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GM doing a Rover as crisis looms in Motor City?


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GM doing a Rover as crisis looms in Motor City?

By Mark Bursa

A disintegrating home market share. Fuddy-duddy cars that nobody wants. A black hole in the pension fund. Massively paid directors. Difficult relations with the Chinese.

Rover's demise is well documented - but these statements apply just as well to General Motors, the world's largest automaker.

There was a chink of light last week with the news that US billionaire Kirk Kerkorian had made a bid for a part of the company but GM could still follow Rover into bankruptcy.

It's difficult to pin down what went wrong. Like Rover, the General has been in steady decline for a long time. While Rover's problems were caused by a combination of weak management, underfunding and multiple changes of ownership, GM's seem rooted in its own stifling bureaucracy.

Even Rick Wagoner, the company's youthful and energetic CEO, has failed to stop the rot. In fact he's contributed to the problems, having been a prime mover in the disastrous failed alliance with Fiat that cost GM $2-billion earlier this year.

The company is haemorrhaging money. It reported a net cash outflow of $3-billion from its automotive business in the first quarter of 2005, despite earlier forecasting a positive cashflow of $2-billion for the year. Now it won't give any forecasts at all.

In 2000, Wagoner hired septugenarian industry legend Bob Lutz to revitalise the company's dismal US products. He came in with all guns blazing, describing GM's cars as "from the trash compactor school of design".

But apart from some good new Cadillacs, Lutz has struggled to get the product right. Mainsteam GM cars such as the ridiculed Pontiac Grand Prix and Chevrolet Malibu have flopped, with Grand Prix sales falling by 44 percent compared to their performance in 2004.

GM's response has been to announce it will stick "GM" logos on its wretched US cars as a "badge of trust". They'd be better off disowning them completely.

Lutz bemoans the bureaucracy that makes it hard for GM's designers to compete. He told a Society of Automotive Engineers conference in Detroit earlier this month:

"We're training our engineers to be managers while the rest of the world trains them to be doers. Asian and European engineers are trained in drafting and can draw a new design on the spot when they run into problems.

"US engineers often need to call in designers."

The only things that prop up GM's US market share are strong sales of bakkies and 4x4s and the excellent performance of its finance arm, GMAC. Most of its sedans are pumped straight into rental fleets and out the other side as used cars.

The only way to shift them to retail customers is to offer serious discounts - hardly the way to go when each car carries the burden of $1 500 in health-care liabilities before it rolls off the line.

Tackling this issue is crucial for GM. The company's health-care costs have risen by $1-billion to more than $5-billion in 2005. Negotiations with the unions are scheduled for 2007 - but GM doesn't have that long. The unions are reluctant to play ball, so GM might take unilateral action, removing health-care benefits from its staff simply because it cannot afford to pay for them.

In a bid to save money to help tackle the problem, costs have been cut - leading to a fall in quality and therefore prices, residual values, customer satisfaction and company profits. All the while the Japanese, and increasingly the Koreans, are invading GM's US heartland.

GM denies it but one or more of its US brands is likely to go the same way as Oldsmobile, which produced its last car a year ago. Pontiac - once a muscle-car brand to rival Dodge but now a maker of warmed-up Chevys, and Buick, the retired US middle-manager's carriage of choice, must be the ones most at risk.

Saturn, the "lifestyle" brand launched in 1990 but hampered for years by dreary cars, is relying on new models from Europe and Korea for its survival.

At least GM has made positive steps elsewhere. Wagoner swallowed his pride and paid Fiat $2-billion to get out of a deal signed in 2000 that could have seen GM forced into buying Fiat's ailing car division (and taking on $6-billion of debt) but the company has gained from this potentially disastrous situation.

The big bonus is that GM now has access to Fiat's excellent diesel technology - something that it, unforgivably, lacked. Quite how GM Europe's product planners didn't notice that every other car sold on the Continent was a diesel simply beggars belief and gives an indication of how deep-rooted was the malaise within the company's European division.

The Fiat settlement solves GM's diesel dilemma at a stroke. The deal gives GM 50 percent of the Fiat engine plant in Poland, which makes the superb new 1.3-litre diesel engines for the Fiat Panda. GM now owns half the intellectual property on these engines and of the larger Fiat 1.9-litre JTD common-rail diesels built in Italy, and can use them in its own models.

