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Old 05-12-2009, 11:38 AM   #43
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The British car industry died over a period of time. QC was awful. A lot of people blamed the unions and workers, but why not blame the executives who made bad decisions, or no decisions, about the problems in the industry? The execs run the place, they sign the union contracts, aren't they responsible for anything? The same thing has happened in the US.

Some union workers in the US have made $120,000, and probably some haven't deserved it. They had to work a lot of overtime to get it anyway. How many people want a job, regardless of pay, of putting the same door on the same car 8 or more hours a day, 5 days a week, 52 weeks a year? There ought to be some premium for such a boring job. What about the execs who make many hundreds of thousands or millions for making bad or no decisions? Would you want to the executive or the assembly line job? I'm sure there are good and bad execs, but the guys at the very top, the ones who make the most money, seem to have been in a time warp for quite a while. Buying bad cars and trucks only supports a bad company.

I think Hampstead is right—new opportunities present themselves when the buggy whip has no market anymore. What the US (and Canada too) need to do is provide support for these opportunities or others will in other countries (for ex., broadband is supported by the gov't in other countries and they are way ahead of us in internet penetration—anyone using this Forum must know how important the internet is to sharing knowledge). All those empty auto factories can be used for producing railroad cars, for example. I believe none or few are made in the US anymore. I would think the workers in Michigan, Indiana, etc., who have made cars, can transer to railroad rolling stock, or windmills, or other new technologies still requiring manufacturing. I hope financing is available and I'm sure GM will be glad to sell the factories.

It's true some countries present tariff barriers to US goods, but those barriers are slowly disappearing. The US does it too, don't forget. If we want to sell US goods to the world, we have to accept they will sell theirs to us. No trade and millions of US jobs will disappear. Trade is not the problem, it's also an opportunity. Dynamic economies change (or die or stay poor) and dislocations are hard for people. When we shifted from an agrarian to an industrial economy there were a lot of farmers who needed to change; conditions in factories were awful until unions and protective legislation was enacted.

Gene
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Old 05-13-2009, 07:19 AM   #44
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"I normally don't speak out on issues this far off-topic (even for an off-topic forum), but the tone of some of the posts here got my dander up. I sensed efforts to make us feel that foreign car makers, or the government, or me, a foreign car buyer now, are to blame for the nation's current ills."

I've been in an auto related industry for 50 years and there's no doubt in my mind that Detroit ceded the business to imports by producing crap in the 1970's through the early 1990's.

What I can't understand is the dogma of some posters that are unable to shop for a car or truck with an open mind. Buick came out with top honors in the latest JD Powers survey. Consumer Reports dropped the automatic "best buy" tag for Toyotas.

When it comes to design, quality and innovation between domestic and imports, the playing field has become level. In the mid seventies, I looked at a new Chrysler that looked like it had been painted with a whisk broom. Ended up with an Olds wagon that served me well. Yet, I'm on my third Chrysler T&C in spite of something that happened 35 years ago.

So, to those of you out there that would rather eat worms then visit a GM, Ford or Chrysler dealership, at least take your blinders off and check out the domestics.
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Old 05-13-2009, 09:52 AM   #45
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What's better, NO jobs which pay $120,000.00 per year or 3 jobs which pay $40,000 per year! There is such a thing as pricing yourself completely out of a job. I'm a retired architect and was damned good at what I did, but I never ever even came close to making $120,000 a year and only a few good years did I even make $40,000. Every dollar had to be spent wisely. I tried, but found I couldn't afford to throw good money at vehicles with UAW attitude in every part! Now they can enjoy the same considerations.
Just remember that the person making $120,000 a year is paying approx.
$50,000 in taxes which along with his employer is paying about $30,000 in social security taxes a year. In China, BMW is paying about $400.00 a month to assy parts, and the worker is paying no social security taxes what so ever. So the next time you cash your social security check you should think about where did that money come from. BUY FROM AN AMERICAN BASE COMPANY.
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Old 05-13-2009, 12:17 PM   #46
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Although I do no yet receive a social security check, I am not at all short on the knowledge of where the money comes from. They've been taking it out of my paycheck every month since May 1965! Yep, every month for the past 44 years, a portion has been withheld. Please don't suggest any social security benefits I may get in the future will be paid from money taken out of UAW worker paychecks. That would insult even a stupid persons intelligence.

