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2009-06-02 Economy
How GM Lost Its Way - Timid management and coddled workers couldn't compete with Toyota.
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Posted by GolfBravoUSMC 2009-06-02 10:31|| E-Mail|| Front Page|| [6471 views ]  Top

#1 It's been coming for a long time, circa 1981.
Posted by Procopius2k 2009-06-02 11:38||   2009-06-02 11:38|| Front Page Top

#2 Actually, the seeds of GM's demise were probably sewn in the 1950s. I highly recommend "On a Clear Day You Can See General Motors" by Patrick Wright, who was writing for John DeLorean (pre-cocaine dealing days). It's a quick read, and it's obvious in retrospect that plenty of folks had a clear-headed notion of what ailed the automaker, but it was the corporate culture that prevented anyone who could buck the trend from making it to the top.
Posted by Dreadnought 2009-06-02 13:14||   2009-06-02 13:14|| Front Page Top

#3 Actually, GM planning include excessive production of SUVs and large trucks, because there were larger profit margins on same. When personal credit dried up, they were left with carrying costs for inventory, and there was no scenario in which those liabilities could be covered. I suppose good managers could have predicted the collapse of the financial system.

UAW concessions that GM demanded would have reduced costs by only 1%. The UAW had agreed to same. It is true that most Rantburg readers probably work 240+ days per year, while auto workers take full wages for working only 180. Drastic change is warranted. But administrative practises at GM didn't contribute to the economic crisis. And Obama's Green-Car initiative will likely add to the unsold inventory problem.
Posted by Thrase Platypus1703 2009-06-02 13:44||   2009-06-02 13:44|| Front Page Top

#4 And Obama's Green-Car initiative will likely add to the unsold inventory problem.

I agree Plat. I suspect the entire organization is now on 'life support' awaiting the decision by someone to pull the plug. The GM dealerships that survived the purge of Republican doners will be moving swiftly to secure Japanese and Korean franchises as safety nets. Buying a US Gov't automobile will likely be about as popular as buying US Savings Bonds, maybe even less.
Posted by Besoeker 2009-06-02 13:55||   2009-06-02 13:55|| Front Page Top

#5 My last several cars have been GM. Never had a problem w/ any of them. However I am unlikely to do so again. Not after $50+ billion in taxpayer subsidies to GM and its various carcasses before this all over.
Posted by ed 2009-06-02 14:06||   2009-06-02 14:06|| Front Page Top

#6 My father worked for General Motors as a metallurgist for the last 16 years of his working life. Basically, his job was to find bad parts coming off a machine and figure out what to do about it.

One of his pet peeves was trying to convince the production line guys that a production quota meant not just so many parts produced, but so many *usable* parts before you could sit around and play cards for the rest of your shift.
Posted by SteveS 2009-06-02 14:21||   2009-06-02 14:21|| Front Page Top

#7 Two Buicks and a Saturn for me. Never again.
Posted by Steve White 2009-06-02 14:27||   2009-06-02 14:27|| Front Page Top

#8 Well many of them now have plenty of time for card playing now Steve.
Posted by Besoeker 2009-06-02 14:29||   2009-06-02 14:29|| Front Page Top

#9 Great cartoon from the Times of London
Posted by Anguper Hupomosing9418 2009-06-02 14:38||   2009-06-02 14:38|| Front Page Top

#10 GM has had a dysfunctional corporate culture ever since, oh, when I learned to walk. (In other words, 1962.)
Posted by Mike 2009-06-02 16:35||   2009-06-02 16:35|| Front Page Top

#11 ...In 1993 I went to a Chevy dealer in Akron to look at what was then one of the new Lumina minvans. My brother (a 24 year GM employee who loses everything next year, BTW, because his plant is being closed and he's management) said he would set me up for 'A Plan' (employee discount). I went in - at high noon on a Saturday, mind you - and saw nothing and no one save for one salesman in his office, feet up on the desk and talking on the phone. After he continued his conversation for a moment, he stopped talking and looked at me like I had just s@it in the middle of the sales floor and asked me what I wanted. I asked to talk about a Lumina van. His response was to write a price on a piece of paper, toss it across the desk to me, and tell me to take it or leave it, then go back to his phone conversation. I walked out and went down the street to a Chrysler dealer, where I told the salesman I could go A Plan through GM - give me a reason NOT to. The Plymouth I bought was one of the two best cars I've ever owned. But since that moment, I have steadfastly refused to even go near a GM dealer. I know there are many good and reliable dealers and salespeople out there, but this one and so many like them are also a major reason GM is face down in the gutter this morning.

