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Chevrolet Volt
GM isn't going to let a little thing like a lack of money prevent the Volt from coming to market in 2010

General Motors has been in a downward spiral all year with lagging sales and losses in the billions. GM and its cross town rival, Chrysler, asked Congress for monetary assistance to stave off bankruptcy by the end of the year. In the end, the Senate failed to hand over even $14 billion USD to the two struggling Detroit giants.

Now as the White House mulls what plan it will present to help GM and Chrysler stay in business during 2009, GM is stating that it will bring the Chevrolet Volt to market no matter what. This confidence in the Volt program comes despite that fact that GM announced yesterday that it would halt the production on a new engine assembly plant which will produce the 1.4-liter gasoline engine/generator for the vehicle.

Despite the setback with the engine assembly plant, billions of dollars in losses, and a production schedule that leaves little room for error, GM is still committed to bring the Volt -- and the Chevrolet Cruze -- to market by the end of 2010 as it has always stated.

If the engine assembly plant is unable to be completed in time to get the production Chevrolet Volt and Cruze out the door in 2010, GM will be forced to rely on one of its overseas facilities to produce the engine according to the Wall Street Journal. Interestingly enough, the Chevrolet Cruze is already available in overseas markets like South Korea albeit with a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine -- two years ahead of the car’s North American launch.

"Everything that involves heavy cash outlays obviously is under review," said GM spokeswoman Sharon Basel on Wednesday. "Our intent is to still go forward with a new facility bringing that engine to Flint, Michigan."

"Although we are temporarily absolutely stopping all work on everything, the Volt will be out as originally scheduled," added one GM executive.

GM is banking on the Volt to bring it some of the same positive press that has been bestowed upon the Toyota Prius. However, the Prius and its rival, the Honda Insight, have base prices below the $24,000 mark. The Volt, however, will be priced near or will surpass the $40,000 mark before a $7,500 tax credit.

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By inighthawki on 12/18/2008 3:32:10 PM , Rating: 5
I see the largest problem is the price (of course). I don't think any electric type vehicles are really going to get anywhere until they have low priced cars. $40,000, even with a $7500 tax credit is a lot of money for many people. Even the prius can be considered expensive to the people without money to spend, especially when you can buy a new car for much less than $24,000 these days.

Why not take out some of the fancy gadgets and advanced features and offer a low end model that more people can afford?

RE: Price
By SandmanWN on 12/18/2008 3:37:01 PM , Rating: 3
"Our intent is to still go forward with a new facility bringing that engine to Flint, Michigan."

I don't think its the gadgets, more like labor overhead since they haven't learned one damn thing from their foreign counterparts in the US that go out of their way to avoid the Union controlled areas like the plague.

They've dug a hole so big in Flint they'll never get out of it.

RE: Price
By FITCamaro on 12/18/2008 4:15:56 PM , Rating: 5
It's not a matter of learning. It's a matter of contracts. They're in one. They can't just back out of it. Unless they declare bankruptcy that is.

And whenever the contracts were due for resigning they weren't in much of a position to bargain either. The only leverage they had was to threaten to move work overseas. Otherwise they had to either negotiate with the union (which ended up sometimes getting them a little better off but still usually in the favor of the unions) or completely fire the union work force, shut down, train a new work force, and reopen. But that would have been costly as well. Of course in reality, it would have hurt a whole lot less than the current situation they're in.

The unions used their power to strangle the auto makers into doing what they wanted. The imports didn't have the problem because they said "Do you want jobs? We'll give you them if you'll agree to this." They didn't have an existing work force and thousands of retirees to deal with.

RE: Price
By deeznuts on 12/18/2008 4:49:46 PM , Rating: 2
The UAW only represents 150,000 of all auto workers, or less than 50,000 at GM. That's pretty significant but not everyone on the factory floor is UAW. I think their membership has dropped in half in just the past few years.

RE: Price
By foolsgambit11 on 12/18/2008 6:00:22 PM , Rating: 4
I think the UAW's numbers are close to 500,000 - down from 1.5 million at their peak. And while some of those may be in non-automobile-related jobs, I doubt 350,000 of them are.

As for the union/non-union issue - isn't it a non-issue? I mean, haven't the unions pretty much given up everything they had over their non-union counterparts? The job bank is closing (it only had about 300 people in it, and it was an idea that came from non-unionized Honda in the first place), legacy costs are being taken off the Big 3's hands by 2011, and wages for new workers are within a couple of dollars of transplant factory wages.

I imagine, once you consider cost of living differences between Michigan and Alabama, they'd be close enough to equal for employees in non-union factories to have absolutely no incentive to unionize. That's what you all want in the first place, isn't it?

I love unions (or, at least, the principle of unions). I would think most of the people here would, too. It seems that many posters here are libertarian-minded. Unions keep corporations on the up-and-up with their employees. They can keep government from having to be the ones stepping in to the labor market.

RE: Price
By Ringold on 12/18/2008 6:16:33 PM , Rating: 5
Out of curiosity, as someone who has been to both Alabama and various parts of the rust belt, what is this great cost of living difference people talk about? Both are recovering third world countries; Alabama was obliterated in the 1860s, Michigan by socialism. The only difference I can see is higher heating costs in the Winter.

Anyway, even stripping out those legacy costs, I read in the Detroit News a day or so ago the hourly cost is still $55 for the Big Three vs. $45/hr for the "foreign" makers. The numbers vary slightly according to where you read them, but the gap always remains. To be fair, they are predicted to slowly go down, but only as the older UAW workers die off or get forced out the door.

I love unions (or, at least, the principle of unions). I would think most of the people here would, too.

If I were unskilled, uneducated, or unmotivated, sure I would. But I'm not unskilled, uneducated, or unmotivated. Why should I negotiate according to the lowest common denominator of my peers? I don't know about you, but I've always negotiated one and one. It's hard for unions and individuals both in a recession, but we spend far more time in expansion than contraction on average and during those times it's easy to walk away if an employer doesn't meet my demands. Unskilled labor rarely has that option -- they're unskilled, and this is an advanced economy.

But you're right, it's also partly a libertarian bent I have, but still mostly the fact there is no way that I would benefit from a union.

RE: Price
By Ringold on 12/18/2008 6:34:00 PM , Rating: 2
Oh, and speaking of cost of living differences.. yes, I'm sure there are huge cost of living differences between UAW plants in Indiana and Hyundai and Honda plants in Indiana. :P

That sounds like an excuse UAW defenders toss out there that sounds good and people nod their head to, but in reality may be irrelevant in the wider view.

RE: Price
By foolsgambit11 on 12/18/2008 6:53:30 PM , Rating: 2
I don't know what UAW contracts say about cost of living allowances in different parts of the country. I do know that the costs per labor hour quoted are the national averages for union and non-union plants. And that it seems on a cursory glance that union plans are in areas with higher costs of living than non-union plants.

Are the national average numbers already adjusted for cost of living? Any experts out there know whether UAW workers in Indiana get paid differently than UAW workers in Flint? They should, I should think, since the UAW is supposedly all about equitable pay. (Wages should be lower in Flint by almost 5%). These are important questions to know the answers to before making a judgment.

Hyundai has a plant in Alabama. No plant in Indiana, as far as I can tell. Maybe you meant Toyota. The Toyota plant's address is in Princeton, IN. GM's plant is in Fort Wayne. The cost of living in Fort Wayne, IN is something like 9.7% higher than Princeton, IN. However. Honda's plant is in Greensburg, IN, which has a slightly higher cost of living than Fort Wayne - somewhere around 1.8% higher. All of these locations, though, are well below the national average for cost of living.

