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I drive an American car. It's a Chrysler. That's not an endorsement. It's more like a cry for pity. And now for a decades-old story, retold ad infinitum by tens of millions of Americans, a third of whom have had to desert their country to simply find a damn way to get to work in something that won't break down:

My Chrysler is four years old. I bought it because of its smooth and comfortable ride. Daimler-Benz owned the company then and had the good grace to place the Chrysler chassis on a Mercedes axle and, man, was that a sweet ride!

When it would start.

More than a dozen times in these years, the car has simply died. Batteries have been replaced, but that wasn't the problem. My dad drives the same model. His car has died many times, too. Just won't start, for no reason at all.

A few weeks ago, I took my Chrysler in to the Chrysler dealer here in northern Michigan -- and the latest fixes cost me $1,400. The next day, the vehicle wouldn't start. When I got it going, the brake warning light came on. And on and on.

You might assume from this that I couldn't give a rat's ass about these miserably inept crapmobile makers down the road in Detroit city. But I do care. I care about the millions whose lives and livelihoods depend on these car companies. I care about the security and defense of this country because the world is running out of oil -- and when it runs out, the calamity and collapse that will take place will make the current recession/depression look like a Tommy Tune musical.

And I care about what happens with the Big 3 because they are more responsible than almost anyone for the destruction of our fragile atmosphere and the daily melting of our polar ice caps.

Congress must save the industrial infrastructure that these companies control and the jobs they create. And it must save the world from the internal combustion engine. This great, vast manufacturing network can redeem itself by building mass transit and electric/hybrid cars, and the kind of transportation we need for the 21st century.

And Congress must do all this by NOT giving GM, Ford and Chrysler the $34 billion they are asking for in "loans" (a few days ago they only wanted $25 billion; that's how stupid they are -- they don't even know how much they really need to make this month's payroll. If you or I tried to get a loan from the bank this way, not only would we be thrown out on our ear, the bank would place us on some sort of credit rating blacklist).

Two weeks ago, the CEOs of the Big 3 were tarred and feathered before a Congressional committee who sneered at them in a way far different than when the heads of the financial industry showed up two months earlier. At that time, the politicians tripped over each other in their swoon for Wall Street and its Ponzi schemers who had concocted Byzantine ways to bet other people's money on unregulated credit default swaps, known in the common vernacular as unicorns and fairies.

But the Detroit boys were from the Midwest, the Rust (yuk!) Belt, where they made real things that consumers needed and could touch and buy, and that continually recycled money into the economy (shocking!), produced unions that created the middle class, and fixed my teeth for free when I was ten.

For all of that, the auto heads had to sit there in November and be ridiculed about how they traveled to D.C. Yes, they flew on their corporate jets, just like the bankers and Wall Street thieves did in October. But, hey, THAT was OK! They're the Masters of the Universe! Nothing but the best chariots for Big Finance as they set about to loot our nation's treasury.

Of course, the auto magnates used be the Masters who ruled the world. They were the pulsating hub that all other industries -- steel, oil, cement contractors -- served. Fifty-five years ago, the president of GM sat on that same Capitol Hill and bluntly told Congress, what's good for General Motors is good for the country. Because, you see, in their minds, GM WAS the country.

What a long, sad fall from grace we witnessed on November 19th when the three blind mice had their knuckles slapped and then were sent back home to write an essay called, "Why You Should Give Me Billions of Dollars of Free Cash." They were also asked if they would work for a dollar a year. Take that! What a big, brave Congress they are! Requesting indentured servitude from (still) three of the most powerful men in the world. This from a spineless body that won't dare stand up to a disgraced president nor turn down a single funding request for a war that neither they nor the American public support. Amazing.

Let me just state the obvious: Every single dollar Congress gives these three companies will be flushed right down the toilet. There is nothing the management teams of the Big 3 are going to do to convince people to go out during a recession and buy their big, gas-guzzling, inferior products. Just forget it. And, as sure as I am that the Ford family-owned Detroit Lions are not going to the Super Bowl -- ever -- I can guarantee you, after they burn through this $34 billion, they'll be back for another $34 billion next summer.

So what to do? Members of Congress, here's what I propose:

  1. Transporting Americans is and should be one of the most important functions our government must address. And because we are facing a massive economic, energy and environmental crisis, the new president and Congress must do what Franklin Roosevelt did when he was faced with a crisis (and ordered the auto industry to stop building cars and instead build tanks and planes): The Big 3 are, from this point forward, to build only cars that are not primarily dependent on oil and, more importantly to build trains, buses, subways and light rail (a corresponding public works project across the country will build the rail lines and tracks). This will not only save jobs, but create millions of new ones.
  1. You could buy ALL the common shares of stock in General Motors for less than $3 billion. Why should we give GM $18 billion or $25 billion or anything? Take the money and buy the company! (You're going to demand collateral anyway if you give them the "loan," and because we know they will default on that loan, you're going to own the company in the end as it is. So why wait? Just buy them out now.)
  1. None of us want government officials running a car company, but there are some very smart transportation geniuses who could be hired to do this. We need a Marshall Plan to switch us off oil-dependent vehicles and get us into the 21st century.

This proposal is not radical or rocket science. It just takes one of the smartest people ever to run for the presidency to pull it off. What I'm proposing has worked before. The national rail system was in shambles in the '70s. The government took it over. A decade later it was turning a profit, so the government returned it to private/public hands, and got a couple billion dollars put back in the treasury.

This proposal will save our industrial infrastructure -- and millions of jobs. More importantly, it will create millions more. It literally could pull us out of this recession.

In contrast, yesterday General Motors presented its restructuring proposal to Congress. They promised, if Congress gave them $18 billion now, they would, in turn, eliminate around 20,000 jobs. You read that right. We give them billions so they can throw more Americans out of work. That's been their Big Idea for the last 30 years -- layoff thousands in order to protect profits. But no one ever stopped to ask this question: If you throw everyone out of work, who's going to have the money to go out and buy a car?

These idiots don't deserve a dime. Fire all of them, and take over the industry for the good of the workers, the country and the planet.

What's good for General Motors IS good for the country. Once the country is calling the shots.

Michael Moore

P.S. I will be on Keith Olbermann tonight (8pm/10pm/midnight ET) to discuss this further on MSNBC.

Originally posted to Michael Moore on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 04:54 AM PST.

Also republished by I follow Michael Moore @ the Daily Kos.

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  •  great stuff as always...thanks! (190+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GainesT1958, BobOnLSD, gregonthe28th, melo, XOVER, Powered Grace, ScientistMom in NY, mattman, Sherri in TX, billlaurelMD, leftyboy666, djs, lzachary, davelf2, dpc, SkiBumLee, mkfarkus, buckhorn okie, ivote2004, skertso, L0kI, lanellici, Bronxist, griz4u, ohiomom, grannyhelen, noveocanes, On The Bus, betson08, whyvee, grrr, DelicateMonster, kujack, KayCeSF, ScienceMom, donailin, luvmovies2000, bloomer 101, historys mysteries, escapee, Treg, wmc418, LarisaW, revbludge, relentless, mjd in florida, Lying eyes, sap, beans, Valtin, ChemBob, Dobber, snootless, skyounkin, Monabear, babatunde, sunbro, Cyber Kat, AnotherMassachusettsLiberal, RoseZ, playtonjr, jct, MrBurns17, berko, dhfsfc, third Party please, danmac, Do Tell, Debbie in ME, felixelf, martyc35, ccmask, greenearth, ginja, Terminus, max stirner, myrealname, buckinfuzzard, quantumspin, txdemfem, OWTH, Clive all hat no horse Rodeo, crystal eyes, thatvisionthing, Elasg, Unabogie, One Pissed Off Liberal, darrkespur, Randall Sherman, high coup haiku, drmah, MediaHype, Deadicated Marxist, karmsy, Trial Lawyer Richard, Calvin Jones and the 13th Apostle, newpioneer, stratocasterman, cyncynical, Newzie, beemerr, Moderation, Rumarhazzit, skaye19, VA Breeze, rogerdaddy, adrianrf, davidseth, RickMassimo, rontun, calibpatriot, bogmanoc, marchtoimpeach, elwior, beltane, Greasy Grant, LucyMO, Lujane, dewley notid, tamasher, echatwa, MinervainNH, mary13L, lenzy1000, priceman, Nica24, magicsister, greenpunx, mamamarti, ryangoesboom, satanicpanic, maggiejean, cameoanne, rubyclaire, hafnium, Imavehmontah, Shhs, thomasjefferson33, weltshmertz, wittg1, rini6, another cascadian, Jyrki, Losty, desnyder, tote, Little Flower, sherijr, fernan47, Nonconformist, acromagic, astral66, Wings Like Eagles, montecristo, missmishu, UPDoc, Words In Action, Lefty Ladig, kfd313, Lazar, smileycreek, publicv, wvmom, Ronald Singleterry, RJP9999, polar bear, Nurse Jeckell, ExpressStreetcar, DrFitz, Earth Ling, roystah, BlueFranco, HylasBrook, docta puella, BrowniesAreGood, View From The Hill, Medina Mahmoud, Wolf Of Aquarius, greenmama, msmacgyver, gmcana, Midknight, sparxy, eppa, dle2GA, New Aeon For Change 93, FrozeAgain, SusanL143, Prav duh, ArmedLiberal
    for everything you do!
      •  Maybe give them $3 billion to hang on ... (93+ / 0-)

        Give them what they need to meet payroll till Jan 21st.

        And then do what Mike says.

        At this point, I've given up that there will by any structured bankruptcy or whatever with the current idiots at the top of these companies. Mike's answer is right: Take over the companies and fire the clowns -- and take some time to sort out the rest.

        "We will learn an enormous amount in a very short time, quite a bit in the medium term and absolutely nothing in the long term." Grantham on 2008 Crisis

        by Bronxist on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 05:17:15 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  don't lump Ford with GM and especially not (80+ / 0-)

          with Chrysler.  Ford has been getting their act together for a few years, and they make good quality cars.  They may not even need the bailout if the economy begins to pick up next year.  It takes a while to turn a company of that size around, but they've been doing it.

          GM woke up a little bit too late.  That's why they're so screwed right now, but they may have been impressed enough by the gravity of the situation to take things seriously and turn it around.  It will take them longer, though, and they're starting from a much weaker position than Ford because they waited so long.

          Chrysler doesn't care about the turnaround.  They're owned by Cerberus Group and it appears they're just hoping to pick up some cash and find a merger/buyout deal.

          Now, go spread some peace, love and understanding. Use force if necessary. - Phil N DeBlanc

          by lineatus on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 05:25:13 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Cerberus at the teat (50+ / 0-)

            Those wingers who are part of Cerberus (John Snow, Dan Quayle) have done a terrific job, eh?

            You can bet that they'll gladly take whatever cash they can get from the Feds and try to dump what's left of Chrysler to cut their losses.

            Don't forget that they helped buy up GMAC last year.  

            Talk about timing.  Buying into 2 businesses at the worst possible time... and then begging for billions in corporate welfare to bail you out of your dumb purchases.

            "Unseen, in the background, Fate was quietly slipping the lead into the boxing glove." P.G. Wodehouse

            by gsbadj on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 06:00:52 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Are you kidding (16+ / 0-)

            Ford has always been fucked up. The quality of their vehicles is why so many Americans started by foreign cars, because they were more fuel efficient, made better and lasted longer. As for getting their act together, give me a break. I live in Texas otherwise known as Ford country. People here are still driving Ford trucks and SUV's which are a large part of the problem. The E series truck gets a whole 15-19 mpg, the Expedition gets 14-20 not to mention the ever so popular Explorer gets a whole 15-21 mpg. They could care less about fuel efficient vehicles or the energy and environmental crisis. They produce what they can make the most $$ from. Now that the economy has gone bust they deserve what they get. NOTHING!

            Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding. Kahlil Gibran

            by desnyder on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 06:14:07 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Get your facts straight. In recent years Ford has (52+ / 0-)

              fixed their quality issues per Consumer Reports, JD Power, and most any entity that measures vehicle quality and satisfaction...not to mention they now have sixteen vehicles with five star safety ratings from IIHS.

              ...from the bright blue sea of Atlanta in the red swamp of Georgia.

              by VolvoDrivingLiberal on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 06:25:23 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  this isn't just about quality and satisfaction (18+ / 0-)

                it's about gas guzzling, environmental unfriendly energy insufficient vehicles. As for safety the main thing that needs to be protected is our environment. Without it you won't need to worry about a vehicle.

                Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding. Kahlil Gibran

                by desnyder on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 07:06:55 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Read up on Bill Ford and you might feel a bit (25+ / 0-)

                  better about their direction.  I think he's sincere about steering them to a greener future, though it should have happened a few years earlier than it did.  The change was already well underway by the time the shit hit the fan, but it's slow going to change these huge companies so the work is not yet done.

                  Now, go spread some peace, love and understanding. Use force if necessary. - Phil N DeBlanc

                  by lineatus on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 07:21:06 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I appreciate his sincerity (8+ / 0-)

                    but the reality should have begun long ago before this crisis began. The environmental crisis has been going on much longer than the economic crisis. It did not take a brain scientist to realize what needed to be done long before now. Toyota and Honda realized this and took appropriate steps to accommodate long before the economy became a crisis and are still in business and making money. I think Ford and the rest of them got caught with their greedy little pants down. Thinking about it and doing it are at opposite sides of the spectrum.

                    I like to see a man proud of the place in which he lives. I like to see a man live so that his place will be proud of him. ~Abraham Lincoln

                    by desnyder on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 07:46:38 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Toyota lost money last quarter (16+ / 0-)

                      And their credit rating has just been downgraded.

                      •  A lot of that has to do (22+ / 0-)

                        with the fact that Toyota is just as far up to their eyeballs in titanic, gas-guzzling SUVs and trucks as Ford or GM is.

                        I will never understand why some people think that Ford only makes Expeditions and Toyota only makes Priuses.

                        No laws but Liberty. No king but Conscience.

                        by oldjohnbrown on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 09:24:25 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  I also don't understand why... (5+ / 0-)

                          Toyota has a better reputation.  They have a lot of problems with their cars too--the only difference is that they are far quieter when they do warranty work.  You might bring your car in for regular maintenance and then they do warranty work while it is in there that you may or may not be told about.  I know a guy who does Toyota service--he says that they aren't a lot better cars than most American cars.  This is a persistent myth but one that Toyota is glad to have around.  He says you can get a lemon in Japanese cars (and I've known people who have.  Remember the early Corolla?) --it's just that the Japanese car makers offer much fewer models and if they find one with a significant problem, they eliminate it from their lineup.  They have certain workhorse-cash cows like the Camry that they just keep on turning out.  They are very cautious when it comes to turning out a new car.  It took them a while to crank up production on the Prius--they were actually surprised at the demand for it.  They misread the market apparently.

                          We have a Chevy Equinox and we had a problem with something that, had we had to pay for it, it would have cost us about $1400.  We called our GM zone office and they arranged to have it fixed for free at a local dealer as we only have about 30,000 miles on the car and they said it should not have gone bad.  So I am inclined to go back to GM to get a car the next time around.

                          •  I base my assessment on # of days I am without (15+ / 0-)

                            a car.

                            My experience is that American cars and Volvos need quality time in the shop more often that Hondas or Toyotas. I've owned Ford, Chrysler, GM, Toyota, Honda, Acura, Nissan, and Volvo. I buy used and drive my cars into the ground - 150k miles is low mileage for me.

                            Honda/Acura = require straightforward maintenance like oil, shocks, and tires, and so far one cat converter. Last forever. Definitely the lowest cost to own so far.

                            Ford = constant issues. My favorite for its unusualness was the alarm system on one car that never worked. We found this out when our 2 year old popped the lock cylinder out of the driver's door with a screw driver while the car was locked (in 45 seconds when my back was turned). The only one of the lot that I bought new.

                            Toyota = occasional issues, but pretty pricey, and exhaust pipes that corrode like mad.

                            Nissan = somewhere between Toyota and Honda.

                            Volvo, depends on the year. Fordvos = consistent, high cost boat payments for the mechanic. Pre-Ford 1980s to mid-1990s are low maintenance until about 150k, then they become boat payments. Late 1990's just prior to the buyout = the same as a Fordvo. 1970s were kit cars, but you could do the repairs yourself with cheap junk yard parts.

                            GM = essentially a kit car, with replacement parts needed on such a regular basis all I had to do was open the door to the repair shop for them grin and pull out the scheduling book. Parts aren't as expensive as Volvo. Handling stinks in the mountains in the snow.

                            Chrysler = I'm just glad that at the time I owned it, I lived near a relative who did all the repair work for the cost of parts. I was not happy the day all the brake lines blew at the same time as I entered an exit ramp. I did like the feature where if I hit the brakes hard at low speed, I could make a 90º right hand turn with my hands off the wheel.

                            You don't need to protect me from someone else's spelling, grammar, extra posts on a topic, or use of quotations.

                            by mataliandy on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 11:45:03 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Subaru: Boots, brakes and bearings (4+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            mataliandy, oldjohnbrown, toys, drmah

                            My sister had one.  Same repairs, over and over and over

                          •  Disagee about old Volvos (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:

                            I have a 1981 240 with many hundreds of thousands of miles on it. Can't tell you how many, as the odometer was out for years and the replaced. At least 400,000. It runs like a top. And 20 years from now, when new cars rolling off the assembly line are in junk yards, this old Volvo will still be running strong. Amazing, indestructible little machines, those old 240s were. Particularly the 1978 through 1982 models.

                            "Hey! Where's my applesauce?!!!" This comment brought to you by the Bureau of Brilliant Campaign Imagery and the cheese aisle.

                            by Parallax857 on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 09:49:54 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I still miss my 740... nt (0+ / 0-)
                          •  I miss my 1976 Honda Civic (3+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            mataliandy, rktect, taonow

                            Plainest, simplest... PERFECT

                            Bucky liked it too

                          •  hah! Bucky mobile (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            mataliandy, thatvisionthing

                            -- FEEDBACK: - empty "marketing" of citizen access, or real idea-submit mechanism?

                            by rhfactor on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 12:58:03 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  More like (0+ / 0-)

                            tin can deathtrap. But simple, sure.

                            Give me my 240 tank any day!

                            "Hey! Where's my applesauce?!!!" This comment brought to you by the Bureau of Brilliant Campaign Imagery and the cheese aisle.

                            by Parallax857 on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 10:24:37 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  No, no! Sir Francis Drake vs Spanish Armada (0+ / 0-)
                          •  My Volvo once ran headlong into a Honda (0+ / 0-)

                            An Accord. Was really my front right quarter against his. The Volvo had minor damage, a crimp in the sheet metal, not particularly noticeable, whereas the Accord literally had it's wheel knocked off, the entire front destroyed.

                            Not a good idea to run a tin can up against a tank.

                            "Hey! Where's my applesauce?!!!" This comment brought to you by the Bureau of Brilliant Campaign Imagery and the cheese aisle.

                            by Parallax857 on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 11:12:58 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  That's the point, you don't run into anything (0+ / 0-)

                            People who don't wear seatbelts are less likely to crash, and people who do woodworking nude are less likely to cut anything off, so I'm told.  I would buy that Honda new in a heartbeat if I could.  Difference between being in a plane and being a bird.  I want to be the bird.  You only live once.

                            Gees, what'd you have to hit the Honda for anyway?

                          •  I think it was worth 50 points. (0+ / 0-)

                            "Hey! Where's my applesauce?!!!" This comment brought to you by the Bureau of Brilliant Campaign Imagery and the cheese aisle.

                            by Parallax857 on Fri Dec 05, 2008 at 12:13:20 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Most of us have had a car we loved (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            mataliandy, thatvisionthing

                            It was just after WWII that GM and the US car industry began to dominate and we got the what's good for General Motors is good for the USA thing along with Eisenhowers National Defense Highway System.

                            Maybe its no coincidence that Chrysler built tanks back then. I always thought of US cars, the Buick in particular as having the edge in a crash cause they were heavier built and if you got a dent you could take a fender off lay it on the driveway and pound it out with a sledgehammer. For that matter there was room to stand in the engine compartment to do a tune up.

                            Using your car for kicks to tour the country doing the Jack Kerouac On the Road or Route 66 philosophic writers pilgramage was popular for a long time until people got the gas rationing of the war out of their systems.

                            Instead of vans my generation still has fond memories of Mustangs and Corvettes and we continue to see them turning up in places like old ladies that still have style and grace.

                            I'm personally partial to the old Fix Or Repair Daily pickup. There was a long rivalry but in the end Chevy trucks dominated even over Studebakers which had a wild streak.

                            There are reasons you still see the 57 chevy around and that by the time I was a teen shopping for his first car they had the edge. They are different from the reasons that led us to where in the sixties what people cared about was power and speed and gradually the muscle cars took over.

                            I liked sports cars and motorcycles and handling at speed more than just being able to leave rubber in reverse back then and went with British Triumphs in both cases. but the easiest car to repair I ever owned was a Volkswagon and the fastest ride I ever owned was a Misubishi Starion sold by Chrysler as a Conguest.

                            As British, Japanese and German cars started being popular during the Vietnam war we discovered they were better engineered than US cars, more dependable and better for city driving. It wasn't really till during the gas crisis in the Carter admin that gas  mileage began to favor the smaller lighter foreign cars.

                            US pickups remained better if you used your vehicle to get some work done and regularly loaded it up with wood or pipe and jeeps allowed us to really go off road for the first time.

                            Maybe its time we finally leave our love of tinkering with the internal combustion engine, cars and all their power noise and style behind to embrace responsibility and lower gas mileage but I'll still wince every time I see an old one destroyed just to make a movie more exciting.

                            Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Impeach, Incarcerate

                            by rktect on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 01:47:03 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  You might like the Lincvolt (0+ / 0-)

                            Neil Young has a 20-foot-long 5000-lb. 1959 Lincoln that he's modifying to try to win the X Prize -- right now he's got it getting 62 mpg on the freeway, and he's working toward 100 mpg:



                            Neil Young


                          •  You can say this about Hondas as well (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:

                            I like to see a man proud of the place in which he lives. I like to see a man live so that his place will be proud of him. ~Abraham Lincoln

                            by desnyder on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 05:34:56 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I've only had 2 cars, both (11+ / 0-)

                            bought new.  A 1993 Honda Civic and a 2003 Honda Accord.  The Civic died in a flood, so the Accord replaced it.  All I've done are oil changes & a little routine maintenance here and there when the garage suggests it.  Just put new tires on the Accord a couple of weeks ago.  That's it.  Nothing else ever needed to be done and both cars run (ran) great.  I don't think I'd buy any car other than a Honda.

                            "..a sign of a totalitarian state, of a dictatorship, when people did not question what their government did." Howard Zinn

                            by dnn on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 01:38:34 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  amen (0+ / 0-)

                            My 2002 Honda Accord EX is the best car I could ever hope to own.  It's just an amazingly solid and well built car.

                            On a side note (actually, on topic with the diary) I hate driving.  I'd be thrilled to see mass transit become a truly viable means of transportation in our country.  As much as I love my Honda, I take the Amtrak from Eugene to Portland whenever possible.  I bet a lot of people (majority?) feel the same way.

                            "I am Don Fong" --don fong

                            by don fong on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 01:08:29 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  My Fordvo (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:

                            2005 S40, 50K miles, has needed one "bug fix" software download and routine maintenance. Nothing else.

                            I still miss my big old hulk of a Volvo wagon, but can't complain at all about the durability of the S40. I don't know if I'd buy another Volvo, though - depends on what happens when Ford sells them off.