It would also insult a persons intelligence to suggest they buy a Buick, like my neighbor who had the transmission fall right out on the ground! Or have their beige upholstry turn pink like my Pontiac, or have 3 of 4 shock absorbers break within one month on a brand new Buick. Or have the headlights suddenly turn off while going down a country road doing 70 mph like my GMC Pickup! Or drop a timing chain bending 13 push rods and 9 valves like my Ford F-150.
Or have a front wheel just fall off like my friend did while doing 60 mph on the freeway thru Austin in his Dodge Ram! I've had my Tundra 7 years not had a single thing like that happen to it!
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Old 05-13-2009, 12:56 PM   #47
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So, to those of you out there that would rather eat worms then visit a GM, Ford or Chrysler dealership, at least take your blinders off and check out the domestics.
To be fair, that goes both ways. There are those who think that every Japanese car will rust out immediately, that all that they build are tinny poopboxes, or that they can't build big trucks and SUVs. Or that every foreign-branded car is built in Japan, or that every domestic-branded car is built here with US parts.

But I agree with the sentiment. It's hard to buy a bad full-size pickup truck now, no matter who builds it. Chrysler doesn't have a truly competitive family sedan or small car, but GM (Malibu) and Ford (Fusion) build some very strong family sedans, with reliability comparable (or better, in the case of the Fusion) than the Accord or Camry.

The problem in the end though is that personal experiences are a very strong learning tool. As good as those newer domestic products are, if you've been burned in the past and moved on, it's hard to return. After all, why do it, especially if you had a good experience with your foreign car and the American product is equal-but-not-better?

Tom
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Old 05-13-2009, 02:17 PM   #48
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My wife's Malibu has been a great car. (She picked it; she drives it.)

I agree with Tom. Overall, the quality of cars have improved. So have our expectations. The paradox is that past experience does not assure future results... but past experience is what we have. Sure, I am biased by having positive experiences with Toyota. I've also looked at trucks like the Tundra component by component. The 2nd generation Tundra is the best half ton truck on the market, but that is just one man's opinion.

Early in my life, I could only afford cheap stuff... including vehicles. The older I have become, the more I feel quality is the best long-term investment. I also feel there is a good to deal be said about the right tool for the job. I don't own a .375 H&H magnum for deer hunting. I don't use a 20-pound sledge for driving nails. Our next house will be half the size and the shop will be at least twice as large. If I needed a three-quarter ton truck, I'd have to buy American... so I would do my homework and make the best pick possible. With a '67 Overlander weighing 4,100 pounds dry... I just don't need a 3/4 ton truck. At the time, I thought the Titan was the best bang for the buck. If I were buying today, it would be a Tundra. Maybe next year, some American truck will top my list. I don't buy vehicles to make a political statement. I just want to get from here to there.
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Old 05-13-2009, 02:31 PM   #49
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But I agree with the sentiment. It's hard to buy a bad full-size pickup truck now, no matter who builds it. Chrysler doesn't have a truly competitive family sedan or small car, but GM (Malibu) and Ford (Fusion) build some very strong family sedans, with reliability comparable (or better, in the case of the Fusion) than the Accord or Camry.


Tom
Tom,
I would have to disagree with this sentiment. I like the curb appeal of the current GM, Ford and Chrysler products that are manufactured. Every year I go to the new car show when it comes to town here in Cincinnati to check out the new models. Every year I yawn when I pass the same old Camry or Accord - big deal - they have no curb appeal to me. What the heck is wrong with the Chrysler/Dodge line of cars? I am 40 years old and I think they have a really nice looking product. I look at a 4 door Charger and it is a nice looking car with many engine options to choose from. I see it as a family car that is not so dull as many of the other models out there. I hear the same old crapola all the time about US products not being any good - I have to disagree. It is rather tiresome seeing Chysler always being treated as a red headed step child when they have brought a lot of new and interesting products to market. I see many people driving down the road happily ever day. Maybe reliability is in the eye of the the beholder. Stepping off my soapbox.
Steve
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Old 05-13-2009, 03:00 PM   #50
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Although I do no yet receive a social security check, I am not at all short on the knowledge of where the money comes from. They've been taking it out of my paycheck every month since May 1965! Yep, every month for the past 44 years, a portion has been withheld. Please don't suggest any social security benefits I may get in the future will be paid from money taken out of UAW worker paychecks. That would insult even a stupid persons intelligence.
Uh, Bob, I hate to tell you this, but you've been had. You seem to think that the money that you (and your employer, unless you have been self-employed) paid into Social Security all these years was invested in some kind of account that you can now withdraw from in retirement. That's what the government would like for you to believe.

