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Print 119 comment(s) - last by AntDX316.. on Dec 15 at 5:44 AM

It will be 2016 before the Volt can generate a return on the investment

The economy is bad and while the computer industry has been hard hit, the hardest hit of all may be the automotive industry. Executives from the largest American automakers have been begging for help from the U.S. government, despite flying down to beg for money in private jets.

In the midst of the economic turmoil, the future of alternative fuel vehicles like the Chevy Volt may be question marks in many minds. However, GM is putting the Volt at the forefront of its business plan as one of the keys to justifying loans for the U.S. government to prevent insolvency of the automotive giant.

GM CEO Rick Wagoner told a congressional committee, "We're putting a lot of money into the Chevy Volt, which we're endeavoring to get into production by 2010. It will not be at that point fully cost competitive."

GM is saying that it will take the better part of a decade for vehicles like the Volt to become profitable. The issue right now for GM is how to maintain its business until alternative fuel vehicles, like the Volt, that consume massive sums of money in research and development provide a return on the investment.

GM told congress that it has spent more than $750 million to develop the Volt with much of that amount going to battery research. GM spokesman Rob Petersen says, "The Volt is the first step in a long-term viability plan."

GM also says that expensive and research intensive projects like the Volt can lead to other technologies that can be used in other vehicle types to improve efficiency. The battery research alone can yield improvements in product categories far removed from the automotive industry such as the consumer electronics realm.

Peterson says, "We expect to reposition General Motors as a technology leader in the industry."





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Wow
By FITCamaro on 12/10/2008 12:00:20 PM , Rating: 2
I actually thought it would be far more than that. I thought it'd be in the billions.




RE: Wow
By JasonMick (blog) on 12/10/2008 12:05:37 PM , Rating: 5
I'd much rather see them sink $750M USD into a technology that will give them leadership in a tech the will be driving the future (i.e. electric cars + nuclear/solar/wind/geothermal/etc) rather than spending that money on developing and marketing new trucks and SUVs that few want.


RE: Wow
By clovell on 12/10/08, Rating: -1
RE: Wow
By JasonMick (blog) on 12/10/2008 12:24:23 PM , Rating: 3
As far as hybrid trucks go, I haven't "given up on them" I just think its a niche market.

My comments were not meant to indicate that all trucks/SUVs are awful, rather that its simple economics that the consumer demand is not there for these vehicles like it once was. A smart company would shift their development dollars accordingly.

Of course money should be continued to be put towards Truck and SUV lineups, including hybrid SUVs and trucks, like you mention.

However, the majority of the budget should goal towards smaller cars -- that's just smart business.

In my opinion, developing the Volt for less than the cost of the (albeit buget overrun) '96 Taurus, this was a very very good investment for GM.

Hopefully they can do what it takes to survive to see it pay off.


RE: Wow
By othercents on 12/10/08, Rating: 0
RE: Wow
By Tsuwamono on 12/10/2008 3:01:03 PM , Rating: 2
i dunno why its so expensive... Ford Focus is 16 000$ and gets 48mpg here in Canada. That doesnt seem like a 600$ a month payment.


RE: Wow
By mxnerd on 12/10/2008 11:15:14 PM , Rating: 2
The battery alone will cost $10,000, and Volt is a big car. That's why.

The price is just too high for average American to afford it.

Take Steve Jobs for example. He invented the NeXT computer. But it was too advanced and too expensive and no one wants it. GM is making the same mistake here again. People just can't learn from the past.


RE: Wow
By Moishe on 12/11/2008 11:26:27 AM , Rating: 2
I disagree.
GM is doing the right thing, they just happen to be doing it 10 years too late to save their business.

Gm's 'repositioning' as a tech leader is a good idea and I bet they own a TON of intellectual property from the R&D they've done.

If they can get rid of their UAW and pension baggage and stay in business they'd probably do very well in the future.


RE: Wow
By Spuke on 12/11/2008 6:41:06 PM , Rating: 2
There are only going to be 10k built a year. So you won't see many on the roads. And there's already a waiting list for them. Every single one of them will sell. If there's a market for BMW's, there's sure as hell a market for the first serial hybrid sedan.


RE: Wow
By AntDX316 on 12/15/2008 5:44:09 AM , Rating: 2
look its funny how GM spend 750 million and it wont be ready by 2010 while overseas i bet they spend at most 500million developing a car that would be released or is already released 2008-2010 and sell it for much less

its better if GM just closes business cause they will just be losing money the work pay of the workers overseas is like 6x lower paid daily than here which means they can put 5x more into their products and still have money left over


RE: Wow
By ebakke on 12/10/2008 12:56:32 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Hopefully they can do what it takes to survive to see it pay off.
Meh. If they don't, someone else will.


RE: Wow
By porkpie on 12/10/2008 1:43:38 PM , Rating: 5
The "SUVs that no one wants" were the source of most of GMs profits the past five years.

I don't know where you get that "smaller cars is smart business" crap. One summer of crazy gas prices and people's heads seem to fall off and they forget the last 25 years of history. GM has been trying to sell tiny econoboxes since the 1980s. They sell a very few, and only at very low margins.


RE: Wow
By RU482 on 12/10/2008 1:45:23 PM , Rating: 2
granted, GM's econoboxes don't hold a candle to the likes of the civic, fit, hell, even the corolla


RE: Wow
By Samus on 12/10/2008 3:15:37 PM , Rating: 2
Are you joking? The Aveo is probably the most practical compact car in the market.

The only cheaper cars are Korean. I don't know if you've driven or even worked on a Korean car, but most of them don't even have independent suspension or non-interference engines making them more dangerous in some road conditions and a maintenance nightmare.

The Nissan Versa at <13K equiped but hasn't proven the best reliability being plagued with electrical problems and a leaky roof.

The Toyota Echo/Yaris at 12K isn't bad either, except it has a realistic top speed of 80MPH and poor fuel economy at speeds above 65MPH, so it doesn't work for everyone.

The Ford Focus, although ugly as sin now to its Americanized, reworked body styling, is based off an old platform used in Europe for the past four years, and assuming the things they changed in the US version don't break (engine, some electrical, emmissions) it should be a great car, however, at 14K-16K, for a entry level Ford, is going to turn off a lot of price-conscious buyers.

That's ok though, they can save their money and buy a Kia. At least they'll think its a good car...and in this country, thinking so is all that matters.


RE: Wow
By masher2 (blog) on 12/10/08, Rating: 0
RE: Wow
By lagomorpha on 12/10/2008 9:15:02 PM , Rating: 5
Oh wow where to start...

1) The Aveo is a rebadged Daewoo. It IS a Korean car, designed and manufactured in Korea (in fact to find a car with fewer American made parts you'd have to buy a BMW).

