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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-12-2008, 11:22 AM Thread Starter
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Forum Members: Please Help Gm And Cadillac Out

Hi Jerry,

Good to hear from you. Yes these are very difficult times for GM and the American auto industry. In fact we can use your help and the Forum's help. As you know GM is looking for help from the U.S. government to help us through the difficult times. Below is a web that helps to explain the situation we are in and how to help. Basically we need everyone to contact congress and tell them to approve the money for GM. Would you be kind enough to post this on the forum and tell all the members to contact congress and support GM with these loans?

And of course Cadillac support you with your work on the forum.

It would be a big help if the forum was with us.

www.gmfactsandfiction.com


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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-12-2008, 12:35 PM
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We just had a special broadcast with the GM executives that outlined this program.
After you log into www.gmfactsandfiction.com then click the:
"I Am A Concerned American" button.
*
It will then ask for your name and mailing address then hit the "Mobilize" button.
*
It will take you to your Congressman & Senators section to click on the drop down menu. Please choose the appropriate item such as "Economy" & "Transportation" after you submit the form it will take you to a phone script for you to also call your leaders if possible.

Thanks
Allen





Quote:
Originally Posted by XLR I FL View Post
Hi Jerry,

Good to hear from you. Yes these are very difficult times for GM and the American auto industry. In fact we can use your help and the Forum's help. As you know GM is looking for help from the U.S. government to help us through the difficult times. Below is a web that helps to explain the situation we are in and how to help. Basically we need everyone to contact congress and tell them to approve the money for GM. Would you be kind enough to post this on the forum and tell all the members to contact congress and support GM with these loans?

And of course Cadillac support you with your work on the forum.

It would be a big help if the forum was with us.

www.gmfactsandfiction.com


Patrick G Walsh
Cadillac Division
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-12-2008, 08:10 PM
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Every once in a great while, a thread topic appears tailor-made for spirited debate. I think this is one of them.

As a show of grassroots support, we’re asked to join in emailing our elected representatives to exhort them to bail out our troubled domestic automakers, using tax money all of us work hard to contribute with the wishful assurance the government will spend it wisely. We’re also hyperlinked to a GM site full of scary statistics citing why we must bail them out: Six-figure unemployment, (before subsidiaries are even considered.) Ripple effects that will drag our embattled economy down even further. Doom. Gloom. Boom!

I have no doubt these numbers are true and the consequences justified.

What I fail to see on this site (or hear about in the media) is an explanation by GM as to how they are going to use taxpayer-backed loans to change their business practices and get in sync with the realities of the world marketplace. They need to convince the citizens who provide the funds, not just the feds who disburse them. I'm waiting . . . .

My solution: Let the oil companies (whom are inextricably tied to the automakers survival) bail the auto industry out with the record profits they've enjoyed.

--In all fairness to GM, there’s the Chevy Volt. This could well be the car that saves GM in a few years . . . –if the Japanese don’t beat them to market with electric vehicles of their own.

I’ve purchased three Cadillacs in the past six years, two of them new. How much more grassroots support does GM need from me?

Our wake-up call came over thirty years ago during the Arab oil embargo. What was the US response? Six bangers and build quality so bad those of us who drove those cars cringe when we remember. In contrast, the Japanese automakers built more fuel-efficient cars, and continuously improved their quality practices until Detroit took notice only when their sales figures took an alarming hit --that continues to this day.

GM’s business woes are the result of lackluster vision, unions that undermined the very companies they depended on for their existence, combined with the perfect storm of the failure of the US banking system to police itself, --and melting down accordingly. Such is the dark side of capitalism. Greed is the one factor Alan Greenspan neglected in his equations for economic forecasts.

Agile, paradigm-shifting innovation used to be an American tradition; what the hell happened? Like fast food, GM will build any car it thinks it can sell, even if it isn’t good for us. Their latest ballyhooed offering: The 556 hp, 0-60 in 3.9 seconds, CTS-V; the “Fastest Production sedan in the world.” Is that really the message the car-buying public is listening for? (Maybe .001%) How about something along the lines of, “The fastest, most fuel-efficient sedan on the planet.” GM wouldn't be able to hire enough people to build them.

The XLR was an engineering marvel when first introduced, but can its production be economically justified in such low volume and high MSRP to be profitable enough to spur further development? It isn’t even the “Halo Car” anymore; that title rightfully belongs to the CTS, which is selling well, under the circumstances.

