"Sal" is very definition of a troll. He'll post here once in a while when
he can find something he knows will elicit a response. If no one replies,
the thread dies. (Does that sound too much like Johnny Cochran?)
The current management team is better than they've had in a while and will
need more time to retune the company toward profitability. GM is turning
around. It is (slowly) getting a handle on labor and health-care costs,
it's trying to reduce the number of models and brands, it's designing
better, sometimes award-winning, cars and trucks. Some factors are outside
its control, like the overall economy. Yes, they should probably have
foreseen the move away from large SUVs and trucks to more fuel-economical
vehicles. With the US mortgage meltdown, it has turned out to be
serendipitous that they sold off half of GMAC.
The $38 billion figure trumpeted by "Uncle Vito" was almost all a non-cash
charge to write down the value of deferred tax assets. One would suggest he
learn to read and understand financial statements. For the year, both
globally and in North America, the actual loss from automotive operations
was quite a bit smaller than an year ago.
One other thing - GM leads the Dow companies, with a 9% increase in its
stock price so far this year.
Hey key -- I see your 2-cents and raise you $ 4.75.
Shreveport article was an honest snapshot.
Grieving this loss isn't pleasant for GM, for
the workers or for the community but that's
where we are. We will see more and grieve more
before this is over.
Anyone know what the status is at St Catherine's?
Regarding the first article-- I saw it as a bit
amby-pamby -- It took a 'downward' view of GM
rather than a look 'at' the company. I'd guess
the writer was closer to Wall Street than to
automobiles. May not even drive to work
--perhaps doesn't drive at all.
1) The 'current economy' isn't something to
whine about --it's something to exploit. I
think Toyota saw this coming a couple of years
ago and they launched Scion. Chevy has the
models to do something similar but hides them in
the back lot or behind Trucks & SUV's (the
high-margin iron). The average Chevy
salesperson tends to look down at low-end
buyers. Striking a deal means an even view
between two persons and Chevy seems to have lost
North American automobile folk seem to have
forgotten that production numbers, jobs and
profits spring from *full-priced unit sales of
new cars* -- anything else is rubbish! Sell
people something new and export the used SUVs to
Venezula or Mexico.
2) GM doesn't need a 're-tune' It needs (and
Waggoner may be quietly providing) an overhaul.
That should be much like IBM and GE received.
There was whining when GE made it's last table
model radio in Tennessee. There was whining
when IBM produced it's last notebook computer.
3) Maybe the GMAC unload wasn't all that
accidental -- while GM needed the cash, any
half-assed corporate economist should have seen
that the Mortgage market was weak on collateral
and short on ability to pay.
I don't agree with dropping either the Pontiac
or Buick marques. While history tells us that
tough times led to the demise of the Edsel,
DeSoto and Oldsmobile marques, there are many
product opportunities around the corner and GM
needs established brands and channels to launch
those products. To drop marques is to retrench
and turn market over to the competitors.
Keep Pontiac and Buick alive and respectable,
with temporary lipstick (like the Enclave) if
needed. While this costs money, those brands may
be the springboards for energy efficient or
other new platforms.
OK, here's the blasphemy part:
The Chevrolet brand is bloated with models and
is now more blurred than all of Toyota. If I
needed a new sedan or truck, I'd not go to a
cluttered Chevy showroom.
If it were mine, I'd clean out Chevy with a dose
of Castor Oil. Make this a leaner cash cow
operation with just enough agility to adapt to
near-term changes in the market. Move Corvette
elsewhere -- perhaps into the Pontiac showrooms
and make that excitement-land -- Hummer,
Solstice, Corvette et al.
Badging: Cloning the Solstice platform onto
both Pontiac and Saturn seemed dumb. Reviews of
those two cars mince small points and the
comparisons are blurry. While badging increases
platform exposure opportunity and visibility it
also tends to reduce resale value. A big factor
with buyers since Japan and Germany regularly
shove resale value up our ass. I'd continue
badging where the models could be clearly
distinguished but would make both platform and
brand managers plea, on bended knee, for badging.
