On 12/28/05 2:21 PM, in article
GtCsf.11074$ firstname.lastname@example.org, "Elle"
This all sounds right at face value, until you look at that new Nissan, or
Honda, or Toyota and note that they are all built in US plants using > 90%
US content by US workers. I don't think healthcare is the real issue.
That's a good point, but as I think I pointed out earlier in
the thread, Time magazine in its Dec. 5th issue had an
article on GM and pointed out that Honda or Toyota's (can't
remember which) health care cost per car for its much
younger work force was only about $300. Compare this to the
IIRC roughly $1500 per car that goes for health care for
GM's workforce (including retirees).
they dont have all the retirees... yet. and the workers make sub-UAW
wages, which isnt necessarily a bad thing.
if GM hadnt kept giving outrageous executive pay and bonuses, the UAW
wouldnt have asked for (and gotten) all those wage increases. someone
had to draw the line somewhere, and it might take bankruptcy court to
settle the whole thing.
All good points about which I had been wondering as well.
The Time magazine article also pointed out that GM (and I
think Ford) too were selling their cars at relatively huge
discounts the last few years. Whereas Honda and Toyota cars
have been in such demand that they go for a premium. (Which
I guess means consistently higher than invoice or far more
over invoice than GM and Ford cars.) So the GM and Ford
profit for each car sold tends to be lower.
Sorta blows away my theory that Americans are jerks about
buying small, fuel efficient cars, though. They do buy them.
Hoping to buy some Honda stock in the next year or so.
Doggone Toyota stock has just about gone through the roof
but still may be a good investment, if GM goes under.
If you mean check it's P/E (particularly the expected, next
year's P/E) and make sure it's low, sure, that's one
so-called stock fundamental to check. Ford's P/E is low at
the moment. But, as you may be aware, this is one of dozens
of company fundamentals that an astute investor should
check. I often go next to the earnings history. In fact,
Ford's annual earnings were in negative territory in the
last five years, and are otherwise erratic. If you're
interested, see the chart in the lower right of
http://quicktake.morningstar.com/Stock/Snapshot.asp?CountryUSA&Symbol=F&stocktab=snapshot&pgid=qtqnnavsnapshot for the
earnings trend in the last five years. Type in HMC for Honda
or TM for Toyota, and compare their earnings trends. Also,
compare to a huge conglomerate like GE or the soda pop
company Coca-cola KO.
Then too simple realities like Ford bonds are now rated at
the junk level make its stock an easy rejection. Not to be
obnoxiously pedantic, but for the interested student, this
means professional business analysts have gone over a
company's fundamentals (prospects for making profit!) with a
fine tooth comb and ruled the company in deep doo-doo, at
significantly greater risk of going bankrupt compared to,
say, a company like Honda these days.
Both are too risky for my blood at this time. That took some
hard experience in investing to realize--I did own some Ford
stock a few years ago! Coulda timed it and come out ahead,
but you know how that goes. Likewise, one could buy some
Ford stock today, like you suggest, and try to time it. But
it really could go under. It's even more likely today than a
few years ago. It's for gamblers, or people that want to put
a very small portion of their portfolio in risky stocks, in
the hope it will go up and provide a little gain. But they
can also sustain the loss of the company going under, and
the stock becoming worthless.
I also had some GMAC bonds (a subsidiary of GM) a few years
ago. Pre-junk rating. They paid a nice interest rate,
matured and all was swell. But today any GMAC bond available
is rated junk. The yield is great, but they're high risk.
Of course, I know reputable people who say there is a fair
chance the government would bail out either GM or Ford and
not let them go under. Point being to spare the drag on the
economy all these folks out of work etc. would be, I
suppose. But then that may be seen to unfairly stifle
companies producing a good product, like Honda and Toyota.
So we'll see. For me, I want stock in products I know people
like and that are quality. Ford and GM once were. No more.
Onto Honda and Toyota.
Back to the fun, substantive stuff that makes us all go
"Whish, vroom, putt-putt-putt-putt... "
(Gonna lay off poor Elliott, too.)
