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Some people just don’t see the progress GM has made



Published: Thu, July 2, 2009 @ 12:00 a.m.

Some people just don’t see the progress GM has made

EDITOR:

I am writing this letter to give my thoughts on the problems facing the auto industry and especially General Motors.

There are many reasons why GM and the other American car companies are in trouble today. The economy is in overall bad shape. The banking industry, the housing and their poor lending issues, Wall Street taking billions if not trillions of dollars out of everyone from the super rich to the poor small investors, $4-a-gallon gas, but most of all the trouble is because too many people are buying foreign cars.

I’m tired of having people say that foreign cars are better. That is pure baloney. Maybe 30 or 40 years ago there might have been an argument here, but not today. Go into any foreign car dealer and check out their service department. See if their service people are sitting around playing cards and drinking coffee, or are they busy fixing cars.

I’m tired of educated idiots writing articles in newspapers (like yours) bad mouthing GM and their products. An example is a statement from a professor from Washington University. In a June 11 column, David Nicklaus stated that, “I’m not seeing how the problems with technology, lack of design, long term quality issues, and the cost issues that have plagued GM are being dealt with.” Either this guy has been on another planet for the past few years or his head is in the sand.

For technology lets look at On-Star. This system tracks your vehicle wherever it is. If it is stolen, it can be found. If you lock your keys in it they can unlock it for you. If you are in an accident and the air bags deploy On-Star can alert the police for you.

For design, has this guy seen a Cadillac lately? How about a Buick Enclave? What about the Chevy Malibu, Traverse, or the new Camaro? The list goes on.

For quality, GM can match or beat any other car company in today’s world, domestic or foreign.

For cost issues, GM and the U.A.W. have been tackling this problem for years. This is an ongoing issue that all companies deal with every day, every year. Nobody wants to go backwards here, whether you are selling screws to the company or you are the one shooting the screw into the doorpad. During the current economic crisis everyone in the business has felt the cost cutting pain.

One final thought. Every time I hear this advertisement from Toyota or Honda, “we have the No. 1 top selling car in America,” my blood boils. There is something very wrong with that statement in our country.

BILL HOUK

Austintown


Comments

1Search4Answers(726 comments)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

GM has been losing market share since the 70's. At one point over half the cars in america were GM. Now "turning it around" is just not losing anymore from their current like 20% market share. Competition isn't a bad thing you know, it helps cars become cheaper and better for the consumer.

Plus since GM and Chrysler are now partially owned by foreign entities they aren't American as you would like. Government Motors will be owned 12.5% by the government of Canada and Chrysler by Fiat.

The American thing to do would to buy from a company not owned by unions or the government and built in America. So Honda of America would count, their American Accords and Civics are built in Marysville, Ohio.

I will never purchase a GM vehicle or Chrysler again.

I guess it must make you proud to buy from the company whose accomplishments of the last decade includes the greatest annual loss ever for a company. Face it, GM's a joke and brings shame to itself.

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2ytown9999(55 comments)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

What does hate have to do with calling out a business that has failed miserably?

People that blindly believe in GM, or any corporation, are the suckers that allow them to get away with their misdeeds and poor management and eventually get bailed out by the taxpayers.

Waggoner, the recently resigned CEO, according to Forbes made $8 million in 2005 and $14 million last year, while the company was sinking.

I am sure he is laughing at all the taxpayers who are now paying for his mistakes while he enjoys the millions and millions he made while the company tanked.

Get a clue and stop talking nonsense about hate. It's not hate - it's reality and common sense.

I've driven GM for as long as I can remember. And while Honda and Toyota BUILD plants in America, to employ Americans, GM and the other "big 3" build plants in 3rd world countries and build their products under near slave labor conditions so that they can take home their millions in executive compensation.

I won't be driving GM again when I need a new vehicle.

