GM failure - what does it mean to you?

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by Drifterwood, Jun 1, 2009.

  1. Drifterwood

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    BBC NEWS | Business | GM ready to file for bankruptcy

    The largest industrial failure in US history, apparently.

    I am interested to know what this means to ordinary Americans. Is it emblematic of our times? Are the corporate giants vulnerable? Is the whole business model in danger of failure?
     
  2. D_Amyntas Lillydong

    D_Amyntas Lillydong Account Disabled

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    to me it means the 40 dollar an hour UAW days are over. the executive pay is over. making the little guy pay for everything has come to an end. it shows again the little guy can no longer afford the ignorance and greed of others.
     
  3. jason_els

    jason_els <img border="0" src="/images/badges/gold_member.gi

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    It's emblematic of America's shift from an economic and military superpower to just another of the big boys. GM was a dinosaur living on borrowed time having failed to heed every single possible warning of doom for over 30 years. GM's business model began failing in the 1970s. It just took this long for the behemoth to die. I'm glad it did. Now maybe we can finally rid ourselves of these museum pieces and get about the business of building real cars people want to buy not because they're American, but because they're better cars that can look Toyota, BMW, VW, and Honda in the eye and not blink.

    There are many Americans who cannot conceive of a post-imperialist American social construct let alone role in the world. The end of GM as we know it is a symbol of deeper fractures that separate Americans and will cause much hardship for the country as it transitions into a modern power. It's going to be a mesy deconstruction though, I think, not so bad as what Russia or the UK went through.
     
  4. HazelGod

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    Couldn't give less of a shit about GM. They made this fucking bed, let them lie in it.

    They've had decades to revise their product lines and streamline their business models. They chose instead to continue pushing high-margin gas guzzlers, and spending enormous amounts of money not on R&D into more efficient designs but on lobbyists whose focus was to prevent our public representatives from enacting legislation in the interests of the people and environment.


    I hope this is the beginning of a reckoning that ripples throughout all corporate America and beyond. Innovate or become extinct.

    RIAA? MPAA? You fuckers watching this?
     
  5. B_WER25

    B_WER25 New Member

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    It means less new, yet still sh*tty cars, driving on the roads! Hoo-ray!
     
  6. novice_btm

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    Being from Michigan, and the Detroit area, in particular. It means that my recently retired parents' pension is in danger. Their medical-coverage-for-life, already ends next week.

    No one is more critical of GM than I am. The one-time world's largest corporation, let itself go to Hell. Seriously? They were THE LARGEST corporation in the world, and they didn't have an R&D department that could keep up with the innovations of the rest of the world? It's staggering how many chances they had, and that they blew. The oil embargo of the 1970's should've been enough to shake some sense into them, but instead, aside from popping out half attempts like the Chevette/T1000, they did little to develop gas efficient cars. They just waited for oil supplies to return, and went back to business as usual. Their past 30 years are littered with buckling to the unions (with their, "Hey, new guy, slow down, you'll make the rest of us look bad" mentality), the Hummer, the death of the EV, the general lack of timely innovation, etc. The very subject of GM overall, makes me go ballistic.

    That said, I know everyday people that worked their asses off for that company, and are now in danger of spending their "golden years" in fear of finances. It's not their faults that the company was a mess, and they shouldn't have to pay for it. Beyond that, it's not just, "Oh well, too bad, a company bites it." The entire state of Michigan, and to an extent, the Great Lakes area, revolves around that one industry. "Detroit", beyond the generic term used for all the auto industry, and the now pitiful, yet once vibrant city, for better or worse, still needs that industry, until they figure out a way to diversify the economy. Some in-roads appear to be on the horizon, with "Hollywood" investing in the area (on the other hand, great, from one monolith, to another). It also goes beyond the city, the entire state relies on it. On a very simplified level, Michigan has three industries; the auto industry in the south-east, the dwindling agricultural industry in the center, and tourism in the north and most coasts. Everything else, revolves around them, and really, even the tourism is an auxilliary industry to the auto industry, because the majority of the "tourists" in Michigan, are FROM Michigan. Countless people in the south, migrate "up north", every weekend. When you can't make the mortgage on your main house, you're certainly not hanging on to your "cottage", or travelling, when it comes time for cuts.

    Do I think GM screwed up? Abso-freakin-lutely!!! But the dismissive "screw 'em" answer, is overly flippant, and doesn't fully consider what a complex issue that this actually is.
     
    #6 novice_btm, Jun 1, 2009
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2009
  7. D_Stockton Stiffye

    D_Stockton Stiffye Account Disabled

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    HazelGod "Couldn't give less of a shit about GM. They made this fucking bed, let them lie in it." It means that I may possibly be out of a job fucking seeing as how work in the automotive industy. Working at Delphi which is a part of GM isn't looking too good. So that means my whole way of life could change tommorow with a phone or hell maybe not even that.
     
