Superfly
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U.S. Auto Industry - Facts Vs. Fiction

Tue Dec 09, 2008 10:46 pm

Here are some facts that the press conveniently overlooks.

http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2008812050400
Bring back the Concorde
 
VonRichtofen
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RE: U.S. Auto Industry - Facts Vs. Fiction

Tue Dec 09, 2008 11:28 pm

Man the cost of providing benefits to employees is staggering. No wonder the big three built so many plants in Canada.
 
WunalaYann
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RE: U.S. Auto Industry - Facts Vs. Fiction

Wed Dec 10, 2008 12:26 am



Quoting Superfly (Thread starter):

A very interesting read. The Malibu looks good. How about a hatchback or a wagon?

As for salaries/UAW thingy, I have said all along that management was responsible for signing on contracts. I am interested in reading similar literature on benefits for the non-Detroit makers. Labour costs in Germany and Japan are not exactly cheap either.

I know that back in 1998 Chrysler was the world's most profitable car manufacturer on a unitary basis so there never was much doubt about their productivity.

Quoting VonRichtofen (Reply 1):
No wonder the big three built so many plants in Canada.

What is more of a wonder is that Canada is often perceived as a higher-tax, higher-benefit socialist heaven by many small government advocates on these boards.  scratchchin 

And reality says:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of...y_tax_revenue_as_percentage_of_GDP

Corporate tax:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tax_rates_around_the_world#List

Welfare:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Welfare_state#Data_and_statistics

Goes to show that reality is much more complex than slogans.

But I just veered off topic.  Smile
 
Superfly
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RE: U.S. Auto Industry - Facts Vs. Fiction

Wed Dec 10, 2008 1:19 am



Quoting WunalaYann (Reply 2):
What is more of a wonder is that Canada is often perceived as a higher-tax, higher-benefit socialist heaven by many small government advocates on these boards.

 checkmark 

Quoting WunalaYann (Reply 2):
Goes to show that reality is much more complex than slogans.

Amen to that and no, you didn't veer off topic at all.

Quoting WunalaYann (Reply 2):
As for salaries/UAW thingy, I have said all along that management was responsible for signing on contracts.

Well the Big three could have went the Wal-Mart route and be swimming in profits while workers are indirectly forced to work off the clock.
Luckily GM, Ford & Chrysler are outstanding corporate citizens that are picking up the responsibility that our government has failed to deliver.
Let's hope that changes in the near future with the new administration.

Quoting VonRichtofen (Reply 1):
Man the cost of providing benefits to employees is staggering. No wonder the big three built so many plants in Canada.

A nation with national health-care and more beer drinkers.  Silly
It's time for the USA to hop on board with the rest of the developed world and provide health-care for it's people.
Bring back the Concorde
 
FlyPNS1
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RE: U.S. Auto Industry - Facts Vs. Fiction

Wed Dec 10, 2008 1:37 am

But if all those facts are true, then why are the Big Three in such trouble AGAIN? If the cars are so great and the employees so productive, then they shouldn't need the bailout.
 
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falstaff
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RE: U.S. Auto Industry - Facts Vs. Fiction

Wed Dec 10, 2008 1:47 am

That was a great article. I read it in the Free Press.

The US builds great cars. We have built some junk, but so has everyone at one time or another. The Us built only one kind of car really badly and that was small cars. The US built and builds some of the best large cars in the world. Even here in rusty Detroit you still see thousands of full size 1970s and 1980s cars on the road. You see no 1970s and 1980s small cars. Why; because they sucked. The US builders made the transition from building large cars to small ones in a very short time. Toyota amd Honda went from small cars to big ones over a long period of time. Look how long it took for the US to have any competition in the truck market. Nobody could touch a Chevy, Ford, or Dodge.

I wonder how many of the people that knock American cars had a bad expierence with a some sad Ford Escort and think everything else built by Ford is no good? I bet that number is very high. How many Amercians think French cars suck because of some sad Renault they had (or heard about) in the 1980s?

My 1984 Chevy truck is a falling apart turd, with an unknown amount of miles. It runs like a top and I would drive it anywhere. That is a good quality truck.

You can not blame the Detroit three for being the only builders of large trucks and SUVs. The world saw the Detroit three making huge amounts of cash on them and they all wanted a piece of the pie. Even Honda decided to build a truck, it isn't much of a truck, but still.

The problem right now isn't trucks, cars, unions, or anyone else. It is the credit market. Most cars are bought on credit and people in the USA are not buying cars now. Sales figures for all makers selling cars in the USA have fallen sharply. If and when a credit cruch hits these other car builders they will have problems too.

I heard on WWJ radio this morning that the Detroit three saw their market share rise 1.8% last month.
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Superfly
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RE: U.S. Auto Industry - Facts Vs. Fiction

Wed Dec 10, 2008 1:47 am



Quoting FlyPNS1 (Reply 4):
But if all those facts are true, then why are the Big Three in such trouble AGAIN?

Cost of health-care.
Ford and General Motors has never received a bailout before.
Chrysler took out a loan in 1979 and it was paid back with interest in just three years.
Worth nothing, no one here n in the US is forced to buy new cars or replace their cars like in Japan. In Germany it's more expensive to own and keep an old car as well.
The competition gets round-about subsidies all the time.
Bring back the Concorde
 
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falstaff
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RE: U.S. Auto Industry - Facts Vs. Fiction

Wed Dec 10, 2008 1:56 am



Quoting FlyPNS1 (Reply 4):
But if all those facts are true, then why are the Big Three in such trouble AGAIN?

Because of the credit market. People buy cars on credit. People are not buying cars. Car builders are hurting. It just isn't the US builders. German builders are having credit problems too. Also the US builders have massive legacy costs. Keeping all those retirees paid for is killing them, but if they dumped them it would be a PR nighmare.

It isn't all the three US companies either. Ford isn't getting any money, it didn't ask for any. They went to Washington as a show of solidarity for the other too.

Chrylser should have stayed their own firm. They sell out in 1997 and look what happened. Diamler drains the cash and sells out. What a deal and Diamer come out looking great.

I don't want to bail them out either, but I don't want to be one of the largest and most powerful countries in the world and have no American car builders. All the the most influential countries in the world build their own cars it would be international embarrasment to let that industry leave this country.
My mug slaketh over on Falstaff N503
 
Superfly
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RE: U.S. Auto Industry - Facts Vs. Fiction

Wed Dec 10, 2008 2:01 am

Looks like Volkswagen is getting help from their government too.

http://www.dw-world.de/dw/function/0...0.html?maca=en-en_nr-1893-xml-atom


From the article;
Financial Services AG has been a major contributor to the profits of Volkswagen, Europe's biggest carmaker. Germany's car industry has been hit hard by the global financial crisis, which has plunged the country into recession and led to a rapid decline in sales.

