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  #11 (permalink)  
Old 11-26-2008, 05:31 AM
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Default Re: Qwas Federal Bank

You're right about cars being made in Canada and Mexico, Ned. Indeed, many Japanese cars are mostly made in the US now. Companies like Toyota, Honda and Mazda don't seem to be having as bad a time as the big three. It's possible I'm wrong on that; but if it's true, why?
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  #12 (permalink)  
Old 11-26-2008, 02:43 PM
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Default Re: Qwas Federal Bank

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Originally Posted by Poto View Post
Companies like Toyota, Honda and Mazda don't seem to be having as bad a time as the big three. It's possible I'm wrong on that; but if it's true, why?
Maybe not as bad, but slow for everyone.

Honda has had to rent additional space in Long Beach, California for incoming cars with nowhere to go--dealers are full up. Last I heard there was a 21-day supply of Toyota Priuses, and they're a hot-selling model. I think at the beginning of 2008 the Priuses were on a 3-day supply, sold almost right off the truck delivering them to the dealer.

The big difference between the formerly Big Three and the other guys is labor cost, particularly costs for workers now retired.

Back in the early 70s, I had a friend who worked in the IT department of the UAW. He was married to the daughter of a very high union official. He told me then--30+ years ago--that the biggest concern of union upper management was that they'd got their members all that even they could reasonably expect, and the union upper management was struggling to justify the union's existence. On top of that, their members were starting to vote Republican! We thought this was funny at the time.

There's plenty of blame for company management, too. You wonder if those guys ever checked with actuaries before they signed the retirement agreements that are now sinking their companies.

Ned
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Old 11-26-2008, 03:25 PM
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Default Re: Qwas Federal Bank

They could have paid the workers better while they were working rather than promise to pay them after they retired.

We could have a national retirement system, and a national health care system. Why not spread the Socialism to all of society rather than limit it to the Financial Sector?
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  #14 (permalink)  
Old 11-26-2008, 03:29 PM
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Default Re: Qwas Federal Bank

I've already spent most of my bailout money idvance...in anticipation... I surely do my share to stimulate the economy...Just to be a team player...
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  #15 (permalink)  
Old 11-26-2008, 03:32 PM
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Default Re: Qwas Federal Bank

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I guess I'd like to see the big three auto makers actually make some vehicles that people want to buy. Surely we shouldn't be rescuing companies that make prehistoric products, just because they're American.

Prehistoric? As in a year ago?

They may not be able to give away their SUVs right now, but for most of this century they couldn't build them fast enough. Sales of the big gas guzzling monsters peaked at over a half million a year. The sales and profits on these vehicles became so attractive that most of the foreign car companies started building them too.

So, obviously SOMEBODY wanted to buy them.

Maybe the Big Three should have seen the sudden huge spike in gas prices coming, but in all fairness, few Americans did. So, they got caught on the wrong side of the market, and the market focus of a big company just can't be turned on a dime.

I don't think the government should bail them out. I think bankruptcy would force them into reorganizing their companies into business models that will perform better in today's environment and economy. And that includes re-negotiating contracts with the unions that actually make sense.

It's possible that Chrysler could fold, but I don't see Ford or GM disappearing. They have a long history of building vehicles and the factories in which to do it, and vehicles are a product that will always be needed, in some form.
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Old 11-26-2008, 03:53 PM
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They could have paid the workers better while they were working rather than promise to pay them after they retired.
Michael, this is the very first time that I've seen anyone suggest that members of the UAW were ever underpaid.




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We could have a national retirement system ...
We do, it's called Social Security. When first started, it had 39 workers paying in for every 1 drawing out. That worked pretty well.

But we are quickly headed for a ratio of 1 to 1, and nobody thinks that's going to work at all.

