May 18

The Volt Program May be Life or Death for GM

 

I recently wrote a post entitled “Could Recession Crash the Volt“. Now another sobering article was published by Businessweek.

The Chevy Volt program along with the entire portfolio of hybrids that GM is building and planning to build is described as a do or die situation for GM. The title, ‘GM: Live Green or Die’ tells it all.

The automaker is sort of described as a deer in the headlights, spooked by Toyota’s success in the hybrid realm and unpredicted rapidly rising gas prices.

The story recounts Lutz’ initial recommendation to build an electric car, confirming its early moniker as the “iCar”, and how the idea was delayed until 2007 when the Volt concept was first introduced.

GM is noted to be burning $1 billion a month and has yet raised it’s R&D budget for future cars from $6.6 to $8.1 billion last year. GM CEO Rick Wagoner is painted as the generally cautious type now forced to make bold moves and bet on unproven technology in the hope of allowing the company known for Big Hummers, Fat Caddys, and Massive Yukons to survive in the lean 35 mpg or more world of the future.

The truth is, the future is here now, and the Volt is already in the race to the finish to save GM.

Source (Businessweek)

This entry was posted on Sunday, May 18th, 2008 at 6:50 am and is filed under Financial. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

COMMENTS: 88


  1. 1
    Spin

     

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    May 18th, 2008 (7:05 am)

    The problem is time. Can GM last until the Volt and other E-Flex vehicles become profitable?


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    Ziv

     

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    May 18th, 2008 (7:56 am)

    If it was just GM’s domestic situation this might be a problem for them, maybe. But GM is pretty profitable overseas and is growing rapidly in China. But the talk about GM failing is just that, talk. They sell as many cars as Toyota in the US, & that is a lot of cars. They still have a great deal of brand loyalty in the flyover states, where a lot of people still prefer to drive a domestic car.


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    Kevin R

     

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    May 18th, 2008 (8:03 am)

    I’m not worried a bit about this. GM is committed, they are well on their way to having the Volt on the road in the next year and a half. If they are spending this kind of money, and are this committed, they are doing what was done during WWII by many manufacturers. I don’t see failure, I see spectacular success.


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    Jim F.

     

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    May 18th, 2008 (8:10 am)

    I believe that GM executives know its “crunch” time. The time for change is now. It is also interesting how GM’s executives have gained new perspectives, e.g., Bob Lutz pushing for more efficient electric cars, and Rick Wagoner moving boldly to change the direction of GM. All this indicates how serious the Volt project is to the future of the company. I sincerely hope that GM can pull it off – not only for the company, but for the future of our country and our way of life.

    Go GM!


  5. 5
    Dave G

     

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    May 18th, 2008 (8:23 am)

    Yes, GM needs to get alternatitive cars like the Volt successful in order to survive. But what is successful? If GM sell 10,000 Volts a year, is that successful? I don’t think so. The Volt will be successful when GM can sell 100,000 a year. If the Volt can surpass Prius sales, that will be very successful.

    So I think we here at gm-volt.com should try to remember that the Volt is supposed to be a car for the masses.


  6. 6
    ksuhwail

     

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    May 18th, 2008 (8:25 am)

    #2 is right.

    GM is still the number 1 automaker in the world and while they may not be popular in California or in the North East those markets are just a drop in a bucket compared to the different regions of the world that GM sells their cars.

    GM is not only having to restructure their vehicle operations but shed the losses caused by GMAC. My understanding is that they would be turning a profit if it wasnt for non-vehicle operations losses.

    In regards to brand loyalty, GM is one of the oldest and respected car companies in the world. Allong with Ford, Chrysler, Mercedes and VW these companies pioneered personalized transportation and have gotten us to where we are now. People will flock back to GM as long as they keep pumping out good products. I know most people I know feel guilty about not driving an American car; We’ve talked about it. The CTS and Malibu are hot cars and you will see used toyhondas at almost Chevy dealership around here because of tradeins.

    With the new vehicles in the pipeline such as the new Buick, Alpha based and STS/DTS replacement Cadillacs, VOLT, Aura, Astra, etc GM should have a bright future. As long as people buy them for the best in class vehicles they will be.

    The biggest issue is for GM to break this “Imports are better” stigma. Christ, anyone who sits in an ’08 Malibu then sits in an ’08 Camry can see a world of difference. I can’t imagine why anyone would get a camry other than for a percieved quality gap that doesn’t exist.


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    texas

     

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    May 18th, 2008 (8:35 am)

    I agree wholeheartedly that they need to transform or die trying. Of course they won’t just stop selling cars. It’s like people who say we have 100 years of oil left. They don’t understand that you can still be selling millions of cars but have to declare bankruptcy because you are not able to pay the creditors. Is GM close to declaring bankruptcy? Yes. They were not doing well before the price of oil started to skyrocket. I don’t know how GM will look in the next five years but it will not resemble what they are today (I think that’s a good thing). If they drop the idea of electrifying the automobile for some reason or another it will be the final blow, I’m afraid. If they get the whole company, including the union, behind the transition and can get everyone as excited as the Volt team then they have a good chance of dominating the next generation of automobile technology. If GM declares bankruptcy do not panic. If they decide to give up on the electrification of the automobile then you can start to panic.


  8. 8
    Terry

     

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    May 18th, 2008 (8:38 am)

    I agree with #1 – GM is running against time, but all of us are.

    I just returned from a week in Orlando. only to find gas is up another 7 cents – IN A WEEK! I don’t know how much higher gas prices will have to go before America goes into a major depression. I would be very interested to know why many low income people chose to get themselves fired, so they could stay home and collect unemployment, welfare or both – simply because they could not afford their bills, food, and skyrocketing gas prices.

    If a depression hits before Volt is produced, kiss GM goodbye. No car sales, no income. No income, and they cannot even meet the interest on their obligations to retired employees. If this happens, bankruptcy will surely follow. The Volt program will be eliminated, so GM can use the Volt budget to pay its creditors.

    I make 50K a year, and I’m hurting. I cannot imagine how people living near the poverty line can afford gas. There is only 2 ways out of this 1) increase domestic oil supply by drilling in ANWAR, and off the coast of FL and CA, or 2) use less gas.

    If the Volt makes it to production, it may save the United States economy as well as GM’s future. Future vehicles, based on Volt battery technology, could free up all the money we are pouring in our gas tanks and burning. We could spend this money on other things, like solar technology on everyone’s roof.

    Maybe we should rethink any opposition to government subsidies for the Volt. With the USA’s economic future in the balance, getting Volts into the hands of as many people as possible quickly, may be a wise choice.


  9. 9
    Arch

     

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    May 18th, 2008 (8:45 am)

    #6 I do not think #2 is right. Things have changed a lot in the last 5 years. I live in a very rural part if IL. You would have to drive 90 miles to find a city of 100,000. Here in this rural area Toyota and Honda have both built new bigger dealerships. Suzuki just moved in with a new dealership too. The Caddy-Olds dealership and the Chevy dealership are both in the some old buildings they have been in for the last 30 years. The hot big farm truck around here is the Tundra. The world in my part of the country is changing.