.....and yet so many people here in the US think that German cars are perfect.  boggled 
Bring back the Concorde
 
MAH4546
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RE: U.S. Auto Industry - Facts Vs. Fiction

Wed Dec 10, 2008 2:05 am

"Myth 1" isn't a myth. Nobody actually buys American products, at least when it comes to cars. The article conveniently fails to differentiate between fleet and consumer sales. Fleet sales account for less than 5% of Honda car sales and less than 10% of Toyota car sales. However, they account at least 50% of car sales for every domestic non-luxury brand except Saturn and Buick.

[Edited 2008-12-09 18:05:44]
a.
 
NIKV69
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RE: U.S. Auto Industry - Facts Vs. Fiction

Wed Dec 10, 2008 2:06 am



Quoting VonRichtofen (Reply 1):
Man the cost of providing benefits to employees is staggering.

So is the fact that probably 8 out of 10 people would rather buy a Honda, Toyota or Nissan than a Buick.

Quoting WunalaYann (Reply 2):
What is more of a wonder is that Canada is often perceived as a higher-tax, higher-benefit socialist heaven by many small government advocates on these boards.

They are, they pay probably close to 8-10 percent more of their paycheck to taxes for the national healthcare. So?

Quoting Superfly (Reply 3):
Well the Big three could have went the Wal-Mart route and be swimming in profits while workers are indirectly forced to work off the clock

Big difference though people flock to Walmart to buy what they sell. American auto makers do not enjoy that reaction from their customers.

Quoting Superfly (Reply 3):
Luckily GM, Ford & Chrysler are outstanding corporate citizens that are picking up the responsibility that our government has failed to deliver.

So now Obama is going to give auto workers medical benefits for free? Man you are dreaming.

Quoting Superfly (Reply 3):
It's time for the USA to hop on board with the rest of the developed world and provide health-care for it's people.

Again send me some of what you are drinking, I need some of that!

Quoting FlyPNS1 (Reply 4):
If the cars are so great and the employees so productive, then they shouldn't need the bailout.

Superfly likes to leave out important details like that. I mean with the exception of F150, Silverado and Corvette (which are not the vehicle the normal commuter shops for) the US auto makers are way behind. So all the Superfly Canada free health care doesn't mean crap if you can't produce a product that will sell.
Hey that guy with the private jet can bail us out! Why? HE CAN AFFORD IT!
 
geekydude
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RE: U.S. Auto Industry - Facts Vs. Fiction

Wed Dec 10, 2008 2:14 am



Quoting Falstaff (Reply 5):
The problem right now isn't trucks, cars, unions, or anyone else. It is the credit market.

Allow me to rephrase, the problem right now IS trucks, cars, unions, AND the credit market, et etc; it's a perfect storm caused by a multitude of factors.

Saying that the credit market is the problem is basically the argument used by the auto CEO's begging for bailout checks. It's not that they were doing super prior to the unraveling of the subprime mortgage mess and the financial crisis. If I remember correctly, their market share had been continuously being chewed off by foreign competitors. If anything, the big autos need to conduct some serious self-examination, cut the-credit-market-caused-it-all talk, and let the tax payers know that the billions will not be burnt in vain.
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FlyPNS1
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RE: U.S. Auto Industry - Facts Vs. Fiction

Wed Dec 10, 2008 2:20 am



Quoting Superfly (Reply 6):
Cost of health-care.

So the American people should have to pay because the big three haven't renegotiated their contracts like every other company in America has? I think it's great that the Big Three help their retirees with healthcare, but the plans are ridiculous and they should have been renegotiated long ago. But the lazy management didn't want to be bothered, they just passed the problem down.

Quoting Superfly (Reply 6):
Worth nothing, no one here n in the US is forced to buy new cars or replace their cars like in Japan.



But that's offset by the fact that American's have much higher levels of car ownership than the Japanese. Percentagewise, far more American's have cars than Japanese (and practically every other country to). Not to mention more American households have multiple cars compared to Japan.

Quoting Superfly (Reply 6):
The competition gets round-about subsidies all the time.

So have the Big Three. Keep in mind they already have $25 billion coming to them before these loans.

Quoting Falstaff (Reply 5):
It is the credit market.

It's a good excuse, but it doesn't really fly. Anyone with a good credit score can still get credit. Most of the people who can't get credit have poor credit records and therefore shouldn't be getting credit and buying cars they can't afford.

It all goes back to the credit bubble where the automakers (and other industries) were building their business models on selling to people who couldn't really afford their product.
 
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LTU932
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RE: U.S. Auto Industry - Facts Vs. Fiction

Wed Dec 10, 2008 2:22 am

If those myths were exactly what the article says they are, myths, then why has General Motors been chronically in trouble for years?

IMO the collapse of the credit market is nothing but a small factor that has contributed to the Big Three being even more in trouble than they already were. Ford has been losing money for years, GM has been losing money for years, and Chrysler has been losing money for years.

And also, they get manipulated by the UAW to pay those people wages that are simply unrealistic. So basically, the problems in the US auto industry are more likely found in the incompetence of management, as well as outrageous benefits that were successfully pressed through by the United Auto Workers union, and this is something that has been ongoing for years. It's just now with the subprime crisis that this problem has been back in the national spotlight, when it was previously overlooked, when there were only sidenotes on national television about the shutdown of a GM factory.

Please tell me, when was the last time that the Big Three were fully profitable and debt free? When was the last time that the Big Three actually expanded in their core market, in the United States? And please tell me why the American tax payers have to pay for this because of management incompetence and the stranglehold of the union?

[Edited 2008-12-09 18:27:01]
 
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falstaff
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RE: U.S. Auto Industry - Facts Vs. Fiction

Wed Dec 10, 2008 2:25 am



Quoting MAH4546 (Reply 9):
However, they account at least 50% of car sales for every domestic non-luxury brand except Saturn and Buick.

Source???? There aren't that many fleets in the country to buy that many cars. Everyone I hang out with buys American cars. Take a drive to anywhere in the heartland of America and you will see all the people who buy American cars. There are millions of us.

Quoting NIKV69 (Reply 10):
So is the fact that probably 8 out of 10 people would rather buy a Honda, Toyota or Nissan

Where???? 8 out of 10 people don't drive Hondas, Toyotas, or Nissans. People have the choice to drive what they want.

Quoting NIKV69 (Reply 10):
I mean with the exception of F150, Silverado and Corvette (which are not the vehicle the normal commuter shops for

The F-150 has been a top seller for over thirty years so I think a lot of people are shopping for them. I travel all over the USA and I see F-150s and Chevy trucks all over the place. I also see lots of 20-40 year old ones too. They are great trucks that last a long time.

