manhattan, Montauk, New York, and Palm Beach, Florida, weren’t answered. John Heine, an SEC spokesman, declined to comment.

Sorkin said on Dec. 13 that the situation was “a tragedy.”

---
rdr: "A tragedy" ?? WTF? Since when is crime a tragedy? It's a CRIME!
---

More than a dozen SEC inspectors have been working around the clock examining records at Bernard at Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC in New York after his sons told authorities Dec. 10 he’d confessed to orchestrating a Ponzi scheme with more than $50 billion in losses, the biggest in history. People with knowledge of the probe who initially said they suspected the loss estimate was too high now say it may be roughly accurate.
--------

Makes the Detroit $14 Billion bailout look small, huh?

The Wall Street regulators should be investigated, and some should be jailed for the rest of their lives.

I think it was on Bill Moyers the other night it was said the US has more people behind bars than any other nation, including Communist China. Meanwhile, our corporate crooks continue to pillage. The Federal Reserve just gave away over $2 Trillion, and won't reveal to whom. That's not to mention the Paulson/Bu$h $350 Billion bank bailout that dropped into a black hole.

rdr


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jerry VanOoteghem on Monday, December 15, 2008 - 10:27 am:

Ray,

It's not the auto manufacturers that need our pity. It's the millions of Americans who's livelyhoods are in the balance. That's the focus here.

I'm glad to hear your small business is doing well. I certainly hope the future of your business does not depend on Americans having jobs and being able to spend money. Maby when your business heads south your lack of pity will become ironic.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Royce Peterson on Monday, December 15, 2008 - 11:14 am:

Ralph,

It is typical of many successful companies to provide time saving point to point transportation to their engineers and executives.

However, a private jet is a luxury that many unsuccessful companies cannot afford. Toyota is not asking for bailouts. Ford, GM and Chrysler are. If they cannot afford this business tool, they need to stop using it. Duh.

Nancy Pelosi has a 200 seat Boeing 757 airliner that is paid for by the US government to transport her to and from California every weekend. It is estimated to cost taxpayers 5.4 million dollars a year. Explain that.

Here's what CBS news says:
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2007/02/07/eveningnews/main2445668.shtml


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By David Stauffacher on Monday, December 15, 2008 - 11:38 am:

Hey Rob,
Sorry to hear that Ford is going to stop production of the Aussie Falcon. To me, that is an indication that Ford is really headed in the wrong direction. I could never understand why Ford could build quality cars for the Australian and European markets but crap in the U.S. I always thought those models would sell in this country. The same goes for GM.
I have no love lost for GM, especially the execs. Those guys worked hard to put GM In the tank. Back in the late 80’s I was associated with a L.A. ad agency that had the Chevrolet contract. The boys from Detroit refused to acknowledge that California – and the West Coast – is a different market than back east. They refused to change their paradigm. Besides, a “shot was fired across Detroit’s bow” back during the gas crisis of the early 70’s and they did not respond. Chapter 11 is the best thing that could happen to the Big 3 along with the removal of all top executives.
BTW, I am a happy owner of a 2003 F250 and would buy another. But a truck is the only vehicle I would buy from the Big 3.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Ricks - Surf City on Monday, December 15, 2008 - 12:14 pm:

Too many people are ignorant of the old saying that, "No wheel turns in the factory until the customer buys something." Most jobs in America depend on the consumer. Well, they all do, but for the Military.

Alcoa sells rivets to Boeing, who sells airliners to Air Bubba, who hauls the Rockwell salesman to Huntsville, who sells axles to Kia, who sells cars to dealers, who sell to workers at Alcoa.

Alcoa outsources rivet production to a nation with wages at 49 cents per hour, firing their US workers. The workers don't buy Kias from dealers who don't buy them from Kia, who don't buy axles from Rockwell, who doesn't fly by Air Bubba, who doesn't buy new airliners from Boeing, who doesn't buy rivets from Alcoa.

The start and finish of all industry is the consumer. Take away his income, and you kill the whole economy.

There are only two real sources of wealth: farming and manufacturing. Govt meddling has made farming a giveaway to the rich, and outsourcing manufacturing will continue to hurt us. They called the recovery from the 2002 recession a "jobless recovery." All the recovery was on the backs of Americans borrowing, not prosperity, and too many have reached their credit limit.

rdr


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Kenneth W DeLong on Monday, December 15, 2008 - 12:44 pm:

Rd,How many farmers are your neighbors,or how many do you personally know?? Have you spent much time working on your farm or for a farmer? I usually spend a couple of hundred hours mostly in the fall trucking for farmers so i would like your insight? Ray,Would you please post/e-mail where and what your business is so if we travle,send for a product,or service we do not offend you with any of our tainted money?? Bud.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Frank Harris on Monday, December 15, 2008 - 12:57 pm:

Here is the proposed a four passenger gull-wing Buick Sedan from their design center just as G M is going to throw Buick away. There is also a Pontiac pickup truck sort of like the El Camino and it is based on the new Camaro frame or platform. It has a 300 horsepower V6, but then they are going to trash Pontiac too.



Buick


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Ricks - Surf City on Monday, December 15, 2008 - 01:17 pm:

Sorry, Bud, the small farmers are an endangered species. . Rice subsidies, though, for example, are based on 1997 production, so rice fields in Texas that have been subdivided into mini-farms with McMansions are receiving rice subsidies without even attempting to grow rice.

Cotton is my favorite. Raising cotton in the San Joaquin Valley of Calif is subsidized by the feds, as well as receiving precious water at maybe an 80% discount. The subsidized cotton is then exported to low wage countries, unfairly competing with Egypt and other cotton producing countries. Robert Reich pointed this out back in 2005 when there was the brief campaign to provide aid to Africa. Reich said we can help them most by stopping crop subsidies.

Per Michael Pollan on "Bill Moyers Journal" the other week, there are only four food crops plus cotton that get subsidies. . Corn and soybeans are the biggies, and they are the dominant ingredients of fast food, so we are subsidizing fast food, and paying Medicare and Medicaid to fix the results of over-consumption of things like high fructose corn syrup.