2) New Korean cars have suspension at least on par with counterparts from the big three. A well set up torsion beam rear suspension is perfectly capable of giving good handling, just look at a Sentra Spec-V or the first 4 generations of watercooled VWs.

3) The Aveo's gas mileage is not competitive with its Japanese counterparts (notice any Toyota Yarises appear where you live? There are LOTS around here).

4) Interference engines are at least partially the result of modern engines being designed to produce more power out of smaller engines with higher compression ratios and higher efficiencies. When you have an I-head engine with high valve lift and a high compression ratio it's pretty much guaranteed to be an interference engine.

5) The Mazda3 is based on the same platform as the European Ford Focus. If you don't like the way the Ford looks the Mazda is a wonderful car.


RE: Wow
By Samus on 12/11/2008 4:29:05 AM , Rating: 2
1) Daewoo's are rebadged GM's, NOT the other way around. In fact, most of their engines are GM's, even in the Korean models. For example, the 99-03 Daewoo Nubira is the same platform (suspension, bushings and all), 2.0l engine, 4T40E transmission, and HVAC system as a similar-era Chevy Cavalier. The Chevy Aveo and Daewoo Lanos are actually based on the 3dr/5dr hatchback Astra platform. A Vauxhall. GM owned since 1925. It was one of GM's first shared platform vehicles from a European arm to be sold in the United States.

2) not using independent suspension in any car should be illegal. with modern valve and spring technology it can be done reliably and inexpensively and it is ludicrous to consider anything else. torsion beam suspension belongs in trucks, what it was originally invented for, and even since 1999 the Ford F150 hasn't used torsion beam suspension for the front end because its just old-fashioned as hell.

3) Toyota Yaris 29/35 103ft lbs at 4300RPM, $15,000 equiped. Chevy Aveo 27/34 106ft lbs at 3600RPM, $11,500 equiped. Personally, I'd shoot myself driving either, but just sayin' ;)

4) Well engineered pistons have a machined dimple for each valve, usually the intake valves, to prevent interference. compression ratio is preserved. Toyota and Honda are big fan's of this technique.

5) Mazda's are built in Japan from unbelievably low quality steel. I remember Mazda's back in the 80's when they weren't even galvanized! Try to unscrew the splashguard or a inner fender cover from a 4-year old Mazda here up north where there's salt every winter. You'll see the problem instantly when all the bolt heads snap off. I'll take the Mexico-built Focus. It looked awesome until they redesigned it, so a 04 or 05 (when they changed the headlights I think) would be adequate for me.


RE: Wow
By FITCamaro on 12/11/2008 7:52:38 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
2) not using independent suspension in any car should be illegal. with modern valve and spring technology it can be done reliably and inexpensively and it is ludicrous to consider anything else.


Not everyone wants independent suspension on all four corners of their car. A fixed rear axle is far stronger and less prone to wheel hop than IRS.


RE: Wow
By JediJeb on 12/11/2008 5:14:54 PM , Rating: 2
I agree, if you are looking for low cost and high reliablity the fewer parts you have the better. These cars aren't for the race track just for everyday driving to work and back.
As for the F150, I gave up on them once they went to independant front suspension on their 4x4s, way more bushings and bearings to maintain than the old straight axle trucks. Of course now I believe even Dodge is moving away from the straight front axle on their 4x4s so looks like I will have to keep my current truck a lot longer.


RE: Wow
By Spuke on 12/11/2008 6:53:17 PM , Rating: 2
With the exception of my truck, I've had nothing but independent suspension cars. There's no more work than a beam axle car. And a rubber bushing is a rubber bushing. They dry out and will eventually need to be replaced but that's ONLY if you're keeping the car for a great length of time. You guys make it sound like there's 600 bushings that need to be swapped out every year. LOL! I didn't change the bushings on my old 92 Sentra until it was well over 200k miles. And I only did that because I wanted to track it. It was fine otherwise with just driving around on the street. Keeping beam axles is just ridiculous as the ride and handling improvements are more than worth it. And it's not anymore expensive than a beam. Keep the beams in the trucks where they belong.


RE: Wow
By Spuke on 12/11/2008 6:48:07 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
A fixed rear axle is far stronger and less prone to wheel hop than IRS.
Maybe in a Mustang, but REAL cars have IRS. And wheel hop is easily cured with some tweaking if the factory hasn't do so already. And unless you're rocking some trick Ferrari suspension (which you won't be in a cheap car), IRS is just as simple as a beam and rides MUCH better, tracks the road better, and is just plain more modern than the truck suspensions.

Most IRS cars are simple MacPherson strut jobs anyways.


RE: Wow
By lagomorpha on 12/11/2008 7:51:25 PM , Rating: 2
1)
http://www.usatoday.com/money/autos/2007-03-21-car...
Chevrolet Aveo 2007
Percent from US/Canada: 4%
Assembled in: S. Korea
Lots of American jobs created by buying one of those I'm sure...

2) A torsion beam suspension (as used on a Sentra or Golf) is not the same as a live axle. It's more of a semi-independent suspension technology. Torsion beam suspension is NOT good for carrying heavy loads, but does have the advantage of being cheaper to produce than macpherson struts and occupying less space which allows for more cargo room in the rear. Please read up on suspension technology before you bash designs you do not understand.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twist-beam_rear_suspe...

3) Those cars are not equivalently equipped, Yaris starts at $12.2k Aveo starts at $11.9k. A fully equipped Aveo can exceed $15k.

4) Even interference engines frequently have depressions where the valves are to increase the distance between the piston and the valves during the end of the exhaust stroke and beginning of the compression stroke. Toyota and Honda both currently produce interference engines.


RE: Wow
By ChuckDriver on 12/10/2008 11:05:42 PM , Rating: 2
For years GM marketed the Toyota Corolla and the related Matrix, as a Chevrolet Nova, Geo/Chevrolet Prizm, and the Toyota Vibe.


RE: Wow
By Smilin on 12/10/08, Rating: 0
RE: Wow
By joemoedee on 12/10/2008 2:15:46 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
If smaller cars is such bad business why is the Japanese big 3 not teetering on the edge of bankruptcy right now?


Because of the fundamental differences between how they operate, and how the Detroit Big 3 operate.

Small vehicles = smaller profit margin. This is not the cause of the demise, in fact, if the Detroit 3 were solely pushing a Honda-esque model lineup, they would have failed years ago.


RE: Wow
By Smilin on 12/10/08, Rating: 0
RE: Wow
By Samus on 12/10/2008 3:30:00 PM , Rating: 3
You do know the only truely profitable auto maker in Japan is Toyota?

