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This is copied and pasted, just thought it was an interesting article.

Shape up or ship out.
11 October 2003
The Economist Newspaper Limited, London 2003.
America's car industry

For the first time in August, Toyota sold more cars in America than Chrysler. Can anything be done?

THE last big book about Detroit was "Comeback: The Fall and Rise of the American Automobile Industry" by Paul Ingrassia and Joseph B. White. Published in 1994, it chronicled how Bob Lutz and others masterminded the recovery of Chrysler from its second brush with bankruptcy, and how Ford and General Motors (GM) learned from the Japanese how to make cars of quality more efficiently using "lean production".

Sure enough, Detroit did look to be cruising along smoothly. Ford, in particular, was making bumper profits by the late 1990s. But the wheelnuts, unnoticed, were loosening and by the end of the decade the wheels had started to come off. In August this year, Toyota sold more cars in America than Chrysler. A fluke, maybe. But the fact is that Detroit is steadily losing ground to its Japanese competitors. The shift also reflects how much the city has declined in importance in the past decade. Chrysler realised it could not survive as an independent company and sold out to Daimler-Benz, makers of Mercedes.

Ford is still reeling, after a crisis that saw its chief executive dumped and the young great-grandson of Henry Ford take the wheel. Ford's profits were $7.2 billion in 1999; by 2001 it was losing $5.4 billion. GM has picked up some momentum, gaining market share, but mainly by discounting. GM started a price war to keep sales going after September 11th 2001, when car showrooms emptied of people. The trouble is, as its chief executive, Rick Wagoner, admitted earlier this year, discounts soon stop being effective sales boosters and suck down profitability.

Micheline Maynard's crisply written book coolly analyses the causes of the latest fall of Detroit. Whereas "Comeback" was replete with colourful stories set in smoke-filled rooms with big personalities and swashbuckling deals, her book digs out the underlying story that was gnawing at Detroit's entrails even as it proclaimed its revival. No fewer than 200 pages are devoted to the plodding professionalism with which the big Japanese, South Korean and European manufacturers planned their assault on the American industry. Inevitably it is a less colourful read than the comeback book, but it provides a more valuable analysis of what has really been going on.

Many in the American car industry have been slow to appreciate how serious the problem really is. The big three manufacturers were used to hard times; they just hoped to make more money in booms than they lost in busts. But their current problems are different. Car sales are still at historically high levels; it is just that Detroit's share of these sales has slumped. Japanese, South Korean and German models (whether imported or made in the 17 car factories that foreigners have opened in America in the past 20 years) account for half of car sales, and are advancing onDetroit's last redoubt - the gas-guzzling minivans, sport utility vehicles and pick-ups so beloved of suburban cowboys.

In 1960, GM alone had 60% of the American market; today it can count on barely half that and the foreigners' share of the light-vehicle market is already 40%. Ms Maynard pinpoints the difference between the men who run the big three and the leaders of successful foreign car companies. She contrasts the financial background of those at the top of GM and Ford with the car knowledge of Toyota's boss, Fujio Cho, who cut his teeth running one of the company's first American factories. Similarly, the bosses of German car companies, such as Volkswagen, BMW and Mercedes, are all engineers, passionately interested in everything to do with cars.

But there is more to Detroit's weakness. The big three manufacturers have to deal with the powerful United Auto Workers Union, which has won its members great benefits while employers are saddled with pension and health-care costs that top $1,200 per vehicle. Ms Maynard concedes that Detroit is fighting back, with a new emphasis on the quality and attractiveness of the products. But she still sees Toyota becoming the biggest car company in the world, overtaking GM, and probably having no less than 15% of the worldmarket, its stated aim. She is right: Toyota will prevail. Detroit's choice is between shrinking or sinking.
 

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I feel we can be very competitive in the future, but we need to mandate these inflated corporate bonuses, and salaries....
They are giving top brass record 100 million dollar bonuses, across the board,...while cutting back on employees, and suffering in quality, hence affecting our future economic status in the global economy....keep this up and there will be 2 classes of people..18,000 a year, and million dollars a year.... causing the standard of the average american life to be sub standard.
I realize this hampers free enterprise, but c'mon....
do these people really ned to make that much money ?
every year none the less !

by the way, good article MONEYSHOT
 

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QUOTEdo these people really ned to make that much money ?