I just found his book, "The Omnivore's Dilemma" and started reading it. In true Darwinian fashion, he says corn is taking over the world.

rdr


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Kenneth W DeLong on Monday, December 15, 2008 - 02:13 pm:

Rd,I proably jumped the gun because farming is not the same here as it is there.Irrigation here is starting to pay its own way and for high dollar crops like Peppers its essential.Most of our water expense though is usually for tile and dranage dicthes to get rid of it and here comming or going its at the farmers expense.Suger has much needed price controlls to save our groweres but with all the health risks WE as in US should be Very Carefull where OUR food comes from! Have any of US learned anything about the price/source of OIL?? One point few ever make about homes or the stock market is if you dont sell have you lost anything? On a bright?? note,W is getting better on his responce time as seen in the shoe throwing pictures! Too bad for US he did not respond quicker to so much that was important to the world as We knew it?? Isn't it quite sad that that a small handfull of village idiots can stand by and let so much go to hell in a handbaskett?? Cold and windy here but with my hot air and CORN we are warm! Bud.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By John Stokes on Monday, December 15, 2008 - 04:47 pm:

Rob - I thought the Aussie Falcon was going to continue, but with a US-built V6 engine?
Alex - Ford recently canceled the idea of building the Falcon in left-hand drive. The thinking beats me!
By the way, Falcon turns 50 next year!
Ray - you'll be pleased Mrs Elkins isn't a Commodore!
John


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By jonaq on Monday, December 15, 2008 - 10:00 pm:

I own a small construction company, and we bought a new chevy van. I had seen the rust problens on the previos model and asked if they had solved the problem, I was assured they did and that they would cover it if I had rust through. Two years later, the rockerpanels started to rust, I took it in for repair and guess what, they said it was not covered because it was "rusting the wrong way" I replaced the sections myself and got rid of the van. It also went through two tranys in 4 years with regular maintenance. Our next van is a ford. After six months the paint on the bumbers started comming off in sheets (look around at Ford van bumpers) I took it back to the dealer and he took the front bumber off and had it repainted. 8 months later it is rusting and the new paint is falling off, now the rear bumper is peeling in sheets! I go back and they tell me that they wont fix it because it is caused by road hazards!!! I point to three vans in the service area with identicl paint problems. all he can say is that we have a lot of pebbles on the road(30 miles for NYC!!!) The technition came up to me and said Ford was aware of the paint problem and it was so wide spread that they would no longer fix it, it was too expensive. Three weeks later, the truck dies and i get it towed into the dealer. When i explained what it was, the tech said he knew exactly what happened. The vans had wires running thru the frame and they chaffe and short out the fuel injection. He put it on the lift and sure enough, $350 later it was fixed! My wife put 300.000 miles on her civic during these vans, and it cost me two timming belts and a waterpump, I sold it with the original clutch! I don't buy forign because I have bad peception,I buy because of personal experance. The arogance these dealers had as well as the lack of support form the Auto compaies make me buy forign.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Ray Elkins on Monday, December 15, 2008 - 11:43 pm:

Kenneth and Jerry, I stated my opinion and you won't change it with your personal insults, which you'll note my statements lacked. You are correct that the displaced employees deserve some sympathy, and I never said anything to contradict that. There is a wonderful thing in this country called freedom of speech and expression, and I'll express my opinion without worrying whether either of you like it or not. In fact, since you don't like it, I'll express it a little more just for spite :-)

Our business is fine, and the automakers' self-inflicted demise will have no effect on it. It is just sad that successful businesses and taxpaying citizens are penalized and must pay for the money-gobbling management of the companies you so strongly defend. It's not our fault, not in our control, and not our responsibility to pay off their debt while their personal bank accounts and massive estates built from pillaged funds remain untouched.

The fall of any empire is imminent, be it Roman or General Motors, that reaches a size that cannot be managed (resulting from their bloodthist to control everyone and everything related) and where corruption runs rampant. The big three have spent the past century buying up, taking over, or otherwise running out of business by whatever cut-throat means the smaller carmakers and suppliers who dared compete. Self-restraint is the first rule of self-government (or running a business) and the management of most American corporations tend to write that one off as unimportant. The carmakers have been hemmorhaging money for decades due to self-inflicted wounds and finally going to bleed out...unfortunately the employees and the rest of the country are now going to have to deal with the stinking corpse.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Rob Heyen on Monday, December 15, 2008 - 11:53 pm:

I took this photo to of our 24 tudor, and our Toyota Prius happened to be in the background. Quite a contrast (or maybe not).

BTW, I am a farmer, we grow 1200 acres of corn and soybeans.

Rob


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Ricks - Surf City on Tuesday, December 16, 2008 - 12:10 am:

Just saw on Bloomberg that Toyota is delaying construction of a Prius factory in Miss.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Ray Elkins on Tuesday, December 16, 2008 - 12:16 am:

Rob, farmers have a way of bouncing back. Pretty much the same as small businesses, your salary is dependent on your ability to mangage. I have always thought, and will continue to believe, that the small businesses (including farms) are the backbone of it all.

Speaking of farming, if this fella in Tennessee has his way even the hills, hollers, and gullies will be profitable farmland...turning kudzu into bio-fuel. He said on the news tonight that TN and GA will be the Saudi Arabia of the South. Once again, the farmers will come to the rescue (and the South will rise again)??
http://kudzunol.com


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Rob Heyen on Tuesday, December 16, 2008 - 12:38 am:

Ray,

We are seeing the ethonal "wave" turn the other way. All it took were high grain prices (in conjuction with high energy prices) combined with massive ethanol plant expansion. Now, ethanol plants are closing, grain (and energy) markets are dropping, and as a result, all bio-fuel markets are in the tank. Probably something like silicon valley and the .com markets, boom and bust. I do hope we reduce our dependence on foriegn (and reduce carbon footprint at the same time), but that should all be for other posts.

Hope you, and all on this forum have a good Christmas.

Rob


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Rob Heyen on Tuesday, December 16, 2008 - 12:42 am:

I meant to add to the above post:


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Tom Lovejoy on Tuesday, December 16, 2008 - 02:27 am:

What a great photo Rob! Merry Christmas


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jerry VanOoteghem on Tuesday, December 16, 2008 - 10:24 am:

Ray,

My posting wasn't meant to be insulting, only sarcastic. Just like yours.