  8. Joll

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    It means (to me) that GM Europe is being spun off and sold to Magna and some Russian Oligarch called Oleg Deripaska (who oddly couldn't stump up the cash to help LDV - his British/Dutch van-making concern).

    No doubt Vauxhalls will be badged Opels pretty soon. It's shame to lose another British name, but they are identical to Opels anyway. Glad GM Europe looks likely to survive though - as their current cars are very competitive (Corsa, Astra and Insignia).

    I'm sorry about GM's US collapse - but I'm glad the government has bought a stake and (if I've got this right?) they'll be restructured under bankruptcy protection, allowing them to continue in some form or other afterwards. Pity the same procedure couldn't have been used to save the UK's MG-Rover in 2005.

    I do think American car companies had unfortunately allowed themselves to get a long way behind the competition - but hopefully after all this you'll be able to emerge producing much better cars at some point. Ford's cars (especially in Europe) are already very good, btw - maybe it's all the pension liabilities, etc. that damage its profitability?

    [PS: It's bad for all the parts suppliers and real people in the US who are caught up in all this - with jobs on the line, etc.]
     
  9. D_Stockton Stiffye

    D_Stockton Stiffye Account Disabled

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    Thanx for the P.S. joll.
     
  10. Nrets

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    The Chevy V8 is known as the heartbeat of America where I come from. America is suffering heart failure. But perhaps not the kind that kills. Merely the congestive kind that can be reversed with lots of rest followed by prodigious amounts of excercise.
     
  11. Nrets

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    You know, I thought about it some more, in spite of my anti-corporate anti-centralization stances, I love autmobiles, and GM is my favorite company. I always said if I had unlimited money, my cars would by old GMs rather than the Ferraris, Lambos, benzes, rollses and Maybachs that other people might buy.

    Here is a list of cars that have affected my life and close friends.

    1954 Oldsmobile Delta 88
    1970 Cadillac Coupe Deville
    1968 Chevy Chevelle
    1927 Buick Sedan
    1969 Cheverolet C10 4 on the floor freshened Corvette 350 with open headers. We could pull tree stumps from underneath skyscrapers and scare the bats out of the bellfree while doing it with that thing.
    1966 Buick Riviera
    1967 Pontiac Tempest
    1984 Chevette
    1970 Chevy Nova
    1972 Oldsmobile Cutlass
    Many many more

    The first car anyone in my family ever owned was a late 20's Buick bought by my grandpa during the Great Depression.

    The first time I changed a waterpump was on a 1970 Nova.

    The first car in my circle was a 66 Riviera. We were all still on bikes, the Riviera followed.

    My personal identity is somewhat wrapped up in a red and white 54 Olds. It's hard to explain, but really don't tread on me. We got our gas we got our beer. Were gonna pack up the olds and get the fuck outta here. When I think of these cars I remember who I am. It may be shallow, but rock n roll and two tone paint with a filterless camel and a 50's swagger will never die.

    With GM bankrupt, I am losing my teen idol. And even though my idol may not have been real, he had a profound effect on my life.
     
  12. Lex

    Lex
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    I have owned only one American car and it was junk, so from a day to day stand point, it won't effect me as I don't work in the industry and I don't own a GM.

    I agree with what Jason and HazelGod said and I fully understand what Novie talks about having watched my grandfather go through similar times when the steel yards went bankrupt.

    The sad, hard truth is that in a capitalist society, weak, inefficient organizations are supposed to die to make way for better-run ones. In this case, this means that Honda and Toyota (whose cars are actually MORE American made than the Detroit Trio) are thriving. Foreign automakers did this simply by focusing on quality. Imagine that.
     
  13. ram_me99

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    Sigh, that's not true. It's something those who support Honda and Toyota throw around to make themselves feel better about not buying an American car.

    Sure, some Japanese models are highly American, but as a whole, Ford, GM, and Chrysler make more cars in the U.S. then they do, both as a whole number and as a percentage of their total manufacturing.

    And Toyota is certainly not thriving. It's receiving money from its government. It's also posted a multibillion dollar loss. And that's WITH the IMMENSE currency manipulation that works in its favor that the U.S. Government continues to be unable or unwilling to do anything about.

    GM did a lot of bad things over a long period of time to get here. But attitudes like yours, State governments that rolled out the tax-free red carpet for foreign manufacturers, a federal government which has done nothing to help ease the immense healthcare obligations that the American car companies have to contend with that are all but absent from any of the Big Three Japanese books (recently, GM alone was providing healthcare for over 1,000,000 Americans.), Americans who want to continue to think that Toyota doesn't build inefficient, bland vehicles (Silverado gets better mpg than Tundra, Malibu better than Camry, Cobalt better than Corolla, etc), are all to blame for this.