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3DoctorGonzo(728 comments)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

This guy states all the beliefs about GM that made it the great company it is today- broke and screwing its shareholders.
It has very little to do with quality. GM cars have a lower resale value overall, but cost as much. That's an issue.
But that is just he tip of the iceberg. GM has been spreading itself thin for decades with umpteen product lines and all the while their costs were still higher than the revenue on each car. Management had to see this end coming for years but nothing was done. Labor just kept asking for more and getting it. There was never a R&D move to build a car like the Cruze until after bankruptcy? Now you are about 10 years behind the other fuel efficient cars, but the Cruze will save GM?
The bottom line is that GM has NO ONE to blame but themselves. Anybody who thinks otherwise is only kidding themself.
The government gave money to wall street firms and other companies in trouible because there was a good chance they would get paid back in the long run. A calculated risk. What happened to the money GM got? Gone. A gift from the taxpayers to them with no real chance of repayment.
Get a clue.

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4cambridge(3013 comments)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

Gonzo....The federal government got shares of stock to keep GM in business. There is the possibility of that stock being sold and the federal government not only getting the money back but making a profit.

Hope4thevalley made a comment on a previous post about it being "easier to fall down than to get back up." Give it some time. Maybe some people will actually thinks it's a good idea to support their own investment.

If the American auto industry failed a projected 7 million people would have lost their jobs. I don't like risking my tax dollars either but what was the alternative?

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5Search4Answers(726 comments)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

I'm slow to criticize Wagoner on a personal level. Obviously on a professional basis, he failed miserably to bring about any changes over the last decade that would have saved GM. I think he was too much of a "nice guy", he was too concerned about hurting peoples feelings rather than making needed changes. Instead of making the heavy overhaul of the company he was way too incremental.

There's plenty of blame to go around but the company simply wasn't innovating enough to improve their business by making it more efficient. The key to business is innovating and making sure you have the best product at the best price, when you're losing market share like GM did, you aren't offering the best product and the best price.

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6Search4Answers(726 comments)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

Cambridge,

Think its a good idea to support our own investment? Do you think it was a good idea to support nationalization of industry in Soviet Russia?

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7DoctorGonzo(728 comments)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

Cambridge (harvard) - the GM shares are worthless. That is what happens when you file bankruptcy. But let's talk hypothetically. Let's say the GM shares do become marketable again. How long will it take for the shares to have a market value anywhere near enough to repay the money GM was given? The stock was valued at under a dollar. GM is telling the public not to buy their shares right now.
The reality is that money given to GM before filing chap. 11 is gone and it will NEVER be repaid. That is why Obama let them file in the first place. He knew that was the only long term solution (aside from restructuring the company to run like an actual busines which apparently will never happen). Obama had the opportunity to throw more money at them but he knew it would not change anything.
The only real hope GM has in the long term is if the bankruptcy court is allowed to dictate the cost and benefit structure of GM on the other side. If not, GM will be dead again in 5-10 years because they have not addressed the core problems with their company. Plain and simple.

And on another note, all these people whine about Americans buying foreign cars, I would like to take a look in your home and see how much foreign stuff you have. I bet your house is filled with foreign products but you feel the need to criticize people who own foreign cars. Get bent.

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8cambridge(3013 comments)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

Search4Answers.....The federal government didn't nationalize the auto industry. It bought stock to be sold at a later date and to have no further connection. Don't represent it as something it isn't.

Do you think it would have been a good idea to let the American auto industry fail and no longer exist?

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9cambridge(3013 comments)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

Gonzo....You're right the stock was bought before the bankruptcy. You may be correct in your point of that stock taking years to be marketable if ever. I'll say it again. I don't like seeing my tax dollars used this way. Anyone that would be crazy.

I guess it came down to letting the American auto industry to vanish or take the chance and hope they can turn things around. That's why the people in Washington spend their time making hard decisions and you spend your time talking to me. I just read an article today that GM sales in China are up 39% in the past six months.

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10DoctorGonzo(728 comments)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

Actually, I spend my time scoffing at society, and trust me the decisions made in D.C. are only hard because they are worried which votes they will lose when they make them. Patronizing elected officials is a crime against humanity.

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11ytown9999(55 comments)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

Everyone needs to stop equating GM's failure with the idiotic Chiken Little mantra "oh for love of humanity the whole auto industry is doomed and will crush the American economy if GM fails".

I call BS on that sky-is-falling rhetoric.