                            "I like to go into Marshall Field's in Chicago just to see all the things there are in the world that I do not want." M. Madeleva, C.S.C.

                            by paxpdx on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 01:45:57 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  At 40k miles, it's a young 'un (3+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            copymark, rhfactor, Creosote

                            When they get older is when things start going bad, and when they do, they seem to do it with a vengeance.

                            Sell it before you hit 120k and you'll probably never have an issue. ;-)

                            I do miss Volvo's driver's seat. Something about the shape seems to fit my back perfectly. No other car has been as comfortable for me to drive on long rides, but after repairing 3 Volvos of various vintages, I've decided I can afford discomfort much better than I can afford the car.

                            You don't need to protect me from someone else's spelling, grammar, extra posts on a topic, or use of quotations.

                            by mataliandy on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 02:53:12 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I miss mine too (0+ / 0-)

                            My ancient wagon felt great. The 2005 - not so much. Maybe I'll get rid of the new one and "oldgrade" to a 1998 or so. :)

                            "I like to go into Marshall Field's in Chicago just to see all the things there are in the world that I do not want." M. Madeleva, C.S.C.

                            by paxpdx on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 05:52:54 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  My husband had a 1990 Chevy Caprice... (4+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            mataliandy, Creosote, playtonjr, JanL

                            that he sold in 2002 to a friend and the friend drove it until last year--had almost 500,000 miles on it and only put a radiator on it.  Everything else was original equipment other than routine stuff.  I think it depends on the car in both foreign and domestic cars.  It is probably important for the Detroit car makers to cut the car lines down to what they know is reliable.  It is better to do a few models excellently than a bunch that are mediocre or worse.

                          •  mataliandy ! that was far better than Consumer (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:

                            Reports for a year or 5 years. You really know cars and their maintenance routines.

                            Great comment!

                            I;d never heard the term "Fordvos" before but prob it;s been around in the auto trade. But I knew instantly what it meant.

                            If I might add, Ford also ruined the Jaguar -- not necessarily a car I would ever buy or drive, but for many years I found the styling, fit & finish very appealing. Living in L.A. for 10 years Jags were as common as Honda Civics most places.  And just via routine driving around Bev Hills, Century City, Brentwood, SM, and so on, one would see a plethora of model years with slight variations in designs, tail lamps, etc. But the shapes were always sleek.

                            Until Ford.

                            I feel sorry for those who bought Jaguars those model years. God only knows what they paid for those cars. But it sure looked like they'd taken the Taurus and smooshed it into the jag, and suddenly really bulbous shaping, hideous rear lights... You could probably only tell it was a luxury car if you were driving inside.. but then again who knows.

                            That's my only observation -- other than this. I'm old enough to remember a FORD campaign from when I was just a wee youngin': "FORD has a Better Idea" ... I may be wrong, but I think they were featuring back then some decent innovations --whether actually created by them or not, such as intermittent windshield wipers. That's a vague memory that just popped out and unscrewed out of my head.

                            -- FEEDBACK: - empty "marketing" of citizen access, or real idea-submit mechanism?

                            by rhfactor on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 12:56:41 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Jaguar wasn't particularly reliable before Ford (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:

                            It just got worse. ;-) Fordvos were built on a new chassis which was then used for the Taurus and Sable. Jaguars were built on the LS Lincoln chassis.

                            Before Ford, they were rife with electrical system problems. As long as they were kept in a dry climate, they tended to be great, but get them someplace with lots of rain and [poof!] they would become instant lawn ornaments.

                            If I ever get the opportunity to convert an older car to an around-town plug-in electric, I want to use an old Jaguar for the body (though I'd rip out the entire wiring harness and start from scratch).

                            The smooth, sleek body style would go so well with silent cruising...

                            You don't need to protect me from someone else's spelling, grammar, extra posts on a topic, or use of quotations.

                            by mataliandy on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 08:17:28 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  okay, fess up please, have you worked in the auto (0+ / 0-)

                            industry -- or you just a major enthusiast and connoisseur about automotive styling and mechanical design?

                            Before this, i just knew you only as a "Dean Person" and a "Lakoff Person".  pretty cool!

                            -- FEEDBACK: - empty "marketing" of citizen access, or real idea-submit mechanism?

                            by rhfactor on Fri Dec 05, 2008 at 02:27:29 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I think you explained why.... (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            rhfactor, Wings Like Eagles
                            1. No pissing and moaning when you bring the car in to get something fixed under warranty.
                            1. Limited model lineup.

                            Essentially, (Echo or Tercel or Yaris), Corolla, Camry, Avalon, Tacoma, Tundra RAV4, 4Runner, and a few other SUV, and a minivan.

                            I would say they screwed up the SUV side with too many models.  They should probably have been RAV4, Highlander, and Land Cruiser at most.

                            And, the Lexus brand for luxury vehicles.

                            Ford has 5 brands.  All of which have at least one SUV.  A few different sedans in overlapping categories.  4 out of 5 have at least one pickup truck.  You could exclude Mazda and Volvo, but have they really achieved so little synergy from those purchases that they are self competing.

                            Fewer models is better because every different design is going to have some problems, and the fewer different designs, the fewer problems.

                          •  appearantly you have never owned a toyota (0+ / 0-)

                            it's just that the Japanese car makers offer much fewer models and if they find one with a significant problem, they eliminate it from their lineup
                            This statement sounds like a winner to me.
                            As for your statement that Toyota has a better reputation that's because more and more people are buying them and those who own them love them.

                            I like to see a man proud of the place in which he lives. I like to see a man live so that his place will be proud of him. ~Abraham Lincoln

                            by desnyder on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 05:55:34 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                        •  It really has to do with the fact that this whole (9+ / 0-)

                          mess was precipitated by the credit crisis, not that Toyota or Ford or whomever was building large vehicles to meet consumer wants.

                          You are correct about the misperceptions. The sales mix of large SUV's vs cars is not very different between Ford and Toyota.

                          ...from the bright blue sea of Atlanta in the red swamp of Georgia.

                          by VolvoDrivingLiberal on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 10:13:46 AM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Yeah, the bailout of the financial sector to the (3+ / 0-)

                            tune of a skazillion bucks has certainly helped get credit flowing...  And I notice that all of those CEOs were asked to give up their salaries, too.

                            Now, go spread some peace, love and understanding. Use force if necessary. - Phil N DeBlanc

                            by lineatus on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 11:45:50 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I wish there were more discussion on (4+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            tle, happynz, mconvente, Blueslide

                            nationalizing the auto industry. It seems everyone wants to talk about their cars. I don't ever expect to buy a car in my lifetime (bikes, Bart and Buses are all I need) the discussion is useless to me.

                            A dream catcher works . . . If your dream is to be gay.

                            by thethinveil on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 12:38:36 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  to meet consumer wants??!!? (4+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Sharoney, Creosote, subav8r, desnyder

                            Ford et al CREATED these consumer wants!

                            I don't recall anyone sitting around before the SUV saying, "If only I could find a vehicle that is both dangerous and fuel-wasting, boy would I love to have that!"

                            They created SUV's for one reason: to sneak around regulations that applied "to cars and trucks." Then they pushed this shit on consumers.

                            We didn't demand SUV's. The big 3 did. And when gas-prices rose, all the catchy ads in the world couldn't sell SUV's, their business plan fell through, and they want to stick us with their loses.

                            Now we hold his feet to the fire.

                            by foxfire burns on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 01:57:32 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  hmm, not exactly. They targeted soccer Moms who (0+ / 0-)

                            are hyper-obsessed with the safety and divinity of their children; thus the height "advantage" allowed those cell-phone talkin' Moms to see over the crowd of Civics and Camrys and Tauruses and Malibus, which gave them better visibility (until SUV's hit critical mass and then those big honkin things are invading each others' elite space.

                            I also heard this said by some parents: More and more schools were imposing more restrictions on carpooling, probably for liability reasons of releasing a child to some Mom (or Dad) who didn't have the latest safety features. Some of these included carseats, seat belts, and god only knows what else. But I was told by more than one friend, when I asked "Why can't you just buy a station wagon?" that some schools were not considering them large enough to hold multiple child seats to properly accomodate the childrens' safety.

                            Anyway, that never sounded like a smart, welll thought out arrangement, but the keepin' up with the Joneses seemed to have a few elements of rising expectations from these most unlikely of places -- school administrators.

                            Can anyone corroborate this?

                            oh, and btw, I am in no way defending SUV's. Once these fatass vehicles started obstructing my view on roads, it began some buildup of mild roadrage since I lost what had been, traditionally, peripheral vision through the various windows of the car. Then with the heavily tinted SUV windows, you could not even see through their g*ddamn glass.

                            If I have my way, it would be back to station wagons, redesigned as needed for whatever new standards, but I would create a 5-year timeline to ban all new sales of cars/vans/SUV's that were used for passenger usage, vs industrial/delivery usage, which exceeded a certain height of the more traditional station wagon or plain old "car". Until that time, I would impose not just extra fees for weight of vehicles (and their related contributions to more rapid roadway deterioration), but also for HEIGHT EXCESSIVENESS -- which to me has only created a more hazardous driving experience, vs  a safer one.


                            -- FEEDBACK: - empty "marketing" of citizen access, or real idea-submit mechanism?

                            by rhfactor on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 01:16:16 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  And of course, don't forget... (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:

                            Mom could finally have a penis of her very own!  No more wussy station wagons or minivans for them--no sirree!

                          •  Cannot corroborate the school requirement (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            rhfactor, foxfire burns

                            thing, but as a parent who picks up and drops off, I do observe that it takes longer for kids to load-up and disembark from SUVs (and most minivans).  Kids who ride in cars are a lot quicker getting in and out.

                            Another thing about SUVs is that the second row seating is not always conventional bench seating, so it causes kids to get in and out on the driver's side--i.e. the moving traffic lane, which really isn't very safe at all.

                          •  And let's never forget high rollover rates. (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            rhfactor, matx

                            These things were created to get around the high safety standards that apply to "cars and trucks." By creating a vehicle with a new classification, they didn't have to comply with those safety requirements and could save money by cutting corners and legally selling vehicles they knew were unsafe.

                            Soccer moms "hyper-obsessed with the safety and divinity of their children" would avoid SUV's like the palgue. It was only gullible moms hoodwinked by marketing and too lazy to research who thought these things were safe.

                            Now we hold his feet to the fire.

                            by foxfire burns on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 05:13:45 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                        •  For years buyers wanted SUVs. If car lots (4+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          cosette, lineatus, TomFromNJ, JSC ltd

                          didn't have them, the customer went somewhere else.

                          Now those upper middle class suburbanites who bought the behemoths can't get rid of them, and it serves the morans right.

                          A jackass can kick down a barn but it takes a carpenter to build one.--Sam Rayburn (D-TX)

                          by Ice Blue on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 11:20:44 AM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  People wanted electric cars (6+ / 0-)

                            and when California law required a certain percentage of them by a certain year, the automakers complied, and then lobbied like hell to get the law overturned.  When it was, they repossessed all the electric cars (they were lease only), and the leasors did everything they could to hang onto those cars.  They could not save one.  See Who Killed the Electric Car (they made a movie about trying to save themn!) -- I just embedded the trailer in another comment.

                          •  Oh, I know why SUVs got built and sold (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Ice Blue

                            it was a perfect storm of stupid served with a side of denial.

                            What I don't understand is why people here only ever seem to see the big SUVs with domestic marques. Even Honda has a couple of monsters in their lineup.

                            No laws but Liberty. No king but Conscience.

                            by oldjohnbrown on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 12:14:47 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                      •  Yet my Toyota is 12 years old (18+ / 0-)

                        Had 100,000 miles when I bought it, runs like new and starts every time.  Mom's is 16 years old.  Same there.  Every car we ever bought before then was American.

                        GM is soooo proud of their new electric car - that will cost 40k new.  At that price, it will make economic sense to buy a cheap Toyota or Honda.  Even at ten bucks a gallon, it would take several decades to save money on the electric.  So only people likely to post here will buy em.

                        We need this industry - for national security and the jobs.  Makes more sense to subsidize every electric car they build after we nationalize them (and F*** the WTO) than to pour money down an environmentally disastrous rathole.

                        I read a book called "The Rockefellers" in the seventies.  Read that, and you'll understand why the big three have always been in thrall to big oil.  Essentially (through a system of cross-ownership, itnerlocking boards of directors, etc) big oil owns and utterly controls the US auto manufacturers.  They have been operating the "Big three" as a loss leader for "Big oil."

                        That's why seeming insanity - like grinding up electric cars and fighting a death match against CAFE standards are SOP for the carmakers.  As long as that is allowed to be the case, Detroit will shove the most gas-guzzling vehicles they can get away with down our throats.  Every environmental gain (like the CAFE standards in the seventies) will be taken back as oil prices fall back.

                        Ninth amendment: The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

                        by UneasyOne on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 09:54:58 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  We should be given tax... (6+ / 0-)

                          credits for buying electric cars.

                          •  And solar panels and 'green' (7+ / 0-)

                            building projects and every city and small town that builds light rail should get federal funding and and and...

                            Why is it that common sense solutions are not sought and implemented?

                            Perhaps the last dime has not been rung out of the American people by the corporatocracy.  

                          •  or piracy (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:

                            I like to see a man proud of the place in which he lives. I like to see a man live so that his place will be proud of him. ~Abraham Lincoln

                            by desnyder on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 11:12:21 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Because our lawmakers (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            trinityfly, JanL

                            do not feel the everyday pinch that we feel.  They live in a different world where all their needs are met, and in case you haven't noticed, they really don't represent the interest of the common man - except for the few months leading up to election time, of course.

                            "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter." ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

                            by givmeliberty on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 11:54:24 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I was raised in DC (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:

                            It is an echo chamber, a closed society and every single lawmaker has the opportunity to leave office richer than when they came into office.  Not all are corrupt, but they all listen to those who put them into/keep them in office...big money interests...the corporate world.

                            Inside the Beltway IS a different world...they are each others 'peer group'...very few are able to see outside of that little world once they are inculcated into the group...and a cushy world it is.

                            'Caring' about common man?  Sorry...outside of the peer group.

                        •  and national security guy Jones is on (4+ / 0-)

                          the board of Chevron.  geesh.  

                        •  Huh? (5+ / 0-)

                          First, the expected price of the Volt has changed wildly over time.  Most current expectations are for the final price to be somewhere between $30k and $40k, as that's where most of the price numbers have ranged (some have been as low as $25k and some as high as $45k; let's go with $35k).  

                          The average age of a car on the road today is about 9.5 years.  This implies an average expected lifespan of 19 years.  Let's assume a long-term running average of gasoline of $3.00/gal and $0.12/kWh for electricity, and pretend that there's neither inflation nor interest to keep this simple.  Let's compare the Volt to a car that gets 30mpg and costs $19k (the Volt would probably be nicer than a $19k car, but let's go with that).  $35k - $19k = $16k.  The average driver goes 12,000 miles a year and the Volt consumes ~200Wh/mi or 48mpg.  Let's assume 90% of its driving is on electricity.  Let's assume that maintenance is the same (the battery pack is warrantied for 10 years, should last longer, and the drivetrain is simpler -- no transmission, smaller engine running only rarely, electric motors have few moving parts, etc).  The Volt consumes $260 worth of electricity and $75 worth of gasoline per year.  The gas car consumes $1200 worth of gasoline per year.  Total energy costs are $6365 for the Volt and $22800 for the conventional car, a difference of $16,435.  Over the course of its lifespan, the Volt wins -- and that's before you consider the $7k tax credit for buying one.  And without considering that gasoline prices are likely to rise faster than electricity prices.  And without considering electricity discounts for off-peak charging.  And a whole host of other factors.  The only unaccounted for factor in the conventional car's favor is  interest on the initial extra purchase cost.

                          •  What's a dollar worth? (3+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Bluehawk, offgrid, Losty

                            I'm expecting bushels of it to be worth nothing soon.

                            Also -- from wikipedia -- $60,000 for a used electric RAV-4, then run it off rooftop solar:

                            In California, U.S. in the early 1990s, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) mandated electric car sales by major automakers.[citation needed] In response, makers developed EVs including the Chrysler TEVan, Ford Ranger EV pickup truck, GM EV1 and S10 EV pickup, Honda EV Plus hatchback, Nissan lithium-battery Altra EV miniwagon and Toyota RAV4 EV. Automakers refused to properly promote or sell their EVs, allowed consumers to drive them only by closed-end lease and, along with oil groups, fought the mandate vigorously.[citation needed] Chrysler, Toyota and some GM dealers sued in Federal court; California soon neutered its ZEV Mandate. After public protests by EV drivers' groups upset by the repossession of their EVs, Toyota offered the last 328 RAV4-EVs for sale to the general public during six months (ending on November 22, 2002). All other electric cars, with minor exceptions, were withdrawn from the market and destroyed by their manufacturers. To its credit, Toyota not only supports the 328 Toyota RAV4-EV in the hands of the general public, still all running at this date, but also supports hundreds in fleet usage. From time to time, Toyota RAV4-EVs come up for sale on the used market and command prices sometimes over 60 thousand dollars. These are highly prized by solar homeowners, who charge their cars from their solar electric rooftop systems.

                          •  Don't confuse me with facts! Lol! (0+ / 0-)

                            However, I have a couple of points.

                            I got the 40k figure from the recent 60 Minutes interview with Waggoner.  I'm betting it comes in at more than that.

                            Your calculations, I notice, didn't include interest and had a fairly high purchase price for the IC vehicle.

                            Initial purchase price is the killer issue here, however.  Somebody looking to economize on fuel - because they need to economize is unlikely to plop down 40k.

                            Understand that I favor electrics - and am willing to put my money where my mouth is by subsidizing the transition from internal combustion to electric.  The question remains: Why would a consumer looking to save money on fuel lay out 40k when for 5 or 10k, he/she could bet a good used Toyota or Honda that would never in it's (likely longer than a new Volt if history is a guide) lifetime burn 20 or 30k in gasoline?  

                            Especially in a recession, environmental concerns get pushed aside.

                            Ninth amendment: The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

                            by UneasyOne on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 12:55:24 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Response :) (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:

                            have a couple of points.

                            I got the 40k figure from the recent 60 Minutes interview with Waggoner.  I'm betting it comes in at more than that.

                            I've read a couple dozen interviews with GM officials.  The price of the Volt keeps changing, and it usually stays in the $30 to $40k range.  The interview you saw just happened to be one of the upper range ones.

                            Your calculations, I notice, didn't include interest

                            Mentioned at the end, it is the only factor that wasn't included that's favorable to the conventional car.  The other non-included factors all favor the Volt.

                            and had a fairly high purchase price for the IC vehicle.

                            If you've seen the features that come standard with the Volt, I'd hardly call it comparable to what comes on your typical $15k sedan.

                            Especially in a recession, environmental concerns get pushed aside.

                            Sad, but true.  I think it's important that financial structures be set up to help consumers amortize that initial extra purchase cost until economies of scale and advancing tech closes the gap, as well as for vehicle labeling requirements to make TCO clearer.

                        •  I am so glad you commented UneasyOne (6+ / 0-)

                          I came to the conclusion that the US car companies were actually working for the oil companies.

                          It was like the way a printer companies sells printer for $50, then it costs $50 each time you need a print cartridge.

                          I was kind of ridiculed for saying that, but now this verifies it.

                          I read a book called "The Rockefellers" in the seventies.  Read that, and you'll understand why the big three have always been in thrall to big oil.  Essentially (through a system of cross-ownership, itnerlocking boards of directors, etc) big oil owns and utterly controls the US auto manufacturers.  They have been operating the "Big three" as a loss leader for "Big oil."

                          That is sad, because so many people still try to stay loyal to the US car makers and still buy the vehicles.

                          Apparently buyers think they are dealing with car companies that give a damn about them, but they are wrong.

                          •  I agree relentless (4+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            copymark, relentless, kingyouth, UneasyOne

                            UneasyOne hit the nail right on the head. I understand why the people here that continue to support the big 3 want people to buy American cars to keep Americans in jobs. Toyota is also supplying jobs for Americans with a much better product. I keep hearing about all fords innovations but we need action now not in the future.

                            I like to see a man proud of the place in which he lives. I like to see a man live so that his place will be proud of him. ~Abraham Lincoln

                            by desnyder on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 11:16:14 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Yes. (4+ / 0-)

                            I'd also like an apology from GM for killing public transportation where I grew up and where I live now.

                            "What if everything is an illusion and nothing exists? In that case, I definitely overpaid for my carpet."--Woody Allen

                            by MD on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 12:20:22 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  It was mind-numbimgly complicated (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:

                            Over a thousand pages.  While nobody has been paying attention, the Standard Oil monopoly (mostly Exxon now) has reconstituted itself.  It is available in paperback at ABE books and other used booksellers.

                            Wish I had a money quote that summed it all up.  All I can say is that - dated as it is - the book is still an eye-opener.

                            Ninth amendment: The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

                            by UneasyOne on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 12:24:41 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                        •  Toyota and Honda (5+ / 0-)

                          vastly outlast American made cars. My toyota lasted 15 years and was still running well when I sold it. Ford and even GM don't produce a car that is as long and reliable as Toyota and Honda. I have owned American cars as well. There is no comparison.

                          I like to see a man proud of the place in which he lives. I like to see a man live so that his place will be proud of him. ~Abraham Lincoln

                          by desnyder on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 11:11:52 AM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Agreed (4+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            offgrid, UneasyOne, TomFromNJ, gobears2000

                            I've owned plenty of cars, the last four being Toyota for good reason.  Currently have a 4cyl Tacoma (20K goes without sayin,no problems,only wish it were hybrid) Prius (103K - no problems. 48-52mpg consistently) 94 Corolla (220K no problems, 36mpg, did brakes only,not even a new muffler. Only turned it in cause the interior was getting crappy.) Another Corolla before that.

                            Moore is right.  Why not buy all the common stock??

                            -7.50 -6.51 "How is the world ruled and how do wars start? Politicians tell lies to journalists and then they believe what they read." - Karl Kraus

                            by Hirodog on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 12:20:21 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Yet... (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:

                            ...Toyota execs have done public apologies in recent years because of their deteriorating quality. Both Toyota and Honda sales have decreased significantly this year.  

                          •  GMAFB (0+ / 0-)

                            It is admirable that Toyota execs would even consider a public apology if they felt their product was not up to standards they considered exceptional.
                            If sales have decreased it's not because of deteriorating quality, it's the economy stupid.

                            I like to see a man proud of the place in which he lives. I like to see a man live so that his place will be proud of him. ~Abraham Lincoln

                            by desnyder on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 05:46:40 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                        •  Government helped by letting requirements for (2+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          kimberlyweldon, UneasyOne

                          electric cars get repealed.  And letting CAFE standards be lax.... Dingell Dingell Dingell

                        •  The Pig Three and "national security?" (2+ / 0-)

                          Will one of you really smart people help us dummies understand how these particular US auto companies are "vital to our national security?" What, is this 1940, and "we" need to have industrial capacity on tap to churn out Bradley Fighting Vehicles that don't stand much of a chance in a fight (advice to crews: If someone's shooting at you, bail out and find REAL cover) and Humvees and even M-RAPs and main battle tanks to go fight a massive land war in Eastern Europe and Asia?

                          I kind of suspect that the highly specialized machinery that builds cars these days is not too easy to retool to make tanks or fighter aircraft, like GM did with Old-Grumman designs in WW II. An F-35 does not come off a Saturn assembly system.