NIKV69, your signature mentions that McCain was country first. Maybe you should stop driving a Toyota, Honda, or Nissan and buy an American car. If America comes first, buy American and keep your country strong.

I am a right wing, gun nut, who loves America and I drive American cars. If anyone claims to love this country, but wants to see the US auto industry shut down they do not really love this country. Nobody who loves their country would want to see their country loss industrial power and economic might.
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NIKV69
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RE: U.S. Auto Industry - Facts Vs. Fiction

Wed Dec 10, 2008 2:26 am



Quoting LTU932 (Reply 13):
If those myths were exactly what the article says they are, myths, then why has General Motors been in chronically in trouble for years?

IMO the collapse of the credit market is nothing but a small factor that has contributed to the Big Three being even more in trouble than they already were. Ford has been losing money for years, GM has been losing money for years, and Chrysler has been losing money for years.

Exactly, they were a sinking ship. The collapse of the credit market was just the final nail.

Quoting LTU932 (Reply 13):
And also, they get manipulated by the UAW to pay those people wages that are simply unrealistic

Yep kind of what we saw with in the airline industry after deregulation.

Quoting LTU932 (Reply 13):
Please tell me, when was the last time that the Big Three were fully profitable and debt free? When was the last time that the Big Three actually expanded in their core market, in the United States?

Long before people realized the Toyota Camry was the end all to the daily driver.
Hey that guy with the private jet can bail us out! Why? HE CAN AFFORD IT!
 
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falstaff
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RE: U.S. Auto Industry - Facts Vs. Fiction

Wed Dec 10, 2008 2:28 am



Quoting LTU932 (Reply 13):
Please tell me, when was the last time that the Big Three were fully profitable and debt free?

Are there any debt free car builders in the world?
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LTU932
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RE: U.S. Auto Industry - Facts Vs. Fiction

Wed Dec 10, 2008 2:32 am



Quoting Falstaff (Reply 14):
The F-150 has been a top seller for over thirty years so I think a lot of people are shopping for them. I travel all over the USA and I see F-150s and Chevy trucks all over the place.

Just because you see lots of them, doesn't mean that those are best selling cars. Maybe you've been to places were pickups were truely needed, and not just something you buy because you like it.

It all depends on the regions you go. After all, not everyone will decide to have a pickup, just to drive it around in the traffic jams during rush hour in NYC or in some other major city.
 
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stasisLAX
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RE: U.S. Auto Industry - Facts Vs. Fiction

Wed Dec 10, 2008 2:46 am

The Big Three automakers have been unable to produce cars competitively, largely because they have to buy their employees’ and retiree’s healthcare through private insurance carriers. Auto workers in all other industrialized nations are covered by cost-effective national healthcare plans. Even the foreign manufacturers who produce vehicles here in the U.S. undercut Detroit by recruiting a younger, healthier workforce and have no "legacy" costs for large number of retirees. The real culprit is the never-ending skyrocketing costs of private carrier health insurance, the huge costs of today's high-tech medical care, and the greatly increased lifespans of retirees. These were things that Big Three and UAW executives could have never predicted.

Will this federal bail-out save Detroit? No, IMO. A national healthcare system would. A national health care system would allow automakers to cut thousands of dollars per car and truck off unit costs. If we Americans absolutely have to bail out the Big Three, I say let’s do it in a way that solves a real problem for many American industries: the huge financial burden of private employee and retiree health insurance.  yes 
"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety!" B.Franklin
 
flight152
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RE: U.S. Auto Industry - Facts Vs. Fiction

Wed Dec 10, 2008 2:46 am

The independent J.D. Power Initial Quality Study scored Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Ford, GMC, Mercury, Pontiac and Lincoln brands' overall quality as high as or higher than that of Acura, Audi, BMW, Honda, Nissan, Scion, Volkswagen and Volvo.

Wrong. Acura, BMW, Lexus, Porsche, Toyota, Honda and Infiniti all rank higher then Chevy, Hummer, Pontiac, GMC, Chrysler and Dodge which are all below industry average.
 
MAH4546
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RE: U.S. Auto Industry - Facts Vs. Fiction

Wed Dec 10, 2008 2:50 am



Quoting Falstaff (Reply 14):
Source???? There aren't that many fleets in the country to buy that many cars.

Rental car companies purchase over 1,000,000 American cars a year.

I cannot provide the source I used since it's a subscriber database.

I can, however, provide this source:

http://www.autoblog.com/2007/07/06/w...leet-sales-for-first-half-of-2007/

It's a good indicator of how things still are %-wise, roughly.

Quoting Falstaff (Reply 14):
Take a drive to anywhere in the heartland of America and you will see all the people who buy American cars.

And take a drive around South Florida, Southern California, or the Northern New Jersey/New York City areas - which are three of the biggest four volume car markets in the United States - and you'll see very few American cars. Toyota is the best selling brand in all three markets, Honda is number two in all three markets.
a.
 
dtw9
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RE: U.S. Auto Industry - Facts Vs. Fiction

Wed Dec 10, 2008 2:52 am



Quoting MAH4546 (Reply 9):
However, they account at least 50% of car sales for every domestic non-luxury brand except Saturn and Buick.

Not true. Heres the numbers from 2007 and they are declining

- 31% of total Ford vehicle sales were to fleet buyers
- 30% of total Chrysler vehicle sales were to fleet buyers
- 27% of total General Motors sales were to fleet buyers

The biggest problem is that the U.S. has become a dumping ground for auto makers from around the world. Japan is not an open market, nor is Korea. They can sell as many as they can in the U.S., but we are limited on the number we can sell in these countries. It's time for the Congress and Senate to grow some balls and level the playing field for the domestic auto makers.

Quoting LTU932 (Reply 13):
Chrysler has been losing money for years.

Wrong again. Chrysler made big profits right before Daimler ditched them.Being the great people they were, they transfered the Chrysler profits to Daimler and then jumped ship. And if you don't believe me read here,

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/17/bu.../worldbusiness/17daimler.html?_r=1
 
MAH4546
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RE: U.S. Auto Industry - Facts Vs. Fiction

Wed Dec 10, 2008 3:03 am

Quoting Dtw9 (Reply 21):
Quoting MAH4546 (Reply 9):
However, they account at least 50% of car sales for every domestic non-luxury brand except Saturn and Buick.

Not true. Heres the numbers from 2007 and they are declining

- 31% of total Ford vehicle sales were to fleet buyers
- 30% of total Chrysler vehicle sales were to fleet buyers
- 27% of total General Motors sales were to fleet buyers

I never said vehicles, though, I said cars (including mini-vans).

Domestic trucks don't sell heavily to fleets at all, typically less than 20%, even for full-size pickups. Only full-size vans skew towards fleet.