Smaller is a highly relative term here. Ford is a massive company both
in North America and globally. The first obvious action Ford needs to
take is to stop putting money down the Jaguar sink-hole, but instead
Ford just put another $2.1 billion into Jaguar.
dunno if jaguar is that much of a sinkhole. mebbe i should read the
before the ford buyout, jags were extremely pricey and had a completely
lousy reputation. now, hell- anyone could afford one! taurus guts
underneath, FWIW. i see a lot more of em on the road than i used to,
also. and they also managed to keep jags looking like jags.
and then theres GM/saab. ugh. rebadged crap from a once quirky company.
even a rebadged subie, fer chrissakes.
i still say ford can turn it all around way before GM. yes, therye
massive, but not as huge as GM and with a bit less baggage and a bit
GM needs a LOT of help and should get rid of at *least* one US division
entirely. id suggest losing the chevy truck line, badge em all GMC, and
get rid of buick.
Yeah, the tundra's great. Unless you need to haul, tow, carry, pull, or
otherwise do real work. I can't believe the STUPIDITY of the Japanese
makers in trying to get in on the dying tails of the poseur truck
market, selling luxury pseudo-trucks to people that need a truck like a
hole in the head. Ford, Dodge, and Chevy will always sell their real
work trucks to contractors farmers and ranchers, even when the poseur
market is gone. Toyota, Nissan, and (especially) Honda with that
ridiculous front-drive Ridgeline will have a lot of wasted engineering
investment on their hands.
But in the comparison of aircraft "fly-by-wire" and the idea of truly
analogous automotive "drive-by-wire", the plot tends to get lost.
Aircraft "fly-by-wire" came about to address certain actual, specific
issues regarding the rather inmportant goal of keeping an airplane in
the air. Automotive "throttle-by-wire" (to coin a more accurate phrase)
arose in an attempt at meeting emissions regulations. The difference is
fundamental and of great import: One is critical, the other is utterly
useless absent its regulatory impetus.
To install true "drive-by-wire" in a road-going automobile on current
roads would be astonishingly stupid. Airplanes are not cars and do not
live in even remotely the same environment.
That last comment is a bit too sweeping, or a bit
misleading, for me to buy.
Some of the outcomes of reduced emissions regulations have
made automobiles less trouble-prone. That's good for the
I agree people are throwing around this phrase very loosely
But folks love to kvetch, so... :-)
Then I concentrate it a bit by saying that: airplane fly-by-wire
addressed certain laws-of-physics issues that pointed up serious
shortcomings in previous control systems. Cable control of the
automotive throttle has not that sort of limitation where it would be
fundamentally incapable of reliable and durable operation under normal
and expected operating conditions. Therefore, replacing a cable with a
servomotor in a car does not grant functional improvement to an auto
throttle the way a servomotor would to, say, an airplane rudder.
Is that better?
I used to grow weary of replacing the points and condenser every 6,000
miles, so yes, electronic ignition (just to cite one example) has been
a boon for the automotive enthusiast who wishes to do something else
besides getting a backache and needing to find his bifocals.
However, this convenience comes at quite a price. I remember a
points-and-condenser set costing the equivalent of a few dollars. If a
modern electronic ignition component fails, you could spend the
equivalent of 20-years worth of points-and-condensers replacing it.
I think I would have just said that the demands of operating
a plane are quite a bit different from the demands of
operating a car. One pushes against air to move; the other
pushes against the ground to move, for one.
It was your somewhat disrespecting the outcome of regulatory
impetus, as well as ignoring that other improvements not a
result of regulation, that seemed to me to be off the mark.
No big deal. Your first post had already reduced the slop in
this discussion substantially.
Though as an aside, one of the regulars at the Honda
newsgroup discovered that the external radio noise condenser
some older Hondas have does wear over time and replacing it
may improve performance. While it's not located electrically
in the exact same place that the old points condenser was
located, it does serve a kind of analogous function,
protecting, for one, the igniter, just as the old points
condenser protected the points, etc.
I'm not sure what a precise cost-benefit (including
reliability; that has a pricetag) analysis would yield, but
certainly I see your point.
Just that radio noise condenser to which I refer above goes
for about $6 today through online Honda OEM parts sites. I'm
not sure one can just run over to Radio Shack and replace it
for a lot less.