While its US operations are in turmoil, GM has been getting on with sorting out its European problems. A major restructuring programme plans to eliminate about 12 000 jobs and will result in savings of more than $650-million.

So far 4 500 workers have taken voluntary redundancy but GM has also talked darkly of plant closures, with much of the speculation focusing on Saab's plant in Trollhattan, Sweden. Saab, acquired in stages from 1989 to 2000, has been another disaster, losing $200-million in 2004.

Rumours have gone so far as to suggest that GM has been hawking the brand to potential buyers - a story the company has dismissed as "preposterous". But Lutz said the plant's output would have to be doubled for Saab to attain profitability.

"We like the brand and we want to retain it," Lutz told journalists at the recent Amsterdam show, "but we can't subsidise a factory building as few cars as Saab."

One ray of light for GM has been the rebranding of Daewoo as Chevrolet, turning Chevy into a global budget manufacturer with appeal in Europe and emerging markets - notably China.

Chevy has launched three models so far this year, including the three-door Kalos compact in January and the all-new Matiz last month. In the pipeline is a larger sedan and a 4x4.

These cars, developed and built in Korea, are likely to play a key role in the future of GM - if the company can avoid Rover's fate. - The Independent, London

Published on the web by Motoring on May 16, 2005. © Motoring 2005. All rights reserved.

http://www.motoring.co.za/index.php?fArticleId=2522226

If you really want to make people safe drivers again then simply remove all the safety features from cars. No more seat belts, ABS brakes, traction control, air bags or stability control. No more anything. You'll see how quickly people will slow down and once again learn to drive like "normal" humans.

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I agree with Lutz on the engineering field. Engineers have been relying too much on their computers to design and not enough on hand drawn creativity. Drafting used to be an art form, a bad draftsman showed himself quickly in the look of his drawing. The computer just made everyones drawings look the same. New engineers are pushing their responsibility and creativity to the designers, detailers, and other people around them. They only put their stamp of approval on someone elses work. I have been working in the engineering field for almost 20 years and I am seeing the engineering drawings with less and less detail, leaving the draftsman to question really what they want.

I just rented a Buick LaCross for 2 weeks while my Caddy was being fixed and found out real quick that all the hype about the LaCross was greatly exaggerated. In the front it looked like a Taurus and in the rear it looked like a Dodge. It was uncomfortable and the interior was cheap, and it was really hard to see out of. I may be spoiled by my Deville but I was not impressed at all.

As far as healthcare goes, last year I saw a 34% jump in my premiums and this year another 28%, this is also group insurance. Multiply that by all GM's employees and it spells disaster. Hillary was supposed to turn healthcare around, but you do not hear her talking about it much anymore.

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Unions seem like a disease lately, I hope they get what's coming.

It's not just unions, overpaid management is to blame as well. It's called, burning the candle at both ends.

If you really want to make people safe drivers again then simply remove all the safety features from cars. No more seat belts, ABS brakes, traction control, air bags or stability control. No more anything. You'll see how quickly people will slow down and once again learn to drive like "normal" humans.

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Hillary was supposed to turn healthcare around, but you do not hear her talking about it much anymore.

That might have something to do with the fact that her husband is no longer the President... Even when he was, Americans made their voices heard loud and clear, "Keep the government out of our healthcare system"...

Or in other words "We don't want to pay for this with our taxes"... I guess what most didn't understand is that someone will pay for this one way or another... And given the global manufacturing world that we live in, if we shift this cost to industry... Which is what is happening; they will just shift the jobs to countries where healthcare or pensions are under control...

Or they could just declare Chapter 11 like United Airlines…

caddy.jpg

Easin' down the highway in a new Cadillac,

I had a fine fox in front, I had three more in the back

ZZTOP, I'm Bad I'm Nationwide

Greg

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I just rented a Buick LaCross for 2 weeks while my Caddy was being fixed and found out real quick that all the hype about the LaCross was greatly exaggerated. In the front it looked like a Taurus and in the rear it looked like a Dodge. It was uncomfortable and the interior was cheap, and it was really hard to see out of. I may be spoiled by my Deville but I was not impressed at all.