You state, "There is a wonderful thing in this country called freedom of speech and expression, and I'll express my opinion without worrying whether either of you like it or not."

My answer to that is; Me too. Your freedom of expression doesn't trump mine. I didn't ask you to shut-up or go away or to change your mind and I wouldn't. What I will do is defend an industry that working people, (which is most of America), needs to survive.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Kenneth W DeLong on Tuesday, December 16, 2008 - 11:44 am:

RD,I really liked your idea about employing people to inspect ALL containers shipped in from overseas!!!!!! As a matter of fact some of OUR COUNTRY really has a seldom thought of problem with imports! Here in Mi we are losing ALL of OUR ASH trees because of infected wood being shipped in from overseas! The EMARLD ASH BOER is KILLING ALL the ASH trees! Nope,The last thing in the world i am is a tree hugger but considering what is at stake should those in power turn a blind eye to everything?? Everything goes in cycles and i have seen high crop prices teamed with low oil prices KILL the Ethonal Investment and market before!! Gee,Guess what,Do any of US think oil prices will rise again?? I think the most important job OUR goverment has is to keep ALL of US safe and FREE!!! If People other than US controll ALL the MONEY are WE still FREE??? THE SOUTH SHALL RISE AGAIN and THE STINKING CORPSE?? NO i do not think either Jerry or i have INSULTED YOU,as a matter of FACT i think YOU have INSULTED ANY who read what YOU have posted?? If the South actually does rise again,i hope they do it in a better way than THEY tryed the first time.I would also hope they think a handfull of BOUGHT and PAYED for politicans are SEEN for what they are!! AS pointed out,they think they can get a great deal by getting rid of the compititon and the Unions at the same time!! IF they do,Do you think those those companys will still pay the high wages out of the goodness of their hearts??? BUD.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Warren F Rollins on Tuesday, December 16, 2008 - 11:46 am:

After the southern senators decided put a roadblock in the way of the Big Three government loans comes word this morning out of Mississippi:
"Construstion of the plant(Toyoto) is 90% complete" But the remainder of the completion of the plant(the expensive and time consuming )is on indifinate delay.
"Mississippi Govenor says the state has 200 million invested in the plant, while local governments have 35 million invested"
Sounds like a American taxpayer "bale in" may have failed.
Do they at Toyoto find it easy to spend American dollars but are a little more cautious
to invest their own?


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Gary Tillstrom on Tuesday, December 16, 2008 - 01:04 pm:

30 Years ago Detroit was in trouble and Michigans economy was in the toilet. Manufacturing jobs were leaving Michigan at a huge pace. I joined the service and moved away, my parents sold the farm and moved to Colorado. They had a bumper sticker on their truck that said, "will the last person to leave Michgan turn out he lights". Nothing has changed. In the early 80's Clark Equipment asked for tax concessions from the state, the govenor told them to pack sand and then bought millions of dollars of heavy construction equipment from Japan. Clark relocated to North Carolina (which offered them tax breaks) and thousands of workers suffered for the action.

Keep electing those who keep doing business the same way and stop being so surprized that the outcome doesn't change. Michigan has a tax structure that is not business friendly but its more fun to cast the blame on the current president for the ills of failed state government. Give me a break.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Kenneth W DeLong on Tuesday, December 16, 2008 - 02:24 pm:

Gary,First to thank you for the GREAT article in The Model T Times!! If there are those who do not get the Times it would be a good investment to get at least No-358!! Funny i rember some griping about the back cover but i dont rember seeing you thanked for the Great story compleat with prints,plans,and description of everything needed to build a Hand Crank Coil Tester!!Secondly,You are spot on about Michigan,Clark,and others!! While at Olds i worked with a couple of Machine Repairmen who had been with Clark.I think alot of industry shops arround for the best deal before building a plant but when lives and businesses are made or destroyed how much [pimping] by a state,company,or polititions should be allowed?? I have been through it when the Chevy plant,[The old Ranior plant] closed and i wound up at Olds.On a bright note the UPS man droped a package at the front door and when i went to get it i found my 4 new made in USA Firestones 4.50X21 Bought from Eric at Universal at the back door! I shure wish last summer my All Whites could have been made in the USA! I have to go get some gasket paper so i can hammer a few water inlet's out instead of sending for them.Sorry about the haphazard spelling.Bud.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jerry VanOoteghem on Tuesday, December 16, 2008 - 02:45 pm:

Gary,

I wish I could add something more positive about Michigan's business climate but you've pretty much got it nailed. Any more, I'm just happy to hear something is still made in the USA, (like cars), I've about given up hoping that anything's made in Michigan however.

That said, I still manage to work in Michigan, for a manufacturing company. And, even with the huge reduction in our manufacturing sector, there is much still made in Michigan. Despite Lansing's efforts to move us to a "service economy".


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Royce Peterson on Tuesday, December 16, 2008 - 03:45 pm:

Warrin Rolens,

Toyota has promised to build the plant and provide jobs in Mississippi. The state has not given any money to Toyota to spend. The state has however built roads and other infrastructure as needed to support the plant when it opens. If the plant were cancelled then Toyota would make good on any thing it did not provide as part of the agreement. Toyota is a very good company and will treat everyone right, including the state and local governments.

Ford or GM or any other company that promised to build a plant in Tupelo would have received the same thing. However, Ford decided to build their new plant in Mexico while shuttering the Ford plant in Cleveland. GM refurbished their Canadian plant and closed down plants in the Detroit area.

You won't see new manufacturing happening in Michigan because Michigan is not a right to work state. Just as the mob controls Illinois politics, the union controls Michigan. How long until Michigan figures out that letting the unions run the state economy is not working?


