Off to car heaven

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Moneyblog http://is.gd/jYqP
Say goodbye to Saturn. And Saab and Hummer, for that matter. Pontiac, too, for all intents and purposes.
Unless buyers (a few million of us -- or maybe just a
couple of really adventurous billionaires) step forward, three of General Motors eight brands are now destined to join Oldsmobile in the history books. A fourth will be relegated to niche status, says GM. The company, until last year the worlds largest automaker, announced plans Tuesday that would drastically scale back its operations in order to stay alive.
Production of Saturn cars would stop in 2011 if the brand hasnt been sold, GM said. Execs will decide whether to pull the plug on Hummer at the end of March, though rumors of Chinese interest have emerged (and been discounted) several times. The company says Saab will be an independent business entity as of Jan. 1, 2010. Take that to mean dead unless a reluctant Swedish government can be convinced to step in. Pontiac will emerge as a highly focused niche brand sold through Buick and GMC Truck showrooms.
All necessary steps, for sure. And insignificant, compared with the long-term future of the workers who make them and the towns that depend upon them.
Yet well mourn these brands even if we wont miss them.
Pontiac was long General Motors coolest brand, its Firebird, Grand Prix and Bonneville as hip and relevant in their heydays as any BMW or Honda today. Its GTO was the first true muscle car, its Trans-Am the only legitimate reason to watch Smokey and the Bandit.
Saturn once represented hope for a new way of doing business at General Motors, with distinctive plastic-bodied cars and a warm, almost nurturing sales environment. For a time, its Different Kind of Car Company shtick worked: Its Homecoming gatherings in 1994 and 1999 drew 75,000 visitors to Spring Hill, Tenn., for a lost weekend of plant tours, country music and sheer differentness.
Hummer? While they might feel as outdated as a coonskin hat, theyre still a lightning rod for eco-terrorists (cops, too) and a raised middle finger to everybody in a Camry. At least you know where a Hummer driver stands, right?
There was a time when Saabs were charming ugly, obstinate and tough as hell -- but that came long before General Motors entered the picture in 1990. Its offerings today: rebadged GM generics with the ignition switch relocated to the floor.
For good or bad, GM has chosen its horses: Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick and GMC. Would those be yours?
Don't expect a fire sale on doomed brands. There already is one, or close to it.
Once factories begin to be shuttered, the balance of supply and demand begins to tip the other way. Don't wait too long.
GM expects its dealer count to fall from 6,246 in 2008 to 4,100 by 2014, mostly in metro and suburban markets. What it will cost GM to disentangle itself from a politically powerful dealer body wasnt specified, but it spent more than $1 billion earlier this decade to shut down its 2,800- dealer Oldsmobile division.
GM was the largest U.S. corporation by revenue as recently as 2000. GM held 50% or more new-car sales for decades, peaking at 55% in 1956. In 2008, that figure fell to less than 22%. Market capitalization peaked at $52 billion in 2000. Tuesday, after GM revealed its survival plans, that figure was $1.33 billion.
Whatever your feelings about Hummers, General Motors or cars in general, it's an astounding fall.
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On Fri, 20 Feb 2009 23:46:15 +0100 (CET), Dave U. Random

Not so astounding if you paid any attention to the total mismanagement that has been going on there since the 1970's. More like "inevitable"
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Really? That may be your opinion but if that was the case, why did GM sell almost three times as many vehicles up until 2007 and its stock price split three times since 1965? LOL
wrote:

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Mike Hunter wrote:

Your next purchase of GM stock will be when you buy a new supply of Cracker Jacks-5 or 10 shares in each box.
--
Civis Romanus Sum

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me wrote:

Yup, they turned Saabs from virtually unbreakable to 'ordinary'.
Graham
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On Fri, 20 Feb 2009 23:46:15 +0100 (CET), Dave U. Random

Speaking of hummers, doesn't the US Military use it? Would that contract be what's keeping this division semi-alive today? And would the same contract preclude any foreign buyers from taking over (eg. Chinese automaker manufacturing US military vehicle wouldn't go too well for Obama)??
Conceivably, if the war in Afghanistan & Iraq continues for another 10 years and more IEDs go off, the US military will need a lot more hummers and thus keeping GM well fed for years to come.
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Military Hummers are nothing like the GM Hummer.
The original High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle is the real Humvee and is built by AM General. After there was some civilian interest, GM bought the name and came out with the Sissy Hummer they now sell. IIRC, it was built on a Tahoe chassis. Most are owned by guys with a tiny penis and are never taken off road. .
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wrote in message

Actually, GM only markets and distributes the Hummer's. AM General still builds them for GM. As for them being Sissy's, you obviously haven't taken one off roading.
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"80 Knight" <nospam> wrote in message

Correct. I'd not want to be seen in one of the ugly beasts. I think it is worse than being seen in a Honda Element and that is BAD.
Has anyone every taken one off road? The only ones I see are taken to the mall or to the grocery store for a loaf of bread.
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wrote:

If you only go to the mall or grocery store, then that's where you'll see them. I see them occasionally - I don't go off road - but don't really pay attention to them, except to think they should pay extra taxes for boosting my gas price. Real "car guys" ala Nate should be interested in them. They *are* different for sure. Like Porsches. Different uses, of course.
--Vic
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I don't know where 'ol Ed goes to see/get Hummers, but he claims to know the penis size of every Hummer driver out there. I wonder if his wife knows what he's up to when she's not around.
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Hairy wrote:

Were you born as a toilet mouth or did you study filth to talk like a toilet?
--
Civis Romanus Sum

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On Sun, 22 Feb 2009 05:59:44 -0500, Jim Higgins

Gee, Jim, If you don't agree with someone just say so, don't trash talk 'em!
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Don't. knock it....it's a step up from his usual cut and paste
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PeterD wrote:

Hairy was the trash talker, filthy talk is very poor manners.
--
Civis Romanus Sum

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Were you born as a Trolling asshole, or did it take years to get that talent?
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80 Knight wrote:

Another toilet mouth speaks from the toilet.
--
Civis Romanus Sum

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I would much rather be a toilet mouth then an inconsiderate asshole, such as yourself.
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Perhaps if you were inclined to contribute something to a discussion beyond your cut-and-pastes from the Detroit Free Press (do you do that because you think others need your assistance or simply because you support the theme of the quotation?) or your other terse pronouncements then you wouldn't be favored with such earned appellations.
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cavedweller wrote:

Articles speak for themselves. Why would I, or you, post what what we do not agree with?
--
Civis Romanus Sum

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