I really don't know HOW Ford stayed alive with the Taurus as its bread and butter family sedan all these years. How can we accept that caliber of vehicle as acceptable? It's cheap and rides like a truck. You can tell when a vehicle has a "quality" ride. I think our Dodge Stratus has a "quality" ride. The suspension motions are well-damped, but there's plenty of wheel travel and it very much has a creamy sort of ride. The Taurus is just plain junk. The ride is way too crisp, way too harsh, and just plain stiff. We have three brand new models at work. They all drive just like Tauruses have driven for years now. Stiff and cheap. I really like the overall design of the Taurus. I don't even mind the grade of the interior too much. But can't they fix the ride SOMEHOW?

We have a few Chevy Colorados at work and I was using one at the landfill today. They're just so horribly cheap inside and out. I could press on the front fender and visibly deform it. I was really embarassed that domestic auto makers are putting out that crap today. Maybe Cadillacs are the only quality left in GM, I don't know. I'd really like to drive a new Cobalt because I hear it's as refined as a Civic. Whether that's true or not, I don't know. But I do know that it's supposed to be like 14,659 times better than the outgoing Cavalier. I hope that it is, for GM's sake.

Is it the goal of domestic auto makers to settle for selling a bulk of their sedans to rental fleets? If that's what they're striving for, they're doing a heckuva job. All it's really done is condition me to hate having to rent a car because I get a Taurus every time.

It'd be interesting to know...and does anyone know if this is available in a report somewhere...how much money on each vehicle goes to legacy and overhead costs, like healthcare, unions, retirements, pensions, etc. It'd be interesting to see that number for all the major auto makers. I'm sure the big three would be near the top, due in no small part I'm sure to the fact that they've been around so long.

Jason(2001 STS, White Diamond)

"When you turn your car on...does it return the favor?"

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"Maybe Cadillacs are the only quality left in GM..."

Other than the vette I can't think of much else I like.

I hear ya Jason, I never liked the engine in the Taurus, it seems to hunt too much for gears and all the power is at wot around 6 grand. Maybe the f150 and stang are enough, well let me correct myself, their stock isn't setting the world on fire either.

92 Deville w/210k miles

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Other than the vette I can't think of much else I like. 

I hear ya Jason,  I never liked the engine in the Taurus, it seems to hunt too much for gears and all the power is at wot around 6 grand.  Maybe the f150 and stang are enough, well let me correct myself, their stock isn't setting the world on fire either.

I'll probably make a jerk of myself because I know there are C5 owners on this board, but having worked with my brother's C5 for a little bit, I'm not that impressed with the quality on it either...mostly the quality of the interior materials. The design is COOL. I really like how it's laid out. Until you touch something. The plastic is very hard, and cheap-feeling. We put a Hurst shifter in his a few months ago (at Christmas), and rebuilding the plastic center console after installation was frustrating. It felt like putting a plastic model together. We even broke one of the thin mounting holes up near the ashtray. Admittedly, Hill said the interior was one of the major focuses on the C6. I've just sat in one briefly, and it felt better. I understand the Corvette is a relative performance bargain, but I believe I'd pay a few thousand more for a less rattly interior.

I'm not as lucky as you (sic) to drive Tauri with the DOHC Duratech. Ours are the low-po Vulcan OHV V6 engines....which is another example of pure junk being put out for the fleet market. One CAN make a good OHV V6 engine. The 3.3 in our Caravan is wonderful. It's at least as quiet and at least as smooth as the Northstar. And it's got a lot more grunt than the OHV 3.0 in the Taurus. That engine is extremely rough, and not confidence-inspiring. WOT upshift from 1st to 2nd occurs at like 5000 rpm on the Vulcan. The banging and thrashing coming from the engine compartment is really unacceptable, even at the price range in which the Taurus falls. I personally feel Ford's move to complete OHC-ize everything they have was the wrong move. I really like OHV engines, when they're done right. The LS1/2/6/7 engines are GREAT! Chrysler's 5.7L Hemi is wonderfully smooth. When done right (unlike the Vulcan V6 in the Ford, or the 3.4 or 3.5 engines in GM's recent minivans and sedans), OHV engines are quiet and smooth, torquey, and usually dead reliable.

