PDA

View Full Version : GM and Chrysler bailouts


Jae Onasi
03-31-2009, 06:49 PM
OK, I was listening to Obama on the radio yesterday. I thought it took a lot of guts to say 'your restructuring plans aren't good enough for us to continue investing taxpayer dollars--you've got 30/60 days to fix the plans or we'll have to talk bankruptcy'.

Thoughts? Comments?

jrrtoken
03-31-2009, 06:56 PM
They should go belly up.

Sure, it will mean the loss of thousands of jobs throughout the world, but they doomed themselves by complete dysfunction in almost every aspect in management. GM, Chrysler, and Ford should go bankrupt to end a trend old-timey business practices that has resulted in a catastrophe, whereas they could have taken a page from Honda, Toyota, and others who have conducted business in a modern, functional way.

Web Rider
03-31-2009, 07:07 PM
They should go belly up.

Sure, it will mean the loss of thousands of jobs throughout the world, but they doomed themselves by complete dysfunction in almost every aspect in management. GM, Chrysler, and Ford should go bankrupt to end a trend old-timey business practices that has resulted in a catastrophe, whereas they could have taken a page from Honda, Toyota, and others who have conducted business in a modern, functional way.

And aside from one being "old" and "bad" and the other being "new" and "shiny", what are those ways, in particular.

jrrtoken
03-31-2009, 08:06 PM
The first thing that comes to mind, is... making crappy cars. Especially the SUV craze that developed in the early 00's, and how lower fuel economy backfired on them when the petrol prices skyrocketed in the US. There's also the fact that they outsourced most of their manufacturing divisions to developing countries, whilst foreign auto comps put more plants in the US.

mur'phon
04-02-2009, 04:20 PM
Let them rot, don't see why taxpayers should subsidize uncompetetive companies.

mimartin
04-02-2009, 04:47 PM
In GM's case, I don’t think the problem is with the quality of their product. Not saying they are good, but GM has had terrible quality since the 70s and people still purchase their vehicles. No GM could produce the best valued and most reliable cars in the world and they would still be in this mess. Their problem is they want to file bankruptcy to rid themselves of the huge financial burden know as the pension fund and medical care for retirees. Without getting that burden off their backs they we never be a viable company again. This is one example where I do see that evil socialist program know a universal health care could be a benefit to the economy and employment, not to mention saving those that were promised this coverage by corporate America, the same corporate America trying everything possible to break that promise today.

So yea, let them go down the drain if you wish, but don’t let them do it in the way they want. Don’t let them break their promise to retired employees without consequences. No matter what is decided, the tax payer will foot the bill. It is a lose, lose situation.

Jae Onasi
04-02-2009, 05:34 PM
The first thing that comes to mind, is... making crappy cars. Especially the SUV craze that developed in the early 00's, and how lower fuel economy backfired on them when the petrol prices skyrocketed in the US.

Isn't it good business practice to make what your customer wants and what they're going to buy? The truth is Americans wanted bigger cars, and American car companies accommodated them and sold a ton of cars. What the car companies failed to do was foresee just how much the oil companies were going to screw over the world by jacking up the price per barrel to ridiculous levels on top of a mortgage collapse.

Executives wanted outrageous salaries, union workers wanted outrageous salaries, and no one wanted to take a good hard look at the balance sheet and tell anyone that they couldn't afford to do that and tell everyone to live within the means of the company.

jrrtoken
04-02-2009, 07:41 PM
Isn't it good business practice to make what your customer wants and what they're going to buy? The truth is Americans wanted bigger cars, and American car companies accommodated them and sold a ton of cars.So? The companies could have designed them to be safer, more energy efficient, and overall, more reliable. They did not need to make behemoths like the Escalade, Explorer, or Tahoe; vehicles that are meant for off-road terrain but are always, always, always targeted towards the high-middle-class, suburban crowd.

Jae Onasi
04-02-2009, 09:15 PM
I would argue they did need to--if they didn't make products that people wanted to buy, particularly after 2001, then they would have gone out of business 8 years ago instead of today.

Tommycat
04-03-2009, 06:55 AM
So? The companies could have designed them to be safer, more energy efficient, and overall, more reliable. They did not need to make behemoths like the Escalade, Explorer, or Tahoe; vehicles that are meant for off-road terrain but are always, always, always targeted towards the high-middle-class, suburban crowd.
First off, WHO THE HECK ARE YOU TO TELL ME WHAT TO BUY!!! Are you buying it for me? NO! So I'll buy what vehicle I want. You do realize that there are a lot of dirt roads here still. And if you think that off road suspension has no use in the city, you really haven't driven on some of the rougher roads. I happen to have a Tahoe. It is smaller than a Suburban. A vehicle that has been in GM's lineup since the 50's. Ya know what, those Japanese name plates were pushing out their versions of the large vehicles too. Armada? the new FJ? I bet those fuel efficient cars can really haul my full bass rig around like my Tahoe can. I mean it's only 3 bass guitars, and 2 big cabinets... oh but that's ok, I stick it in the trailer with the rest of the band's gear.. I mean that's only about 3500 lbs of stuff. How about the trailers... How well can those fuel efficient cars pull a trailer.

I'll tell ya this, I'd rather drive my 2000 miles in my Tahoe than a Toyota Prius. Oh and just so you know those hybrids... they don't get even the same fuel efficiency as a V6 at highway speeds(aka 75+MPH).

And ya know what, GM did release more efficient versions of those vehicles. They were(and are) developing more fuel efficient vehicles, and even have the Volt.

But you eco-whack jobs can play your high and mighty card thinking that it's only soccer moms that drive the SUV's. I'm not denying that many of them are driven by them. But you don't know their situation any better than you knew mine. They might have very valid reasons. Heck if they have a boat, camping trailer, whatnot that has to be pulled, there is a recommended vehicle length. They may be on occasion caring for several kids. There are many reasons to have an SUV. That's why they're so popular.

Jae Onasi
04-03-2009, 04:41 PM
WI is a very agriculture-oriented state. You can't haul hay bales and thousands of pounds of animal feed or harvested crops in a Prius. You can't drive a Civic across farmland, at least not without destroying it fairly quickly. Even states with major cities like IL, NY, CA, and TX have large rural areas where pick-ups and SUVs are a necessary part of life. Some of my friends live out in the country and you have to drive miles on gravel to get there. Small cars won't take that abuse as well as bigger cars and trucks.

We can't get rid of these larger vehicles, nor do we want the government interfering in our lives to tell us what to drive.

jrrtoken
04-03-2009, 05:00 PM
I said nothing about banning SUVs entirely, I do, however, believe that there is absolutely little to no regulation when it comes to the overall reliability and security of SUVs. Rollovers are still a concern with truck-based chassis SUVs, and there is still the piss-poor fuel economy, that although is better than several years ago, is still pathetic. Furthermore, larger SUVs an trucks are essentially military-grade vehicles, and as such, they can be extremely dangerous towards pedestrians and other drivers when in an auto wreck, further increasing auto fatalities

Simply put, the auto companies and the government had the power to regulate SUVs and classify them as commercial trucks, like many pickups. Instead, the allowed the auto companies to buy into a target market cheaply, by selling inefficient, unsafe vehicles, that could have been of higher caliber, without a complete prohibition.

RoxStar
04-03-2009, 05:48 PM
whereas they could have taken a page from Honda, Toyota, and others who have conducted business in a modern, functional way.


Well, not having to pay health insurance and pension plans to workers in Asian countries (Japan, in Honda and Toyota's case) sure has helped them a ton, so that isn't exactly fair to say.

Web Rider
04-03-2009, 06:17 PM
I said nothing about banning SUVs entirely, I do, however, believe that there is absolutely little to no regulation when it comes to the overall reliability and security of SUVs. Rollovers are still a concern with truck-based chassis SUVs, and there is still the piss-poor fuel economy, that although is better than several years ago, is still pathetic. Furthermore, larger SUVs an trucks are essentially military-grade vehicles, and as such, they can be extremely dangerous towards pedestrians and other drivers when in an auto wreck, further increasing auto fatalities.
You have clearly never needed to use a large vehicle to do anything.