RE: Price
By foolsgambit11 on 12/18/2008 7:03:58 PM , Rating: 2
Many, if not most, of the UAW's jobs are considered skilled labor. Uneducated? Maybe. Unmotivated? Who knows - let's see some productivity figures. But unskilled? No. Unless by unskilled, you mean to say 'unwhite-collar'.

I agree, unions for jobs like doormen and hotel cleaners seem a little odd. From where do they get their negotiating position? They don't really have skills the average person couldn't pick up in a day. But machinists, welders, and many other workers in auto factories are highly skilled and constantly training to advance their craft.

And now I'll reemphasize my initial point. Would you rather have a contract negotiated between two willing parties, or would you prefer the government get involved? Because that's what unions boil down to. They are a way for the 'disadvantaged' in the employer-employee relationship to assert their strength without the government stepping in to protect them. And so, between the two, I'd prefer unions.

RE: Price
By Ringold on 12/18/2008 8:10:44 PM , Rating: 5
We might have two definitions of skilled labor. I was thinking college graduates; engineers, accountants, financiers, etc. Post-industrial age jobs. I know machining and a lot of those types of jobs involve two year technical degrees, they are productive than just high school grads, but I wonder how many of those there even are, particularly among the older demographic which is really the one that costs GM and the others the most money. Another problem with unions; they reward seniority, and not so much productivity.

or would you prefer the government get involved? Because that's what unions boil down to. They are a way for the 'disadvantaged' in the employer-employee relationship to assert their strength without the government stepping in to protect them.

Not sure what you mean. The unions give hundreds of millions to political campaigns, and everyone knows the Democrat party is the party of union support. The government doesn't have to step in on each and every contract discussion because the Democrats insure that support for unions is systemic.

RE: Price
By Nfarce on 12/18/2008 8:47:43 PM , Rating: 5
Another problem with unions; they reward seniority, and not so much productivity.

Don't forget about:

o Making it all but impossible for a company to fire based on poor performance, especially in government unions.

o Forcing people to become a union member when he/she doesn't want to be a part of one.

o Mandatorily taking month or annual dues from paychecks (see above).

o The new "open vote" unionization proposal floating around out there that basically intimidates people into voting for unionization because their vote will be public instead of private (Democrats support this).

o Unions (UAW) not making concessions to save the Big Three.

And other things that you don't hear about much. My airline pilot buddy friend is none too happy about having to shell out $2,500 annually to his pilot's union. He sees zero benefits other than the fat cat union goons living it up like CEOs.

But you never hear about that nor hear Obama request that unions make concessions, do you? Unions were great back when we had no federal labor laws. They are outdated, and have been for quite some time. And I come from a family of union tradespeople (plumbers).

RE: Price
By foolsgambit11 on 12/18/2008 8:53:06 PM , Rating: 2
Sorry, I was using the definition of skilled labor. Like I said, you must have meant to say 'white collar' where you said 'skilled'.

If you refer to my original post, I'm talking 'in principle'. I know the union system is pretty screwy currently. So talking about union contributions to political parties is irrelevant. Even so, I would argue:

1. That political support for unions is similar in principle to political support for faith-based outreach programs - they do a job so government doesn't have to.

2. That employers support many politicians on both sides of the aisle, at least in equal measure to unions (though probably not as such a unified block).

Also, it's not the unions that give money to politicians, it's the unions' political action committees - those dollars are contributed separate from union dues, by the individual worker's choice. It's how you get your voice heard - you can start an anti-union PAC if you want, and donate even more money than the unions to Democrats, if you think it will work. It won't though, because Democratic support for unions stems not from their contributions, but rather from their own ideology. They both (Dems & unions) have similar objectives.

On the other hand, I can't see where Republican antipathy to unions comes from. Is it misguided vestigial Cold War association with Communism? Is it financial campaign support from corporate interests? Is it bourgeois contempt for the average worker? It certainly can't be free market principles, since the free market would allow unions to amass a labor pool just as much as it would allow an oil company to amass oil reserves. It allows individuals to pool their labor together for greater returns the same way it allows mutual fund or hedge fund investors to pool their assets together for greater returns. Labor is a valuable commodity, and those who have it should leverage it to the greatest extent they can.

Sorry, I think this post has turned into a rant. I didn't mean it to. Apologies.

RE: Price
By Ringold on 12/18/2008 9:33:39 PM , Rating: 2
I'm not sure if labor unions is really so easily compatible with free market philosophy. When workers combine and lean on the company for which they work, they can end up acting similar to a lawless mob. Note in history how many times a firm has tried to fire the entire union, the union would seize the firm's facilities, and vicious gun battles would ensue as owners try to repulse the intruders from their properties. Labor becomes a coercive monopoly.

In free markets, people should be able to accept or reject business proposals freely with little consequence. A union, on the other hand, raises the stakes and can easily play a black mail card. If you've studied labor economics, you know in the end it comes down to the amount of labor needed of a certain skill, the amount of labor that exists, and wage ends up being some equilibrium amount. Free markets would prefer, it would seem to me, labor to negotiate freely and individually, thus allowing markets to clear rather than trying to force some other wage level. It also allows wages to more easily track individual productivity, rather than protecting laggards in the herd.

RE: Price
By cokbun on 12/18/2008 9:16:47 PM , Rating: 2
and what exactly are these " skills? " dont car companies have job trainings and all? are toyotas made by unskilled workers?

RE: Price
By mindless1 on 12/20/2008 4:55:35 PM , Rating: 2
It's not about skills, it's about the same old excuse as always that someone claims their "skills" should entitle them to sit on their bum and earn more than people doing real work. Why? Oh, because they sat on their bum for several years at higher education while their counterpart was doing what? Something already benefitting society.

I'm not suggesting someone with valuable skills shouldn't be paid well, rather than anyone who does an honest day's work should not be working for peanuts, if anything the worse the job is the more it should pay. I'm saying that besides enough money to pay back college loans, the local garbage man should make as much as a lawyer because picking up garbage all day would be terrible. The lawer has more skills, but who really thinks someone given the opportunity wouldn't take the later before the former? Truth is, even in the so-called land of opportunity it is not just what one chooses to do, it's still random circumstance that decides skilled or unskilled labor and the pay should be based on the work, not on some overly conceptualized idea about skill.

Someone is bound to come along and challenge that this leaves no incentive for people to learn the advanced skills. Quite the contrary, the average high school kid wants to loaf around and party at college then have the prestige of the higher skilled job, easier job, either way.

What is needed to make auto workers even better at their jobs? Make the job more desirable so there is more competition for it, so the best candidates possible pursue the jobs. That increases productivity and quality.

RE: Price
By Dwayno on 12/18/2008 7:59:35 PM , Rating: 2
Out of curiosity, as someone who has been to both Alabama and various parts of the rust belt, what is this great cost of living difference people talk about? Both are recovering third world countries; Alabama was obliterated in the 1860s, Michigan by socialism. The only difference I can see is higher heating costs in the Winter.

The Cost Of Living Index (COLI) is determine by the government. It determines the index based on the cost of housing, food, transportation, untilities, and healthcare. These vary from state to state. CNN has a very simple calculator to determine the differences:(
So you can take off your third world rose color glasses and look at the real world.
It's hard for unions and individuals both in a recession, but we spend far more time in expansion than contraction on average and during those times it's easy to walk away if an employer doesn't meet my demands. Unskilled labor rarely has that option -- they're unskilled, and this is an advanced economy.