Honda has a lot of side business that makes money, mostly selling engines to 3rd party and of course, motorcycles. They've lost a lot of money in the vehicle market for years, mostly to Toyota who has more price-competitive vehicles. Honda also spends an outragous amount of money on R&D in fields others don't, such as pedestrian safety, fuel cell, and even motorcycle airbags.

Nissan just recently started making money again, but is still in debt.

Mitsubishi almost filed for bankrupcy a few years ago.

Mazda is so small they don't even have an assembly plant here in the United States. They survive partially by selling engines to KIA and sharing technology with Ford. They account for just 1.5% of new vehicles sold here annually. Tiny. Toyota/Honda together account for over 25%.

Suzuki is even smaller than Mazda. Their auto division is not profitable and they survive selling small engines and motorcycles/auto-sport vehicles, much like Honda.

Toyota's most profitable vehicles are their trucks and Lexus line. Scion is a non-profitable division, however, it's sales figures are good enough for Toyota to turn that around. Scion's have all increased in price since the brands creation 5 years ago, because it has now successfully penetrated the market.

I don't like Toyota vehicles a whole lot, but they are very good at what they do. They are reliable, well priced, fairly fuel efficient (Honda's are better) but are very, very boring to drive.


RE: Wow
By TheSpaniard on 12/10/2008 4:14:42 PM , Rating: 2
Mazda is owned by Ford...


RE: Wow
By austinag on 12/10/2008 6:45:12 PM , Rating: 2
Ford only owns 13% of Mazda. It's more like a partnership, or resourse sharing agreement than anything else.

http://www.mazdausamedia.com/content/ford-change-o...


RE: Wow
By TheSpaniard on 12/10/2008 8:26:56 PM , Rating: 2
oh thats cool

they are listed as part of the FORD family so I assumed they were just as much ford as lincoln

thanks for the info


RE: Wow
By The0ne on 12/10/2008 7:02:30 PM , Rating: 2
Good background work you have there. None of it that I disagree with. I actually think Mitsubishi will shut down sales oversees and just concentrate on Japan. So far it seems they are still afloat. Can't blame them since I just purchased a Evo X myself, although sales have been slacking since the rage has died down. But aside from being a rally fan, I'm not very found of their build/material quality on the car. People give way too much credit on these two areas.


RE: Wow
By whirabomber on 12/10/2008 2:31:41 PM , Rating: 2
Uhm because they (Japanese) don't have unions, get millions in tax breaks every year from states that have japanese domestic assembly plants, and can import from japan duty free as long as they use a state side factory address to ship parts? Because the big 3 don't make all of their cars look exactly like each other's cars?

A big instance of this is the quite ironic Mazda(??) commercial depicting people bored with their (gray) cars because they all look the same. To stand out, the Mazda(??) black car comes zipping up the road past the bored to sleep drivers. The ironic bit is the advertised car looks exactly like every other car it zips by except for one feature - it is black. Of course the Hyndai Sonata's prior rip off of a Jag curvy nose should be mentioned.

Toyota even makes two cars that I have to read badges on to see what I am looking at - the Yaris and the Prius. I guess companies save money by not having to design - just rip off and tweak.


RE: Wow
By masher2 (blog) on 12/10/2008 2:35:18 PM , Rating: 3
> "If smaller cars is such bad business why is the Japanese big 3 not teetering on the edge of bankruptcy right now?"

Easy one. Because Deotroit pays nearly twice as much for labor than do Japanese automakers. Their upper-level management also tends to be more moribund as well.

For US automakers selling cars in the US, small cars have been bad business. High labor costs mean they have to cut quality on a low-margin product, whereas the import duty schedule for light trucks gives them a substantial competitive advantage here.

That's why the Big Three so desperately need to go through a bankruptcy reorganization. It would allow them to shed many of the union commitments they now carry, as well as force a management shakeup that is desperately overdue.


RE: Wow
By NullSubroutine on 12/11/08, Rating: -1
RE: Wow
By killerroach on 12/11/2008 9:17:51 AM , Rating: 5
Try again. Dr. Mark Perry, an economics professor at the University of Michigan-Flint, analyzed average compensation per hour for the automakers doing business in the US, and found roughly a $23 an hour gap on average between Toyota (the highest-paying of the foreign manufacturers) and Ford (the lowest-paying of the Big Three). Granted, it may be possible that nominal wages are the same between them, but the overall benefit package is highly slanted in cost toward the Big Three. (From Chrysler's 2007 labor talks with the UAW, it was shown that the hourly labor rate was $26.86 an hour for them in 2006, meaning they are paying $49 an hour in benefits, largely in retirement benefits)


RE: Wow
By Spuke on 12/10/2008 2:38:39 PM , Rating: 2
You guys just regurgitate what you see on TV without even checking the numbers. Even now with people reeling from this past summers gas prices, trucks from GM and Ford STILL dominate the top of the sales charts. And GM STILL sold more cars than ANY other car company. Despite public OPINION, the RAV4 was the only SUV in the top 10. And before the RAV4 took over it was the Ford Explorer. And guess what? Neither of those SUV's holds a candle to even Civic or Corolla sales, nevermind truck sales. The Camry and the Accord top the best selling cars list and have done so for more than a decade. And GM and Ford trucks have dominated everyone until this year by double and sometimes quadruple. There are SOOOOO many of you guys that SOOOOO far removed from reality that my wife and I find this place source of humor more than a source of information.

PS - LOL!


RE: Wow
By Smilin on 12/10/2008 2:54:59 PM , Rating: 2
Well that clears it up. :/ Are you sure you were responding to the right post?


RE: Wow
By Spuke on 12/10/2008 3:25:10 PM , Rating: 4
quote:
Well that clears it up. :/ Are you sure you were responding to the right post?
Yep. You and whoever else feels that simply selling small cars is the be all, end all despite the REALITY that people ARE buying trucks and mid-sized sedans. I definitely don't believe in putting all your eggs in one basket and the domestics should have at least spent money on sedans but the Honda Fit, Yaris, and even the holy Prius are mere blips on the car sales radar.

Nov 08
Ford F-series - 37,911
GM trucks - 40,031
Fit - 4909
Yaris - 4545
Prius - 8660

Reality has spoken.


RE: Wow
By Smilin on 12/10/2008 6:21:24 PM , Rating: 2
Who said be-all, end-all? I said "Smaller cars IS smart business" You confirmed you were responding to the right post, at least read it. I also made mention of trucks at all (you can't haul bricks in a small car OR in an SUV...it's not the same league)

Detroit got caught with their pants down making SUVs this summer the same way they got caught making big ghetto sleds back during the oil embargo. For all I know prices on gas to drop to 99cents a gallon tomorrow but I *guarantee* prices are trending upwards over the next decade. This isn't news, nor was it back in 1990.