I wish GM'd do a V6 version of the LS-series engines (kind of like how they made the 4.3L from a 350). Take the Vortec 5300 V8 and turn it into a Vortec 4000 V6. I bet they'd be able to get 230-250 horsepower and 250-275 lb*ft of torque. Heck, they got 195/250 from the Vortec 4300 a DECADE ago! I believe it'd be compact enough to use almost anywhere. Certainly where the 4200 I6 and weird 3500 I5 are used in the mid-sized trucks. Probably where the Chinese 3.5L OHV V6 is used also. And what about that new 3.9L V6 engine...it's just a larger version of the 3.5, right?

Jason(2001 STS, White Diamond)

"When you turn your car on...does it return the favor?"

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....

It'd be interesting to know...and does anyone know if this is available in a report somewhere...how much money on each vehicle goes to legacy and overhead costs, like healthcare, unions, retirements, pensions, etc. It'd be interesting to see that number for all the major auto makers. I'm sure the big three would be near the top, due in no small part I'm sure to the fact that they've been around so long.

Jason:

Scroll down to Bbobynski's comments on page 3, January 30.

http://caddyinfo.ipbhost.com/index.php?sho...hl=health&st=30

Jim

Drive your car.

Use your cell phone.

CHOOSE ONE !

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just a reply on unions in general, there were alot of people who walked picket lines & sacrificed plenty for the benefits & holidays (labor day),vacations,pensions & most other things working people take for granted today. we should be thanking them all for what they did for everyone uinion,nonunion & management alike ,we all have to survive in this so called free market !.

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One ray of light for GM has been the rebranding of Daewoo as Chevrolet, . . . .

Is Chevrolet really turning into nothing more that a re-badged Daewoo? God help us!

photo-36.jpg

Happiness is owning a Cadillac with no codes.

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just a reply on unions in general, there were alot of people who walked picket lines & sacrificed plenty for the benefits & holidays (labor day),vacations,pensions & most other things working people take for granted today. we should be thanking them all for what they did for everyone uinion,nonunion & management alike ,we all have to survive in this so called free market !.

I remember back in the early 1980's when I worked at a hospital in New York City. I was earning nearly $7,000 a year MORE than what I make now. I had the same hours I have now, more vacation time, free medical & dental care (because I worked in a hospital) and had I stayed in that job, the union would have paid for my college education so long as I received a degree in the allied healthcare field. I stupidly left that job because I moved to New Jersey and my life has been ruined because of my stupid mistake. But I digress.

When our contracts were up for renewal, we would ask for a raise of 5%, maybe 6. We were always told there was no money for our raises and of course, we had to strike which meant we ended up losing any raise we gained. We would eventually settle for a raise of 3% or thereabouts.

Meanwhile, management would give themselves raises of 20% and up.

That hospital is now in the pits. Why? Because while management was walking around doing nothing all day long and stuffing their pockets with money, the hospital couldn't even hire decent, properly trained nursing staff. They ended up bringing the nurses in from overseas at very low wages. Quality of care fell, patients started dying and the rest is history.

Most hospitals are top heavy with overpaid management. This is the reason why they can't pay their nurses and staff decent wages and this is why we have a crisis now in healthcare in this country. Clearly, management is to blame when it comes to the situation in the healthcare industry in this country and the problem has spread to other industries as well.

Hospitals have some of the worst credit ratings around. They don't pay their bills. When I worked for a scientific supply company years ago, we had a nurse call us from the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at a prestigious hospital on Long Island. She was desperate for some tubing but could not get it through the hospital because they had not paid their bills and all their suppliers had cut them off. The nurse traveled all the way from Long Island to New Jersey to purchase the tubing, paying for it out of her own pocket. Her only concern was saving the life of a premature baby.

How could this hospital not pay their bills when we all know what even a one day stay in a hospital costs? Because all the money goes to paying the salaries of management, those same people who do basically nothing and get paid the big bucks for doing it. The nurse will save your life, but she'll be damned if she can get a decent paycheck.

Why do we pay CEO's and other directors of big corporations IN THIS COUNTRY such huge salaries and they don't produce and in fact, many times, they drive companies into financial ruin? Beats me.

If you really want to make people safe drivers again then simply remove all the safety features from cars. No more seat belts, ABS brakes, traction control, air bags or stability control. No more anything. You'll see how quickly people will slow down and once again learn to drive like "normal" humans.

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if we shift this cost to industry... Which is what is happening; they will just shift the jobs to countries where healthcare or pensions are under control...