Continue something like Buick as the
'graduation' car for the Boomers who don't want
to go the Caddy route or want something that's
$15K less expensive than an STS. Rest assured
that there will be ample Boomers with sufficient
aches and pains to buy those cars. Mercury is
no longer in that game and Chrysler is about to
leave a big hole there. If GM fails to do this,
Nissan (with a new model) and Toyota (current
Avalon) will takeover that niche 100%.
I like Caddy's marketing plan and I'd stay that
course for several years. This downturn isn't
going to impact on those sales.
Maybe buy Jeep before Ford does and stick that
inside the Pontiac or Saturn tent.
GM needs to address 'rice' directly. GM's lost
it in the 16-22 age group to Honda, Mitsubishi
and now Scion. Maybe that could go under the
Pontiac roof but I'd be tempted to exploit it in
the Saturn camp. The 'bean counters' don't see
any profit margin in the rice market but it does
establish branding and it re-establishes a
customer base that GM has lost. For twenty
years the light truck has been the entry vehicle
-- I think that's changing, particularly in
large population centers.
G.M. seems to understand emerging markets
overseas but it's blind to it's own back yard.
If GM is not to follow Chrysler it has to
recognize emerging opportunities within the U.S.
and exploit those. -- and stop whining about
market or regulatory conditions! Just build it
and sell it.
pj ... $ 4.75 (maybe worth less than a buck but
with the declining dollar, I raised the price.)
Don't get me wrong I love my Corvettes but I don't have a lot of hope for
GM. GM and Ford will reverse themselves when you see them gain back market
share. Not just a ½ point gain for a few months but 5-10 % sustained for 5
It all started back in the 70's with the shit management. When you put
staff people into line positions this type of thing will happen. You won't
see a bean counter or lawyer making decisions at Toyota or Honda.
My friend just retired from Ford after 30 years. One of the things he told
me about and I think he has been right is that the Auto Industry in Detroit
has a real bad problem. Their attitude is always "don't tell us how to make
cars, we invented them".
In Japan when you have a problem, you fix it. At GM when you have a problem
you tell the customer to blow it out his ass, just like the 3800 engine
intake manifold problem. Or at Ford with the 4.6 liter intake problem.
You have that right!
I remember in the 60s-70s anything the big 3 (4) made automatically was to
be accepted by the public as the best styling and performance available. If
you didn't like it, tough.
They seem to have that same attitude now.
I believe a TRUE corporate shakeup is in order for them to be able to get
their act together. They are terrified to do it in that they could make
matters worse instead of better. That would also disrupt their good ole boy
network where they all get rich together.
One simple example if GM ineptitude. At televised sporting events. What do
the Chevy ads try to sell you. Pickup trucks and SUV's. They should be
pushing cars not trucks and SUV's. They are basiclly selling crucifixes to
the pope. In reality, GM is basically fighting Ford and Chrysler for truck
sales. They are looking at the trees and ignoring the forest.
Same with Cadillac. They keep pushing On Star with ads where Grandma
crashes and can't get out or locks her keys in the car. Are these kinds of
ads going to get more folks (by default, younger folks) to buy Cads. I do
not think so.
GM still has its head totally up its ass. Their plan for profitability is
to lower costs, period, not build a better product or get smart with its
marketing. They are going to lower costs by breaking the union, getting
cheaper foreign labor, and cutting benefits.
They should be focusing on making a better product, better marketing and
giving folks more value for their dollar.
Maybe they should continue to do to their entire product line what they have
done to the 2009 ZR1 Corvette. Add a $1000 supercharger to to their base
model, then double the price. They are doing similarly to their Cad CTS-V.
Call that value? Perhaps because the production volume for these cars is so
low, they figure there will be an equivalent number of suckers that will
bite and buy .
Their management is totally inept and GM pumpers and the GM board are too
blind to see it.