While reality is "speaking" have it post the source. I wanna see the Corolla vs the Yukon. Throw July sales in there too.


RE: Wow
By Spuke on 12/10/2008 7:30:31 PM , Rating: 1
Ok.

Nov 08
Yukon - 2251
Corolla - 21,807
http://tinyurl.com/66mmcb
http://tinyurl.com/66mmcb

July 08
Yukon - 3087
Corolla - 34,438
http://tinyurl.com/66mmcb
http://tinyurl.com/6qj65h

The Yukon has never been a big seller despite opinions to the contrary although it is the best seller out of the large SUV bunch. It's never made the top 10 in sales.


RE: Wow
By Ringold on 12/10/2008 7:34:56 PM , Rating: 3
Year to date, F-series dominates, followed by GM trucks, followed by cars.

Cherry picking July, the very peak of oil prices, captures probably the most biased data point of the year. More rational to look over wider time periods, if we're looking for truth anyway. If we're just interested in propaganda, certainly, lets only look at July. :)

In the long run, American's won't want small cars. Full size sedans, yes, but "small cars," I doubt it. That said, the Volt, if I'm not mistaken, is a decent size car.


RE: Wow
By Spuke on 12/10/2008 11:08:04 PM , Rating: 2
Even cherry picking the data shows that people are buying trucks, not small cars, even in July, August or whatever month you pick. :) If you throw out trucks, you find that people are buying mid-sized and small sedans, not small cars. I posted the Fit and Yaris numbers. I even threw in the Prius which is not in the "small car" class. I thought "everyone" was buying small, fuel efficient cars? July wasn't that long ago and people didn't make the radical shift that was expected.


RE: Wow
By Smilin on 12/11/2008 9:34:08 AM , Rating: 2
The cherry pick was intentional.

Gas prices might not be like that tomorrow but they will be again at some point down the road...and permanently.

Detroit wasn't ready for the last oil crisis and it let Japan in the door. They weren't ready again for this one and now their about to go out of business. If my tax dollars to to bailing them out they better damned well be ready for the next one.


RE: Wow
By Spuke on 12/11/2008 6:58:57 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
If my tax dollars to to bailing them out they better damned well be ready for the next one.
You'll get no disagreement from me on this one.


RE: Wow
By Suntan on 12/10/2008 3:25:40 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
If smaller cars is such bad business why is the Japanese big 3 not teetering on the edge of bankruptcy right now?


Have you seen the new Accord? That thing is no “small car.” It’s huge.

Have you seen the newest Camry? Again, not a “small car.”

Nissan Altima? Was a small car… back in 2000. In 2001 they overhauled it and made it much bigger.

These can all be had with more horsepower than most “muscle cars” had back in the day. Yet I don’t see all the domestic haters betching about them forcing vehicles nobody wants to buy down customer’s throats.

Japanese car makers are not profitable because they make “small cars.” Further, this recent fad of “small cars” is in vogue with the news and people that like to point at them and say “See.” But please take a look at what vehicles have sold for the most profit over the last 10 years. How many “small cars” are their on that list?

-Suntan


RE: Wow
By Moishe on 12/11/2008 11:32:09 AM , Rating: 2
Because Japanese car companies don't have the UAW and the pension baggage that the American car companies have.

Don't you read?

I'm not saying that is the sole reason, but Toyota can sell the same number of cars as GM and make a profit while GM loses money... that's a direct connection to the efficiency of the business.


RE: Wow
By bhieb on 12/10/2008 2:25:39 PM , Rating: 2
Development dollars yes, but to stop marketing the lot fulls of Trucks/SUV and just write them off would be irresponsible as well. Why do you think you still see all those Tundra ads? Shift production sure, but you still have to do something with the stock.

Plus it is a guessing game if gas stays this low, consumer demand will bring back the trucks/suv's. As much as you personally may like to believe that the population is all aboard the "green" wagon, and want to drive these smaller more efficient cars. I would be willing to bet that if they keep oil down long enough the good ole F150 will be #1 again.


RE: Wow
By Spuke on 12/10/2008 2:47:16 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Plus it is a guessing game if gas stays this low, consumer demand will bring back the trucks/suv's.
It's already happening. Trucks sales have taken over the top spots.

October
http://tinyurl.com/5m5raa

November
http://tinyurl.com/6kbbr4


RE: Wow
By FITCamaro on 12/10/2008 12:23:28 PM , Rating: 1
What relevance or similarity does your comment have to mine? I was merely stating that I was surprised that the development of the Volt "only" cost $750 million as I thought its price tag would easily exceed $1 billion.


RE: Wow
By Lord 666 on 12/10/2008 12:48:31 PM , Rating: 2
Slightly off topic, but curious if any of the fine print within the Bailout Plan states the US Government owns any intellectual property after the transaction... especially after the R/D for this project cost "only" $750 million.

Military applications for this technology would be interesting.


RE: Wow
By ebakke on 12/10/2008 12:59:34 PM , Rating: 2
The military buys its products from private companies, which often keep (or share) IP rights. And by the government not having GM's technology, when they want a new capability/product they allow the defense industry to research different/better technologies without just choosing one, because it's already been done.


RE: Wow
By derwin on 12/10/2008 12:53:21 PM , Rating: 2
"That few want" is your problem. People are still buying the things, so smart business people kept making them. The surely did not foresee people stopping the purchase of them so swiftly though.


RE: Wow
By Smilin on 12/10/2008 1:03:03 PM , Rating: 2
US automakers, GM in particular tried hard to use common parts across multiple cars. The theory is sound but they failed miserably in execution. The result is things like the Buick Rendevous / Pontiac Aztek.

The automakers have tooled so that they can execute on this business model but it paints them into a corner. They are forced to sell cars that they can make rather than cars the consumers want. As a result they have to resort to deep discounts and financing to sell their vehicles. The "employee discount" sales are an example. You didn't See Honda/Toyota/Nissan doing this did you?

Yes, people are buying them but the automaker just isn't making any money. If they made cars that "people want" they could do so at a profit.


RE: Wow
By Screwballl on 12/10/2008 1:10:20 PM , Rating: 3
Yes, I see commercials all the time for Honda, Toyota, Hyundai, Kia and many of the overseas brands saying 0% financing, $6000 off SR-T package and all the same gimmicks that the US-3 are showing off.

the problem is that people demanded reliability and all vehicle sales have fallen as people hold onto their reliable 2006 vehicle rather than trade in every 2 years like they used to.
When we got our 2004 Durango in 2006, it had already been through 4 owners at that time. No problems, nothing wrong, nothing needing fixed, just part of the lease/lease/lease/sell phase that many dealers use.


