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  1. #41  
    I never had a chance to ride/drive in a GM EV vehicle. There were many of these vehicles in metro detroit and they always drew attention. I dont have any specific knowledge on the killing of the EV-1. I know the reason they created the EV-1 was to fuffil a California law which required any automaker that sold vehicles in California to have a small percentage of total sales to have zero combustion emissions. They leased them in California and that got GM around this law/requirement. Ford had electric Ranger pick-ups that were leased to commerical fleets IIRC.
    It is easy to point say that GM made a bad decision in hind sight to kill electric vehicle development back then only to start it all over with the Volt program now, but there were different business drivers then. My Guess is that GM didnt have a forecasted demand large enough to supply a sufficient volume to make any sort of profit. Demand for "green"/alternative vehicles is much different today and the business model today would be slightly more favorable only because of the enviromental movement and the recent "gas crisis". It will be interesting to see how the Volt does in the marketplace and if a profit can be generated. With gas prices low, it is hard for these alternative powered vehicles to compete against the consumer costs of internal combustion powered vehicles. If we want to speed up that process it will take a cost equalizer like government subsidies to lower prices of the alt. powered vehicles or taxes imposed to raise the consumer cost of owning an internal combustion engine vehicle.
  2. #42  
    I will make a task to watch "Who killed the Electric Car?" looks good.
  3.    #43  
    Quote Originally Posted by car_designer View Post
    I never had a chance to ride/drive in a GM EV vehicle. There were many of these vehicles in metro detroit and they always drew attention. I dont have any specific knowledge on the killing of the EV-1. I know the reason they created the EV-1 was to fulfill a California law which required any automaker that sold vehicles in California to have a small percentage of total sales to have zero combustion emissions. They leased them in California and that got GM around this law/requirement. Ford had electric Ranger pick-ups that were leased to commercial fleets IIRC.
    It is easy to point say that GM made a bad decision in hind sight to kill electric vehicle development back then only to start it all over with the Volt program now, but there were different business drivers then. My Guess is that GM didn’t have a forecasted demand large enough to supply a sufficient volume to make any sort of profit. Demand for "green"/alternative vehicles is much different today and the business model today would be slightly more favorable only because of the environmental movement and the recent "gas crisis". It will be interesting to see how the Volt does in the marketplace and if a profit can be generated. With gas prices low, it is hard for these alternative powered vehicles to compete against the consumer costs of internal combustion powered vehicles. If we want to speed up that process it will take a cost equalizer like government subsidies to lower prices of the alt. powered vehicles or taxes imposed to raise the consumer cost of owning an internal combustion engine vehicle.
    I don't know if you as a designer ever crossed paths with Paul MacCready, or even heard him talked about -- but I'd be remiss if I didn't say a little about him for those who might not have recognized the name.

    He mostly specialized in the extraordinary -- famous for designing two insanely cool human powered airplanes: the Gossamer Condor, and the Gossamer Albatross (The Albatross amazingly flew across the English Channel). He then constructed the Solar Challenger, the first aircraft powered entirely by the sun -- which in 1981 successfully flew from Paris to England.

    He subsequently lead the team that built the winning Sunraycer solar powered "race" car for GM -- before becoming the leader of GM's EV-1 project.

    I knew about his earlier monumental achievements when we met -- but our conversation was only about the prospective EV-1, and my advocacy for the as yet undeveloped hybrid technology.

    A little more than a year ago, he died.

    (read an interview of MacCready here)
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  4.    #44  
    they're baaaccckkk -- only this time behind the wheels of their very own hybrids.

    Promising to work for a buck a year.

    And to kill nearly half their brands -- and a nearly a third of their dealers (GM at least).

    To get their unions to agree to contract revisions, to slash their worker employment and health insurance costs, to bring forth competitive, world crushing high MPG and hybrid products ...

    -- to completely reverse their entire history and modus operandi...


    Will it be enough -- will they get our money this time ???

    (I think they must)
    Last edited by BARYE; 12/03/2008 at 08:32 AM.
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  5. #45  
    Quote Originally Posted by BARYE View Post
    they're baaaccckkk -- only this time behind the wheels of their very own hybrids.

    Promising to work for a buck a year.

    And to kill nearly half their brands -- and a nearly a third of their dealers (GM at least).

    To get their unions to agree to contract revisions, to slash their worker employment and health insurance costs, to bring forth competitive, world crushing high MPG and hybrid products ...

    -- to completely reverse their entire history and modus operandi...


    Will it be enough -- will they get our money this time ???