    Take Care
    Arch


  10. 10
    MetrologyFirst

     

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    May 18th, 2008 (9:30 am)

    Ksuhwail @6

    100% agree. I have, in fact, sat in a lot of new cars in the last few years.

    There is NO quality gap anymore. None. End of story. I think at about 2004 it became a new ball game.

    Those who think there is a quality gap are living in the past, or have not done their own research. Those I know who drive new Toyotas and Hondas aren’t interested in finding out if they made the right choice. They are only looking for data to support THEIR choice. After all, its all about them, you know. Heaven forbid they are proven wrong.

    For every single person i know who has a complaint about a GM car built since 2004, I can find someone with a complaint about a Toyota or a Honda built since 2004. It really is that simple.

    People who buy Toyotas today made a SAFE choice. In most cases, I don’t think they made the BEST choice. Apparently to an awful lot of people…… SAFE = BEST.

    GM needs to keep it up, inovate, build style. They can kick the imports behinds in style, thats for sure. I look forward to the day when style becomes the key to a new car reputation instead of historical mis-steps and prejudice.


  11. 11
    MetrologyFirst

     

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    May 18th, 2008 (9:35 am)

    Bernie at #10

    Keep it up. That kind of garbage is why GM is going to suprise many in the next 2-5 years.

    Once again, past prejudice is alive and well.


  12. 12
    Dave B

     

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    May 18th, 2008 (9:39 am)

    Perhaps the Teslas and Fiskers of Silcon Valley are the new business models for cars. If they perform (and are warranted as good or better) like current cars, lookout GM.

    They built the Roadster on a shoestring budget. And once the economy of scale kicks in, the Roadsters of the world will be dirt cheap. If you dn’t buy that, then look at the Miles Javlon, a BEV with Honda Accord stats with a range of 150 plus miles.

    GM needs to do more with less…


  13. 13
    Bernie Torbik

     

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    May 18th, 2008 (9:40 am)

    #12 – I don’t make the facts, I just report them. If you have any doubt, please show me a ray of sunshine in GM’s most recent report. Their current cash burn rate – $3.3 billion in Q1’08 – should see them slide into bankruptcy around this time next year.


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    Jim I

     

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    May 18th, 2008 (9:44 am)

    GM has seen the light. It is green…..

    What they need to do is TRIPLE the number of people working on the Volt and all hybrids, so that they can get them out to the dealerships ASAP.

    The need is NOW. GM has the chance, and is in the correct position to become the auto manufacturer they used to be…..

    Just don’t screw it up!!!!

    :)


  15. 15
    MetrologyFirst

     

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    May 18th, 2008 (10:04 am)

    I don’t have the time to write an equally irrelevant “letter” from the opposite point of view, but I have no doubt the “facts” as you call them, I would be inclined to call it all “data”, could be spun 180 degrees and point to a resurgence of GM particularly if you add in some effective assumptions, as you have in your peice.

    The truth lies somewhere in the middle.


  16. 16
    MetrologyFirst

     

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    May 18th, 2008 (10:06 am)

    Sorry, my post @15 was for Bernie @13


  17. 17
    Joe

     

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    May 18th, 2008 (10:40 am)

    to #11 #
    May 18th, 2008 at 9:29 am
    Bernie Torbik

    What would motivate you to write such a negative article about GM? The only motive I can think of is you hate GM. We don’t need garbage like this on this WEB site. Go back in your Toyota hole where you come from.

    What I’m afraid of is someone like you taking this dumb ass article and passing it on the internet as being truthful.


  18. 18
    Jeff

     

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    May 18th, 2008 (10:42 am)

    When GM North America embraces the ecomony vehicle market and makes it profitable, they will turn the “big ship”. Or oil price drops dramatically.

    For the most part, the US infrastructure (wide roads, large parking spaces, etc.) accomadates large passenger vehicles. In other parts of the world, the smaller infrastructure is another reason drivers prefer small vehicles…not just fuel prices.

    What if fuel was free…but you could not park a Tahoe in a parking garage because it too large. Or drive on a two lane road without taking up both lanes.


  19. 19
    BillR

     

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    May 18th, 2008 (10:59 am)

    GM is here to stay.

    If they do reach a financial collapse, there is no way the government will let them fail (especially in light of the new products that are in their business plan). Too many jobs, wages, and technology at stake.

    Another policy change might be to charge reciprocal import duties on automobiles. So if Japan wants to sell in this country, they will need to either open their markets or pay the same duties on cars that are imported in the US.

    GM just needs to survive until this “auto recession” is over. Even though our economy may not be classified as in a recession, an analyst has said that the auto industry is. After several years, this usually results in a boom for the auto industry when demand returns.


  20. 20
    Jason M. Hendler

     

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    May 18th, 2008 (11:00 am)

    GM is better positioned for the future than any other automaker in the world, including Toyota. Toyota has invested in tech and infrastructure that does not create a good path to EV’s, so they have to start from scratch.

    Our entire nation is in a scramble for new solutions, so it’s not just the auto industry, but energy and all other sectors that depend on energy and transportation.


  21. 21
    Grizzly

     

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    May 18th, 2008 (11:00 am)

    Folks,

    P.D.F.T.T.!


  22. 22
    Bernie Torbik

     

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    May 18th, 2008 (11:17 am)

    #17 Joe – I don’t hate GM, but I do hate what incompetent management and greedy unions have done to the company and its shareholders. I would love to see it succeed, but as my reply (#13) stated, I don’t make the fact, I just report them.

    Andy BTW, I don’t drive a Toyota, Honda or Nissan. I drive a Ford, and they’re in equally (if not worse) shape, as is Chrysler. Sad but true, I’m afraid…


  23. 23
    Lyle

     

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    May 18th, 2008 (11:20 am)

    Whereas I do not like to censor any comments, and believe strongly in free speech, I am concerned about the writing of fictitious statements ascribed to executives within GM.

    This site is about seeking the honest truth, dispelling rumors and sticking with the facts. All opinions are welcome but please address them as your own, unless you can verify and reference the source.

    Thanks


  24. 24
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    May 18th, 2008 (11:32 am)

    From: http://biz.yahoo.com/ap/080501/earns_gm.html?.v=2

    AP
    GM loses $3.3 billion in first quarter; lowers sales outlook
    Thursday May 1, 4:41 am ET
    By Dee-Ann Durbin, AP Auto Writer
    GM reports 1Q loss of $3.3 billion on weak US market, charges, lowers US sales outlook

    DETROIT (AP) — Bowing to grim reality, General Motors Corp. followed Ford’s lead and cut its U.S. sales forecast Wednesday after a tough first quarter that saw a $3.3 billion loss.
    But unlike Ford, GM faces more unknowns that could complicate its North American turnaround and drag down strong results overseas, including a strike at supplier American Axle, the protracted bankruptcy case of its former parts division, Delphi Corp., and unresolved labor talks in Canada.