Or they could just declare Chapter 11 like United Airlines…

Don't you mean where healthcare or pensions are non-existant. That is where this country is headed. Healthcare and pensions are not United's problem. What is happening there is just the results of deregulation 25 years ago slowly coming home to roost. Delta will be chapter 11 by years end. The whole industry is coming down like a house of cards and the auto makers are not far behind but they can't see it yet and won't beleive it til it's too late. I feel sorry for the young people of this country.

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Jeeze, I hope to go to CCS next year for Industrial/Transportation design.

I sure hope GM is still afloat when I graduate. I have always dreamed of designing for them...the right way!

" ...'took my Cobra down t' the track, hitched to the back o' my Cadillac..."

- Jan & Dean, 'hey little cobra'

Scott

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Jeeze, I hope to go to CCS next year for Industrial/Transportation design.

I sure hope GM is still afloat when I graduate. I have always dreamed of designing for them...the right way!

Hey, what is CCS? I am at uWindsor taking automotive engineering, was unaware of any other similar programs in Canada.

-Chris

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CCS is the College of Creative Studies over in Detroit.

It's a sweet art and design school, with one of the best car design programs anywhere.

I actually just submited my portfolio last week, so I am still awaiting acceptance, but I am really stoked to get in!

Here is the site... www.ccscad.edu

" ...'took my Cobra down t' the track, hitched to the back o' my Cadillac..."

- Jan & Dean, 'hey little cobra'

Scott

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GM have done no more or less than United Airlines, and the Federal government run Social Security program. They underinvested in future retirees pensions. Pension costs per car will keep increasing for GM. It wouldn't shock me to see GM declare bankruptcy and use that protection to unload its pension liabilities.

It will suck for long time GM employees, but going out of business is not in their best interests either.

It should be obvious to all that control of your own pension monies is essential. You choose the investment risk level that makes sense for you, and you have your money no matter what happens to the employer or Federal government. Private pensions are considered a radical extremist idea to some. Probably the same mob that will be crying when they retire broke.

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GM have done no more or less than United Airlines, and the Federal government run Social Security program. They underinvested in future retirees pensions. Pension costs per car will keep increasing for GM. It wouldn't shock me to see GM declare bankruptcy and use that protection to unload its pension liabilities.

It will suck for long time GM employees, but going out of business is not in their best interests either.

It should be obvious to all that control of your own pension monies is essential. You choose the investment risk level that makes sense for you, and you have your money no matter what happens to the employer or Federal government. Private pensions are considered a radical extremist idea to some. Probably the same mob that will be crying when they retire broke.

The bankruptcy laws were recently overhauled to allow just this: dumping of pension funds and other costs associated with taking care of employees, current and retired. The new bankruptcy laws can even be used to break unions.

If you really want to make people safe drivers again then simply remove all the safety features from cars. No more seat belts, ABS brakes, traction control, air bags or stability control. No more anything. You'll see how quickly people will slow down and once again learn to drive like "normal" humans.

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I would like to add a few points here. I think this is a very interesting discussion.

1)

The issue of fixed costs mentioned by Guru is very important here. The fixed costs at GM remains almost constant regardless of volume of sales due to high pension and other costs. Now given this fact why did GM let its market share to fall steadily in the last 8 to 10 years. Isn't this because of pure mismanagement? They should've vigorously defended their market share like they've been trying to do since 2002.

2)

I've heard more than 40% of GM's net profit comes from its financial division-GMAC. If it wasn't for the help of GMAC, the car division would've been bankrupt a long time ago. GMAC acts like a bank and pumps its profits in GM car division in the form of no interest loans, cashbacks and etc. The success of GMAC unfortunately made the management lazy and caused them to delay the much needed reforms until now.

3)

I think it's unfair to blame unions for the current problems of the GM. Many Japanese models that dominate the US market like Toyota Camary, Honda Accord, and Nissan Altima are being built in US and most of their plants are unionized. They do indeed offer lower retirement benefits but these cars are more expensive than comparable GM models and people still buy them a lot.

4)

I think German cars like Benz and BMW that are mostly being built in Germany

have to pay import duties to US and the US government can invest that in health care. Cars like Mercedes E class sell at very high premiums compared to American luxury vehicles but still sell a lot due to their high popularity. For example a base model Mercedes E-500 sells for$ 56,000 versus STS V8$ 52000.

