13 thoughts on the big three bridge loan

This is just random stream of consciousness stuff that I will write for 12 minutes.

1. Detroit is a recognized leader throughout the rest of the world, but for some reason we don’t get that respect in our own country.

2. Throwing money at a money problem is rarely the right solution.

3. As Detroit goes, so does much of the nation.

4. Our nation has been an industrial leader for a long time. It will be hard to retain that roll while letting our auto industry slip into the abyss.

5. The UAW has a tough choice to make between lower paying jobs and no jobs. Actually, it doesn’t seem that tough at all.

6. It is unfortunate that GM full burden on a car is measured at $69 per man hour while Toyotas is $48 (full burden equates to salary + benefits + pension + cost of 423k retirees)

7. Not that I remember it, but I am pretty sure there were a bunch of big 3 executives laughing back in the early 1970’s when the first Toyota rolled down Woodward Ave. in Detroit. We are paying for their arrogance today.

8. How can you have a car czar and not concern yourself with a bank czar? Seriously, that was a collosal fuck up.

9.  The argument that people and businesses need money now but can wait to buy a new car is so short sighted I can’t even see it.

10. I am a huge fan of the concept of comperation. Don’t know what that is? Look up coopetition. The big 3 better figure out how to employ both NOW.

11. People keep talking about the ripple effect. 7 foot waves are not ripples. This will have a dire impact on our city, our state, our country and our standing in the world.

12. I firmly believe the big 3 need to continue restructuring and eliminate redundancies. Think about it: Chevy, Saturn, GMC, Cadillac and Pontiac all have virutally the same crossover vehicle each with 3 different trim levels. Think about the waste in marketing and advertising (all different) alone. Then you have engineering, design, testing and it goes on.

13. Diamond Joe Quimby, mayor of Springfield on The Simpson’s, was once quoted as saying “You people are a pack of fickel mush heads”. He wasn’t describing all of America, but he could be. When I was in Japan in the early 90’s I was surprised to see Acuras and Lexus labeled as Hondas and Toyotas. My big brother informed me that they (honda and toyota) knew the Japanese wouldn’t pay more for a fancier name. But we would…

That’s enough for now. It’s actually been 17 minutes, but who is counting.

What are your thoughts?

7 Responses to “13 thoughts on the big three bridge loan”

  1. 1 Mike O'Neil Friday, December 12 at 10:14 am

    It seem funny that the Detroit 3 (not the Big 3 anymore) are always compared to the Japanesee makers. I see a heck of a lot of Mercedes and BMW vehicles and they never seem to get a mention. That makes no mention of the others out there, although most of them are actually owned by Detroit auto makers.

  2. 2 Brother G.A.M. Friday, December 12 at 11:57 am

    Thought #1 is the biggest concern to me. I’m wondering what can Detroit – the city; the brand – do to get its respectable standing in the world again. I mean, the Big 3 have gone to becoming the Detroit 3, as if it’s supposed to be meaner than just calling them the former.
    Regardless how you feel about our local car companies, people have to know there should be a bit more recognition to our influence on the nation than we are getting. The major cities of NYC and LA have high crime, just like us, but that doesn’t ruin their rep. With so much equity placed in brand names, I fear we have a lot farther to go than we think.

    Sure, the Big 3 mucked things up for a while, but that doesn’t mean they cannot be/are not being fixed. I think the nation as a whole is as much to blame as Detroit is. We’ve allowed the innerself-hate to go on for as long as it did and look at what we’re facing.

  3. 3 quetwo Friday, December 12 at 1:02 pm

    I like this post, but disagree with point number 4. The USA has been on the loosing edge of manufacturing of years now. While we are still kings of innovation and R&D, manufacturing has long been outsourced to other places. Look at some of the larger, non-auto related names in Michigan — Whirlpool, Steelcase, etc., and you will notice that these places are only a shell of what used to be. We have lost the manufacturing war with Mexico, China, and the rest.

    Event the “Big 3” have moved most of their manufacturing away from the USA. There are very few cars that you can purchase that have been made in Michigan anymore. Its a sad fact. What is interesting about the entire auto industry is that other manufactures, like Toyota, VW, etc. decided that it IS better to build in the USA, and have been outsourcing their auto plants back to the USA (although not in Michigan, but rather Tennessee).

    Is it the UAW’s fault? Not entirely. Many involved with the Big 3 will sell their own children to make an extra buck. And they have. The reason why they stuck with the SUV/Crossover design long past its prime was that it had a 40% margin in cost, compared to a 11% margin for a sedan. While they were seeing the writing on the wall, they should have continued to innovate their products, evolving their brands so that they would remain competitive. What they decided to do was delude the market and ‘ride it out’. They knew 10 years ago where that would bring them, but it showed how much they really cared back then — they were making record profits.

  4. 4 trybean Friday, December 12 at 7:13 pm

    Thanks for the comments fellas:

    A couple of thoughts:

    1. It drives me nuts that people don’t even refer to the big 3 or the Detroit 3 or the automakers. They just say Detroit needs to do this. As a long time Detroiter, I can assure anyone that there are things going on here that have little to nothing to do with cars.

    2. Queto brings up a good point about the mfc being done in other countries, but that’s a cost thing far more than any other reason. We still have the talent, the infrastructure and the knowledge to be abundantly productive in this space.

    3. I truly believe the Unions have run their course. In the early days it was important for the workers to be organized and not be taken advantage of. Those days are LONG gone. I am not saying unions must dissolve, but I think we are ready for them to have less say. At least until they try and organize congress.

  5. 5 DaveB Friday, December 12 at 7:46 pm

    I agree with “quetwo”. Seems like I saw Nardelli (Chrysler) or Mulally (Ford) in Congress, saying that they admit to having pushed products on the market that there just wasn’t enough demand for.

    As far as #5 goes, I have a feeling it’s not as simple as people are making it out to be. I can’t believe that Ron Gettelfinger would be stupid enough to just say no to the deal because his members don’t want a pay cut. He’s too smart and too exposed to make such a bad move publicly.

    (A quote from Fox Business): In a press conference this morning, Gettelfinger said the UAW has already made big concessions and the rejection of a rescue by the GOP caucus was a shot against organized labor. He said that during discussions with Sen. Bob Corker on Thursday, Corker’s side admitted to UAW members on the ground that the discussions over wages were largely about politics within the GOP caucus.

    Sounds like there’s more to the story than what the pundits are telling us. No surprise there.

  6. 6 Stephen Boyle Friday, December 12 at 8:12 pm

    There are so many reasons that I am not pro-auto and hate to see Detroit = Auto. We have a lot more going for us than autos in this metropolitan area. However Detroit loves to be caught up in the moniker Motor City, and be the poster child of that industry. Time for change and expanding our vision and recognition of what we have locally. Support the culture of Detroit, it runs deeper than the past 100 years.

  7. 7 Richard Reyes Friday, December 12 at 8:33 pm

    I wonder if anybody shed a tear when Ford put the buggy maker and the horse whip maker out of business.

    Same thing here. Free markets have spoken. Big 3 cars are not wanted anymore.

    It is unfortunate when the livelihood of people and generations are involved, however, such is life and nobody ever said it was easy. However, if the big 3 go out of business, its not like the world will stop buying cars. What happens is that the other manufacturers pick up the slack and new manufacturers evolve. That’s all.

    Detroit’s biggest problems are not the Big 3, it’s the Detroit Lions. God knows who will bail them out.

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