    GM's myriad innovations are almost too long to list. Do you have an automatic transmission? Thank GM. Do you have airbags? Thank GM. Do you have an electric starter as opposed to cranking a car with a crank? Thank GM. GM's also a leader in in-car telematics (OnStar), has an advanced two-mode hybrid system that Mercedes-Benz, Chrysler, and BMW are all going to use, and will have a full electric car on the dealer lots next year.

    Cars like the CTS, Enclave, Malibu, Corvette, Silverado, Camaro (29mpg and 304hp!!), and '10 Equinox, among many others, all show that GM can produce cars that are unapologetically better than anything from Japan or Germany.

    And that's the truth.
     
  14. HazelGod

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    And that makes you different from anyone else how, exactly?

    Tough shit, chump, that's life. You can either play the victim and cry about the circumstances, or you can do something proactive. You've got youth on your side...try getting your ass in school and learning a trade that doesn't revolve around a moribund industry. Take my advice and avoid anything editorial.
     
  15. B_starinvestor

    B_starinvestor New Member

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    There are a number of people I know in the Midwest that are being directly affected.

    I agree with posters above....GM has survived, even this decade, by artificially low interest rates and easy, easy financing options. Once financing dried up, they didn't have a prayer to survive with their mediocre (at best) products.

    It is also a sign that pension plans and unions will make it difficult for any large company to survive in a globally competitive economy.

    Cradle to grave employment is a thing of the past for the most part.
     
  16. Thedrewbert

    Thedrewbert Member

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    Many of the foreign cars "assembled" here are built up from part made outside the country. It's cheaper to ship the car over as a "kit" and put it together in Kentucky than it is to ship the whole car over. This does NOT make the car "more American". The profits go out of the country, the R&D is mostly done out of the country, the components are built outside of the country.

    It took Toyota 20 years of selling crap (yes I said it) in this country before they started turning out a decent product. When is the last time you saw an '83 Toyota? You don't because they all rusted away in 5 years. You can still see early 80's GMs, Fords, and Chrysler... hell even a few AMCs trolling the highways regularly. I'm a Cadillac or Oldsmobile man. All of my cars have been dead reliable all the way up to trade in time.

    If I mention to anyone over 40 that I have a Cadillac, they'll start down the "I knew someone way back who had a Cadillac 8-6-4 that was junk"..... yes, blame Cadillac for an engine they made 30 years ago that sold for 1 year and they warranty replaced any engine that went bad.

    If we judge Toyota and Honda on the products they made 30 years ago like we do with the domestics NO ONE would buy them.
     
  17. jason_els

    jason_els <img border="0" src="/images/badges/gold_member.gi

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    Just some thoughts:

    The raw capitalist in me sees GM employees as dupes of their own making. I think GM (or Chrysler, maybe Ford) has had the writing on the wall for a long time and for anyone to attach their fortunes to the company in the past 30, certainly the past 10, years has made a personal economic mistake. There have been warnings, declining market share, and no sense of a turnaround in the making. That should be enough to alert current employees that GM was in no position to meet its obligations under collective bargaining or any other agreements. There was time to get out and find something else. Sticking with a sinking ship when there are plenty of lifeboats is pointless.

    The average person these days will switch jobs about 10 times in their real working career and have three separate careers. Staying nimble, competitive, and aware of greater economic situations beyond our own doorsteps is essential for the modern American worker. That means re-training, adult education, maybe relocating, and actively planning for a self-sufficient retirement.

    Back when all the generous benefits were being handed-out in the good old days when all GM could do was grow, the union workers actually agitated for a government-run health system. They didn't want to have to rely on GM for health insurance. GM assured the workers that they would be cared for and that GM would honor their agreements. The unions caved.

    GM does not make competitive cars and hasn't for a long time. On occasion they made a good car but let's be honest. Does Cadillac have the quality, technology, and refinement of a German car? Why? Think about it. The US is a big country with exceptional engineers and technological resources. We can and should be able to compete with the best Germany has to offer yet we've been stuck on platform engineering and "pump and dump" marketing, refusing to innovate. Cadillac does not equal the best that's out there and I don't mean Rolls-Royce or Maybach or the super high-end cars (though we could do those too). We should be able to make a 3-series/A4 killer but we don't.

    And nor do we make a Civic-killer, a Land Cruiser-killer, a Camry-killer, or anything else. The quality and standard of engineering just isn't there and it's reflected in the American corporate car culture where marketing, cost savings, and platform engineering produce mediocrity.