Chrysler Sebring, Chevrolet Malibu, Dodge Avenger, Chevrolet Impala, for example, are all over 60% fleet. Ford Taurus is creeping up to 60%+ as well.

Quoting Dtw9 (Reply 21):

The biggest problem is that the U.S. has become a dumping ground for auto makers from around the world. Japan is not an open market, nor is Korea. They can sell as many as they can in the U.S., but we are limited on the number we can sell in these countries. It's time for the Congress and Senate to grow some balls and level the playing field for the domestic auto makers.

The playing field is level. Japanese automakers have come to the U.S. market and built vehicles in the U.S. for U.S. tastes. American automakers have not done the same for Japan and Korea and have shown no interest in doing so. If lifting the quotas would actually solve something, than maybe the U.S. would bother. It solves nothing. Though there is a reason U.S. auto companies don't waste their time pressuring the government to do something about it.

Japan especially has such unique tastes in vehicles that American companies as is can't meet any quotas. Koreans, meanwhile, are ridiculously loyal to domestic brands.

There is nothing stopping U.S. automakers from doing some badge engineering in Japan, though past attempts by Ford by selling re-badged Mazdas in Japan, or past attempts by GM by selling rebadged Chevrolet Cavaliers and Pontiac Vibes as Toyota vehicles have failed.

[Edited 2008-12-09 19:10:03]
a.
 
dtw9
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RE: U.S. Auto Industry - Facts Vs. Fiction

Wed Dec 10, 2008 3:22 am



Quoting MAH4546 (Reply 22):
American automakers have not done the same for Japan and Korea and have shown no interest in doing so.

You better do your research on that comment. You will find just how way off base you are. Do you know what "Not an open market" means?.
 
WunalaYann
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RE: U.S. Auto Industry - Facts Vs. Fiction

Wed Dec 10, 2008 3:23 am



Quoting NIKV69 (Reply 10):
They are, they pay probably close to 8-10 percent more of their paycheck to taxes for the national healthcare. So?

Boo hoo. And they get excellent public services for it. The point is that their higher taxes has not prevented US automakers from building cars in Canada, quite the opposite. Just like Germany and Japan, two countries with notoriously high labour costs, are still two of the largest car manufacturers in the world. I could add France and Italy to the mix, two countries with allegedly high tax rates and strong car manufacturing industries.

The whole point is that there is no correlation (as opposed to easily identifiable causality) between labour costs/taxes and manufacturing and profits in the case of the automotive industry.
 
ltbewr
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RE: U.S. Auto Industry - Facts Vs. Fiction

Wed Dec 10, 2008 3:31 am

I choose to buy a car that is made in a UAW/CAW plant. My current car, a 2006 Mazda 6, is assembled in a UAW plant in Flat Rock, Michigan. It's engine as well as about 65% of it's content is made in the USA. Now many other components are made outside the USA and Canada, like from Japan (Transmission), Malaysia (headlamp assemblies), Mexico (wiring) for example, but that is true for most 'American' brand or assembled cars. As to quality, not one problem not of my own fault in the over 2 years and 29,000 miles I have had it.

Still, there are some models that are dogs, with poor overall or component design that turn off or have turned off many buyers. That has meant that to sell enough units, they have to cut the price or offer heavy discounts, rebates, financing deals to offset the higher prices for Honda, Toyota, Nissan and other brands.

Others have commented on the many factors and possible ways out for the current crises of the USA's 'big 3', but I would like to add one. Clearly the production model has to be changed. Currently, most cars are made on 'spec', that is a constant rate of production and most cars then forwarded to dealers to sell from the lot. That means if there is a change in demand, like with less demand for SUV's in the recent run up in gas prices, they will have too much product and the price has to drop, costly incentives offered and less profits or major losses. That also means much higher costs for stock financing and other overhead costs for dealers and manufacturers. Perhaps what needs to occur is to go to a more 'just in time' production style, that is only make it when the orders come in like with Dell computers or as most cars were made and sold years ago. Honda, Toyota and so on match production to demand much more closely reducing those costs and not having to cut prices or offer incentives to sell the already made units. Of course the USA/CAW may have to accept an end or substantual reductions in the 'job bank' pay (that is pay for not working up to 2 years when demand is lower), fewer plants operating more efficiently or possibly even having shortages of demanded product. This may be the only way they can survive.
 
QFA380
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RE: U.S. Auto Industry - Facts Vs. Fiction

Wed Dec 10, 2008 3:33 am



Quoting Falstaff (Reply 14):
If anyone claims to love this country, but wants to see the US auto industry shut down they do not really love this country.

That is one of the most ridiculous statements I think I've ever read on this website.

Nobody wants to see it shut down but they also don't want to see their tax dollars going towards bailing out a few companies that p, not many people want to see tax dollars given to corporations that have been mismanaged for years but now see an opportunity to receive money from the government.

If you love your country, fight for the free market economic principles on which it was founded, not government intervention that will just put a few companies on life support at the expense of taxpayers.

Quoting Falstaff (Reply 14):
Nobody who loves their country would want to see their country loss industrial power and economic might.

Then why do you support a bailout of the auto industry? Higher taxes/foregin debt/printed money to fund this bailout will certainly create a loss of economic might
 
MAH4546
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RE: U.S. Auto Industry - Facts Vs. Fiction

Wed Dec 10, 2008 3:34 am



Quoting LTBEWR (Reply 25):
Honda, Toyota and so on match production to demand much more closely reducing those costs and not having to cut prices or offer incentives to sell the already made units.

One way Honda does this, though, is limiting option combinations.

For most Hondas the question is:

1) Pick a trim level (typically 3-4 choices).
2) Pick a color.
3) Auto or manual?
3) Cloth or leather?
5) Navigation or no navigation?

Everything else is dealer installed. Back in the day they even had the leather seats installed at the dealer.
a.
 
geekydude
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RE: U.S. Auto Industry - Facts Vs. Fiction

Wed Dec 10, 2008 4:06 am



Quoting Dtw9 (Reply 21):
The biggest problem is that the U.S. has become a dumping ground for auto makers from around the world. Japan is not an open market, nor is Korea. They can sell as many as they can in the U.S., but we are limited on the number we can sell in these countries. It's time for the Congress and Senate to grow some balls and level the playing field for the domestic auto makers.

I have serious doubts about your statement. If US produced cars are losing market shares rapidly on their own turf, how confident you are when you say, given that the playing field can be completely leveled, Detroit can get even by selling more in Japan and Korea, which are much smaller markets and where consumer tastes are vastly different?

Let me give you an example. China currently does not yet sell cars to the US market, while American cars can be sold in China. GM has long set up a joint venture in Shanghai and they have been producing among other things Buicks. It used to that the Buick is the quintessential luxury car in China that it had a firm hold in the market. But with the advent of more and more Euorpean, Japanese and Korean car manufacturers setting up shops in China, the Buick supremacy has been seriously eroded. Chinese car buyers, like everyone else, chose the best combination of price and quality; and once given more choice, American cars usually quickly fall out of favor.