Simply put, the auto companies and the government had the power to regulate SUVs and classify them as commercial trucks, like many pickups. Instead, the allowed the auto companies to buy into a target market cheaply, by selling inefficient, unsafe vehicles, that could have been of higher caliber, without a complete prohibition.
yeah that's pretty under handed, but, surprise, they clearly aren't bad enough to make enough people stop buying them. As long as people still wanted them, the companies made them.

Well, not having to pay health insurance and pension plans to workers in Asian countries (Japan, in Honda and Toyota's case) sure has helped them a ton, so that isn't exactly fair to say.

Doesn't the government of Japan subsidize a lot of Japanese automakers costs?

Jae Onasi
04-03-2009, 08:19 PM
I think I'm missing your point here--how would reclassifying an SUV as a truck make a difference on sales or encourage people to buy something smaller or more fuel efficient? What kind of regulations do you think the gov't should have on SUVs and other large vehicles?

Also, people had the rollover data easily available from the gov't and other sources like Consumer Reports. I don't think it changed many people's minds about buying one. Most people assume the rollovers will happen to 'the other guy' rather than them.

jrrtoken
04-03-2009, 09:25 PM
I think I'm missing your point here--how would reclassifying an SUV as a truck make a difference on sales or encourage people to buy something smaller or more fuel efficient?It has nothing to do with sales, but simply the weight rating on several SUVs are equal to commercial trucks, however, most state regulations most likely regard them as passenger vehicles.What kind of regulations do you think the gov't should have on SUVs and other large vehicles?Stricter fuel economy standards; stronger and more aerodynamic construction to decrease pedestrian and other driver fatalities in an auto wreck, and to also decrease wind resistance to boost fuel economy, etc.

Of course, it's an impossibility for the Big 3 to do any of the above now, but had the government and the companies realized this ten, fifteen years ago, there wouldn't be as many people trading in their SUVs for compacts.

mimartin
04-03-2009, 10:55 PM
It has nothing to do with sales, but simply the weight rating on several SUVs are equal to commercial trucks, however, most state regulations most likely regard them as passenger vehicles.Can't speak for every state, but Texas regards any vehicle over 1 ton a commercial vehicle.

Although I'm really unsure if the classification means much beyond commercial vehicles being more expensive to insure. We purchased a old school bus for tail gate parties and the tag cost was comparable to private passenger vehicles. The only real extra cost was insurance (commercial insurance and high limits to comply with the state rail road commission regulations) and having to get a commercial endorsement on our driverís licenses.

Q
04-03-2009, 11:12 PM
Over 1 ton? Isn't that just about every car in existence? :D

Web Rider
04-03-2009, 11:18 PM
Over 1 ton? Isn't that just about every car in existence? :D

Yes, it is. My car is 1.8 tons. My mom's is 1.7, and both of ours are sports cars, mine's by GM btw, hers by Mazda. I would be highly surprised if any car on the road short of the Golf weighed less than 2000lbs.

Tommycat
04-04-2009, 01:52 AM
That's 1 Ton maximum payload rating(the maximum that is allowed to be hauled in the vehicle, rather than in a trailer), not GVWR. And if you treat them more like commercial vehicles, you'll actually increase the pollution they are allowed to emit.

If you are talking treating SUV's more like Pickup Trucks. I got news for you... they already do.

mur'phon
04-04-2009, 06:36 AM
Stricter fuel economy standards

Standards are a pain to monitor, if you want less polution, a decent carbon tax seems more efficent.

Jae Onasi
04-04-2009, 03:18 PM
What advantage does a carbon tax have, other than raising my taxes directly and indirectly through increased costs passed on to me by the companies that pay the carbon taxes?

Web Rider
04-04-2009, 04:59 PM
Standards are a pain to monitor, if you want less polution, a decent carbon tax seems more efficent.

What advantage does a carbon tax have, other than raising my taxes directly and indirectly through increased costs passed on to me by the companies that pay the carbon taxes?

Not to mention that carbon taxes are essentially allowing anyone who can afford it to be a gross polluter and just pay more money. Which, if the government isn't using to make things LESS polluting, is entirely pointless. We need MPG standards, at least for economy cars.

RoxStar
04-05-2009, 02:01 AM
Not to mention that carbon taxes are essentially allowing anyone who can afford it to be a gross polluter and just pay more money. Which, if the government isn't using to make things LESS polluting, is entirely pointless.

^ Perfection. We need to encourage people to live greener. If we are given the tools and it is made simple, we will do it. We don't need to be threatened into doing so.

Q
04-05-2009, 06:51 AM
Agreed. Incentives work better than threats or guilt-tripping.

Jae Onasi
04-05-2009, 07:34 PM
I wouldn't call a tax an 'incentive' for me at all. Now a tax credit, on the other hand, I could go for.

Q
04-05-2009, 07:40 PM
I didn't mean the tax, as that would hardly qualify as an incentive, just as you indicated.

What I meant was that, generally speaking, incentives work better than penalties.

Tommycat
04-06-2009, 05:05 AM
Here's how to make going green an incentive.

5k tax credit to auto manufacturers for every "green approved" vehicle they sell. This translates to lower prices on the "green approved" vehicles being cheaper at the dealership as they get 5k profit selling the vehicle at cost. Give the consumer a 5k tax write-off on their taxes that year, or 5 1k write-offs for 5 years. Allow fleet vehicles to be given up to 10k per fleet vehicle. BAM revitalized economy, greener lifestyle.

mur'phon
04-06-2009, 06:49 AM
What advantage does a carbon tax have, other than raising my taxes directly and indirectly through increased costs passed on to me by the companies that pay the carbon taxes?

It has the advantage of making the poluter pay. If there is a carbon tax, and for instance car A ends up being 5000$ more expensive than car B due to the extra emisions involved in production, then the buyers of car A is paying for the effects their purchase will have on the enviroment. Of course, this asumes that the enviroment is something we value, and it does have the problem of placing a suitable value on it.

Not to mention that carbon taxes are essentially allowing anyone who can afford it to be a gross polluter and just pay more money. Which, if the government isn't using to make things LESS polluting, is entirely pointless.

You provide the solution yourself, if the goverment use the money to create a suitable enviroment for greenery by for instance making the power grid more efficent, those who polute end up shouldering more of the bill for going green.

We need MPG standards, at least for economy cars.

If they could be designed well, I agree, it's just that I don't trust the government not to make either too generous standards, or make tonns of exeptions to that law, or both.

I wouldn't call a tax an 'incentive' for me at all.

If product A is more expensive than product B, a lot of people will choose product B. This means that the producers of product A have an incentive to reduce production costs to compete with product B. So, yes, I'd say a tax is a quite good incentive.

What I meant was that, generally speaking, incentives work better than penalties.

But someone has to pay for the "positive" incentives, which is why I think it's fair that poluters should pay for them. My main problem with a lot of incentives is that I don't trust politicans to implement them right. They tend to be easily exploited by companies who hunt the incentives while doing as little "good" as possible.

5k tax credit to auto manufacturers for every "green approved" vehicle they sell. This translates to lower prices on the "green approved" vehicles being cheaper at the dealership as they get 5k profit selling the vehicle at cost. Give the consumer a 5k tax write-off on their taxes that year, or 5 1k write-offs for 5 years. Allow fleet vehicles to be given up to 10k per fleet vehicle. BAM revitalized economy, greener lifestyle.

Nice idea, though I wonder how the government would define "green" vehicle, and how much more hassle it would be to get cars to the market on time.

