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Old 11-19-2008, 10:19 PM   #85
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Very little fact and a lot of vague answers to questions.....and this is the GM facts and fiction thread anyway. Maybe you should start a Wal-Mart thread. In the end, we'll simply have to agree to disagree....my facts can be found nearly anywhere. As I put in my last post, simply do a web search on Wal-Mart business practices and you'll have more than enough to read, and few are union propaganda. To each their own though. In the country of the blind the one-eyed man may be king, but in the real world, that person still needs to see reality in some form. Of course for some, reality is subjective.
I was about to point out that we were hijacking an already-probably-against-the-rules-thread ...

...but you started it
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Old 11-19-2008, 11:08 PM   #86
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My history tells me that American companies quit taking strikes around 1975 due to foreign competition and therefore losing market share. We have gone approximately 30 years with the boardrooms giving the UAW whatever they were willing to fight for. (this is not just the auto companies, it is nearly every major co)
OK, I've stayed out of this as long as I can. I can't believe how many can't see any reason to help the domestic automakers that are suffering as a result of the credit crisis, yet I don't see the same angst at the $700 billion bailout of the financial institutions that pushed the automakers over the edge. Is that because their 401k's were saved by the financial bailout?

You know, it is amazing how many see no problem offering uneducated opinons here. The above quote is just one of them. I have personally lived thru UAW strikes in the last few years that cost General Motors billions of dollars in profits in a matter of weeks. Don't think that both sides haven't fought hard. Just because you can't remember them does not mean they did not happen. Sorry, didn't mean to single you out, but your comment was just a good lead in to my message. There is no way for me to directly address all of the misinformation being spouted in this thread.

All of you far removed from the midwest and the auto companies themselves really have no idea what is going on within the companies. I do and so do several others that have tried to make points in this thread. From here I'll restrict my comments to GM because I work for the company, but similar comments could be made about Ford and to a lesser extent Chrysler, I'm sure.

At GM significant changes have been going on internally for over 10 years. GM has been and continues getting leaner and more productive on many levels. The changes have been unprecidented in the 100 year history of the corporation. General Motors products are gaining market share and are looked upon favorably in all markets EXCEPT North America. Why is that?

Yeah, many people here did purchase a bad GM product in the 1970's, or 1980's or 1990's (we understand that), but it gets tiring that they have no problem repeating their miseries over and over again to anyone who might listen, while ignoring the significant quality and styling improvements that have been made in the last decade and a half - I'd say the GM renaissance started in the mid 1990's, but has been most obvious in the last 5 to 8 years. Many GM products are now getting glowing reviews from the critics these days - Chevy Malibu, Cadillac CTS, Saturn Aura, Chevy Tahoe Hybrid, etc. That wasn't happening 5 years ago.

And in another area of rampant misinformation, as a whole, GM products get equivalent or better fuel mileage compared to competitive brands on a model to model basis, with over 30 models with 30+ highway mpg. It is the customers, however, that have chosen to mainly purchase GM larger vehicles, which leads to the perception that GM does not make fuel efficient vehicles.

As for hybrids, yes GM was later to the party than Toyota and Honda, but they now offer more hybrid models than those companies and the 2-mode hybrid system on the Tahoe/Yukon/Escalade and soon Silverado/Sierra is an amazing system - I have driven one and seen the benefits. There are more hybrids coming out soon, including the Volt, which is more of an electric vehicle than a hybrid. The Volt concept of a fully electric vehicle (for the first 40 miles) that does not suffer from the range restrictions of past electric vehicles is a true game changer.

I wish people like Alabama Senator Richard Shelby wouldn't spread his mis-information so strongly calling GM and the other domestics dinosaurs that don't know how to innovate. I fully believe he knows better, but he has an ulterior motive. What he is hiding is the 5 foreign owned assembly plants in his state that would benefit from one or more of the domestic auto makers going out of business.

I could go on about leveling the playing field with Japan regarding currency manipulation and import tariff inequities, but that would just illustrate ways that our government has contributed to the mess we are in relative to the foreign automakers. Or I could comment how stable fuel prices would have made public buying habits easier to predict and design for. I have said all along that raising the fuel tax would have done much more to improve fuel economy by way of altering customer buying habits than any artificial CAFE target ever did. Still GM was overcoming all of those issues until the credit crisis hit.

And I could go on about how this issue is bigger than just the big three. Any failure of one of these companies will cost the U.S. more than a $25 billion loan in the long run due to ripple effects to already strapped suppliers and other other auto companies they support. And then there are the dealers, and all of the shops and restaurants and other businesses that support the autoworkers and dealer personnel. The loss to GNP and the tax base would be huge, with many of those losing their jobs putting more strain on hte Medicare and unemprolment systems. Government revenue would go down and government payments would go up. The risks are truly staggering. But I think I've said enough on that for now.

