BusinessWeek: GM's Design Push Picks Up Speed / Hybrids

http://www.businessweek.com/bwdaily/dnflash/jul2005/nf2005077_1341.htm

http://www.businessweek.com/technology/content/jul2005/tc2005077_1015_tc024.htm

Car news from Business Week, thought Id share.

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I think your wrong on this Bruce,

The rebranding of Cadillac has been a long term effort, and the people at GM are well aware of the work, time, and money needed to “fix” this problem. Pricing, exclusivity of the brand, less redundant products shared between name plates, and strategic buying of names (Hummer) are some of there ideas.

Look at what there doing at saturn, and at buick. Much more happening there then styling.

The real problem is that GM is choking on all of the UAW pension payouts that they are obligated to make and GM hasn’t made a profit in years. The only division that makes them any money AT ALL is GMAC finance.

Instead of buying groups like Saab and Hummer they should have been spending more on R&D for new technologies to help them catch up with the Japanese automakers, Toyota in particular.

When oil hits $100 dollors a barrel and it cost $200 to fill your suburban, GM is going to be in a world of hurt

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I wouldn’t go so far as to call the unions scapegoats, it is a serious problem. There are a lot of baby boomer auto workers that all want great pay, full benefits, and retirement plans galore for themselves and their families. Now they are starting to retire and GM has to pay up.

The Japanese automakers don’t allow unions in their factories and don’t face these problems. The UAW bitches about non union plants constantly and about had a heart attack when NASCAR allowed the Toyota Tundra into the truck series.

GM needs to retire some of its divisions and consolidate instead of buying additional brands in the hope of reaching a new market. I drive past a Hummer dealership all the time and it never changes, ever. They never move a single vehicle and I sometimes wonder if it is even open. GM made this big promise to roll out Hummer dealers and now they are stuck with uber-suv’s that no one wants, and cost a fortune to fuel up. They can keep making them smaller but it isn’t going to help. They could make the micro H10 hybrid and I still wouldn’t buy one.

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The foreign companies also dont have to pay the health care costs that the US companies are responsible for.

Add on top of that a pipe fitter that gets paid $100,000 to fit pipe for 2 hours a day, a millwright that only actually works for 3 but gets paid for 12, etc…

The union is going to bargain themselves right out of their jobs.

Its funny being in the plants and trying to deal with these prima donna oldtimers, dont even think about having them work on something 30 minutes before or after their break. aint gonna happen. problem is they are taking breaks all day long so nothing ever gets finished.

the stories you hear about lazy US autoworkers are (from my experience) very true. Some assembly people do bust there ass but do they really deserve to make over 50,000 a year with untouchable benefits???

most assembly people make around 30,000 a year for the unskilled job that it is.

I dont get it, I cant take it, in fact i hate it

I think it is worth noting that the Chrysler’s LX platform cars (300, Magnum, Charger) are built at a unionized plant in Ontario, Canada. They recently added a new shift to try and meet the demand. It’s also one of the few success stories coming out of the big 3.

If the Big 3 develop cars that compete with the Japanese, Germans and increasingly the Koreans, they would not have a problem with their NA factories. The problem they have is they signed agreements when they thought they would always need 100% capacity at their plants coupled with the fact their plants are not very flexible (ie, they can only build a few models, meaning if the model isn’t successful, you have instant over-capacity).

I can’t believe a pipe fitter’s contract is to work 2 hours a day, it’s probably that the poorly designed and marketed car he builds just won’t sell.

I would like to see the board of directors at GM take a big pay cut before asking their assembly line to do so. Why can’t executives ever lead by example?

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Its funny that someone would make a pipe fitter reference since my dad is a sprinkler fitter (a union group that pipe fitters have been trying to acquire). He does make close to six figures but I can guarantee that he works way more than two hours a day.

In fact, he does highly technical work on fire and automated sprinkler systems and often gets called into work at 3am to work on emergencies because an accident has happened that primed the system. Even on regular days he gets up at 4am and doesn’t get home until early evening. This is work outside, in trenches, in hot warehouses, in building rafters, etc. For those that know what they are doing, and do it well, I think they deserve every cent they get. People like that will always have work and be respected.

There are some unions that are less essential and have warn out their welcome in a lot of communities because people know that they are getting ripped off when one of these groups has to come in and work. Chicago is a perfect example of this, there are a lot of trade shows that have left the windy city and moved out to Vegas because they got tired of being ripped off by unknown “union workers” that demand $60 an hour to do almost nothing. In states that have right to work laws you are going to see a lot of these unions phased out. The ones that remain are those where the apprentice system is really needed and that do a valuable service to society.

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