Tommycat
04-06-2009, 07:41 AM
Mur'phon, your idea does nothing to incentivise anything. If anything it gives people an excuse to keep polluting... It may in fact lead to MORE pollution. They may just say, Oh.. it's only 5k more to get this gas guzzler that can go 0-60 in 2.3 seconds. So what about the environment? I'm paying extra. They are about to open the carpool lane here for people who pay the fee. Essentially the same thing.

"green approved" could be emission free cars(ZEV). for instance Chevy Volt. Or cars that run on alternative fuels that produce less emissions(propane and natural gas). People respond better to getting something as a reward than having it taken away as a punishment. basic psychology.

Web Rider
04-06-2009, 02:47 PM
You provide the solution yourself, if the goverment use the money to create a suitable enviroment for greenery by for instance making the power grid more efficent, those who polute end up shouldering more of the bill for going green.
Who cares if the power grid is better if you've still got grossly polluting cars? If the point is to cut pollution, shouldn't we uh, be cutting pollution?

If they could be designed well, I agree, it's just that I don't trust the government not to make either too generous standards, or make tonns of exeptions to that law, or both.
The Government already has MPG standards, California has for some time and it's worked well.

Jae Onasi
04-06-2009, 10:28 PM
Here's how to make going green an incentive.

5k tax credit to auto manufacturers for every "green approved" vehicle they sell. This translates to lower prices on the "green approved" vehicles being cheaper at the dealership as they get 5k profit selling the vehicle at cost. Give the consumer a 5k tax write-off on their taxes that year, or 5 1k write-offs for 5 years. Allow fleet vehicles to be given up to 10k per fleet vehicle. BAM revitalized economy, greener lifestyle.

I love it. The companies would have greener vehicles out yesterday, I'm sure.

On a side note, Point Man and I are looking at putting some more fuel efficient windows and a door in some time this year to take advantage of the new tax credit that got passed in the giant spending bill.

Web Rider
04-07-2009, 12:05 AM
On a side note, Point Man and I are looking at putting some more fuel efficient windows and a door in some time this year to take advantage of the new tax credit that got passed in the giant spending bill.

Be aware that those things function by making your home more air-tight. This leads to an increased risk of asphyxiation when running heating devices. Essentially, it can be the same as locking yourself in the garage with the car running.

Jae Onasi
04-07-2009, 01:22 AM
Be aware that those things function by making your home more air-tight. This leads to an increased risk of asphyxiation when running heating devices. Essentially, it can be the same as locking yourself in the garage with the car running.
Well, we live in an old house so we'll probably never be that air tight. However, we do have 2 carbon monoxide detectors (one for each floor where we mostly hang out). Turned out to be handy when the ignitor went bad on our gas stove. It never got more than a few ppm, but it gave us the heads up something was wrong. I highly recommend everyone have a CO detector in addition to a smoke detector. Get the kind that gives you a number for the amount of CO rather than just a warning tone.

The natural gas savings and the tax credit will help us a lot, however.

Bimmerman
04-07-2009, 05:37 PM
Here are my thoughts. For what it's worth, I am highly biased as I am an active racer, own a non emissions legal somewhat daily street driven race car and another daily driver (one modified german and the other modifed japanese), and routinely go on long road trips with no destination in mind.

Chrysler: they make exactly one vehicle I would buy, the Viper ACR. I say that because it is a wicked track car. For street use.....they all are terrible.

From Consumers Reports, Chrysler vehicles have on average -238% reliability and more problems when compared to the mean values for all cars. No chrysler vehicle is recommended by them. Granted, Consumers Reports is more geared towards answering which toaster should I buy. They do a good job of reporting on quality and reliability rather than just performance and driving impressions, so it is good to shake it up a bit.

Chrysler did get screwed by Daimler after not holding up their end of the bargain, and are now in terrible shape with terrible products. My verdict: they should go under, and hopefully not take Fiat down with them.

GM: they make good cars. There, I said it. Their cars are up to par with the rest of the manufacturers after too many years waiting and after too many years of Stupid Useless Vehicles.

The new Malibu, the forthcoming Volt, Camaro, Corvette, and others are a signal that GM does know how to build good cars. I can't buy a car with only two pedals, so I personally can't buy most of GMs vehicles, but if I could, a Vette or Camaro would be at the top of my list, a Volt or Malibu for a DD beater wouldn't be bad either. Consumers does recommend a number of their cars.

My verdict: worthy of surviving.

Ford: If they deliver on their promise of bringing the European Focus to the US finally, I will seriously go support them with my wallet to buy myself what is seriously one of the best cars made right now. I cannot stress enough how good their Focus and newer products are.

Verdict: Not in anywhere near as dire straights, and I am pulling for them.

After too many years of profit amassing Stupid Useless Vehicles, the big three....well...except Chrysler, as they loooove pulling out a new truck. So GM and Ford have realized that people want a smaller car that they actually can use more of rather than a lumbering beached whale. This in turn leads to better MPGs and emissions due to better aerodynamics and lower weight (ironically, my brick shaped racecar gets better MPGs and gives better emissions results in its non passenger car legal form than your SUV. Food for thought).

However, despite GM and Ford realizing what needs to be done, the economy took a massive dump on everyone, and now the government is essentially trying to control the products the people want. Chrysler probably will and should go under. The other two are worthy of support. I can't do it though, as I have enough cars as is and only really want a new Focus RS. If not...I'll buy a Mini or 135i. Probably will anyway.

Hopefully there was a coherent thought in there somewhere, now to pack for Rome.

RoxStar
04-07-2009, 11:46 PM
Here are my thoughts. For what it's worth, I am highly biased as I am an active racer, own a non emissions legal somewhat daily street driven race car and another daily driver (one modified german and the other modifed japanese), and routinely go on long road trips with no destination in mind.

Let me guess.

BMW M3 and a Nissan Maxima?

Good thoughts though!

Jae Onasi
04-09-2009, 10:50 AM
I'd love to see Chrysler survive (especially since they're one of the major employers in our town), but I think you're right, Bimmerman--their products have been less than stellar. I had to replace the water pump on our minivan that went out the same day we had to put our cat to sleep. Not one of our better days. I've never had a water pump go out on any of our other cars, a couple of which have had well over 100k miles.

I love Consumer Reports for their car reports. They rate things that are important such as safety and reliability as Bimmerman notes. I drive minivans so the 0-60 acceleration times aren't that important to me. One of the best features is their reliability records--they track problems for a number of years. I'm betting if I look at the problems that drivers of Chrysler minivans from 2000 experience, waterpumps are going to be flagged. I've found it's good for predicting what kinds of problems to anticipate for my particular make and model so I can plan ahead and have the mechanic check those things in particular.

So far, we've had less problem with our Fords, the one Saturn we had, and the Honda Civic than the Chryslers we've had. I don't know how far past 100k the Chrysler minivan will get. The Ford minivan was still going strong and would have gone quite a few miles farther if an uninsured driver hadn't run a stop sign right in front of me last summer. The Saturn had 120k miles, the Civic has 155k miles with so few problems we'll likely roll over 200k before we have to replace it.

I would like to point out that when we were looking at different cars and minivans over the summer, the minivan we bought had an mpg rating a good 5 mpg better than any of the cars we were looking at. It was a serious consideration for us because gas was over $4/gallon at the time, and I drive an hour to work once a week. We needed something as fuel efficient as possible. Size matters in fuel efficiency generally, but not all bigger cars/trucks/minivans are bad in the mpg department.

mur'phon
04-12-2009, 11:41 AM
Mur'phon, your idea does nothing to incentivise anything. If anything it gives people an excuse to keep polluting... It may in fact lead to MORE pollution. They may just say, Oh.. it's only 5k more to get this gas guzzler that can go 0-60 in 2.3 seconds. So what about the environment? I'm paying extra. They are about to open the carpool lane here for people who pay the fee. Essentially the same thing.