The Chevy Blazer story is even more interesting. Obviously Chevy betted on the Chinese noveau riche taking a liking of their SUVs and they spent hundreds of millions of dollars setting up an assembly line in northern China a few years ago. Big mistake! It turned out that the Chinese are not fond of their blazers, they'd rather have Honda CRVs! So all the initial investment was wasted and they had to shut down production facility.

This goes to show that you cannot count on producing more cars and being successful even if a foreign country,like China, allows you access to its market. It's the quality and the price of the vehicle that matter the most. Leveling the playing field in this sense does not garantee success of the US auto industry at all.
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Superfly
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RE: U.S. Auto Industry - Facts Vs. Fiction

Wed Dec 10, 2008 4:25 am



Quoting Falstaff (Reply 14):
NIKV69, your signature mentions that McCain was country first. Maybe you should stop driving a Toyota, Honda, or Nissan and buy an American car. If America comes first, buy American and keep your country strong.

 checkmark 

But it's a lot easy to wrap yourself in the American flag, vote Republican and wear your faux patriotism on your sleeve like a designer brand but take no action on your part.


Flight152:
From your list, you ignored that Buick, Mercury, Lincoln, Ford, Cadillac ranks above average.
In fact they rank far above your beloved Mercedes.

Quoting Falstaff (Reply 16):
Are there any debt free car builders in the world?

Be careful with those questions.
You may air some dirty laundry from those import brands that are supposed to be 'perfect'.
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MAH4546
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RE: U.S. Auto Industry - Facts Vs. Fiction

Wed Dec 10, 2008 4:30 am



Quoting Geekydude (Reply 28):
the Buick supremacy has been seriously eroded

Buick is still one of the best selling car-brands in China.
a.
 
geekydude
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RE: U.S. Auto Industry - Facts Vs. Fiction

Wed Dec 10, 2008 4:47 am

Quoting MAH4546 (Reply 30):
Buick is still one of the best selling car-brands in China.

Still is, I believe so; and this is largely due to its first-move advantage. Given time, the brand will face more and more challenges from a host of domestic Chinese and foreign producers. GM China will have to constantly reinvent itself to maintain its lead.

There is a Chinese proverb that says a camel starved to death is still bigger than a horse. GM is like that camel who's just started to go hungry.

[Edited 2008-12-09 20:48:56]
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RE: U.S. Auto Industry - Facts Vs. Fiction

Wed Dec 10, 2008 1:35 pm

Quoting LTU932 (Reply 17):
Just because you see lots of them, doesn't mean that those are best selling cars

The F-150 is the best selling truck in the USA. As of November 2008 it was the best selling vehicle in the entire country. The Chevy Silverado was a close second. Then came the Toyota Camery and Honda Accord. The source of this info is Rueters. You can't argue that the F-150 is a slow seller.

Quoting LTBEWR (Reply 25):
I choose to buy a car that is made in a UAW/CAW plant. My current car, a 2006 Mazda 6, is assembled in a UAW plant in Flat Rock, Michigan.

Good for you... I was just at that plant yesterday, picking up a 09 Mazda 6 donated to my school.

Quoting QFA380 (Reply 26):
That is one of the most ridiculous statements I think I've ever read on this website.

Would you like to see the auto builders leave your country? I bet not. Do you want to support your country. I hope you do. Everyone should do what they can to help keep whatever country they live in strong.

Who cares about what fleets buy what. Regardless of what cars the fleets buy they still need to buy cars.

Not all fleets buy American cars because they get some sort of good deal. A lot of fleets buy US cars because they want to buy American products that help other American businesses. I'll give you an example. My dad worked for Union Carbide for years and they always bought US built cars for their company cars. Even in the 1980s when my dad was making decisions about cars for one of their division's fleets he choose GM because they were good customers of Union Carbide products.

The US government is a huge buyer of cars and trucks. Does anyone think they would buy anything but US made cars. It would look bad if they did. I would think that most countries in the world have a large fleet of government cars and trucks. I would think that if those countries build their own cars and trucks their government would be buying them.

[Edited 2008-12-10 06:00:31]
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RE: U.S. Auto Industry - Facts Vs. Fiction

Wed Dec 10, 2008 2:50 pm



Quoting LTU932 (Reply 13):
they get manipulated by the UAW to pay those people wages that are simply unrealistic. So basically, the problems in the US auto industry are more likely found in the incompetence of management, as well as outrageous benefits that were successfully pressed through by the United Auto Workers union, and this is something that has been ongoing for years.

You make a good point. The UAW isn't the only signature on those contracts. Back when the cars builders were making big profits they just singed whatever in order to keep the money flowing in.

I am in a union and I think the UAW gives the rest of us union people a bad name. I do get tired of hearing undereducated people bitching that they don't get a fair shake from the car builders.

Recently a story on WWJ radio in Detroit talked about the $5 a day wage that Ford paid in 1914. They were talking about how great that was and that we have gone from bragging about how much we paid our auto workers to complaining about it. They didn't mention that $5 a day in 1914 would equal $120.33 a day in 2007. That would be $12.80 an hour for an 8 eight hour day. Plus there would be no benefits. So that $5 a day figure really isn't very impressive.

Don't get me wrong there are plenty of people who work hard every day building cars and trucks and they deserve their pay. But there are plenty of dead beats in the industry who are working in jobs that pay far more than what they would be paid in an another industry.

There are plenty of plant jobs that deserve high pay. There are others that do not. Some jobs take more skill than others.

There are also lots of people in the plants that get paid way more than the workers in the office. When I worked in the office at Ford we dreamed we would get the benefits, pay, holidays, and work rules that our coworkers in the plants got. I would talk with plant guys who all assumed that we all got paid way more than them and had better benefits. They were always amazed when I told them about our pay and benefit structure. I was amazed that so few plant guys socialized with office guys. I had more than one UAW guy tell me that the office guys should try to get in the union.

Skilled labor isn't cheap and unskilled labor is cheap. Some people seem to have forgotten that.

I can't knock the UAW or any other union for going after the interests of the employees. That is their job. They are serving their own self interest, like every other business.
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PPVRA
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RE: U.S. Auto Industry - Facts Vs. Fiction

Wed Dec 10, 2008 3:08 pm

I don't have the time to write much more right now, but I'll be back later. Just two quick points:

Quote:
Reality: Chrysler tied Toyota as the most productive automaker in North America this year, according to the Harbour Report on manufacturing, which measures the amount of work done per employee. Eight of the 10 most productive vehicle assembly plants in North America belong to Chrysler, Ford or GM.