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Warren F Rollins on Tuesday, December 16, 2008 - 04:34 pm:

The Governor said that" the state has invested $200 million in the PLANT while local governments have invested about $35 million."
How many Ford or GM plants have been subsidized by the Japanese? Maybe they don't want Cadillacs , Corvettes, Mustangs" .
Why is Toyota such a great company? I don't know the answer and therefore have a problem getting your point.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Kenneth W DeLong on Tuesday, December 16, 2008 - 05:20 pm:

Rob,and others,I allways say thank you for feeding US so cheap!With the still high and out of line Diesel prices i hope you still mannage to feed US. Royce,At 235,000 000 i wonder how much per mile of road?? I also wonder if that price inclueded the senators?? Is it Royce or rush?? Whoever,Seeing how we are talking about working people would it be better to bring EVERYONE up to a GOOD WAGE or as in so many right to work southern states DRAG everyone DOWN to about 8.00 per hour?? People at 8.00 per dont pay many taxes or even buy anything but food! Bud.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Royce Peterson on Tuesday, December 16, 2008 - 05:25 pm:

Warren,

I work for Toyota. When I started at Toyota, the company had the #3 car in the USA, the Camry, which was behind the Taurus and the Honda Accord in sales. Since then the Camry became #1, and it was not because the company was bad.

You are right, none of the cars made by USA based companies are popular enough to be sold in Japan.

In Europe and China, Ford and GM have received big tax subsidies to build new factories, as have virtually every car maker in the world.

I could be laid off at any time so I don't think there is any difference between me and the guys at Ford or GM aviation departments. Companies do what is good for business. So do states. Except Michigan it seems.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Royce Peterson on Tuesday, December 16, 2008 - 05:29 pm:

Bud,

Nobody at Toyota makes $8 and hour.

Toyota pays the same wages as assembly line workers at Ford or GM get in the most recent deal. There are Toyota trainee positions that start around $15 an hour, by ten years an assembler might make $35 - $40 an hour if he is a team leader. Many Toyota employees have been working in the USA for 40 years or more.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By brian c lawrence on Tuesday, December 16, 2008 - 06:06 pm:

jonaq


Dont talk rust to me, where I live in Wisconsin, there ain't a toyota truck around that has a frame left. Mine is so rotted it probably isn't safe to be on the road. It'll break on half one day soon, too bad, cause it runs pretty good.


Brian


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By George on Tuesday, December 16, 2008 - 06:07 pm:

Ahhh time for some levity........

True Story!

Dr. M. has a new BMW 3 series. Comes out one morning thinks he has a flat...

Calls the local BMW and tells them to come fix. They say 'sorry, need to call BMW America first, then they send us a work order'

Dr. M. calls back a little while later and says, 'Ah, they told me to bring it in, you have time to fix it?" The service coordinator says, 'Why did they tell you that?' Dr. M. then says, 'Their records say I have run flats, and with a run-flat I can drive it in!'.

Service coordinator looks at his records, shows standard tires when new. "you sure? Maybe you should call them back and ask again'. DR. M. calls back a little later, "Yeah, they verified run flats, told me they can go up to 50 mph, so I'll bring it in, can you fix it for me right away?"

SURE

A little while later this 3 series pulls up to the service bay doors, the rim now turned into a drum that has ground away the bumper fascia and sprayed ground rubber shot into all of the car finish.

BMW was nice enough to replace the car with a new one :-)


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Kenneth W DeLong on Tuesday, December 16, 2008 - 06:15 pm:

Royce,If there is no big 3,or no comption will they still pay that?? Yup,The differance i guess is the cost of the old,sick,retirees but everyone there will remain forever young.Well seeing how no one will tell me if the senators were included with the roads can any tell me why prisoners in WW2 were 9 times more likely to DIE in Japaneese hands that German?? Bud. PS,When its your turn will they be there for you?? Bud.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By bob sell on Tuesday, December 16, 2008 - 07:48 pm:

jonaq
how do you feel about mexicans waiting at lowes for work and doing construction jobs Americans should do? just curious since you are a foreign car buyer.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Charles Martin on Tuesday, December 16, 2008 - 07:49 pm:

Brian
Check with your local Toyota dealer about your truck with the frame rust. Toyota has a buy back program for many of the trucks with frame rust issues.
Royce is correct about Toyota... They use many of the same vendors and US suppliers that the big 3 use, and hire thousands of Americans. A very small $ amount per vehicle is actually profit that goes back to Japan.
Why would you want to drag down a well run company to level the playing field with poor run companies?
The main problem we are facing is the fact that many Americans have been living way above there means, and now that the rubber has hit the road, they are forced to reduce there standard of living. Until this happens, we are all going to pay for their unrealistic life style. This has been building for 20+ years, and the high fuel prices finally caused the people that were living paycheck to paycheck to no longer to make the payments. Now anyone with any cash is not spending it because you don't now if this has hit bottom yet. Once The media starts pushing the news that we are at the bottom, and on the way back up, people will start buying again, and recovery will begin. Until this happens GM and Chrysler are screwed, bail out or not......


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By bob sell on Tuesday, December 16, 2008 - 11:05 pm:

why is it Americans are the first ones to be happy when fellow Americans loose thier livelyhood ? why do we hope others do not get more than we do, why dont we just be happy when the neighbor pulls up in a new American car or a fresh bought model t instead of saying where did they get the money for that! why cant i have one!

to #$%% with japan and china i would much rather see
huge tarrifs on china and japan goods which level the field instead of luxury tax on cadillacs and suburbans. what is that about? America puts Americans last! i got a call today recorded no less , telling me grant money was available for women, businesses, and minorities in my area.
now i know most of you will flip out about it but
here again these people are in America legaly and so what if they can get some help? more power to them i want everyone to get breaks.
everytime i see photos of someone here getting a new toy i am happy for them and hope they get more!
we need to take stock in Americans as well as America.
if you want tangeable goods , they need to be american or else pay thru the nose for them. make them like delicasies you want toyota then pay for for the oppertunity to own one many of you act like they are rolls royces. i know bettter, you are just trying to justify your own cheapness and titewad lifestyles. i am for hitting the imports hard lets make us stell cars where did all the chrome bumpers go?
china thats where cars have no class anymore just utilitarian , no class disposable including the imports. instead of paying companies to go out of the country we should have payed them to stay. would not need buyouts if all utilitarian goods were made here again .

want dishes they better be American made, want steel, better be American,if not tax the #$%% out of them. bet it would work and fill a lot of these empty factories.clothing ? better be American made. i bet we never see it though cause it might work!