Then adjust the price pr tonne of carbon emmited until it stings. A carbon tax would also affect the price of gas (and basically anything, so reduce VAT acordingly), so if you desperately want to have a gas guzzler, by all means buy it, then use the money earned on hard to mismanage greenery. Essentially, use the stick to pay for the carrot.

My problems with positive incentives is how I have seen them implemented, not the incentives in themselves.

Who cares if the power grid is better if you've still got grossly polluting cars? If the point is to cut pollution, shouldn't we uh, be cutting pollution?

Because a major hindrance for making "green" electricity competetive is that sources (wind, sun, rivers etc) are often far away from where it is needed, so improving the grid would make the private sector far more interested in generating green power.

The Government already has MPG standards, California has for some time and it's worked well.

I'll take your word then.

As for which companies "deserves" to survive, I say we offer all (including big foreign ones) the money with enough unpleasant conditions (proportional to the help needed) to ensure that they only take it if they really need it (Ford might decide to refuse, or take just a little), and if they believe they have a future as an unsubsidized company (Chrysler might well decide that bankruptcy is the lesser evil).

Bimmerman
04-19-2009, 10:48 AM
Let me guess.

BMW M3 and a Nissan Maxima?

Good thoughts though!

Haha, nope, BMW 325i and Subaru Legacy.....both of which have been modified and do see significant track time, one much more so than the other.

Consumers is a great resource for reliability and safety concerns as Jae says. I don't buy new cars, so it's nice to see them keep reliability data for models from years ago. Granted, since I track both cars, I replace things well before they would fail during normal use to eliminate the possibility of something going wrong diving into turn 3 at 120mph, but what consumers provides is insight into what are general problem areas for the models.

As far as fuel efficiency goes, there are soooo many factors that go into the ratings to the point it is impossible to tell what car gets better mileage. In general, lower weight, lower Cd, lower frontal area, skinnier tires, less power, smaller engine, different gearing, engine power characteristics, etc all have a large effect on mileage. My racecar gets better mileage than most people's econobox/dd, mine included; it's all in the way the car is designed and geared.

Darth Avlectus
05-08-2009, 06:00 AM
I am about fuel economy. I am about the new wave of stuff to serve our needs provided it can actually do the job and meet the challenge and provide a reasonably comparable replacement. I even looked into the alternatives.

I have that "Jew thrift" in my blood, so I want to avoid paying for extras if I don't have to. And I would want everyone else to save $$$ too. Now having said that I am all about choice and customization in the market.

Customer has the word custom in it after all. (Whose with me on that one?)

I would hope people would first view the world through the lens of scarcity, and then as it appears more can become reasonably available, then yeah a little extra here n there. Fit their needs then fit their wants if they can afford it. If they are fools, well, it isn't my fault they just had to go all "Pimp my ride" and stuff. They made their choice and they can suffer the consequences that they presumably knew might follow their choice.

I do verily agree, though: encourage better more economical decision making, for their sake, for everyone's sake, and possibly the planet as well.

First off, WHO THE HECK ARE YOU TO TELL ME WHAT TO BUY!!! Are you buying it for me? NO! So I'll buy what vehicle I want. You do realize that there are a lot of dirt roads here still. And if you think that off road suspension has no use in the city, you really haven't driven on some of the rougher roads. I happen to have a Tahoe. It is smaller than a Suburban. A vehicle that has been in GM's lineup since the 50's.

Yup. Aptly named for Lake Tahoe. Used to live there and probably heading back soon. Not as many rough offroads as even 10-15 years ago, but the area's many different variables, and adventure zones did require a bit of diverse ruggedness. A prime example of the truck that does not need to be an absolutely huge P.O.S. in the road to get the job done. Indeed the virtues you mentioned (size economy for a truck while packing that extra punch and build for the rough areas) make it a more practical vehicle than its larger counterparts in general. (Recalling larger wider behemoths getting stuck driving over high mounds. :lol:)

While I am a fuel economist I can attest that sometimes you simply need larger vehicles to do the work horse duty. Try using your car to haul: furniture, hundreds to thousands of pounds of tiles, logs and lumber, your entire crew's arsenal of equipment for a "job" (construction, electrical, roofing, landscaping, insulation w/ fiberglass (yuck!)). You can, but it REALLY sucks and your MPG goes down the toilet. Uncomfortable, you worry for the interior, gets sluggish to drive...I think everyone gets the picture.

I'll tell ya this, I'd rather drive my 2000 miles in my Tahoe than a Toyota Prius. Oh and just so you know those hybrids... they don't get even the same fuel efficiency as a V6 at highway speeds(aka 75+MPH).

That's another thing: MPG ratings to consider. Is it HWY or is it Terrain? Guess which one requires more fuel? :)


But you eco-whack jobs can play your high and mighty card thinking that it's only soccer moms that drive the SUV's. I'm not denying that many of them are driven by them. And are some of them hot. :naughty:
But you don't know their situation any better than you knew mine. They might have very valid reasons. Heck if they have a boat, camping trailer, whatnot that has to be pulled, there is a recommended vehicle length. They may be on occasion caring for several kids. There are many reasons to have an SUV. That's why they're so popular. QFE&T

WI is a very agriculture-oriented state. You can't haul hay bales and thousands of pounds of animal feed or harvested crops in a Prius. You can't drive a Civic across farmland, at least not without destroying it fairly quickly. Even states with major cities like IL, NY, CA, and TX have large rural areas where pick-ups and SUVs are a necessary part of life. Voucher here.

I might also add that compact cars are a sonofabitch to fix when something serious goes wrong. There are damn good reasons that many good general auto mechanics (reputable ones working for ~$85-150/hr) won't touch them. Specialists...yeah, viable if they are around. Otherwise dealerships...hahaha--good luck! The service in addition to parts...not even going there.

Pay for it? HA! Yeah, ok, that will come to about $2675.88 for the part ALONE replace new, $1866.74 rebuilt, and that isn't taking into account the additional $500-900 for the cooling system attatched to it...and the painstaking effort to determine which one it actually is b/c they may have 4 or even 8 different cooling systems for a given year and most people in service or parts stores don't have any idea wtf part you are talking about. Hoo. So the only other option: get dirty and fix it yourself.

Experience talking here: I had to fix the carburetor of my '85 Honda Accord--skill, thrift, resourcefulness, and LUCK--or the force on my side with an uncle who has gazillions of parts and tools to help out with. Man was THAT ever a pain. (Though it felt great like nothing else when I succeeded and drove it!)
...blew up 8 months later just shy its 22nd birthday. :(

I said nothing about banning SUVs entirely, I do, however, believe that there is absolutely little to no regulation when it comes to the overall reliability and security of SUVs. Rollovers are still a concern with truck-based chassis SUVs, and there is still the piss-poor fuel economy, that although is better than several years ago, is still pathetic. Furthermore, larger SUVs an trucks are essentially military-grade vehicles, and as such, they can be extremely dangerous towards pedestrians and other drivers when in an auto wreck, further increasing auto fatalities So's my dad's '56 T-bird. That would rip a modern vehicle to shreds. So far as reliability...most tests I know take into account the safety of the driver and passengers on board that vehichle, not in the other drivers and passengers in other vehichles also potentially in the collision. I suppose reliability could be derated if it required more measurements of collateral or outward damage. Which doesn't appear to be happening anytime soon.

Well, unless people are going to start mandatorily paying for the additional engineering, the rollover still does not seem to concern most people. You can put a roll cage on it though. Not many will, but some do.

Simply put, the auto companies and the government had the power to regulate SUVs and classify them as commercial trucks, like many pickups. Instead, the allowed the auto companies to buy into a target market cheaply, by selling inefficient, unsafe vehicles, that could have been of higher caliber, without a complete prohibition.

At what point do these considerations to parameters begin to contradict each other as well as interfere with the main design goal of the vehichle?