    (I think they must)
    I want oversight. There certainly hasn't been with the last $700B bailout though and I'm not happy.

    I believe GM is offering equity positions but I still maintain the people should have two board level appointments as part of the deal to insure complete transparency. I'd love to see bipartisan appointees, like Jack Welch and Warren Buffet, named to represent the tax payer on the GM board.

    Next up - Chrysler. They're not public so no tax payer funding should be permitted. But the Fed could offer lines of credit and perhaps other incentives to help Ford acquire Chrysler. I think this would help Ford because they have no mini-van that competes and Chrysler also has crossovers that would augment/benefit Ford right now.

    Of course with all of this will be major job losses for both white collar/blue collar, restructuring of contracts, etc.
  6.    #46  
    Quote Originally Posted by moderateinny View Post
    I want oversight. There certainly hasn't been with the last $700B bailout though and I'm not happy.

    I believe GM is offering equity positions but I still maintain the people should have two board level appointments as part of the deal to insure complete transparency. I'd love to see bipartisan appointees, like Jack Welch and Warren Buffet, named to represent the tax payer on the GM board.

    Next up - Chrysler. They're not public so no tax payer funding should be permitted. But the Fed could offer lines of credit and perhaps other incentives to help Ford acquire Chrysler. I think this would help Ford because they have no mini-van that competes and Chrysler also has crossovers that would augment/benefit Ford right now.

    Of course with all of this will be major job losses for both white collar/blue collar, restructuring of contracts, etc.

    all you've said is true -- especially about oversight and accountability.

    Incredible that junior gave the bankers so much with so few strings.

    I hope something good happens from this multi car auto crash -- but its hard to see it, now.

    So much is so broken -- and given the economic exigencies its hard to feel optimistic that things can or will get fixed.

    But I don't know how there is any alternative to ensuring that they not fail now -- given the fragility of everything else.
    755P Sprint SERO (upgraded from unlocked GSM 650 on T-Mobile)
  7. #47  
    Quote Originally Posted by BARYE View Post
    all you've said is true -- especially about oversight and accountability.

    Incredible that junior gave the bankers so much with so few strings.

    I hope something good happens from this multi car auto crash -- but its hard to see it, now.

    So much is so broken -- and given the economic exigencies its hard to feel optimistic that things can or will get fixed.

    But I don't know how there is any alternative to ensuring that they not fail now -- given the fragility of everything else.
    I've said it before and I'll say it again - GM could be owned by the Chinese if we don't come up with something. They want in on this market and I firmly believe they will come calling, cash in hand, once GM is truly on its death bed. That said, GM is by far the worst prospect.

    I wish the fed would push for a Ford acquisition of Chrysler as it may well be the only way to save 2/3rds of our auto industry. GM seems to be darn near that fatal failing company "corkscrew" into the ground.

    Of course, nobody will let GM go completely under. The ripple effects extend well beyond active and retired employees losing their incomes. It will obviously equate to less consumer spending and be felt by the entire world.....especially the country that makes most of our goods, China.
  8.    #48  
    they are now reaping what they sowed.

    There is this deep and understandable resentment for the arrogant short sighted way they've run their corporations these many decades -- how they've regularly grabbed the short term easy profit over what was long term sustainable and nationally beneficial.

    Companies that had as part of their DNA a 3 years and out design philosophy. An attitude that only began to change when Japanese manufauctures demonstrated that it need'nt be done that way, and started taking market share and profits from Detroit.

    The Big Three pushed into trucks and minivans -- and fought against including those vehicles in fuel economy standards -- all because it gave them a short term advantage.

    Now when they genuinely do need help, when they really are on the verge of bankrupcy, they have little credibility or reputation to leverage.

    Bad business all round ...

    (I wish car_designer would rejoin this discussion...)


    755P Sprint SERO (upgraded from unlocked GSM 650 on T-Mobile)
  9. #49  
    They have already proven that they make choices with money, and they want MORE money? It doesn't matter. They will probably get their bailout anyway and change the rules after the check is signed (like the banks).
  10.    #50  
    Quote Originally Posted by evilduckster View Post
    They have already proven that they make choices with money, and they want MORE money? It doesn't matter. They will probably get their bailout anyway and change the rules after the check is signed (like the banks).
    yes junior and his junta gave the banks carte blanche -- and now they feign not wanting to waste any of "their" 700 billion on the car companies -- that "they" are too careful with the taxpayer's money to do anything like that.

    please...
    755P Sprint SERO (upgraded from unlocked GSM 650 on T-Mobile)
  11. #51  
    I have been trying to rejoin this conversation. my big problem is I write a novel in response and the website times out and I am unable to post. I get a lot of "apache" errors ?!?