                          And I have a little trouble getting past the recollection that the Big Car Companies and Big Oil and Big Rubber all got together many decades ago to destroy the mass transit infrastructure of light rail, interurbans and trolleys, tear up and sell the rights of way to ensure that the cost of re-placing them would be prohibitive, and scammed us into the whole ugly sprawling petroleum- and individual-vehicle consumptive culture that it looks like many folks just don't want or know how to give up or get out of.

                          And Henry Ford's notion that industry should create reasonably well paid jobs so that the workers could afford the products of industry is kind of given the lie by the great plan to lay off 20,000 workers so certain business elements will be safe from losing a single bit of their cherished lifestyles.

                          So tell me again why "we" are going to dump 25 or 34 or 100 or 162.58 billion dollars or whatever the "final" number in the PowerPoint will be, into these moribund parasitic entities?

                          "Is that all there is?" Peggy Lee.

                          by jm214 on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 01:22:01 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  here's part of it (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            out of left field, UneasyOne

                            Many of the suppliers that make parts for the auto companies also make parts for the defense industry. Without the income provided by the autos, they too would be at risk for going under. People fail to accept that the death of American auto companies would have a ripple effect down to the corner store in virtually every community in the country.

                          •  As Cheney would say, "So?" (2+ / 0-)

                            Did I miss something, or are ALL of us facing an overwhelming demand that we stop doing what we have done and start doing something different? People all over the world are getting "let go," businesses of all sizes are doing Chapter 11 or straight bankruptcies or other kinds of going-out-of-business acts. Homelessness and suicide and spouse and child abuse are moving right up.

                            The world has "changed," and that a company that makes ball bearings for GM (and maybe Honda and Toyota) and Lockheed-Martin (you know, "We never forget who we work for --" and just who is that again?) might get "rippled" is kind of old news, too bad, we are all having to learn new tricks. We are facing the need to completely retool how things work: There are tsunamis (not "ripples") and 12-on-the-Richter-scale bumps and waves of "change" whooshing through the human economy and ecology. All the way not only to the local corner store, but even to Walmart! What is so special about "American auto companies" and their suppliers that they are exempt from having to think about how what they've done to date has proved to be part of a deadly mix that's suddenly acting like E.coli 01:57 or melamine in our economic food chain? And re-tool to do something else? Are we about to actually acknowledge that "capitalism" only works when the bubble is expanding, and then it's "suddenly socialism" for "businesses too beg to fail?"

                            And what is sacrocanct about a "defense" establishment that has shown time and again, $400 hammers and $10,000 toilet seats aside, that its members can't even produce body armor when it's needed, and MRAPS, and up-armor for Humvees being blown up by US-made munitions sold at a profit to Saddam back when he was "our friend" and that the generals were too dumb to police up before the Hajjis grabbed 'em and hid 'em away to make the IEDs and EFPs of today?

                            And do you know with any kind of certainty that the Big Iron boys will do something wise and different with 34 or 150 or 300 billion in "life support," any better than the largely wasted trillions in taxpayer debt that are whooshing out the Fed's and Treasury's wide-open vaults and into the hands of people who continue to pay themselves big bonuses, fly their tax-deductible corporate jets, and sneak off to high-end spa "seminars?" With a giant sneer at the mopes who are going to have to somehow create the future REAL-ECONOMY wealth that they have siphoned off as present (in several senses) dollars to fund their so-comfortable, no-consequences retirements?

                            I see absolutely no evidence that "death" of the US auto industry (actually, a slow decline like what happens to morbid humans on ventilators and ventricular assists and dialysis and pacemakers in our "health"-care system) so many are saying "we" have to save is, or should be treated any differently, than Macy's or Big Oil or the "defense establishment" or any other sector facing "change."

                            But hey, what do I know? I'm sure the lobbyists for the interests involved have absolutely convincing PowerPoints that prove beyond any doubt that $34 billion for 20,000 fewer jobs and maybe magical new technology somewhere down the road is just the cat's pajamas or Emperor's New Clothes that will lead us back to a consuming Promised Land.

                            Right. Sorry, the situation just causes my pituitary and adrenals to start overproducing testosterone and adrenalin. Is that understandable?

                            "Is that all there is?" Peggy Lee.

                            by jm214 on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 07:06:28 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I understand (0+ / 0-)

                            But Macy's or any of the other retail closures are literally so many drops in the bucket compared to the economic fallout from the death of automotive manufacturing. The myth that Detroit is "making cars no one wants" is simply not true. Take a look at the 10 best selling vehicles in America in 2008. The economic problems the industry faces are temporary in some cases (credit crunch and the cost of downsizing) and in some cases long term (like retiree health care costs) which could be alleviated through comprehensive government reform.

                          •  The planet can't afford those cars now (0+ / 0-)

                            Also... regarding stupid management decisions?  Killing the electric car.  Hall of Fame Champion Stupid Decision.

                            See the trailer for the movie:

                            Now, see this story I just ran across.  All GM's EV-1's were repossessed and destroyed once they got the law changed like they wanted.  But apparently in Canada you could actually have bought an EV-1 instead of leasing it, because one there just sold for $465,000.

                            Used GM EV1 Electric Car Sold for $465k!?

                            EV1 in British Columbia
                            The ad for the used EV1 electric car was found in UsedVictoria, a Canadian website. The original reserve price was $75k. Here's the description:

                            GM EV 1 excellent shape. 142,500 km's. Grandfather prepaid in 1995. Have not taken out of garage in four years. GM still want's the car so I'm looking for car collectors only, depending on the offer. Don't really want to sell it but I am taking offers. And SERIOUS offers only . I'm not letting just anyone come and see her. Please no more email's to take picture's or to "see it in real life" ! thx

                            It is now listed as "SOLD" for CAD$465,000.

                            The surprising part is that most people thought that GM had crushed all EV1s except a few that ended up in museums. This car probably is rare enough to be worth half a million bucks... And that's sad.

                  •  Ford is *behind* in next-gen cleantech (10+ / 0-)

                    GM's plans for real-world, non-fleet, mass-market EV/PHEV/ER-EV** sales:

                    2010: Volt ER-EV
                    2011: Saturn Vue PHEV


                    2010: All-electric, to be selected from one of three competing electric concept vehicles that have been under development for the past few years:
                    2012: Same, for a PHEV or ER-EV.



                    Ford has, as far as I have been able to determine, no plans to mass-market any BEVs, PHEVs, or ER-EVs.  The best Ford can claim is that they accelerated their PHEV escape testing program with utilities and plan to move into fleet testing -- but they waited until right before they were about to beg for money before they decided to do that.  Until that announcement, the best they had was that they had some PHEV escapes under testing by SoCal Edison.  And of course, it's a conventional PHEV (parallel), not an ER-EV (series).  Series use far less gasoline, since they run on electricity only during their first ~40 or so miles (i.e., almost all of your miles are electric-only).

                    ** - The terminology can get a bit confusing.  Traditionally, all plug-in vehicles with a gasoline engine were called "PHEVs".  The distinction between those whose electric motor wasn't powerful enough to drive the vehicle on its own and which had the ability for the engine to assist with direct drive, versus those who had a powerful electric motor and whose engine acted only as a generator, was to call them a "parallel PHEV" and a "series PHEV".  GM, however, was worried that people wouldn't realize the advantages of a series PHEV approach, and wanted people to see the Volt more of as an electric vehicle than a hybrid car, so they came up with the ER-EV "Extented-Range Electric Vehicle" term, which is really just a synonym for "series PHEV".  But some people still call the whole category of vehicles -- parallel PHEVs and series PHEVs/ER-EVs -- as "PHEVs".

                  •  Why did they demote Bill Ford, (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Ice Blue, lineatus

                    --do you know, lineatus?

                •  and read up about the new 39mpg Fusion Hybrid (22+ / 0-)

                  about to launch, not to mention the 33mpg Escape Hybrid thats been on the road for years, or the 40+ mpg Fiesta that comes from Ford Europe and will be assembled in the US next year.

                  You can learn a lot of exciting things about the industry by reading Autoblog, especially its Autoblog Green section here.

                  ...from the bright blue sea of Atlanta in the red swamp of Georgia.

                  by VolvoDrivingLiberal on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 07:25:21 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  And the 24MPG SUVs, As Seen On TV (13+ / 0-)

                    It's not enough that they offer a few cars over 30MPG. That maximum must become the minimum. They must not be allowed to sell so many cars at the bottom of the MPG range. Within 5 years, the average mileage of all new cars must rise above 30MPG. Within 10 years, it must rise above 40MPG. With the recession keeping so many older cars on the road, so new and improved engines aren't replacing them as quickly, we might even need more aggressive targets.

                    If we hadn't stopped cars from coughing soot clouds into our air in the 1970s, they'd never have stopped selling them. And we'd be a lost cause already. Anyone now arguing that we shouldn't have limited the dirtiest cars then should be openly mocked by everyone. Now it's clear we didn't go far enough. If we don't set a livable maximum, we're killing ourselves.

                    The few 40MPG cars are reason for hope, but not until they raise the average mileage above 30MPG overall are we getting anywhere. Which means we must force the end of the bottom, below 30MPG.

                    "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

                    by DocGonzo on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 07:49:19 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Not just efficient cars (18+ / 0-)

                      but rebuild the electrified light rail (interurbans) to the level they served in 1920.  Almost every town and village down to 300 people was serviced by rail then. People could use their old cars to supplement where the trains don't serve, like they do in Europe. Cutting your car usage in half (even if it is an old car) is like doubling your fuel economy, as well as getting the car to last much longer, reducing the energy expenditure to make new cars.

                      "Without our playstations, we are a third world nation"-Ani DiFranco

                      by NoMoreLies on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 07:57:49 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Car Trains (10+ / 0-)

                        You are totally right.

                        And to make it all work, we should install car trains along commuter arteries, point to point flatbeds that carry loads of cars along those major routes. Terminating at local passenger rail, with fare incentives to just leave the car behind. But with fares that are cheaper than driving. Eventually more of the car train's cars will be passenger only.

                        It'll wean people from their cars while improving mileage. And cut down pollution, congestion, and all the health and productivity losses that came with fully autonomous cars driving fixed long daily routes.

                        And the infrastructure investment will put lots of Americans, including engineers, to work. When we do that, we also wind up exporting those experts globally for a while, as the world catches up with our latest big move. Which will improve global efficiency, while Americans profit.

                        "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

                        by DocGonzo on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 08:15:11 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                    •  they could have the average at 100mpg (0+ / 0-)

                      in two years, easily. As voters who accept leadership that ignores the potential for industry to really make things better, we're complicit in this and may other crimes against humanity.

                      "God bless all you flag-burnin' patriots out there exercising your rights as Americans." Calvin Johnson

                      by ZAP210 on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 08:24:16 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  How? (3+ / 0-)

                        I accept no complicity. I vote for the best candidate to protect the environment and energy sustainability. I am an activist for both public knowledge of those issues, and for people who bring that knowledge into the campaigns, especially new candidates. I advise the NYC legislature (City Council) on energy efficiency programmes and policies. My own energy footprint is very small, including a long stint spent recycling equipment by the ton, mostly resold for reuse, rather than filling landfills or smokestacks.

                        There are many voters who fit your description, but I'm not one of them.

                        And so I ask you with all seriousness, how can average mileage reach 100MPG in two years, easily? Please explain.

                        "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

                        by DocGonzo on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 08:35:55 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Here's how (2+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          dRefractor, Losty

                          Think outside the box.

                          Get 300 MPG


                          "we must make the rescue of the environment the central organizing principle for civilization" - Al Gore

                          by racerx on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 08:46:13 AM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Kinda (3+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Malachite, Losty, ZAP210

                            Aptera's car is the 2e, which still hasn't shipped. According to prototypes:

                            The Aptera 2e will be a 2.5-seat, three wheeled passenger vehicle. It is planned to be available in both all-electric and series hybrid configurations, at $27,000 and $30,000 respectively. Aerodynamic optimization using simulations and light-weight composite construction yields a vehicle which consumes only 80 Wh/mi at 55 mph, about half the energy needed to propel the EV1.[14] On the battery electric model, this means a 120 mile range on 10 kWh of electricity, or around 340 mpg price equivalent.[15] On the hybrid vehicle, it leads to projections of 130 mpg on gasoline alone, or 300 mpg if plugged in every 120 miles.

                            These MPG figures come from those numbers.
                            The 2e "340MPG" isn't really gasoline mileage, it's "cost equivalent" running on electricity. It's probably a great replacement for gasoline, but it's hard to even talk about its "gas mileage".

                            The hybrid version isn't even the next product to be delivered, and it's got the direct mileage of "only" 130MPG. Aptera's Mk-0 vehicle significantly underperformed projections when tested, so projections aren't the measure. And that mileage will be the highest possible, not the actual average operating mileage.

                            These innovations are fantastic (in both senses of the word). I welcome them enthusiastically. But when the absolute best gas mileage that will be delivered in the next year is probably just a little over 100MPG, it's wrong to say we can reach "average 100MPG easily in two years". Even if we started now switching every US car factory to producing these cars, we would still have mostly 25-35MPG cars produced, and a few 100-130MPG cars, within 2 years. We could support an even smaller number of 2e all-electrics on the biggest buildout of our electric grid over the next 2 years.

                            We should think outside the box. We should make as many of these truly high efficiency cars as we can. But we shouldn't pretend that 100MPG average in 2 years is a reachable goal. Because failing to meet it will give the incumbent low efficiency industries a lot of propaganda to give up the high efficiency work altogether.

                            Probably 30MPG in 5 years and 40MPG in 10 is not ambitious enough. And probably we need to measure efficiency in something like CO2:joule:mile to incorporate alternatives to gasoline into our energy economy, then use that factor as our optimization target. Cars like the ones from Aptera are probably doing a great job making the energy economics better. But we've got to be realistic about the terms in which we measure their progress, so we can make the full plans that will probably call for a lot more tradeoffs to get to a sustainable system.

                            "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

                            by DocGonzo on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 10:36:34 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Whaa? (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:

                            [quote]The hybrid version isn't even the next product to be delivered, and it's got the direct mileage of "only" 130MPG.[/quote]

                            You mean "charge sustaining" mileage.  Its first 40-60 miles are electric-only, so it has the same benefit on the overwhelming majority of its miles in real-world usage as the 2e has.

                            [quote]Aptera's Mk-0 vehicle significantly underperformed projections when tested[/quote]

                            What are you talking about?  The Mk-0 averaged 230mpg on its CVT diesel.  How is that underperforming anything?  Now, of course, it was a barebones test vehicle, not a practical commercial one.

                            [quote]And that mileage will be the highest possible, not the actual average operating mileage.[/quote]

                            You're pulling this out of....?  Vehicles this light with low rolling resistance tires, hybrid drivetrains, low frontal area, and ridiculously low drag coefficients simply don't get mileage figures anywhere approaching those of conventional vehicles.

                            I agree with you about CAFE timelines, mind you, but I have to question your data on the above.

                          •  Yeah (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:

                            I just quoted the hybrid's projected mileage without being plugged in, from the cited source to which I linked. Like I said, the mileage from plug power isn't comparable to "gas mileage", because we don't know how efficiently that electricity was generated and delivered. It's not "gas mileage", as I explained. The gas mileage is what I said, according to its sources. And of course the company's own claims in public are its highest possible numbers.

                            The Mk-0 underperformed projections, as explained in the source I linked to:

                            Due to its higher than expected drag coefficient of 0.11, it only achieved 230 mpg at 55 mph (89 km/h).

                            That is a demonstration of how actual vehicles can underperform the projections, so we should not count the projections as the performance.

                            Read the links before you start taking the most optimistic projections as deliveries. I point out that Aptera hasn't even delivered a car yet, though they announced they would do so in 2008.

                            "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

                            by DocGonzo on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 11:50:32 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Sources, etc (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            side pocket

                            And of course the company's own claims in public are its highest possible numbers.

                            Of course they're not.  They could have used AFS Trinity's method of calculating PHEV mileage and said that the Typ-1h gets 900mpg.  Unfortunately, there is no easy way to express mileage figures for a PHEV.

                            The Mk-0 underperformed projections, as explained in the source I linked to

                            The "source" you linked to is Wikipedia, and that statement there is unreferenced.  I.e., you have no source for your claim.  Fambro never says that, Aptera never says that, etc.  

                            Read the links before you start taking the most optimistic projections as deliveries. I point out that Aptera hasn't even delivered a car yet, though they announced they would do so in 2008

                            I find it amusing that you're telling me to "read the links", as though I know nothing about Aptera.  I'm the author of ApteraBot, the ApteraWiki, a long time contributor at ApteraForum, and was personally invited to a tour of Aptera's facilities by Steve Fambro himself back in March.

                            Aptera did announce they'd deliver a car in 2008.  In Q4 of 2008.  More specifically, in December of 2008.  If they don't deliver by the end of the month, then you have something to fault them for.  Not sooner.

                          •  Highest Possible (0+ / 0-)

                            You are reading everything as a criticism of Aptera because you are a fanboy. Even if Aptera doesn't deliver in the next 28 days, which I don't think they will, if they deliver anytime soon it will be very welcome.

                            When I say that the 130MPG number is the "highest possible", I mean that the actual performance will of course come in under the marketing claims of the company. Aptera is not promising innovation in technology marketing, just in energy efficiency.

                            The original Mk-0 specs were higher: 330 mpg, 0.055-0.06 drag coefficient.

                            0.11 drag, 130MPG, all those revised specs are excellent. I can understand the enthusiasm. But the actual deliveries are enough, without discrediting the effort by setting "300MPG" and other unrealistic claims.

                            I will walk around for a while newly confident we can engineer our way out of our energy crisis, thanks to hearing about Aptera's cars. But I'm keeping my sense of the difference between promises and deliveries intact. You should, too, if you want to help promote the car to the real market.

                            "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

                            by DocGonzo on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 12:42:12 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Amusing (0+ / 0-)

                            You are reading everything as a criticism of Aptera because you are a fanboy.

                            Ah, so now I've gone from ignorant of Aptera to "fanboy".  Thanks for the reclassification.  ;)

                            Even if Aptera doesn't deliver in the next 28 days, which I don't think they will

                            And your evidence is...?

                            When I say that the 130MPG number is the "highest possible", I mean that the actual performance will of course come in under the marketing claims of the company.

                            And your evidence is...?

                            The original Mk-0 specs were higher: 330 mpg, 0.055-0.06 drag coefficient.

                            The photo provided for articles about those specs was this 3d model.  That's not the Mk-0.  This is the Mk-0.

                          •  You'd have to replace nearly 100,000,000 vehicles (0+ / 0-)

                            (assuming that about 25% of the 250,000,000 registered vehicles are seldom driven) that are already on the road and averaging about 20mpg.  So, you'd need 100 million replacement vehicles averaging 180 mpg for the entire U.S. fleet to average 100 mpg.

                            The credit markets better loosen up fast.

                            Amd worldwide suppliers of auto specific batteries will magically grow 100 times current production capacity.
                            And new electric car production lines from the worldwide auto manufacturing universe have to get up to speed lickety-split.
                            And, since annual worldwide auto production is abour 70 million or so, we'll need to count on the countries waiting behind the U.S. consumers not getting too pissed.
                            And the federal government can mandate vehicle replacement (force you to take a car for free) -- Many people think the real first amendment was something about prying my cold dead fingers from my SUV.

                            Or a train system to everywhere that makes all the old fleet obsolete and only a few 100 mpg cars are toodling around on all the empty roads.
                            And . . . on and on.  
                            Fine goal, much longer timeline.

                            McCain: POW 1965 ton 1969; MIA 1982 to 2008

                            by Egg on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 10:50:45 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Since when did you think that this will be fast? (0+ / 0-)

                            There's no way to rapidly change out the US vehicle fleet.  Period.  I'm a bit boggled as to how you thought that I felt otherwise from any of my above posts.  

                            As for trains, A) they're not point to point, origin to destination travel, and B) building that much track and that many passenger trains is practically as big of an endeavour as replacing our vehicle fleet.  Don't get me wrong; I love trains.  I fell in love with them when backpacking around Japan, and this was reinforced recently while travelling up and down the California coast by train.  But they're not a general replacement for cars, and certainly not in a country as population sparse as our own.  We need to take both approaches at the same time -- radical improvements in personal vehicle efficiency and greatly improved nationwide public rapid transit.

                          •  Well, let's talk about this (0+ / 0-)

                            You know how to double your gas mileage?

                            Get in someone else's car with them. So a 100 MPG car with 2 seats can get 200 passenger miles per gallon.

                            Trains and busses do the same thing only moreso. We do need to think outside the box or we're going to be buried in it.

                            "we must make the rescue of the environment the central organizing principle for civilization" - Al Gore

                            by racerx on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 10:00:59 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Assuming they ever make them. (0+ / 0-)

                            I love the car, but I'm getting tired of waiting, and the company looks dicier with each passing day.

                            I am become Man, the destroyer of worlds

                            by tle on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 05:43:33 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                  •  The Fiesta is a diesel (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    rockhound, thatvisionthing

                    Diesel != gasoline
                    Diesel mpg != gasoline mpg

                    Diesel is 15% denser than gasoline and releases 15% more CO2 when burned.  You need to divide diesel mpgs by 1.15 to get a gasoline equivalent.

                    Oh, and when you quote European car mileage figures, you need to divide by an additional 1.15 or so because the NEDC a more lax drivecycle than what the EPA requires be posted on US cars these days.

                    •  Need more diesels, not less (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      kimberlyweldon, Ajax the Greater

                      and they need to come equipped to run on both biodiesel AND straight veggie oil.  These options reduce carbon emissions by up to 70%, seriously reduce soot emissions (the BIGGEST problem presented by running dino diesel), and smell nice driving down the road.

                      Biodiesel is becoming far more available and waste veggie oil is sitting in restaurant dumpsters for free all over the land.  Let me tell you how cheap it is to run my veggie oil powered 50mpg 1982 VW Rabbit!  I never even noticed $5/gallon diesel.  

                      To run on biodiesel, all fuel lines need to be made of viton rather than rubber.  For WVO, a simple engineering change in valve angle and a fuel heating system would add a very green alternative to any diesel.  It would be very easy and inexpensive to make these alterations at the factory, adding probably less than $500 to the sticker price.

                      I'm realistic about this, of course.  Waste oils are a very finite source and bio-fuels only a bridge to an electric vehicle future.  But we have to be real.  The internal combustion engine MUST be EXTINCT no later than 2025 if we expect to continue as a species on this planet.

                      •  Biofuels are not that carbon friendly... (4+ / 0-)
                        when you consider land use changes.  Even cellulosic ethanol is questionable when you consider land-use changes.  Besides, most people will just fuel up with regular old diesel.

                        If the goal is to make the ICE extinct, the answer isn't diesels.  The answer is electric.

                        •  No argument here (0+ / 0-)

                          I'm talking about waste feedstocks (already created and used once) mainly and I do plainly state that biofuels are only a bridge to electric vehicles.  

                          For example, I've been converting diesels to run on WVO for years and plan to slowly shift over to adapting smaller cars to electric (Rabbits, Mercedes 200-series from the 70s, etc).

                          And biofuels are more carbon neutral if fossil-fuel based pesticides and fertilizer are not used (not necessary for plant fuel production) and farm vehicles run on biodiesel or WVO.

                    •  US Fiesta is gas and is forecast to be rated (0+ / 0-)

                      over 40mpg.