Believe m, the last thing I want is any government money or oversight for GM, but in light of the current credit crisis a government loan appears to be the only option. From what I have seen inside the company, there is no reason GM should not be viable in the long term as soon as consumer confidence and the ability to get credit is restored.

And let me say, that I am not a 100% rah rah supporter for GM. I am not blind to reality. I truely believe GM has the stuff to succeed, but to say that they never made a bad product or a bad business decision would not be truthful. But then there is no auto company or any company in any other business that hasn't made mistakes. Toyota quality has slipped in recent years as they expanded too fast and now they are back tracking on plant expansions they were making to expand their presense in the full size truck market. That is not to say Toyota is a bad company, just that as they get bigger they will have more opportinities to experience some of the same issues GM has experienced in the past.

I'll just close with this. With the critics now extolling the vitues of most new GM products, even ranking them above Toyota and Honda sometimes, all we need is the time for public perception and buying habits to catch up. A government loan would help buy us the time for this to happen.

Thanks for listening.
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Old 11-19-2008, 11:24 PM   #87
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OK, I've stayed out of this as long as I can. I can't believe how many can't see any reason to help the domestic automakers that are suffering as a result of the credit crisis, yet I don't see the same angst at the $700 billion bailout of the financial institutions that pushed the automakers over the edge. Is that because their 401k's were saved by the financial bailout? Personally, I've got lotssss of angst over that one!

You know, it is amazing how many see no problem offering uneducated opinons here.

All of you far removed from the midwest and the auto companies themselves really have no idea what is going on within the companies. I do and so do several others that have tried to make points in this thread. From here I'll restrict my comments to GM because I work for the company, but similar comments could be made about Ford and to a lesser extent Chrysler, I'm sure.

I could go on about leveling the playing field with Japan regarding currency manipulation and import tariff inequities, but that would just illustrate ways that our government has contributed to the mess we are in relative to the foreign automakers. Absolutely.

Believe me, the last thing I want is any government money or oversight for GM, but in light of the current credit crisis a government loan appears to be the only option. From what I have seen inside the company, there is no reason GM should not be viable in the long term as soon as consumer confidence and the ability to get credit is restored. That's the scary part. Will either of those happen soon enough to keep any of the big 3 from going under?

Thanks for listening.
Thanks for sharing Joe. Insiders are sometimes able to share a more accurate picture than a lot of the disinformation that tends to get repeated as "fact".
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Old 11-20-2008, 06:15 AM   #88
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I am certainly not an "insider" except by the fact that I am one of the people who buy American cars. I have bought Dodge vans since 1973, and I will say that in that time I have had just 2 of those vans that were worth what I paid for them. The last van was a new Town and Country that lost it's transmission at less than 2000 miles. I was told by my dealer that my only options were a rebuilt transmission from Mexico or they could try to rebuild the one in the van. I remembered the 1990 Caravan that had 5 transmissions put in to try to keep it running, and Chrysler made me pay for the last 4 even though each one had less than 30K on them. I knew when I had had enough this time. For the last 96K miles I have been driving a Toyota without a single problem. I tried to be an American buyer, but the car companies didn't do their part. The quality was not there for many years. I know it's better now, but it's a little late for me. Yes, I also have a new Ford that seems like a great truck, but I wouldn't have trusted any of the big 3 auto companies until they finally realized Americans had the option of buying something that had quality and stepped up to improve theirs. I think building a quality product and standing behind that product is what's important to most of us and it's also why we turned to alternative brands that worked. Now I'm off my soap box.
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Old 11-20-2008, 07:49 AM   #89
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Wal-Mart is a poor comparison with GM for any number of reasons. One, Wal-Mart has an effective business model despite criticisms; GM does not. Of course, some have argued there are far better ways to structure a bailout of the current economy. What I hope the gentle reader will take from the latter article is the quote:

"Yet the comparison between today's situation and the Great Depression is apt, though not for the reasons many of those making it suppose: Virtually all economists now agree that the massive government intervention into the economy in the 1930s made things worse and significantly delayed financial recovery."

One would think the we might learn from our mistakes, but apparently not. In point of fact, the "loans" to the big 2.5 and everything else in the bailout may actually exacerbate the economic downturn. Those who advocating the need for the government to "do something," ought to consider the fact that what the government does can certainly make things worse for everyone... just as it did in the 1930s.