My are we full of ourself! Actually, it is easier for unskilled labor to move to meet demands of work that demands an unskilled labor force. A skilled worker often establish roots on the basis of their income. They are the ones that have the higher cost of living...they live in newly mortgage homes, buy new cars, sent their kids to private schools and on to higher education, etc. When was the last time a migrant worker got a moving allowance?
But you're right, it's also partly a libertarian bent I have, but still mostly the fact there is no way that I would benefit from a union.

Here are some simple facts about you not "benefitting from a union". If your job has paid time off (holiday, sick, or personal), provides healthcare, or pays more than minimum wages, then you need to walk up and kiss the hand of the nearest union member. The reality is that prior to the unions, you had none of these. The government has NEVER defined a non-working holiday. The government only started defining minimum wages after the unions pushed this issue into the various businesses. Government healthcare is STILL the stuff of legends! Like it or not, the unions has made the job that hired your skilled, educated, and motivated butt a better place (and, no, I have never belong to a union!)!

RE: Price
By Ringold on 12/18/2008 8:33:15 PM , Rating: 1
So you can take off your third world rose color glasses and look at the real world.

Take off your own, and look at Detroit high school graduation rates. Look at the price of homes in Michigan, some of which have sold for a dollar. Look at their unemployment -- and not just current unemployment, but the rate going back ten years. Check out their budget problems, which aren't exactly new. If anywhere in America comes close to resembling a dysfunctional, rapidly failing socialist state, it's Michigan.

Also, that link is strange. Housing 18% higher in Detroit? I can probably get twice the house for the money up in Michigan, if not three times in some areas. Also understates the difference between FL and IN, a lot. Either way, the link seems to support that cost of living is equivalent between Alabama and much of the rust belt. In fact, it's higher in Alabama (Mobile, where a lot of manufacturing jobs are going) than Indianapolis, IN.

A skilled worker often establish roots on the basis of their income.

Hm? The information age economy is marked by unprecedented mobility in skilled labor, where professionals change jobs some times every few years. Moving from one coast to another isn't uncommon, but of course once someone has a family geographical mobility would be expected to go way down. Not only do college grads change jobs, they're expected to change careers a few times.

As for unskilled labor, they've traditionally stayed in one place and worked for, or tried to work for, the same company for 30+ years until retirement. And in this day and age, where health services, IT, and other skilled professions are growing and manufacturing continues its multi-decade trend of shedding workers in favor of automation, who do you think has more options for work? Someone who has made bolts for 20 years or an accountant? (Hint: Even in this economy, I've got an accountant friend who has the enviable 'problem' of choosing between multiple job offers)

If your job has paid time off (holiday, sick, or personal), provides healthcare, or pays more than minimum wages, then you need to walk up and kiss the hand of the nearest union member.

Okay. Thanks for the union propaganda. I guess doctors, bankers, lawyers and other early professionals before labor unions were ever first formed who still were well compensated should thank yet-to-be-created labor unions? Or perhaps they were productive, added value, provided a scarce service and thus had negotiating power?

But yes. Marcus Agrippa, personal engineer/architect/admiral/general of Augustus, should send his thanks 2000 years in to the future and thank the UAW for his nice compensation.

RE: Price
By Dwayno on 12/18/08, Rating: 0
RE: Price
By Radnor on 12/19/2008 7:08:44 AM , Rating: 2
If I were unskilled, uneducated, or unmotivated, sure I would. But I'm not unskilled, uneducated, or unmotivated. Why should I negotiate according to the lowest common denominator of my peers? I don't know about you, but I've always negotiated one and one.

So do i, but "unions" have several incarnations. Some incarnations i see them as nothing more than a rotten part. In other incarnations i see them as vital to keep companies in check.

It's hard for unions and individuals both in a recession, but we spend far more time in expansion than contraction on average and during those times it's easy to walk away if an employer doesn't meet my demands.

A good example, is the Spanish Unions in this Auto Crisis. Check it out. Like everything there are several models. Some are good, some are not.

Saying "advanced economic" to deny the utility of some social parts of it, is pure ignorance. They evolved on other forms. I doubt the UAW has the initial model of a Union.

I guess it is just a "inflated capitalist" American bashing up a quite decent (if properly delivered) social idea.


RE: Price
By Suntan on 12/18/2008 7:13:03 PM , Rating: 3
I love unions (or, at least, the principle of unions). I would think most of the people here would, too.

Nope, I've never once in my adult life (since being able to financially support myself) thought that I would be better off relying on the herd to keep me safe. I've always thought I could do better off on my own rather than rely on the lowest common denominator. So far, that's been true.

If a company wants to try and screw me, I'd rather deal with it straight up on my own (go find a job from an employer that better fits my needs) than rely on fellow coworkers to group together and perpetrate a lot of the same shifty tactics back on the companies.

Unions tend to believe in the, "Two wrongs make a right" theory when setting up their bullying tactics, I've never agreed with that.

Although I can understand how someone would enjoy the insulating protection of a union when they don't have any skill/knowledge/training that would make them different or more desirable than any other common Joe off the street, it still wouldn't be worth it to have to go into work each day thinking, "I'm going to threaten my employer to get what I want." (And don't kid yourself, that's exactly what unions do.)


RE: Price
By InsaneGain on 12/19/2008 12:30:14 PM , Rating: 2
UAW workers currently make on average $55/hour, about twice as much as the average American worker. One has to wonder how semi-skilled labor can justify this difference. On top of that are the overly generous pensions paid to retirees. Only the health care costs have been offloaded with a massive 1 time payment. Anyway, the Japanese plants in the U.S. pay about $45/hour.
Unionized labor distorts free market economics, and misallocates resources. A closed shop unions means that an employer cannot hire non-unionized employees. This means the union has monopoly power over the supply of labor, which gives it the ability to coerce higher benefits under the threat of plant closure. This is called extortion. Assuming that auto companies must adhere to a total cost per vehicle target, the extra costs for labor mean that there are fewer resources allocated to engineering and product design.
The wages paid to American auto workers should have nothing to so with how much the UAW thinks they are worth, and it should have nothing to do with how much Toyota workers think they are worth. It should be determined by the supply and demand for auto assembly workers, just like everything else in a free market economy. The equilibrium rate is the most efficient, and the deviation forced by unions create a huge cost for society as a whole. If the equilibrium wage rate is not high enough for an auto worker, they should remove themselves from the supply and train themselves for work in another higher paying field. This may result in a labor shortage, and the auto company would have to increase wages to attract workers. This is how resources are allocated in a free market. It has nothing to do with governments getting involved. I really don't see why unions should appeal to "libertarian-minded" people.
The current USA auto industry crisis is a perfect example of how unionized labor will destroy an industry in the long run.

RE: Price
By Hiawa23 on 12/18/2008 6:57:32 PM , Rating: 2
at $40,000, good luck GM, but there is noway this car will save the company at that price. Hell, people can't even get loans for the cheap cars so the only people who will be buying that are the rich. The Volt impresses me, but it needs to be at mass market price, or they are going to have a similiar problem that they have now....A more expensive failure sitting on auto lots with very few buyers.

