Time to cut Detroit a break

Discussion in 'Fred's House of Pancakes' started by JackDodge, Aug 12, 2008.

  1. robbyr2

    robbyr2 New Member

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    The good news is that at the new higher price for oil ($115 is no bargain), the cost of importing large items gets pretty expensive. I was reading (I apologize for losing track of the location) that the cost of shipping a container has gone up quite a bit lately. It made me wonder whether the cost of shipping Prii from Japan was a part of the price increases. In any event, they were suggesting that manufacturing might make a comeback in this country if prices for shipping remained high. Whether it would be by American companies or not is another issue.

    And a couple of weeks ago I was reading that some companies had started to question there outsourcing to other countries- primarily India and Bangladesh- because of the customer service complaints. I won't buy a Dell because I don't want to deal with their techies in India. I don't dislike India, but the mixture of Queen's English and Hindi on their side, and my Oklahoman roots does cause communication issues both ways.

    My Prius is my first non-Detroit vehicle. I've had all the ones Consumer Reports has rated poorly and my experiences have been quite good with all of them. I think that has more to do with my taking care of them than their innate quality. I do believe that quality is a corporate management thing, not a worker thing. Anyone remember the first Hyundais in America? I do. Now they have their act together. I don't believe all the South Koreans have been replaced, but I do know Hyndai has worked hard to make a better product. Detroit could do it. We can only hope they want to do it.
     
  2. skruse

    skruse Senior Member

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    GM, Ford & Chrysler, as well as Toyota and Honda, met with the US Government in the 1990s and requested assistance to get vehicles with better fuel economy, including hybrids, going. The "Big 3" went home, did nothing, and lobbied against Toyota and Honda ("non US companies") receiving assistance. Toyota and Honda moved forward and delivered hybrids. The Big 3, having fed at the high profit trough for too long, only bothered to look up and around recently, crying unfair "loss." No one has it against the Big 3, but they keep shooting themselves in the feet. Fraudulent "high mpg" advertisements don't help. Honda, Tesla and Toyota are way out in front while the Big 3 still look in disbelief that the profit trough is empty. The EV1 was a blip and a mistake on the Detroit viewfinder.

    UC Davis has a laboratory devoted to hybrid technology and keeps making domestic vehicles more efficient (hybrid or 100% electric). The Rocky Mountain Institute has shown Detroit how to make vehicles more cost effectively (fewer parts) and more crash resistant. Detroit is still looking away. This is 2008, not 1908, maybe Detroit will stop chewing the pig chow for a while and look around.
     
  3. ctbering

    ctbering Rambling Man

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    I am sure someone who will make you feel guilty about your personal experience. It won't be me. I commend you.
    BTW, I actually enjoyed talking to the Dell tech people when my Windows 2000 crashed on a regular basis. I liked to ask them about their City's sports teams, time, weather, etc... When they told me their first name I would ask if they were Irish, hispanic, african american...I know I was bad but really, we spent so much quality time together on the phone. After I realized I am getting older by the minute I decided to buy an Apple computer. It was like trading in a Chevy for a Toyota...somehow everything worked and it made me a more agreeable person..
     
  4. JSH

    JSH Senior Member

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    You are correct. When we moved our manufacturing to India a 40ft shipping container was ~$2000. Today that same container costs $7000. We get 12 pieces per container so that is a increase of $416 per piece in shipping alone. This has caused us to look at bring the assembly process back to the US. (We will still source parts worldwide, but you can fit a whole lot more parts than assembled product in a container.)

    I predict you will see a lot more assembly happening in the country of use. This is a two edged sword though, you'll see companies like John Deere, and Caterpillar move plants to India and China to support those local markets instead of building in the US and shipping completed product.
     
  5. go4less

    go4less New Member

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    GM, Ford & Chrysler, as well as Toyota and Honda, met with the US Government in the 1990s and requested assistance to get vehicles with better fuel economy
    NOW FOR THE REST OF THE STORY--- These guide lines did not apply to trucks so the car companies said lets make it cool to drive a truck and we will not have to worry about better gas consumption for cars.
    When I was a kid in school and a student drove to class in a truck you thought he was straight off the farm and would expect to see straw hanging out of the corner of his mouth. Now the sign of success is (was) a 50 to $70,000 Escalade. Now they can not sell these things because some one forgot to put a window in the CEO's office!!
    Everyone else in the country knew the price of gas was going up
     
  6. PriuStorm

    PriuStorm Senior Member

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    Sounds like I've had a similar experience with my Dell as you did with yours. My next computer will be an Apple, too.
     