RE: Wow
By lagomorpha on 12/10/2008 9:35:28 PM , Rating: 2
Odds are those 0% financing commercials were paid for by individual dealers and not the manufacturers themselves. Even if the manufacturers are the ones responsible for the financing package (such as 0% with Honda motorcycles) you have to keep in mind it's an interest rate trap: the rate will be 0% for 6 months or so and then if it isn't 100% paid off by then will shoot up to the maximum legal rate (24+%).

GM's employee pricing seems as if it's an attempt to make up for the horrible resale of cars from the big three. If someone finds they can get 30% off sticker price then that 50% value the car loses the second they sign the papers doesn't seem as significant. I imagine in the long run it just makes the resale of the vehicles even worse as people are willing to sell them for even less.

Glad to hear your Durango is still in good condition (ok well not as glad as I'd be to hear that all Durangos have been crushed into cubes...). The Dakotas I've had experience with have all had horrible mechanical problems ranging from engine trouble to the passenger footwell filling with water whenever the AC was turned on.


RE: Wow
By masher2 (blog) on 12/10/2008 11:36:48 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
you have to keep in mind it's an interest rate trap: the rate will be 0% for 6 months or so and then if it isn't 100% paid off by then will shoot up to the maximum legal rate (24+%).
Actually, GM's latest 0% financing deal is valid for up to 72 months.


RE: Wow
By FITCamaro on 12/10/2008 1:38:03 PM , Rating: 2
Dude even Lexus is offering 0% financing and crap like that.


RE: Wow
By Smilin on 12/10/2008 2:09:19 PM , Rating: 2
Did you ever see a "employee discount" pricing sale from Lexus? Cadillac did it.

All automakers will do a sale at one time or another but US automakers are in a *constant* sale these days. Their profit per vehicle is a fraction of the Japanese. It reflects a markdown on vehicle price that the Japanese simply don't have to do to get their cars to sell.

0% financing from Lexus during Christmas is still generating a profit for Toyota. One of those big 0% financing, cash back yada yada sales by a US automaker is typically an attempt to reduce inventory before the loss gets worse. The US automaker manufacturing capacity is geared towards an economy of scale that does not match demand for their product. They have to sell lots or they take massive losses.

Ultimately they are forced into this situation because they are making a lot of cars that people don't want (There are exceptions like say trucks, corvettes). Sure, people might buy a Cobolt but you don't have to employee discount+0% finance+cashback to get them to buy a Civic.


RE: Wow
By masher2 (blog) on 12/10/2008 2:37:52 PM , Rating: 2
> "Ultimately they are forced into this situation because they are making a lot of cars that people don't want "

It's not the type of vehicles people don't want, it's the quantity. GM especially is in severe overproduction -- primarily because of union commitments that make it far cheaper to run a plant than to shut it down temporarily.

They thus make too many cars, then have to cut prices to move the production.


RE: Wow
By Smilin on 12/10/2008 3:01:20 PM , Rating: 1
Yep. That's part of the:

quote:
The US automaker manufacturing capacity is geared towards an economy of scale that does not match demand for their product. They have to sell lots or they take massive losses.


If they increased demand by making cars people want then suddenly their business model works. They're going to have a hard time doing this because they are stuck in this model of uber-mass production and can only make cars that fit in the production model (one car model sold with 3 brand names) rather than a car that consumers want.

Ultimately the problem with US automakers is their management. They still have this big pyramid of management driving the "world factory" that henry ford envisioned instead of a more cellular design.


RE: Wow
By Spuke on 12/10/2008 3:33:23 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
If they increased demand by making cars people want then suddenly their business model works.


quote:
Nov 08 Ford F-series - 37,911 GM trucks - 40,031 Fit - 4909 Yaris - 4545 Prius - 8660
I guess "no one" wants 80k trucks a month compared to the "everyone wants" 19k eco-cars. :rollseyes:


RE: Wow
By TSS on 12/10/2008 9:05:29 PM , Rating: 2
actually the reason why their in trouble now is because they where geared towards an demand that was there. they should have avoided it, by seeing that demand was artificially inflated.

credit has been given out too easy. thus, people who really couldn't afford it, could get a loan for a new car. in the past 8 years, there hasn't been a year where car sales dipped below 16 million+ a year, while there has never been a year before it where it topped 16 million.

car sales in november, annually adjusted, where 10.2 million a year, and october was 10.8 million a year. don't forget, before lehman brothers failed in september credit was still flowing, and it was still called the "sub-prime crisis". everything is down, from small cars to hybrids to trucks and SUV's, everything is around 37% less (average).

the problem here, why their selling so few cars, is simple. people have run out of credit, and out of money, AND out of assets to back new credit with. you can see how severe the problem is by looking at foreclosures, since the last thing anybody wants is to lose their house.

http://money.cnn.com/2008/01/29/real_estate/forecl...

that's from january 2008, long before the credit crisis, at the official start of the recession.

quote:
The number of foreclosures soared in 2007, with 405,000 households losing their home, according to a report released Tuesday. That's up 51 percent from the 268,532 homes that were repossessed in 2006.


http://robots.cnnfn.com/2008/12/05/news/economy/mo...

quote:
A record 1.35 million homes were in foreclosure in the third quarter, driving the foreclosure rate up to 2.97%, the Mortgage Bankers Association said Friday. That's a 76% increase from a year ago, according to the group's National Delinquency Survey.

quote:
The number of homes going into foreclosure in 2008 is on track to hit 2.2 million, Brinkmann said.


jesus man look at the frickin numbers!

their management is as much to blame as the american consumer for living beyond their means. and i don't specificly mean buying trucks instead of small cars. i mean buying a truck when a small car is enough, and buying a truck when a small car isn't enough.


RE: Wow
By Moishe on 12/11/2008 11:40:16 AM , Rating: 3
Management sucks, but what can a CEO do when there is an absurd contract with the UAW? Nothing.

The "workers" are holding these companies hostage for far more money than they are worth.

The unions are parasites and I hope that they end up killing the host so that they too die. greedy bastards want more money, but they're just hurting themselves in the long run by not allowing their employer to be financially viable.

Pretty f-in stupid.


RE: Wow
By Reclaimer77 on 12/11/2008 12:01:53 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Their profit per vehicle is a fraction of the Japanese.


Yeah I loved how the president of the UAV was outraged and claimed " only 10% of the cost of our vehicles is due to union labor ".

LOL well whats 10% of 30,000 or so bucks man ?


RE: Wow
By Moishe on 12/11/2008 11:44:34 AM , Rating: 3
yeah... I bet that's low ball... BUT assuming that 10% is accurate it's still WAY TO HIGH.

Unions have no place in our economy. This is not the old days where there wasn't a lot of strict business regulation. Unions were actually needed then.