I’ll be the first to admit I’m a bit of a hypocrite when it comes to fuel efficiency. I own a CTS-V and an XLR. Not because I need them; only because I wanted them and was lucky to have the means to do so. Neither is a necessity in my life. As long as I can afford the gas, I’ll drive them. I bought the CTS-V new four years ago because I felt the end of an era was looming on the horizon. I still do.

Take one of me, add an infectious strain of affluenza with champagne taste on a beer budget, subtract common budgeting sense, multiply that by tens of millions and the result is a big part of our current problems. --At least I could afford that which I didn’t need. Man, what happened America? Did we have to supersize everything for everyone?

Having traveled overseas a bit, it’s hard not to notice a lack of high performance vehicles. In Italy, the majority of the cars are the size of VWs. They’re sip gas (which is outrageously expensive) and are easy to park in narrow streets and atop medians. These are vehicles built with the realities of their operating environment in mind. And full-size trucks?! I saw only one cruising Rome. In direct contrast, our roads are crowded with single-occupant SUVs –most of which will never go an inch off-road, being driven in states with flat terrain and no appreciable snowfall. The market dictates which cars sell, and GM is obliged to build them, even if it runs contrary to our own self- interests as consumers and as a nation. Maybe the “Be careful what you wish for” philosophy should have been ingrained in us more.

The WWII generation has rightfully been called the “Greatest Generation.” We’re on track for being remembered as the “Greediest Generation.” It’s gotten to the point where the government is forced to buoy major US companies to prevent a collapse of the entire social foundation our country is built upon. That’s the unspoken reality of the situation. This is more of a matter of national security than anything else we’ve ever faced, and I have yet to hear any government officials mention it out loud for fear of panic that would disrupt the market further. It’s pretty bad when the truth is more dangerous to our well-being than just hoping things will turn around without a real plan in place; --if we just keep our collective noses to the grindstone. Whoever said American workers don’t work hard? We're second only to bees where productivity is concerned. We worked hard and the folks at the top of the food chain made out like bandits. In school, I could never understand why the French were so eager to get the rich to the guillotines during the Revolution. Now I do.

To tie into the thread topic, we can email our elected officials ‘til our collective fingers bleed, but the die has already been cast. The government is being held economic hostage by the very heart that makes it beat. If our big corporations die, society as we know it will fall into unthinkable chaos, and the disruption and subsequent destruction of our free-market economy will most likely follow. Makes “Madd Max” seem almost visionary, eh? The time emailing our elected officials might be better spent if they prefaced with, "Do something to fix this without bankrupting all of us or look for another job next term. --And oh yeah, build more prisons to house the folks responsible for this mess as a lesson to future business grads."

The real questions come down to, “How much more fiscal plasma do we pump into this withering economic body of ours? What is the metric for which companies get rescued at taxpayer expense? Do we save Circuit City, and Starbucks too?” When does it end?

And more importantly, “What butt-ugly child will be spawned by the forced marriage of government and Big Business?” Will the next administration give GM money --but with a caveat: “We want you to build cars this way . . . --for the common good.” No thanks; give the government a mandate to build a horse and you end up with a mule.

These are interesting points to ponder. What do the rest of you think? Should GM be forced to change the way they do business? Is it in the long-term interests of the consumers to have the government tell the automakers what’s best for us, since they’re fronting them money?

Sorry, I didn’t mean to get on a rant. I think this is a much bigger issue than empowering our voices via email (and tax dollars) to save GM. What say you?

Fiscally yours,
CC


Last edited by ccclarke; 11-13-2008 at 01:14 AM. Reason: spelwing
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-12-2008, 09:21 PM
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Jerry,

I inadvertantly cloned a post of my post while editing. Doh!

Would you be so kind as to remove post #3? I've taken up far too much of your valuable server space that would be better utilized for other members debating this topic.

Thanks much,
CC
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-13-2008, 12:04 PM Thread Starter
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CC:

I deleted your #3 post as requested.

THE ISSUE: I read your post which is well thought out and articulated. I know I will read it a few more times as I ponder exactly how I feel about all of this economic disaster.

The issues that stick with me at this point are why the UAW doesn't see what can happen real soon if they don't make some reasonable consessions.