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Warren Mortensen on Wednesday, December 17, 2008 - 08:58 am:

Hmmm.... My folks never bought anything unless they had the cash to pay for it in full. Some of the comments I've read here seem to imply that this is a bad practice.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Royce Peterson on Wednesday, December 17, 2008 - 10:49 am:

Bud,

Again, I am not saying the big three need to fail, nor am I saying that the US government should not loan them money. I am simply pointing out inaccuracies when people try to denigrate the wonderful company that I work for.

If Toyota were to lay me off - probably better han a 50% chance of that right now - I would know that I had been blessed to have had the experience and will remember it fondly. Every day I am reminded just how honest, fair and honorable this great family owned company is and how well it is managed. Toyota is recognized around the world for its fair dealing with its employees, customers, and suppliers. This policy fairness, openness and honesty is what made Toyota the most profitable and best car company in the world. You don't have to take my word for it - read what the media says about why Toyota is better than GM or Ford:
http://economistsview.typepad.com/economistsview/2006/02/why_toyota_is_b.html

There is no lifetime welfare check requirement when you work for any company outside the UAW.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Stan Howe on Wednesday, December 17, 2008 - 11:25 am:

I don't know much of anything about Ford and Toyota and don't want to get involved in all the P & M but a friend of mine was just called back into the Air Force Active Reserve after being inactive for several years where his wife's good cooking neccesitated new uniforms. They are MADE IN CHINA.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Royce Peterson on Wednesday, December 17, 2008 - 11:43 am:

Stan,

I totally agree with you there. When the US government or any city or state goverment buys anything it should come from the USA unless there is no such product made in the USA. I was astounded when the Air Force awarded a big contract to purchase a billion dollars worth of Airbus planes from Europe instead of Boeing. Congress, led by Richard Shelby of Alabama, eventually made them go back and fix that idiocy.

http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/03/01/business/eads.php


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Ricks - Surf City on Wednesday, December 17, 2008 - 01:12 pm:

McCain was one of those pushing purchase of Airbus, and even had two Airbus lobbyists on his campaign staff. Shelby was pushing for Airbus, too, per the article your referenced, Royce:

"Ronald Sugar, the chief executive of Northrop Grumman, said in a telephone interview that he expected members of Congress would have a "variety of views" depending on whether their districts would be gaining or losing jobs under the deal..."

"Backing Sugar's view was Senator Richard Shelby, Republican of Alabama, who hailed the decision (to buy Airbus) as "great news for Alabama..."

Lou Dobbs was screaming about this treason, and I wrote a letter to him on 12 March, 2008, from which he quoted me by name. I recommended buying used airliners to convert to tankers, which would save $Billions. You can find the transcript at www.LouDobbs.com .

Boeing had offered to convert used airliners to the USAF before, but the Military only wants new and shiny.

Here's a used DC-10 that was converted with private money, and has a USN contract for aerial refueling.




Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Royce Peterson on Wednesday, December 17, 2008 - 01:32 pm:

Oops you are correct this time Ralph! Shelby was on the wrong side of the issue.

However, the old DC10 / MD11 series aircraft like the one in your picture are notable for their poor dispatch reliability, which is the reason the Air Force wants to replace theirs.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Ricks - Surf City on Wednesday, December 17, 2008 - 01:46 pm:

Wrong again, Royce. There is no plan to replace the 60 KC-10A tankers. They want to replace the 50 year old KC-135s, which have been re-engined, some twice.

From its beginning, the KC-10A Extender has been the most reliable airplane in the USAF inventory. I am sure that's because it was based on a commercial plane, and not built to Government Spec.

Wander over to MEM some night and watch the hundred or so MD-11F come in, along with about 60 MD-10, (which are multi-$Million upgrades of DC-10s.) Fedex knows their stuff, huh, Gary?

Because Fedex has sucked up almost all available DC-10s for upgrade to MD-10, there aren't that many for USAF/Boeing to buy, and why there is a case for the 767 Tanker, like these Italians:



Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Kenneth W DeLong on Wednesday, December 17, 2008 - 01:57 pm:

I see turkys in the cornfield and my first thought is my .300 will reach them! Second thought is like some who have posted they are only trying to make a liveing.I hear on the news some in Fla want Jeb bush to run for sennator?? When asked about the ecomoney a bush usually brings,Bubba says in a [Ray Stevens]voice,[[Yup,We know he is a tard,but he is our tard!!]Opps,Got to go cause the tard in charge is about to try and speak?? PS,I actually did some work on the T and at this rate i should have it running by Augest!!! Bud.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Gary Tillstrom on Wednesday, December 17, 2008 - 02:14 pm:

RD and Royce, The Air Force contract talks were stacked to begin with. The end issue to the US taxpayer is cost to move a ton period. The 777 is the clear winner there but it was never in the running. The A330 against the 767 wasn't a fair comparison in the first place if your looking at capacity. The playing feild is leveled out against the 777 and Boeing wins. BTW, our 10's and 11's have excellent dispatch reliablilty. The best part is the drawings aren't in french!

I really never agreed with the argument that these new Buses would be built mostly by Americans. They will be built mostly by the lowest bidder. That should be a comforting thought as you sit in row 21F next time.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Ray Elkins on Thursday, December 18, 2008 - 01:00 am:

Jerry, I wasn't trying to offend you personally and I wasn't offended by anything you said either. We're all just blowin off a little steam and speaking our minds and there's nothing wrong with that. This affects us all in one way or other, either directly or indirectly. I'm still trying to figure out though if Bud's eyes are buggin out when he types (may need a sedative?) :-)

Royce...In addition to the business my wife and I own I work for Pella Corp., and if it weren't for Toyota this company would have tanked several years ago. Nothing to do with the car business, but when Pella went into the red and started looking for a lifeline, they sent their head honchos to Toyota to learn how to run a company. Yeah, an American family-owned company went to the Japanese to learn what it takes to be profitable and stay that way. They didn't go to Detroit to learn how to properly run a company. They adopted the business plan that Toyota presented to them and in no time were back in the the black and going strong. Even in this "bad economy" sales are up 20%. I don't care for some of the methods, but it works and I've got good insurance and pay so I won't complain about the Japanese too much. They're smart...you gotta give'em that. They know how to run a company and keep it making money, and it amazes me that they would share their methods with another company, even if it is a window company.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By John Stokes on Thursday, December 18, 2008 - 01:44 am:

I'm going to chime in again!
Brand loyalty has, unfortunately, largely disappeared. The Japanese make good cars and, while they do, people will buy them.
Back in the sixties, anything Japanese was considered tinny and cheap but, by the early seventies, that rapidly changed. The "big three" and other carmakers ignored the rapid development of the Japanese industry. At their peril.
But Ford was the quickest to recognise this when they partnered with Mazda. The Mazda 323 was sold here and, with the new partnership, the Ford-badged equivalent was released as the Ford Laser.
In my research for the main book I have been writing, I interviewed a senior member of the auto industry here in NZ, who was working at the Ford assembly plant at Seaview at the time...
Was there any resistance to Japanese at the plant? I asked.
He states that there was, but the workers were quick to realise that they were suddenly assembling cars that came together as they were supposed to - the doors shut, the windows fitted, the boots (trunks) didn't leak and, on the road, they were peppy and very well appointed. In the show rooms, they represented value.
Then, as I understand it, the boss' daughter ran one into a lamp post, with all her friends on board. Given the severity of the crash, it should have been a fatal but all occupants escaped with scratches, because the car crumpled in a pre-determined fashion.
These were all new standards for the auto industry here in NZ! For years we had been assembling English and American cars and, more latterly, Australian ones. Now the workers at Ford in Seaview felt a very real sense of pride with their Japanese product, like never before.
The reason Japanese cars are so now prolific is that the established carmakers let them into the marketplace. The Japanese do make good cars!
Best wishes,
John Stokes


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Thunder on Thursday, December 18, 2008 - 01:57 am:

I got part way through this, and my brain started to hurt...... As a former salesman, in the auto industry, please let me give you my take on the US auto industry..... The finance companies, thats pronounced, finance companies, and the consumers, yes, consumers, are responsible for the current crisis. ALL of the American car manufacturers, produce, fuel efficient cars. But we, as Americans, haven't been buying them. We've been buying the big expensive Hummers, 4 wheel drives, and huge pickups. On top of that, the finance companies, have allowed the consumers, to add the negative equity of their previous vehicles, into their new purchase. So now, they would owe, $40,000.00 on a $30,000.00 vehicle.

The finance companies should NOT have allowed that, let alone, the consumer, letting themself get into that trouble.

Like I said previously, EVERY manufacturer, produced a fuel efficient car. But Hardly anybody bought them. When fuel prices skyrocketed, everybody blamed the manufacturers. Sales have dropped.... But the manufacturers, are geared for production of gas guzzlers.... Thats what America bought. GM, with their NUMEROUS attempts, to produce something "cool" now has to cover their development costs....

Remember when a car, such as the Ford Torino, or Chevy Malibu, was made as a two door, four door, station wagon, and even a pickup? Talk about commonality. Hardly a concept now.....

But lets get back to the finance companies. The would also re-finance a house, for 150% of value. I'll pause here, to let everybody ponder this.......


It used to be, that they would only finance, a PORTION of the value. So now, with negative equity on cars carried into the new loan, and homes re-financed, for MORE than their value, who DIDN"T see THIS coming??????

Dont get me wrong. As the President of a Corporation, (yes, I really am) I do NOT think that the bailouts are a good thing. However, as an employer, and a citizen, of this great nation of ours, I think that NOT bailing out some companies, would be severely detrimental, to the economy, and this nation as a whole...

I wish, that I had the answer to all of this.....


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Rob Patterson (Aust) on Thursday, December 18, 2008 - 02:38 am:

Thunder,
Your statement that, although all the manufacturers produced fuel efficient cars but nobody bought them, doesnt make sense to me. The auto companies that arent in so much trouble are the ones who have benefited from successful marketing of fuel efficient cars ie: Honda and Toyota and they must have been selling a fair few of thier product to the American public for them to be surviving while the US 3 are failing.

Despite their sucess alsewhere, I find it interesting that Japanese cars dont seem to rate in Europe and the UK. One of the BEST cars over there is a Ford. Focus has a great following and is considered one of the best Fords ever. Likewise GM in the guise of Vauxhall and Opel have a fine product as well, in the Astra.

The American public have been supplied for so long with untaxed and low taxed fuel, that they feel ( until now) that thier individual budgets will support a big car. The rest of the world has been suffering heavy fuel taxes for decades and are used to fuel efficient and smaller vehicles. Its time for the American public to bite the bullet and pull in thier motoring belts a couple of notches and accept that some of the better cars in this world ARE made by the big 3 but ARE NOT the barges that they are used to driving.
Rob.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Ricks - Surf City on Thursday, December 18, 2008 - 03:03 am:

The Focus may be highly rated elsewhere, but I heard rumblings about quality problems here, at least early on. . I don't know. . We also seem to drive longer distances than the rest of the world.

The only time I ever rode in a Focus was a night two years ago in Mexico. We collided with a horse at the left front corner, and it broke the windshield in front of me, caved the roof over me, and landed behind the car. The airbags deployed, and the driver's fragile neck was jarred. The horse never moved again, and the car was totaled.

rdr


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Thunder on Thursday, December 18, 2008 - 09:58 am:

Rob, what I'm saying is, that Ford, GM, and Chrysler, all produce fuel efficient cars. But so many Americans are blaming them, for making gas guzzlers. They are. But thats what was selling. Although as a salesperson, I did sell a Focus or two, most, probably 90% of my sales, were The big Super Duty pickups.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Peter K on Thursday, December 18, 2008 - 11:02 am:

Along with my '26 Ford TT, '41 Ford COE, '51 Ford PU, '71 Ford F250, I now have an '88 Honda accord. It now has 115K on the speedo and high gear (auto) has gone away. The radio stopped working and it clicks and clunks when I go around a turn. I drive it about 6 miles a day, to and from work. The Honda now gets about the same gas milage as my F250 (with a full sideboard load of firewood). Needless to say this is my first foreign car and my last. In the 20+ years that I have owned my F250, I have replaced the timing gear and "fixed" the pot metal column shifter part that is a weak link. All and all, I'll stick with Fords, because I really don't have time to drive anything else.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Ricks - Surf City on Thursday, December 18, 2008 - 12:08 pm:

Large numbers of cars are sold based on what's being promoted. The big gas guzzlers were being promoted as gas was cheap, and they were far more profitable than small cars.