    ADVERTISEMENT

    GM’s loss for the January-March period amounted to $5.74 per share, reflecting $2.9 billion in one-time charges. That compares with a profit of $62 million, or 11 cents per share, in the first quarter of 2007.

    Without the one-time charges, GM lost $350 million, or 62 cents per share, handily beating Wall Street’s expectations. On that news, investors sent GM’s shares up 9.4 percent, or $2, to close at $23.20. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial had expected a loss of $1.60 per share.

    Ray Young, GM’s chief financial officer, said analysts may be underestimating the company’s overseas growth. GM said revenues rose 20 percent outside North America thanks to strong expansion in China, Russia, Brazil and India. A record 64 percent of sales came from outside the U.S. in the quarter.

    But problems persist in GM’s home market. The Detroit-based automaker cut its industrywide U.S. sales outlook for 2008 to between 15.3 million and 15.5 million light vehicles from 16 million at the beginning of the year, largely due to plummeting sales of trucks and sport utility vehicles. That’s still higher than Ford Motor Co., which is forecasting 15 million sales. Young said GM believes the second quarter will be weak but that things will improve later in the year as lower interest rates and federal stimulus measures kick in.

    “We want to run our business conservatively. We want to be realistic,” Young said.

    Some analysts say GM’s biggest problem has been its failure to plan for the weak U.S. market, where 2008 sales are expected to drop to a 14-year low.

    “In our view, GM entered this year too optimistically, thus failing to manage its production and inventory appropriately,” Calyon Securities analyst Mark Warnsman said in a note to investors.

    But Lehman Brothers analyst Brian Johnson said he was encouraged by the company’s decision to lower its forecast as well as its announcement this week that it will cut production at four U.S. truck and SUV plants, affecting 3,500 jobs. Johnson said those moves show GM’s management recognizes how tough the U.S. sales environment has gotten.

    The one-time items included a $1.45 billion charge to reflect a change in the value of GM’s 49 percent share in GMAC Financial Services. Young said the company revalued its stake because of losses in GMAC’s residential mortgage division.

    GM also took a $731 million charge to reflect liabilities at Delphi. GM said it has taken $8.3 billion in Delphi-related charges to date as the supplier struggles to emerge from bankruptcy protection after two and a half years.

    Ford, which reported a surprise $100 million first-quarter profit last week, helped its former parts division Visteon Corp. avoid bankruptcy with a 2005 bailout. It also hasn’t been affected by the two-month strike at Detroit-based American Axle and Manufacturing Holdings Inc., which is in the midst of contentious labor negotiations with the United Auto Workers. American Axle spokeswoman Renee Rogers said talks were continuing Wednesday.

    GM said the strike, which has affected 30 plants, cost it $800 million and 100,000 vehicles in the first quarter — although several analysts said GM would have had to cut that production anyway. GM President and Chief Operating Officer Fritz Henderson said despite the losses, GM doesn’t want to intervene.

    “What we’ve tried to do is be helpful where we could be with the UAW and American Axle, but we really do not want to be involved,” he said in a conference call.

    Ford has another advantage: It already has agreed to a preliminary labor agreement with the Canadian Auto Workers. GM and Chrysler LLC have yet to reach theirs, but will now be pressured by the union to accept Ford’s terms.

    Henderson said he doesn’t measure GM’s progress against other automakers.

    “I’m not going to get into the business of trying to compare us with Ford or us with anybody else. We’ve got to get the business turned around,” he said. He added that all U.S. automakers will struggle this year with high gas prices and consumers’ rapid switch to smaller, less profitable vehicles.

    GM’s revenue for the quarter totaled $42.7 billion, down from $43.4 billion a year ago.

    The company lost $812 million in North America, compared with a loss of $208 million in the year-ago quarter. Its North American market share dropped from 22.5 percent to 21.7 percent.

    Jonathan Steinmetz, an analyst with Morgan Stanley, expressed concern about GM’s $3.4 billion cash burn for the quarter, and said the company should consider cutting its dividend and raising more capital. GM ended the quarter with $23.9 billion in cash and $7 billion in credit facilities. By comparison, Ford ended the quarter with total liquidity of $40.6 billion.

    GM sold 2.25 million vehicles worldwide in the first quarter, down less than 1 percent from a year ago.


  25. 25
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    May 18th, 2008 (11:37 am)

    From http://online.wsj.com/article/SB120947187152352595.html

    GMAC Feels the Drag From
    Its Struggling Mortgage Unit
    By CYNTHIA KOONS
    April 30, 2008; Page C5

    GMAC LLC’s first-quarter loss illustrates how tightly the company is being choked by its mortgage-lending unit, Residential Capital LLC. That the broader economy is faltering adds to its woes.

    GMAC, the financing arm of General Motors Corp., said its first-quarter loss widened to $589 million from $305 million a year earlier, pressured by persistent weakness at Residential Capital. Cerberus Capital Management LP owns 51% of GMAC.

    GMAC’s results will affect those of GM — which owns the other 49% of the company and includes its share of GMAC’s figures in its data — as the auto maker also attempts to return to profitability. Cerberus has also taken a hit on the investment, having marked down its GMAC stake by roughly 20% as of March 31, according to a person familiar with the situation. A Cerberus spokesman declined to comment.

    ResCap had a first-quarter net loss of $859 million, narrower than last year’s $910 million loss. Its recent loss included a gain of $480 million from debt retirement.

    ResCap, once a major U.S. subprime-mortgage originator, has been reporting losses for more than a year as a result of the blowup of the risky-mortgage market and the subsequent credit crunch. ResCap lost $4.3 billion in 2007, and GMAC spent much of the year restructuring the company, including job cuts and an overhaul of the business model.

    In spite of GMAC’s efforts to support ResCap, many credit-market investors suspect ResCap will become too much of a burden for its parent and ultimately will fail to meet its debt obligations. Within the coming year, ResCap has about $4 billion of unsecured debt and $13 billion of secured debt coming due. The company currently has a $4.2 billion cash cushion.

    GMAC said it had reduced the size of ResCap’s balance sheet and positioned it away from the subprime-mortgage market to primarily originate prime, conforming loans. Conforming mortgages meet requirements for government guarantees.

    GMAC is feeling pain in its auto-lending business as well. The company’s first-quarter net earnings from auto lending dropped 35% to $258 million on weaker credit performance.

    –Kevin Kingsbury and Peter Lattman contributed to this article.


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    Michigan Union Firefighter

     

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    May 18th, 2008 (11:43 am)

    Hybrid cars and other fuel sippers are the future of the automobile. If domestic automakers do not realize this other companies will, and those companies will succeed. If we want our economy to sustain and grow, we need to compete in these changing times. I’m very excited about the Volt and I hope its only the tip of the iceberg from US automakers.


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    Exp_EngTech

     

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    May 18th, 2008 (11:58 am)

    Lyle,

    Thank-You for a great, great article !