In reality, Social Security is a Ponzi scheme on a scale that makes Bernie Madoff look like a piker. The money you an I paid in went to pay for your and my parents retirement and any left over went into a cookie jar full of government IOUs called the Social Security trust fund. In today's Wall Street Journal it's reported that the government is predicting the Medicare trust fund will go broke in 2017--just 8 years from now, and 2 years sooner than the last prediction. The Social Security trust fund will run out in 2037, 4 years earlier than the last prediction.

So we had better hope for a robust economy during our retirement--so that our kids can afford the taxes to keep us in the style to which we've become accustomed, as well as pay the interest on the trillions of dollars of debt the government is running up. . .
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Old 05-13-2009, 04:37 PM   #51
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Although I do no yet receive a social security check, I am not at all short on the knowledge of where the money comes from. They've been taking it out of my paycheck every month since May 1965! Yep, every month for the past 44 years, a portion has been withheld. Please don't suggest any social security benefits I may get in the future will be paid from money taken out of UAW worker paychecks. That would insult even a stupid persons intelligence.

It would also insult a persons intelligence to suggest they buy a Buick, like my neighbor who had the transmission fall right out on the ground! Or have their beige upholstry turn pink like my Pontiac, or have 3 of 4 shock absorbers break within one month on a brand new Buick. Or have the headlights suddenly turn off while going down a country road doing 70 mph like my GMC Pickup! Or drop a timing chain bending 13 push rods and 9 valves like my Ford F-150.

Or have a front wheel just fall off like my friend did while doing 60 mph on the freeway thru Austin in his Dodge Ram! I've had my Tundra 7 years not had a single thing like that happen to it!

Maybe you can get somebody in Japan to pay your social security, medicare and medicaid since you drive a Tundra, what little money that you have paid into the fund you will withdraw out in 3 to 4 years.
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Old 05-13-2009, 04:38 PM   #52
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Although I do no yet receive a social security check, I am not at all short on the knowledge of where the money comes from. They've been taking it out of my paycheck every month since May 1965! Yep, every month for the past 44 years, a portion has been withheld. Please don't suggest any social security benefits I may get in the future will be paid from money taken out of UAW worker paychecks. That would insult even a stupid persons intelligence.

It would also insult a persons intelligence to suggest they buy a Buick, like my neighbor who had the transmission fall right out on the ground! Or have their beige upholstry turn pink like my Pontiac, or have 3 of 4 shock absorbers break within one month on a brand new Buick. Or have the headlights suddenly turn off while going down a country road doing 70 mph like my GMC Pickup! Or drop a timing chain bending 13 push rods and 9 valves like my Ford F-150.

Or have a front wheel just fall off like my friend did while doing 60 mph on the freeway thru Austin in his Dodge Ram! I've had my Tundra 7 years not had a single thing like that happen to it!

Maybe you can get somebody in Japan to pay your social security, medicare and medicaid since you drive a Tundra, what little money that you have paid into the fund you will withdraw out in 3 to 4 years.
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Old 05-13-2009, 04:40 PM   #53
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Uh, Bob, I hate to tell you this, but you've been had. You seem to think that the money that you (and your employer, unless you have been self-employed) paid into Social Security all these years was invested in some kind of account that you can now withdraw from in retirement. That's what the government would like for you to believe.

In reality, Social Security is a Ponzi scheme on a scale that makes Bernie Madoff look like a piker. The money you an I paid in went to pay for your and my parents retirement and any left over went into a cookie jar full of government IOUs called the Social Security trust fund. In today's Wall Street Journal it's reported that the government is predicting the Medicare trust fund will go broke in 2017--just 8 years from now, and 2 years sooner than the last prediction. The Social Security trust fund will run out in 2037, 4 years earlier than the last prediction.