I couldn't agree with you more regarding the multi-million dollar bonuses.

Let me add something else, a cleaner at the Visteon Sheldon road plant can make in excess of $100,000.00 a year. Now I ask you how is that keeping Ford/Visteon competitive?

Just my $.02.
 

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"But there is more to Detroit's weakness. The big three manufacturers have to deal with the powerful United Auto Workers Union, which has won its members great benefits while employers are saddled with pension and health-care costs that top $1,200 per vehicle."

Maybe this is a big problem
 

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QUOTE(Madmax @ Oct 14 2003, 05:24 PM)"But there is more to Detroit's weakness. The big three manufacturers have to deal with the powerful United Auto Workers Union, which has won its members great benefits while employers are saddled with pension and health-care costs that top $1,200 per vehicle."

Maybe this is a big problem
EDBD......THAT ALSO IS EXCESSIVE TO DRIVE AROUND ON A FLOOR SWEEPER, ESPECIALLY IF THEY ARE SLEEPING
50% OF THE DAY OR NOT EVEN THERE AT WORK PERIOD, OUT FISHING WHILE ON THE HOURLY CLOCK...

MADMAX....
If they put the correct amount of money in the correct accounts the interest alone would be phenominal, and would more than enough take care of the people who have worked their 25-30+ yrs there and retired.
But no, they choose not to, the put the money in THEIR GREEDY POCKETS, raise the price of the car to have us pay directly for the retiree's pension, health care with each fiscal years earnings, wich in turn is robbing peter to pay paul, when in actuality if they just did simple math in this case all would be just fine.....
 

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QUOTE(Fast~Eddie @ Oct 14 2003, 05:30 PM)QUOTE(Madmax @ Oct 14 2003, 05:24 PM) "But there is more to Detroit's weakness. The big three manufacturers have to deal with the powerful United Auto Workers Union, which has won its members great benefits while employers are saddled with pension and health-care costs that top $1,200 per vehicle."

Maybe this is a big problem
EDBD......THAT ALSO IS EXCESSIVE TO DRIVE AROUND ON A FLOOR SWEEPER, ESPECIALLY IF THEY ARE SLEEPING
50% OF THE DAY OR NOT EVEN THERE AT WORK PERIOD, OUT FISHING WHILE ON THE HOURLY CLOCK...

MADMAX....
If they put the correct amount of money in the correct accounts the interest alone would be phenominal, and would more than enough take care of the people who have worked their 25-30+ yrs there and retired.
But no, they choose not to, the put the money in THEIR GREEDY POCKETS, raise the price of the car to have us pay directly for the retiree's pension, health care with each fiscal years earnings, wich in turn is robbing peter to pay paul, when in actuality if they just did simple math in this case all would be just fine.....
I´m glad you feel this way Eddie, I´ll make sure we take that into account when we discuss salary!!!
 

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DIDN'T KNOW I WAS APPLYING FOR THE CEO POSITION !
WAHOOO
YOU ALREADY KNOW MY POSITION ON THAT TRAVELER. HA!

MY TIME IS WORTH SOMETHING, NOT A MILLION, BUT SOMETHING...
 

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walk though a auto plant some time and youll see janitors making 22.50 a hour sleeping or sitting out side filthy bathrooms goofing off instead of cleaning , management playing nintendo, in there office, or game boy , skilled trades watching cable tv or playing nintendo with mgt. making over 30.00 a hour and skilled trades close to 30.00 ,or sleeping or watching dvd movies. especially on sunday when it double time .60.00 a hour . iam a tool and die maker at big three and have gotten tired of betaing head aginst the wall, you tell mgt to order steel so you can make a part for the line or a die that you see is about to break and they dont. all they want is numbers for that day NO ONE DOES THERE JOB !! i sign up for sunday because its easy money day 60.. for reading the paper and bbq steaks. or do home work ,, if you try to do a good job your a suck a$$. so screw it . and all the plants are pretty much the same. you tell your bosses boss what you need and he forgets 5 min after he walks away as long as its running now who cares is there aditude. boss fight among themselfs to make each other look bad by shorting a line from a trades man to fix it.and wont loan one out from there dept. line workers break things on purpose, so they can sit down and have a break, half the people dont show up for work most of the time on monday or friday,so lines cant run. people get fired for having sex at work drinking drugs and the union gets them back the next week.some have been fired as much as 5 times for drinking on the job or selling drugs. when i hired in 4 years ago my first comment was damm how do they stay in buissness,, engineers that can hardly read or draw a print ,iam not joking there are a lot that cant, there focus hope recruits or something i guess. its disgusting and you cant change it. but if there dumb enough to let it happen what can you do would you turn down that kinda money ? i know iam not , when they go under ill just take what i saved and work else where and say thanks for memories and easy money i can see it comming ...
 