RE: Price
By Tsuwamono on 12/18/2008 8:01:18 PM , Rating: 2
Well if this recession lasts until 2010 and nobody can get loans then i doubt there will even be a GM to buy the volt from anyway. Besides, new tech costs more at the beginning of its life cycle then reduces in cost over its life span as it moves to cheaper manufacturing plants for its various parts.

RE: Price
By Cubexco on 12/19/2008 8:55:33 AM , Rating: 2
Why blame just the UAW?
The dealership glut is also supposed to be adding anywhere between a few 100 to almost $1000 to the cost of every vehicle they sell.
Then, factor in the poor product mixes and the fat executive bonuses. The entire business model needs overhauled, with UAW being just a part of it.

RE: Price
By Suntan on 12/18/2008 4:09:04 PM , Rating: 3
Why not take out some of the fancy gadgets and advanced features and offer a low end model that more people can afford?

What kind of fancy gadgets would you take out?

The monitoring system that makes sure the batteries don’t discharge to the point that they fail after a short lifespan? The charging/switching system that can make sure that doesn’t happen? The high current switching system that allows them to offer variable motor speed (also known as acceleration controlled by the driver’s foot) without a horrid efficiency penalty? The engine or the generator that allows a person to travel farther than 40 miles?

Some of those “gadgets?”

Sorry, people have continually asked for cars that can get more gas mileage, those were offered but by that time nobody wanted to buy them. Now people are asking for even higher mileage *and* fancy new technology to make it happen. This type of drive train is both more complex and completely new to the industry. It doesn’t come for free and it shouldn’t be expected to be as cheap as the old, familiar engine bolted directly to a bunch of gears.

This thing isn’t expensive because it is loaded down with an MP3 player or a GPS system. It’s expensive because the tech is new and complicated.


RE: Price
By Reclaimer77 on 12/18/2008 4:55:29 PM , Rating: 2
It’s expensive because the tech is new and complicated.

And 20% of the cost is going to the union.

RE: Price
By foolsgambit11 on 12/18/08, Rating: 0
RE: Price
By Suntan on 12/18/2008 6:54:03 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, yeah. Without getting into a long, tired and already beaten to death debate about union this and union that. The fact remains that Chevy (even with their current union contracts) can build low cost, relatively good gas mileage cars, it's just that nobody wants to buy them.

For anyone that complains the Volt is overpriced with the features it has, there's your low cost, mild featured, 25/37mpg car that you think will work so much better.


RE: Price
By TheSpaniard on 12/18/2008 5:06:29 PM , Rating: 2
how about the high powered stereo or digital displays...

power seats and power side view mirrors

maybe even manual windows.

or how about that iPod looking dash, replace it with cheap plastic

there are lots of little places you can cut corners on a car like that

RE: Price
By rudolphna on 12/18/2008 5:26:08 PM , Rating: 2
call me a moron, but I think most of those come standard on most cars... Not to mention GM is trying to move forward, and those would be moving backwards. Not to mention, those parts constitute a very low amount of the cost that goes into these vehicles.

RE: Price
By Ringold on 12/18/2008 5:56:20 PM , Rating: 3
Hmm. Yeah. That'll sell well. a $30,000 car that has the features and cheap appearance of a $10,000 car.

The only people that would buy a Volt are people with money anyway. Why cater to a low-end demographic that won't buy it anyway?

RE: Price
By Spuke on 12/18/2008 6:54:09 PM , Rating: 4
Why cater to a low-end demographic that won't buy it anyway?
Ding! Ding! Ding! All of the complainers wouldn't buy one at ANY price anyways! So, like you said, why cater to them? There's already a long waiting list of more than willing potential owners for this car and will be for quite a while especially at 10k units a year.

This a niche car to be built in niche numbers. It's not intended to be a Camry or Accord challenger. GM is NOT looking for mass acceptance, they're looking to make this tech cheaper for the future.

PS - Who else has a serial hybrid in the works? Not a press release serial hybrid, an ACTUAL car?

RE: Price
By Reclaimer77 on 12/18/2008 7:27:57 PM , Rating: 2
Niche cars and niche markets aren't going to keep a gigantic sized corperation like GM in the black.

RE: Price
By Spuke on 12/18/2008 8:19:16 PM , Rating: 2
Considering the topic of this thread, who cares!! The Volt is what it is. If you want a lower cost car, go buy one, there's plenty on the market, even from GM. If you want the Volt and its accompanying technology, prepare to pony of the cash AND wait in line for it.

RE: Price
By Spuke on 12/18/2008 8:30:20 PM , Rating: 2
* pony UP the cash..

RE: Price
By TheSpaniard on 12/19/2008 12:43:06 AM , Rating: 2
I was offering up some ideas

not that its perfect but savings can be had

also a smaller vehicle would probably benefit from the design pressed into the Volt (like a redesigned Cobalt which, comparing Volt to other sedans, would end up being about 25k. that would be a sweet spot for any car company to hit for full electric capabilities, although I doubt the Cobalt could handle the setup in its current design(but if it could they could call it Cobalt Fully Charged or something)

RE: Price
By inighthawki on 12/18/2008 7:21:23 PM , Rating: 2
The monitoring system doesnt need fancy led screens, for one. Just hop in a brand new car, then in one from 10 years ago and you will notice the subtle, but clearly more expensive features that are in it.

RE: Price
By Suntan on 12/18/2008 7:40:17 PM , Rating: 2
A) what you are looking at up there is the stylized "Concept" car. Not the final production version. The interior of the production car will not look like that (they never do.)

B) If I wanted to buy a new car with a cheap 10 yr old interior, I'd just as soon buy two used 10 yr old cars (one as a backup to get around the issue of potentially reduced reliability inherent in older cars.) It would be cheaper in the long run. People don't go out and buy "new" cars *just* to save money.


RE: Price
By Spuke on 12/18/2008 10:17:31 PM , Rating: 2
What's cracking me up is these are the same people that chastise GM for crappy interiors. LOL!

RE: Price
By inighthawki on 12/18/2008 10:33:21 PM , Rating: 2
10 year old "looking" interior is not the same as a 10 year old car. If you want to do that, go ahead, but its under the hood that really matters in a car, and you'd be getting crap

RE: Price
By Suntan on 12/19/2008 9:27:33 AM , Rating: 2
Sorry, a 10 yr old interior is a 10 yr old interior. Do you see any of the car companies putting out stripped down, cheap, old interiors to save a buck? No, because they have learned time and again that it is a stupid thing to do. People expect a nice interior, even in “cheap” cars.


RE: Price
By Doormat on 12/18/2008 4:56:42 PM , Rating: 2
It may be a lot of money, but the math works if gas prices return to at least $3/gal. Below that, you're losing money versus a Camry or small SUV (Rav4, Escape, etc). The maximum amount of time to recover the investment is 10 years (the warranty length).

RE: Price
By lagomorpha on 12/18/2008 6:22:57 PM , Rating: 2
Even if you spend no money on gas (live within battery range to work and steal electricity from your employer) I don't see this making economic sense against a Honda Fit, Civic, or GM's own Chevy Cruze (which I would rather have with the 1.6L NA engine than a turbo 1.4).

RE: Price
By Spuke on 12/18/2008 6:56:37 PM , Rating: 2
which I would rather have with the 1.6L NA engine than a turbo 1.4
The turbo, DI 1.4L will wipe the 1.6L's a$$ in gas mileage and get more hp while doing it, on paper and in the real world. I'd get the 1.4L.