Please jump into a Mercedes group and tell
Kompressor owners that it's a 'glue-on' to the
base engine. One neighbor with a Mercedes
thinks it's a good deal. So does another
neighbor with a Buick Ultra.
Both GM and Mercedes use comparable mods to the
base engine when they add supercharging.
I happened to own one of the 3800 (series II)
intake-issue engines. I think GM acted responsibly.
I received a personal recall letter. Got the
car into the dealer. Was given a loaner for
three days. They opened the engine and found
that it had a leak. They cleaned the engine,
resealed it, changed out all the fluids,
conducted two follow up checks. We put another
40K miles of heavy driving on that engine (wide
variety of climate and load conditions) over a
three year period with no issues. I wouldn't
call that, telling the owner to 'blow it out his
I do feel that the engineering of that intake
was a bit ambitious when considered against the
materials available in production. A more
conservative approach would have been better and
would have allowed for the variances that happen
on the shop floor.
In a much earlier 3800 engine I was a victim of
the #1 bearing issue. Another instance of
ambitious design -- probably akin to the
'wishful enginering' in the Olds 350 diesels.
GM and the dealer worked that problem twice (a
repair, then a replacement) before I was happy
-- not ideal, but real world. The point was
that I was finally happy.
OTOH, I owned 10 cast-iron GM V-8s (both Olds
and Chevy derivatives) between the '49 and '01
model years. All represented excellent value
and steady improvement in design. Even the
earliest went beyond 100K miles before needing
serious attention. (I missed the '55 Chevy
small block OHV follies -- so can't speak for
I've also ventured into GM's boutique of new
ventures with their small aluminum V-8 (coolant
issues), a Fiero (costly to produce-no fun
replacing plugs) and, a couple of Corvairs (oil
leaks). But, I realized that they weren't
"common sense" cars when I bought them.
I think criticism plays better when it's either
personal experience or is supported by cited
references -- otherwise it tend to come across
as 'blowing out ......
Regarding your earlier remarks on GM not using
direct injection. They are employing it in
China now...in a V-6.
You don't need to convince me that the top management makes too much money,
but it is no more egregious at GM than it is as many other large
corporations. I fully agree that corporate bigshots are waaaaay overpaid.
But in a global automobile market, so, now, are American line workers.
Protectionism sounds great in principle, but it doesn't work in the long
run. I suspect the Japanese are sweating bullets over Hyundai. I'd guess
in 10 years the Koreans will be sweating bullets over the Chinese or
Further down the thread, others are hollering about GM mistakes back in the
60s and 70s when the car market wasn't global. GM is actually doing fairly
well outside of North America.
If you were running GM, what would you do? Just remember this - money runs
OK I will bite.
I would kill the Pontiac and Buick brands. Make Cadillac have some slightly
downscale models to cover what was Buick.
I would put an interior in Corvette that is commensurate with a $55k car.
I would restyle the Cadillac to look more like the STS and get rid of the
horrible slab sides.
I would quit advertising SUVs. They sell plenty of them on their own.
Top Execs would take a $1/yr salary until GM is profitable again.
Kill the SUV hybrids. They do not fool anyone. Folks can see through the
Build great cars but keep the price reasonable, including Cadillac and
Corvette. GM comes up with great cars then puts an outrageous price tag on
them. You may be able to get away with these prices if resale keeps up but
you need years to build up resale value. Be patient.
Put all the Cadillac options in the Chevy and keep the price down. Give the
Get rid of the chevy bow tie, the cadillac crest; all symbols of old GM.
They do not cut it any more. Come up with new symbols.
Work on electric vehicles and hybrids but on small cars. Make them BETTER
than Toyota or Honda. Don't just meet them like you have typically done.
No one at GM has the balls to do what needs to be done.