While I will admit improvements could always be made, some stuff is forgone simply by virtue of what type of vehicle said make model and brand is. Talk to an automotive engineer professor. He/she could tell you more than I ever could.

Over 1 ton? Isn't that just about every car in existence? :D Why it sure is.

My old Honda weighed ~2500-2600 lbs.

My current Subaru Legacy is ~ 2700-3000 I think.

Be aware that those things function by making your home more air-tight. This leads to an increased risk of asphyxiation when running heating devices. Essentially, it can be the same as locking yourself in the garage with the car running.

Oh man...if all inspectors were as good as you.

I wouldn't call a tax an 'incentive' for me at all. Now a tax credit, on the other hand, I could go for.

So could everyone--who wouldn't? :)


My problems with positive incentives is how I have seen them implemented, not the incentives in themselves. And its unintended drawback that people will do things in expectation of this more and more.



Because a major hindrance for making "green" electricity competetive is that sources (wind, sun, rivers etc) are often far away from where it is needed, so improving the grid would make the private sector far more interested in generating green power. To further your sentiment: That's not even taking into account the shortcomings of each method alone. Which I suspect you too are probably well read on. These might work well on an implementation of "per individual" scale according to his/her own needs. But on large scale I simply do not see it working as well as existing used methods nor do I see it anywhere near supplanting/replacing these as is unrealistically projected. I'd like it to work, I even see a market here...but I do not see enough of/about it to truly inspire me into believing it is a viable large scale alternative.

Again this isn't even accounting for costs to implement. Ugh.


Haha, nope, BMW 325i and Subaru Legacy.....both of which have been modified and do see significant track time, one much more so than the other. CHEERS!

but what consumers provides is insight into what are general problem areas for the models. Making it possible to do your homework and make informed decisions...now if only people would actually DO it.

As far as fuel efficiency goes, there are soooo many factors that go into the ratings to the point it is impossible to tell what car gets better mileage. In general, lower weight, lower Cd, lower frontal area, skinnier tires, less power, smaller engine, different gearing, engine power characteristics, etc all have a large effect on mileage. My racecar gets better mileage than most people's econobox/dd, mine included; it's all in the way the car is designed and geared.
QFT

Bimmerman
05-08-2009, 02:24 PM
So on rereading, I missed a good amount of stuff.

I'll tell ya this, I'd rather drive my 2000 miles in my Tahoe than a Toyota Prius. Oh and just so you know those hybrids... they don't get even the same fuel efficiency as a V6 at highway speeds(aka 75+MPH).

You know quite well my stance on fuel efficiency, but I would love to see the evidence for that statement.

Yup. Aptly named for Lake Tahoe. Used to live there and probably heading back soon. Not as many rough offroads as even 10-15 years ago, but the area's many different variables, and adventure zones did require a bit of diverse ruggedness. A prime example of the truck that does not need to be an absolutely huge P.O.S. in the road to get the job done. Indeed the virtues you mentioned (size economy for a truck while packing that extra punch and build for the rough areas) make it a more practical vehicle than its larger counterparts in general. (Recalling larger wider behemoths getting stuck driving over high mounds. )

While I am a fuel economist I can attest that sometimes you simply need larger vehicles to do the work horse duty. Try using your car to haul: furniture, hundreds to thousands of pounds of tiles, logs and lumber, your entire crew's arsenal of equipment for a "job" (construction, electrical, roofing, landscaping, insulation w/ fiberglass (yuck!)). You can, but it REALLY sucks and your MPG goes down the toilet. Uncomfortable, you worry for the interior, gets sluggish to drive...I think everyone gets the picture.

Agreed. There are many situations for needing a truck or SUV. Sadly, the demand for them is far more than the amount of people who actually need one. I need a racecar tow vehicle, it sure won't be my Scoob. Conversely, my tow vehicle wouldn't be my DD unless I was strapped for cash. If I could afford to modify the racecar to the point of needing a truck and trailer, chances are I would also have a DD. That said, many racers DD the tow vehicle. It all comes down to what you need the vehicle for. Most buyers of trucks and SUVs would be better served by a minivan that isn't designed to tow 500000lbs. Some aren't.

Carting kids around needs a big vehicle; whether the family also goes boating or what decides whether an SUV or minivan is called for. Back when I was in Scouts, I saw minivans do an incredible amount of towing and off roading; it's not impossible.

I might also add that compact cars are a sonofabitch to fix when something serious goes wrong. There are damn good reasons that many good general auto mechanics (reputable ones working for ~$85-150/hr) won't touch them. Specialists...yeah, viable if they are around. Otherwise dealerships...hahaha--good luck! The service in addition to parts...not even going there.

Pay for it? HA! Yeah, ok, that will come to about $2675.88 for the part ALONE replace new, $1866.74 rebuilt, and that isn't taking into account the additional $500-900 for the cooling system attatched to it...and the painstaking effort to determine which one it actually is b/c they may have 4 or even 8 different cooling systems for a given year and most people in service or parts stores don't have any idea wtf part you are talking about. Hoo. So the only other option: get dirty and fix it yourself.

Experience talking here: I had to fix the carburetor of my '85 Honda Accord--skill, thrift, resourcefulness, and LUCK--or the force on my side with an uncle who has gazillions of parts and tools to help out with. Man was THAT ever a pain. (Though it felt great like nothing else when I succeeded and drove it!)
...blew up 8 months later just shy its 22nd birthday.

I know what you mean. I taught an ex how to change the oil on her 05ish Honda Civic. It is impossible to find the damn oil filter! (Protip: it's over the front axle....which is great when you get oil spilled all over it and exhaust manifolds. Yum!) My 89 325i, while actually smaller than that damned econobox, is soooooo much better to work on. Same with my Scoob. The size of the car doesn't dictate the ease of maintenance though. Taking the valve cover off on the E30 and adjusting the valve lash of the rockers inside the engine's head is just a joy from a packaging and ease of job point of view. It still sucks though.


I said nothing about banning SUVs entirely, I do, however, believe that there is absolutely little to no regulation when it comes to the overall reliability and security of SUVs. Rollovers are still a concern with truck-based chassis SUVs, and there is still the piss-poor fuel economy, that although is better than several years ago, is still pathetic. Furthermore, larger SUVs an trucks are essentially military-grade vehicles, and as such, they can be extremely dangerous towards pedestrians and other drivers when in an auto wreck, further increasing auto fatalities

PastramiX--Um.....what? Think for a minute. The GVW of an SUV is near 3 tons. Nearly 6000lbs. 2800kg. That's an insane amount of mass to move. Then consider the frontal area and drag coefficients, which are about as good as that of a chimney brick. There is a HUGE reason that trucks burn more fuel; they are terribly non-aerodynamic at highway speeds (only speeds aero is important), and their weight is an incredible burden to move around.

Similarly, when GM introduced a hybrid Yukon, the city mileage jumped from 12 to 20, and the highway from 18 to 20.

Now, you may think that is pathetic. You are absolutely wrong. Let's do some math- 8/12 = 0.66667 = 67%. The hybrid system improved the city MPGs by 67 effing percent! Hybrids cannot work miracles. Without losing some serious bulk, the truck will never gain enough MPGs to hit the much-vaunted 30 MPG HW rating.

SUVs aren't any less reliable than cars. They are less structurally safe. However, the only worry is really from rollovers, which do not occur often enough (trust me, I've gotten a 96 Suburban on two wheels whipping around a corner) to require additional weight that will only lead to the manufacturers being crucified over lower MPGs. Federal standards are being changed to necessitate rollover testing though. The main danger from SUVs is simple momentum- get hit by one and you will lose in a crash. That's why I drive cars nimble enough to get the hell out of the way. That, and mine have more safety equipment than you can name, and it will get worse.

Simply put, the auto companies and the government had the power to regulate SUVs and classify them as commercial trucks, like many pickups. Instead, the allowed the auto companies to buy into a target market cheaply, by selling inefficient, unsafe vehicles, that could have been of higher caliber, without a complete prohibition.