  7. morpheusx

    morpheusx Professor Chaos

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    When I needed a new car right before I bought my Prius I was ready to root for another one of the home teams. I was all set to buy a Ford Fusion. It had decent reviews, what I perceived to be good economy at the time. Never even considered a Toyota let alone a Prius. I looked over the Fusion inside and out at the large car show up in Cleveland, when I saw the sticker said Made in Mexico I decided to think again about buying American. I wandered over to the Chevy selections, I needed a car that would be suitable for a small family but also delivered 30 + MPG in real world driving. The Impala completely sucked (too expensive, poor mileage)and the Malibu has one of the worst resale values and is noted as being unreliable by nearly every single reviewer. So I look at the Honda's and Toyota's and was actually impressed, their prices were better and thier vehicles I looked at were built in the USA. I curiously looked at the Prius while I was there and never has a car impressed me so much. So much so I test drove one the very next day at my local dealership. My Prius is the first Toyota I've ever driven and it is remarkable even the maintenance is easier to do. I plan on buying nothing but Toyota's from here on out. I've learned my lesson as even my Dad who has been buying Chevy trucks and cars for 40 years is sick of the piss poor quality and has swore them off for good. It is sad when a company can't even keep their loyalists anymore. Quit talking and built better cars and build them here and maybe just maybe they can win us back.
     
  8. FL_Prius_Driver

    FL_Prius_Driver Senior Member

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    1) What does GM need to do to start the climb back up (i.e. start recovering market share)?

    2) What are your hopes for the Volt? (What needs to be done to make it succeed?)
     
  9. CarGuy60

    CarGuy60 New Member

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    From the what's it worth files. My wife has a 08 Prius on order here in the Boston burbs. We have looked at two so far as we get closer to ours. Colors, packages, didnt work so we will wait for what we ordered. Now tell me the truth if you looked at the interior of the Prius, and you didnt know who made the car, wouldnt you be very disapointed and upset with the look, it looks cheap and feels cheap, youd think it was a Yugo or worse a Suzuki :) and i have a $500 downpayment on that cheap looking interior, oh well. This past Spring. i traded my 2001 Toyo Avalon with 34,000 miles for a 2007 Buick Lucerne. Believe me or not there is no compararison. The Lucerne is a much nicer car, ride, quality and reliabilty. My Avalon was no engineering marvel, trust me. Before you laugh, Buick has been #2 in JD Powers survey for years right behind Lexus. A long time reader of Consumer Reports here, maybe 2 or 3 years ago in their annual Auto issue they stated "the quality of the American auto's is now at the point where it matchs the quality of the Japenese cars when they made there mark as quality vehicles" Those are my words, i could not find the original atricle but the idea is the same. That said, we will buy the Pri, but only for its mileage. Sorry for the ramble
     
  10. FL_Prius_Driver

    FL_Prius_Driver Senior Member

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    That is true for the 2004-2009 Prius. It uses straight ABS injection molded plastic. Maybe a high grade of plastic, but pure plastic. The 2001-2003 Prius had a much nicer interior finish with formed foam covered with cloth or flexible covering. It's clear that Toyota decided to go the cheap route on a lot of their interiors. Fortunately, the cost cutters were kept out of the Prius drivetrain....at least so far.
     
  11. FL_Prius_Driver

    FL_Prius_Driver Senior Member

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    That's a very good statement. It reminds me of the demise of Spain AFTER they took all the gold they could extract from America. It was those countries who provided all the goods they bought with the gold that became the next powers. (e.g. England)
     
  12. malorn

    malorn Senior Member

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    On point number one, keep building great product, come up with better marketing, especially the behind the scenes press manipulation. I think Toyota is a little too much in love with itself at the moment and is vulnerable, they have had some failures and it will be interesting to see how they respond.

    On point number two, I think the Volt may be the game changer GM needs to change pubic perception. I would be surprised if Toyota has ever made a dime on the Prius itself, but the Prius has been worth billions in customer goodwill and more importantly media goodwill. It has allowed them to infer in all their marketing that they have better mileage becuase they are toyota.
     
  13. morpheusx

    morpheusx Professor Chaos

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    1) what does GM need to do to climb back up?
    Quit making cars and trucks that start falling apart after 5 years. My dad's Silverado has turned into a headache.
    2) What needs to be done for the Volt to succeed?
    Standing behind the vehicle, pushing for its success and build it in large numbers. No more of this half nice person we only want it to be a "halo" car. In this day and age it will be the recipe for their demise.