In the 90's Lordstown had 12,000 GM employees. Now they have only 3,000 many of which are either contractors or lower tier wage employees. Then take into account the obscene tax abatements they got to build the new paint shop and just keep the plant running and then tell me again how they are the backbone of the Valley.

And are you ignorant enough to think if they had their way, they would not ship every single job out of the US if they could? They have been laying off and elimating American jobs for years - in the hundreds of thousands altogether. All while they build new plants in Mexico or China.

Honda and Toyota don't have to have plants here, employing Americans, but they do. Why the loathing for foreign cars? Do we hate them because they did their homework and learned how to run lean while our companies thought they could never failand did nothing to change? Is it because their shareholders are citizens of another country? Because as far as I am concerned any vehicle built in America with American labor is an American vehicle. My GM truck was built in Canada. I don't see how Canadian plants contribute property or income taxes or other revenue to our economy.

Yes, I see why we must keep the big 3 afloat. China needs cars. Built in Mexico.

So, I ask - what good will the American Auto Industry do when it has virtually no employees in America?

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12JME(801 comments)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

I have to laugh at the letter writer when he says that GM's quality is equal to that of Honda/Toyota. Apparently he has never owned a Honda/Toyota.
My househould has bought/leased new since 1991: 9 GM, 1 Toyota, 2 Honda. Not one single problem with the Toyota or Honda's. Multiple problems with the GM's, including a 2003 Chevy Tahoe and 2001 GMC Jimmy - both of which had 3 major repairs within the first year.
GM's quality may be improving, but they're still not near the quality level as a Toyota or Honda.

Maybe the writer see's my Honda in the foreign service department getting an oil change or other preventive maintenance - believe me, it's not in there for a repair.

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13Search4Answers(726 comments)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

If GM wasn't nationalized then why is there this need for a car czar? Maybe they aren't running the day to day tasks but when the Government has a controlling interest in a company I would call it nationalized. Who do you think fritz henderson and the board of directors answer to? the government of course.

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14JME(801 comments)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

ytown, well put. Honda and Toyota are building plants and providing American jobs, and giving back to the communities (as evidenced when you spend some time in central Ohio. If the UAW could get their greedy hands on Honda/Toyota's work force, you wouldn't hear any crying about those foreign cars.

I also remember a few years back when the Lordstown school system needed additional funding to keep operating, and wanted to implement an income tax which would have affected the GM-Lordstown workers.
Jim Graham and the UAW didn't want to help and cried foul "taxation without representation" - even after the city of Lordstown gave up revenue due to the tax abatements, so that the UAW can have jobs.
Now Graham and his UAW wants others to bail them out.

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15JME(801 comments)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

Mr. Letter writer, this just in:

My wife's 2008 Buick Lucerne (less than a year old) now has a drivers-side door lock that does not work.
Yea right, GM's quality equals Toyota/Honda 's.

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16RFederer(116 comments)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

GM supporters have been telling us how their products are as good as Toyota and Honda for decades and then after a few years they finally admit what everyone knows, GM quality is not equal to Toyota and Honda. Market share doesn't go from over 50% to 20% when you are building top notch cars. I will never again buy GM. I've had too much success with my Toyota's.

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17gypsygirl720(186 comments)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

My OPINION:
With the EXCEPTION of Harley Davidson Bikes,
I absolutely refuse to BUY an "American" made vehicle.
My new imported Maserati Q meets MY expectations.
Yes, I do work hard for a living.
Yes, I do pay taxes.
Yes, I get alot of flack.
All I know is this: I can depend on my collection of "imported" cars.

This is NOT against the line- workers. They must follow the "blue-prints".

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18joebag09(251 comments)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

Vehicles are expensive.....no one is going to tell me how I'm going to spend the hard earned dollars I make on my vehicle choice. American? Give me a vehicle that is rated as well as some foreign vehcles and we'll talk. I would gladly buy american. PLUS, I love the ads.....you'd think they were giving these cars away....we're talking 20000 +, depending on the make and options. It's insane!