RE: Price
By MozeeToby on 12/18/2008 6:57:23 PM , Rating: 2
I don't think you understand how the Volt's drivetrain works. Yes, it has a 1.4 liter engine. All this engine does is charges the batteries for the 150 horsepower electric motor.

Since you only use all 150 hp at maximum acceleration, the small engine can keep up, even though it's peak hp is much, much lower. In essence, you get a 150 hp car, with nearly flat torque and power curves (you don't need to wait for the engine to spool up before power arives).

RE: Price
By Suntan on 12/18/2008 7:29:19 PM , Rating: 4
In essence, you get a 150 hp car, with nearly flat torque and power curves

Sorry, no, this is incorrect. Electric motors have varying torque curves (depending on the type of motor and other factors) but they do not have constant torque across their RPM range.

Very generally, you can envision an electric motor to have max torque at 0 rpm (stall torque) with it reducing inversely to RPM, reaching 0 torque at its highest RPM (no load speed.)

Although you will get excellent stop light launches (which all the news articles always love to spout on about endlessly) don't expect to get nearly as effective umph while trying to pass someone at highway speed compared to the old sparker.


RE: Price
By Jimbo1234 on 12/18/2008 9:48:26 PM , Rating: 2
Suntan is correct to a degree. Torque drops off with speed linearly for DC motors. It's not quite so for AC motors and based on the control system, can have a flatter or even rising torque curve.

RE: Price
By Spuke on 12/18/2008 10:23:26 PM , Rating: 2
Some Volt info about its engine.

RE: Price
By Dwayno on 12/18/2008 7:05:24 PM , Rating: 3
Why not take out some of the fancy gadgets and advanced features and offer a low end model that more people can afford?

Unfortunately, the fancy gadgets only make up a portion of the cost of the car. The major expenses are courtesy of advanced battery technology and the dual powertrain of the engine.
Toyota's government subsidies has led people into believing that hybrid powertrain are cost effective. Simple math...2 engines will never be cheaper than one. And for right now, 1 lead acid battery will always be cheaper than 1 advanced technology battery pack.

RE: Price
By Jiggz on 12/21/2008 11:15:52 PM , Rating: 2
Absolutely! Honda Insight will have a Base MSRP of less than $20K while the Prius runs at $22K. The Volt at $40K will be a very hard sell! Maybe GM needs to step back and re-evaluate itself on how it's supposed to cater to the masses instead of the cliche group.

socialism at its finest
By shin0bi272 on 12/18/2008 7:54:40 PM , Rating: 4
from the top:
The union's have to go. The costs that gm is paying to people who dont even work there anymore and their families is astronomical. Then add in the all knowing government's cafe standards for fuel economy which forces them to make cars that are more and more fuel efficient and not necessarily cars people want to drive. the costs are so high that they were only able to hold themselves in the black while they were selling SUVs. Now they have to sell 7 sedans to reach the same profits that they used to get with 1 SUV.

Then with the 4 dollar per gallon gas prices and the housing market crashing and bringing the credit market with it (and a few banks)car sales fell through the floor and no one was buying SUVs anymore so there goes their profit margin and their positive growth. But instead of renegotiating their contract with the UAW they kept plugging along losing money.

Add to that 2 other very important factors... 1)they arent making cars people WANT to drive. 2) the government is subsidizing the use of hybrid cars. That leads to people driving a car they dont like the look of but they drive it because they got a 5000 tax credit for it (which means that everyone else who isnt driving a hybrid is paying for you to drive one ... thaaaanks).

Now the government is going to bail out the big 3 even though last year gm and toyota sold the same number of cars and gm lost 17billion and toyota made 2 billion. So the guys at GM are continuing their ways that got them into this same mess and begging for money to keep doing it.

Lastly everyone needs to read the constitution and the bill of rights. The constitution says that the only reason the government can collect or lay a tax is to maintain an army, navy, pay for the national debt, and for the general welfare of the country. General welfare meaning things like the interstate highway system... something that benefits the entire country equally not 3 companies or buying controlling shares of stock in 14 banks. The 9th and 10th amendments state that the governments powers are limited to those in the constitution and that anything not written in the constitution or an amendment is a right or power held by the people and the people alone. What all that means is bailing out banks, auto makers, and wall street is unconstitutional.

RE: socialism at its finest
By Fritzr on 12/18/2008 9:25:06 PM , Rating: 2
On the constitution reference. You are correct and many of the things that are done by the Federal Government would be unconstitutional except for two major types of arguments.

1) Failure to do would affect the general welfare of the citizens

When you hear "Too big to be allowed to fail" this argument is being invoked. The Big 3 invoked this when asking for a bailout. They also failed to mention that while their suppliers would lose a lot of revenue, many of the other auto manufactories in the US use the same suppliers.

2) Since the House of Representatives is seated to voice the opinion of the people, when a Congressional Representative proposes a Bill, this is considered a request by the People.

While the Senate was originally selected by the State Legislatures they have been allowed to originate Bills which are legally requests of the People.

Since it is Congress that will allow or disallow this bailout, it is the People who are considered to be speaking. Remember the Congressman is your mouthpiece. So if you have an opinion contact your Congressman and Senator and let them know what YOU want them to say. Also get your friends to do the same. The more people who respond to an issue, the more likely the Congress critter will do what the People want.

You want a Government Rep to hear what you say? Then tell THEM

RE: socialism at its finest
By shin0bi272 on 12/19/2008 7:33:02 PM , Rating: 2
me personally Ive written my congressman. Hes a democrat and when I wrote him and begged him to vote against the 700billion dollar bail out he (or rather one of his office workers) sent back a form letter in which "he" said that he was proud to vote for the bail out.

That being said Im taking reservations for the date upon which we will all rise up and overthrow the government (not the system but those occupying it). As Jefferson said "when the government fears the people there is liberty. When the people fear the government there is Tyranny." The government ignoring the will of the people when it comes to drilling for oil, nuclear power plants, military use and funding, social programs, taxes, and giving money to individual companies that are deemed by some egghead economist to be "too big to be allowed to fail", to name a few, constitutes tyranny to me. Anyone else with me? Can we please rise up while America is still the land of the free? Plz?

(as a side note to anyone who thinks socialism isnt that bad, France's unemployment is above 13% constantly... we are crapping our pants over half that percentage.)

Lastly can anyone who reads this please check out the constitution party at

RE: socialism at its finest
By Fritzr on 12/19/2008 10:03:27 PM , Rating: 2
You can bet though that your Congressman was paying attention to his mail. The overall trend of opinion letters is a pretty good poll showing the averaged opinion of those willing to speak. If your letter had instead been asking for help with stupid bureaucrats screwing your life up on a one off basis, chances are you would have gotten personal attention (from Staff at least) to assist in solving your problem. Good PR :)

I happen to agree with Jefferson on the revolution item. That was one of the points of the 2d Amendment. However in the interest of making the life of a government apparatchik safer, the people are not allowed to unseat the elected government violently.

There are a few legal options that are out there such as recall petitions. Just get enough people to agree that he has to go and you may be able to get it on the ballot. Not sure if all states allow this though...

There is also the News Media revolution. Stage photogenic rallies in favor of your position and make sure the various classes of news reporters are notified so that they will be there for the photo-op where your supporters can make believe they are the tip of the iceberg of your grassroots support. This form is quite popular in Totalitarian ountries where the government can "ask" the reporters to show up on schedule :P

Smart protesters get the 5 o'clock TV news footage of massive picketing this way. The protest is scheduled to run from 2P to 4P and the reporters are invited to see the "massive protest" and then they run back to put the "breaking news" on the air.