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QUOTE(bobrob20 @ Oct 14 2003, 08:01 PM)walk though a auto plant some time and youll see janitors making 22.50 a hour sleeping or sitting out side filthy bathrooms goofing off instead of cleaning , management playing nintendo, in there office, or game boy , skilled trades watching cable tv or playing nintendo with mgt. making over 30.00 a hour or sleeping or watching dvd movies. especially on sunday when it double time .60.00 a hour . iam a tool and die maker at big three and have gotten tired of betaing head aginst the wall, you tell mgt to order steel so you can make a part for the line or a die that you see is about to break and they dont. all they want is #s for that day NO ONE DOES THERE JOB !! i sign up for sunday because its easy money day 60.. for reading the paper and bbq steaks. or do home work ,, if you try to do a good job your a suck a$$. so screw it . and all the plants are pretty much the same. you tell your bosses boss what you need and he forgets 5 min after he walks away as long as its running now who cares is there aditude. boss fight among themselfs to make each other look bad by shorting a line from a trades man to fix it.and wont loan one out from there dept. line workers break things on purpose, so they can sit down and have a break, half the people dont show up for work most of the time on monday or friday,so lines cant run. people get fired for having sex at work drinking drugs and the union gets them back the next week. when i hired in 4 years ago my first comment was damm how do they stay in buissness,, engineers that cant hardly read or draw a print ,iam not joking there are a lot that cant there focus hope recruits or something i guess. its disgusting and you cant change it. but if there dumb enough to let it happen what can you do would you turn down that kinda money ? i know iam not , when they go under ill just take what i saved and work else where and say thanks for memories and easy money i can see it comming ...

Great points.
Why people You can see this only in big three ???
 

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I've been to numerous assembly plants and I have seen some goofing off from time to time, but the vast majority of the workers are doing their jobs.

I agree the union does protect many folks that should be let go, but please be careful in depicting all U.S. Auto workers in the same light. Most of them do take pride in their work and strive to improve quality. Some plants are better than others.

Try to remember there are schleps out there in every line of work... And the job that is lost by purchasing a foriegn vehicle, could be your own. Whether you work in the auto industry or not. If you live in the Detroit Metropolitain area, your job or income potential is affected by it!

I don't know about you, but I work hard and take tremendous pride in my work. Even though I just work for a supplier...
 

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Bleah......this whole topic makes me sick to my stomach. I do not deny that the fate of "The Big Three" is not pretty. That title "The Big Three" makes me think, "My gosh who will be in the Big Three next month?" Surely not what most Americans believe. They still think it is Ford, GM and Chrysler...

It amazes me how many Detroiters, non-automotive people (do not take offense please), do not realize how their native economy is slipping.....I try to explain it to Jeff, but he doesn't quite understand do to the fact that he doesn't live, breath and see it everyday.

I have been trying to get out of automotive since I have been in it over five years ago. I was always in a plant on the floor and most of the management level. There was nothing worse than going to work everyday, motivated to get a job well done and to keep advancing, when you are faced with all of the laxed attitude that bobrob mentioned. Most employees who begged for overtime did nothing!!!!! I had to resort to camera and internet watching because even my Supervisor employees not just the clerks where looking at porn instead of working...It was enough to make me sick!

I could go about my day and do the best I could, but with people swearing in my face because I just wanted to earn a decent days pay and I was making them look bad, fu** off!!!!! I hate to say it but it was the males at the same level as me that I encountered who couldn't stand it that someone who doesn't have balls could do a job better then them. (I am not picking on the male gender here....just at one place in particular....)