Except for maybe the Corvette, Detroit has always made small cars cheaply, to maximize their profit on each unit. They forgot Henry's lesson about buying a Ford, "not because it was cheaper, but because it was better."

rdr


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Kenneth W DeLong on Thursday, December 18, 2008 - 10:19 pm:

Lessons Learned- 1dollar298. Never Forgeting?? Priceless!!!!!! Bud. PS,For 8.00 you can have your own senator.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Eric Watson on Saturday, December 27, 2008 - 07:52 pm:

This should be the last bailout. If you can't run your company profitable then file for bankruptcy. If they go under then so be it. I use to be pro American when it comes to cars, but that is silly. Most are not even assembled here. How ironic that GM celebrates 100 years and then is on the verge of dying.

Chrysler should go under. What's the resale value of a Dodge? Peanuts. Hondas and Toyotas hold their value. Ford builds a good product of the Big Three. Good GM products are to hard to find if one even exists anymore except for the Cadillac CTS and the Corvette. The literally fall apart after the warranty. Terrible fit and finish.

Japan builds good small cars. The US can only build good trucks.

US Cars are following the same path as TVs. Where's Zenith today? I just bought a recent HDTV and it is a SAMSUNG which is from Korea. Build a good product and people will buy it. Supposedly the Malibu is good but the previous Models prior to 2008 are far from priceless.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Ricks - Surf City on Saturday, December 27, 2008 - 08:21 pm:

Zenith is gone because Japan targeted manufacturing of TVs as a national priority, and dumped them in the US below cost until they had killed all the US tv makers. Same has happened with most other industries, not only from Japan.

From an economics Forum:
--------
Toyota is set to lose money this year, it has been their worst year in the history of the company. Scrapped plans to build the Prius in the US and have closed the Tupelo plant where it was to be built ($235 Million invested by Miss.), and more plant closures are rumored.

Honda has said US sales have dropped 60%. they have idled plants and laid off workers and have already closed one plant in Ohio, delayed starting production at the new Indiana plant and delayed construction of a new plant in Japan where the Ohio production was to be sent.

The woes of the Auto industry are not unique to detroit. They are a symptom of wall Streets meltdown.

The difference is that Japan has an industrial policy, and a long history of subisdizing vital industries and protects their domestic market.

Suppose how much better off US makers would be if they got subsidies and our market was protected as well. This is why the japanaese auto makers are in a little better shape, but not much - it's catching up to them as well.
--------

rdr


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By cbfanucci on Saturday, December 27, 2008 - 08:31 pm:

Well Toyota just lost 1.2 billion so I guess we could say they aren't building the kind of cars people want either!!


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Royce Peterson on Sunday, December 28, 2008 - 12:55 am:

True. Toyota projects losing 1.2 billion in the past 12 months while selling fewer cars world wide than General Motors.

General Motors lost about 7 billion dollars in the third quarter of 2008. They are the top selling car company in the world but can't make a profit doing so.

Both companies have seen about 35% loss in sales in the fourth quarter. GM claimed to lose about $1500 on each car it manufactured. Toyota claims to make a profit of about the same amount on each car.

General Motors employs about 90,000 people yet pays health benefits to about one million people. They are essentially a retirement home that owns a money losing automotive subsidiary.

That is the problem.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By brian c lawrence on Sunday, December 28, 2008 - 02:06 am:

What about their truck frames? Mine is junk and down right dangerous. No wonder they lost money.

Brian


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Kenneth W DeLong on Sunday, December 28, 2008 - 02:43 am:

What would you have them do with us Royce?? After building the companys what would you do with the workers who built them?? In some of our old age should GM Ford CHR honor their contracts or should the workers depend on the govt?? Should the govt invest our SSI in the stock market as some would have done?? Time to stop pimping for the others and please tell us YOUR PLAIN?? BUD.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Royce Peterson on Sunday, December 28, 2008 - 10:10 am:

Bud,

I don't have a plan for saving GM. They don't either. They are going out of business as fast as possible under Rick Waggoner's (lack of) leadership.

GM has to spend less than they earn to survive, just like you and I do.

More useful commentary:

Can You Still See the USA in Your Chevrolet?
Route 66 is looking ever more like a one-way dead-end street to Bailoutistan.

By Mark Steyn

‘See the USA in your Chevrolet!” trilled Dinah Shore week after week on TV.

Can you still see the USA in your Chevrolet? Through a windscreen darkly.

General Motors now has a market valuation about a third of Bed, Bath And Beyond, and no one says your Swash 700 Elongated Biscuit Toilet Seat Bidet is too big to fail. GM has a market capitalization of just over two billion dollars. For purposes of comparison, Toyota’s market cap is one hundred billion and change (the change being bigger than the whole of GM). General Motors, like the other two geezers of the Old Three, is a vast retirement home with a small loss-making auto subsidiary. The UAW is the AARP in an Edsel: It has three times as many retirees and widows as “workers” (I use the term loosely). GM has 96,000 employees but provides health benefits to a million people.

How do you make that math add up? Not by selling cars: Honda and Nissan make a pre-tax operating profit per vehicle of around 1600 bucks; Ford, Chrysler and GM make a loss of between $500 and $1,500. That’s to say, they lose money on every vehicle they sell. Like Henry Ford said, you can get it in any color as long as it’s red.

In the 20th century, most advanced nations made automobiles but only America made them mythic: “Drive the USA in your Chevrolet!” sang Dinah. “America’s the greatest land of all!” America had road movies. With car chases. Thelma and Louise drove their vehicle off the cliff and, unlike the Old Three, they didn’t demand American taxpayers come along for the ride. But, if you didn’t want to hit the open road, you could just hang around being cool. In Chuck Berry’s immortal quatrain:

Riding along in my automobile

My baby beside me at the wheel

Cruising and playing the radio

With No Particular Place To Go…

Not if you were a European teen. Cruising was an American activity. A Saturday night out for a Brit meant hanging around at a rain-streaked bus shelter hoping the night service would show up. Even if you had a particular place to go, you had no means of getting there.