    This BusinessWeek article and the recent MIT Technology Review article on A123 Systems ought to be “must reads” for new members that register with this site.

    BusinessWeek
    GM: Live Green or Die
    http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/08_21/b4085036665789.htm

    Technology Review (MIT)
    Special Reports
    An Electrifying Startup
    http://www.technologyreview.com/read_article.aspx?id=20570&ch=specialsections&sc=batteries&pg=1

    #11 MetrologyFirst
    You’re dead on correct. I agree.

    # 14 Jim I
    Great analogy.

    The best thing about following the Volt development on this site is the confirmation that GM Management admits (in effect) that the age of using the ICE as a primary motor choice are over. They have made the critical decision to apply state of the art technology (that is just now ready) to set the new standard and in doing so, beat Toyota to the punch. Timing…Timing Is Everything. The Series approach that GM chose is a very wise move. Simple is better.

    If GM continues to execute, the Volt production startup will create more panic in Tokyo than the reappearance of B-29’s or a Godzilla sighting !

    Chevy Volt : Built With American Ingenuity
    One Moving Part – Go GM !


  28. 28
    Rashiid Amul

     

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    May 18th, 2008 (12:09 pm)

    Article says, “…extending the range to 600 miles. Remember the laptops that caught fire because their batteries overheated? Imagine if something like that happened while driving down the highway.”

    Wrong and misleading. In that order.

    However I found it an enjoyable read and see it as mostly accurate.
    The sentiment is correct. GM really does need to be first technologically. They need to brag about it too. But most of all they need to make it reliable so the press doesn’t hammer them even more.


  29. 29
    Nelson

     

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    May 18th, 2008 (12:16 pm)

    GM needs to continue their plan of attack.
    1. Start selling the dual mode plug-in hybrids in 2009.
    2. Accelerate testing and production of e-flex vehicles.
    3. Introduce the Volt ahead of schedule, 1st Qtr 2010.
    4. Incorporate fuel cell technology into the mix where it makes sense.
    They will succeed. Bankruptcy is not an option.


  30. 30
    CDAVIS

     

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    May 18th, 2008 (12:18 pm)

    I’m on the GM VOLT waiting list. I’ve moved some of my IRA-SEP $ into GM stock. I salute the GM senior management for having the vision and courage to re-invent GM and I salute every GM engineer and line worker for being part what I believe will go down in American business history as an example of how a large USA company went from being written off as a future competitor to being the company to catch up to.


  31. 31
    aruby

     

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    May 18th, 2008 (12:25 pm)

    VOLT TO BE UNVEILED IN OCTOBER

    Channel4:
    “The Volt will be seen in Paris in US production specification”

    http://www.channel4.com/4car/news/news-story.jsp?news_id=17499&ref=archive

    The Paris Motor Show will take place from 4 to 19 October 2008.

    Lyle, I think you deserve a vacation ;)
    Book your tickets!


  32. 32
    Anti-Oil Jihadi

     

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    May 18th, 2008 (12:47 pm)

    Based upon my reading of the Holy Koran, I’ve been able to extract relevant management wisdom…

    When you’re a part of the management team of a very large multi-national corporation such as GM, you’re really at the helm of a large ship, like an oil tanker.

    These types of ships have lots of momentum, and don’t change course quickly or easily.

    Those of you who are used to small boats will say “the rocks are far away, GM is fine.” But those of you that understand momentum know that even though the rocks are far away, GM must turn the wheel now, because it will take a long time for the ship to change course.

    It’s possible that GM’s legendary bureaucracy have created a situation where the ship CAN NOT turn in time to avoid the rocks.

    Both GM AND the UAW, and general selfishness and ignorance, will be to blame. Giving the unions what they wanted to avoid short term pain has resulted in long term pain. GM management should have attempted to break the unions in the 80′s, suffer through the 90′s, and would of been a lot more healthy now.

    Those of you who are ignorant enough to think that unions are always your friends, and management always evil, should take a long hard look at France.

    I hope Wagoner and team can correct the mess they inherited.

    Death to oil http://www.oiljihad.org


  33. 33
    Will

     

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    May 18th, 2008 (1:16 pm)

    This whole idea of GM going under is a little on the niave side if you ask me. Sure, they’ve lost a great deal of market share over the past 15 years or so, mostly to toyota, but we have to remember that GM is still the worlds second largest automaker, and they are not behind Toyota by very much. GM has been in business for a very long time, they are an American Institution and when it comes down to it, if the Federal government has to step in the help them out from time to time, they will. Look at AT&T. 6 years ago every market analyst in the world said AT&T was “near the end” and so on….now look at them. They are once again the largest communications provider in the world. Many people seem to forget that large multinational companies work like governments in a lot of respects. They have contingency plans for those situations in which their business starts to lose ground. GM is in the process of a turnaround, and actually they are pretty close to finishing their turnaround. Forbes just recently named the 10 most powerful American companies, and GM ranked number 3 if I remember correctly. You don’t get that kind of standing unless a lot of very smart people see your company as standing on rock solid financial ground. Yes, they’ve been taking financial losses recently, but these turnarounds take time.

    Besides, China is the fastest growing auto market in the world, and GM is outselling Toyota two to one over there.


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    May 18th, 2008 (1:22 pm)

    Everybody, forgive me….

    #8 Terry

    “I would be very interested to know why many low income people chose to get themselves fired, so they could stay home and collect unemployment, welfare or both – simply because they could not afford their bills, food, and skyrocketing gas prices.”

    It sounds like you think many low income people chose to get themselves fired. Isn’t that a stereotype? Can you actually get unemployment or welfare if you are “let go” for disciplinary reasons? I believe you can collect unemployment if you are let go for business reasons.

    “…[GM] cannot even meet the interest on their obligations to retired employees.”

    Reading between the lines, it sounds like you are unhappy that GM retirees get good-faith benefits.

    “I make 50K a year, and I’m hurting.”

    Maybe you are starting to understand how people with less income and reserves feel. It sounds like you should start thinking about getting yourself fired so you can collect unemployment, welfare, or both. I dare you. See if things work the way you think they do.

    “Maybe we should rethink any opposition to government subsidies for the Volt.”

    It sounds like you like government welfare.

    “There is only 2 ways out of this 1) increase domestic oil supply by drilling in ANWAR, and off the coast of FL and CA, or 2) use less gas.”

    Your call for more petroleum seems as well reasoned as your views on social programs.


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    May 18th, 2008 (1:34 pm)

    #32 Anti-Oil Jihadi

    I liked your post until you jumped the shark and favored management over unions. Unions balance the power of management. Unions seem democratic. Are you anti-democracy? Should the people not express their collective will? I think you should stick with comments like your, “Both GM AND the UAW, and general selfishness and ignorance, will be to blame.”


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    May 18th, 2008 (1:52 pm)

    “I make 50K a year, and I’m hurting.”

    You’re spending too much. Re-learn the difference between wants and needs.