Now they are just parasites and relics.


RE: Wow
By Suntan on 12/10/2008 3:49:03 PM , Rating: 4
quote:
You didn't See Honda/Toyota/Nissan doing this did you?


Yeah I can’t say as I saw that kind of promotion, but I bought a new Honda Odyssey a little less than a year ago and I got over 5K off the sticker and a huge trade in on my wife’s old car when we agreed to take one off of their horridly overloaded lot.

You can claim that everything is roses and sunshine for the foreign automakers, but that wasn’t what I experienced.

To be sure, the domestic automakers are in rougher shape, but all automakers are hurting right now.

http://money.cnn.com/2008/12/02/news/companies/aut...

the last two paragraphs state:

quote:
Toyota (TM) reported that its sales fell 34% from last November and 14% from October. That was far worse than the 24% year-over-year drop in sales expected by Edmunds.com.

And Honda Motor (HMC) reported a 32% drop in sales compared to a year ago, while sales were down 11% from October. Edmunds.com had forecast only a 21% annual decline for Honda, which had been closing in on Chrysler for the No. 4 spot in U.S. sales.


And here’s a link talking about Honda dropping out of F1 and selling their team because they can’t afford it anymore (and they are sucking at it.)

http://money.cnn.com/2008/12/05/news/companies/hon...

Regardless of the fact that the domestics are asking for handouts, it is not realistic to imply that they are hurting while Japanese automakers are doing just fine.

-Suntan


RE: Wow
By joemoedee on 12/10/2008 1:45:50 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I'd much rather see them sink $750M USD into a technology that will give them leadership in a tech the will be driving the future


True, but given the fact that they already had a "production" electric car in 1999, that $750 million spent on the Volt project seems a bit ridiculous. But of course, GM killed the EV1 and the EV1 Hybrid project, so one tends to expect poor business decisions out of them.

quote:
developing and marketing new trucks and SUVs that few want.


Eh, many still want Trucks. Trucks won't go away.

SUV sales have died down some, but are still very much in demand. R&D need to be dedicated to these items, especially continued improved fuel efficiency.

Most truck and suv buyers won't buy smaller vehicles, as many are purposely purchased. (Work, Family size, Utility, whatever) They are not in the compact car market, so a car that gets 50 mpg is of no use to them.

However, if you can take that Full Size truck or SUV from 15-20 mpg highway to 25-30 mpg... there's a bigger impact across the board. So yes, you need R&D on these vehicles, more-so than niche products.


RE: Wow
By Ringold on 12/10/2008 7:41:54 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
True, but given the fact that they already had a "production" electric car in 1999, that $750 million spent on the Volt project seems a bit ridiculous.


Asides from the fact both can run off batteries, the two cars technologies are radically different. I kinda agree with FITCamaro, I thought it'd be more.


RE: Wow
By djc208 on 12/10/2008 3:13:34 PM , Rating: 2
Few want now . That was not the case just last year, and Detroit doesn't turn on a dime. It takes years of development and planning to bring a new vehicle to market. Ford and Dodge didn't bring out new trucks because they thought it was a good time, it was because the money was already spent, and the plants re-tooled. It's too late in the game to change that direction.

I think the exageration here is that it might take years for the Volt to pay back those costs. But as we've seen elsewhere, this technology will quickly be moved into other vehicles. I'm still not sure that they aren't licensing this to Chrysler for the hybrids they're showing off, same way Chrysler, GM, and BMW developed the hybrid powertrain in their SUVs together.

So they start to re-configure for higher gas prices by moving back toward their smaller vehicles, but then the bottom drops out of the market. So the development they shelved is lost money and there's little coming in to replace it, that's how they got here.

The Japanese auto makers aren't having a good time of this either. They do have a better crop of smaller cars, but most of that is because small cars are their home market. Not too many Escalades running around in Japan or Europe. If most of your global production is small cars it's easy to see why they do it better.


RE: Wow
By Reclaimer77 on 12/10/2008 11:13:23 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I'd much rather see them sink $750M USD into a technology that will give them leadership in a tech the will be driving the future


Except this wont. This will put them on the path of government bailout after government bailout. And for every Volt sold, all of us pay the bill for the tax subsidies.

quote:
rather than spending that money on developing and marketing new trucks and SUVs that few want.


Gm sold just as many total vehicles as Toyota last year. Its what they DID with the profits that was the problem. But clearly, more than a " few " wanted trucks and SUV's.


RE: Wow
By crimson117 on 12/11/2008 1:15:14 AM , Rating: 3
I want a geothermal powered car that only works when driving on volcanoes.


RE: Wow
By Brandon Hill (blog) on 12/10/2008 12:06:29 PM , Rating: 2
It cost Ford over one billion dollars to develop and bring to market the craptastic 1996 Taurus.


RE: Wow
By headbox on 12/10/2008 12:22:26 PM , Rating: 3
...but you're including marketing. Auto makers spend billions each year just in TV commercials.


RE: Wow
By Dreifort on 12/10/2008 12:08:39 PM , Rating: 3
Popular Mechanics built one in a few months...and their research cost them the salary of a few employees.

http://www.popularmechanics.com/automotive/how_to/...

Seriously..... how many CEOs (from vendor comanpies), how many project managers will be overseeing the development of the Volt? Will over 50% of the cost go towards upper management and 40% to prodution workers and 10% into car materials?


RE: Wow
By heavyorangejuice on 12/10/2008 12:21:48 PM , Rating: 3
The development costs for a car are not limited to the actual designing of the car. The manufacturer must also design a new plant build molds and make the car able to be mass produced. The actual engineering of the car is low compared to the cost associated with getting it ready for production.


RE: Wow
By FITCamaro on 12/10/2008 12:24:23 PM , Rating: 3
Not to mention government approval testing.


RE: Wow
By mvpx02 on 12/10/2008 12:40:02 PM , Rating: 2
development also includes extensive stress testing to make sure the batteries and everything will last (and maintain performance) long enough.

Also the lithium-ion battery technology is subject to explosion under extreme conditions, which is not something that can be tolerated.

Building a car that runs right now is considerably less expensive than building one ready for mass production that'll last long enough so that the 10-year warranty isn't financial suicide.


RE: Wow
By Spuke on 12/10/2008 1:51:10 PM , Rating: 2
Does that car pass safety standards? Does it pass CARB emission requirements? How many cars will they be selling? 100k? 200k? Will it start when the temps are -30 degrees? How does it fare in the middle of summer in Phoenix, AZ? Where can I get it serviced? What's the warranty on it?


RE: Wow
By albertdup on 12/10/2008 1:40:26 PM , Rating: 2
One thing about living in a "third world" country is we know how to do things cost effective.