                      ...from the bright blue sea of Atlanta in the red swamp of Georgia.

                      by VolvoDrivingLiberal on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 10:09:42 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                    •  But Diesel is more efficient. (0+ / 0-)

                      The diesel is more efficient than gasoline. Large diesels on the order of one meter bore propel almost all the world's ships. They approach 50% in thermal efficiency. A gasoline engine could not come even close to this.

                  •  Escort (5+ / 0-)

                    I've got a soft spot in my heart for my '98 Ford Escort wagon, which has been a sturdy, reliable get-around-town car for us, carried countless pieces of used furniture and old washing machines, and got around 30mpg.

                  •  They really need to go to plug in EV's (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    Especially considering that both California and Hawaii have decided to embrace building an infrastructure for EV's  This is already happening in Israel, Denmark and Australia, and recently the Bay Area has agreed to get going on creating this infrastructure, and just today the NY Times revealed they will do this as well:


                    Though I drive a hybrid at this point, very soon I will want to have an EV, and will have to sell my hybrid and hope I can get a decent trade in value so I can afford the new EV.  More than likely, because the big 3 has no choice for me (and as far as I'm concerned the Volt is not a choice), I will end up buying a Nissan or a Renault, because they are the companies who will be mass producing EV's starting in 2012.  

                    Please folks, take a look at .  This IS the wave of the future for transportation, and it isn't theoretical, it's already happening.

                    Here's the press conference in the Bay Area recently:


                    I don't know how to embed this kind of video, sorry. :(

                    •  I think you underestimate the scale (0+ / 0-)

                      of companies coming out with EVs in the next few years.  Here's an incomplete list.

                      What's wrong with the Volt in your view?  Or Chrysler's offerings, while we're at it?

                      •  Not enough miles per charge on their battery (0+ / 0-)

                        The new Nissan/Renault cars will get 100+ miles to the charge.  The Chevy Volt only has a battery that gets about 40. They aren't innovating enough at Chevy, this should be a no brainer.  

                        It also has a gasoline engine in it, so it's essentially a plug-in hybrid, and still uses gas.  By the time we are ready for a new car, it will be obsolete. The EV infrastructure will be in place in CA by then. 2012 is when the new EV's will be mass produced, and they will be completely carbon free. I see no reason to spend 40 k on a vehicle which will be practically obsolete the moment it comes on to the market in 2011.  What's the point?

                        •  EV-1's had a 160-mile range (2+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Hummingbird, Losty

                          and GM had bought the rights to a better battery technology...and then buried it.  That has got to be on the table.  They destroyed every EV-1 and they locked the battery technology away where no one could use it.  Ashton Kutcher is right, tell the Big 3 to get bailed out by Exxon.

                          See Who Killed the Electric Car -- here's a link to the trailer, which I've also embedded in this thread in another comment:

                          •  I've seen Who Killed the Electric Car (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:

                            I know they have the technology.  This is what really pisses me off about the "big three".  They have the ability to do this, they have the records, and they refuse to upgrade themselves to cars that will really make a difference.  All the Technology is on the shelf in the big three, and they refuse to look at it... and it's THEIRS.

                            The people who had these cars loved them.

                            The amount of short-sighted cravenness of the Big 3, when they know what would sell, makes me want these CEOs to be BURIED.

                            I agree with Michael, buy them out and kick these CEOs to the curb.  Screw these guys.  They don't deserve any rewards for their atrocious behavior.  Nationalize the auto companies.

                  •  I really enjoyed Autoblog's... (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

           of "...the fire breathing 425hp Dodge Challenger". Gee, it gets 13mpg (city). These folks really have their finger on the pulse of reality, NOT. Or, maybe with gas prices plummeting (they are now the lowest in a decade in constant dollars), they do. If we allow falling gas prices to lull us back to these brain dead forms of transportation we deserve our fate.

                    •  My favorite crapmobile line yet (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:

                      Can you find it?  From Chris Kelly on Huffington Post, What's Good for Cerberus Capital Managment Is Good for America

                      Disclosure first: I live in Southern California, and I'm almost certain they don't sell American cars here. The cops drive Crown Vics, but only to give the criminals a sporting chance to get away. Makes the freeway chases last longer. Good for ratings.

                      I guess I've rented American cars. I drove a Dodge Intrepid around Rhode Island one summer, and appreciated how much it handled like the aircraft carrier for which it was named. I drove an Oldsmobile Intrigue in Montreal a few years ago, and the most intriguing thing about it was the way it didn't start the second day and they had to tow it back to the airport.

              •  oh please. (5+ / 0-)

                It's not like Ford doesn't do planned obsolescence. It's not like Ford doesn't sell a 70 mpg Fiesta in Europe that they keep from the American markets to maximize profits (and no, that's not an okay thing to do when there's open water on the north pole). It's not like Ford hasn't expected us to carry 4000 lbs of steel and glass on our backs to and from work every day and pay premium for the privilege.

                So their shitty products are marginally better than the shittiest products in the history of shit, and Ford might actually survive a few months longer than GM and Chrysler now that the bottom has dropped from the shitty products market.

                I guess they deserve a pat on the back for that, but nothing more.

                BTW - nice, sensible diary.

                "God bless all you flag-burnin' patriots out there exercising your rights as Americans." Calvin Johnson

                by ZAP210 on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 08:17:40 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  part of the problem with their Euro models (4+ / 0-)

                  Is that they run on diesel and don't meet US emission standards. This string is full of half truths and misinformation.

                  •  I stand corrected (snark) (7+ / 0-)

                    I had a carbon fiber bicycle almost ten years ago, and since then I've watched fuel efficiency in American cars stand flat. A generation of some of our best designers and engineers has been been sucked into an industry with a mandate of bigger not better.

                    The misinformation is that the current state of commuter affairs - car after increasingly heavy car backed up for miles, potentially killing or displacing billions of coastal poeple in the near future - is somehow a necessary result of "free" market pressures that represent what's good about our country.

                    The half-truth is that the Ford corporation is somehow not complicit in this bullshit.

                    "God bless all you flag-burnin' patriots out there exercising your rights as Americans." Calvin Johnson

                    by ZAP210 on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 08:36:51 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Excellent comment. (3+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      ivote2004, debedb, thatvisionthing

                      To the Ford/GM/Chrysler fanbois: There are companies making bicycles, busses and trains right here in the USA, why don't you redirect your zealous brand loyalty towards one of them? You can argue with people about who's product is better, you can put their stickers and logos on your things and you can wear their T-shirts to let the world know who you think is the best. And all the while you'll be supporting a company that isn't strangling this country's economy or sucking the life from our planet.

                      •  I do own an American made bicycle. Actually had (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:

                        two (one for commute, one for fun) until one was stolen.  But I also needed a car and couldn't drop $27K on a hybrid, so I got an inexpensive, reliable car.  I was actually surprised that it was as good as it was, and that's why I think it's worth speaking up when people trash the quality of domestic makes.

                        Now, go spread some peace, love and understanding. Use force if necessary. - Phil N DeBlanc

                        by lineatus on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 10:35:33 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                      •  Which one of those crack 1% of GDP (0+ / 0-)
                        Which one is an essential part of our manufacturing base.  Which one, is it bicycles (ps most bicycle frames are made in Taiwan) that employs a few hundred thousand people at good wages?
                        •  Grossest Domestic Product (2+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          MKSinSA, wabird

                          Which one of those crack 1% of GDP

                          So you give us yet another reason to phase out the auto industry -- with their obstructionism & constipation gone, whole new sectors can finally flourish.

                          The composition of GDP must change, and change significantly and soon. Neither economy nor ecology can endure much more of the same ole same ole.

                          #3: ensure network neutrality; #2: ensure electoral integrity; #1: ensure ecosystemic sustainability.

                          by ivote2004 on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 03:31:21 AM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                  •  55mpg (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    Actually this is the heart of the problem. IF Ford had spent ANY energy and time on making that 55mpg Fiesta US emission complaint they would have a car to bring to market today. (Like VW and Mercedes)

                    They chose to spend 0 energy on that project and instead develop ever-bigger SUVs and Pickups.

                    I'm a consultant. I identify risks for my clients and help them mitigate the risks.

                    Ford's biggest risk in 2006?  That fuel prices would increase, killing sales of SUVs and big pickups.  Guess what?  That happened.  Then the credit crunch hit them.  

                    "Strength and wisdom are not opposing values" - Bill Clinton.

                    by RAST on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 04:01:05 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

              •  I second that - Ford is the most likely (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                lineatus, sesquitastic

                to pull something successful out of this due to their current CEO Alan Mullaly.  His last gig before Ford was the Boeing Company as head of Boeing Commercial Airplanes.  He was the guy that gave the go-ahead for Boeing's latest plane, the 787, which is made of carbon-composite materials that will reduce the amount of fuel needed by 25%!!!

                Boeing is selling the hell out of this airplane, and Alan Mullaly was the guy with the vision to know that this was the right direction (rather than building a beomoth airplane ala Airbus).

                If Ala Mullaly knew that much, then he knows how to implement the right kind of changes at Ford.

              •  Ford was (0+ / 0-)

                a big part of the problem.  They were getting better in the '90s and after.  However, they tanked in sales like the other two.

              •  why defend ford? (3+ / 0-)

                facts are that they make gas guzzlers and a few token hybrids that are so ugly nobody will ever buy them. That's why they are going under. If tyhey are such a great car company they wouldn't be asking for a a handout. Get your head out of your taurus.

              •  Ugly ass vehicles. (0+ / 0-)

                There is no allowance for poor design. And ford is all about bad design.

                The only hits are when the bring back the winners of the past.

                No matter how cynical I get, it's impossible to keep up.

                by Flippant on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 04:13:06 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

            •  ford country (5+ / 0-)

              here in alabama it is ford country too. redneks gotta have their trucks. they don't give a damn about fuel milage or ozone, or polar caps. just give me my truck and a beer.

            •  They have greatly improved quality and are now (15+ / 0-)

              among the highest rated.  I have owned a Focus since 2006, after driving imports for almost 25 years.  It has been absolutely trouble free, gets good mileage, handles well (tight turning makes it great for parking in a crowded city).

              They saw that the company was headed in the wrong direction, and began the tough work of turning it around.  They also know that they have to overcome stereotypes about American quality, and have focussed on that.  The highest ranking family member, Bill Ford, has a greener vision for the company and has worked to clean up their plants - check this story about the Rouge Plant, one of the oldest, largest, grimiest industrial operations in the country.  They're not perfect, but I think their commitment to a better way of doing business is sincere.

              Now, go spread some peace, love and understanding. Use force if necessary. - Phil N DeBlanc

              by lineatus on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 07:12:43 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  still driving a Taurus (9+ / 0-)

                second one -- traded in the 1993 on a 2003.  Not a bad car at all.  Not a lot of unnecessary frills.
                Decent mileage for a station wagon.

                But the big investment in the US needs to be in rail, light rail, transit.

                Also passenger car hybrids that aren't tricked out with a lot of unnecessary garbage like navigation systems, backup cameras, leather upholstery and such.

              •  I Second That... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                I also drive a Focus (hatchback stick shift, gets close to 35 mpg)...since Jan. 2001, and have had literally ZERO issues with it, it handles fine...the most that I have done with it is try to remember to get the oil changed occassionally..

                The domestic car companies are far from perfect, but the complete trashing of them (not just here but in general) is getting way over the top...

                From comments about how the average UAW worker makes $78/hour (when it's actually only about $28/hour), to how bad the cars are, etc., to "if the government bails out the big 3, then I will never buy another one again", etc.

                ALL of the car companies are in deep trouble now, not only the Big 3 (and Ford's sales for November actually declined slightly less than even Toyota and Honda...).

                Furthermore, all of the Asian and European car companies will get bailed out by their governments if necessary, while potentially, the U.S. will simply allow ours to die...while giving for example, 300+ billion to Citigroup alone, and 125 billion to AIG so far...just as an example...(while the (deregulated) financial companies are the IDIOTS who got us into the coming "greater depression" mess in the first place...)

                Right now, for example, the Spanish government is offering financial help to any car company located in Spain, on the condition that they do not lay off any employees if they accept the help...while in the U.S., many Americans are laughing with glee, and making jokes about watching the 'crappy' big 3 go under...

                By the way, Michael (Moore) - I like your (innovative) ideas, and thought you were great on Larry King the other day...I believe that the government needs to help the Big 3, but with some MAJOR strings attached, to force them to finally 'go green' in a big way...(in any case, the money they are requesting is 'pennies' compared to what all the Wall Street companies have already been given on a silver platter w/ few strings attached...)

                FYI, I am a neighbor of yours here in Northern Michigan (we've spoken several times at the State over the past couple of years, although we never bothered to exchange names !!)

                •  I want to know comparison of Big 3 CEO salaries (0+ / 0-)

                  to Toyota, Honda, Nissan etc CEO salaries, with benefits figured in.  

                  Why are we only looking at the employees, and even then hardly bothering to differentiate between the two tiered pay now?

                  On the other hand, I haven't got health insurance or a pension.  An awful lot of us don't.  But we're supposed to bail out employees who do?  I know, it's exponentially worse to be bailing out the financial companies, but the whole thing totally sucks to me.

                  •  There are 70, 80 and 90 Year Old Retirees... (0+ / 0-)

                    who worked very hard for 30-40 years straight, in part due to expected retirement benefits that they were promised...some of these people might have even given up the possibility of switching jobs, in order to not loose their pensions, etc...

                    I really don't think that it's fair that they all lose everything now...we already have enough of people's elderly grandparents working long hours as Wall Mart greeters (and maybe at Starbucks if they are very lucky..), so I'm not sure what these retirees are supposed to do now...

                    I will not get a pension either, and must save any money myself via 401ks and IRAs, etc., to have any chance of retiring at all, but 20-30 years ago, things were completely different, and practically everybody was promised a company sponsored pension...

                    I guess we can just let these people lose everything, and let them all live on the streets or something (or let them all move in with their children, if they are very lucky...)

                    I agree that CEO pay has gotten totally out of control, for just about any company out there...but that is only a small part of the problem, really...

                    •  I don't want anyone to fail (0+ / 0-)

                      except the damn CEOs and Wall St.  Them, the sooner the better; never can't come fast enough.  But I hope you see my point; the least able bear the most burden.

                      •  I see your point ! (0+ / 0-)

                        and agree that the CEOs and upper management take much of the blame.. I also blame Congress (for refusing to raise CAFE standards a long time ago, putting our Big 3 at a competitive disadvantage w/ foreign companies), and blame the government for not taxing gas after the end of the oil crisis of the 70's, like the rest of the world did (especially Europe), which only encouraged lots of people to all buy huge gas guzzlers, etc.

                        I don't think it's in our national interest to let the Big 3, and the industry, go under forever...and think we need to help them, w/ strings attached...the money the Big 3 are requesting is really peanuts compared to what's been given already to the crooks and thieves on Wall Street...

                        This whole mess is a total disaster, and I fear it's going to get significantly worse (maybe even approaching great depression levels), no matter what Obama tries to do...and I think that bailing out companies like the Big 3 might mitigate the disaster (at least a little) that is coming...

                        •  The only thing I like better about this bailout (0+ / 0-)

                          than the financial one is that this one is for something real that we can all understand.  "Ah, a car.  I use that.  I understand what's wrong with the business.  Let's get to fixing it."  As opposed to the financial industries' "unicorns and fairies" that Michael Moore described in his diary.  They get the trillions and we have no clue; it's like it didn't happen, it's not real.

            •  Imagine that (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              libnewsie, lineatus

              A company that produces things that they can get the most money from. Shocking!

            •  Ford Focus (4+ / 0-)

              is a very popular, reliable car here in GB. I learned to drive on the left in it, while trying to shift gears with the wrong hand. My driving teacher swore by it as he was swearing at me. They're OK.

            •  from my perspective... (7+ / 0-)

              Ford makes good quality cars.  I don't know about GM and Chrysler -- I've never owned one.

              I've always preferred German marques, having owned VWs and BMWs since the 70s. But back in 2001, when I needed a new car for a field service engineering job that would require me to drive all over the state, I immediately began looking for a new CAR (not a Truck or SUV) that was inexpensive, got good mileage (30+ mpg), had the necessary space to carry tools, parts, etc, had good power & handling & was fun to drive. I settled on a Ford ZX3 hatchback.  I could have gone Japanese, but I decided to go w/ Detroit.  Even with the premium options the ZX3 cost only $13.5K.

              I no longer have the service engineering job, but I still have a long commute (500 miles per week), and I still drive the ZX3 hatchback.  It's been a fine car with high reliabilty and low maintenance.  It just turned 162K miles last week.

              As for the glut of Trucks and SUVs, I agree it's a problem, but they also fill a definite need, especially in construction industry related jobs.   A large part of the blame for the glut of these vehicles that sprouted up in the 90s can be placed directly on the shift in buying preferences of the American comsumers, which was fostered by the low cost of petrol here as compared to Europe, et al, and the CAFE stds loophole.

              People began choosing Trucks and SUVs over CARs, even though they didn't really need the extra utility they offered, and even though they got terrible mileage, and even though they had no better reliablity.  They wanted them because they were big and cool and supposedly safer than cars. So increased demand drove increased supply.  Heck, my wife bought a Jeep Cherokee Laredo in '92 because she thought it was cool.  I hated driving that beast.

              And don't forget, it's not just Detroit who ramped up production of the big Truck and SUV iron.  What about the Japanese?  Toyota, Nissan & Honda all make big Trucks and SUVs -- I see plenty of them on the highway. Expensive Lexus and Acura SUVs -- I see them every day too. The Koreans are also in on the act.  And of course the Germans too, with their performance SUVs (Porsche Cayenne anyone?)  But I'm not sure the French or Italians followed suit, since they don't sell much here in America.  I just get tired of hearing Detroit get slammed for their Trucks and SUVs, while the big foreign automakers are given a pass, along with the consumers, who helped create the problem.

            •  Hey! My '94 Taurus still runs like a charm (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              kimberlyweldon, NearlyNormal

              unless mice have chewed up the wiring harness again.

              And its AC still blows cold air!

              A jackass can kick down a barn but it takes a carpenter to build one.--Sam Rayburn (D-TX)

              by Ice Blue on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 11:10:19 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  Don't go too easy on Ford (13+ / 0-)

            In recent memory, new-model Fords have been some of the worst cars ever made. Just because they have improved quality in the last year or two doesn't mean we should let them off the hook for the last decade of lemons. (Perfect example: the revived Thunderbird. A retro-styled, rear-wheel-drive V8 coupe... how do you fuck that up? Simple: build them so badly that nobody would buy them).

            The Ranger pickup -- their "economical" truck -- is an outdated, loud, smoky, flapping piece of shit. The Econoline van hasn't been redesigned since before Clinton took office. Europe got a sleek, modern Focus... and we got a crappy imitation barely worthy of the name, even though it's selling right now because it's cheap & gets good gas mileage.

            Their "best" cars are the Crown Victoria (now sold only to fleet customers) and its siblings, the Mercury Grand Marquis and Lincoln Town Car. Again, these are designs largely left alone since the first Gulf War. That's why they are worth owning: their engines & transmissions have been refined over the decades into something resembling quality.

            If recent history is any guide, Ford will produce another huge lemon anytime now. People who bought four-cylinder Mustangs or third-gen Tauruses will not be back to find out: they have long since turned Japanese.

            I'm not a Democrat, I'm a liberal. Democrats go to meetings.

            by willie horton on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 06:20:48 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Ford is no better.... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            Anyone who couldn't see the energy crisis and think about their consumers deserves no kudos.  Ford used to be a leader - sadly no longer.

            If they cannot show-off at least ten models that are cutting-edge in fuel efficiency - they are proving what Michael Moore is saying - they have misallocated scarce resources over several years.

            I say - Let.Them.Die.

            •  We complained, Ford listened and changed, (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              rockhound, lineatus, Simply Agrestic

              and made huge strides to be equal to the Japanese in quality and fuel efficiency and better in safety.  Instead of recycling stereotypes from 1980 we should be celebrating their accomplishments.  Read their Plan submitted to Congress which is actually the plan they have been implementing for the last 4 years.  Read pages 15-17 concerning their products at this site:

              As far as foreseeing the energy crisis, why didn't the airlines see it, why not the people who trade oil that could have bought it low and sold it high?  I don't think it is as easy to forecast as you think.  How many of us thought last year that gas would be under $2.

            •  Car Buyers Missed it as well (0+ / 0-)

              Why blame the auto companies for turning out highly profitable autos that people were snapping up?  

              Our elected officials are in charge of the "big picture", of the collective good.  We needed high gas taxes in the 90's, we need them now.

          •  Meanwhile, GM wants to kill Saturn. (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            oldjohnbrown, grrr, snacksandpop, RJP9999

            Higher quality cars, lower maintenance costs, long life.

            In-country content and manufacture. (Kentucky.)

            Yeah, that's the one you'd think of first, to kill off.

            If you're GM........ brain dead.

            Droogie is as Droogie does....

            by vets74 on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 09:15:43 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  I thought that (0+ / 0-)

            too, but look at the November sales figures.

            •  Ford was down 31%, Toyota down 34%, (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              GM was down 41% and Chrysler was lower still.  All the companies are being hammered by the credit crunch, but the long term picture is more solid for Ford right now.  It's still tough, and they still need to make more changes, but it's fortunate that the process was already underway when the crisis hit.

              Now, go spread some peace, love and understanding. Use force if necessary. - Phil N DeBlanc

              by lineatus on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 11:49:20 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  "GM woke up a little too late" !!! (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Sycamore, DontTaseMeBro

            Electric car murder by sleepyhead?

            This is beyond oversleeping.  This really needs to be recognized by Congress and be on the table.  When you figure out what else was going on in the world at the same time -- Operation Iraq Liberation (OIL) -- this was just plain treasonous.  That management HAS to go.

          •  good quallity cars? (0+ / 0-)

            Ford makes good quallity cars? Are you kidding me? The Excursion? The ford Edge? I work in the auto industry and i can tell you  that ford has one of the worst reputations around. Ask anyone who knows cars and they will concur.

          •  I would disagree. Ford has now and in the past (0+ / 0-)

            not understood what it takes to make a transmission.  I have owned and currently own a Ford.  Each vehicle has required a new transmission at around 40,000 miles.  I continue to try to buy American, but they don't make it easy.

            "The mind is not a vessel to be filled but a fire to be kindled." -Plutarch

            by DEQ54 on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 03:45:38 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Ford transmissions are meant to die at 70k miles. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              I used to work at Ford as an engineer. The planned obsolescence of the transmissions in most of their car lines was openly acknowledged, which was shocking to me when I started there. Basically if you were one of those people whose Escort or Taurus lasted past 70k miles then you were extremely lucky, because it wasn't meant to happen. I would never buy a Ford car, after all the stuff I've seen working there.

              "Because things are the way they are, things will not stay the way they are." -- Bertolt Brecht

              by thaelmann on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 09:53:48 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  F.O.R.D. (0+ / 0-)

            Fix Or Repair Daily

            Found On Road Dead

            "I said yes because I am tired of being afraid." Michelle Obama

            by b satz on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 01:02:23 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  Sadly Pelosi is opposed to bankruptcy (4+ / 0-)

          "I think it's pretty clear that bankruptcy is not an option."

          It's sad that, just as with the financial industry, the corporatists in Washington insist on blowing what the government has left to spend on wasteful bailouts as opposed to honest restructurings and bankruptcies. The damage is so massive even the federal government won't be able to bail things out; we'll get the bankruptcies eventually anyway; but we'll waste trillions given to executives and hedge funds first.