RE: socialism at its finest
By hashish2020 on 12/22/2008 3:16:50 AM , Rating: 1
Firstly, unemployment in France (and Germany) is not calculated or disbursed in the same manner as the US. For example, 8% unemployment in Germany would be the same as 5.5% or 6% unemployment in the US.

Secondly, fuck that retarded party. If you think STOPPING immigration is the way out of economic decline, you are retarded. Not to mention, it wants to take away the BASIC RIGHT of citizenship to people BORN ON OUR SOIL. What's next, only white people born in the US get citizenship?

What the fuck is wrong with you? You want to ban pornography and give the states the right to criminalize sexual behavior?

Go to fucking Saudi Arabia and stop spoiling my nation with the sewage that spills out of your mouth, you traitor to American ideals.

with what money?
By HighWing on 12/18/2008 4:00:35 PM , Rating: 1
Seriously was it not GM that said they did not have enough money to even last another year if the govt. did not give them more money?

So if they supposedly do not have the money to stay in business until 2010, how can they possibly plan to launch a new vehicle then? Unless they were lying about about just how bad their money problems really are.....

RE: with what money?
By The0ne on 12/18/2008 4:11:57 PM , Rating: 2
IMO I think this is more PR than anything else. They won't have the money to do much at all in this stage. At the rate they are burning money they won't have enough to do Sales, Marketing, PR's, tours, shows, and so on.

Even with monetary aid, I don't think they're in a situation to do much except and hopefully do some internal restructuring. The monetary aid they're asking for isn't going to last and isn't enough to fix their problems to begin with.

RE: with what money?
By Spuke on 12/18/2008 6:58:58 PM , Rating: 2
They're already doing sales, marketing, PR, tours, shows, and etc with the Volt. LOL! And most of the money has already been spent on the Volt. They just have to start building them.

RE: with what money?
By HighWing on 12/19/2008 2:19:06 PM , Rating: 2
and why am I rated down already with the only reply being two posts proving my point?

come on if your gonna rate me down at least say why?

RE: with what money?
By hashish2020 on 12/22/2008 11:44:28 PM , Rating: 2
Um, you do realize that the reason they were burning through money so fast and using up so much of their credit lines was BECAUSE they were finally investing in their company instead of cost cutting like hell for once.

Long term
By ajvitaly on 12/18/2008 5:16:33 PM , Rating: 2
I think long term (10-12 years from now), GM is planning on using Volt technology across it's entire fleet of vehicles excluding trucks and maybe large luxury cars. It seems like a great technology, and although it's expensive now it'll get cheaper and at the same time they'll improve the battery performance with each new generation.

The only drawback I can think of is there may be more accidents involving deer and other wildlife animals since the car will not produce as much noise when the gas engine isn't charging the battery.

RE: Long term
By MozeeToby on 12/18/2008 7:02:25 PM , Rating: 4
At the speeds that most animal collisions occur, there is alot more noise from the tires on the road than there is from the engine. On a quiet day, you can hear a car coming down the highway from a couple miles away, there's no way you'd hear one idling on the side of the road.

By Beenthere on 12/18/2008 8:37:56 PM , Rating: 1
I doubt few Americans will even be able to buy any car in 2010 the way things are headed. With over 10 million people to soon be unemployed, most will be thrilled to be able to buy food and have a roof over their heads - well except for the Fat Cats on Capitol Hill who will still be getting paid $174,000 per year plus an expense account, plus all they can steal.

Since most Americans prefer sound bites over the actual facts regarding the U.S. auto industry, it's clear they are willing to cut off their nose to spite their face. Honda has already discovered people with no job, no income, no money, don't buy cars. Senator Shelby and friends are in for an economic lesson that no American will soon forget.

RE: Perceptions
By Ringold on 12/18/2008 8:55:21 PM , Rating: 3
10 million unemployed really isn't that bad; to equate the monthly job losses from the recession in the early 80s to todays monthly job losses, we'd need to break 1 million lost per month due to population growth. So far, so much whining from children of the 90s. This quarter, the 4th, is horrible, but it's probably also the trough of the recession. We've also got a trillion dollar "stimulus" coming from Obama next year. Up hill from here, even if job losses will continue.

As for the rest, come on. Lets be honest. Shelby and others can fight the bailout all they want, but the fix is in. The unions gave too much money to too many Democrats in this election. They will get their bailout, and I think everyone knows it. It's matter of when and how much it'll finally cost after they come back for seconds or even thirds.

RE: Perceptions
By Spuke on 12/18/2008 10:28:26 PM , Rating: 2
I doubt few Americans will even be able to buy any car in 2010
I will. The wife and I are working on getting debt free. Should be there before this time next year (mostly..will still owe on the house).

Just something to think of...
By Darkskypoet on 12/19/2008 12:28:58 AM , Rating: 2
Now, I haven't seen this mentioned much on here, as here seems to have degenerated in to union bashing / union loving... and berating GM etc for bad business practices.

But there are other concerns, I would think.

What other subsidiaries, or firms owned by GM, will go down with GM? And if these are essentially set on the auction block to be liquidated; who other then China would have the cash to buy them in these diseased credit markets?

I mean, quite obviously, the fire sale of GM etc, would be far worse now, then in any normal credit climate, and the sale of that much IP, trade secrets, brains, etc. would be absolutely devastating to all of the rest of the Industrialized world's automakers. Essentially a developing nation such as China, India, etc, could very easily pick up one of the top industrial brain / knowledge trusts in the world. further, they also have the labour environment to make use of it.

Don't get me wrong here, I am not anti developingnation, and assuredly not Anti China, however seeing as how I live in an 'Industrialized Nation', and somewhat still enjoy the benefits of the Post WW2 system that was setup to make us rich, and keep us on top; perhaps we need to look at this strategically.

As much as everyone seems to be berating GM for being stupid, and mismanaged, etc; they do have a hell of a lot of patents, IP, etc that would launch a developing nation's manufacturing industry massively forward, and I would think this is something that should be protected as a national asset, and a strategic one at that.

Second point;

GM also manufacturers much in the way of military items, as well its subsidiaries (satellites, parts, etc) also do the same, or are key cogs in that wheel. Who then will produce these items for the industry, and just what technology, secrets, etc are vulnerable here?

From a militarily strategic standpoint, General Motors factors pretty largely into most vehicle production for the United States, and Allied Militaries, does it not? Is this not an important issue to consider?

Really, General motors the friendly / not so friendly / union hamstrung / pioneering / inept / etc car company that every one is talking about, is not the General Motors, massive industrial / vertically integrated / great cog in American Manufacturing / great chess piece in American Potential Military might / etc that is actually in a place where it may fail completely and utterly.

Please bear in mind, that it was precisely the manufacturing capacity that America was able to bring to bear that helped her to win any war in the 20th century. And yes, with that is the price / burden of excess capacity, which clearly the Big 3 have in spades. Excess capacity however, is useful in markets for a few things (when you are a dominant firm), but further to that, it is very useful in case of war. It is funny to see, especially on this site, the lack of concern for the possible liquidation of one of the largest advanced manufacturing machines in the United States, as well the complete and utter lack of any comments on the strategic importance this 'machine' to the nation as a whole.

Perhaps this is because of the foregone conclusion that the bailout will happen, and that its just trough feeders wanting their due. Whilst I would hope that the government would force some sort of concessions from capital AND labour in this matter, I am not holding my breath.

