Trolls and mischaracterizations

"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.
AJM
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General Motors' Shreveport plant may lay off as many as 160 workers in the coming weeks, with the first 60 expected to go Friday. http://tinyurl.com/ypq9yt
my2’
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'Key
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What two cents is that? The article is quite balanced.
AJM
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I don't care what the article says. the 2’ is that GM IS cutting back production. also, if you don't have something positive to respond ? just simply don't respond...
more of my2’
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'Key
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'Key wrote:

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 that.
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.)
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Well stated. I enjoyed reading your post.
Vito

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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 years.
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.
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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.
Vito

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Uncle_vito wrote:

Hey Vito,
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 ass.'
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 that engine).
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.
-- pj
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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 Indians.
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 the game.
My best,
AJM
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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 GM bullshit.
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 customer VALUE.
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.
Vito

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Snip>
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?
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runs
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 so on.
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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