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19bingoman55(2 comments)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

GM is taking jobs away from good working people who at the Lordstown plant They have replace people with robots.They have hired 800 of them in the last month.Body shop, Paint shop, what is next the union? I belive that people that worked at G M put them where they are now.Not robots.If G M is going to start over they should at the top and replace Exc.with robots.What money will they save.NO SALARYS!

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20XFilesX(77 comments)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

Not a GM fan. Was not raised in a GM household (father did not work at GM) Only drive a GM vehicle because spouse's family is GM retired and got a GM discount. Quality sucks. SOMEDAY I will be able to afford to tell GM to shove it. As a free American, it's my RIGHT to buy any darn thing I want with my hard earned cash.

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21timOthy(802 comments)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

Goverment Motors isn't getting one cent of my money ! They're the biggest SCABS out there ! The attitude the have is Big Me Little You. They don't promote Unionism it's tore down by there Greed. I've been commenting for quite some time on G.M. employees. I still have'nt observed any comments from U.A.W. members about their support for other Unions or concerns. It's like I said before "look or ask to see what's on the back of these people". You won't find a United Garments Workers Label or Logo ! I'm not going to get into the House they live in. Scabs ! Scabs! SCABS!

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22casper77(136 comments)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

You people that bad mouth unions,do you know how the work place was before union came? Unions came about because of the abuses of companies to their workers.No breaks ,no benefits, no vacations, no days off, long hours,and don't get hurt on the job or you will be replaced. And when you got too old to do some of your work ,you were let go. When CEOs and the goverment have their way,busting the unions,we will be back there again

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23ismellmyhand(26 comments)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

OK three thoughts. 1) I and everyone else I know will never buy a GM car again. They are tainted by the Obama admin and are offensive to any American who believes in the free market. I already pay my taxes so GM will never get more of my money. Ever. 2) Labor unions were legit in the early 20th century. They are bullsh*t now and are little more than organized crime. For example.... it is ridiculous to think that even government employees (any of them) require the protetion of labor unions. 3) The Democrats are using you. Their friends get rich on outsourcing while you vote for them thinking they are protecting your union/you. dumbasses. All of you.

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24ismellmyhand(26 comments)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

One more comment my dummy youngstowners. The American auto industry would not disappear if GM went under. it would end up being owned and managed by new owners and probably get truly revitalized. Now you have more of the same.... hope and change byatches.

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25Search4Answers(726 comments)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

ismellmyhand is right, it doesn't matter if you keep a car company open, they still have to sell cars to keep the jobs. If one car company can't do it right another one will come along that does it better, its called a free market.

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26redvert(2064 comments)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

American manufacturers can do it right. My daily driver and tow vehicle to haul my 7000 lb car trailer back and forth twice a year between Ohio and Florida is a 2003 Ford F-250. 87000 miles and other than normal maintenance that I do myself I have not spent the first penny on repairs.
Now would I get as good results out of a Honda,Toyota, or Nissan if they made a vehicle that matched mine in real towing capacity instead of some of these stupid claims. I don't know but until a Ford does me wrong I will stick with it. My second choice would be a GM based on how it all shakes out.

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27smte4pears(18 comments)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

American Trucks are generally good vehicles because there has been a large profit margin made on those vehicles over the years. Since there's greater profit potential, there's more capital invested in design and marketing. Honda and Toyota don't make comparable vehicles because it isn't in their strategies. The only vehicle close to comparison is the Tundra.

Now that going green is the fashionable thing in the auto industry (something Honda and Toyota have focused on since they've made cars), GM & Ford are light years behind in offering really good & green cars. Ford started to focus on green vehicles earlier this decade, so should it be a surprise they're not bankrupt right now? Ford is at least attempting to look around the corner at what lies ahead.

And I wonder, why are the Camaro & Challenger selling out when slaes are at rock bottom for the rest of the fleets? GM and Chrysler must have done something right for the demand for those cars to be sky high

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28xytown(63 comments)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

I'll keep it short and sweet. I loved (past tense) Youngstown and GM cars but both have failed to take a good hard look at reality and CHANGE!

GM and Youngstown should read the book "Who Moved My Cheese" very small book easy to read and would make a lot of sense for those in Youngstown...