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    May 18th, 2008 (1:52 pm)

    35 ThombDbhomb

    I’ve never been a member of a union, but I have friends who are union workers, and almost every single one of them I know complains about it. They mostly don’t want to strike when they are TOLD to, and they have to pay dues to an organization that does NOT represent their interests, only the interests of the union leaders….Thats from their mouths, not mine. That doesn’t sound very democratic to me.

    I do understand that unions are at times necessary to balance the power between management and the workers, but in the end the leaders of both are nothing more than self serving money hungry b*stards if you ask me.

    “Union is just another word for Mafia”……

    If GM didn’t have to deal with the UAW, they would be in much better position to compete with Toyota. Toyota does not employ UAW workers….only American car companies do. Toyota employees in the US are not mistreated, underpaid, or suffering from any other employer caused malady……so my question is this…..Is the UAW even needed anymore?


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    May 18th, 2008 (2:07 pm)

    # 37 Will

    Union members elect their union leaders.


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    May 18th, 2008 (2:23 pm)

    #8 Terry

    You said “increase domestic oil supply by drilling in ANWAR, and off the coast of FL and CA,” as a way to reduce gas prices.

    I’m not sure that lack of oil is the reason for high gas prices. I refer you to an article by a well-known automotive writer:

    http://www.businessweek.com/print/lifestyle/content/may2008/bw20080513_720178.htm


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    May 18th, 2008 (2:54 pm)

    # 37 Will

    I’m not so sure that non-union conditions will prevail at US Toyota production facilities, especially in hard times. Do some searches on “UAW and Toyota.”


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    May 18th, 2008 (3:50 pm)

    The UAW has been the trend setters of benefits for many different industries for many decades. Workers of smaller companies benefited by that fact. For those who think unions are evil, just stop and think about all this. Lets supposed the US government made unions illegal. What do you think would happen to your medical benefits even if you were not in a union? A large company, maybe GM or even Toyota, would take away your medical benefits and say ” sorry but we can not afford to give you this benefit anymore, competition is too stiff”. Don’t kid yourself this could easily happen. Then, another large company, maybe Honda, would say ” sorry, our competitors don’t pay medical benefits anymore and in order to compete we have to do the same, This would have a snowball effect! Do you get the picture? Unions are a necessary evil even for those who’s been riding on the shirt tail of the larger companies.


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    May 18th, 2008 (4:08 pm)

    I agree union can be a force of good. But I also agree that the unions at GM have so much power because they can shutdown one plant and bring the entire line of plants to their knees that they have basically raped GM in terms of pay and benefits. Many think GM is headed to bankrupcy and guess what even this year when the workers jobs are at stake they threat of strikes (although they were right this time) has loomed over the heads of GM management.

    I can tell you that if I worked for GM I would be saving up some money because GM might not be around 8 years from now! The finacial situation GM is in is a terrible one. The can’t downsize and survive. If they don’t stay at the top they are history. They can’t afford NOT to be one of the biggest on the block. Toyota with high market share would be swimming in profits whereas GM with same market share would just be keeping its head above water.


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    May 18th, 2008 (4:19 pm)

    GM-I will take my VOLT as soon as you can produce it. (BEV if possible) Spring 2010 maybe. As an aging baby boomer I need a car I can afford to drive well into retirement. An elecric pontoon boat and an electric motorcycle wouldn’t be bad either. GM-don’t let me down I am excited about my first new GM car. I owned several used ones but I have never bought a new one. Don’t let me down. I can now longer buy gas from people who want to kill me. I will drive a mule for you, GM. Call me 239 410-8826. TED


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    May 18th, 2008 (4:24 pm)

    The Newsweek article is the best article I have seen on the internal pressures of GM.
    The marketing team cant see the wood for the trees and some of the design team can not see why they can not just design even more cars.
    I think the mob at GM-Volt .com may be more important than we ever dreamed because we provide a supporting view for Wagoner,Lutz and the Volt team in a organisation that may be quite divided.


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    May 18th, 2008 (4:32 pm)

    I am a small business employer. My most important objective is to attract and retain talented and dedicated employees. Compensating employees with desired nob-taxable benefits is much better than with wages. The tax implications make a huge difference. Heathcare won’t benefits won’t go away. Unions have little or no affect on how I or any other non-union small business operates. A strong economy, with open and competitive markets dwarfs any positive importance of unions in the modern US/Global marketplace as they currently operate.


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    May 18th, 2008 (4:47 pm)

    I had in mind the Paris Mob, not the New York mob when I wrote #44.
    And of course,
    imho


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    May 18th, 2008 (4:53 pm)

    #45 koz

    Joe at #45 explained how unions affect non-union businesses.

    Heathcare won’t benefits won’t go away? I think the trend belies your claim.

    Even with a strong economy, US jobs have gone overseas. I guess non-union US business could cut wages and benefits to compete in the world market.

    Really, innovation will keep US businesses and workers strong…Go Volt!


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    May 18th, 2008 (5:26 pm)

    ThombDbhomb,

    The point was that healthcare benefits in small non-union businesses will not go away if unions do. They can certainly go away if healthcare plans continue to become less affordable. This has little to do with unions.

    Unions played a tremendous role in developing our consumer based economy that came with a large middle class. I think overall their role has been a positive one, despite many warts. Problem is that role had it’s heyday early and in the middle of the 20th century. As you point out, many jobs have gone overseas. Do you think unions have had a positive or negative affect on this? Today, corporations are Global and economies are tied to the Global markets and business climates change at ever faster rates as technologies advance. 20th century styled unions make it very difficult for US manufacturers to compete. I think union members and leaders are starting to accept this, but it has been a very painful process for all parties. If unions can become more nimble and open minded enough to consider market pressures for their industries, then they may evolve into a 21st century model that isn’t an anchor for their employers.


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    May 18th, 2008 (5:47 pm)

    Will,
    #33 So a company going basically out of business and being bought by a previous subsidiary which decides to retain the company’s name constitutes a successful business? GM’s problem is that they can’t pay the interest on their debt.

    #37 If you believe that the fact that union leaders are elected by the membership means that the membership has a real voice in the policies of the union, you have obviously never been active in a union. Do you really think there are no Republicans in the union membership. Do you really think that all union members choose to be members?

    If GM wants to cut their debt they could accept my deposit for a Volt.


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    May 18th, 2008 (6:50 pm)

    I work for a huge multi-national company that is non-union.
    I don’t pay for medical benefits and have a very good sick time, vacation time policy in place.

    Unions in this country were desperately needed 100 years ago.
    Now they are not needed at all. What businesses need are good solid management decisions that are good for the business. Not unions dictating what management ought to do.

    But I have a question. Do the union supporters here think one of the reasons why jobs have gone overseas is because the unions have just pushed too far? I do. I have seen what union strikes did to the ‘Brass city of the world”. American Brass, Scovill mfg, Anaconda all left. Scovill is gone for good. Unions brought them to their knees with strikes in the 1970′s and 1980′s and these companies closed shop and laid off all the workers. For the life of me, I don’t understand why the unions thought it was better to have no job and no money, than a job with some money. So many people were unemployed when these companies closed. Small factories dependent on these big companies closed. The tax base dried up.
    People lost their homes.