Good points, both the union and the top brass could use some common
sense, (whatever that might be). I've been on both sides of the fence
but not far enough to get to the multi-million dollar wages and
bonuses. Could I have resisted making millions a year, most likely not
if I were in the American automotive clichι of that era. I remember
the aura that came into the Dearborn Inn one morning when the brass
from Ford came in, which at the time included Iacoca. Most of the
table servers nearly shit themselves to be noticed, sucking up for a
big tip. As you point out the mentality is still there for the mister
bigs of the automotive companies.
Early in my working career I had to join the union and was never in
one again after that job. My goal in life was to do the best job I
could at what ever I was attempting to undertake. Way to many of the
unions abused their position to prove they had any kind of control
over their employment. Be that as it may it's not what I was referring
to by squeezing the promised benefits from those that they can.
What I'm referring to is when you start a program or a job you should
be honorable and fulfill your commitment. That has at times cost me
and humbled me but was never compromised. What we have now is the
government stepping in and backing retirement funds and letting the
companies off the hook allowing them to further bloat their salaries
and bonuses. Just as they are sneaking out of the promise they made
such as Social Security while inflating their own salaries and perks.
Your best point is that "money runs the game", and I agree, what we
need is a government that is for the people, by the people, where did
I hear that before? Somewhere we lost that and have one that is for
the money, by the money, why should industry be any different?
Decrease management by 10%, increase the workforce by 10%, and fire all the
designers. I can puke and come up with better styling. If anyone draws
another Aztek, drag them out in the parking lot, bring all the staff out to
watch, and shoot the guy. Tell them the next styling review is Monday. Who
wants to be first?
All management above $300,000 per year gets cut to $10,000 a year. Let them
see what many of their potential customers endure. Bonuses will bring them
up, but only when earned. They make quota, they get something.
Manager on the line day. On Corvette Forum, some have suggested the problem
with American business is that they are all run by MBAs who have no idea of
what the company does or makes. Have every manager spend one day on the
line somewhere working each month. Of course, that really doesn't give them
a sense of much. Make them work the line for a week once every 6 months.
Drop all hiring of managers from outside. Begin upward internal climbs on
the corporate ladder starting from the line itself.
Rethink the car lines completely. Chevy is the low price field for working
Americans, so price them that way. Get rid of the confusion with the
models. Make models that are fun and useful. Beat the ricers. Why is the
16 to 25 year olds running Hondas, Toyotas, and such? Dependability,
tuneability, and horsepower. You can get almost anything you want to turn
one of them into a street racer, a road racer, or a drag racer. And they
will run forever.
How many you see doing that in a Malibu or a Cobalt?
Corvette. It always was expensive, but it had the cheap 250 hp 3 speed base
model for the guy who could scrape financing for $3500 and the raw twist the
world horsepower for those who could double that price. And everything
between by checking the boxes. Today, the boxes are which interior
appointments. Basically, you have base convertible, base coupe, and the
outrageous Z06. But the base cars really aren't base in price.
Trucks. Cut the weight by 5% a year for the next 5 years. Shoot for 10%
per year, but definitely make 5%. This will do more to hit those gas usage
requirements AND make them more appealing as they get better gas mileage
than the competitors. And remember, they are trucks. A truck that has a
GVWR of 7500 should be able to haul more than 500 lbs of stuff. It should
be hauling about 2000 lbs of stuff. And towing only 3500 lb loads? Give me
a break. A '73 Impala would do better than that, just like a '65 Chevy, and
Cut the SUV and create a station wagon. The lower profile is better for
drag and gas mileage and you can make them 9 adult passenger models WITH
luggage space. Most SUVs are 5 passenger and if you put the third row seat
(kiddy space only), it becomes void or any luggage space except the roof,
which just really screws up gas mileage from aerodynamics.
Do we need GMC and Chevy trucks?
Get scale back in the car lines. Cadillac was on top for the rich, Buicks
for the doctors, Pontiac for the professionals, and Chevies for the working
stiffs. Most Americans are so shallow, that marketing might work again for
all but Chevy. Right now, each line tries to be all things to all people
and end up competing with each other rather than with outsiders.
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