          It's also sad how much clout the corporatists have within even the Dem party. I would have thought Pelosi was on our side, but she was instrumental in writing and passing the TARP monstrosity and now likely whatever horror of an auto bailout we get. Ditto Barney Frank.

        •  They have to move fast though (9+ / 0-)

          The only reason for getting involved in this type of massive bailout is the human cost of failure of these companies.  Workers who work for the car companies, for their parts suppliers and for companies that make components that become parts can't afford to go months while economists sort things out.

          As you suggest, buy out what is needed to control the company.  Fire the idiots but continue operations and, in the meantime, restructure the company.

          I'd rather have the car companies restructured by economists, who report to politicians, who are ultimately accountable to the people as opposed to having the companies restructured by a solitary bankruptcy judge.

          BTW, slightly OT, can you imagine being a bankruptcy judge and being told that you got assigned a GM bankruptcy via blind draw?

          "Unseen, in the background, Fate was quietly slipping the lead into the boxing glove." P.G. Wodehouse

          by gsbadj on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 06:11:08 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Yes, NATIONALIZE GM! eom (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          BobOnLSD, grrr, econlibVA
        •  Lend them money... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          grrr, Reepicheep

          ...on the same terms as DIP financing in a Chapter 11 bankruptcy, with the loans secured and a higher priority than the other obligations (including to shareholders).

          9-11 changed everything? Well, Katrina changed it back.

          by varro on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 08:55:25 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Buy GM while Bush in office (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Bronxist, Reepicheep

          CHEAP. the market is crashing further everyday. By January GM will worth $2.5B.

          Discount rate!!!

          Let's BUY GM and fix it ourselves!  Sure as heck can't be worst than the clown is doing. (simply by doing nothing and throw out the expensive incompetent bumps out.)

        •  I damn well prefer a socialism that............. (4+ / 0-)

          .......benefits Main Street rather than the type of socialism that we now have, the socialism that benefits Wall Street and the mega-corporations.  We should have a comprehensive government regulated and directed transportation program that includes all forms of surface transportation. This would include anything related to the design, construction and maintenance of interstate highways including bridges and tunnels; and vehicles of transportation such as autos, busses, trains, rail lines.

          We must do these things if we are to survive as a first world nation in this century.

        •  Give them $3 Billion to Invest in Honda & Toyota (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          engines and parts made in the USA. They could use their own styled metal covers but many manufacturers buy parts made by other specialty companies to complete the whole product. Computer companies get their chips and whatnot components from other suppliers but it still sells under their name. Just like a recipe - you don't have to mill your own flour to make a cake. I think they should compromise on producing their final product.

      •  I believe (6+ / 0-)

        this is part of the proposal. We all know Bush isn't going to do one damn thing to help our country before he leaves. After all he's the one the fucked it up to a point where many of us don't have a pot to piss in. I agree with Michael, there are at least 3 MAJOR differences between Obama and bushit. Obama is educated, smart and cares about our country. Add in he is young and is ready to bring our country out of the middle ages that all these old white dudes came from and into the 21st century where the rest of the world is. This is a winning equation.

        Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding. Kahlil Gibran

        by desnyder on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 05:57:52 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  As a native Michigander from (69+ / 0-)

      15 minutes west of Flint, Michael and I must have grown up drinking the same water.  The remaining employee's jobs must be saved plus, rehiring some of those that have been laid off for years.  I believe a government take-over with a completely replaced management team is a great idea.                                                                                                                                                                                                       I ran into a sad encounter rearranging a kitchen cupboard a few weeks ago.  I pulled out my Pittsburgh Italian mother-in-law's over 50 year old electric pizzelle iron in its original box.  It was manufactured in a suburb of Pittsburgh!  Then, I thought of my 86 year old farm mom still having her original toaster sitting on a kitchen workspace.  It is as sturdy as the day it was new, just like the pizzelle iron.  What happened to all of our local manufactring companies that made good products?  It really is sad!  

      Obama/Biden '08 "to represent all Americans"

      by mjd in florida on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 05:28:26 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Are crapmobiles unavoidable? (4+ / 0-)

      Why is it quality is such an issue? I had to buy a new car recently (and my timing was bad, bad, bad) and wound up buying a Camry Hybrid. I looked at American made hybrids first and there were so few with such mixed reviews, I couldn't do it.

      Why are Japanese cars good and American cars bad?

      I absolutely support a retool bailout. I don't support pissing money down the drain just so the Big 3 can make junk.

    •  Maybe we should try a Kosak takeover of one (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      grrr, libnewsie

      of the big three.  By that I mean, we should all purchase common stock, try to get to 51 percent as a group.  I think the Unions need to look at doing something like that as well.

      "...the fundamentals of our economy are strong"- John Sidney McCain 09/15/08

      by Shhs on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 08:38:38 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  High MPG now! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      We need to raise the fuel efficiency standards to at last as high as Europe or Japan.  Car companies, including some US companies (Ford) are already building great cars with high MPG and selling them in Europe.  Last March I bought a MINI Cooper S which averages about 34 mpg (real world) on premium gas.  The Cooper S sold in Europe gets 44 mpg.  This is mostly because of added fuel efficiency technology not available in the US.  In Europe there are allot of cars which easily get in the 60+ mpg range ( mostly diesels ).  In the US we think 30 mpg is great and are amazed by hybrids that get 45mpg.  The car companies can produce fuel efficient cars but the government will have to force them to, and now, not fazed in over the next 10 years.
      The car companies have spent the last 50 years convincing people that they NEED a car that seats 7 and can haul a tone of stuff even though most people will never use it that way.  We also need a European stile car tax that is based on tail pipe emissions.  This would be the quickest way to get us tax adverse Americans to start demanding, and buying, clean, fuel efficient cars.

  •  I loved my 1995 Olds Cutless Ciera. (36+ / 0-)

    I drove it for 10 years with zero problems.  There are so many problems and double standards that I can no longer keep track.  All I know is that if we don't return to an economy that makes things and regulates banking, we are all doomed - doomed I tell you.

    They're asking for another four years -- in a just world, they'd get 10 to 20 ~~ Dennis Kucinich

    by dkmich on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 05:01:16 AM PST

    •  i had a cutlass too, good cars (4+ / 0-)

      they used to have these as their rental fleet at hertz, don't know what they
      carry now. haven't rented a car in years.

    •  The '85 Cutlass Supreme got my father to swear (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      highacidity, L0kI, Words In Action

      off American cars forever.  It was quite a feat.  He was a member of an ironworker's union.  We'd only owned American cars up to that point.  The Olds changed that.  

      I remember how proud he was of it when he got it because it was so expensive.  We had arrived.  He babied it - washed it twice a week, no food allowed in the car.

      It needed a new engine at 90,000 miles.  Despite the V8, the abysmal gas mileage was complimented by poor acceleration.  It was badly designed - the rear windows didn't open, only a little vent behind the windows.  There were all sorts of noises and rattlings that the dealer could never find.

      When he went to sell it 6 years later (with an engine with 10,000 miles on it, mind you), it was barely worth $2,000.  It had lost almost 90% of it's value.  Never again.  

      I'm not anti-environmentalism, I'm anti-colonialism.

      by sneakers563 on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 08:30:55 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The 80's were a mixed time for many cars (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        from all manufactures as they tried to figure out how to meet CAFE standards in a recession economy under Ronald Raygun.  I owned a 79, 80 and 84 Toronado in that time and never had any real problems with them except for usual maintenance/upkeep.  Of course, YMMV.

        The 4 boxes of Democracy: The soap box, the ballot box, the jury box and the ammo box. The 4 G's of survival: Gold, Grub, God and Guns.

        by FightTheFuture on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 08:50:35 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I think that's part of the problem (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          I have grave doubts about whether American cars really are better now.  I looked at the Consumer Reports satisfaction ratings and the American cars really don't do too well.  

          However, let's put that aside for the moment and assume there's little to no quality difference today.  The problem is that cars are so expensive that people who had a bad experience (like my father) don't want to risk it again.  Why would you bet 20-30 thousand dollars when you've been burned before?  I'll bet there were a lot of people who got burned in the 80's and switched.  Their next car was better so they never went back.  I never owned a car back then, my first was in '95, but I don't even consider buying American because of my father's opinion.  Well, that and Consumer Reports.

          I'm not anti-environmentalism, I'm anti-colonialism.

          by sneakers563 on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 09:04:56 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  My 84 olds got me to swear off GM products (2+ / 0-)

        ... it went through three transmissions by 90k miles, at which point the engine was in poor enough shape that the low oil pressure warning light would come on at idle (the engine clearances had worn so much that it couldn't maintain oil pressure). Oh, and the 3.8 V6 engine was so anemic that it took the car 32 seconds to get to 60 mph, and could barely break 45 on long uphill stretches of interstate.

        I happily unloaded that car and swore never to buy GM again.

        I don't see how the "big three" will ever reverse the three decades of brand damage they inflicted on themselves. I'm old enough to remember the gas shortages of the 70s, when the US carmakers got their asses kicked because they made inefficient, unreliable junk.

        Now, I'm not saying a 2008 Ford or Chevy or Dodge is anywhere near as bad as a 1978 Ford or Chevy or Dodge. In 30 years they've made progress but have never caught up: today's Ford may be a decent car, but it's still on par with what Honda, Toyota, etc were selling 5 years ago.

        Case in point: we recently purchased a minivan for a family car. We looked closely at all options, and I really wanted to like the Chrysler/Dodge options, but there was just no comparison. We now drive a (U.S. made) Toyota Sienna.

        •  My husband bought me one of these. Was driving a (0+ / 0-)

          Civic.  We had recently married and hated the idea of buying from Japan and the car was mine before the marriage.  So he buys this for my birthday.  I drove it 135 miles and made him take it back.  I told him I would kill myself in that car.

          Took big loss and got an accord with automatic to please him.  He also hated sticks.

        •  The V8 wasn't that bad (0+ / 0-)

          acceleration-wise, but it certainly wasn't good.  "It has a four barrel carb!" my father exclaimed when he got it.  The excitement wore off quickly.

          Did yours have the permanently up rear windows?  We had power windows but the rear windows didn't actually move - it was just this little vertical vent located behind the window.  I'll never forget my grandfather (who was quite hard of hearing) trying to roll down the window to talk to someone.  He was swearing like a sailor and the whole time you could see the little vent opening and closing and hear it going "vssst, vssst, vssst".

          The other memorable car we had was a '79 Dodge wagon.  It lasted a long time, but by the end it had only 5 working cylinders.  As you went from 65 to 70 mph (I was a teenager) the whole dashboard would start violently shaking.  Passengers would be alarmed.  Then as you passed 70 the vibration would suddenly stop.  It was like I was Chuck Yeager breaking the sound barrier.

          I'm not anti-environmentalism, I'm anti-colonialism.

          by sneakers563 on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 09:40:59 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Bet a model T would have made him buy or horse, (0+ / 0-)

        Hell maybe we can go back even further and see how many outdated and now irrelevant anecdotes we can find.  Afterall 1985 was only 23 years ago.  Probably when bread cost a dime and people walked to school barefoot in the snow, up hill.  

        They're asking for another four years -- in a just world, they'd get 10 to 20 ~~ Dennis Kucinich

        by dkmich on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 02:43:21 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  I had a 1994 Buick Regal and it is great!! (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rockhound, dkmich, janew2, NearlyNormal

      Bought it used in 2001, w 189,000 mi.  It ran great, minor repairs/upkeep, a slight electrical problem that I diagnosed.  Last may I gave it to my niece w/250K miles on it.  All it needed since was a water pump and a tuneup and it is running better than ever!

      That GM 3.8 V6 just keeps on running with no oil leakage, and the car runs great.  Some rust is starting, but with that many years and miles and being an outdoor car since I had it in a northern climate, I'd say it has done extremely well, and still is.  

      Not all cars from GM are crap!!  In fact, I've never had a bad GM car, personally, and that is owning about a dozen since '77.

      The 4 boxes of Democracy: The soap box, the ballot box, the jury box and the ammo box. The 4 G's of survival: Gold, Grub, God and Guns.

      by FightTheFuture on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 08:48:05 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I learned to drive on a Chevy Corvair (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        back in the 1960s. It put me off US-made cars for life. Unsafe at any speed is right. I have owned Toyotas since the 1970s.

        •  The Corvair had its issues, but many cars (0+ / 0-)

          from US manufactures from that time were fine.  Foreign cars had their own issues back then, too, especially with very bad rust issue due to inferior steel.  also parts were always a problem with poor distribution networks.  The thing with the Japanese is they had a real zeal for continuous quality improvement that I think was missing in the US car manufactures of that time.

          There are reasons for this, among them differing ways in which US vs. Japanese corporations worked, and how they handled long term vs. short term goals and government assistance to them (Japanese corporations were very protected then),  They had little to worry about with shareholders back then, who, if they complained in a shareholder nmeeting, would be taken out and beat up!!  

          Mixing of different worlds.  For example, now, Buick, in China, is considered a real premium brand because Mao rode around in one back in his day, as I understand!

          The 4 boxes of Democracy: The soap box, the ballot box, the jury box and the ammo box. The 4 G's of survival: Gold, Grub, God and Guns.

          by FightTheFuture on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 05:01:38 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  I had good luck with Chryslers (0+ / 0-)

        but I realize my experience was exceptional, as I think was yours. I got 178k miles from an '86 Plymouth Horizon (and was still running well when I sold it), but it's worth noting that the Consumer Reports advice for the model at the time was clear: "avoid".

        It's also true that people who like their cars are willing to forgive flaws. I loved my '85 Dodge 600 convertible, but forgave its lack of power and rough shifting. It died due to catastrophic engine failure at 130k miles, but I still think it was a decent car. Others having the exact same experience would almost surely call it a piece of crap that never worked right and then blew up.

        Another case in point: I had a '96 Neon which was by far the most reliable car I have owned. Bulletproof. But I'm the first to admit it's the exception to the rule, that I got lucky. Lots of other Neons had problems by the shedload, mine just didn't happen to.

        And that's where your Buick probably fits in. You got lucky, maintained it well, and it's held together for you. But lots of others haven't - as I posted about separately, my '84 Olds had the same engine as your Buick, the 3.8l V6, and it was a complete crapheap.

        If I have money to spend on a car, I'm far more likely to spend it where the percentages are in my favor. Sure, Honda and Nissan and Toyota put out the occasional dud. Nothing's perfect. But if my chances of getting a lemon are 1 in 100 with them, I'll pick them any day of the week over an American maker where my chances of getting a piece of crap are more like 1 in 20.

        And whether or not those numbers are 100% accurate (they're not), they're still perception based on 30 years of experience, and that will take a huge effort to turn around. I honestly don't think the former 'big three' have the fight left in them.

        •  the 3.8's was a different engine in '84. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          I had a Series I 3800 which came out in '91.  The Series II came out in '95 (according to Wiki).  The Series I was very good and the Series II was even better.  What you had in 84 was a different design, but I cannot comment on it.

          As I mentioned elsewhere, the cars in the 80's were a real mixed bag.  They were dealing with gas crises, CAFE and millage standards, learning how to shave weight and downsize to meet needs while still keeping cars large enough for the American consumer's needs and desires.  In some respects, the Japanese and other foreign cars had some advantages for millage and weight, but the emissions they ALL had to meet caused a lot of headaches until the development of the catalytic converter and better computer control and systems integrations.

          The 90's saw a renaissance of American car technology that, IMO, rivals other manufactures, easily in the similar price points.  Still, Korean brands, with much cheaper labor made some inroads, and the Asian penchant for high fit/finish quality, especially with the Japanese and their adoption of the Demming methods to archive that, certainly helped them.  Also, the bad experiences from the 80's with American cards for many did not help.

          At this point, I think American cars from GM and Ford (I am not as keen on Chrysler) are very competitive with the engineering, fit/finish and warranties of any cars in similar price points from other manufactures.  Of course they have to overcome past bad experiences, and people tend to be hypersensitive to perceptions, so they still have some work ahead.  That's my opinion.  

          The 4 boxes of Democracy: The soap box, the ballot box, the jury box and the ammo box. The 4 G's of survival: Gold, Grub, God and Guns.

          by FightTheFuture on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 04:55:08 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  But hey, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        your experiences aren't worth anything.  The only ones that count are the "I had a bad us auto" anecdotes.  

        They're asking for another four years -- in a just world, they'd get 10 to 20 ~~ Dennis Kucinich

        by dkmich on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 02:46:40 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Naomi Klein..... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Droogie is as Droogie does....

      by vets74 on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 09:16:21 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  thanks michael moore for stopping by... (31+ / 0-)

    Look forward to seeing KO tonight and good luck..

    "When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace."-- Jimi Hendrix (1942-1970)

    by ebbinflo on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 05:01:34 AM PST

  •  thanks (16+ / 0-)

    Good ideas.

    It's unfortunate they forgot how to build quality cars.  it's more unfortunate that it will likely become the problem of the American taxpayer.

    When do I get to vote on your marriage?

    by tvb on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 05:03:10 AM PST

    •  Oh my goodness. (34+ / 0-)

      FORD is building quality cars.  They have an excellent new president who did wonders for Boeing.  AIG, Citibank, and the rest of them got their money on an effing silver platter and the BIG 3 get treated like child molesters.  I wonder why the white collar jobs are so much more important than the blue collar ones in Detroit.  I am sick to death of the media and frankly Daily Kos for suggesting that we let these people suffer.  The big 3 have not been competitive because of the amount of money they have to pay out to employees that are no longer working for the company.  By the way, FORD is making the safest and most reliable cars on the road.   There stock is up and they only want a line of credit to be a reassurance if the market continues to plummet.  Let's get our facts straight before we make blanket assumtions because it is so easy and fun to blame executives.

      •  You probably know more than me, (5+ / 0-)

        but I see F10's all over the highways.  I know they have a Hybrid Escape out there, but it's only inching toward a goal we need to achieve.  What does it get, 25mpg?  Not good enough.  There is nothing radical coming out of Michigan (I'm a native Yooper and know more about iron ore economy so hope for better things).  We need a huge paradigm shift.  If they weren't pulled up to the trough of bailout money, maybe I'd cut them more slack.

        •  The problem is that Americans are still not (6+ / 0-)

          buying Hybrids.  It isn't that they didn't make them and then Americans started running to Honda and Toyota.  Honda stopped making the accord in hybrid because it wasn't selling.  People love the FORD F-150.  It is the best selling truck on the road.  I have a family of 5.  I have two kids still in carseats.  We own a town and country.  As much as I would love to buy a prius, it is not big enough for my family.  Until they make an SUV that I can afford in hybrid, I will be driving my town and country.  By the way, it gets decent gas mileage.  I drive to my daughter's school, the library and the grocery store most weeks.  I do venture to Target once a week, so I am not driving far.

          •  Chevy Tahoe hybrid (6+ / 0-)

            gets 21 mpg in the city. Same as a 4 cylinder Camry.

            "All that serves labor serves the nation. All that harms labor is treason. -Abraham Lincoln

            by happy camper on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 06:24:57 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I can't afford it. (0+ / 0-)

              Also, my husband doesn't think I could fit it in my garage without crashing it.  I hate to admit it but he is probably right.  I am not too good with the whole spatial relationship thingy.

          •  Sorry, but I don't always buy that (8+ / 0-)

            "I have a family of 5 so I need a big car"

            I have a Volkswagen Golf GTI. It's a 2 door hatchback. It can comfortably fit 4 adults in there. I've done 5 full sized adults once, but I don't think that worked out so well (but they were all drunk so they probably didn't care, especially because if it wasn't for me being the DD that night, they'd be walking home). But if I had 3 children in the backseat instead of 3 adults, I think it probably would've been fine. Plus, I still have a huge trunk to haul crap. You can load up a ton of crap in a small car if you try, it's like a real life version of Tetris. And I get 30 MPG highway.

            A 2 door hatch isn't practical for families, but why not a larger sedan like a Camry or Accord? Surely, if 5 adults barely fit in my car, 5 children, including 2 carseats, would fit in one of those.

            •  I am not saying I need a huge car. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              My minivan is not huge.  I cannot fit my family in a prius.  I don't care how much you don't want to believe it.  It is a fact.

            •  Ok... (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              beans, evanaj, fl1972

              You have a couple of kid's and get back to us.

              •  My parents had a couple of kids (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                theran, highacidity, debedb, thebluecrayon

                My brother and I did just fine in mid-sized sedans and smallish minivans. No monster trucks for us.

                •  Try fitting modern safety seats. . . (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Reepicheep, fl1972

                  . . . in a car - they fit two across, not three.

                  Booster seats are a little better, but once you have a baby/toddler seat in the back, you've got room for one more human back there, of whatever size.

                  Back in the old days, I used to ride in the "way back" of my parents' Ford Falcon station wagon. I also remember riding standing up and leaning over the middle of the front bench seat to "see better". That will now get you arrested.

                  Now - if they figure out how to design modular safety seats, that could fit more snugly together, maybe we could get some of the hapless "parents of three" back into normal size cars.

                  "Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful." -William Morris

                  by Robespierrette on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 08:14:28 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  People shouldn't have three little kids... (0+ / 0-)

           once, in any case. Of course, with triplets or twins, you don't have much of a choice.

                    Okay, maybe that's a tad judgmental, but how the hell can any middle class or lower person pay for three or more small children in this economy? I can barely pay for myself and I have zero children.

                    •  That's another thing going wrong. . . (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:

                      People, especially young people, should be able to have a family without automatically being forced into poverty. The statistics for how many American children live in poverty are just brutal.

                      The way we have our society organized faces people (and esp. women) with some pretty harsh realities when it comes to raising families. I was going to say "choices", but they're not always - realistically - choices.

                      I have been amazingly fortunate - I went to college, had a career that made me "well-to-do", and still managed to have a baby by age 37, and have the luxury to stay home with her. It's been ideal for me, and about as likely as winning the lottery.

                      Waiting to have kids until you can "afford" them sounds well and good, except there's the whole fertility problem - that biological clock is no joke. I had two miscarriages most likely due to "eggs that weren't good anymore" (at ages 33 and 35), and I've had a couple of friends who had to have all kinds of medical assistance, or wound up unable to conceive at all. It's unlikely we'd have had these problems if we'd been having our kids when we were 25.

                      "Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful." -William Morris

                      by Robespierrette on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 11:31:29 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

            •  You can't do that if two of them (0+ / 0-)

              are in car seats, though.  And a new Kansas law says they have to be in a booster seat until age 7.

              "YOPP!" --Horton Hears a Who

              by Reepicheep on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 12:19:00 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  That reply just doesn't work for me (7+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            theran, highacidity, JanL, tvb, adrianrf, kfd313, RJP9999

            I am an American and drive a 2005 Civic Hybrid and paid more for it because I felt it was the right thing to do, not because it would be a long-term economically good choice for me, me, me... Gas was mostly cheaper in 2004 but I was listening in the seventies and waiting for a chance to change my consumption.  I also got a scooter and bicycle, and I use them.  I did the same for my daughter. I live 2 miles from work... These are choices I made to reduce my carbon footprint and to encourage my daughter to do the same.  I'm tired of listening to crap like this and I'll tell you that even if it makes you angry and defensive. What people love and what people do are not ultimately good choices for the planet that your kids will need longer than you will.  You give your kids the elbow room they need today at the cost of the environment that they will need later.  So are you really doing them or any of us any favors?  We had 5 kids in our family back in the sixties, one car, and we all fit somehow.  It was an average size sedan. BTW, they make a hybrid SUV called the Escape, if you must.  And if you can afford three kids, (I assume it was your choice) you should be able to afford to make smart choices otherwise.