Productivity is usually measured in labor hours, and doesn't necessarily take wages into account.

Still, while labor productivity is good, but still doesn't mean it's a reason to bail them out. I'm sure Lehman Brother's employees were productive as well.

Quote:
The oft-cited $70-an-hour wage and benefit figure for UAW workers inaccurately adds benefits that millions of retirees get to the pay of current workers, but divides the total only by current employees. That's like assuming you get your parents' retirement and Social Security benefits in addition to your own income.

Social Security generally gets subtracted from paychecks, directly and/or indirectly, while it seems the problem here is that UAW employees and retirees are having the cake and eating it too (I'm not even sure if I used this expression right, but you get my drift). Instead, they get comparable wages to Toyota, but get many benefits on top that Toyota workers aren't getting, even if it is later in life, all without having to take a pay cut to fund these benefits they wish to have.

If the comparison made by the article was fair, then the Big 3 are wasting money with union dues.

[Edited 2008-12-10 07:27:11]
"If goods do not cross borders, soldiers will" - Frederic Bastiat
 
jush
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RE: U.S. Auto Industry - Facts Vs. Fiction

Wed Dec 10, 2008 3:52 pm



Quoting Dtw9 (Reply 21):
The biggest problem is that the U.S. has become a dumping ground for auto makers from around the world. Japan is not an open market, nor is Korea. They can sell as many as they can in the U.S., but we are limited on the number we can sell in these countries. It's time for the Congress and Senate to grow some balls and level the playing field for the domestic auto makers.

Well I don't know about Japan. But even if you could export as many American cars to Europe as you like you wouldn't sell but a few. We just don't like them.

Ford, Chrysler, GM plus German Opel and a lot of others are in a structural crisis for over a decade now. They get helped a lot since ages.

I would like to see some of them going down so others can try to be profitable on their core business which is selling cars.

Even VW wasn't doing this. In fact they made a loss on selling cars ( in 2006) and their profit came from other markets such as their rental company and their "finance" department.

A shame that motor companies all over the world can't make money by selling cars.

Regds
jush
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L410Turbolet
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RE: U.S. Auto Industry - Facts Vs. Fiction

Wed Dec 10, 2008 3:59 pm



Quoting Falstaff (Reply 5):
I wonder how many of the people that knock American cars had a bad expierence with a some sad Ford Escort and think everything else built by Ford is no good?

Does it really matter? Perception is very much an irrational thing and if the public in its majority belives that Fords or Chevrolets are crap then there only two options for the manufacturers: a) keep complaining about how unjust is it that the average Joe Sixpack views your product as inefficient, poorly built p.o.s.
b) do something about it
Lame excuses about legislation which has been adopted 30 years ago and which applies to everyone being the prime cause of all the ills of US automakers are good only for a.net.
How come Japanese manufacturers managed during the same time overcame the stigma of a ridiculed, cheap, poorly build cars and enjoy the positive perception they do? And even successfully introduce high-end brands like Lexus or Acura as a bonus?
How come even Fiat managed to turn the fortunes around in about a decade...? In an environent with high labor costs and militant strike-like-there-is-no-tommorrow unions.
 
Superfly
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RE: U.S. Auto Industry - Facts Vs. Fiction

Wed Dec 10, 2008 6:14 pm



Quoting L410Turbolet (Reply 36):
b) do something about it

They have.

Quoting PPVRA (Reply 34):
I'm sure Lehman Brother's employees were productive as well.

Apparently not.
At least GM and Chrysler actually makes a product.



About all of this talk about "re-negotiating contracts with employees".
Can anyone give examples of a respectable American-based company that is swimming in profits that GM and Chrysler should adopt?
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Molykote
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RE: U.S. Auto Industry - Facts Vs. Fiction

Wed Dec 10, 2008 6:55 pm



Quoting Superfly (Thread starter):
Here are some facts that the press conveniently overlooks.

Regardless of whether one agrees or disagrees with how these issues were presented in your link, all of these problems are secondary to the fact that (apart from a handful of cars) the big 3 generally fail to make cars people actually want. Regardless of issues you may have with the car (or people who buy them), people want BMWs (and Hondas in a different market segment). Don't tell me that the big 3 wouldn't do nearly anything to have the same level of desireability attached to their own vehicles.

Because most domestic products are lacking for one reason or another, the companies are forced to resort to massive price cuts or low margin fleet sales. Granted, at present, all car manufacturers are offering more incentives than they would generally. However, prior to this economic downturn, the sticker price on most domestic vehicles was a joke - it left much more room for negotiation than that on import vehicles (particularly when comparing the higher end imports/domestics).

Some may cite the large number of vehicles sold by domestic manufacturers (particularly in the area of large trucks). The problem with this point (as noted above) is yield. It's conceptually the same situation as airline traffic to Florida. Although carriers have no problem consistently running high loads to this destination, it's primarily the result of offering bottom dollar prices simply to keep the operation running.

Admittedly, in both of these cases (cars and airlines), demand does exist - but largely at a price point that does little to contribute to the operation's bottom line. I am not saying the this airline analogy is perfect (it's not for a number of reasons). However, in the case of automobiles, competitors appear to have little trouble producing products with credible sticker prices and higher levels of demand than the domestic competition.

For what it's worth, I do buy domestic when warranted by the quality or value of the product. Domestic vehicles have certainly improved on the whole in the last 5-10 years. If this keeps up, I intend to at least consider one when my current primary driver ('02 with 59k) is out of breath. The latest Malibu has received great reviews in the press. Although not my type of vehicle, my dad has one on order as his next company car. I'll be anxious to compare the press reviews against my impressions and my dad's operating experience over ~50k miles.
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Superfly
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RE: U.S. Auto Industry - Facts Vs. Fiction

Wed Dec 10, 2008 7:51 pm



Quoting Molykote (Reply 38):
The latest Malibu has received great reviews in the press. Although not my type of vehicle, my dad has one on order as his next company car. I'll be anxious to compare the press reviews against my impressions and my dad's operating experience over ~50k miles.

My sister has a new Chevrolet Impala as her company car. She hates American cars but loves the Impala. If the rave reviews of the Malibu are the same for the Impala, then this is were GM needs to emphasize the success of these nameplates.
She was the one that had the lemon Range Rover a few years back.

As far as reliability, that hasn't been a problem for GM in a long time. Those bugs were knocked out shortly after the last time the government mandated how their cars were made.
The problem with GM is that they seem to be ashamed of their heritage.
One thing that irks me is this new alphabet soup nameplates they have changed to.
There was nothing wrong with the Sedan DeVille, Seville, Park Avenue, LeSabre, Century, Regal, Cutlass, Bonneville, Grand Prix, etc.
This G8, G6, CTS, XLR, STD, DTS, STS, ETC has to go. They really don't mean anything.
Also, what was the point of the Aztec? Escalade EXT, Avalanche? and the entire Hummer brand?
That should have never happened!
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Molykote
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RE: U.S. Auto Industry - Facts Vs. Fiction

Wed Dec 10, 2008 8:32 pm



Quoting Superfly (Reply 39):
As far as reliability, that hasn't been a problem for GM in a long time.