So we had better hope for a robust economy during our retirement--so that our kids can afford the taxes to keep us in the style to which we've become accustomed, as well as pay the interest on the trillions of dollars of debt the government is running up. . .
What a great post..............
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Old 05-13-2009, 04:46 PM   #54
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Wow! I've been a Ford employee for 16 YEARS, and to date have not made $120k per year. I am a SKILLED TRADES worker, meaning I am not a low-skilled assembly line worker, and get paid more per hour, with the ability to work tons of overtime. My point is if you spout figures please know your facts.

The BIG Three auto are not asking for free money, they are LOANS unlike the banks that got us in this situation. The union is not at fault, the execs. have to take the blame for the short sightedness for focusing on TRUCKS and SUVs because profits were so great,(ie) the Excursion $15k profit per truck, Super Duty $9k per truck.

If you know about Harbor(the quality people) they have said it takes about 23 man hours to build a truck, so if the assembly worker is making $28 per hour, that makes the labor for building a truck $644. The total employee cost for our Super Duty trucks
is 7.5% that includes benefits and retiree. That same figure is applicable to Toyota, because their assembly worker makes the same wages the union worker does. Also Toyota has lost $8 Billion the First quarter this year, close to the amount Ford lost.

Andre'
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Old 05-13-2009, 06:42 PM   #55
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Every year I yawn when I pass the same old Camry or Accord - big deal - they have no curb appeal to me.
That's fair Steve. Quite a few people feel that way. Honestly, I'm still considering buying an Airstream for its styling, even though there are less expensive products that would probably suit my budget and needs better. Then again, I'm 38 and own a minivan (with no kids), so I'm willing to sacrifice style for function.

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What the heck is wrong with the Chrysler/Dodge line of cars? I am 40 years old and I think they have a really nice looking product. I look at a 4 door Charger and it is a nice looking car with many engine options to choose from.
Its a nice looking car. Chrysler's good at that. But there are shortcomings. It's hard to see out of, a shortfall of the styling. None of the engines is all that fuel-efficient. The steering is vague. And for such a large car, there isn't that much room inside. That's a lot to give up for looks.

The 300/Charger are probably some of the better current Chrysler products - the problems get worse in the rest of Chrysler's fleet. The Sebring/Avenger are universally panned. Cheap interiors, underdeveloped suspensions, difficult visibility out. A car company NEEDS a competitive mid-sized sedan (the biggest market segment out there) but this ain't it. That shows in its sales. There are similar issues with the Nitro/Liberty SUVs. Chrysler doesn't have a truly fuel-efficient small car offering either.

Part of this is due to Chrysler's development team being starved for money by Daimler. Signs are there that Chrysler can design some very competitive vehicles - the new Ram is a delightful truck. Cerebus is working to bring up their reliability and improve interior quality. And Fiat will probably bring the small and midsized platforms (or maybe Opel) that they really need. But there was a bad patch of products there.

I have a curious thought through this whole thread: I wonder what how tthe thread would read if BillTex got a comfy cruiser Toyota Avalon at the rental counter instead of the Prius?

Tom
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Old 05-13-2009, 07:04 PM   #56
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If you are under 50, you can pretty much forget Social Security. Whatever is left of the system will be a shadow of what it is now. Of course, it was never intended to be a universal pension system. In 1945, there were over 40 workers per retiree. By 2030, it will be 2 to 1.

As for the myth that the "banks got us into this," that's just not accurate. As noted in The Economist, government shares a good deal of the blame:

"BANKERS, frauds, predatory insurers: there has been a stampede to punish the villains of the global meltdown. Yet one culprit is not only rarely seen as an offender, but is also being cosseted and protected. Governments’ obsession about home ownership has contributed as much to the meltdown as any moustache-twirling financier."

For decades, the U.S. had a fairly stable and successful "20 percent down" housing finance model. Over time, government had this idea that everyone ought to own a house... whether they could afford one or not. This led to excess credit which led to a housing bubble which led to... today.

Oh, and the government has no business playing banker with our tax dollars. If corporations need a loan... they can find it in the private sector.
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