No. 967
October 10, 2018
 

About The UjianNasional@PeterMDeLorenzo Author, commentator, influencer. "The Consigliere." Editor-in-Chief of Ujian-nasional.info.

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On The Surface


Tuesday
Dec022008

ON THE TABLE

December 3, 2008

 


Ford. Check out the Ford story - the real story about what Ford has planned and where it's going - .

Alan Mulally. The Ford Motor Co. has the best "Plan," the best future vehicle lineup and the best financial underpinnings of the domestic automobile manufacturers. And if the economy gets going again, they could even get by without any government loans. Alan Mulally is not only the most visionary and talented CEO in Detroit, he's one of the best in the business, period. And he has been worth every dime to the Ford Motor Company.

The GM Plan. Saab will be sold, Pontiac will be marginalized and become a niche brand, Hummer is already on the chopping block, and all options are on the table for Saturn. GM COO Fritz Henderson, when asked what the future holds for Saturn, told the media yesterday that the brand "is just not successful." Ouch, baby. The only problem is the time frame GM is talking about. The company says it will have one-third fewer dealers by 2012 and will focus on its core brands of Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet and GMC by then. Is this the final "plan" or is this just another transition step on the way to GM consisting of Cadillac and Chevrolet?

GM. From the "Heaping Bowl of Not Good" File comes word that GM informed Congress that if they don't get $4 billion by the end of the month, "the company cannot fund its operations," according to Fritz Henderson. So after 100 years of being in business, it comes down to $4 billion and less than 30 days for the automotive icon formerly known as the largest auto company in the world.

Chrysler. From the "Heaping Bowl of Not Good" File, Part II. Not to be outdone, Chrysler needs $7 billion by December 31st or they will be out of business.

Pontiac. Publisher's Note: Could GM's "Plan" of reducing Pontiac to a specialty niche vehicle be the nameplate's salvation? If the brand doesn't have to fulfill some warped notion of being all things to all people - something it has been saddled with for too many years - why couldn't Pontiac stand for high-performance RWD and AWD cars only? A Firebird Trans-Am, a GTO and a big Bonneville sedan would do nicely. Notgonnahappen.com, but it's an interesting thought... - PMD

Saturn. GM starved Saturn of product when it most desperately needed it years ago, and the brand never recovered. All of Saturn's early adopters had nowhere to go in the Saturn family, and so they went shopping - and buying - elsewhere, never looking back. Now that today's Saturn finally has some excellent products to offer, GM is out of time and money. GM doesn't have the marketing muscle to support Saturn, because any marketing funds they do have will go to Chevrolet and Cadillac first. What would have happened had GM been able to spend the $100 million it spent on the launch of the Chevrolet Malibu for the launch of the Saturn Aura instead? We'll never know.

Saab. Here's hoping that the Swedish brand finds a good home. Saab never fit in the GM conglomerate, and the cars are too decent to just let languish and fade away. We'll see.

GMC. Nowhere in GM's "Plan" did we find the news we wanted to find about GMC. If GM wants GMC to stay in the crossover and SUV business, fine. But GMC needs to get out of the pickup truck business. Now.

The UAW. It has agreed to suspend its controversial Jobs Bank program - which should have been eliminated years ago and which outraged countless citizens in the last few months - and it will allow the Detroit 3 to delay making payments to a retiree health care trust in 2010 to help the automakers through their cash crisis, UAW President Ron Gettelfinger announced today. Progress.

GMATS. Publisher's Note: GM announced yesterday that it would cease operations of its General Motors Air Transportation Services (GMATS) at Detroit Metro Airport due to significant cutbacks in GM travel volume over the last few months, ending one of the longest running dedicated corporate aircraft operations in the country. GM is exploring options for transferring its aircraft to another operator, and looking into the sale of four aircraft so it can terminate the leases. GM will shutter the facility effective January 1, 2009. The GMATS started out by flying propeller-driven Lockheed Loadstars and Douglas DC3s in the 50s, and from there progressed through turbo-prop Convairs and on to the jet age. The logo used for the GMATS originated on GM's famed Turbine-powered Firebird concept cars - seen on the tail of the Firebird III below - but was eventually phased out from use on its jets in favor of a more contemporary paint scheme. The logo is still prominently displayed on its aviation facility at Detroit's Metro Airport, however. The end of an era. - PMD

(Photo courtesy of GM)

The Auto Biz. Auto sales took another severe hit in November. The totals according to Automotive News: Aston Martin (-41.9%), BMW Group (-26.8%), Chrysler LLC (-47.1%), Daimler AG (-29.9%), Ford (-32.6%), GM (-41.3%), Honda (-31.6%), Hyundai Group (-38.6%), Mazda (-31.3%), Porsche (-48.2%), Toyota (-33.9%) and VW (-19%). Yup, this is what a recession looks like, kids.


The National Bureau of Economic Research. The people who monitor the nation's business cycles said Monday that the nation slipped into a recession in December of 2007. Really? Who knew?

Michael Boyd. In his essay entitled, "The New Symbols of Evil, Business Jets - Threatening Humanity" Boyd tees off on the hypocrites in Washington who beat the Detroit CEOs' use of corporate jets to death instead of focusing on the real issues at hand, which was the precarious state of the U.S. automobile industry. Click . Good stuff.