Archive for the ‘auto’ Category

Mitt Romney Says: Let Detroit Go Bankrupt

November 19, 2008

IF General Motors, Ford and Chrysler get the bailout that their chief executives asked for yesterday, you can kiss the American automotive industry goodbye. It won’t go overnight, but its demise will be virtually guaranteed.

Without that bailout, Detroit will need to drastically restructure itself. With it, the automakers will stay the course — the suicidal course of declining market shares, insurmountable labor and retiree burdens, technology atrophy, product inferiority and never-ending job losses. Detroit needs a turnaround, not a check.

Published by The New York Times
November 19, 2008

I love cars, American cars. I was born in Detroit, the son of an auto chief executive. In 1954, my dad, George Romney, was tapped to run American Motors when its president suddenly died. The company itself was on life support — banks were threatening to deal it a death blow. The stock collapsed. I watched Dad work to turn the company around — and years later at business school, they were still talking about it. From the lessons of that turnaround, and from my own experiences, I have several prescriptions for Detroit’s automakers.

First, their huge disadvantage in costs relative to foreign brands must be eliminated. That means new labor agreements to align pay and benefits to match those of workers at competitors like BMW, Honda, Nissan and Toyota. Furthermore, retiree benefits must be reduced so that the total burden per auto for domestic makers is not higher than that of foreign producers.

That extra burden is estimated to be more than $2,000 per car. Think what that means: Ford, for example, needs to cut $2,000 worth of features and quality out of its Taurus to compete with Toyota’s Avalon. Of course the Avalon feels like a better product — it has $2,000 more put into it. Considering this disadvantage, Detroit has done a remarkable job of designing and engineering its cars. But if this cost penalty persists, any bailout will only delay the inevitable.

Second, management as is must go. New faces should be recruited from unrelated industries — from companies widely respected for excellence in marketing, innovation, creativity and labor relations.

Read the rest:
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/19/opinion/
19romney.html?_r=1&hp

Obama’s White House Limo: Mean Machine

November 14, 2008

An analysis of unauthorized photographs taken while the car was being tested last summer on public roads suggests that the presidential ride will be a truck-based Cadillac. It will presumably replace the Cadillac that President Bush has used since 2005.

 
This Cadillac, disguised for testing, may go to Washington.  Chris Doane/Brenda Priddy & Company
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This new car will be a Caddy like no other. The photos by Chris Doane, a spy photographer who hunts big automotive game — future models that haven’t been publicly revealed — for magazines and Web sites, provide clues about how specialized presidential transportation has become since the first White House fleet was ordered for William Howard Taft in 1909. President Taft rode in a stock White steam car or a conventional Pierce-Arrow, but the next president will travel in a fortress-like vehicle that was mostly built from scratch.

The photographer noted that the limousine was being tested, possibly for comparison purposes, with a pair of GMC Topkick medium-duty trucks. The limousine seemed to be riding on the same 19.5-inch Goodyear Regional RHS tires as the trucks, indicating that it is far heavier than a civilian Cadillac — even the longest stretch limousines built with the G.M. division’s heavy-duty coachbuilder package. Indeed, it is believed that the limo is based on G.M.’s 2500 line of trucks, which includes an extra-heavy-duty version of the Suburban.

Although the raised roof and wide windshield pillars are inherited from the ultra-armored limousines that entered presidential service in 2001, only educated guesses can be made about the technical details. Because neither the Secret Service nor General Motors will discuss the car, or even confirm that a new one has been under development, it is impossible to provide basic specifications or dimensions. Calls to Cadillac’s media relations department were not returned, and the Secret Service declined to comment.

Read the rest From The New York Times:
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/02/automobiles/02LIMO.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

See also Fox News:
http://elections.foxnews.com/2008/11/14/obama-chic-potent-
new-presidential-limousine-spotted/

Auto Maker Bailout “Doubtful”

November 14, 2008

A senior Democratic senator raised doubts on Thursday that an attempt to bail out U.S. automakers had enough support to clear Congress this year. 

As Republicans amplified their concerns about a bailout, Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd raised the biggest red flag for fellow Democrats trying to craft a $25 billion rescue and pass it during a post-election session set to start next week.
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By John Crawley and Rachelle Younglai, Reuters 

“Right now, I don’t think there are the votes,” Dodd of Connecticut told reporters about prospects in the Senate. “I want to be careful of bringing up a proposition that might fail,” he said.

Although Dodd said “we ought to do something” and personally backed using money from the ongoing $700 billion financial services rescue program to help Detroit, he was skeptical that enough Republicans would support a bailout.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, also cautioned that success of a bailout rests with Senate Republicans and the White House. With their slim majority, Democrats cannot force a measure through the Senate or trump a White House veto.

The White House opposes the approach being taken by congressional Democrats but has not threatened to block any bailout. Bush administration officials have said they would consider other steps Congress can take to help General Motors Corp, Ford Motor Co and Chrysler LLC.

Dodd said there have been “legitimate issues raised” about how to help.

Read the rest:
http://www.reuters.com/article/marketsNews/idINN1339
368420081114?rpc=44