The Joule is to be Africa's first battery car and will hum quietly on to the market by the end of 2010 with a price tag of around $25 000 (R250 000), a range of 125 miles (200km) or 250 miles (400km) with extended battery and a seven-hour charge time for its two lithium-ion batteries domestic plug.

It was designed by South African-born Keith Helfet, a former chief stylist at Jaguar and responsible for designs such as the XJ220, the XK180 and the F-Type.

It was developed by Optimal Energy at a price of only $9 mil.
Just think what these guys can do with $ 750 mil.

Pictures
http://www.optimalenergy.co.za/about/
Video
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cyK_98Wxlw4&eurl=ht...


RE: Wow
By Spuke on 12/10/2008 1:54:55 PM , Rating: 2
Does it meet safety and emissions regulations in the US and Europe? What's the warranty on the car? Where can I get the car serviced? How does it perform in -30 degree temperatures? Will it start everytime? How does it perform going up a 7% grade in 120 degree summers?


RE: Wow
By Suntan on 12/10/2008 4:01:37 PM , Rating: 3
Ore importantly, will it keep me warm through my entire commute? I live in Minneapolis, this morning it was 3°F on my way to work (-16°C to the rest of you.) When it doesn’t snow it takes me a half hour to get there. When it does snow, it can take an hour and a half.

Can this thing keep the heater running for 3 hours so I can get to work and back home during a cold, snowy commute?

No, a smug sense of outsmarting the big 3 is not enough to keep me from freezing to death.

-Suntan


RE: Wow
By Spuke on 12/10/2008 6:23:05 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
No, a smug sense of outsmarting the big 3 is not enough to keep me from freezing to death.
LOL! You got that right!!


RE: Wow
By lagomorpha on 12/10/2008 10:12:48 PM , Rating: 2
"Will it start everytime?"

One of the advantages of electric motors is that you don't need starter motors to get them running.


RE: Wow
By Spuke on 12/11/2008 12:17:57 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
One of the advantages of electric motors is that you don't need starter motors to get them running.
So how does it run? Pixy dust? LOL! Of course they require traditional starters but they have to be "turned on" (is that better?) and they have to be able to run in all conditions just like gas engines. My original question still stands.


RE: Wow
By lagomorpha on 12/11/2008 1:50:59 AM , Rating: 2
Just pointing out that unlike in a gasoline engine where you can crank the starter trying to get an engine to start, with an electric car it's pretty much either on or off.


RE: Wow
By Cobra Commander on 12/10/2008 1:56:56 PM , Rating: 2
You're exactly right - the Ford Taurus took $2B in 1995 to redesign and there was barely ANY innovation there. $750M to R&D your first, er, second electric car is a lot but this isn't groundbreaking territory by any stretch.

Am I supposed to feel sorry for GM by learning this???


RE: Wow
By walk2k on 12/10/2008 2:13:53 PM , Rating: 2
2016, so about 5 years after GM goes out of business?


RE: Wow
By Hiawa23 on 12/10/2008 2:41:47 PM , Rating: 2
I am sure it will be in the billions before it's said & done..


Toyota RAV4 EV
By SpaceJumper on 12/10/2008 12:27:37 PM , Rating: 2
I will buy a Toyota RAV4 EV if Toyota makes them again. It has 100 to 120 miles range and speed up to 78 mph.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toyota_RAV4_EV




RE: Toyota RAV4 EV
By Shig on 12/10/2008 12:35:20 PM , Rating: 1
I'm sure Toyota and Honda spent similiar amounts developing their hybrid powertrains and their future all electric powertrains.

RnD spending must be a foreign concept to American car companies. Sigh.


RE: Toyota RAV4 EV
By mvpx02 on 12/10/2008 12:48:43 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
RnD spending must be a foreign concept to American car companies. Sigh.


uhm, what? where did that comment even come from?

Foreign car companies aren't currently explaining their finances to US Congress. If they were, we'd be reading articles about how much they'd spent too.

Also, the technology required to make a hybrid (with the capacity to go a few miles on batteries) is considerably less than that required to make an all-electric capable car. But yes, the foreign companies have been/will be/are making similar investments into all-electric drive train technology if they want to get into the market.


RE: Toyota RAV4 EV
By hduser on 12/10/2008 1:16:36 PM , Rating: 2
US companies pre 1970 used to contribute at least 10% of revenue to R&D. With company now answering to shareholders, companies have grown short sighted. It's now about boosting share value right now and less about the future. The R&D budget is usually the first to get slashed. I'd be surprised if any company uses more than 5% of revenue in this day and age for research(I mean pure research not exploitation of current technology).

The Japanese has a different approach. They kind of have a cooperative R&D between companies that's government administrated. I think that's to prevent overlap and waste of company resources.


RE: Toyota RAV4 EV
By blaster5k on 12/10/2008 1:31:24 PM , Rating: 2
The reason people have reduced R&D spending though is because it wasn't found to be cost-effective to spend as much. Simply put, they were spending way too much for what they were getting out of the research. There's no certainty in success. Many R&D efforts are failures -- costly failures.


RE: Toyota RAV4 EV
By hduser on 12/10/2008 3:53:06 PM , Rating: 2
R&D isn't meant to be cost effective. It's meant to keep the company competitive in the future which is my main point. There too many short sighted company not willing to invest that far down the road and trying to boost share value today.

You can learn just as much from failure as you can with success. We as a society has become risk adverse and short sighted.


RE: Toyota RAV4 EV
By Suntan on 12/10/2008 4:10:42 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
You can learn just as much from failure as you can with success.


But it’s a real betch trying to get your customers to pay you for that failure….

PARC was nice and all that, but how good is Xerox really doing right now?

Me thinks you’ve never had a job where you were responsible for getting people to pay money for the products you make.

-Suntan


RE: Toyota RAV4 EV
By masher2 (blog) on 12/10/2008 5:09:03 PM , Rating: 2
> "PARC was nice and all that, but how good is Xerox really doing right now?"

Agreed. An even better example might be Bell Lab's invention of the transistor. It revolutionized the world, but didn't even net them back their development costs. They eventually sold the rights to Sony for peanuts and, by the time transistors were in widespread use, the original patent was nearing expiry.

As long as patents only last 20 years, making money from pure (rather than applied) research, is going to be difficult. True innocations often take that long to put into production.


RE: Toyota RAV4 EV
By FITCamaro on 12/10/2008 1:39:15 PM , Rating: 2
The Japanese government paid a lot of the cost of Toyota developing the Prius.