    Beyond that, America itself has been instrumental in GM's demise. We've not reformed healthcare to prevent what's happening in GM and will happen in many other companies with similar obligations, we've bought American out of pride and a sense of patriotism when we should have forced the Big 3 to address their problems by staying out of their showrooms, we've given handouts and tax breaks ad infinitum, and even went so far as to bail out Chrysler once before. Why should these companies innovate when they literally believe they're too big to fail and the US government won't permit it? Every time we added a Band-Aid, we prevented the Big 3 from facing their realities for a little while longer, prolonging the decline and making the collapse even worse.

    What I see now is an invaluable opportunity for investors and entrepreneurs to create new car companies from the ground-up. Get out of your Big 3 job now, grab some of your fellow employees, incorporate as an outsourcing firm, and start knocking on doors to sell your expertise at whatever it is you do. Tesla, Fisker, FIAT, and others will all need help growing and managing the American market. There are opportunities, but they're not the same opportunities. The new companies outsource everything including their manufacturing, assembly, and parts. Become a consultant, become a switch maker, go to FIAT and tell them you can make their cars appeal better to Americans with your interior design skills. Dealers who are on the outs should immediately form an association of independent dealers and use the power of their numbers to become micro-sellers of many small brands to sell brands with small or non-existant US presence. One line isn't selling? Dump it and get another. Toyota doesn't have a dealer in 50 miles then sell Toyotas and service them under authorized factory guarantee and certification. Sell whatever brand you think will sell in your area and carry a few so no dealer is married to any one particular maker.

    Keep in mind that what's happening is just the normal progression of economics. As the trends to outsourcing, multiple point assembly, and temporary pop-up brands continues, so will the need to be a worker who can operate within these new business environments. Capitalism has no sense of history nor any emotional stake nor does it even operate the way humans do. That's capitalism's biggest failing. It is, however, the system we're married to and we either change it or force ourselves to realize that going to work 9-5 for five days a week isn't going to cut it. We've got to plan our careers based upon our current skills, skills we can yet learn, and global, national, and regional economics.
     
  18. rob_just_rob

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    Unfortunately for GM's employees and pensioners, the gravy boat has hit an iceberg. They had a very good deal for a very long time, and now will have to adjust, like a lot of others have already had to adjust.
     
  19. geocycle

    geocycle New Member

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    AMEN!
     
  20. Thedrewbert

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    Cadillac CTS, CTS-V, SRX - Chevy Malibu, Equinox, Traverse - Ford Fusion, Focus, Taurus, Edge, Escape - Mercury Milan, Mariner, Sable - Lincoln MKS, MKS, MKX - Jeep Commander - Saturn Vue, Astra, Outlook, Sky.... just to name a few.

    You're going to argue that none of those are a (insert favorit foreign model here) killer. That's fine. There are very very few foreign models that can honestly say they kill everything else in the segment.

    Your preferences may vary, but the 5-series and E-class are not clearly head and shoulders above the CTS as to not warrant comparison. The CRV is not a game changer in the segment so that the Equinox and Vue are clear losers. The CTS-V kicks the M5 back to Germany because it can do everything the BMW can do only faster and for less money. The Traverse, Acadia, Enclave, Outlook SUVs have been recognised as some of the best in their class for their drivability, capacity, and fuel economy for being such large vehicles. The Malibu always ends up in the Top 3 of just about any family sedan comparison. The Fusion/Milan is the most fuel efficient sedan in both hybrid and non-hybrid forms. Ditto the Escape/Mariner. The Cobalt SS is considered the best bang for your performance buck.

    Just because something doesn't sell well doesn't mean it's a bad vehicle. The MSM has done everything in it's power to poison people against the domestics. Want recent proof? At the begining of May, MotorTrend did a comparison test of the Cadillac CTS-V and the BMW M5. What would these 2009 hot rod sedans have to do with the 1983 Cadillac Cimmaron? Not a thing..... but there it is in the first fucking sentance of the review.

    Just once I want to read one of these comparison tests that goes:
    If you don't feel like reading the entire article, the M5 gets it's teutonic butt handed to it.

    So many people are willing to punish the domestics for some percieved injustice. The truth is, in the 70s and 80s... ALL CARS WERE CRAP! It's just at that time, GM sold more of one model than Toyota did of it's entire model lineup. GM had a much bigger chance to piss people off simply because they sold more cars. The imports back then weren't great, they were just "other".

    Now that Toyota has exceeded GM in size, they too are starting to feel this effect.

    If you couldn't tell, I'm a major GM supporter. I never tell people that they must buy GM or any domestic. I just suggest that they at least give the domestics a test drive and do all the research on both the imports AND domestics before they buy. You may be surprised with what you find.
     
    #20 Thedrewbert, Jun 1, 2009
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2009
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