Still, to let GM go into a possible liquidation to foreign owners because, quite frankly, no one else has the money to buy it in this credit environment is the stupidest thing I will have seen from an industrialized nation in a long time. Perhaps more stupid then going into Iraq in the first place. However, perhaps not all that unexpected when dealing with a Halo regime, and not a true hegemon.

RE: Just something to think of...
By shin0bi272 on 12/19/2008 7:39:53 PM , Rating: 2
please read my post about socialism.

its not all GM's fault no but they are the ones hiring union labor and driving the cost of our cars up 27% and making the resale value 47% lower than a comparable japanese car at trade in time. Then you have the fact that they make cars like the pontiac aztec... that monstrosity on wheels. If you make ugly looking cars that no one wants then your sales go down (what a surprise). When your profits are tied to selling big SUVs and the market for those dries up youre boned.

By toyotabedzrock on 12/19/2008 2:48:14 AM , Rating: 2
Well lets see here, they admitted they are making America wait to be able to buy the Gas sipping Cruze, and that they actually can make it until 2010. So why on earth would anyone give them any money? Oh and yeah they are building engines in Korea instead of the US.

By East17 on 12/19/2008 5:47:45 AM , Rating: 2
Yes, I'm talking about the ugly Reanault Clio Symbol. Ugly but it has 4 seats, it's bigger than many "economic" asian cars, and uses only 3,78 liter over 100 KM or around 62 - 65 miles per galon .

And THE CAR COSTS only 8000$ .

I don't think the american car manufacturers should die. They should receive all the money they need otherwise, 10% of the american population will be unemployed .

BUT , the heads of the industry should be fired without any compensation and stripped of their citizenship .

How the muck did they get that 40,000 prie tag ? What a ripoff !

#1 and #2 selling cars...
By whirabomber on 12/19/2008 8:23:31 AM , Rating: 2
..weren't cars. #1 - F150, #2 Sierra. Whether the Volt hits the street or not it will be niche vehicle. Regardless of gas prices I'll buy a truck if I think I need one at the time because that is what I need.

Volt will appeal to mostly to the niche of self-righteous snobbish tree hugging hippies who want to increase their smugatude. The same folks who yell at pickup truck drivers for "killing the planet" and drown out the logic from the pickup truck drivers who yell back "I can fit the contents of my entire house in my backseat and still have room for the mother in law in the bed." Of course the smuggist just hug themselves and call the pickup driver evil.

What the smuggist don't realize is that the pollution now is a heck of a lot less than the pollution generated during the period called "the industrial revolution." Had the smuggist paid attention in history and not attacking other classmates for wearing sheep oppressing wool sweaters the smuggist would know that.

By hashish2020 on 12/22/2008 11:48:09 PM , Rating: 2
Look at the facts. GM has assets of 148 billion or so to borrow against. It's just that no bank can. Personally, I think all the banks we just bailed out should be required to lend to the Big 3 based upon the size of their deposits.

Chapter 11
By therealnickdanger on 12/18/08, Rating: -1
RE: Chapter 11
By Smilin on 12/18/2008 3:23:39 PM , Rating: 5
Gas will be 4/gal again. Next year, year after that, 5 years from now. They have to plan for it. Not planning for it is one of the big reasons they are in this mess. Every time an excuse has come along allowing them to stop innovating they have.

Risk also doesn't really apply to GM at this point. They are going to go bankrupt. Do SOMETHING. If it turns out to be a bad call then nothing changes.

RE: Chapter 11
By omnicronx on 12/18/2008 3:28:09 PM , Rating: 2
They have to plan for it. Not planning for it is one of the big reasons they are in this mess.

RE: Chapter 11
By The0ne on 12/18/2008 4:08:03 PM , Rating: 2
It's amazing how so many people can't realize this simple point. Relying on the consumer and not doing anything else is a sure failure.

RE: Chapter 11
By fuser197 on 12/18/2008 3:30:06 PM , Rating: 2
RE: Chapter 11
By dagamer34 on 12/18/2008 3:41:36 PM , Rating: 3
And prices have dropped below $40. OPEC cutting production doesn't mean much right now.

RE: Chapter 11
By FITCamaro on 12/18/2008 4:10:14 PM , Rating: 3
To believe oil prices won't be rising in the future is pretty stupid. Yes they're low now and they'll probably stay low for I'd say 6 months or so. But as the economy (hopefully) eventually recovers, oil prices will rise.

RE: Chapter 11
By zombiexl on 12/18/2008 4:57:37 PM , Rating: 2
But as the economy (hopefully) eventually recovers

You hope and I'll live n the real world. Our government and the incoming government are doing all they can to destroy our country.

By the end of his first term (maybe first year) we'll be shelling out 40% a paycheck (not including FICA and Medicare) at a minimum to support bailouts, universal health care, increased social programs (like NY is trying to do while hurting so bad and raising welfare), etc.

We are in for some hard times, the worst is yet to come. As our forefathers roll over in their graves and gun sales climb for what many fear is a revolution on the verge of happening, you keep believing things will get better.

RE: Chapter 11
By rudolphna on 12/18/2008 5:30:23 PM , Rating: 1
Excuse me? I live in New york. Im not aware of these problems you speak of. Its not living in a fake universe, what he said. The reason gas prices are so low, is that demand is low, and supply is high. There is an overstock of fuel, so the prices go down. As the supply is cut back, and the economy reovers, demand will go back up, and supply will fall short. Especially with OPEC cutting back such important areas, that cannot be restarted in minutes. If gas goes back up, it will probably hit even $5 a gallon, before supply comes back up to match demand.

RE: Chapter 11
By Reclaimer77 on 12/18/2008 5:33:23 PM , Rating: 2
If you aren't aware of how screwed up New York is, then you are like those idiots in Chicago who were actually "shocked" to "discover" how f'ed up their own government is.

RE: Chapter 11
By The0ne on 12/18/2008 5:53:58 PM , Rating: 2
I believe it can be said that no one knows how F--- up they are in until something really bad happens or until an outsider shows them. It's not a fault of anyone IMO, just people usually behave.

RE: Chapter 11
By Ringold on 12/18/2008 6:04:02 PM , Rating: 2
I think the market has shown this year that gas prices above $4/gal may not be sustainable; demand destruction may end up keeping it lower. Note the sustained monthly decrease in miles driven.

I also think credit should go to Masher. He called how this whole thing would go in oil early this year, when people were saying $10/gal was right around the corner and the peak oil catastrophe was here.

RE: Chapter 11
By technohermit on 12/18/2008 7:03:25 PM , Rating: 3
You don't read anything but DT then. NY sucks, I live here too. They are going to tax iTunes purchases, non-diet soda purchases, etc. And my property taxes are going up 8.25%. School taxes will go up on top of that because Paterson cut 700 million from the school budgets. Not the spending, though!!!! DONT CUT THAT NY!

RE: Chapter 11
By Reclaimer77 on 12/18/2008 4:58:49 PM , Rating: 3
Even at $4 a gallon, thats not enough to convince me to buy a $40k plus vehicle from a company who is either bankrupt, or should be soon.

And if my taxes go to bailing them out, then strictly out of spite and a loss of respect, I will never buy from them anyway.

RE: Chapter 11
By Doormat on 12/18/2008 4:59:16 PM , Rating: 2
Futures for the next year indicate that:

Futures for months further out increase, not decrease. Dec 09 contracts for crude are at $54 (at the time of this post), vs about $36 for January delivery.