5)

I think the most important problem American cars are dealing with now is the lack of good designs. Since 2002, GM designs have improved significantly and I think they will recapture some of their market share. The engine and transmission combinations in GM cars are very smooth and excellent. Every time I pick up someone in my 94 STS they are impressed with its smoothness.

6)

Health care and pensions are things that the government has to heavily subsidize. Almost all other industrialized countries have decent public health care and pension systems. The US government is not paying much attention to this and it is beginning to hurt them in the form of jobs and etc.

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It is interesting, this discussion. It's easy to see both sides of the issue when they're pointed out. Guru stated that when you live in Detriot, the US auto industry is much closer to home. I have a lot of family in Michigan. Many in Grand Rapids, and many out in Grand Haven. I can probably count on one hand the amount of import-branded cars I see in a day up here. Down here (in NC), I can look around at a stop light and fill up 5 fingers pretty easily. The difference is really astounding, and demonstrates this concept well.

Personally, I blame the press for a lot of the US auto industry's troubles. I was just listening to a story the other day about how Japanese brand hybrids are "kicking our butts". Besides them spewing all the falacies of how great hybrids are, what really got under my skin was their notion that hybrids are the least of American vehicle manufacturer's problems. One lady said, "they just have to come up with one, JUST ONE, good design." Emphasis was hers. It's like domestic auto makers are building jon boats while the Japs are building yachts. Never mind that GM is the #1 producing auto maker in the world. Never mind that Cadillac came in at #2 on JDPA's initial quality survey. As long as the press keeps drilling into people's minds how bad domestic quality is, it'll never get better. I admit I'm not always impressed with domestic quality, especially in certain circles. But I really hate how the press lays a tainted blanket over the entire US auto industry as a whole.

Jason(2001 STS, White Diamond)

"When you turn your car on...does it return the favor?"

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It is interesting, this discussion.  It's easy to see both sides of the issue when they're pointed out.  Guru stated that when you live in Detriot, the US auto industry is much closer to home.  I have a lot of family in Michigan.  Many in Grand Rapids, and many out in Grand Haven.  I can probably count on one hand the amount of import-branded cars I see in a day up here.  Down here (in NC), I can look around at a stop light and fill up 5 fingers pretty easily.  The difference is really astounding, and demonstrates this concept well.

Personally, I blame the press for a lot of the US auto industry's troubles.  I was just listening to a story the other day about how Japanese brand hybrids are "kicking our butts".  Besides them spewing all the falacies of how great hybrids are, what really got under my skin was their notion that hybrids are the least of American vehicle manufacturer's problems.  One lady said, "they just have to come up with one, JUST ONE, good design."  Emphasis was hers.  It's like domestic auto makers are building jon boats while the Japs are building yachts.  Never mind that GM is the #1 producing auto maker in the world.  Never mind that Cadillac came in at #2 on JDPA's initial quality survey.  As long as the press keeps drilling into people's minds how bad domestic quality is, it'll never get better.  I admit I'm not always impressed with domestic quality, especially in certain circles.  But I really hate how the press lays a tainted blanket over the entire US auto industry as a whole.

But I really hate how the press lays a tainted blanket over the entire US auto industry as a whole.

I think the tide is turning and we'll get a more balanced coverage as time progresses. It's already happening in politics, where the worst slime is not allowed to pass unchallenged as it often has in the past (Dan Rather trying to smear President Bush's National Guard service with bogus memos and getting caught redhanded, Newsweak running with unconfirmed anonymously single sourced toilet flushing stories for the sole purpose of making an anti US political statement - not for any news value).

To some degree, it's human nature to gravitate towards the negative (e.g. rubbernecking to look at car accidents) but I really do believe that people are getting fed up with the mostly anti US drivel that passes for mainstream media coverage. As bad as it is here, try watching European news to see how much worse that is in their coverage of the US.

I own two US cars (Caddy STS and Dodge Caravan, the Dodge is assembled in Canada though) and I know they have faults but so does everything else. My next car will very likely be a US car. If I could afford a new STS, I'd buy one today ... droooooool...

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Its nice to see the whole picture Guru, very well presented, and very upsetting..