Not that 6 bucks is all that big a price for a condenser to begin
with... (Or was that your whole point? I haven't been following this
thread closely since finding out that "drive-by-wire" actually means
"throttle-by-wire" - A rather different beast than the subject line
I'm sure one can, as long as one defines "a lot" as somewhere in the 2-3
dollar range. It might be a multi-piece unit, and it will have two
leads, rather than being the usual "single can with a wire hanging out"
style, but when you get right down to it, a capacitor of the right value
is a capacitor of the right value, regardless of form-factor or
Given the value (mF/pF & voltage rating - prolly find it easily in the
service manual - You *DO* have the service manual for your vehicle,
right?) of the condenser on your Honda, you've got all the information
you need to get one or more - depends on whether the target value is a
standard size or not - capacitors that will replace it just fine, even
though they might look a bit "odd" for an automotive application. :)
They'll be functional, though, and that's what I'd be caring about. I'd
expect that rat-shack would have them for around 2-3 bucks. Sure, the
"real" one is easier to wire into the system, and might be "prettier" to
a purist's eye, but the rat-shack one will work just the same once you
get it in place, which would be my main concern if I was needing to be
pinching pennies hard enough to go to the effort.
Going back to the "drive/throttle-by-wire" concept for a bit...
I could cope with throttle-by-wire - if, AND ONLY IF, it used a failsafe
of "total driver control of the throttle", and when in operation, it
confined its "modification" of my input to (brace yourself for the
run-on-quotated-phrase from hell :) ) "OK, you just stomped it to the
floor - That's fine, but since we're only turning "X" revs and I see
we're in "Y"th gear, I can calculate that opening the throttle all the
way will just dump "Z" amount of gas out the tailpipe unburned as we rev
up to speed, so what I'll do is I'll actually only open the throttle "T"
amount, which is optimal to increase "R" from the current value for <set
of current operating conditions> without pouring that gas out the
tailpipe, and I'll continuously recalculate and apply that "T" value to
the throttle based on a new <set of current operating conditions>
sampled every "M" milliseconds until either the throttle is fully open,
or you let up on the pedal to a point at or below the current throttle
position, whichever comes first"
Any application of drive-by-wire that involves steering or braking is
something I don't want any part of. As I said previously, I demand
total, godlike control of my vehicle when I'm at the controls - Aside
from the case stated above, I don't need or want a computer
second-guessing my inputs - If my input says "put it on the locks to the
left", I want the wheels turned to the locks on the left. I don't CARE
if you think that's unsafe, Mr. Computer - Just MAKE IT HAPPEN. Your
calculations may very well show that doing so will send the car into an
out-of-control skid to the left. That's fine. Maybe that's *EXACTLY*
what I'm counting on in order to avoid running over that kid that just
jumped out in front of me. Ditto ABS - Mr. Computer says "You're braking
too hard! You're gonna skid! Here, lemme just pump that real fast for
you so you don't break traction." What if I'm *TRYING* to break traction
for some reason that your little electronic pea-brain just plain isn't
equipped to comprehend, let alone react to? What if that reason involves
the difference between whether I break traction and spin out to come to
a stop just before going over the 400 foot drop, or knowing that I
braked smoothly and without loss of traction until a point about 30 feet
beyond the edge of the dropoff? Uh-uh... when it comes to steering and
braking, just DO WHAT I SAID AND DO IT NOW!
As someone else said, though, steering has been refined over the years,
as have braking systems, so that both are highly reliable (given proper
service, of course) and both responsive to user input in all but
catastrophic failure situations, and give the operator good-to-excellent
feedback when power-assisted. The considerations that make "fly-by-wire"
a must-have (or even "just desirable") for some aircraft don't exist in
cars, and no "drive-by-wire" control is needed unless one wishes to
fully automate the driving (Thinking in terms of the "Autodrive" feature
in the cars of the future from "Demolition Man"), which is something
that I personally think is still a good many years beyond the reach of
current technology and AI methods.
Or, more tersely: "It ain't broke. Why are we trying to fix it?"