At what point do these considerations to parameters begin to contradict each other as well as interfere with the main design goal of the vehichle?

While I will admit improvements could always be made, some stuff is forgone simply by virtue of what type of vehicle said make model and brand is. Talk to an automotive engineer professor. He/she could tell you more than I ever could.

PastramiX- GTA's right. Changing a lot on them will only destroy the design goal of the vehicle. Furthermore, SUVs are not unsafe by design. Only in roll overs, which are a small percentage of accidents. A principle of engineering is the law of diminishing returns. While you could make the roof stronger still, it would add weight (impact MPGs negatively), add production and manufacturing complexity (increase cost to company and you), and increase development time, for what? a reduction from 1% to .9% deadly rollovers?

Think for a minute on the strength required to hold up a roof from 5500lbs. It's a lot. What you aren't aware of is that the SUV is already required to hold 150% of its weight on the roof in a rollover. They ALL meet this. The proposed rule change is to require 200%. If it did not meet it, it would not be sold. Of course the roof will fold, buckle, and crumple, no amount of engineering can defy physics! Crumpling is designed into the materials used, the shape of the A, B, C, D pillars, and the unibody design so that even after crumpling, the weight is supported without killing the inhabitants. I have seen a few roll overs of Explorers, and no, the roof does not kill people. Your fear is unwarranted.

That, and SUVs are classified the same as pickups. :thmbup1:


My current Subaru Legacy is ~ 2700-3000 I think.
No, you, sir, are full of WIN. 95-99 gen? Details! Cheers!


Making it possible to do your homework and make informed decisions...now if only people would actually DO it.

That is the problem. Aside from car enthusiasts, who research the hell out of cars in most cases, most people just pop down to the dealer, pick out the car that looks cool, then wonder why it's a loaded pile of crap. Consumer's is a great resource.

Darth_Yuthura
05-08-2009, 02:52 PM
Isn't it good business practice to make what your customer wants and what they're going to buy? The truth is Americans wanted bigger cars, and American car companies accommodated them and sold a ton of cars. What the car companies failed to do was foresee just how much the oil companies were going to screw over the world by jacking up the price per barrel to ridiculous levels on top of a mortgage collapse.

Executives wanted outrageous salaries, union workers wanted outrageous salaries, and no one wanted to take a good hard look at the balance sheet and tell anyone that they couldn't afford to do that and tell everyone to live within the means of the company.

Actually, a majority of car companies foreseen such future and still promoted SUV's and Hummers. The CEO's and board members believed it was a great short-term solution to get big profits, but whatever consequences came... they would be on the heads of their successors. As for the board members, they sold their stocks before the companies went belly-up. After that, it didn't matter what happened to the corporations.

It wasn't recklessness or stupidity, but deliberate acts of greed that these huge cars rolled off the production lines and these 'unprofitable,' but long-term investments in car design were not pursued. These CEO's and board members probably didn't expect that oil companies would jack of the prices as they had, but they did know that SUV's and Hummers were going to have a long-term negative effect as gasoline became more expensive and foreign cars became more favorable because of their fuel economy.

We shouldn't blame the current CEO's, but their predecessors who have retired; knowing that the consequences of their past actions wouldn't be their problem.

Bimmerman
05-08-2009, 10:23 PM
Actually, a majority of car companies foreseen such future and still promoted SUV's and Hummers. The CEO's and board members believed it was a great short-term solution to get big profits, but whatever consequences came... they would be on the heads of their successors. As for the board members, they sold their stocks before the companies went belly-up. After that, it didn't matter what happened to the corporations.

Proof. Seriously. I have not seen any board members selling their stock prior to the crap hitting the fan; that's called insider trading and is a felony. The first part of your paragraph is true, but not just for the automotive industry, and not just for the big three. Toyota, Honda, BMW, et al, all brought out the gargantuan whipping posts and made massive profits on them.

It wasn't recklessness or stupidity, but deliberate acts of greed that these huge cars rolled off the production lines and these 'unprofitable,' but long-term investments in car design were not pursued. These CEO's and board members probably didn't expect that oil companies would jack of the prices as they had, but they did know that SUV's and Hummers were going to have a long-term negative effect as gasoline became more expensive and foreign cars became more favorable because of their fuel economy.

Are you in the R&D division for these companies? No? Then how do you know they did not have any research into the future? The simple, inescapable fact is that they built SUVs because a) demand was HUGE b) demand was HUGE c) low manufacturing cost combined with d) high market value and penetration results in e) high profits. Any business person worth their suit will tell you to pursue that which makes the most money and costs the least. Any engineer will make it cheaper, better, and more profitable. Seriously, hate on the vehicle all you want, but due to the ridiculously high demand for these silly vehicles, the manufacturers were more than happy to indulge and get rich.

Now....where did that money go?

NOT into the coffers of the shareholders, board members, and CEOs. These profits were reinvested into modernization of the assembly lines and factories, into new research and development of smaller cars, more fuel efficient technologies, hybrid tech (bet you didn't know this, but GM has been working with BMW on hybrid tech since the early 90s. World view shattered yet?) and more.

You, and everyone who is harping on the manufacturers for not having a product ready when the crises hit, is fundamentally ignorant of the basic tenets of manufacturing and product development. The simple fact is that it takes YEARS, yes, YEARS, to go from concept to production model rolling off the line. It is not anywhere as simple as seeing gas prices creep up quickly and snapping fingers to make a hybrid. If you think that....I sure as hell hope you realize how insane that is.

Take the new Dodge Ram truck. It is still a gas guzzler, hideous, overpowered, useless vehicle (for 90% of the population. 10% of buyers would actually use it for its purpose). However, back when the R&D cycle began on the new truck, shortly after 9/11 (yes, it really takes that long, and gas was around $1.25/gal), the working group asked owners of older Ram trucks what they would like changed. Among the highest wishes was for lower fuel consumption--higher MPGs, along with smoother ride, better ingress/egress, better storage, etc truck stuff. To address point number 1, to improve MPGs the engineering group made the truck much more aerodynamic without compromising its brand identity. They played with the gearing. They added cogs inside the transmission. The kept weight nearly the same. All this ads up to 1 or 2 more MPGs.

Sound poor? It's astounding, actually. The old model got 12/18 MPG. The new one? 14/19 MPG. That is a 16% increase in city MPGs, and is a number any engineer would be happy with. Quit expecting trucks to have Prius-like MPGs; it won't happen.

Now, as for the long term effect of "Hummers and SUVs."

They both burn lots of gas. Hummers account for barely a single percent of SUVs and far smaller percentage of on-road vehicles. For any statistical analysis on fuel consumption, they are irrelevant. Too few buyers. They are simply a symbol for people like you to beat like a dead horse.

Now, SUV impact on the earth. It's bad. I won't dispute that. Do you really think that car companies believed SUVs would always exist? Really? They have had R&D projects going on for decades regarding what happens when oil disappears or when the price skyrockets. How is this research funded? Oh yea...the highly profitable SUVs. Is the impact of an SUV any worse than that of a Prius? In terms of gas burned....yes. In terms of total environmental footprint? No. Prius requires mining for the batteries that only last 100k miles, shipping from Japan, and more. SUVs are simply welded metal. It comes out to more or less the same.

Why would the manufacturers switch from high profit SUVs, which people want, to almost zero-margin subcompacts, which people don't? Subcompacts have almost no profit margins at all. They are costlier to make, to engineer, and to manufacture. No business person in their right mind would advocate that if they want to avoid pissing away money.

We shouldn't blame the current CEO's, but their predecessors who have retired; knowing that the consequences of their past actions wouldn't be their problem.