    I will try to post tomorrow from a regular computer....
  12.    #52  
    Quote Originally Posted by car_designer View Post
    I have been trying to rejoin this conversation. my big problem is I write a novel in response and the website times out and I am unable to post. I get a lot of "apache" errors ?!?

    I will try to post tomorrow from a regular computer....
    this is one of the reasons I normally write my longer posts from within Chrome or WordPerfect (Word is harmful to creative thought...)
    755P Sprint SERO (upgraded from unlocked GSM 650 on T-Mobile)
  13. #53  
    I spend a lot of time reading and living this "automotive bailout" because it is such a hot topic at work. One thing for sure, is that I know how most of America feels about the big 3 Detroit automakers. The perception is that we are low tech, inefficient dinosaurs and that couldn't be farther from the truth.

    Facts are facts, but perception is reality (Albert Einstein)

    The problem we face is how to change that perception.

    Here is a good "letter to the editor" from a Ford dealership owner that challenges Americas perceptions. It would be interesting to see how you all think about the points that he makes.

    Incredible editorial from one of our Dealers in the Pittsburgh Region….
    Attached is a well written "Letter to the Editor" from Elkins Fordland.

    Editor:

    As I watch the coverage of the fate of the U.S. auto industry, one alarming and frustrating fact hits me right between the eyes. The fate of our nation's economic survival is in the hands of some congressmen who are completely out of touch and act without knowledge of an industry that affects almost every person in our nation. The same lack of knowledge is shared with many journalists whom are irresponsible when influencing the opinion of millions of viewers.

    Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama has doomed the industry, calling it a dinosaur. No Mr. Shelby, you are the dinosaur, with ideas stuck in the '70s, '80s and '90s. You and the uninformed journalist and senators that hold onto myths that are not relevant in today's world.

    When you say that the Big Three build vehicles nobody wants to buy, you must have overlooked that GM outsold Toyota by about 1.2 million vehicles in the U.S. and Ford outsold Honda by 850,000 and Nissan by 1.2 million in the U.S. GM was the world's No. 1 automaker beating Toyota by 3,000 units.
    When you claim inferior quality comes from the Big Three, did you realize that Chevy makes the Malibu and Ford makes the Fusion that were both rated over the Camry and Accord by J.D. Power independent survey on initial quality? Did you bother to read the Consumer Report that rated Ford on par with good Japanese automakers.

    Did you realize Big Three's gas guzzlers include the 33 mpg Malibu that beats the Accord. And for '09 Ford introduces the Hybrid Fusion whose 39 mpg is the best midsize, beating the Camry Hybrid. Ford's Focus beats the Corolla and Chevy's Cobalt beats the Civic.

    When you ask how many times are we going to bail them out you must be referring to 1980. The only Big Three bailout was Chrysler, who paid back $1 billion, plus interest. GM and Ford have never received government aid.
    When you criticize the Big Three for building so many pickups, surely you've noticed the attempts Toyota and Nissan have made spending billions to try to get a piece of that pie. Perhaps it bothers you that for 31 straight years Ford's F-Series has been the best selling vehicle. Ford and GM have dominated this market and when you see the new '09 F-150 you'll agree this won't change soon.

    Did you realize that both GM and Ford offer more hybrid models than Nissan or Honda. Between 2005 and 2007, Ford alone has invested more than $22 billion in research and development of technologies such as Eco Boost, flex fuel, clean diesel, hybrids, plug in hybrids and hydrogen cars.
    It's 2008 and the quality of the vehicles coming out of Detroit are once again the best in the world.

    Perhaps Sen. Shelby isn't really that blind. Maybe he realizes the quality shift to American. Maybe it's the fact that his state of Alabama has given so much to land factories from Honda, Hyundai and Mercedes Benz that he is more concerned about their continued growth than he is about the people of our country. Sen. Shelby's disdain for "government subsidies" is very hypocritical. In the early '90s he was the driving force behind a $253 million incentive package to Mercedes. Plus, Alabama agreed to purchase 2,500 vehicles from Mercedes. While the bridge loan the Big Three is requesting will be paid back, Alabama's $180,000-plus per job was pure incentive. Sen. Shelby, not only are you out of touch, you are a self-serving hypocrite, who is prepared to ruin our nation because of lack of knowledge and lack of due diligence in making your opinions and decisions.