Added: On the quality note, our family business is logging. I worked in logging camps to pay for college but my brother stayed in the woods to take over day-to-day management of the company. The company buys trucks, lots of trucks and has for decades. My first truck was the '52 Chevy my grandfather ran into the woods every day. The second was a '65 Dodge. I didn't start driving until the 70s, but I saw firsthand the quality of American vehicles fall beginning in the late 60s. Running a truck over 20,000 or 30,000 miles of unpaved roads in all weather conditions over a year will quickly reveal the quality of the truck or lack thereof. I drove the same Toyota pickup for about 12 years. The only significant repair was a clutch. I bought a Nissan Titan in 2004. While the Titan has been a great truck, I was thinking about buying a 3/4 ton diesel... so I called my father. Because the trucks for logging generally carry diesel slip tanks for the equipment, the main trucks the company buys are 3/4-ton and up diesels. In the past year and half, my father had replaced the transmission on his Chevy truck twice and spent $4000 on other engine repairs. His comment: The two toughest trucks sitting in the equipment yard are a Nissan and a Toyota. This is a guy who has bought American 3/4- and 1-ton trucks for a company for forty years and who puts 50,000 miles a year on his rig.

I gave the '52 Chevy to my nephew because my grandfather, before he passed, told me he wanted it to stay in the family. My brother managed to destroy the '65 Dodge. Would I own an American truck... absolutely. I'd love to pick up a '67 Dodge to pull the Overlander... a nice matched set. As for buying the 3/4-ton diesel, after talking to the man I respect more than anyone else on the planet, I'm thinking of staying with the Titan and just making it work.
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Old 11-20-2008, 07:55 AM   #90
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Joe,

If General Motors needs money, it should find private sector financing. Period. If banks or institutional investors or private firms will not loan GM money, it is because they all believe GM is not creditworthy. Why should the U.S. taxpayer lend money to your corporation when the private sector has determined such loans present an unacceptable risk. Or, perhaps, it's just that the interest rates required by private investors are uncomfortably high compared to the sweet heart deal the government might offer. The bottom line... if GM succeeds or fails should be a matter for the private sector, not the government.

Oh, and just a suggestion. If you bump into the CEO, you might suggest he take a commercial airline rather than fly in the corporate jet to the next legislative hearing.
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Old 11-20-2008, 07:57 AM   #91
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In light of the heavy reading load generated by this thread. I have to say I have been swayed to retract my statements from earlier. The idea of a "loan" (i.e. paying it back at a given piont) is not a bad idea.
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Old 11-20-2008, 08:02 AM   #92
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Oh, and just a suggestion. If you bump into the CEO, you might suggest he take a commercial airline rather than fly in the corporate jet to the next legislative hearing.
Yea, that really didn't sit well with me either. Also didn't care to hear the Ford CEO say his 9.3mil comp pkg, he was comfortable where he was.....that takes moxie. GM CEO didn't say that, but also didn't say he'd take the $1 comp plan like the Chrysler CEO....oh, but his comp plan was halved though, to his current what 3 or 4 mill comp plan?!

Yea, hard to believe as bad as they need it, perception is 9/10 of the law and clearly, they didn't do such a great job yesterday.

I have to say, if I did what these folks did yesterday and got called on it, I don't think I'd have a job. A comm flight from the midwest to DC costs about $275 for coach. I am sure that even first class would have been far less than what each of them spent on the private corp jets. Funny, when my counterparts and I go places we take comm planes and/or we car pool. Guess these guys feel entitled or just really dumb.
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Old 11-20-2008, 08:32 AM   #93
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Guess these guys feel entitled or just really dumb.
At the Executive VP level, you were also entitled to an electric office door closer.

After you got comfortably seated at your desk you'd push a button hidden under the desk and the door would slowly close shut.

The only thing was it wouldn't open the door automatically. You had to do that yourself.

I guess that was so the door wouldn't hit you on your way out.
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Old 11-20-2008, 09:50 AM   #94
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Joe,

If General Motors needs money, it should find private sector financing. Period. If banks or institutional investors or private firms will not loan GM money, it is because they all believe GM is not creditworthy. Why should the U.S. taxpayer lend money to your corporation when the private sector has determined such loans present an unacceptable risk. Or, perhaps, it's just that the interest rates required by private investors are uncomfortably high compared to the sweet heart deal the government might offer. The bottom line... if GM succeeds or fails should be a matter for the private sector, not the government.

Oh, and just a suggestion. If you bump into the CEO, you might suggest he take a commercial airline rather than fly in the corporate jet to the next legislative hearing.