I didn't criticize the reliability of any domestic vehicle in my last post.

My earlier point remains:

Quoting Molykote (Reply 38):
the big 3 generally fail to make cars people actually want

You or I could point out the ways in which a given vehicle excels over another (import or domestic) but the consumer's willingness to pay a given price for a vehicle is what determines its fair market value.

Saying that a Buick (arbitrary example) provides more trunk space and power than a Toyota of the same price would probably be a point to the Buick's credit. However, if the overall car doesn't have the same seamless integration/appeal of a competitior (for whatever reasons the consumer decides), arguing that the Buick is better simply because of parameters X, Y, and Z is useless.

Quoting Superfly (Reply 39):
STD

 Smile

I think the segment of the market for which your branding/heritage argument is valid isn't relevant/large enough to explain the current state of the industry. As an example, the latest T-bird (although not my type of car) wasn't a bad design execution. Ford did a good job of producing the vehicle they set out to design. My old neighbor, who had several cars like this in his past, loved it. The problem was that it wasn't a car that a significant portion of the population wanted.

There is nothing wrong with producing niche vehicles like the T-bird but they should complement and strenghten the brand image of an existing bread and butter product line.

An example of what I think is another great design execution by Ford is the Ford GT (although I'll probably never be able to afford one). This car did have significant reliability/teething problems but does illustrate that Ford can make a capable vehicle.

Ford should execute some mainline (bland if you will) designs as well as the GT (that whole thing about doing a common thing uncommonly well). Cars like the Fusion and related platforms are a decent enough start (a coworker has one and the mechanical underpinnings are pretty decent). I'm also willing to excuse some of cheap touches for the price. However, if they hadn't put so many cheap touches on the car, maybe they could have sold it to my coworker for more than $15.7k brand new! (way under sticker with some options).
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Superfly
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RE: U.S. Auto Industry - Facts Vs. Fiction

Wed Dec 10, 2008 8:45 pm



Quoting Molykote (Reply 40):
I didn't criticize the reliability of any domestic vehicle in my last post.

No worries.
I didn't accuse you of that.

Quoting Molykote (Reply 40):
Quoting Superfly (Reply 39):
STD

Smile

 Embarrassment  banghead 
...and there is a perfect example of the problem with this alphabet soup non-sense. It's so easy to get these names mixed up with some unsavory acronyms.  boggled 
The final years of the Cadillac Eldorado had a ETC model.
WTF?!?!  Wow!
Ooops, WTF could easily be a GM name in the near future.
That would have been perfect for the Aztec.  Smile

Quoting Molykote (Reply 40):
the latest T-bird (although not my type of car) wasn't a bad design execution. Ford did a good job of producing the vehicle they set out to design. .........The problem was that it wasn't a car that a significant portion of the population wanted.

That was a beautiful car!  yes 
The problem was that it came out during the 1st. Bush recession. Very few people are going to spend over $50,000 on a two-seater roadster in tough economic times. High-end brands can still do that as they have a loyal and very rich market that wouldn't dare think about buying a Ford.
Personally I wish it had more low-end torque.
That 3.9 V8 is a great and very efficient engine but too much of a high-reving engine for my taste.
Now if that Thunderbird had the 5.4 engine.  drool 

Quoting Molykote (Reply 40):
Cars like the Fusion and related platforms are a decent enough start (a coworker has one and the mechanical underpinnings are pretty decent). I'm also willing to excuse some of cheap touches for the price. However, if they hadn't put so many cheap touches on the car, maybe they could have sold it to my coworker for more than $15.7k brand new! (way under sticker with some options).

I hear what you are saying.
I do like the Mercury variant better as it has better looking touches to it. I've always like the Mercury versions better.
Bring back the Concorde
 
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RE: U.S. Auto Industry - Facts Vs. Fiction

Wed Dec 10, 2008 8:55 pm



Quoting Superfly (Reply 39):
Escalade EXT,



Quoting Superfly (Reply 39):
and the entire Hummer brand?

You have to have something to appeal to the thug market. I know around here those are G-thug vehicles.

One thing that gets overlooked by a lot of people in the industry are the vast amounts of people in the USA that are from someplace other than USA. Most of my friends are "regular Americans" what I mean by that is that they and their families have been in the USA for over 100 years. We have memories of great American cars and have heard stories from many of our family members and friends of their great American cars. The few friends I have the are new to this country or are only a generation removed from new imagrants do not have that same fondness for older American cars. They do not have the family heritage and the history with those cars. Therefore when they buy a new car they don't just buy a Ford or Chevy because that is what I always drove. Or they may not say something like "My dad always talked about his 1965 Mustang and now I am going to buy a new model". US car builders have recently spent a lot of time living on the past. That works with some buyers.

Take the new Dodge Challenger as an example. That appeals to people who have a memories of the original and want a modern version. If I am new to this country and have no frame of reference to the original car why would I want to buy it.

When I go to vintage car shows I see white, hispanic, and black Americans there. Those people have a long heritage that goes with those cars that goes back generations. I never see Asians, Arabs, Africans, etc. When I go to a European car show, in the USA, I see a lot of people of recent European decent. Why? probably because they have a cultural connection to those cars. I would suspect that if I ever saw a vintage Japanese car show I would see Japanese people there.
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PHLBOS
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RE: U.S. Auto Industry - Facts Vs. Fiction

Wed Dec 10, 2008 9:03 pm



Quoting Molykote (Reply 40):
As an example, the latest T-bird (although not my type of car) wasn't a bad design execution. Ford did a good job of producing the vehicle they set out to design. My old neighbor, who had several cars like this in his past, loved it. The problem was that it wasn't a car that a significant portion of the population wanted.

The biggest problem w/the last T-Bird wasn't with the vehicle itself; it was with the timing of its release with respect with what was occuring with the economy at the time. Had the T-Bird been released 2-to-3 years earlier (when the economy was a little better); it probably would've had more buyers. Not sure how many because the last T-Bird, as you said, was a niche 2-seater and such vehicles usually don't sell enough even in the best of times to qualify as bread-and-butter vehicles; although attempts with 2-seaters like the Ford EXP and Pontiac Fiero were tried but ultimately failed.

Quoting Falstaff (Reply 5):
I wonder how many of the people that knock American cars had a bad expierence with a some sad Ford Escort and think everything else built by Ford is no good?

I encountered that more with people whose last American vehicle was the GM FWD X-body during the 80s. They swore off GM (or any domestic make) ever since.