            •  I'll remember to strap my 2 and 3 year old to my (0+ / 0-)

              back when I ride my scooter to the super market.  Will you then approve of the decisions I make for my family?  I am doing the best I can with what I have but thanks for the judgement.

              •  I probably shouldn't have said anything. (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                highacidity, debedb, adrianrf

                Over-reaching with that type of reply should have been expected.  You'll do whatever you want to and then make excuses.  Everyone rationalizes what they choose to do somehow.  We'll rationalize ourselves into oblivion.  I just learned today that the average adult carries 5 pounds of plastic in their body.  But we're on the right track.

                •  I am not rationalizing anything. (0+ / 0-)

                  I am stating a fact...My mini-van fits my family.  I, by no means, pictured myself as a little girl driving a mini-van around town.  It is not a luxury but a neccesity. I would love to afford a hybrid that can fit my family.  Hopefully, that will become a reality soon.  Until then, I will drive my TNC.

            •  BTW.... (0+ / 0-)

              I don't love my TNC.  It kinda blows but it is economical and it gets my family from here to there.  You can not fit two carseats and another person in the back seat of most cars.  The carseats are huge and quite bulky.  So, don't get so preachy and judgey without understanding the particular situation.  

              •  Sorry (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                JanL, fl1972

                It's a knee-jerk reaction to any hint of defending the vehicles made today.  I'm not even that impressed with the Civic Hybrid; I think we should be doing better, wanting more or demanding solutions and never rationalizing with what we want instead.  It was your initial comment about people wanting big trucks and not hybrids that got me started.  I hope the desire for conspicuous consumption of fossil fuel becomes extinct soon, but first we have to invalidate it.

        •  So what say you to a Toyota Sequoia (7+ / 0-)

          or a Toyota Tundra or any of the other gigantic gas-hogs the sainted Japanese have put their money on in recent years.

          The fact is that the Escape Hybrid gets better gas mileage overall than a Toyota Corolla.  What it concedes on the highway it more than makes up for in the city.  The fact is that the Ford Fusion hybrid gets better gas mileage than a Toyota Camry Hybrid, or a Corolla, or a Civic.

          I'm curious, what do you think you could get your neighbors to buy instead of a full-size truck, living up in the UP?

          I guess familiarity breeds contempt when it comes to the Big Three.  But we're OK pouring money down the AIG rathole.

          •  I say shame on Toyota (6+ / 0-)

            and just because they're making them doesn't mean we have to buy them.  I no longer live in the UP, but my dad bought a Toyota in the '70s and drove it to the mines and he did it because he hated what the Americans were making with our natural resources.  Mining is dirty business, and you shouldn't waste... and all that... it was not a popular thing to do, but I was proud of his resolve.  The people in the UP like the small Subaru for the snow.  Trucks SUCK on snow unless you load them up with sand.  You don't see a lot of full size trucks AND people up there appreciate the environment.  I miss that.  They are a lot of proud tree huggers there.

            AIG is another story and that whole episode sucks too.  

      •  I have a Ford F250 Triton V10 Super Duty (9+ / 0-)

        I inherited it this year.  It's the best fucking truck, ever.  Yes, it gets shitty gas mileage, and no, we don't drive it every day or even every week.  But it does admirably what we need it to do.  Quality isn't only about gas mileage.

        We are all droogie6655321

        by Buckeye BattleCry on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 05:54:49 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  That's why I like my (4+ / 0-)

          Chevy Silverado with the 6.0 liter V-8.

          That V-10 is a workhorse, isn't it?

          "All that serves labor serves the nation. All that harms labor is treason. -Abraham Lincoln

          by happy camper on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 06:26:27 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Caddy CTS-V, @ 193mph is the worlds fastest sedan (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Buckeye BattleCry

          it pumps out 556 H.P. and will run circles around any AMG, Jag, Beemer, Bentley, Maserati, or any other megabuck luxury car for $60,000, and yes, it is a very luxurious car. 16mpg city/ 25 mpg hwy, not too shabby for feeding 556 horses. by comparison, a base Mercedes C63 after being tweeked by Brabus to 550 H.P. will sail down the Autoban at 205 mph- 12 mph faster, but it'll set you back $538,286
            its not always about mpg.

          impeachment-it does the body good impeachment-it isn't just for blow jobs anymore impeachment-i can say no more i expect no less

          by playtonjr on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 07:34:05 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  don't wring your hands for the Big 3 (5+ / 0-)

        and their legacy costs.  They chose to provide generous retirement/health benefits in prior negotiations with labor because those were future costs, as opposed to raises, which would increase costs immediately.  They could claim inflated profits by pushing their additional labor costs to the future in the form of new retirement benefits.  Well guess what?  It's time to pay the piper and now the Big 3 are crying about how they can't afford the legacy costs they willingly undertook years ago to inflate profit numbers.

        These guys are fucking retards and I'm tired of hearing about all the hybrid cars they are supposedly building.  If you take a giant Escalade, make it a hybrid so it gets one or two more miles per gallon, it's still an over-sized, gas guzzling SUV that no one in their right mind would buy.  

        When it comes to safety, fuel efficiency, and quality, the Big 3 have only made progress when the government dragged them kicking and screaming into modernity.  If it were up to them, they'd still be making cars without seat belts, catalytic converters, and collapsible steering columns.  

        They have been wrong on every strategic call they've made in the last forty years.  Shit, even a broken clock is right twice a day.

        •  Blame the Worker? (0+ / 0-)

          I'll go out on a limb here and guess you've never worked on an assembly line or in a foundry or mill.  The union took a cut on wages for pensions and health care.  Silly them to want security and health for their families.  They brought you the middle class and they are worth every penny of their pay, unlike the Wall St. thieves who brought on this mess.

      •  Are you suggesting they dump pensioners? (9+ / 0-)

        That companies can no longer be competitive and offer pensions?

        Again, the race to the bottom.

        If in order for companies to stay "competitive" (continue to pay greater and greater dividends to shareholders?) we have to lower the level of workers wages and living standards to that of other countries, then most of us might as well start having lots of babies as a retirement plan. Because that's how it's done in third world countries that we are trying so hard to compete against. After all, were will the race end?

        Instead, how about we just start putting tariffs on products coming from countries that pay and treat their workers like crap? Tariffs on countries that subsidize companies by relieving them of the burden of employee health care until we have single payer?

        If people don't like the price of things going through the roof, then maybe we should just start making thing here again and create jobs that pay well enough for people to afford them. We just have to stop this race to the bottom some how.

        How about we work to level the playing field to our standard of living?

        I am a liberal - I question authority, ALL authority.

        by Pescadero Bill on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 07:26:04 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  This is a pretty upper-middle-class blog (16+ / 0-)

        Not so many autoworkers here.

        I definitely don't support environmentally unsound, low quality vehicles, but this whole resistance to bailing out the Big Three has nothing to do with a newfound anti-corporate restraint and everything to do with busting unions. I wish more people would see that.

        So, basically, what Michael Moore is saying is pretty much right.

        •  Exactly (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          NoMoreLies, JanL, chrome327, thethinveil

          And I love his idea of just flat-out buying GM and putting it on a schedule to buy itself back. The only thing I would change is to see that the buyback took the company private, so that Wall Street's reflexive insistence on quarterly growth no longer kept the company from making the kind of long-term investments and plans that companies like GM have to be able to make in order to be successful.

          No laws but Liberty. No king but Conscience.

          by oldjohnbrown on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 09:46:45 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  In the end this isn't about (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        how good, bad or necessary these companies are.  It is about giving them 31 billion dollars.

        "YOPP!" --Horton Hears a Who

        by Reepicheep on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 12:22:58 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Motortrend 2008 Car of the Year (8+ / 0-)

      Cadillac CTS.

      2005 - Chrysler 300
      2002 - Ford Thunderbird
      2001 - Chrysler PT Cruiser
      2000 - Lincoln LS
      1999 - Chrysler 300M
      1998 - Chevrolet Corvette
      1997 - Chevrolet Malibu
      1996 - Dodge Caravan
      1995 - Chrysler Cirrus
      1994 - Ford Mustang
      1993 - Ford Probe GT
      1992 - Cadillac Seville Touring Sedan
      1991 - Chevrolet Caprice Classic LTZ
      1990 - Lincoln Town Car

      We are all droogie6655321

      by Buckeye BattleCry on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 05:44:09 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  nice cars (13+ / 0-)

        The average American doesn't give a rats ass what Motortrend names as a car of year during their little fest of excess each January in Detroit.  Cadillac CTS?  Give me a break.  How about the editors asking themselves what cars are most useful towards the enviroment?

        The only thing that would make that list even more consumer and earth-unfriendly would be adding the hummer to it.

        When do I get to vote on your marriage?

        by tvb on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 05:59:22 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Cadillac CTS (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          vets74, chrome327

          gets 28 mpg. How is that bad for the earth?

          "All that serves labor serves the nation. All that harms labor is treason. -Abraham Lincoln

          by happy camper on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 06:27:41 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Well, (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            tvb, darrkespur, vets74

            What can you do in a CTS that you can't do in a Cobalt, a Corolla, a Civic, etc?

            "Words ought to be a little wild for they are the assault of thought on the unthinking." - John Maynard Keynes

            by Drew J Jones on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 06:34:19 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Fit more people (0+ / 0-)

              and cargo, for one. For another, a Cadillac buyer has already decided they don't want an econobox. They want a Cadillac. Drive one sometime, and you'll know the difference.

              "All that serves labor serves the nation. All that harms labor is treason. -Abraham Lincoln

              by happy camper on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 06:48:06 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  Go ask that question of everyone... (8+ / 0-)

              Who owns a 3 series, 5 series or C-Class or E-Class, all of which get the same or worse gas mileage than the CTS.

              Cadillac is a luxury brand and makes luxury sports cars (just like the Germans and the Japanese). Unless of course the US shouldn't compete with the Germans and the Japanese.

              They could all own Civics or Corollas, but sometimes we like to drive cars with beautiful sheet metal (neither the Corolla or Civic), exquisite interiors (neither the Corolla or Civic), powerful engines (neither) and cars that aren't dynamically retarded (Corolla, the Civic can handle fairly well for an FWD car).

              Some of us like cars and like to drive them and like to have cars we can enjoy driving.

              •  ... (6+ / 0-)

                Go ask that question of everyone...Who owns a 3 series, 5 series or C-Class or E-Class, all of which get the same or worse gas mileage than the CTS.

                I do ask that question of them, but BMW and Mercedes are not asking me for a bailout right now, so they're not the subject at base.

                They could all own Civics or Corollas, but sometimes we like to drive cars with beautiful sheet metal (neither the Corolla or Civic), exquisite interiors (neither the Corolla or Civic), powerful engines (neither) and cars that aren't dynamically retarded (Corolla, the Civic can handle fairly well for an FWD car).

                Cadillacs are wasteful cars.  I appreciate that you like cars.  But a car is supposed to get you from Point A to Point B.  You're supposed to drive it, not fuck it.

                You don't need a powerful engine.  You don't need "exquisite interiors" (I'd call them "tacky").  You don't need "beautiful sheet metal".  Waste, waste, waste.

                If you want fancy handling systems, buy a fucking MINI Cooper or a go-kart.  You'll save gas.

                Don't lecture me about some pimped-out piece of shit Cadillac being pretty when practicality should reign.  That's what got the Big Three into trouble in the first place.

                "Words ought to be a little wild for they are the assault of thought on the unthinking." - John Maynard Keynes

                by Drew J Jones on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 07:17:23 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  If you can't tell (5+ / 0-)

                  the difference between the way a Cadillac drives and the way a Civic drives, well, I don't know what to tell you. Go drive a go-cart, I guess.

                  "All that serves labor serves the nation. All that harms labor is treason. -Abraham Lincoln

                  by happy camper on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 07:56:09 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Wow. (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    Not even a bit of effort to answer my points.  Just some snob remark about "how it drives".  (Who the fuck cares?  It goes from one place to another.)  Pretty pathetic.

                    "Words ought to be a little wild for they are the assault of thought on the unthinking." - John Maynard Keynes

                    by Drew J Jones on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 08:02:51 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  What is your point? (0+ / 0-)

                      That you don't give a shit what you drive? I get that. Was there another? Not everyone shares your preferences in transportation. Is that concept hard for you to understand?

                      "All that serves labor serves the nation. All that harms labor is treason. -Abraham Lincoln

                      by happy camper on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 08:12:05 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  No. (3+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        JanL, dewley notid, RJP9999

                        My point is that your insistence on being wasteful and selfish for the sake of having a visually pleasing car affects me by driving up demand for resources, wrecking the environment, and leaving the rest of us to throw away our future income bailing out your preferred car companies -- income that should go to health care, schools, public transit, or just allowing us to have a few bucks extra in our pockets down the line.

                        And you wonder why so many are ready to tell the Big Three to go fuck themselves.

                        "Words ought to be a little wild for they are the assault of thought on the unthinking." - John Maynard Keynes

                        by Drew J Jones on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 08:26:04 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Most of those who (5+ / 0-)

                          want to tell the Big Three to "go fuck themselves" are either ignorant of the enormous impact such an event would have on the larger economy, or they are free market ideologues who want to break the union. A third group is composed of those who think everyone should drive vehicles that they themselves approve of.

                          I don't drive a Cadillac, because I can't afford one. I have an 8 year old Pontiac and a 12 year old Pontiac. Both get decent mileage compared to the other cars available in their class. I also have a Chevy truck that gets terrible mileage, but I have a use for it. When GM puts their hybrid drivetrain in trucks--that's the same drivetrain that, in a Tahoe, gets 21 mpg in town--I'll buy one.

                          GM and Ford already have new product in the pipeline--they always do, it's the nature of the business. If the financial sector hadn't trashed the economy none of this would be happening, yet people act as though the auto industry is responsible. They're asking for a loan, BTW, and are much more likely to pay it back than the bankers who took $700 billion as a reward for wrecking the economy.

                          "All that serves labor serves the nation. All that harms labor is treason. -Abraham Lincoln

                          by happy camper on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 08:52:38 AM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  GM says they will layoff 20,000 workers (0+ / 0-)

                            if they do get the loan. How's that helping the autoworkers? I work in the auto industry, and I don't want the greedy scumbags who run the Big 3 to get one penny of the public's money, even if it is a loan. They're just going to use that money to throw more of their employees here in the U.S. out of work. GM recently opened a new plant outside St. Petersburg, Russia. Meanwhile they've been laying people off and closing plants here in the U.S., and if they get the loan they will continue to do so.

                            That's why I think Michael Moore's idea of nationalizing the Big 3 is the only real solution. Britain did the same thing with the coal industry after WWII, and it worked. I'm aware that if the Big 3 go bankrupt then I'll be out of work, but that may happen anyway, even if they do get the bailout loan.

                            "Because things are the way they are, things will not stay the way they are." -- Bertolt Brecht

                            by thaelmann on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 10:17:19 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  The only way to (0+ / 0-)

                            change the outsourcing drive and the race to the bottom is to change industrial policy. In other countries, policies are set to help that countries workers. The Japanese, Koreans, and Chinese do not allow us unfettered access to their markets. They subsidize their auto industries through government funded health care, R&D subsidies, national pension systems and more.

                            If the playing field were level, GM would kick Toyota's ass.

                            "All that serves labor serves the nation. All that harms labor is treason. -Abraham Lincoln

                            by happy camper on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 05:06:57 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                    •  My first criteria for a car is functionality (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      happy camper, chrome327

                      Read up on vehicles, do the homework, and make sure it's not a known lemon... I don't buy headaches. I'm not a pamperer.

                      Second is safety and gas mileage.

                      Third, and actually, very important is the ride. The driver's seat. I'm not sitting scrunched up in the wheelwell of a deathtrap.

                      Having said that... people need to become more aware of how much difference a specific set (brand and type) of tires makes to the ride of an automobile.

                      <div style="color: #a00000;"> Our... constitutional heritage rebels at the thought of giving government the power to control men's minds. Thurgood Marshal

                      by bronte17 on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 09:00:19 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                •  asdf (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  rockhound, philboy1, chrome327

                  Don't lecture me about some pimped-out piece of shit Cadillac being pretty when practicality should reign.

                  Ok let us know when you wake up from your Utopian dream.

                  People that make good money will spring for nicer cars... period. If you honestly think that most people making 100k+ per year are going to buy a car purely for functionality, you are deluding yourself.

                  Holy Crap, We Won?!?!?

                  by weelzup on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 08:01:24 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Hence the "should". (0+ / 0-)

                    It's that whole reading comprehension thing.

                    "Words ought to be a little wild for they are the assault of thought on the unthinking." - John Maynard Keynes

                    by Drew J Jones on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 08:04:08 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  And why "should" it? (0+ / 0-)

                      Why can't we have both? Luxury and good fuel economy. Would that combination still offend you? If people have enough money to buy a fuel efficient luxury car... should they forgo it for the more inexpensive car with the same mileage? Even though the ride is better and there are far more features to the luxury car? Why should I forgo the nicer car if I can afford it, because there are starving people in the world and I should feel guilty for being selfish? Bullshit. I can drive a nice car, feed the hungry, and do my part to help the environment all at the same time.

                      Holy Crap, We Won?!?!?

                      by weelzup on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 09:31:02 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Nope. (0+ / 0-)

                        Why can't we have both? Luxury and good fuel economy. Would that combination still offend you?

                        Both is perfectly fine.  But right now we don't have both.

                        Why should I forgo the nicer car if I can afford it, because there are starving people in the world and I should feel guilty for being selfish? Bullshit.

                        Again, reading comprehension.  This is not what I said.  I made the point that you and others are demanding that I and others spend our future income propping up the Big Three, whose problems trace to their reliance on gas-guzzling cars.  (People need to stop blaming Wall Street for GM's problems.  Wall Street's collapse simply accelerated a process that was already well under way.  The Big Three have been in trouble for years.)

                        In addition to the consequences with regard to energy and the environment, this demand for our tax dollars to protect your option to buy a Fuck-You-mobile is incredibly selfish.

                        "Words ought to be a little wild for they are the assault of thought on the unthinking." - John Maynard Keynes

                        by Drew J Jones on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 09:41:45 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                  •  Making 100+ K & Driving a Honda (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    taonow, NoMoreLies, strangedemocracy

                    I make over 100K per year and I drive a 1998 Honda Civic. It gets around 35 MPG. I bought it new in 1998 and decked it out with extra speakers, spoiler, and "wood grain" interior, etc. It looks good and rides pretty well getting me from point A to point B. I try to put my money in appreciable assets, which so far is not most automobiles. I was a Ford fan before I bought Honda. When I tried to trade in my Ford and the dealer told me it wasn't even worth what I owed on it, I decided to never be in that position again. So Ford not doing something to keep the resell value of their cars up lost them a buyer forever. I have plenty of tales about my family's GM vehicles. I agree with Michael Moore, put them to work building light rail, etc.

                    "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." FDR

                    by Robin7459 on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 06:24:49 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                •  There is a market for these cars... (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Buckeye BattleCry, chrome327

                  Unless of course you advocate the car makers not compete in one of the most profitable segments in the marketplace. Profits which are used to fuel the Detroit R&D budgets - to create cars of the future like the Volt.

                •  Henry Ford (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Buckeye BattleCry, weelzup, chrome327

                  Should have stuck with the Model T then, I guess.

          •  seriously? (12+ / 0-)

            anything under 40 is just bad construction in my book. Unless you're towing. But even so, my father tows a fairly hefty caravan using his skoda octavia saloon and still hits 45-48mpg. Of course, that's here in Europe where tanks in the city aren't considered mandatory. There's plenty of european cars that fit up to 7 people and plenty of trunk space that still do 40+mpg. The whole 'i've got a big family argument' seems a little wonky to me in the face of the cars I see on the road here in the UK. I think there's been far too much justification that somehow a car with less than 8 cylinders and 3L engine is emasculation.

            I don't want to make it a Europe vs US argument but the clunkiness of big 3 cars compared to what we get from the french and german manufacturers here is just astonishing. Who needs that much horsepower when you're just stuck in traffic anyway?

            follow my world without oil!

            by darrkespur on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 06:41:06 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Those cars you mention are simply not marketed (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              in the US, which is a crime.  Go to a US car dealer & tell them you want a car for a family of five, with room for a couple of suitcases, and not a full-size minivan.  You will get a quizzical stare that will tell you a lot!

              •  sounds like my Honda (4+ / 0-)

                It "Fits" all that just fine and I'm getting upper 30s in gas mileage and it has an ultra low emissions rating.

                When do I get to vote on your marriage?

                by tvb on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 07:20:53 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  I was thinking about the three-carseat puzzle in (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  luvmovies2000, tvb

                  particular...maybe some really heroic person has done this in an Accord, but there is little to nothing planned for that.  Honda has only two LATCH thingums in the backseat.  But your point is well taken--I overspoke that pretty bad.

                  I'm also thinking about my childhood where a family of SIX rode around in a sedan together.

                  In any case, I've sworn that if child #3 comes I will never get a low-mileage, oversized vehicle--so I will make it work somehow.  But I do get the impression that customers in other countries have some more choices for that situation than here in the US.

              •  My father's Octavia (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                is a really impressive piece of kit. He's got the diesel, so the mpg is slightly different (56.7mpg combined), but the design quality is impressive. I don't live at home anymore so I rarely go on holidays with my parents but we could do five people, a dog and a ton of luggage (the trunk is huge), plus a towed caravan stacked with stuff, and still get good speed and economy. Most taxis here apart from traditional London cabs are Octavias.


                follow my world without oil!

                by darrkespur on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 07:49:32 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Diesel is of course slightly more (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  diesle per litre here is about 20p more than unleaded gasoline, but even so, that 56.7mpg is better than the 55mpg combined for the prius - with no hybrid drive in the octavia at all! It scares me to think what they could get with a hybrid drive. Well, not really scares. Excites, perhaps.

                  follow my world without oil!

                  by darrkespur on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 07:58:33 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

            •  Well said (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              JanL, darrkespur, dewley notid, polar bear

              The idea that 28 MPG is OK is an antiquated notion, one that has no place in the world we live in today, where global warming is a reality and the petroleum supply is controlled by religious ideologues that hate us.

              "All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent". - Thomas Jefferson

              by bobscofield on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 07:39:53 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Well, they don't sell (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                luvmovies2000, chrome327

                those cars here, so it really doesn't matter. I am all for better economy, but the existence of these vehicles is moot until they appear at the dealer here. Do I wish they did? Hell, yes.

                But they don't.

                "All that serves labor serves the nation. All that harms labor is treason. -Abraham Lincoln

                by happy camper on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 08:00:42 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

            •  I disagree. The comfort, quality and performance (0+ / 0-)

              of a 40 mpg car would not satisfy the vast majority of Americans who are not so interested in fuel economy unless gas is over $4 a gallon.

              The only way that I see to change this is through government mandated mpg standards which will force people to buy the cars which can meet these high mpg standards even though they may not be happy with the performance.

        •  You obviously don't read the magazine (0+ / 0-)

          The editors are deeply interested in green tech.

          No laws but Liberty. No king but Conscience.

          by oldjohnbrown on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 09:47:37 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  people (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jds1978, bobscofield

        people vote with their money,  guess what they are saying?