    Sadly GM is the #1 or #2 in the world (depending on who's numbers you choose to believe) in market share. So lets now figure out how you can be # 1 in the world and still be on the brink of bankruptcy. I mean really how does that happen?
     
  14. jayman

    jayman Senior Member

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    Don't you think that had a lot more to do with cheap credit made available to people who didn't have a hope in hell of ever paying it off?

    It would be like giving every high school graduate a credit card with a $200,000 limit. No doubt the economy would experience a short-term boom. Perhaps 80-90% of those card holders would be bankrupt within a year or two

    As far as corporations competing, that has little to do with line level workers. I tend to put some blame on unions for sky-high wages and difficulty in firing numnut workers. The vast majority of the blame is to be shouldered by the CEO and Board of Directors

    Explain to me why despite all the blunders at GM the past few years, folks like Lutz and Wagoner still have their job?? Let alone lucrative salary increases?

    Big payday for GM's Wagoner

    Can Wagoner Outlast GM's Loss?

    If I made a boo-boo even remotely as bad as that, I would have been fired long ago. In a global economy, you go with what is best, period. No bulls*** about patriotism or looking after your own. Remember, I don't automatically grant respect, you have to EARN it from me. It's difficult to earn respect, and very easy to lose it too

    As far as blaming Toyota for all the trade ills of the US, some different data from official sources

    TradeStats Express? - National Trade Data

    FTD - Related Party Trade - 2007

    Explain to me why GM appears to hold its own in China and the EU. Better management??
     
  15. malorn

    malorn Senior Member

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    I don't know if you have been to Michigan lately but it is the 1930's all over again, it is depressing. Every time I go I cringe to see everything for sale with no buyers and little or no hope. The economic maelstrom is radiating out from Detroit like an earthquake and is now affecting all of the great lake states to some degree.

    On Wagoner, I think he has made some good decisions and some very poor decisions, especially earlier in has years as CEO. You obviously disagree, but one of Wagoner's best decisions was bringing in Lutz. He is a great car guy and has a great eye for product detail. There is a definite difference in the product pre-lutz and post lutz in refinement etc. Lutz does not beat around the bush with his thoughts which can be good and bad and he has oviously said some things that GM wishes he would not have.

    I will catch flak from you and the rest, but GM has been very successful in 8 of the top 10 markets in the world, the two markets where it has suffered have been Japan(closed) and of course the US. I think the success in the other markets has been product and marketing. In China I think Toyota will have a hell of a time because the world war II attrocities were so bad it will take another generation at least for the animosity to go away in total. Right now GM's problems in the US are perception and the continued aggressiveness of toyota. I know GM spent too much time and energy in hindsight defeding its pickup position against the newest Tundra. GM just cannot seem to breakthrough the problemed perception GM has in this country. I think that perception has been reinforced and beaten to death in the US media. Even last weeks "Saving GM", most of my friends(non-auto) who watched were taken back by the outlook and product, it isn't at all what they expected. GM has several segment leading products, Malibu, CTS, Silverado, Enclave/Acadia, full-size SUV and several more on the way.
     
  16. FL_Prius_Driver

    FL_Prius_Driver Senior Member

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    Toyota is certainly vulnerable, but only if GM can make much better decisions and execution. When you say "great product", what makes it great? (For example, many car magazine rate cars on a few days of driving. I have a car for 10 years. Two very different criteria for determining greatness.)

    Need to focus my question a little more. What does GM need to do, or not do to make the Volt the most successful game changer possible (super reliability? or surprising performance?)
     
  17. ctbering

    ctbering Rambling Man

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    Thank you for finally coming to your sense. I think you must have been hypnotized with jingles of apple pies and chevrolets...and yes...goodwill, not media OWNER goodwill and reputation is something money can't buy. GM never figured it out and from the looks of it, never will!
    GM should be proud to have you...maybe when they build a reliable car you will be their super salesman!
     
  18. malorn

    malorn Senior Member

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    Do you know any dealers who have toyota and chevy franchises? Ask them about current warrnaty costs? Ask them about $per RO on customer pay repair orders. Just ask them, perception takes awhile to catch up to reality.
     
  19. malorn

    malorn Senior Member

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    Super Reliability, super value, and unfortunately to get lucky and get some positive media spin for a change. If the new volt is as great as the new malibu is, it will change the game.
     
  20. dbcassidy

    dbcassidy Toyota Hybrid Nation, 8 Million Strong

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    If the big 3 need a break, they can all rely on one thing (as history has proven in the past):

    A U.S. taxpayer bailout.

    Dbcassidy
     
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