Share
By Ratinator on 12/10/2008 12:43:32 PM , Rating: 2
Wouldn't it be nice that instead of each of these companies spending millions of dollars each on battery research that maybe for once they would all get together and pool their resources on the research. It would cost each company less and you would probably come up with a better solution. We don't need 8 companies trying to invent the wheel. I know that the North American economies are based off competition, but would it really hurt to come together and share in a common goal once in a while.




RE: Share
By dagamer34 on 12/10/2008 1:06:40 PM , Rating: 2
Then lets just combine all university's research into one as well so we aren't overly redundant! And put all the prisoners on one big island to roam free!


RE: Share
By tayhimself on 12/10/2008 1:15:02 PM , Rating: 2
I'm with you on the prisoners as long as they film it. It would make for a far better show than Lost


RE: Share
By Ratinator on 12/10/2008 1:36:59 PM , Rating: 2
Taking that to an extreme aren't we? Last I checked universities are a little more willing to share information with each other than the automobile companies are. I am merely expressing one way to cut down on costs in some areas. God forbid people should think of colaborating on a project......that would just be unheard of (yes that was sarcasm). Do you see something wrong with say Ford and GM or heaven forbid GM and Toyota working together to come up with new ideas?


RE: Share
By Spuke on 12/10/2008 1:57:54 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Taking that to an extreme aren't we?
Where do you draw the line? Seriously.


RE: Share
By Ratinator on 12/10/2008 3:49:26 PM , Rating: 2
No line has to be drawn.......this doesn't mean because one does it then everyone has to....we are not talking a law here. This is a persoanl choice by one company to get in bed with another. When you and a friend were kids and you pooled your money together to go buy a bottle of pop from the store to "share" no one said you had to buy one for everyone else or that everyone else had to do the same as you.

You are taking a simple concept and making it more complicated than it needs to be.


RE: Share
By Spuke on 12/10/2008 5:39:38 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
No line has to be drawn.......this doesn't mean because one does it then everyone has to
Then how can you call something extreme when there's no agreed upon boundary? Calling something extreme, in this case, just makes it your opinion which carries little to no weight.


RE: Share
By Ringold on 12/10/2008 7:55:00 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
When you and a friend were kids and you pooled your money together to go buy a bottle of pop from the store to "share"


Thats.. radically different. Business is not friends. GM and Ford should not be friends with each other. Their objective is to out-compete each other, not give each other a hand-up. Sounds to me like that would run counter to the interests of shareholders. If they want market place socialism, they need to take themselves private, and then do whatever they want.


Grammer
By derwin on 12/10/2008 12:50:29 PM , Rating: 1
Hey man, I don't mean this as an attack on any sort of politics you are espousing here, but
quote:
Executives from the largest American automakers have been begging for help from the U.S. government, despite flying down to beg for money in private jets.

is a pretty poorely worded sentence. You have too many clauses under one roof.
It sounds like something a second grader would write. I am assuming you get paid to do this. Please try and reword that.




RE: Grammer
By Smilin on 12/10/2008 1:09:09 PM , Rating: 5
Hey Kettle, get that smudge of sh1t off your face!

"poorely" isn't spellared that whey.


RE: Grammer
By FITCamaro on 12/10/2008 4:08:25 PM , Rating: 3
Next time start with spelling "grammar" correctly.


Convert the HOV lanes!
By Mitch101 on 12/10/2008 12:51:21 PM , Rating: 2
I say we Convert HOV lanes into dual lane go kart lanes and you can race your way into work on an electric or gas go kart.

They don't get any more minimal than a go kart as most of the time all your trying to do it get your physical body to the office or back home.

Moral will be up because your morning commute will be fun.




RE: Convert the HOV lanes!
By mvpx02 on 12/10/2008 12:56:09 PM , Rating: 2
I laughed out loud, then realized it's not a terrible idea... until it snows or one of the go-karts gets hit by a semi-truck haha


RE: Convert the HOV lanes!
By tayhimself on 12/10/2008 1:27:33 PM , Rating: 2
You'd be fine if you had those rotating turtle shells in MarioKart always loaded up.


hardest hit?
By oTAL on 12/10/2008 1:11:11 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The economy is bad and while the computer industry has been hard hit, the hardest hit of all may be the automotive industry.


Hardest hit? The automotive industry?
Number of car companies bankrupt or bailed in the last year?
Number of financial companies bankrupt or bailed out in the last year?

I'd say investment banks were hit the hardest of all....




RE: hardest hit?
By mxnerd on 12/10/2008 10:52:35 PM , Rating: 2
I would say they are gambling banks, not investment banks.

They are using 1:40 leverage.


Now What?
By bobny1 on 12/10/2008 6:09:41 PM , Rating: 2
They spent $750 Billions on development. But the result is a $40k plus vehicles that will be out reach for most Americans. Unlike Toyota and Honda that focus on improvement and affordability.




RE: Now What?
By Spuke on 12/10/2008 6:25:01 PM , Rating: 2
$750 MILLION not BILLION. Toyota and Honda have their own serial hybrids coming that will cost just as much.


By The0ne on 12/10/2008 7:10:36 PM , Rating: 2
So after touting that they're the leader in the field of hybrid/electric vehicles (2003 LA auto show I beleive), they've spent this much. All the talk about them already having the capability I assume was all BS talk. Quite frankly, this I think this is way too much money being spent on a car that really doesn't have anything new to offer. I suspect 80% of that money had gone to top management.

The more I read contradictions in their talks and their presentations the more I'm appalled and for the big 3 to just die off.




The problem...
By GeorgeBeans on 12/10/2008 11:50:01 PM , Rating: 2
is LIBERALS ...

the UAW guarentees its workers things like 95% pay while laid off and obscene health benefits no matter what ... I still recall the concessions GM made to the unions 8 or 9 years ago about this stuff...

Lets face it ... unions WERE good way back when -- and by that I mean the 30's - 60's ... but no need for them now, especially some bloated bully union like the UAW to demand $50 an hour for some guy to push a button --THAT CAN NEVER BE FIRED. Those days are gone, and as soon as we realize it, the better.

How do the socialist libs fit in? They are in bed with the UAW, and thus they take care of each other.

Thankfully, this will all be taken care of soon .. oh wait, we (but not me) voted in the biggest socialist this side of Castro ... :(




Auto Bailout Denied...oh crap....
By callmeroy on 12/12/2008 8:45:58 AM , Rating: 2
The dookie just hit the fan, the senate blocked the bailout from going into action and there is currently no plans to re-visit one. Finally they (they being all our lovely hard working and caring politicans up there on capitol hill) are on legislative break until after the holidays now too.

This economy just keeps getting brighter evey friggin day....




No wonder these fossils are done
By DukeN on 12/11/08, Rating: 0
"So if you want to save the planet, feel free to drive your Hummer. Just avoid the drive thru line at McDonalds." -- Michael Asher
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