Don Bruder - email@example.com - If your "From:" address isn't on my whitelist,
or the subject of the message doesn't contain the exact text "PopperAndShadow"
it's 0.47 microfarads. the oem part is $27 with all the wiring and
harness that accompanies it.
why on earth would you want that? have you ever driven a diesel? a
diesel driver has no direct control over fuel injection whatsoever -
it's all delegated to the govenor, either old mechanical or modern
electronic. can't say i've met a diesel driver that ever had their
panties in a bunch about it the way you all have.
the biggest single advantage for fly-by-wire throttle control in a car
is the ability to impliment F1 style shifting on the steering wheel.
the day i can get that in a honda [that i can fit in] is the day i
retire my 89 civic hatch.
steering wheel? how about hand crank starting? bias ply tires? rod
fly-by-wire engine control is simply the next logical step. why shift
an automatic under full power if you don't have to? it's bad for the
transmission, the rest of the power train, the engine mountings, and
gives a lurchy ride to the occupants. the current "fudge" of this is to
retard ignition timing so that power drops on shift, but it still burns
full power gas. that's dumb if you can properly de-throttle and speed
up the shift at the same time - and that can be achieved with fly-by-wire.
I meant that I would think the points and condenser assembly
today was more than a few bucks. More like at least $20.
OTOH, I've never put my hands on these and certainly never
went shopping for them. I'm only going by what simple
mechanical parts for my 91 Civic go for. Now I could google
and either quickly prove myself wrong--that points and
condensers remain so common today they're dirt cheap--or I
would find I'm correct. Don't know. Don't care. We're not
doing a detailed analysis of anything here and so there is
no learning going on. Just people posting crap off the top
of their heads.
What do *YOU* think?
It's 0.47 microfarad on the cars that have them. You *DO*
know how I found this, right? No, you don't. I haven't a
service manaul. I'm amazingly smart and know where to find
info like this.
snip stuff that's a best guess and I'd just have to double
check anyway, if I were in the market for this condenser,
which I'm not, because my Civic's radio noise condenser is
built-in to the igniter.
snip the dilettante stuff
I don't recall exact pricing any more, but the Kettering
points-and-condenser set used to be one of those very cheap things you
could buy for your car, probably because so very many were made and
sold every day of the week.
I'm vaguely remembering the set was close to the cost of an oil filter.
And if you had only one set of points (some cars had two) and were not
swapping the condenser this time around, it got even cheaper.
Anyone with a better memory?
How many layers of gold leaf are you planning on putting on that turd?
In other words, Sparky, take your specious "If it isn't the newest,
bestest, fastest, it must be garbage", and the implied "If you aren't
using the newest/fastest/bestest, you're too stupid to move out of a
cave" crap and stick it where the sun don't shine. Something being
*ABLE* to be improved doesn't imply a need, or even a desirability, for
the improvement to happen - Only the possibility of doing so. Also
phrased as "just because it's the hot new thing doesn't mean it's any
good." - Ever heard of Thalidomide? And the results of using it?
Things as they stand in automotive technology, are quite functional now.
Further development, while being *POSSIBLE*, is neither required, nor in
some cases, desirable, for many currently in-use automotive systems.
An old programmer's line: "A program is never *DONE*, but you do have to
ship it sooner or later."
In other words, there's the choice between continuing to hang bells and
whistles (needed or not) off the program, and actually getting it to the
customer - *ANY* program can be tweaked and tuned and fiddled with until
doomsday, if desired. But somewhere, somebody has to step in and say
"Hey! We've gotta ship this thing if we wanna eat!"
Cars have reached that point. Particularly the control systems. The next
major change in vehicle systems won't come until the day that we can
make *100 PERCENT* reliable, sentient machines that can respond to a
situation as well as or better than a human *EVERY SINGLE TIME*. At
which point, cars will be ready to go to "full auto drive". Until the
"Eureka Moment" that shows us how to make things absolutely infallible
happens, I'll continue to be a luddite and insist on purely
mechanical/hydraulic control of my brakes and steering, *WITHOUT* any
input from a computer, thanks.
Don Bruder - firstname.lastname@example.org - If your "From:" address isn't on my whitelist,
or the subject of the message doesn't contain the exact text "PopperAndShadow"
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