    Sorry, but seeing this happen when I was a kid made me question the continued usefulness of unions in this country. I have never worked in a union and have done quite well without their so-called help.


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    May 18th, 2008 (7:17 pm)

    If company bad and prey on workers – union good

    If union make cost too high – union bad

    What has been the situation at GM for the last 20 years? If everyone has unions then everyone can compete fairly. If GM has a union and Toyota does not yet both build cars in America what is the result? The cost of having a union for GM has been an additional $1000 per vehicle for labor. Makes sense. Unions are not democracy. They are a form a socialism. Why? A union does not allow the market to decide what to pay it’s workers.

    Another comment was made about losing health care benefits. What kind of country would allow that to happen? Yes, only the United States of America. Every other industrialized nation treats health care like we do our fire departments, police departments, etc. They feel that their citizens should have the basics for good heath. We do not.

    Governments should do a few things like military, crime control, national planning of infrastructure projects, health care, etc. They should basically help create and maintain an environment for it’s people so they feel safe and secure and free to act on their dreams (as long as they don’t hurt others).

    This is so basic yet most countries fail to do it because of corruption, manipulation, greed, shortsightedness, etc. A country that does not make a person feel safe and free to move about to any job they wish deserves unions. In that case the union acts like a very small country. Let’s call it GM States. Everything would be great if GM States was able to compete with all the other countries surrounding it like Toyota States.

    Just like companies must be nimble and flexible and adapt to the environment around them so must countries. Those that do adapt and gain advantages to compete well against their competition will succeed. If they don’t adapt and lose advantages to compete against their competition they will eventually fail. This is how free markets work. This is the current situation at GM States.

    The environment has changed drastically for GM States (higher fuel costs in the world are making their products undesirable) and they need to change as quickly as the environment did. If GM States had a better plan 10 years ago to deal with the impending energy crisis then they would be much better off today. Do they have time to switch fast enough? It sure seems like a monumental task. Maybe they can maybe they can’t.

    I’m sure hoping they do emerge a strong country ready to sell the rest of the world high technology products that fit the new environment – an environment that has less oil.

    Dear leaders of GM States, Please sit down with all parties and have a summit. Figure out how you are going to become a competitive country in an environment where other countries are located in such proximity that hiding is not an option. A great way to do this is to leverage your talent pool of great engineers, use the advantage or your enormous labor force to bring about economies of scale, adopt the stance to use the latest technologies gained through aggressive research and development projects and work together and not against each other so every one of your citizens can be prosperous. Good luck!


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    May 18th, 2008 (7:41 pm)

    #49 Will

    Presidents are elected by the people, yet our president has not made policy decisions I agree with. You get what you get with a democracy. If the unions are working against themselves, they should convince fellow union members to vote for more pro-management representatives.

    Of course there are republicans in union membership. Why would you think I think otherwise? I didn’t say there wasn’t. People that don’t want to be in unions should find employment where there is no union, or convince others to disband the union.

    Do you really think there are no Republicans in the union membership. Do you really think that all union members choose to be members?

    #50 Rashiid Amul

    I believe companies went overseas because it was cheaper to do so. Union or no union, companies wanted to pay cheaper wages and have less oversight. People, and their unions, tried to maintain a certain standard of living.


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    May 18th, 2008 (8:14 pm)

    The percentage of global manufacturing done in the US is higher now than in 1950. Thought the mix of products has changed, the US remains a major force and has continued to get its share.


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    May 18th, 2008 (9:38 pm)

    What GM needs is a total paradigm shift.
    Give up the Hummer, stop pushing the SUV.


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    May 18th, 2008 (10:22 pm)

    I plan to stand with GM if the Volt doesn’t become the Chevy CoVolt. Let’s see the new design. Looks like the world is headed for electric cars. The headlines are everywhere. Thank God for America. Hopefully the Big 3 aren’t the T-Rex of the past when this comes.


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    May 18th, 2008 (10:23 pm)

    GM really should take deposits now to get people committed to the program. I have $10,000 ready to go. If something else comes along convincing, and GM delays like the 8 year delay with Saturn, what is one to do. Come on, take a deposit.


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    May 19th, 2008 (12:10 am)

    54 Guy Incognito

    In a few years it might be inexpensive to drive big vehicles again. You never know!!! Not a prediction but it is possible if batteries get cheap like some people are predicting and ultracaps pan out like MIT and EEStore are promising.


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    May 19th, 2008 (6:39 am)

    ThombDbhomb, #52.
    While the union tried to maintain a standard of living, they actually destroyed it. Sorry but I am very anti-union. Unions were really needed long ago, but not anymore. Today they are a hindrance. Less than 13% of American works belong to one. The unions days are numbered.


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    May 19th, 2008 (8:38 am)

    It doesn’t matter what will happen to Detroit three, if they ALL go (most likely), so be it, there is no compelling reason for them to be in business anyway, when I buy cars, i make sure i boycott them. Say hello to Toyota, america’s premier auto commpany!


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    May 19th, 2008 (8:41 am)

    Adressing a few points made by many here:

    “GM needs the Volt or it will die?”

    I’m not the type to believe that the government is the be all-end all of everything (in fact, I am a strong proponent to the contrary), but if they’re willing to bail out Bear-Sterns, then I do not see where they wouldn’y help GM-however, thinking that is a little premature at this point. The truth is that GM does NOT need the Volt to engure success and anyone who believes so is a bit misguided. GM needs the success of the E-Flex platform to ensure success. While we really want the Volt/Flextreme (I’ll take either one!) it is the adaptability of the E-Flex system into other cars in the GM family and its ability to accomodate a number of energy generator options (E85, Biodiesel, Full EV, Hydrogen, and other sources that may not yet be apparent). Yes, we really want a Volt/Flextreme. But I’m more than certain there are people who would love to have other choices for E-Flex powertrain.
    Cobalt, Mailbu, Impala, G5,G6,G8,Vibe, Lacrosse, Lucerne, etc.
    Imagine if E-Flex works as predicted or better? Imagine if you could get better gas mileage from a Buick than a Prius? Isn’t that worth is to a degree?

    “Unions are killing the auto industry?”

    That’s a hard one. I’m not pro-union nor am I anti-union. I believe that when the unions were initiated, they instituted a valuable concept-that Joe Q. Average would be entitled to a safe, productive and profitable occupation, have him medically covered and have a nest egg to look forward to in about 30 years or so. The Unions have not killed the domestic industry per se. Hospital and clinical nurses have a union. Do you think they’re unjustified? Last time I checked, there were more sick people than nurses (a ratio of about 11-25 to 1). How do you think nurses would fare if they had no one to represent them to see to it that they were compensated fairly? A lot of people would not go into nursing. Imagine your healthcare then. What is the problem is that SOME (not all) unions have taken advantage in order to secure more wages, benefits, etc.