PS - the Chevy dealer is still open and is NOT on the list of franchises getting the ax.

Mike
Posted by Mike Kozlowski 2009-06-02 16:47||   2009-06-02 16:47|| Front Page Top

#12 SteveS

Been there done that. Made quota then sat around 'til the whistle blew. Also enjoyed the 18 day PAID maintenance shutdown each July and the 9 paid Christmas shutdown days. And the 12 sick days per year, the easy to defraud Long Term Disability, the smoke break every hour on the line, the up to 12 weeks vacation, the near wholesale car prices, the double time, the pension after 25/30 years, the family preferences in hiring, somebody stop me...
Posted by Uloluns Scourge of the Bunions1692 2009-06-02 17:27||   2009-06-02 17:27|| Front Page Top

#13 Are you saying you were in sales, or worked on an assembly line Mr. Bunions? Where was that?
Posted by lotp 2009-06-02 18:35||   2009-06-02 18:35|| Front Page Top

#14 GM is no different from Ford or Chrysler except for being bigger. That business model can't survive and everyone knows it. So WHY have we (the taxpayers) been shoveling tens of billions of dollars into it for the last six months? Follow that money - it points somewhere.
"Too big to fail?" Then too big to BE!
Much as I'd like Ford to survive (because it has not been bailed out by yours truly), it can't happen. First, it still has to compete against Toyota et al, and it can't. Second, it has to compete against Government Motors, who has TWO vested interests in seeing Ford fail - to prove Obamanomics works and because Fords single biggest problem (UAW) has an overwhelming interest in GM.
Posted by Glenmore 2009-06-02 18:47||   2009-06-02 18:47|| Front Page Top

#15 . Second, it has to compete against Government Motors, who has TWO vested interests in seeing Ford fail
The Feds can force Ford to fail using their power, but they cannot force GM or Chrysler to succeed.
Posted by Anguper Hupomosing9418 2009-06-02 19:52||   2009-06-02 19:52|| Front Page Top

#16  and even the first catalytic converters that let cars run on lead-free gasoline were developed at GM

It's plain the author doesn't know shit about engines.
In order to run unleaded the exhaust valves had to be made of entirely different steels, hardened, and aluminum coated (On the sealing faces) in order not to melt, As well the piston rings also were made with a strip of softer metal sandwiched between twin hardened wearing surfaces as a built in lubricant, the Catylitic converter was only to super-clean the exhaust and has nothing to do with the actual running and life of the engine.

Lead was used mostly as a cushioner and sealer for the very hot moving parts, camshafts also had to be reground to allow valves to settle in place gently and not 'click' into place. a 'downramp' sorta.

Much more, but you get the point, engines run fine without all the government crap on them.
Posted by mstrmech 2009-06-02 20:52||   2009-06-02 20:52|| Front Page Top

#17 F150! Drink up! Doubles on me in the O-Club
Posted by Frank G">Frank G  2009-06-02 21:54||   2009-06-02 21:54|| Front Page Top

#18 Worked as a tool engineer in the Oshawa Truck Plant for 38 years. Seen it all. Retired two years ago. Now the plant is closed.

Turns out in 1992 GM and the Province of Ontario worked out a deal to help large companies "to big to fail" relax their pension contributions. In return, the companies paid a modest premium into a provincial insurance scam plan. Turns out the insurance is as bankrupt as GM.

Word is the bulk of the Ontario bailout is destined to top up pensions, although no politician will admit to such an arrangement.

Seems like political meddling exists on both sides of the 49th.
Posted by Skunky Glins 5***">Skunky Glins 5***  2009-06-02 23:14||   2009-06-02 23:14|| Front Page Top

#19 If they offer me 3 for the price of one - I will buy right now!
Posted by 3dc 2009-06-02 23:17||   2009-06-02 23:17|| Front Page Top

23:17 3dc
23:14 Skunky Glins 5***
23:01 JosephMendiola
22:54 GirlThursday
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22:48 JosephMendiola
22:43 Skunky Glins 5***
22:42 GirlThursday
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22:34 Frank G
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21:30 GirlThursday
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