Economical not just technological
By Mitch101 on 12/18/08, Rating: -1
RE: Economical not just technological
By fishbits on 12/18/2008 4:07:57 PM , Rating: 5
They don't have to compete. Congress will take our tax dollars and give them to car companies so they won't fail. The UAW will get a portion of this taxpayer money, thereby laundering it and kicking it back to their political patrons. To keep the money rolling in, the carmakers just have to make quarterly donnings of hairshirts, confessing to Congress how much they loathe themselves for being businesses, and how they're committed to producing cars that meet the wants of the Sierra Club, not actual car buyers.

By zombiexl on 12/18/2008 5:00:11 PM , Rating: 3
I agree they will considering how many seats are owned by the people the UAW (and unions in general) have been working so hard to get/keep elected.

RE: Economical not just technological
By AMDJunkie on 12/18/2008 6:16:33 PM , Rating: 1
Seeing as:

A) This is the first time ever that Ford and GM have had to prostrate themselves to Capital Hill for a relief loan and,

B) Most experts actually blame the US automakers for making inefficient SUVs and trucks that the American public did buy in droves when gas was still cheap, mind you, while letting their more economical models languish without update or development for their reversal of fortunes. The Japanese simply offered more refined, better quality small cars. So for several years the big three bled red ink when throughout the 90's they were riding high on Explorer and Blazer sales.

But hey, I'm sure Dick Shelby et al. from Alabama will be real happy when the foreign factories start shuttering in his state too. That might be the reason why even Toyota supports the loans. It's not the UAW or the companies, it's the credit markets, stupid.

RE: Economical not just technological
By Ringold on 12/18/2008 6:21:37 PM , Rating: 3
It's not the UAW or the companies, it's the credit markets, stupid.

Credit markets were fine throughout most of 2007. Compare GM, Ford, and Toyota earnings statements from 2007. Any other excuses?

RE: Economical not just technological
By AMDJunkie on 12/18/2008 7:09:49 PM , Rating: 2
when gas was still cheap
Notice I spoke of them bleeding money during the gas price bubble because they were still making the cars that once made them money hand over fist, i.e. trucks and SUVs. Toyota had the more economical and attractive choices as the market decided it wanted fuel sippers, not gas guzzlers.

Futhermore, it only further illustrates fishbits' mockery of the big three promising "Sierra Club cars" is off-base. That is what the market wanted, and that is what they failed to provide. Now that gas is cheap again, no one can get money to finance a new vehicle, even if it is a high margin truck or SUV.

Speaking of which, compare the earning statements of Toyota to GM and Ford this year, and you'll find the attrition of sales will be atrocious by any measure. Toyota simply had more money to ride it out because they forecasted their model line-up better. In an alternate reality, this: - may have been continued had the credit crunch not hit.

RE: Economical not just technological
By Ringold on 12/18/2008 9:11:47 PM , Rating: 2
Toyota simply had more money to ride it out because they forecasted their model line-up better.

Yep, that is part of it. They made better business decisions. GM did not, and you acknowledge it. This gets to the basis of the bailout discussion; a libertarian would say, as you have pointed out, that GM made its own bed and now must sleep in it. TM, HMC, and the others better positioned themselves, and thus don't even need a bailout. This is how, libertarians would say, how business is supposed to work. The weak fail, others move on.

By AMDJunkie on 12/18/2008 11:05:42 PM , Rating: 2
Well this is where our philosophies clash: since you seem to be a laissez-faire libertarian (not all libertarians believe in that, surprisingly), you believe that companies should survive completely on their own merits. That's fine, I've once held that view myself. However, I do not agree with it for the following reasons:

A. Anyone who followed automotive press knows that GM had exciting product coming down the pipeline, and although they had been losing money for years, finally seemed poised to make a turn-around. The Titanic doesn't turn on a dime; neither did GM. Unfortunately, the iceburg seems to have struck; all indications were at the rate they were losing money pre-crisis, they still could have survived long enough to see if their efforts were enough.

B. Barring sentimentality for any GM product (which I honestly do not have a lot of), I do not agree with "bailout" terms as these are loans; they have to be paid off as Chrysler once did before in the 80's. If the credit crisis weren't what it was today, perhaps bankruptcy wouldn't be such a crazy idea. Why? Because there'd be a chance that GM could get the funding it needed through a chapter 11, and not be forced to go chapter 7, as it looks like it would today. Which is why these loans are being asked for; liquidation would kill the entire automotive market in most expert's opinion.

C. It would probably be smart for America to preserve the remnants of its manufacturing capacity. As scandal and recession reveal, we can't all be hedge fund managers and expect a healthy economy.

D. Toyota et al. also had huge tax incentives to build factories in Southern states. Perhaps the American people should ask for that money back now because we shall only allow the least intervention in the ways of business? Of course not, we gave that money to them for economic benefit. There is dubious economic benefit to the big three failing. ( )

E. Even the big three's competitors think that a bailout for them is good for business: and

If this is what deregulaltion and minimal involvement in the market brought us, I'll take a healthy dose of smart rules and controls to keep this scenario from happening again. I'm not an optimist; there will probably be a push for too much regulation because regulation looks popular, regulators need to protect their jobs, etc. But at the same time, I'd rather not have this trip again. They say the Great Depression was preventable, after all...

By Andrwken on 12/18/2008 11:19:56 PM , Rating: 2
While that's true right now, Toyota spent many years on the japanese governments bailout bankroll. Look where they are now. If the bailout gives the US government the ability to give some of these companies the kick in the tail they need (or the ability to renegotiate) then it could be the best thing for them.

In a conspirator's way of thinking, it could be just what the automakers wanted.

I understand that I am asking a lot from our government to manage something like this properly.

RE: Economical not just technological
By Dwayno on 12/18/2008 7:30:07 PM , Rating: 2
Credit markets were fine throughout most of 2007. Compare GM, Ford, and Toyota earnings statements from 2007. Any other excuses?

What makes you think that the credit market "only" collapsed in 2008?! This was a credit market bubble. It burst in 2008, but it's been weak for a very long time since what was inflating it was bad lending practices. The availability of easy credit affected every aspect of business, including cars. The same people that shouldn't have qualified for a mortgage were also qualifing for a new SUV/truck purchase because they qualified for that mortgage (collateral).

RE: Economical not just technological
By Ringold on 12/18/2008 9:06:41 PM , Rating: 2
You supported my point. People were able to get cars and trucks throughout most of 2007. Thus, what is GM's excuse for still losing tons of cash in 2007?

But you can go back to 2006 and 2005, too.

Over the same time period, Toyota made money.

The OP I responded to made it sound like, oh, poor GM, the credit crisis crushed them. No, sorry, long established business practices have put them where they are now.

RE: Economical not just technological
By cokbun on 12/18/08, Rating: 0
By hashish2020 on 12/22/2008 3:22:56 AM , Rating: 2
Yea, Toyota made money. Now it is losing money.

Guess why? The yen dropped from it's artificially low 110-120 per dollar range to the level around 90 that reflects real life now. The good thing about this credit problem? It is forcing Japan, Europe, and China (the "leech" countries who made their wealth on keeping their currencies weak and exporting to us) decide to take one of two paths---buy up more and more worthless treasuries, or let their currencies appreciate to what they should be.

"This is from the It's a science website." -- Rush Limbaugh

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