Right on!
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Old 11-20-2008, 10:20 AM   #95
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"Yet the comparison between today's situation and the Great Depression is apt, though not for the reasons many of those making it suppose: Virtually all economists now agree that the massive government intervention into the economy in the 1930s made things worse and significantly delayed financial recovery."
I have to disagree with that. Some conservative economists believe that, but from what I've read, most economists and historians believe FDR did not go far enough with govt intervention and that's why the Depression lasted as long as it did. I quoted Paul Krugman, recent Nobel Prize winner in economics, many posts ago, regarding this and his statement that the biggest govt intervention of all, WW II, is what pulled the country out of the Depression for good (at least until now).

When the govt did not intervene at all, in the 19th century, panics and depressions were common and very deep.

It seems like we're fighting the same ideological battles that were fought in the 1930's. Conservative economic theory has ruled for almost 30 years and look where we are now: on the verge of the biggest recession since the '30's. If we didn't have federal deposit insurance for bank accounts, how many more banks would have failed and how many people would have lost their savings already? If we didn't have some bank regulation, the banks would be going down like all the unregulated investment houses have.

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Old 11-20-2008, 10:21 AM   #96
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Right on!
Watch what you ask for...........

Closing of GM Saturn and the dealerships in the great state of Tenn., a state that we love, would have a grim outcome. And I would say that this goes for all states.

Annual Contributions ofTennessee¡¦s New-Vehicle Dealers
Tennessee¡¦s dealers maintain a multi-BILLION dollar retail industry.
Average sales per dealership........................................ ...............$32.7 million
Total sales of all new-vehicle dealerships in Tennessee.............. $13.7 billion
Dealership sales as % of total retail sales in the state..................18.0%
Estimated number of new-vehicle dealerships .............................420
Dealers provide thousands of well-paying jobs in Tennessee.
Total number of new-vehicle dealership employees in Tennessee ..................22,121
Average number of employees per dealership........................................ .........53
Average annual earnings of new-vehicle dealership employees......................$47,645
Dealership payroll as % of total state retail payroll........................................... 13.4%
Annual payroll of new-vehicle dealerships .................................................. .....$1.05 billion
Average annual payroll per new-vehicle dealership .........................................$2.50 million
Dealers generate hundreds of millions of dollars of tax revenue for state and local government through:
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Old 11-20-2008, 10:46 AM   #97
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There's another thing that seems to be present from what I see on TV and in many posts. There is a desire to punish the Big 2.5. Some of it is directed at the executives, some at the company, some at the workers. I agree that many of the execs need some punishing (maybe sitting in coach on an airline would be a start—they could wear a name tag telling everyone who they are and find out what us common people think of them). Some execs are probably good people just trying to turn around the company against all the others who have been blind all these years. The new guy at Ford whose name I can't spell seems to be doing things the Ford family wouldn't. Wagoner seems to have done some good things at GM, but not nearly fast enough. Chrysler it seems to me is hopeless.

But new leadership with a sense of emergency and a better awareness of how to sell their case would be an improvement.

But what is important is that if we punish the company or the workers, we punish ourselves. It's time to forgive and forget and move on and make them good companies. The cost of punishment will be very, very high.

I will agree with 66Overlander—GM makes much better vehicles than they used to. I will never forget the '85 Toronado I inherited from my father when he died in '95—a truly awful car. It's hard to let go of that memory. I grew up with GM cars and they were the best in the industry, but that's 50 and 60 years ago. Those of us who have bought foreign cars for years aren't going to let go of that very soon. I'm used to buying Toyotas. I know how they perform and I rarely have to get anything fixed. Has GM caught up with Toyota? In some models, but not all. They appear to have better gas mileage on some trucks.

We get used to our trucks and cars and tend to stick with what we know. I guess that is a reason that some people buy cars and trucks that have poor reliability—they are used to it. This isn't going to be easy. Many people will badmouth the Big 2.5 for many years (if they survive) even after they cure the problem. I'm sure many people will continue to buy Toyotas if they go bad—my experience is they have slightly more problems than they had several years ago, but only slightly more. Toyota might go the GM route—becoming so big they get arrogant and sloppy. They show some early signs of that. I'm probably 4 or 5 years away from buying anything (by then they may take my license away from me for general decrepitude).

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Old 11-20-2008, 11:05 AM   #98
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I believe the loans would just be used to feed their unsustainable burn rate. It is not going to be used as additional investment from which there would be profits - which is the only way the loans could get repaid.

If you don't believe the loans will be repaid, then isn't this funding request just a way to kick the can down the street a little further? Meaning, once this cash is burned through, we can face the same choice again.

As for those folks and statistics showing what would happen...? It has already happened. The losses you show and fear losing are based on activity when all was sweetness and light. I don't see those days returning for quite some time.

I don't believe the auto industry can correct itself. I certainly don't believe congress can make the right choices, whatever the choices may turn out to be.

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