When you see Toyota and the other foreign car maufacturers who make cars here in the US have "loaded benefit costs" at around $80/car made and the "BIG 3" having to deal with a $1,200/car made or higher it is obvious that something has to change.

Eastern Airlines is a great example of what happens when reasonable people on both sides of an issue can't come together and attain an agreeable solution.

I also think we are way past critical mass regarding the number of brands and models that each manufacturer is currently producing verses customer demand. It's past time for a significant reduction.

GM seems in my assessment to have been moving to more demand driven manufacturing. The Cadillac models reflect that business strategy. Bowling Green is shut down for 1 week in December and 2 weeks in January. If demand catches up then more will be made. Money gets saved everywhere in the supply chain using this model.

JUST IN TIME MANUFACTURING: I am all for internet sales as I said a few years ago. I go on line and configure the car I want and I secure financing based on the cost. The manufacturer drives up and delivers it--to the local dealer or to me at my residence when it's finished.

Just more food for thought.



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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-13-2008, 01:50 PM
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Excellent point regarding unions Jerry. (This thread could easily branch out into multiple topics.) I've never been a fan of unions as they currently operate. They're parasitic, preying on the fears of their dues-paying members with the exortations of, "Without us, you have no voice and will be quickly taken advantage of." Rubbish.

Where I work, we're well-paid, are active participants in the decision-making processes, have a Human Resources staff to address our grievances, and in turn, give our best to ensure the company does well. We're all in it together. If conditions were draconian, we would work somehere else. That's the American way. We would vote with our feet, just as our forefathers did.

I think there was a time, during the build-up of the Industrial Revolution and into the early 20th century (when mass car-building started) where unions were totally relevant. Companies would cut any corners -especially where safety was concerned to make a profit. There were lines of people ready to take someone's place if a job was available. Benefits were non-existent. Somewhere along the line, unions became adversarial, with an "Us against Them" philosophy that continues to this day --though it's politically correct to keep it unspoken outside of closed meetings. Unions helped destroy many of the US air carriers, while claiming to represent their workers interests. Their biggest push: Guaranteed jobs and regular wage hikes.

Few things in life are guaranteed; jobs aren't among them. Mandatory wage hikes are crazy if a company is making less than it was when the wage hikes were penned to ink. Raises should always be tied to company and individual performance, not across the board. I've worked in companies where we were explicitly warned union organising was prohibited and would result in immediate dismissal. I understand why now. If I didn't like the job, I moved on.

Japanese automakers in the US for the most part, are union-free. Here's why:

http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2007/...-By-Choice.php

If scare tactics, intimidation or physical violence doesn't work, union leaders will drape themselves with a flag, accusing dissenters that they are somehow unpatriotic. Too bad they're so embedded in the workers psyche that GM can't declare bankruptcy, toss them out, then institute equitable, worker-friendly operating guidelines while struggling back into the marketplace. Profitablilty would surely be a by-product.

I'm know I'm sure to irk many union folks, but a week on the job with me (and most other non-union members out there) and I'd bet they would lament the union dues they could have spent on themselves. The US auto industry needs an industry-wide enema to purge itself before its too late, if it isn't already There may be a light at the end of the tunnel, but I'm willing to bet its an oncoming train. The jobs they save will most likely be those of their competitors.

I agree with you regarding GM's use of build-on-demand or just-in-time manufacturing. It's the right way to operate and propelled companies like Dell to the top. It's drawbacks are outweighed by the benefits.

Let's get some more opinions as to how you think GM can do better!

CC
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-13-2008, 02:08 PM
 
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US auto manufacturers

I enjoyed reading your post CC and plenty of us have ideas as to what the government should do with our money, however, the truth of the matter is, that we will never have a say, and the USGov will never do anything that would actually make sense. Our monies will be "spent/wasted" no matter what.

I feel our tax dollars should stay in THIS country. Helping out our auto industry is critical, however, I do feel that there are too many manufacturers. Same bodies are used with minor cosmetic differences on too many models by different manufacturers. All US auto manufacturers should unite and keep the strongest in force, let go of the "copies".
All of them should pool together their funds for technology research as well as the brains of the engineers to become stronger and share the benefits. Saves money, time and get better results.