So, how do you think we should fund such a system?
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  #17 (permalink)  
Old 11-26-2008, 04:10 PM
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Default Re: Qwas Federal Bank

But John, the gas price hike was but a blip on the longer-term trend of us needing to wean ourselves from such flagrant fossil fuel usage. It's bad for the global climate, and it's bad for us to rely so heavily on a resource that we don't control. Yes, you're right that people have been buying SUVs as fast as they can make them (up until the beginning of this year, at least). Personally I think it's insane. They're dangerous, gas guzzling environmental polluters. I think the problem was that the big 3 invested so heavily in building vehicles that are not sustainable. There's just no way we can continue to keep driving these things and not destroy our economy and the environment. As I understand it, American car companies have resisted efforts to both raise gas mileage and bring new technologies to market. Look at the Toyota Prius and the Honda Insight. And the history of Japanese car makers anticipating the small-car trend back in the '70's, and the hybrid trend now. Why aren't American manufacturers ahead of the curve on these things?

So, yes, even though these vehicles sell, I do think they're prehistoric.

BTW Ned, your point's well taken. I gather that all imported cars (Mercedes, etc.) now have massive numbers of cars sitting in storage in Long Beach. But I haven't heard of them requiring bailouts yet...
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  #18 (permalink)  
Old 11-27-2008, 01:26 AM
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Default Re: Qwas Federal Bank

Quote:
Originally Posted by Poto View Post
You're right about cars being made in Canada and Mexico, Ned. Indeed, many Japanese cars are mostly made in the US now. Companies like Toyota, Honda and Mazda don't seem to be having as bad a time as the big three. It's possible I'm wrong on that; but if it's true, why?
I believe it is the unions. Toyota has not allowed the unions to get in. There was a time and a place for the unions but that time is long gone. GM is almost paying out more in retirement than in payroll. This just my opinion

Don
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Old 11-27-2008, 02:38 AM
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Default Re: Qwas Federal Bank

Quote:
Originally Posted by Poto View Post
I guess I'd like to see the big three auto makers actually make some vehicles that people want to buy.

Like what Poto? What do you consider a good vehicle, what are your measures of success in an automobile? The US Auto Makers are the only ones that make anything right now that will do the work I need them to do, and are appealing to me on a comfort and styling basis. When you look at things on an efficiency basis a Chevrolet/GMC truck has any Jap vehicle beat hands down. A 200hp (No torque) Honda that get's 30 MPG and can barely haul itself vs a 320 HP 22 MPG Truck that weighs 5600 pounds and can tow over 7000. How can anyone brag that 30 MPG is good for a stupid little car. I'm thinking those little foreign pieces of crap should get 60-80. Another thing is safety. You wanna be in that little thing during an accident? 5 star crash ratings don't mean much in the real world... you need to be in something a little more substantial than a prius if you wanna survive any unfortunate impact. Now I know trucks aren't for everyone, but someone like me relies on them to make a living and I find great comfort in driving them. Gas at 6 bucks a gallon... I'll still drive a truck. I guess I'll just spend less on tequilla or something else or maybe work a little harder. I won't sacrifice my comfort/safety/ability to get the job done.
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  #20 (permalink)  
Old 11-27-2008, 03:37 AM
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Default Re: Qwas Federal Bank

Your point's well taken, Chris, and I had been thinking of modifying my original post to reflect it before you had said anything. There are plenty of people who need a truck - or even SUV - for their livelihood. But there are a lot more who don't need an SUV, and would probably be better served (in many ways) by a minivan or even smaller vehicle. How often do you see more than one person in those things? They're almost never driven offroad; more likely to and from work, or buying groceries, by people who would not know one end of a plywood sheet from a 2x4. Personally (and this is just my opinion) these behemoths are dangerous on the road (they're built on truck chassis and are not held to the same safety standards as even minivans), and really really bad for the environment. If you need a truck, you should be able to get the best one to suit your needs. But It's hard to imagine that most SUV owners need an SUV... And don't get me started on Hummers...

I know I'm probably in the minority here, and I'm willing to take the heat. This is just my opinion, and I can't vote...
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