    Please remember, people that companies are profit driven. Less profit becomes a problem (ask ExxonMobil). You’re paying a guy $35/hr + insurance + retirement + 2 wks Vac. per year (not too shabby). Guy joins a union. Union decides they want $53/hr + raise Vac. to 1 month per yr. Company doesn’t give in, they go on strike. Now company losing money. Only option? Try to give concessions to get them working again. Union wins. Union sensing victory decides to try for $60/hr + health/vision/dental/car/house/unemployment + 401k + bonuses + 6 wks. Vac/yr. Company says no. Union strikes. New option for company? Move plant to China-pay employees $3-5/day + no insurance + no workers comp + 3 days Vac./yr. Chinese employee happy. Domestic union laid off. Greed has given the company a new option. Just like Katrina ravaged my home state of La. and gave BP the right to charge you and I $3.75 per gallon of reg. unl. Until we in America get our priorities straight and sto trying to screw over our countryman in favor of a dollar we’ll just keep giving our economy away. We all ensure the strength of our economy. And last time I checked, Al- Quaeda didn’t look at how much you make or if you were union or not before crashing two planes into buildings…


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    May 19th, 2008 (8:43 am)

    sorry for my frequent misspelling-hands hitting the wrong keys…


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    May 19th, 2008 (9:21 am)

    #8 Terry

    Quote:

    “There is only 2 ways out of this 1) increase domestic oil supply by drilling in ANWAR, and off the coast of FL and CA, or 2) use less gas.”

    The only answer is to use less gas. Every expert in the oil and environmental arenas have stated that drilling anywhere domestically won’t change things.

    According to the Energy Information Administration, or EIA, the oil in ANWAR amounts to about 10.4 billion barrels, not all of it economically recoverable. In addition, it will take roughly 10 years to get it drilled and oil pulled out. The refuge would add to domestic production, but “when you’re talking of a world oil market of over 75 million barrels a day, adding 900,000 barrels by 2025 is a drop in the bucket.”

    Drilling for more isn’t the answer. Electrification of the automobile is.


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    May 19th, 2008 (10:04 am)

    #62, Kevin R.

    I agree 100%. We must get off of oil. Not drill for more. Drilling only delays the inevitable.


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    May 19th, 2008 (12:19 pm)

    “GM: Live Green or Die” does tell it all.


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    May 19th, 2008 (1:42 pm)

    GM was stupid to cancel the EV-1, they should have continued on with that and they would be doing fine, but becasue the big oil companies didnt like it and gm didnt make any money off parts, they got rid of it. they would have been a world leader in electric vechiles, but they got too gready. looks like the japs will be comming out with electric cars soon too, and they will most likely be better then anything american. GM is going down, but i have no sympothy for them, its their own stupid fault.


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    May 19th, 2008 (3:52 pm)

    One of my worries about GM and the UAW union is that I am afraid that the UAW will strike GM before the Volt can be produced in any great numbers. This would be done as a method of “holding a gun to GM’s head” as a bargaining chip to force GM to give in to union demands. It has been done before by the UAW to all three American auto companies and all of them have given in before.

    If the UAW does something to delay production of the Volt or other vehicles that will help the American people to rid them selves of oil usage, I hope we all rise up against them. It will be bad enough to have Big Oil fighting against the Volt-type vehicles, but to also have Big Unions cause delays and lost production will be unforgivable.

    I really do expect the oil companies and/or the UAW to pull something.


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    May 19th, 2008 (4:03 pm)

    #65 John

    Well, I guess from your post that you don’t like GM! Yeah! Blame GM for the EV-1 disaster. Sure, GM is somewhat to blame, but I blame the state of California a lot more for demanding electric cars before the technology was available to produce them at a profit.

    Why could GM not build that $80,000+ car as sell it to John or others for $20,000? It is ok to blane a company that is unwilling to take a $60,000 loss on every car it sells. That would be great for BM – wouldn’t it? One thing for sure, if GM had done that we would not be discussing whether GM would be around in 2010. The doors would have been nailed shut years ago.

    Then what would you do, John?


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    May 19th, 2008 (4:04 pm)

    Sorry about the typos, but you can figure them out.


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    May 19th, 2008 (4:13 pm)

    Trolls just love beating the EV-1 argument to death.


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    May 19th, 2008 (4:14 pm)

    #66 N. Riley, that’s what I’m afraid of.


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    May 19th, 2008 (5:21 pm)

    #62 Kevin R.

    How about a third solution?

    If there are 10.4B barrels of oil in ANWAR, that’s about $1.3 trillion dollars at current oil prices. What if the feds auctioned off this oil, and used the funding for encouraging/subsidizing renewal energy? If it costs about $30/barrel to get oil out of the ANWAR and send it to the lower 48 states, then the feds could get $70/barrel in an auction. Just 1 billion barrels would generate $70 BILLION DOLLARS, which could be used to subsidize a lot of renewal energy programs. The oil companies would bid in the auction (despite what the conspiracy theorists say, they are still competive with each other), and if the feds did something as simple as offer a $10,000 tax credit for each plug-in hybrid (Volt included). That would encourage the manufacture of 7 million cars – over 5% of the entire US car fleet. If they sold the entire 10.4B barrels, that would replace over half of the US fleet – and lower the USA carbon footprint by 10% or more.

    I’d love to see some environmental group propose this as an option. If there are any card-carrying environmentalists out there, what do you think? If there were a rock-solid guarantee that the proceeds from ANWAR oil would go to plug-in hybrid deployment, would you support the drilling?


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    May 19th, 2008 (6:03 pm)

    #71 swimdad623:

    If it could be done without creating a moonscape, and destroying the local wildlife, it might be possible to generate support among “card carrying environmentalists.” Please note my somewhat lengthy comment at #70 on the ultracapacitor thread directly below. It applies directly to this question.

    The Feds and the oil industry need to change their approach 180 degrees. Instead of kicking and screaming about the cost of “mitigation”, they need to see it as a cost of doing business. They need to reach out to the Sierra Club, NRDC, Center for Biological Diversity, et al, and try to craft win-win solutions.

    Is it possible? I don’t know, but what we are doing now clearly doesn’t work.

    One highly successful approach has been to restore currently degraded habitat to replace that which may be degraded. This is often done on the basis of restoring some multiple of degraded acres for each acre which may be degraded. This is accepted in California for example, where 3 or 4 acres of wetlands must be restored for each one filled in. Or, private land can be purchased and put into conservation easements as an offset. These are just examples. Many creative solutions have been crafted.

    It’s either find win-win solutions, or see you in court for the next 100 years. Don’t get me wrong. Our family sends a check to the NRDC every month to help fund the litigation. Even so, the NRDC will tell you that they would rather craft win-win solutions than litigate. If not, their record speaks for itself.