So many areas of endeavor that once embodied the youth and energy of this great land are now old and sclerotic. I include, naturally, my own industry. I loved the American newsrooms you saw in movies like The Front Page, full of hardboiled, hard-livin’ newspapermen. By the time I got there myself, there were no hardboiled newspapermen, just bland anemic newspaperpersons turning out politically correct snooze sheets of torpid portentousness. The owners of The Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune recently filed for bankruptcy protection. The New York Times is mortgaging its office to fund debt repayment. The Detroit Free Press is cutting out home delivery except on Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays, thereby further depressing sales of delivery trucks in the Motor City.

The newspapers blame the Internet, just as Detroit blames Japan. But the Japanese have problems of their own. One day they’ll get theirs. That’s the beauty of capitalism. Nothing is forever. The big railroad barons smoking cigars and enjoying pheasant under glass in the dining car on the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe thought Henry Ford was a schmuck. Who’d want to ride around in that thing? Next thing you know everyone’s getting their kicks on Route 66:

You’ll see Amarillo

Gallup, New Mexico

Flagstaff, Arizona

Don’t forget Winona

Kingman, Barstow, San Bernadino…

Ah, California. The Golden State! To a penniless immigrant called Arnold Schwarzenegger, it was a land of plenty. Now Arnold is an immigrant of plenty in a penniless land. What’s the motto on the license plates? “Ah’ll be back …for more of your money!” In California you don’t have to be an orange to have your pips squeezed. The Terminator makes Gray Davis look like Calvin Coolidge. Care to terminate a government program, Governor? Hey, great idea! We’ll hire 200 people to do an impact study on terminating the Department of Impact Study Regulation and get back to you in a decade. And when Governor Girlyman has run out of state taxpayers to fleece for his ever more bloated bureaucracy, he’ll go to Washington to plead for a federal bailout of Cantaffordya.

California! The state that symbolizes the American Dream! If you can make it there, you’ll make it anywhere! No, wait, that’s New York. “This is the worst fiscal downturn since the Great Depression,” announced Governor Paterson. So what’s he doing? Why, he’s bringing in the biggest tax hike in New York history. If you can make it there, you’ll be paying state tax on it, sales tax, municipal tax, a doubled beer tax, a tax on clothing, a tax on cab rides, an “iTunes tax” on downloads from the Internet, a tax on haircuts, 137 new tax hikes in all. Call Albany today and order your new package of tax forms, for just $199.99, plus 12% tax on tax forms and 4% tax-form application fee partially refundable upon payment of the 7.5% tax-filing tax. If you can make it there, you’ll certainly have no difficulty making it in Tajikistan.

Hey, and who needs to make it there when you can just get appointed there? Governor Paterson is said to be considering appointing Princess Caroline of Kennedy to Hillary Clinton’s vacant Senate seat. After two and a third centuries of republican experiment, America has finally worked its way back to the House of Lords. “Friends Say Kennedy Has Long Wanted Public Role”, Anne Kornblut assured readers in an in-depth Washington Post tongue-bath. She hasn’t “long wanted” it to the extent of, you know, running for dog catcher in Lackawanna and getting — what’s the word? — “elected”, but, if you have a spare Senate seat, she’s graciously indicated that she’d be prepared to consider accepting it. As lady-in-waiting Anne Kornblut pointed out, she is highly qualified, being “the author of several books”. It’s true! She’s an experienced poetry editor. She edited The Best-Loved Poems Of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. Jackie Kennedy wrote poems? Of course! She wrote so many poems that some are better loved than others.

See the USA from your Chevrolet: An hereditary legislature, a media fawning its way into bankruptcy, its iconic coastal states driving out innovators and entrepreneurs, the arrival of the new Messiah heralded only by the leaden dirge of “We Three Kings Of Ol’ Detroit Are/Seeking checks we traverse afar”, and Route 66 looking ever more like a one-way dead-end street to Bailoutistan. Boy, I sure could use a poem by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis right now, even one of the lesser-loved ones.

“I feel like I lost my country,” said the Hudson Institute’s Herbert London the other day, wondering whatever happened to the land of opportunity and dynamism. But I’m more of an optimist. Maybe Princess Caroline will be appointed CEO of GM and all will be well. Or maybe Bed, Bath And Beyond will put wheels on the Swash 700 Elongated Biscuit Toilet Seat Bidet.

And on that cheery note let me wish you a very Hopey Changemas.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Eric Watson on Sunday, December 28, 2008 - 12:37 pm:

I am lucky if a can see the USA in Chevrolet past 40K miles bexasue intake gaskets fail due to the dexacool. These are plastic factory gaskets I hope Fords are made better because my past 2 Chevrolets have had the same issue right at the 40K mile mark. If my 2006 has this issue then it is good riddance to GM. Honda or possibly Ford for me. I due all the required maintaince before the factory scheduled intervals. You can abuse a Honda and they seem to last forever engine wise. The bodies tend to rest out at 10 years though.

Intake and Head gaskets should last the life of the motor or at 100K. My 1996 Chevrolet 3.1 had instake gaskets fail twice with 80K.

It is hard for me to sympathize with the automakers troubles, but it is not the assembly line worker's fault they just put together the poor designs.

GM needs to eliminate brands: Ponitac, GMC, Saturn, Hummer and just keep Chevrolet, Buick and Cadillac.

Although it was not fair to give the bailout to Wall Street with no questions ask and then the Auto Industry was grilled to no end. Ford has the best chance to survive but I think Chrysler is done.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Rob Patterson (Aust) on Sunday, December 28, 2008 - 04:03 pm:

My 1994 Toyota Hi-Ace Van has a 2.8 litre diesel and 5 speed.
It lived its younger years as a courier van and has travelled 655,000 kms.
It doesnt use oil between changes.
It's never had the cylinder head removed or even had the valve cover off it.

My previous van was a 1984 Toyota Lite Ace, 750,000 kms on a 1.8 litre diesel 5 speed.
It did develope problems with the alloy cylinder head, (something diesels shouldnt have),
but the rest of the vehicle was bullet proof and is why I bought another Toyota.

Between these 2 Toyotas, they have carried me nearly 1.5 MILLION kilometers.

Rob.


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