Um.....no, we shouldn't blame anyone but the American car buyer. The CEO wouldn't be doing his job if he didn't come out with a product that is the perfect trifecta-- a) cheap to manufacture and advertise, b) high return on investment (profits), and c) something the audience wants. You, your family, and every single hypocrite who bought an SUV and then complains about it, you only have to look in the mirror to blame someone.

Darth Avlectus
05-08-2009, 11:49 PM
So on rereading, I missed a good amount of stuff. Well, such is LF. People post tons in peak hours. You can leave one minute come back the next and have a dozen posts come from outta nowhere.



Agreed. There are many situations for needing a truck or SUV. Sadly, the demand for them is far more than the amount of people who actually need one.

Right there is probably the thesis, or at least a major reason for why we're all even having any discussion about econo car VS current car...
===
@ general audience: ...which we'll notice is a sub-discussion of the thread subject...so we should try to steer this back in that direction. :thmbup1:
===
Yeah. Part of the problems could actually be attributed to the fact that people are not always going to buy economical.

I think Roxy had it right: Encourage (maybe using subtle nudges and by making more options available), as opposed to force, people to make wiser and more practical decisions.

Murph had a point too: we cannot, basically, hand treats out to everyone for every little thing.

My suggesiton: It needs to be something on the order of pragmatic and consequential.


It all comes down to what you need the vehicle for. Most buyers of trucks and SUVs would be better served by a minivan that isn't designed to tow 500000lbs. Some aren't.

Well there you have it. Even in general: does it fit its purpose? Does it fit your purpose? What do you need? What can it do? Those sort of questions.

They claim they make it that strong b/c of the off chance that someone might just need that little bit extra--just in case. So it depends on the consumer's mind: Do I decide to be either more cost effective, or more sturdy? This is where the conflict comes in that the market allows choice to override what might be a wiser decision. So it depends on the type of general decision making process the person is most likely to use, generally.



I know what you mean. I taught an ex how to change the oil on her 05ish Honda Civic. It is impossible to find the damn oil filter! (Protip: it's over the front axle....which is great when you get oil spilled all over it and exhaust manifolds. Yum!) I recall mine was in an odd place inaccessible from anywhere but underneath. It was somewhere similar if I do recall. Lovely that you could not help but to have some spill all over your arm at the least due to the position you were forced to be in just to replace the filter. :dozey:

The size of the car doesn't dictate the ease of maintenance though. The inherent habitual tendency of their designs certainly do, though.

The hybrid system improved the city MPGs by 67 effing percent! Hybrids cannot work miracles. Without losing some serious bulk, the truck will never gain enough MPGs to hit the much-vaunted 30 MPG HW rating. Hollow brick is more likely to crumble and shatter upon impact.

Losing bulk will in turn, reduce its effectiveness for its other purposes. Also since we touched on reliability and safety we must consider a lighter vehicle is more prone to severe damages including that which may harm the vehicle's occupants.


PastramiX- GTA's right. Changing a lot on them will only destroy the design goal of the vehicle. Furthermore, SUVs are not unsafe by design. Only in roll overs, which are a small percentage of accidents. A principle of engineering is the law of diminishing returns. Which ironically is a concept first learned in economics :lol:
While you could make the roof stronger still, it would add weight (impact MPGs negatively), add production and manufacturing complexity (increase cost to company and you), and increase development time, for what? a reduction from 1% to .9% deadly rollovers? Presumably people realize what they are basically getting into with their choices in the first place. Though many don't and some information made available would go a long way if people thought about these sorts of things more than they do.


No, you, sir, are full of WIN. 95-99 gen? Details! Cheers!
A 1993 legacy. Automatic. A little old man in his 90's owned it. Could not drive it anymore, was sad to see it go. It had only ~22,800 miles on it. Maroon. Looks dark red most of time, though kinda purple in the late afternoon shade...and in stormy days.

My little sister got one nearly identical '94. Dark red. More driven, replaced stick-shift transmission. Thing has *scary* takeoff from a standstill. She's scarier...

That is the problem. Aside from car enthusiasts, who research the hell out of cars in most cases, most people just pop down to the dealer, pick out the car that looks cool, then wonder why it's a loaded pile of crap. Consumer's is a great resource.

Sadly: Until doing your homework looks cooler to the general populace...I'm afraid duping idiots is in part how the free market works, my friend. Ce` la'vie.

I think most people would agree??? Anyone?

Actually, a majority of car companies foreseen such future and still promoted SUV's and Hummers. The CEO's and board members believed it was a great short-term solution to get big profits, but whatever consequences came... they would be on the heads of their successors. As for the board members, they sold their stocks before the companies went belly-up. After that, it didn't matter what happened to the corporations.

Which is why as a free marketeer I advocate both being your own self advocate, and doing the responsible thing in the end.

It wasn't recklessness or stupidity, but deliberate acts of greed that these huge cars rolled off the production lines and these 'unprofitable,' but long-term investments in car design were not pursued. These CEO's and board members probably didn't expect that oil companies would jack of the prices as they had, but they did know that SUV's and Hummers were going to have a long-term negative effect as gasoline became more expensive and foreign cars became more favorable because of their fuel economy.

I think while such might stand to reason...until you have definitive proof of their intent... I'm afraid it will be up to circumstance to ultimately convict them of any wrongdoing. Sometimes it jumps up and bites them, but often it does not. Sure. It sucks, but what can we do?

Were there any evidence, don't you believe these people would already be in shackles? I certainly do.

We shouldn't blame the current CEO's, but their predecessors who have retired; knowing that the consequences of their past actions wouldn't be their problem.

Agreed. But how are we going to chase them down without evidence? Also, you're now fighting them now that they are more wealthy and powerful.

It would take
1) the building of evidence over a long period of time.
2) constructing a timeline of events and checking it against verifiable data
3) constructing a testimony that casts guilt over the accused beyond a reasonable doubt.

It's not fair. However, the laws being what they are both in government and nature of reality, everything unfortunately just kind of falls into place. It bothers the hell out of me. I hate it when they take the money while knowingly lacking merit for it, and run...especially when that direction of their running is for office. But what can you do? Make laws? That becomes like hay in the needle stack. Especially considering 'the office' is where the money is: you need it to get in, you make a ton of it before you get out. The jackals you have making the laws were the ones ripping you off in the first place. Which is partially why I hold such bitter disdain for politicians.

Thing is this: I'm all for making as much $ as you possibly can, provided it is on merit. People generally agree with that. There are further rewards down the less materialistic path, but the greedy don't see it that way. So long as there is no physical incentive to do business that is always actually merited...so long as that potential goldmine exists by screwing everyone else over...this problem will keep occurring. Unfortunately, government laws can't ultimately make these people change and be any better people EITHER if you try to change the way things are.

Tommycat
05-09-2009, 02:37 AM
My bad bimmerman, I saw BMW520. Didn't see it was the 520d. I was thinking that the BMW 520 outdid the Prius. Of course, I think I would rather cruise around in the BMW than a Prius ANY day haha. Of course the V6 Camaro gets 29MPG and has 305HP sooooo.... I think that's good enough for me... especially when I start swapping out gears hehe... yeah right... Probably going to get the 425HP V8 with 26 MPG... and a shiney third pedal(auto is optional, but come on... THIRD PEDAL!!!!). What... it's a hybrid... it burns gas and rubber.

Of the big 3 GM is winning the MPG war as well. hating GM is funny. The V6 and V8 versions have better highway AND CITY MPG than the other two muscle cars. GM and BMW have been working hard to bridge the gap between what people want and fuel economy. Actually all the manufacturers are.

John Galt
05-22-2009, 08:46 PM
A thought on the subject: If the auto industry oligopoly is broken, we might actually see some real innovation instead of largely aesthetic changes every few years. Of course, bringing real competition into the auto industry is probably not the sort of change that the Obama administration would like to occur on its watch...