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    May 19th, 2008 (6:16 pm)

    # 70 Rashiid Amul
    Fear the mighty unions!
    Seriously, unions are no more a boogey-man than management. This comment and past comments of yours indicates an extreme position from an otherwise seemingly reasonable man. Why bash unions for something that hasn’t happened yet? It is equally possible that the corporation would do something stupid. Unions balance copporate power. Unions are democratic institutions with elected leaders that carry out the will of the electorate. Saying you are anti-union is like saying you are anti-democracy.


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    May 19th, 2008 (7:17 pm)

    The last time I heard, the total fully loaded hourly cost of a Japanese auto worker was higher than that of a union US worker. And they are still kicking our butts in the marketplace with products like the Prius, Lexus, Infiniti, and so many others. Made in Japan, thank you very much.

    Who are we going to blame for that?

    And how about Germany, where the unions are much stronger than they are here, and the hourly cost is higher as well?


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    May 19th, 2008 (7:23 pm)

    ThombDbhomb #73.

    We all have strong views about one thing or another.
    I hate extremists because they can’t see (or want to hear) the other side. I am a moderate. I have strong views on gun control, abortion, terrorism, extremism, etc. ThombDbhomb, whether you like it or not, unions are going away in this country. I have seen the harm they do. I have seen them help destroy a city once known as the Brass City of the World.

    ThombDbhomb, I don’t have any problems with you liking unions.
    I just don’t like them. It is my view. I don’t apologize for it. Management makes stupid mistakes just like everyone else. But unions seem to think they can get blood out of a stone. Well, sometimes you can’t. Feel free to continue liking them, I will feel free to continue disliking them. You and I live in a free country where we can can still maintain our own ideas and our values. If they take that away from us, I will be in a trench fighting right along side you. It is okay for us to disagree on somethings ThombDbhomb. No issues here.


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    May 19th, 2008 (8:12 pm)

    #75 Rashiid Amul
    I’m pretty sure you union bash more than I corporate bash. I try not to corporate bash out of respect for this site; it is about the Volt and shouldn’t be too political. I have no problem with conservatives expressing their ideas thoughtfully and respectfully. That dialogue provides a good balance so the country doesn’t get too crazy. Like right vs. left, union vs. corporation is a balance. Although I favor one side more than the other, I don’t issue party-line rants against the other side.

    Let’s make a deal. You don’t union bash and I won’t feel the need to respond…and I won’t start corporate bashing.

    Notwithstanding the above, I like you.


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    Whistleteeth

     

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    May 19th, 2008 (10:39 pm)

    I think the verdict will be life. If they build a thousand, a hundred thousand, or a million units, they’ll still sell out in a month. Garaunteed.


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    May 20th, 2008 (5:20 am)

    ThombDbhomb, #76. Agreed. Let’s move on.

    Let’s pay homage to GM’s management decision to build the Volt.
    Let’s pay homage to the union workers who will build it.

    And let’s hope GM prices the car so the average worker in this country can afford it.


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    May 20th, 2008 (10:21 am)

    Has anyone seen the documentary “Who Killed the Electric Car”?? GM already HAS MANUFACTURED electric cars. They CHOSE to destroy the cars rather than expanding on the program. I would buy and electric car from GM in a heartbeat, NOT a Hydrogen car, an electric. Get with the program GM, give me what I want…I’m paying..and I will go elsewhere if need be.


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    May 20th, 2008 (8:27 pm)

    Katie #79

    Welcome aboard. All manufacturers…ie Toyota, Nissan, Honda and Ford to name a few CRUSHED their electric cars. Please don’t let a California mentality film obstruct you from the facts.

    We forget that mandates and companies in business for “profit” don’t necessarily mix. Sometimes the times just aren’t right, but that doesn’t stop anyone from making a movie now does it? ;)


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    May 20th, 2008 (8:29 pm)

    # 78 Rashiid Amul
    Thanks for that. Yes, let’s all get behind this Volt effort. I get the impression that everybody, management and labor, is pulling together for the “moon shot.”

    I look forward to your continued contributions to this site. I appreciate your perspective.

    #79 katie
    “Who Killed the Electric Car” is frequently brought up here. I remember when the EV-1 was available. Many people feared the limited range. It was a two-seater. It cost around $80k to produce. So, it wasn’t profitable. The movie gave an opinion. It was entertaining. But, do more research and don’t buy into conspiracy theories. Become informed.

    We all seem to want a quality, affordable electric car. But, we have come to expect certain things from our cars. The technology is getting to a point where we might actually get electric cars that satisfy the masses. The Volt will be a logical link in the evolution of car technology. It will be an electric car for the first 40 miles. GM is definitiely wih the program. The Volt is coming. Even an all electric Volt is being considered. But, it is a big undertaking. Be patient.

    p.s., other automakers are also pursuing the electrification of the automobile.


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    May 20th, 2008 (8:31 pm)

    #80 Grizzly

    Being from California, I take exception to your stereotyping. California is a fantastic State with a good record of innovation.


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    William Hughes-Games

     

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    May 21st, 2008 (12:27 am)

    Brand loyalty will go down the tubes as the price of petrol and diesel rises. If you have the better electric car, you will get the sales.


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    May 21st, 2008 (10:29 am)

    #81, ThombDbhomb:

    In the words of Lee Hart: (and if you have to ask who Lee Hart is, then you know nothing of the EV community in this country)

    When the EV1 first came out, I contacted GM and
    tried to find out where I could see one, drive one, how could I get one, etc. I got the typical corporate brush-off letter.

    I finally flew to Florida and got my chance at EVS-14 in 1997. This only increased my desire. But again, GM wanted no advice, had no surveys, and offered no hope of ever being able to buy or lease one in Minnesota.

    I remember hearing a story about a young law student named Ralph Nader, who sent a polite letter to GM asking about what they were doing about auto safety. He got a nice-sounding form letter back that said nothing. Attached to it was a handwritten note, apparently instructions to the signer’s secretary that they forgot to remove before mailing. It said, “Send him the usual brush-off letter.”


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    May 21st, 2008 (1:33 pm)

    #82 ThombDbhomb:

    Thanks.

    If not for the dreaded “California mentality”, there would be no Volt, IMHO.


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    May 22nd, 2008 (11:30 am)

    Couldn’t wait – bought Prius, but will consider Volt if GM ever really offers one. Tried to find Ford Escape hybrid, but my local dealer wasn’t interested in locating one for me. Sure would love to have electric pickup.


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    May 27th, 2008 (2:20 pm)

    Unless GM controls it dealers they will put huge “Dealer Markup’s” on the price like they usually do.  This could drive the Volt’s price out of reach.  Everytime something new comes along the dealers  mark up the price and tell you they mark it up “because they can get it”.   Perhaps GM can guarantee price for those on the waiting “List” prior to delivery to dealers. 


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    Nov 14th, 2008 (5:55 am)

    As the restructuring of the firm through bankruptcy the GM mother company will yield a more efficient corporation and product line with some clean technology vehicles. The company clearly isn’t a world leader. This tells clearly the state of the Caucasian mastermind. While over investing in the world currency markets while taking there mind off the general engines they are to develop left them with an ineffective money changing technique.