Another often-overlooked reason why some may leave American brands for imports is how a buyer/owner is treated at either the dealership or the service center. If those at multiple GM dealerships/service centers treats you like dung (regardless of the vehicle in question); the chances are pretty good that you will take your business to a dealership of a different make... although there are many dealerships of different makes that are owned by the same company/owner so this can get tricky.

True story: due to the poor treatment received at one Ford dealership, when my brother's mother-in-law's lease on her Windstar was due to expire; she left Ford for Honda (where she leased a pricier CR-V) for that very reason. The Ford dealership in question wouldn't even return her phone calls when she called for either questions or to make a service appointment.

So sometimes, one may switch brands not just because of the product but due to the service or treatment they receive.
"TransEastern! You'll feel like you've never left the ground because we treat you like dirt!" SNL Parady ad circa 1981
 
Superfly
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RE: U.S. Auto Industry - Facts Vs. Fiction

Wed Dec 10, 2008 9:05 pm



Quoting Falstaff (Reply 42):
I would suspect that if I ever saw a vintage Japanese car show I would see Japanese people there.

Is there such a thing as a 'vintage Japanese car'?
Is there enough to fill a show?
Their early cars like sardine cars on wheels.
The only older Japanese car I like is the early 1980s Toyota Cressida. I don't think those are considered vintage though.

Quoting Falstaff (Reply 42):
You have to have something to appeal to the thug market. I know around here those are G-thug vehicles.

Not a good business model.  no 
I don't like the idea of having vehicles ghettoized straight from the factory.
The high theft rate, high repossession rate, leads to high insurance rates and negative stereotypes of your own brand.
The thugs will just have to find an used Chevrolet and ghettoize it themselves.
As long as they don't f--k with my older Lincolns, I am happy.  Smile
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Superfly
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RE: U.S. Auto Industry - Facts Vs. Fiction

Wed Dec 10, 2008 9:17 pm



Quoting PHLBOS (Reply 43):
Another often-overlooked reason why some may leave American brands for imports is how a buyer/owner is treated at either the dealership or the service center.

Very true!
Remember this incident I had last year a Ford dealership here in San Francisco?

I Made A Car Salesman Vomit On A Test Drive
http://www.airliners.net/aviation-fo...on_aviation/read.main/1776991/1/#1

Quoting PHLBOS (Reply 43):
Had the T-Bird been released 2-to-3 years earlier (when the economy was a little better); it probably would've had more buyers.

Very true.
That car would have been more successful under the peacetime, robust economy of the Clinton/Gore era.

Quoting PHLBOS (Reply 43):
the Ford EXP

Oh gosh I have terrible memories being squeezed in the back of my neighbors Ford EXP.  Sad
I was friends with his daughter and he'd take us to get ice cream in either his EXP or his other car which was a Bricklyn.
Never understood why one would buy a EXP when they also had a Bricklyn in the garage.
Bring back the Concorde
 
PHLBOS
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RE: U.S. Auto Industry - Facts Vs. Fiction

Wed Dec 10, 2008 9:30 pm



Quoting Superfly (Reply 45):
they also had a Bricklyn in the garage.

 confused  What's a Bricklyn?
"TransEastern! You'll feel like you've never left the ground because we treat you like dirt!" SNL Parady ad circa 1981
 
WunalaYann
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RE: U.S. Auto Industry - Facts Vs. Fiction

Wed Dec 10, 2008 9:47 pm



Quoting Superfly (Reply 39):
Sedan DeVille, Seville, Park Avenue, LeSabre, Century, Regal, Cutlass, Bonneville, Grand Prix, etc.

Interestingly enough, two thirds of these names are French.  scratchchin 

Quoting Superfly (Reply 44):
Is there such a thing as a 'vintage Japanese car'?
Is there enough to fill a show?

Datsun Zs, Toyota Celicas? Plus those I don't even know...

Quoting PHLBOS (Reply 43):
Another often-overlooked reason why some may leave American brands for imports is how a buyer/owner is treated at either the dealership or the service center.

Funny you mention that - there was an article on yahoo last night about a dealer in the South East who launched an ad campaign calling buyers of Japanese and European cars "anti-American". Very constructive, tolerant and conducive to business.  sarcastic 
 
Superfly
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RE: U.S. Auto Industry - Facts Vs. Fiction

Wed Dec 10, 2008 9:47 pm



Quoting PHLBOS (Reply 46):
What's a Bricklyn?

Oooops, I mis-spelled it.
Bricklin.

Come one PHLBOS, you know what these are.  Smile
Bring back the Concorde
 
Molykote
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RE: U.S. Auto Industry - Facts Vs. Fiction

Wed Dec 10, 2008 9:47 pm



Quoting Superfly (Reply 44):
Is there such a thing as a 'vintage Japanese car'?

- 240Z
- Early Supra

Admittedly, not a long list but I am sure some could add to it.

Quoting PHLBOS (Reply 43):
Another often-overlooked reason why some may leave American brands for imports is how a buyer/owner is treated at either the dealership or the service center.

I would agree with this but some brands (BMW) have a terrible dealer reputation. They can still sell cars because they have products consumers want. Of course, dealer service is an important element of overall customer satisfaction (look at Lexus).

Cool site:
http://www.dealerrater.com/

I order all my BMW parts from an out of state dealership (Tischer BMW in Maryland) because they are a pleasure to deal with. Most BMW dealers aren't. I happened to know about this dealer before finding the above site but it might be worth checking out for someone who doesn't have a tolerable local dealer.

Quoting Superfly (Reply 45):
Remember this incident I had last year a Ford dealership here in San Francisco?
I Made A Car Salesman Vomit On A Test Drive

Probably more to do with the ride quality provided by the archiac rear suspension! I actually don't think the current Mustang is a bad vehicle but this is another example of where a little extra money spent by Ford would be a good thing. Give me an independent rear suspension and upgrade the materials. I saw one write up suggesting that Ford reported a $5k price increase would be necessary to provide an independent rear suspension (I have a hard time believing this unless they wanted to recover R&D costs in a year of production).

I don't think the fundamental layout of the Mustang interior is bad - just a bit cheap. The example I use is my coworker's car with nearly all options save the auto (nice blue metallic paint). The engine is nice but I'd honestly have something like a 4.0L I-6 if it could take some weight off the front wheels (I'd prefer the smoothness too but I get the sense that people buying this car don't want a smooth engine). We were recently driving the car on roads that I routinely drive in my 330Ci. The rear end of the car doesn't feel happy at all roads that I am quite familiar with.

Ford should increase the price by $2k and improve the suspension (reworking the platform if needed). The new Camaro isn't my type of car either (and is ugly IMO) but looks like it's going to be much better than the Mustang.
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