Bimmerman
05-23-2009, 03:15 PM
A thought on the subject: If the auto industry oligopoly is broken, we might actually see some real innovation instead of largely aesthetic changes every few years. Of course, bringing real competition into the auto industry is probably not the sort of change that the Obama administration would like to occur on its watch...

What do you define to be innovation?

Off of the top of my head, in the last three or so years, the following innovations have been produced:

-Fuel Cell Cars
-Hydrogen and Gasoline internal combustion flex fuel cars
-Clean diesel cars that pass US emissions laws (much harder than EU4 regs)
-Direct Injection for gasoline cars
-Variable valve timing
-Variable valve lift
-Emissions equipment that does not sap power
-8spd autotragic transmissions
-6spd dual clutch automated manual transmissions
-More horsepower out of an engine with lower emissions and better fuel economy
-Significantly safer cars
-Flex fuel cars
-Hybrids for the fashionistas
-Incredibly sticky rubber that also lasts a long time
-Low rolling resistance tires
-Active safety devices
- and much more

Now, go through that list, and note I did not specify the automakers involved. That is because EVERY automaker, including everyone's favorite whipping posts, have made significant innovations in those fields.

It takes much more time than anyone realizes to bring a product from the R&D stage to the production stage. When it does reach mass production, most people do not notice the difference, or the improvement. Saying that there is no innovation going on right now is frankly ignorant. Just because it GM doesn't have a car with "FUEL CELL" stickers on it does NOT mean they are not innovating, nor does it mean they have not released any truly innovative products lately.

Darth Avlectus
05-23-2009, 04:21 PM
^^^Nobody will get another word into this thread without the resident car expert having something to say in response. :lol:

It takes much more time than anyone realizes to bring a product from the R&D stage to the production stage. When it does reach mass production, most people do not notice the difference, or the improvement. Saying that there is no innovation going on right now is frankly ignorant. Just because it GM doesn't have a car with "FUEL CELL" stickers on it does NOT mean they are not innovating, nor does it mean they have not released any truly innovative products lately.



Hence the differences between a) those with masters or even PhDs in some kind of engineering versus the rest of us in the Bachelor's or Associate's. Those at the top are designing it at its every aspect while the rest of us are merely building the box it's supposed to go into.

As for the rest of your sentiment: I do truly wonder how many "disappointments" in popular media and publication are put out there simply because people bring preconceived notions or inflate expectations to the table.

While there is definite pragmatism that needs to be looked into from the firm's side of things, there are so many of the little things that happen to remain unnoticed. It's almost like the people are conditioned to NOT see these things. Unless the media producers are happy, nobody else is supposed to be. I'll make up my own mind, TYVM!

I second your emphasis: Just b/c it's not what certain of media head an "groups" want to see, doesn't make it any less of a breakthrough.

Bimmerman
05-28-2009, 07:29 PM
^^^Nobody will get another word into this thread without the resident car expert having something to say in response. :lol:

Hahahaha thanks, but I'm happy to discuss cars. I just want to set the record straight and be fair to all makers, I don't like bashing for the sake of bashing.


Hence the differences between a) those with masters or even PhDs in some kind of engineering versus the rest of us in the Bachelor's or Associate's. Those at the top are designing it at its every aspect while the rest of us are merely building the box it's supposed to go into.

Well, I don't have a masters or a PhD (yet), but am more of a student of history and an avid reader and researcher. I absorb anything I read on automotive technology, and frequently debate/analyze with my coworkers and car nut friends on new tech. I am an engineer though, that's where it all started.

Production gaffes are quite common really-- it has happened numerous times in every industry where a company sees a niche, develops a product, only to introduce it to a vanished market.

As for the rest of your sentiment: I do truly wonder how many "disappointments" in popular media and publication are put out there simply because people bring preconceived notions or inflate expectations to the table.

Far too many.

While there is definite pragmatism that needs to be looked into from the firm's side of things, there are so many of the little things that happen to remain unnoticed. It's almost like the people are conditioned to NOT see these things. Unless the media producers are happy, nobody else is supposed to be. I'll make up my own mind, TYVM!

I second your emphasis: Just b/c it's not what certain of media head an "groups" want to see, doesn't make it any less of a breakthrough.

Exactly! It may not be PC, but a breakthrough is a breakthrough. While it may not be impressive initially, it will be further refined and developed.

Anyway, to get this topic back on topic somewhat, now that the Obama administration has essentially dictated the terms of Chrysler's bankruptcy as well as GM's forthcoming bankruptcy, what are all of your thoughts? I find it blatantly unconstitutional, monopolistic, and reprehensible. The UAW now owns a majority stake in Chrysler, and will with GM. What the union doesn't have, the Government does. Only 9% of GM belongs to the bondholders now, which is despicable.

I'm having serious thoughts about voting for Obama again over this flagrant unconstitutional behavior. This is wrong, and should not occur.

Tommycat
05-28-2009, 09:03 PM
Yeah the latest developments on what the two HAVE to do for their bankruptcy is at best troubling. I really don't like how it's looking for Chrysler, and it looks to be a foreshadowing of what GM will be facing. Not a pretty sight. What's really sad is that this comes on the heels of some really big breakthroughs. I mean the Circuit EV Dodge has planned looks like an EV I would actually want(0-60 in 4 seconds!). GM with their FCEV's. Just darned bad timing.

I think it's kind of scary that the Government is delving into business ownership. I mean they seem soo good at managing cash these days(If I need a sarcasm tag for that you should beat yourself)

Jae Onasi
06-09-2009, 12:49 PM
The Supreme Court just put the brakes on Fiat's buyout of Chrysler (pun fully intended). I'm wondering if Chrysler's going to go completely down the tubes now.

mur'phon
06-09-2009, 02:45 PM
:argh:
I was sorta hoping Fiat would get a chance to turn things around, if only because they A seems like a rather good match (I.E chryshler has volume, Fiat has the cars the market wants) and B: because Fiats CEO has allready turned one company around.
Still, Fiat says they aren't pulling out yet, so maybe it will work out in the end.

Oh, and I would also like to thank GM for signing up for a deal made in hell, with unions and Putinists controlling enough shares to make the future for GM, eh, interesting for lack of a better word. At least car news will be fun for a while (though I would prefer if the news would stop chanting "Putin saved the US).

Bimmerman
06-09-2009, 05:44 PM
The Supreme Court just put the brakes on Fiat's buyout of Chrysler (pun fully intended). I'm wondering if Chrysler's going to go completely down the tubes now.

http://www.autoblog.com/2009/06/08/breaking-supreme-court-stays-sales-of-chrysler-to-fiat/

I'm a bit less than happy, but it's only a temporary stay. Hopefully a solution is found that appeases all sides, including shareholders. To hell with the union, the shareholders are far more important. The UAW can die in a fire for all the good they've caused. Seriously, they've had everything given to them on a silver platter; no other industry gives someone who hasn't necessarily graduated from high school such a high paying job with perfect job security and obscene benefits. Many college graduates make less!

I really hope that through bankruptcy that someone will grow a spine and change things regarding the union that ruined GM and Chrysler.....but I doubt anything will happen. I blame the UAW's protectionist policies faaaaaar more than the executive issues, of which there have been many. Boo hiss die in a fire.

http://cache.gawker.com/assets/images/jalopnik/2009/06/governmentmotors1.jpg

Totenkopf
06-10-2009, 04:16 AM
Well, the USSC has cleared the deck. Looks like Fiat shall now get their chance.

http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=D98NEVL80&show_article=1

Q
06-10-2009, 01:59 PM
I want one of those t-shirts. :D

God, how I hate the UAW. :swear:

Jae Onasi
06-10-2009, 02:09 PM
Fiat has gone ahead with taking over Chrysler. We have a Chrysler plant in town that's scheduled to shut down because Chrysler used the gov't buyout dollars to build a plant to do the same thing in Mexico. :roleyess: Maybe Fiat will do something else with the plant so we don't lose all these jobs. It's one of the big employers in our town.