    After 9/11, the Detroit Three and Harley Davidson gave $40 million-plus emergency vehicles to the recovery efforts. What was given to the 9/11 relief effort by the Asian and European Auto Manufactures? $0 Nada. Zip!
    We live in a world of free trade, world economy and we have not been able to produce products as cost efficiently. While the governments of other auto producing nations subsidize their automakers, our government may be ready to force its demise. While our automakers have paid union wages, benefits and legacy debt, our Asian competitors employ cheap labor. We are at an extreme disadvantage in production cost. Although many UAW concessions begin in 2010, many lawmakers think it's not enough.

    Some point the blame to corporate management. I would like to speak of Ford Motor Co. The company has streamlined by reducing our workforce by 51,000 since 2005, closing 17 plants and cutting expenses. Product and future product is excellent and the company is focused on one Ford. This is a company poised for success. Ford product quality and corporate management have improved light years since the nightmare of Jacques Nasser. Thank you Alan Mulally and the best auto company management team in the business.

    The financial collapse caused by the secondary mortgage fiasco and the greed of Wall Street has led to a $700 billion bailout of the industry that created the problem. AIG spent nearly $1 million on three company excursions to lavish resorts and hunting destinations. Paulson is saying no to $250 billion foreclosure relief and the whole thing is a mess. So when the Big Three ask for 4 percent of that of the $700 billion, $25 billion to save the country's largest industry, there is obviously oppositions. But does it make sense to reward the culprits of the problem with $700 billion unconditionally, and ignore the victims?

    As a Ford dealer, I feel our portion of the $25 billion will never be touched and is not necessary. Ford currently has $29 billion of liquidity. However, the effect of a bankruptcy by GM will hurt the suppliers we all do business with. A Chapter 11 bankruptcy by any manufacture would cost retirees their health care and retirements. Chances are GM would recover from Chapter 11 with a better business plan with much less expense. So who foots the bill if GM or all three go Chapter 11? All that extra health care, unemployment, loss of tax base and some forgiven debt goes back to the taxpayer, us. With no chance of repayment, this would be much worse than a loan with the intent of repayment.

    So while it is debatable whether a loan or Chapter 11 is better for the Big Three, a $25 billion loan is definitely better for the taxpayers and the economy of our country.

    So I'll end where I began on the quality of the products of Detroit. Before you, Mr. or Ms. Journalist continue to misinform the American public and turn them against one of the great industries that helped build this nation, I must ask you one question. Before you, Mr. or Madam Congressman vote to end health care and retirement benefits for 1 million retirees, eliminate 2.5 million of our nation's jobs, lose the technology that will lead us in the future and create an economic disaster including hundreds of billions of tax dollars lost, I ask this question not in the rhetorical sense. I ask it in the sincere, literal way. Can you tell me, have you driven a Ford lately?

    Jim Jackson
    Elkins

    car_designer
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  14.    #54  
    Quote Originally Posted by car_designer View Post
    I spend a lot of time reading and living this "automotive bailout" because it is such a hot topic at work. One thing for sure, is that I know how most of America feels about the big 3 Detroit automakers. The perception is that we are low tech, inefficient dinosaurs and that couldn't be farther from the truth.

    Facts are facts, but perception is reality (Albert Einstein)

    The problem we face is how to change that perception.

    Here is a good "letter to the editor" from a Ford dealership owner that challenges Americas perceptions. It would be interesting to see how you all think about the points that he makes.
    I know most of what was in that editorial -- and I may even agree with much of it -- but I was hoping to hear more from what you have to say.

    (BTW, yes Shelby is a lying deceiving hypocrite -- yes Alabama and the south are in bed with foreign car makers, and see themselves so aligned -- and as such are in opposition to Detroit. They almost want Detroit to fail.

    Initial build quality is a meaningless statistic -- what is important is consumer valuation after 2, 5, 10 years of ownership.

    What is that number ?? I haven't checked -- but I suspect its VERY important in keeping customers, engendering loyalty, and getting them to rebuy from the same car company.
    Last edited by BARYE; 12/11/2008 at 03:42 AM.
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  15. #55  
    I don't mind bailing out the big three as long as we bail out all the construction companys that are struggling, the small retail businesses that are having a hard time, oh yea don't forget the charter fishing businesses that have had a hard time like mine. Sure I don't mind but where do we draw the line? I didn't give
    Myself a 10 million dollar bonus this year. Matter of fact I didn't get one last year.
    Where these auto makers complaining when they where making 50 million a quarter? Did they help out the average taxpayer? I don't think so.
  16.    #56  
    Quote Originally Posted by captaindan View Post
    I don't mind bailing out the big three as long as we bail out all the construction companys that are struggling, the small retail businesses that are having a hard time, oh yea don't forget the charter fishing businesses that have had a hard time like mine. Sure I don't mind but where do we draw the line? I didn't give
    Myself a 10 million dollar bonus this year. Matter of fact I didn't get one last year.
    Where these auto makers complaining when they where making 50 million a quarter? Did they help out the average taxpayer? I don't think so.
    its incredibly seductive to want to compare how all the other companies in this country are being left for dead, writhing in the tar pits of this economy. Talk radio demogoques are no doubt lapping this stuff up by the second.