      •  Thank you, Buckeye (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        rockhound, biggus

        And could we PLEASE all stop worshiping at the feet of the great God Michael Moore? He's a filmmaker.  I like his films.  But he is not Jesus of the Second Coming.

        And no, I don't know why his car is such a piece of crap.  I have always owned American cars.  I have a 2000 Pontiac Grand Am right now, which gets decent gaqs mileage.  I have NEVER owned an SUV, but a lot of people I know did.  Face it, the Big 3 made what people were buying - then (and they were big where I live until a couple of years ago).  Now, not so much.  But I still see a lot of them on the road, and you're going to be seeing a lot of them for awhile, because we are in this massive recession, see?

        But here is where I think Mike has it wrong (though, God knows, on DailyKos, that is like skinning puppies) -

        1. Buy all the common stock for $3 billion? Like THAT is going to help.  Actually, the feds have bailed out an automaker before - it was Chrysler.  The feds made money on the deal.
        1. The major problem with the Big 3 RIGHT NOW isn't (despite all popular wisdom) their bloated structure (though, hey, that's a problem)- right now you can't get an auto loan unless you have a credit score of around 700.  In other words, you can't get a loan unless you don't really NEED one - with a credit score like that, your local banker is probably taking you out to dinner. So they can't sell cars. No sales, no revenue. No revenue, can't pay ANYBODY, including the workers.
        1. Actually, $34 Billion ain't much considering we just flushed over $200 billion into the financial network, bailing out people who kept all their profits. And considering how much FUN it has been making the auto companies beg for every dime, you know that Congress will make them jump through all sorts of hoops.
        1. We tell them we want a plan of restructuring and then we bitch because they are going to eliminate jobs and close plants? Well, of course they are.  And the unions will want to work with them on this because the LAST thing the unions want is a bankruptcy court judge modifying those contracts for them. Or even worse, liquidation rather than Chapter 11.  And you think it can't happen?
        1. And sorry, but the idea of retooling so that the Big 3 make buses and trains and cars that are not "primarily dependent" on fossil fuel is just silly.  Hybrids are just not big sellers.  Sorry, but not in the USA, they are just not. And municipalities can BUY buses now, no sweat.

        I'm not adverse to doing something along the lines of being more environmentally friendly.  But the bottom line is that the Big 3 didn't cause this problem - they are caught in the credit vise.  They will do pretty much anything to get this bailout (at least Chrysler and GM will). The government threw hundreds of billions at AIG and no one batted an eye.  But, man, American automakers have a problem, and people on this site start demanding they retool to build the Prius.  All that shows is how little some people on this site KNOW about the American people and what they drive.

        And for everyone of you latte-drinking, hybrid-driving, foreign car owning people who want to HR me for this comment, stick it where the sun don't shine.

        We do not rent rooms to Republicans.

        by Mary Julia on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 08:56:20 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  i don't want to HR you (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          dewley notid, RJP9999

          It's your opinion and you're entitled to it. It's just a shame so many people have this 'power is best' attitude towards cars and life in general. You can have a well made, efficient car and still enjoy driving it. There are plenty out there. The only excuse for a 'typically american' car is you like waste for the sake of looking tough/big, as far as I can see. It's not about the car, but about the status of driving a chunk of iron with a grill on the front and a V10 throwing its weight around.

          If that's the car the american people want to drive, then by your argument the big 3 would be doing better than the foreign manufacturers in this financial crisis, not worse.

          It's almost as if you're advocating driving an inefficient, poorly designed car as an act of patriotism.

          follow my world without oil!

          by darrkespur on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 09:09:22 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I don't drive an SUV (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            kimberlyweldon, JanL

            I drive a car I bought used, but it was built in Michigan, and it is a Pontiac.  The last HUGE American car I drove was a Pontiac Catalina I had 25 years ago (bought used for $800 and had to be shot to be killed) and a Chrysler New Yorker I inherited from my mother and somebody stole. Now THAT was a car.

            Am I a little bit patriotic about supporting American cars? Yeah, I am.  You're not supporting unions when you drive a Honda or a Toyota.  And I really don't think that my carbon footprint driving a Pontiac Grand Am is all that much greater than someone driving an Accord. BTW, the Grand Am, despite the name, still can crawl up steep hills.

            We do not rent rooms to Republicans.

            by Mary Julia on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 02:39:45 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I'm not sure I get it then (0+ / 0-)

              Fair play to you if you drive a reasonable size car that's also American made. But personally, I feel like if you can be patriotic AND expect these manufacturers to do better. Because frankly, the cars they make are ten years older in design than some of their competitors. I'm all for Union, and buying locally produced goods. But your defeatism on hybrids and the like, and the line 'you latte-drinking, hybrid-driving, foreign car owning people' in particular, how is that helping?

              Half the people buying those foreign cars would probably love to buy an American version with the same high standards. If those foreign cars are being sold in America, then what does that tell you about the American people and what they drive? If the foreign car companies' success has helped lead GM, Ford and Chrysler to this point, doesn't that indicate that the Big 3 have made some bad decisions?

              I can understand why you feel this way and I think it's admirable you're sticking up for the unions. But unless something is done to change the wrong-headed strategy of the Big 3 companies, all this bailout will do is push the layoffs down the road a couple of years. And I fully expect that when that time comes, oil will probably be higher again, CAFE standards will be higher and the competitors, foreign or not, will have another couple of years head start on the American car manufacturers.

              I admire your patriotism, to a point. But in my opinion, it's not patriotic to stick by a policy that's destroying part of the country's well being. Loyalty isn't a blank check.

              follow my world without oil!

              by darrkespur on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 04:50:03 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  Hey, Mary Julia (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Mary Julia, rockhound, JanL

          My point in that post is that the Big 3 are not making universally crappy cars.  OMG, the Corvette is a work of art!  Mustangs are beautiful! All three automakers produce trucks that are outstanding, and people do need them.  My every day car is a 10 year old Cavalier that has never given me a spot of trouble, while my son's 11 year old Civic needed to have the damned axles replaced along with other major repairs.   Which car is crappy?

          I do think Detroit can do better.  They can make a super duty truck that gets better than 15 mpg.  They can make a compact car that gets 40-plus mpg. They should drop the SUVs ASAP because people aren't buying them. The big 3 have been out of touch but there are a lot of very bright people who can turn those companies around.  

          Besides all that, letting millions of people lose their jobs, or bankruptcy filings that are designed to break the UAW--that's just unthinkable.  We can't allow this to happen.

          We are all droogie6655321

          by Buckeye BattleCry on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 09:46:55 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Credit Crunch (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Mary Julia

          The major problem with the Big 3 RIGHT NOW isn't (despite all popular wisdom) their bloated structure (though, hey, that's a problem)- right now you can't get an auto loan unless you have a credit score of around 700.  In other words, you can't get a loan unless you don't really NEED one - with a credit score like that, your local banker is probably taking you out to dinner. So they can't sell cars. No sales, no revenue. No revenue, can't pay

          I'm sorry but I don't buy this.  My wife is a third-grade teacher, I'm a state government employee and we've got no extra cash lying around to buy a car without financing.  Our credit scores are around 740 and that's from paying our mortgage, credit card bills, and student loans on time.  Our bank account consists of our monthly checks cycling in and out. The point is that any responsible adult's credit score should be around 700.

          I can only wish our local banker was taking us out to dinner...

          •  God bless you (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            for maintaining that credit score.  Mine isn't anywear near that, and I don't think a lot of people have it.  At least not enough people to get sales going.

            I just don't think sales are in the toilet because all of a sudden, everyone figured out they don't want American cars.  That's just not the way people think.  I DO think they are in the toilet because they can't get financing.  Some people can (responsible adults like you), but just not ENOUGH of you exist at the present time who are in the market to buy a car.

            And, of course, recession breeds recession.  If you think you're going to lose your job, you're not about to get a car loan....

            We do not rent rooms to Republicans.

            by Mary Julia on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 02:31:23 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  Quality went up, not down. Big time. (3+ / 0-)

      The SUVs are despicable. Sure. But people buy the goddamn things.

      The problem is the fall of sales for all of them -- Toyota and Nissan, too.

      Droogie is as Droogie does....

      by vets74 on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 09:18:15 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The Big 3 owners and CEOs (30+ / 0-)

    are an awful lot like the major league baseball owners.  Somehow, something great got into their control, and for decades they've done everything humanly possible to f*ck it up.  But it doesn't solve the problem to let the game fall apart, or to let the Big 3 fail.  Changing the ownership structure is at least a step in the right direction, your plan is as good as any.

  •  My damn engine light keeps going on and off (8+ / 0-)

    I keep paying to get it fixed
    It's really aggravating.
    Hey Volvo. Bail me out of all the money I've given you. Damn.

    "George Bush Doesn't Care About People"

    by WriterRoss on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 05:03:58 AM PST

  •  Maybe you should have considered this in 2000 (10+ / 0-)

    When you strongly and continuously urged everyone in every state - including Florida - to vote for Ralph Nader.

    I know the Bush years have been good for you personally, so I guess it's not that big a deal to you. But I haven't forgotten. Thanks a bunch, Mike.

    Visit MPD: The Montco PA Dem Blog: "Where blue politics meets the Blue Route."

    by Montco PA Dem on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 05:04:00 AM PST

    •  Yup ... (12+ / 0-)

      Gore and Lieberman were running on this incredible agenda of progressive change.

      Let's stop fighting internecine battles of yore. Otherwise, I'll have to take you back to Stalingrad or something.

      "We will learn an enormous amount in a very short time, quite a bit in the medium term and absolutely nothing in the long term." Grantham on 2008 Crisis

      by Bronxist on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 05:19:58 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Actually... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        "Gore and Lieberman were running on this incredible agenda of progressive change."

        Gore DID run on a solid "agenda of progressive change": Gore's progressive 2000 platform and a strong focus on the environment. Make sure you check the links and read them before responding on this point.

        There is no question that Michael was misguided in his support of Nader at the expense of Gore in 2000, but:

        1. towards the end of the campaign, he seems to have realized that Nader was hurting Gore and stood to hand over the election to Bush, and IIRC Moore was asking voters in swing states like FL to vote for Gore instead of Nader. BTW, Nader explicitly said that he wanted to have Bush win over Gore, and he did badly hurt Gore in multiple ways. It would help if Nader voters accept this as a fact --because it IS a fact whether you like it or not-- and move on instead of trying to use sophistry to deny it; optionally, if they want to, admit that they misjudged Gore BADLY.
        1. after 2000, Michael seems to have realized the serious mistake he made and attempted to make amends to it in many ways, including his F911 movie, supporting Kerry in the general election despite apparently not liking him much (he and Maher (another Nader'2000 supporter) begged Nader not to run in 2004; those kind of things probably helped partly to marginalize Nader's impact in 2004 and 2008), and promoting drafting Gore for a presidential run in 2008, not to mention his advocacy and fight on so many progressive fronts.

        So, I think Moore has way more than made amends to his initial mistake in 2000.

        "Let's stop fighting internecine battles of yore."

        Of course, we should. But, you just parroted a false  and dishonest Naderite characterization of Gore. Honesty is a mandatory prerequisite for reconciliation.

        J Street: an organization for middle-east peace and security (Wiki)

        by NeuvoLiberal on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 11:23:31 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Here is what Moore said: (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        To follow-up on my comment above...

        I know many of you in the "swing states" feel a need to vote for Gore to stop Bush. As I've said before, I respect your decision. But that also means if you live in the 37 other states where the outcome appears to be a foregone conclusion, then why not use your vote like a political Molotov and vote for Nader? A vote for Gore in Mississippi IS a wasted vote! As it is in Texas, most of the Deep South, the plains states and the Rocky Mountain region. Bush is way, way ahead in these states. Your vote for Gore there will get ZERO votes in the Electoral College, but in the popular vote for Nader it could make a HUGE difference. The same is true in the states where Gore is far ahead like New York and Massachusetts. A vote for Nader there is a vote that will be counted in a very loud way. You can literally make history.

        So, in this 'Final Election Day Letter', he was being a bit more sensible than other Nader promoters. However, severe damage was already rendered by then from Nader putting many blue states in play.

        Gore was already struggling in "red states" badly because the Clinton scandal fatigue put almost all of them beyond reach, and the national media's smearing of Gore was doing harm nationally, but with a strong convention bounce, Gore was mounting a comeback at which time Nader's monkey business went into fever pitch and resulted in putting "must win" Gore states in play (such as WA, OR, MN, WI, PA, etc, alongside FL and NH; these were some of the states where Nader's direct impact was very strong) and so in order to defend those states, Gore was forced to divert resources (which were limited partly because Gore was the underdog in the race from the beginning) from sort of winnable red states (such as TN, AR, OH, MO, WV etc) preventing him from going on the offensive in those latter states.

        So, all in all, Nader's run was indeed a spoiler run as it not only handed FL to Bush, but also completely scuttled the electoral college landscape for Gore (who already had limited pathways to an EC win because of Clinton fatigue and media smears). The concept of "sending a message" by attacking and hurting Gore was dumb and misguided (because it was premised on judging Gore inaccurately), and it didn't even make sense because Gore was the underdog (the luxury of "sending message" to candidates on our side can only be afforded when our guy/gal is leading by some 10% or more) in the race all the way until the convention (see these notes to understand the handicaps not of his making that Gore faced), meaning that "sending the message" translated in to "throwing the election to GOP", and Bush wasn't exactly going to receive the "message" part of the concept (as amply and devastatingly demonstrated over the last 8 years), but Bush and the GOP were only much pleased to have Nader attack Gore (the GOP even ran ads of Nader attacking Gore in WA and OR, and possibly others), drain votes away from Gore and thus put Gore on the defensive on all sides. Terrible!

        J Street: an organization for middle-east peace and security (Wiki)

        by NeuvoLiberal on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 01:10:39 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Montco, I'm reluctant to speak for Michael . . . (38+ / 0-)

      who I consider a great American hero, but if I'm not mistaken, Michael was very clear in 2000 that no one who lived in a state such as Florida should vote for Nader.
      He repeated this over and over.

      Michael lives in Michigan, so he could vote for Nader. I live in New York, I voted for Gore, but in a state like New York as well, a vote for Nader would have been symbolic but would not have caused the catastrophe that developed in Florida.

      So at least don't tar and feather Michael without all the facts, which I believe I have correctly laid out.

      And Michael, if you happen to read this, forgive me if I've misstated anything.

      •  Moore is like Snape (in a good way) (8+ / 0-)

        He campaigned aggressively for Nader in the beginning, but came to his senses before the election, so he can be trusted. He was really big into if I remember correctly.

      •  I argued with friends on Kauai about Nader (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        nyceve, ScienceMom, Montco PA Dem

        but I had to agree with them that their votes for Nader wouldn't change the outcome of Hawaii's electoral votes.

        "It's the planet, stupid."

        by FishOutofWater on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 05:55:06 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Read this (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        nyceve, NeuvoLiberal

        From A Final Election Day Letter, Nov. 7, 2000:

        Today, my daughter will vote in her first election. I believe the worst thing I could do as a parent is to tell her that she should not be following her own conscience. I will not tell her to be "realistic"; she will have plenty of time to deal with the harsh realities of this world. Why should she begin her adult life having to settle for something she doesn't believe in? ...

        How many of you can honestly say Ralph Nader is not the best candidate? Don't reach into your bag of rationalizations -- just answer this one question honestly. If you want all the dirty money out of our elections, you HAVE to vote for Nader because he is the only one -- not Bush, not Gore -- who would eliminate it entirely. If you think the minimum wage should go up more than 50 cents an hour in the next year, then you HAVE to vote for Ralph Nader as he is only one who would raise it to a real living wage. If you believe there should be universal health coverage NOW, then you have to vote for Ralph Nader because he is the only one who would sign that bill. Click here ("20 Reasons to Vote for Nader") and look at this list. And if find yourself in agreement, then how can you NOT vote for Ralph Nader?

        Not a word about swing state voters. Not a word.

        Worked out OK for Michael. Not so okay for the rest of us. Pardon me if my memory is long, but even Sweet Jesus can wipe out what happened for the next eight years.

        Visit MPD: The Montco PA Dem Blog: "Where blue politics meets the Blue Route."

        by Montco PA Dem on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 09:31:55 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Nader's never fought for better cars (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Good point!

      I'm not anti-environmentalism, I'm anti-colonialism.

      by sneakers563 on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 08:38:20 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Nice... this is REALLY helpful (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JanL, Words In Action, sneakers563


      You purity nuts are so fucking infuriating... how many of 'our' people fucked up in 2000? Seriously...??

      Tonnes... this is so ridiculous....


      Everyone's just talking about their cars, or their kettles or window's vista, or attacking, or loving Michael...

      Serioulsy... his three points in the diary are REALLY interesting and next to no one has mentioned them at all...


      -9.13, -7.79 When you pray, move your feet. - African Proverb

      by L0kI on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 11:41:42 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Michael is a "Useful Idiot" for 2000 (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Montco PA Dem

      Anyone who disagrees is not a Democrat.

      Let's all remember the following.  There are two viable parties in this country.

      A center-left Democratic Party that believes in the power of government to accomplish great things, and a right-wing Republican Party that believes in laissez-faire Economics.

      Anyone not supporting the Democratic Party is, by default, supporting the GOP.

      Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project.

      by PatriciaVa on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 12:55:51 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I think the Dem grassroots was at least as (0+ / 0-)

      responsible for 2000 as Michael Moore. It was also pretty lame in 2004.

      Question is: will it go back to sleep now that 2008 has passed?

      The difficult I'll do right now. The impossible will take a little longer. - ? (Billie Holiday lyric & WWII Army Corp Engineers motto, per Paul Rogat Loeb)

      by Words In Action on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 01:28:45 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  No more bailouts. (25+ / 0-)

    Us little people get fired when we screw up. We also get fired, or laid off when they screw up. If they come hat in hand to us begging for a bailout, we need to fire their sorry asses.

    Wars based on principle are far more destructive...the attacker will not destroy that which he is after. ~Alan Watts

    by revbludge on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 05:04:21 AM PST

  •  I always appreciate a laugh in my tears. (5+ / 0-)

    Just because the bad news comes with a smile doesn't change its impact or realism.  I do like this about you.

  •  Buying GM? (30+ / 0-)

    Sounds like socialism. Yuck.

    Giving my Wall Street buddies $7 trillion.   That sounds like it's just helping out some friends who have fallen on hard times through no fault of their own.  

    Let's do that instead.

  •  Pretty much agree (14+ / 0-)

    with this plan. Only minor issue is with paintinmg the three execs as unfortunate victims. Yes the Wall St bailout was obscene but so was going in front of a congress with no plan and, yes, flying there, individually on corporate jets. These three dickwads have far more in common with the soulless Wall St creeps than they ever do with the Ford production line worker. This is not either/or.

    •  I see your point... but I don't think he implied (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      they were good guys...

      He seemed to repeatedly call them idiots (or some such name) and made it clear we should give them no money... he just wanted to draw the interesting parallel that Congress bent over backwards to give away almost 30x the money they want to wall street criminals with ALSO no plan...

      it is an interesting comparison...

      -9.13, -7.79 When you pray, move your feet. - African Proverb

      by L0kI on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 11:51:35 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Wasn't aware it would be that easy (13+ / 0-)

    To buy a controlling share of the company. Not too bad of an idea.

  •  A massive investment in public works projects (26+ / 0-)

    to transform America's public transport.  

    Why didn't anyone think of that before?

    Coming on 1/20/09: the finest inaugural address since 1961, (or possibly even 1861). Set your Tivos now.

    by Rick in Oz on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 05:05:03 AM PST

  •  Great Idea (11+ / 0-)

    Buy the company and reorder the priorities. Excellent, as usual.

    Canada - where a pack of smokes is ten bucks and a heart transplant is free.

    by dpc on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 05:07:18 AM PST

  •  Thanks Michael (9+ / 0-)

    I couldn't agree with you more.  Hopefully, someone will take your advise and start pushing mass transit, low emissions and a middle finger to the days of fossil fuels.

    "Do right because it is right without fear of punishment or hopes of reward"

    by cheftdp on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 05:07:39 AM PST

  •  Thanks, Michael...great ideas, as usual. (4+ / 0-)

    The Religious Right is Neither.

    by cyncynical on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 05:07:57 AM PST

  •  Let them go Chapter 11 (4+ / 0-)

    and the government can provide the DIP financing.

    Otherwise, that black hole is simply going to expand ans swallow more of the same.

  •  I have had exceptionally good luck (28+ / 0-)

    with my Ford Escort station wagon.  I bought it used 9 years ago when it had around 50,000 miles on it.  It's now 13 years old with 177,000 miles on the odometer.  My 12 year old son informed me the other night that only 5% of American cars last this long.

    My concern with the Big 3 is that the management is the problem.  The CEO of GM went on either the Daily Show or Colbert Report to plug the Volt a few months back.  And he was a total ass.  It looked like he was promoting the car against his will making snide remarks like the host  would probably catch the eye of girls who don't shave and wear Birkenstocks.  He sneered at the lack of horsepower etc.  It was obvious he still wanted to be making big trucks and SUVs with V-8 engines.

    But I certainly want to save both the workers and the means of production.  The management and ownership can go.

    Here's some simple advice: Always be yourself. Never take yourself too seriously. And beware of advice from experts, pigs, and members of Parliament. Kermit

    by sobermom on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 05:08:25 AM PST

    •  My brother has a Ford van (5+ / 0-)

      with over 400,000 miles on it. He used to work as a courier. He thinks it's time for a new one. He wrote to Ford and took a picture of the odometer  to see if they wanted to use it in a commercial. He hasn't heard back from them yet.

      "Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts." Sen Daniel Patrick Moynihan

      by atlliberal on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 05:24:16 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I've had good luck with Fords (6+ / 0-)

      Especially their trucks. I am on my 3d consecutive Ranger. The previous two got to 200K with no major breakdowns and this one looks like it will do the same. To get 200K on any car is excellent
      Ive also had 2 Aerostars that made it over 200K.

      What I don't undertand is that Bush/Paulson hand AIG $125 billion with NO over sight at all. What does AIG make? Seems to me that for the federal government to take over liability for all those credit default swaps and derivative deals gone bad is really stupid compared to giving 1/5th that much to the auto industry.
      I think the answer is that the auto companies are unionized and AIG is not.

      I agree with Mike: Buy the companies for $3 billion and run it ourselves! And the first thing we do is fire the top two tiers of management and keep firing our way down untill the problem is solved

      If Liberals really hated America we'd vote Republican

      by exlrrp on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 05:25:58 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well,,, (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sobermom, peace voter, Ice Blue, llbear

        not to defend Chrysler, but my current truck is a Dodge Ram 2500 with the V-10 9.2L gas engine, with 660,000 miles on it.  At least half of those miles pulling a 6-horse trailer.  Even the muffler is still original.  Best truck I've ever owned, and I've owned several of every type made over the last 40 years.

        But I do agree with Michael here.  Let Chrysler die, save the other two by buying out GM and helping Ford.

        "But your flag decal won't get you into heaven anymore"--Prine 4200+ dead Americans. Bring them home.

        by Miss Blue on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 05:48:28 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I had a 95 S-10 Blazer (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sobermom, Ice Blue

        until a couple years ago and when I got rid of it, it had 230,000 miles on it.  The only parts I ever had to fix were the Cat. converter, a few starters, and a few batteries.

        "Maybe you know something I don't know." -- G Dub (-4.38,-3.03)

        by don the tin foil on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 06:52:40 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Did your Wagon fall between 1991-1996? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      miasmo, sobermom

      Those were essentially Mazdas with a Ford logo on them. Great cars.