Ugh.....anywho......I feel better had to vent. It is not just the quality of the parts or vehicles that needs to improve it is the quality of the attitudes of the employees that needs to improve. Their culture needs to change, it is spiraling down hill at a very fast pace. I couldn't stand to see it anymore so I am at a corporate office now where things are better but definately not pretty.
 

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Boss, even if you suceed in getting out of the Automotive Ind.The entire USA economy still relies on it. iT IS WHAT MAKES OUR ECONOMY. If you get out to a job, say dog grooming....if the auto ind. is not good here, peoiple are not working, you will not have any buisness. Everything here is dependant on the auto industry. Agriculture, food services, cleaning, shoe sales, everything.....So we as a nation should realize this and do our best to keep ourselves working, and providing the highest quality product at a price the consumer can afford to keep this circle of finance and way of life continuing. This can be controlled as long as our CEO, POLITICIANS BECOME HONEST AND TRUSTWORTHY....they have our kids and grandkids future in their hands.....if they can stop lining their own selfish pockets and focus on the big picture we may succeed....if not we will find ourselves and our values slipping away from us. AND TO THE PEOPLE WHO SLEEP, ECT..AT FORD, GM, DCX.....that does suck...i know people personally who go to work on a sunday, sleep under their bench area, watch tv on dbl time. yeah not fair...but the union protects them...I believe the union is a good thing, but also has to be fair, promote good weork ethics, an not protect those selling drugs, or blaintenly(sp) disreguarding work polices. These people hurt all of us...ALL OF US.....the auto companies just jack up the price to cover for these people as dead overhead.

I have worked in the auto and aircraft ind since 1988.
And I am at a wage that I earned in 1997 right now.
and i was not overpaid in 1997, i am underpaid now, due to the big 3 beating up suppliers to the point they cannot pay a good satandard of living wage for what we are supplying.
sad.....cause the price of a car has increased what 15% easy.....since 1997.....maybe more. How can we afford to buy the cars anymore ?
Auto ind is selling record # of cars, and handing out record profits to CEO, ect.... and cutting our wages, keep this one sided shift up, and all of us will be in trouble, except those who gived themselves the 100 million dollar binuses, they will be ok !
 

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And THIS is why we are losing so much work to other countries. They CAN do it cheaper. But don't they see it's killing our economy?

 

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QUOTE(Fast~Eddie @ Oct 14 2003, 08:41 PM)Boss, even if you suceed in getting out of the Automotive Ind.The entire USA economy still relies on it. iT IS WHAT MAKES OUR ECONOMY. If you get out to a job, say dog grooming....if the auto ind. is not good here, peoiple are not working, you will not have any buisness. Everything here is dependant on the auto industry. Agriculture, food services, cleaning, shoe sales, everything.....So we as a nation should realize this and do our best to keep ourselves working, and providing the highest quality product at a price the consumer can afford to keep this circle of finance and way of life continuing. This can be controlled as long as our CEO, POLITICIANS BECOME HONEST AND TRUSTWORTHY....they have our kids and grandkids future in their hands.....if they can stop lining their own selfish pockets and focus on the big picture we may succeed....if not we will find ourselves and our values slipping away from us. AND TO THE PEOPLE WHO SLEEP, ECT..AT FORD, GM, DCX.....that does suck...i know people personally who go to work on a sunday, sleep under their bench area, watch tv on dbl time. yeah not fair...but the union protects them...I believe the union is a good thing, but also has to be fair, promote good weork ethics, an not protect those selling drugs, or blaintenly(sp) disreguarding work polices. These people hurt all of us...ALL OF US.....the auto companies just jack up the price to cover for these people as dead overhead.