    Even I don't like these companies, or their managements, in particular.

    Sadly -- its not so simple or understandable for the average citizen or even a miselected "president".

    The number of jobs indirectly connected to these companies is incomprehensible. And beyond that there is the health care and pension obligations, plus the amount of their debt held by american banks -- all that is unimaginable in its size and consequences if it falls to government takeover.

    MANY banks would fail if these companies go bankrupt, a government takeover of their health care and pensions would monstrously further increase the national debt, and jobless auto workers would stop spending money, stop paying taxes, and would be up against it trying to find new jobs in this current economic atmosphere.
    Last edited by BARYE; 12/08/2008 at 09:48 PM.
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  17. #57  
    Have you read how many construction workers are out of jobs because of this economy and the housing market?
  18.    #58  
    Quote Originally Posted by captaindan View Post
    Have you read how many construction workers are out of jobs because of this economy and the housing market?
    huge numbers are out of work.

    people who worked hard and are personally blameless for their fate.

    But saving construction companies does nothing for the national economy as a whole -- which is all I care about.

    The situation is so potentially dire that I would do whatever is needed to prevent the spiral into a depression that is still a real possibility.

    The problem with housing began with the mortgage securitization fiasco -- which artificially raised the values of homes beyond a sustainable realistic level.

    Speculation took them to such stratospheric heights that bragging about how much someone made flipping properties became routine cocktail gossip.

    Because of the collapse of the credit system that is the result of this securitization mortgage scheme, almost no one can get or afford a mortgage now.

    Because of the massive numbers of foreclosed homes flooding the market being sold at less than comparable prices, home prices continue to plunge.

    Supply far outstrips demand -- and few want to risk buying a house that may well be worth less tomorrow than they're paying today.

    Helping home building companies so that they can add to the already saturated supply of houses does nothing to help the economy or those workers.

    The national economic system must be brought back to health -- and not every element of its fabric is of equal importance.
    Last edited by BARYE; 12/10/2008 at 12:44 PM.
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  19. #59  
    Instead of the last bail out why not split up all that money and give an equal share to every tax payer. That would have beenbetter for tv economy. What would you have done with your share? I don't know about you but I would have paid off my $220,000 mortgage and I think everyone would have done similar. That would have helped the economy more. Also would have taken care of the houseing crisis.
    Last month I heard there where 20,000 forclosures in Lee county Florida just north of us. That itself if you say average household has 4 people, is 80,000 people that is in trouble in one month. If you ask those people if they think you should bail out the auto industry I think they might say no. Why not help with this crisis. I know that the failure of the auto industry is a very big deal. But these companys have made a ton of money in the past and they are being mismanaged. No bailout is going to help them they are in huge trouble. They have more people on retirement then they do workers and that is one of there big problems. It is only going to get worse. The onlybway that Incan see to help that industry and Boone wants to hear it is get rid of the unions. They average about $75.00 an hour where as Asian auto workers average about $30.00.
  20.    #60  
    foreign auto company workers make about $47/hr I believe with benefits etc.

    You're right that the problem began with housing -- at least indirectly.

    The REAL problem was the securitization fiasco -- a pyramid scheme devised by geniuses, regulated by ideologically conservative idiots, and which has bankrupted and victimized the world.

    Back in the spring junior had the brilliant idea of giving everyone a check -- they bought TVs and ipods.

    There must be a systematic unflashy effort to stabilized home values.

    This will provide stability to home owners, banks that own securites based on home values, and the economy as a whole which suffers as people see their net worth evaporate.

    Letting people refinance or buy homes at mortgage rates of 4.5% is a important step toward providing that stabilization.

    This sort of thing should have been done in the summer of '07. When the prime rate is now about 1%, this is a total no brainer.

    Similarly the auto industry is one of the pillars of this country's economy -- letting it collapse would devastate businesses and people who think they have no connection whatsoever with Detroit.
    Last edited by BARYE; 12/12/2008 at 07:29 AM.
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