At times when China is as strong as it is, and other countries have fewer vehicle brands and models, they are doing well. We need fewer manufacturers, fewer models and build all our cars well to become strong and successful. Not to mention the technology needs some serious research and upgrade! Note that China has just announced a one half trillion dollar stimulus package, all money being spent in China, maybe we should take a hint from this...

Thanks,

Mea
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-13-2008, 04:05 PM
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Thanks for the kind words Mea.

As far as the government doing what it wants with our money, while it's easy to feel powerless, the truth is, we have the power to address the way they spend it, only our voices are unorganized --hey, maybe I've found a use for a union after all! (I'll call it a coalition instead.)

I think most Americans have been searching for a leader who will talk straight using common sense rather than politics to make a point, do what they say they will and take responsibility when they make mistakes. If the voting public replaced every knucklehead who failed to follow through when their term expired, our nation would be so much better off. Instead, we wait for a scandal to identify the really bad apples. I'd love for my congresional representatives to provide a mandatory report to me each year showing each way they voted, how they followed their contituent's desires and what their long-term goals are. Americans are more patriotic then political, because while conditions may seem bad when they affect us individually, we have it better than most here. It's not perfect, but its the best democracy implemented so far. -We couldn't have a discussion like this in China if it were critical of the government. But you're right, our power over government spending is inadequate the way things are now.

Speaking of China, our stimulus (ie: bailout) package already exceeds the Chinese infusion of 500 billion, and will most likely grow further. Like a lot of other countries, the Chinese economy is state-run, with economic policies and goals outlined in advance. We've become reactive, rather than proactive. All of the major economies are linked much more now, so its in our best interests to cooperate, though that's easier said than done.

As far as companies pooling research money, that sounds good in theory but in fact, they are competing against each other. If one goes under, the others share will be larger. I agree that downsizing to suit the market, and eliminating similar models is a good start. There are simply too many models of cars being built, each with it's associated development costs, parts inventories, and upgrade paths. The downside is similar to what has happened in the US defence industry. You want a submarine? Choose company A or B, and they have to be identical within the class. You want a missile system? Your choices are limited to a small handful of (big) companies. Innovation shrinks as choices dwindle. Come up with a cool, new way to do something in the markeplace, and a large company will gobble you up without so much as a profit-sharing belch of thanks. These acquisitions have created monster companies, similar to the automakers, that must feed from the trough of government spending, making more each year to continue to post higher profits than the year before.

I was shocked and saddened to see a sticker in a windshield of a GM car the other day, stating the percentage of US-sourced parts: 1%! What a change from twenty years ago.

Keep those ideas coming!

CC

Last edited by ccclarke; 11-13-2008 at 04:11 PM.
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-14-2008, 05:55 AM
 
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I do agree that the people of this country should unite and the government should allow us to voice as to how OUR tax dollars get spent. Paul and I talk about the economy all the time, as he is a business owner and relies on the retail industry as his clients. It would be nice if at least 50% (if not more) of what we pay in taxes, the tax payer should have a say as to where it goes with everyone voting on it.

The problem is that this country is run by politicians, and not intelligent businessmen. Sadly, greed and power is what drives most of them, not the wanting to help the country or it’s people. We need leaders that have strong business sense, morals and ethics. Leaders who care about the future of this great nation of ours and are willing to be held accountable for their actions. The lobbyists should disappear! There should be a cap as to what a candidate is allowed to spend on campaigning and they need to have an equal playing field! You said it just right in your 2nd paragraph CC!

I did not mean have one or two major auto makers, I meant they should work together and use their resources to help each other to all become stronger. We are competing against strong foreign car makers. I still think we need them to be separate entities, just perfect them and make them all work cohesively together when it comes to technology and research. Get rid of a few brands and mainly vehicles that are not successful and duplicates….I mean why milk a dead cow? It costs too much money to keep them from being buried in the graves they are already in. Make less models and make them much better than the “Toyotas”. We want reliability, fuel efficiency, safety, comforts/luxury, great looks and usability. All of this costs lots of money and research. This is where the US Auto makers can pool together their funds and brains to exceed with all US vehicles to compete with the foreign auto makers. They will still have their own style and uniqueness. Instead of getting hung up on competing with one another, they should look at the big picture and realize they need to be competing with all the foreign auto makers.

So in closing, YES, I agree with all of what you have said CC!
Thanks for your great thoughts,

Mea
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