We were sold NAFTA, WTO, etc by politicians who do little to balance the scales. I understand that technology has changed the way many jobs are done and they are sending jobs out of the country (non-captured audience), and I understand that foreign companies have plants here, but an even playing field should be maintained... I am hoping that someone in Washington wakes up and asks what are we going to do for jobs... its a scary thing... These infantile Senators need to wake up and stop the bickering and mud throwing and do something constructive for THIS country! Try going to Bermuda and buying a house of getting a job, NO WAY, you must be a resident for 3 years before you get a job there as an outsider, THEN, if a Bermudian needs that job you must give it up! Talk about protectionism..

I know we are in a period of extreme change, but its scary.. We have given away too much leverage already, I heard recently that CHINA was going to hold up a product to prop up its price and to punish another country (can't remember the details), it borders on racketeering... Have you seen the Hyundie commercials on TV building plants here? Its sickening.. I can see GM opening plants in CHINA to compete.

Early on sailors navigated by the stars at night and the North star became the symbol for finding ones way home. Once you know where the Northstar is you can point your ship in the right direction to get home. So the star became a symbol for finding ones way home or more symbolically even finding ones path in life.

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It should be obvious to all that control of your own pension monies is essential. You choose the investment risk level that makes sense for you, and you have your money no matter what happens to the employer or Federal government. Private pensions are considered a radical extremist idea to some. Probably the same mob that will be crying when they retire broke.

True,

Except, and this is a difficult truth...

Most people are kinda stupid...And have no clue how to invest...

There are lots of examples of this in your country; people sinking every penny into Enron, WorldCom, etc... In mine, people sinking every penny into Nortel...The unfortunate sad truth that everyone misses is that when these people have gambled away their personal retirement savings and/or federal pensions... And retire destitute.... Who pays then?

Well, we all do as they collect Welfare and Food stamps...

caddy.jpg

Easin' down the highway in a new Cadillac,

I had a fine fox in front, I had three more in the back

ZZTOP, I'm Bad I'm Nationwide

Greg

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I think the tide is turning and we'll get a more balanced coverage as time progresses. It's already happening in politics, where the worst slime is not allowed to pass unchallenged as it often has in the past (Dan Rather trying to smear President Bush's National Guard service with bogus memos and getting caught redhanded, Newsweak running with unconfirmed anonymously single sourced toilet flushing stories for the sole purpose of making an anti US political statement - not for any news value).

To some degree, it's human nature to gravitate towards the negative (e.g. rubbernecking to look at car accidents) but I really do believe that people are getting fed up with the mostly anti US drivel that passes for mainstream media coverage. As bad as it is here, try watching European news to see how much worse that is in their coverage of the US.

I own two US cars (Caddy STS and Dodge Caravan, the Dodge is assembled in Canada though) and I know they have faults but so does everything else. My next car will very likely be a US car. If I could afford a new STS, I'd buy one today ... droooooool...

ITs not human nature to be negative its called MEDIA BIAS..... PLAIN AND SIMPLE, they hate BUSH and they are acting like children.... They are WHORES, and UNETHICAL, SLEEZEBALLS and their behavior to me is clearly ANTI-AMERICAN and TREASON.

The reason they will become MORE moderate is because they will DIE on the vine unless they WAKE UP. I will never watch CBS, CNN (Communist News Network), never buy NEWSWEEK, never buy the NEW YORK TIMES, along with the rest of the liberal crap, etc... Madonna, Springstein, Jane Fonda, Striesand and the rest of the liberal communist jerks will never receive my dollars, not a movie rental, CD nothing... Meet the Fockers will never be in my Focking house...nor will Hanoi Jane's new movie, who recently came out to soften her image... I am soon to drop Cablevision and Optimum on-Line as they directed their news affiliate announcers to stop wearing AMERICAN FLAGS a week after 9/11, and they are BIAS with their coverage of the proposed NYC baseball stadium to eliminate competition.... Communism is at the core of our country and its a different kind of war.... Did you read today that the ALCU is suing the government for promoting abstinence? OMG... Its a war...

The only way to fight this is to NOT support them...

Early on sailors navigated by the stars at night and the North star became the symbol for finding ones way home. Once you know where the Northstar is you can point your ship in the right direction to get home. So the star became a symbol for finding ones way home or more symbolically even finding ones path in life.

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