I have worked in the auto and aircraft ind since 1988.
And I am at a wage that I earned in 1997 right now.
and i was not overpaid in 1997, i am underpaid now, due to the big 3 beating up suppliers to the point they cannot pay a good satandard of living wage for what we are supplying.
sad.....cause the price of a car has increased what 15% easy.....since 1997.....maybe more. How can we afford to buy the cars anymore ?
Auto ind is selling record # of cars, and handing out record profits to CEO, ect.... and cutting our wages, keep this one sided shift up, and all of us will be in trouble, except those who gived themselves the 100 million dollar binuses, they will be ok !
[Auto ind is selling record # of cars, and handing out record profits to CEO, ect.... and cutting our wages, keep this one sided shift up, and all of us will be in trouble, except those who gived themselves the 100 million dollar binuses, they will be ok !]

i feel bad for the vendors having to give up 7% and in turn they take away from there employees to make up for it while ceos still get a bonus and free cars to drive for them and there familys.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I work for a supplier also and a few months ago, I heard the CEO yelling "why don't we just tape a $20 bill on each part before we ship it to GM".
BTW - That article is from Europe, even they can see it coming, yet the ego's of the big companies are so consumed with themselves, that they can't see the big picture and are in the process of ruining our economy.
 

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The blaming and finger pointing must stop. This is a war in essence to save the economy. There isn't one bad guy (Management or Union) but management and Union must work together for the common goal. Jobs, security & winning back the trust of the American consumer. Unions must police their own ranks, ask members to perform and explain why, hey it's all still about the chains weakest link. Management must work with Unions to the betterment of their product and processes, and must follow the discipline track for those employees who won't jump on the bandwagon. Job security can be obtained by job performance. What did the man say? "It's about the economy stupid!"
(stepping down from soapbox now
)
 

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You cannot have an economy in Detroit without the UAW. Management will take advantage of the workers if there isnt a union. On theother side of the coin, the fact you can sweep floors in a plant and make 5 figures is absolutely rediculous.....EVERYONE hasa to realize that no one person or job description is to blame. It is time to tighten up and get profitable now, or there wont be a chance when the cars are being built in South America, the customer service is in India and the engineering/design is in Mexico.

Mini
 

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QUOTE(Fast~Eddie @ Oct 14 2003, 05:51 PM)DIDN'T KNOW I WAS APPLYING FOR THE CEO POSITION !
WAHOOO
YOU ALREADY KNOW MY POSITION ON THAT TRAVELER. HA!

MY TIME IS WORTH SOMETHING, NOT A MILLION, BUT SOMETHING...

Oh dude, surprise!!! Start learning Spanish, you´re going to Mexico for 2 weeks for the Ford PPAP course in Hermosillo. It´s in english so don´t worry. It´s gonna be great working with you!!
 

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Boss, even if you suceed in getting out of the Automotive Ind.The entire USA economy still relies on it. iT IS WHAT MAKES OUR ECONOMY. If you get out to a job, say dog grooming....if the auto ind. is not good here, peoiple are not working, you will not have any buisness. Everything here is dependant on the auto industry. Agriculture, food services, cleaning, shoe sales, everything.....So we as a nation should realize this and do our best to keep ourselves working, and providing the highest quality product at a price the consumer can afford to keep this circle of finance and way of life continuing. not protect those selling drugs, or blaintenly(sp) disreguarding work polices.
I know that Eddie.....I want to get out because it makes people with very ugly attitudes at times and some times ignorance is bliss. My plan is to get into health care whether or not that pans out due to the economy is left to see, however I will be much happier in my day to day routine........I have learned to accept that my happiness is much more important to me than making the big bucks and beating my head against the wall every day.
 

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I've been working in the auto industry since 1994 and I have seen a lot of good and bad work ethics. The thing that I believe will ultimately allow the foreign automakers to surpass US automakers is the American attitude that we all have to look out for #1 first, that of course being ourselves.

I believe that Japanese and European workers may tend to think about what's best for the company, before thinking what's best for them. This is why so many Americans are buying import cars and trucks even though they know full well that every time they buy one, they are strengthening a foreign country and weakening our own.

I think if there was a way to persuade Americans to buy American-made vehicles, we would see our US economy go through the roof and all of the foreign car companies would be forced to close up shop here in the USA and head back home. People just don't understand how much they are hurting the US economy by owning import cars.

Please don't take this personally if you are one of those people. I know that you made the decision to buy an import because they are QUALITY BUILT vehicles and you are just doing what you feel is best for you and your family, and I respect you for that. I just wish that people had enough trust and faith in our American cars to choose them over the imports.

I just can't stress enough how strong I believe the US economy would become if we all just stopped buying vehicles from the foreign auto makers.

my $.02
 
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