I still miss Mill Creek Park, the restaurants and the people including my family but until folks come to grips with the fact GM and Youngstown are broken beyond repair and it's time to start over nothing will put them on the road to recovery. Like the steel mills they cannot be fixed and all the crying and defending will not change anything.

Develop a plan Youngstown one that doesnt include the letters GM or STEEL or move to a progressive city that is willing to chase the cheese...

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29sloppyk32(5 comments)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

Progress?

This is a company which was losing billions of dollars a quarter and did nothing to stop the bleeding. You know why? UAW would not let them because they would have to cut jobs and close factories. I remember when I lived in Youngstown area for 30 years and GM would make statements that they were losing money. The next thing you know the UAW is going on strike for higher salaries and better benefits. WHAT THE ...?? I also remember talking to guys who worked out at the van plant in Lordstown and they would tell me how they would sleep in the back of vans and get paid for eight hours.

Today, I work in an industry that involves myself, non-union, working side by side with union workers. After seeing some of the guys who work hard and do a great job and see other union workers , as they call it "drag up on you", I realize something. The unions help the people who do not deserve the job or need to be fired and punish the people who work there butts off. In today's working enviroment, unions are not needed. Labor laws, age discrimination, etc... protect the good workers from being harassed by the company and allow them to make a good wage. Unions will protect the people sleeping on the job or pay some ridiculous wage, $20+ an hour, to sweep floors at a auto plant. I'm sorry but unskilled labor does not deserve this type of wage. Talk to any other auto worker in Marysville and ask them if they wished they were union.

It's sad but my last car was a 2001 Oldsmobile Alero with 145,000 miles on it and it ran like a champ!! (I'm sure glad GM made the smart move and discontinued the Oldsmobile line but kept Hummer!! IDIOTS!!) It was recently totaled in an accident. I am in the market for a new car, and it will be a Toyota, Honda, or VW. Reason - WE all own a part of the "OLD GM" which is worthless and we would all have to buy new stock in the "NEW GM" after they restructure out of bankruptcy if we would want something of value. Makes a lot of sense, huh??

GM go F yourself!!!

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30dude99(5 comments)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

i for one would not by a honda or any other foregin crap car in my life..i will ride my bike before i would own one of those...my dad worked 30 plus years out at GM in lordstown on the LINE....will always drive chevy

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31Search4Answers(726 comments)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

sloppyk,

First of all just some advice (trust me I'm not pushing GM in anyway) you might want to stay away from VW, I've heard some stories about their reliability being less than what you would expect from "german engineering", so I would suggest honda or toyota over VW.

That's just my opinion and I'm real gun shy about trusting the reliability of cars just because of a bad experience I had with a Chrysler, thats why I suggest honda, I just got a civic so I can't speak for it yet, but from what I"ve heard honda has the best reliability for your money.

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32sloppyk32(5 comments)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

Dude99,

I recently came back to Y-town for a visit and talked to some old friends. Two of them had fathers who worked and retired from GM Lordstown. They both told there fathers they were going to buy a "foreign" car, as you put it. You know what they said? "I don't blame you one bit!" It must be something to hear when two retired GM autoworkers don't trust the cars as well.

Since I have been looking for a car (three weeks), I noticed something. When you see a car on the side of the road broke down, what type of car is it? I have been keeping a tab on this. GM, Ford, and Chrysler = 16 cars. Honda, Toyota, VW, and any other non-"Big Three" cars = two cars. Interesting?

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33steelerman09(111 comments)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

GM isn't an American brand anymore, anyway. As long as they are owned by the Government, who loves to ship our jobs overseas, then they will be an international company. Unions protect the lazy worker anyway. Retired from GM at age 55, make a nice pension, and can still complain that the new "healthcare" package you have doesn't cover your Viagra!

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34gypsygirl720(186 comments)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

@sloppyk32,

I forgot in my previous posts [because I don't drive it] but: we still own a 1988 OLDS Delta88 Royale.
Excellent condition, normal maintenance, etc.
We get really high offers on it several times a week.
My husband will never sell his "everyday work car".
My everyday car is a 2000 Toyota RAV-4.
The expensive "imported" old sports cars are for pleasure.
Hope you find something soon to replace your 2001 OLDS Alero.

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