      •  Why yes it did (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Evil Betty

        It's a 95.  I know they stopped making them but I was hoping to get a later model.  I'm guessing from your comment that I wouldn't have the same success.  I have loved this car but it is definitely showing its age.

        Here's some simple advice: Always be yourself. Never take yourself too seriously. And beware of advice from experts, pigs, and members of Parliament. Kermit

        by sobermom on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 06:05:59 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Gates and Buffet have multiples of 3 billion (11+ / 0-)

    in their foundation.  Do not millions of workers and an entire industry deserve the same charity as Africa.

    Enabling the workers to fix this is the highest and best use of their foundations money.

    Why do I not expect this to happen?  Because workers are not wanted in the real clubs of power.

    •  foundations are charities (0+ / 0-)

      I'm sorry, but I think it's far more important for the Gates Foundation to continue to do life saving work in poor countries that are being driven even further into poverty by a global economic calamity they didn't cause than to bail out the Big 3.  If the Big 3 get bailed out, it'll be by the taxpayers.

    •  and I would like to add... (6+ / 0-)

      Amen to Michael Moore's sentiments. If for any reason--for the 4000 dollars I've had to drop the past year to get my 2-yr old Taurus to run like a 2-yr old Taurus.

      •  I no longer own a Ford Explorer (3+ / 0-)

        or ANY Ford because the problems with mine . . . which were ultimately considered as operating "within specifications".

        This issue pained me silly at the time, because I had been devoted to the brand since my 1972 Mustang days.  But, I told them the Explorer would be sold and I'd offer up my story to whomever I knew, when appropriate.

        I suppose that situation's resolution was a blessing in disguise, since my MPGs have only gone up (even with AWD) in the German and Japanese (made in USA) brand cars chosen, since.

        "So, please stay where you are. Don't move and don't panic. Don't take off your shoes! Jobs is on the way."

        by wader on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 07:21:03 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  You need to remember that after 2004 the Taurus (3+ / 0-)

        was sold strictly as a fleet vehicle. The rental companies kept them for one year and then sold them off at auction to dealers.  

        There are a lot of problems with 2005-2007 model years. And the Taurus is gone now... replaced by the 500.

        <div style="color: #a00000;"> Our... constitutional heritage rebels at the thought of giving government the power to control men's minds. Thurgood Marshal

        by bronte17 on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 09:07:45 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Amen, Mike. (19+ / 0-)

    I've been braying about what I call the Transit 2020 Project for a couple of years now.  It is, simply, a public works project in the model of the Manhattan or Apollo Projects ... a whatever-it-costs plan to ensure that every American city and town has and is linked by state-of-the-art, energy-efficient, and user-convenient mass transit by the year 2020.

    It would create millions of jobs, both first-order jobs (laying high speed and light rail, building the trains to ride them, and the stations at which they stop) and second-order jobs (maintaining and running the system, and commuter retail jobs at both hubs and local stations).

    It would end our dependence on foreign oil, because rail transit does not require portable energy in the way automobiles and trucks do, and right now the only commercially viable source of portable energy is oil.

    It would ease traffic congestion and the headaches and stress of driving to work.  There's a world of difference between "We're all on the same train" and "I'm going to get to the next red light first," both in blood pressure and how we treat each other.

    It would renew our communities and our sense of community (see above).

    So yes, bail out the Big Three ... and then put them to work on something like a Transit 2020 Project.

    •  We're trying to put mass transit in (0+ / 0-)

      The cost overruns are epic.

        •  Mass transit isn't viable in many communities (0+ / 0-)

          What works in the Bos-NY-Wash corridor doesn't work in the rest of the country.  I think we have to put most of our eggs in the personal transport basket, with emphasis on vehicles powered by renewable energy.

          The fundamental problem is that, once a city is built under an assumption of personal transport, it takes an enormous effort to change that.  Sure, I could go to Denver on the train when it is built, but it is far more likely that I am going to go somewhere else. Trains are massively inconvenient for everyday use, especially if 90% of the populace does not work downtown.

          There are places where high-speed trains make all sorts of sense: LA to Vegas, LA to SF, and probably Chicago to NYC (with spurs linking Cleveland and Detroit).  Light rail in Denver makes little sense, apart from the two routes we already have.  

  •  I drive a Saturn...why drop Saturn?... (16+ / 0-)

    When it is a good, economic car?  Several people in my little rowhouse area have Saturns.  Another great decision by GM.

    "...America can change. Our union can be perfected." President-Elect Barack Obama

    by Jack Dublin on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 05:12:45 AM PST

    •  If they were smart (25+ / 0-)

      they would build up Saturn, not drop it. Key phrase: if they were smart.

      The weak in courage is strong in cunning-William Blake

      by beltane on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 05:20:07 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I have a 2002 Saturn L-300 (7+ / 0-)

      and it has been a fantastic car.  120,000 mile on it and oil changes, transmission fluid changes, tires, a blower fan, refrigerant for the AC and a couple of minor this and thats are the only maintenance so far.

      The Republican Party's agenda to subjugate average Americans is so rotten, it smells worse than the toilet seat on a shrimp boat." Aristotle

      by funluvn1 on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 05:20:43 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  That can only be explained by one possible (3+ / 0-)

      thing which is that it is perhaps a valuable enough brand to make them some money if they sell off that division.  But it could just be stupid - I thought Saturn owners were pretty loyal customers.

      The other thing I heard was that they were going to make Pontiac into some sort of elite brand?  Whaa?  I'd ditch Pontiac all together and make Saturn the new young hip car brand in their line - that's where I'd be making my smaller hybrids etc.  They've ruined Saab.  I'm hoping someone will buy Saab and restore that car design to its previous standard - which wasn't perfect, but it really drove way better before GM changed the design to fit their standard parts.

      •  Well (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        it's that long term/short term thing.

        When you run out of cash, you're driven by short term concerns.   Make payroll, get through the next quarter, eating your seed corn if need be.

        This is the Iraq war political scenario, played out in the economic sphere.   We poured enough resources into Iraq and Afghanistan to keep the disasters rolling; never concentrating our efforts enough to make progress, but adding more resources if it looked like the disaster was coming to a head.

        I think if the answer is '34  billion to stay afloat', that's a waste of money.  I'd rather put 60 billion into the strongest companies, allowing them to expand into the gap left by the failed companies.

        The real problem isn't the survival of the companies.  The real problem is all those people employed in making cars adding up to more than is needed in a week economy.    I think Michael is onto something when he says that we've got to put the big three to work building the kinds of cars we need; I'm not sure you can make them viable the way he suggests though.

        Perhaps the thing to do would be to put just the excess people to work building things we need, but don't have, the way we need them built, but are not.    I'm suggesting a program to build alternative fuel vehicles for public use: police cars,  busses and so forth.  The project would be bid out for several alternative technologies to be put into production, using American design and manufacturing.  One of the advantages of the program would be mandatory licensing of patents, such as the ones that have been holding back plug-in hybrid development.   That was done in the first world war, when they enforced cross licensing, and then a merger of Wright Aeronautical and Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor.     This would allow the technologies to be developed more quickly, as was the case in the Curtiss-Wright case.

        As the economy rebounded, the winning companies would be well positioned to sell vehicles based on the new technologies to the public.

        I've lost my faith in nihilism

        by grumpynerd on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 06:05:12 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Wow Mike (6+ / 0-)

    You say this and you know what it would do to millions of people?

    Remember your "Roger and Me" film? You want the whole Mid-West to look like that?

    I don't want to call you a traitor, but I expect more from you than this.

    Although I don't know why I should. You worked hard in 2000 to defeat Al Gore and he would have been the most environmentally friendly President America ever had.

    Shame on you Mike.

    McCain: US economic woes 'psychological'

    by DAVE DIAL on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 05:12:47 AM PST

    •  Shame on you? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Come on.

      I understand that you might have been vexed eight years ago, but that was a different time in our history.  Myself, I was part of the Shadow Convention in Philadelphia in 2000, and almost went to LA to protest the DNC as well, convinced was I that the Democrats (run by DLC munchkins like Joe Lieberman who would have been VP) were exactly the same as the Republicans.

      I voted for Gore, but I did it reluctantly.  My view of him has changed considerably in these intervening eight years, but pretending that everyone should have agreed with what you think EIGHT YEARS LATER is a bit obtuse of you.

      And to say 'shame on you' and actually mean it?  That reminds me of the religious right, not progressivism.  

      Gay, straight, black, white...
      Marriage is a civil right!

      by joehoevah on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 05:28:30 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Religious right? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Give me a break.

        The "shame on you" is for turning against workers.

        Not campaigning for Nader.

        Although Mike should have known better. Gore was the first Democrat I ever voted for. I can't see how anyone couldn't see there was a big difference between Bush and Gore.

        McCain: US economic woes 'psychological'

        by DAVE DIAL on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 05:49:31 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Turning against the workers? (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          KenInCO, joehoevah, kfd313

          By suggesting a system that would save their jobs?  By suggesting spending money on building up rail infrastructure to create millions more jobs?  What the hell are you shaming him for?  Did you even read the whole thing?

          If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear. -- George Orwell

          by nilocjin on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 07:27:12 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  I missed the part where (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      adrianrf, KenInCO

      Moore turns against workers. How does a government takeover and emphasizing transit vehicle production hurt the workers?

  •  Oh, yea, P.S. End NAFTA/WTO trade farce. (14+ / 0-)

    "...America can change. Our union can be perfected." President-Elect Barack Obama

    by Jack Dublin on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 05:13:10 AM PST

  •  Revenge is not the answer (10+ / 0-)

    Yeah, we want those responsible to feel our pain, but guess what?  We can't hurt them.  They are beyond the usual social retributions that human beings can visit upon one another.

    It ain't fair, but buddy, life ain't fair.

    I would sincerely hope that the powers that be avoid at all costs the misguided and ultimately useless of getting in a cheap shot of trying to make these "captains of industry" feel sad.

    "Work the problem" should be the mantra, not "kick 'em in the nuts", and the first step is to identify and frame what exactly is the problem with the manufacturing sector.

    I personally support a crash program of rebuilding our neglected rail system, and I believe that the key to that is the US steel and aluminum industries, which can be rejuvenated relatively cheaply and quickly.

    This is only a small portion of addressing a systemic problem, but we must, must, focus on constructive ideas, and not wallow in our emotional desire for revenge.

    •  Nationalizing is not kicking in the nuts... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ivote2004, adrianrf, KenInCO's just ensuring that for a comparable investment, we can fund GM's retooling and actually have some say-so that it's done in the national interest!  That's the beauty of a public asset, it's ours so we take good care of it.  (I'm a capitalist enough in general, so I understand the fallacy of that, but this is a pretty extreme counter example to the ordinary benefits of letting the free market operate.)

  •  SALUTE (13+ / 0-)

    my Dad worked for GM  well he actually started working for the Fisher Brothers Body company in 1923, he retired from GM  (Buick) Lansing Plant  (one of many) in 1963 he spent his entire life in those plants and died in 1972 aged 72  he enjoyed 9 years of retirement  he was making 3.05 an hour the day he retired......he never complained  life was good back then.....

  •  Thanks, Michael (9+ / 0-)

    I'm writing from your adopted city of TC, and it's beautiful up here with snow falling completely vertical.  It's a beautiful state, Michigan, and it would be a damn unconscionable act to let the economy of this state and others fall into, not recession--we're already there--but a deep and lasting depression.  

    These dilettantes who think it so easy to just say, "Let the Big Three die!" for the sake of some political or economic purity of principle need to understand whe consequences of what they are calling for.

    Keep sounding the horn.

  •  Roger & Me (1989 trailer) (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    yoduuuh do or do not, chrome327

    Here we are now Entertain us I feel stupid and contagious

    by Scarce on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 05:20:18 AM PST

  •  Precisely (7+ / 0-)

    If they don't want to make stuff we need, we don't need them to make stuff.

    As you point out, what we need are mass transit solutions.

    We know they don't want to make buses and trains.

    But we need buses and trains.

    So we can be the adults and deliver the news: you can make buses and trains and have jobs, or you can file an unemployment claim.

    Except for the executives, whose skills are too automobile-centric to be useful in a firm whose business is manufacturing buses and trains. They may have to go back to Mexico and strip electronics for circuit boards.

    •  GM builds buses (5+ / 0-)

      Hybrids, no less:

      The number of GM hybrid-powered buses ordered by New York transit agencies grew to 113 with today's announcement by Regional Transit Service (RTS), Inc., a subsidiary of the Rochester Genesee Regional Transportation Authority (RGRTA) serving Monroe County, to purchase 19 buses equipped with GM's hybrid technology. When the deliveries are completed next year, New York will boast the second largest statewide fleet of GM hybrid-powered buses, the state of Washington leads with 240 hybrid-powered buses.

      By using GM's 2-mode hybrid system, the 113 diesel-electric buses in New York will save an estimated 165,000 gallons of fuel annually and significantly reduce emissions compared with conventional diesel buses.

      Full article here.It's kinda spooky standing there while one of these buses pulls away from the bus stop silently, and with no diesel fumes.

      "All that serves labor serves the nation. All that harms labor is treason. -Abraham Lincoln

      by happy camper on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 07:25:22 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I drive a Chrysler too, I feel your pain (3+ / 0-)

    I have a 2002 Sebring convertable. Beautiful car. At 40,000 miles it needed a new transmission. Right after an $800 fix for something else.

    Right now it's leaking power steering fluid.


    "Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts." Sen Daniel Patrick Moynihan

    by atlliberal on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 05:20:52 AM PST

  •  Guys, good ideas but this isn't the first place (9+ / 0-)

    I've read them.  The only way something like this will take place is for an organized push on our politicians in the manner we organized for Obama to force them to make prudent decisions regarding the big 3 auto makers.

    We need focused blogging, petitions and collective demonstrable outrage to accomplish this.  Otherwise, Michael, you're just pissing in the wind agan.

    ..most profound moments of my life...the last few -- And, for Global COOLING, if it's man-made and doesn't move, paint it WHITE!

    by tristan57 on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 05:22:53 AM PST

  •  Question (5+ / 0-)

    If GM needs $4 billion now and in January to stay alive, how can this money be going for new plans?  Sounds like they are already bankrupt and it will take loads more than they are asking for to keep operating and make themselves over.

    Wouldn't it be ironic if Ford, which started the auto industry, be the only one left standing.

    The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt. Bertrand Russell

    by accumbens on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 05:23:46 AM PST

  •  my family had an American car for about (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    texasmom, mcolley, OWTH, chrome327

    3 years in the early 80's (my mom bought a Ford Tempo.  Oy. What a pile.)... we had a Toyota before, and a Mazda after, with Volvos and Toyotas and Hondas in my own family since.  I can't imagine buying an American car... UNLESS they get serious about reliability, quality and focused on alternatives like electricity/hybrids.

    I agree - every dollar handed to the Big 3 will be a dollar wasted... BUT we can't let them die.  We need them to live, and get better, so that people like ME might consider buying one.

    Your idea sounds like it could be workable... but there's no way in hell it will happen until the new administration.

    Join us in the Grieving Room on Monday evenings to discuss mourning and loss.

    by Dem in the heart of Texas on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 05:24:56 AM PST

    •  Unless (0+ / 0-)

      "in the early 80s" ... "UNLESS they get serious about reliability, quality and focused on alternatives like electricity/hybrids"

      You mean like they've done? So many of the arguments against the bailout talk about quality problems in the 80s it makes me ill. At least Mike talked about a recent issue.

      •  Oh, APOLOGIES! (0+ / 0-)

        So, what I'm hearing is that my experience is irrelevant because I've made other choices since having a bad experience?  

        Pardon me for making you ill.

        Sorry, but the big 3 STILL don't compete with the big Japanese and German auto makers in reliability (see Michael Moore's own testimony in the diary), and they put 98% of their eggs in the "drill, baby, drill" basket.    The exceptions (Ford Escape Hybrid, etc) can't compete with Toyota's technology.   We were thinking about buying one, but it cost a whole lot more than a non-hybrid Honda Element, and the mileage wasn't appreciably better... and the Honda could tow more.

        My point, if you could see it between retches, is that once someone has been burned in a major purchase (even if it was before you were born), they are very hard to win back.  For me, it would take either a bold stroke (the Chevy Volt) or reliability standards that go above and beyond the competition.  

        Frankly, I haven't seen evidence that they have it in them, but I hope they survive long enough to give it a serious go.  

        Join us in the Grieving Room on Monday evenings to discuss mourning and loss.

        by Dem in the heart of Texas on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 04:19:08 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  What I drive... (9+ / 0-)

    My first few cars were American - a used Plymouth Duster, my dad's old Buick, and my first new car was a 1975 Chevy Monza.

    Yikes.  The first time I went for a tuneup and saw the bill, I was floored.  Over $200.00 for a tune-up?  This was in 1975 - the dealer told me the small block V8 was too big for the engine compartment, so they had to un-bolt the engine and slide it forward to access and change the blocked two sparkplugs.

    Why?  Because the Monza was supposed to have a rotary or turbine engine that would have been samller.  GM killed the engine, but never bothered to re-design the size of the engine ccompartment.

    My next car was 1978 Honda Accord.  I had it for 14 years.  I still hadn't given up on American cars, and bought a Plymouth Neon in 1999.  A pretty good car - no real problems.

    My current car is a Prius, averaging 50 MPG in a 140 mile per day commute.

    Mike is right - buy them and re-tool to make hybrids, plug-ins, and maybe "smart-car" urban cars.

    And hire BACK all the displaced automotive workers to build light rail and new passenger rail cars.

    "Let us raise a standard to which the wise and the honest can repair." - George Washington

    by PoconoPCDoctor on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 05:25:38 AM PST

  •  Roger & Me - Michael Moore (5+ / 0-)

    Spanish subtitles. Part 1 of 10.

    Roger & Me is a 1989 American documentary film directed by independent filmmaker/author Michael Moore. With sarcasm and irony, Moore illustrates the negative economic impact of the late General Motors CEO Roger Smith's summary action of closing several auto plants in Flint, Michigan, costing 30,000 people their jobs and economically devastating the city.

    Here we are now Entertain us I feel stupid and contagious

    by Scarce on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 05:25:48 AM PST

  •  The big question (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bronte17, curtadams, JanL, nathguy, Losty

    The Big Two and a Half must answer the following question:

    Can you make it until January 21, 2009?

    Yesterday, Ford answered that they could but still asked for $9 billion.

    Waiting to see Chrysler (Daimler) and GM's plans.

    BTW, Ford's counsel is Alberto Gonzales's former deputy from when Gonzales was White House Counsel.

  •  A terrific plan (4+ / 0-)

    Is anyone in Congress listening?

    Western civilization should be feminized -- Octavio Paz

    by TKwow on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 05:26:54 AM PST

    •  I think the only way they will (0+ / 0-)

      is if they inundated with letters from the mid-west for nationalization, and from the west and east for green cars. Only possible way this could happen. Or massive protests but I don't know which grassroots groups would organize it. Or the letter writing campaign either.  

      Suggestions anyone?

      Anyone sit on a Board of such groups?  

      Who is down for pressuring a group to get such initiatives started?

      OR who Donates massively to these groups and/or have a personal connection?

      A dream catcher works . . . If your dream is to be gay.

      by thethinveil on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 12:49:48 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  no workers should get thrown out if we loan money (16+ / 0-)

    I thought the whole fucking idea was to keep people employed not throw them out on thier asses?

    GM's plan already stinks.  Ford has shrunk from 100k hourly employees to under 60k today and they still haven't turned a profit.  They are idiots.  And I say that even as I work for an automotive supplier and my job is inextribly linked to the results of Congress's actions this week.

    Saxby Chambliss wants to privatize YOUR social security, in today's stock market.

    by gaspare on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 05:27:57 AM PST

  •  The Big 3, UAW and Mich. Cong. Delegation (21+ / 0-)

    Need to effing Get Over their obsessive, insane, hysterical opposition to higher CAFE Standards.

    It's been an amazing and horrifying thing to see:  Detroit Management and the UAW playing from the same, exact songbook on this issue; with Michigan Democrats humming right along, all together whining their semi-annual whine about how mandated high CAFE Standards would hurt the industry and hurt labor and hurt this and hurt that and hurt the other.

    Not a single, solitary Michigan Democrat (that I know of) has ever had the stones to say anything along the lines of:

    "Look, you dimwitted dumbshits, higher (even dramatically higher) CAFE standards will force Detroit to do what it has refused to do voluntarily:  undertake a crash program to design, manufacture, market and sell leaner, greener vehicles.  And, while we're at it, UAW, retooling and updating and overhauling existing lines means MORE and MORE SECURE jobs, not less."


    Bunch of backwards asscranks.

    And, by the way, the GOP has been lovin' it.



    "We in the gloam, old buddy," he said, "We definitely right in the middle of it." -Larry Brown

    by BenGoshi on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 05:29:20 AM PST

    •  P.S. Re: Mich Dem Delegation. (9+ / 0-)

       None have had the stones, intestinal fortitude, wisdom, heart, gumption, spine, spirit, common sense and/or whatever other character attribute is needed to educate and/or stand up to Detroit and the UAW on this issue  for.  their.  own.  good.

       Of course, the reason is that these cowardly Democrats -- yes, Dingell; yes, Levin, talkin' 'bout you -- are always, constantly, obsessively afraid that if they do try to do the right thing by their constituents, their imbecilic and ungrateful constituents would vote them out of office.  I suppose that may be true.  But it would be nice to see one Michigan Dem say the Emperor has no clothes (i.e., that the incredibly counter-productive fear of higher CAFE Standards is the opposite of what is good for Detroit and the UAW).

       Friggin' gutless wonders.*


      *Of course, otherwise I like them. ;-).

      "We in the gloam, old buddy," he said, "We definitely right in the middle of it." -Larry Brown

      by BenGoshi on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 05:40:16 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  For once in my life (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        BenGoshi, figbash, NearlyNormal, adrianrf

        I would like to see a Senator or Congresscritter do what is right and not be afriad to loose their fucking re-election.  Just do what you know needs to be done and worry about the election when it comes.  Who knows, maybe your constituency will agree with you and maybe you will even win more voters instead of walking down the middle hoping not to loose voters.

        "To the corruptions of Christianity, I am indeed opposed; but not to the genuine precepts of Jesus himself." Thomas Jefferson

        by meatwad420 on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 07:03:36 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Maybe if CAFE actually worked... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      incompleteness, darrkespur, kfd313

      which it doesn't. CAFE is the equivalent of trying to regulate the nation's obesity problem by forcing retailers to only stock XS, S, and M sized clothes.

      If you actually want to change consumer behavior increase the price of gasoline. When gas prices soared this past summer, consumer behavior changed drastically- shifting away from trucks and SUV's towards cars.

      A significant increase in the gas tax would give the government the revenue it needs to finance significant transportation projects while at the same time encouraging people to use as little gasoline as possible. You'd see significant increases in mass transit ridership (where mass transit exists) and smaller cars (where mass transit is nonexistent or inconvenient).

      Look at the difference between the US and Europe in what we drive. Which policy would you say has been more sucessful? The policy who's goal it was to keep gas cheap by attempting to regulate people into smaller cars or Europe's policy of making gas expensive so you wouldn't want to drive as much in as big of a car in the first place?

      •  Yes, JFK said . . . (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        dewley notid, Losty


        "I call on the United States, before the end of the decade, to send a man to an observatory to look at the moon through a telescope and return him safely and for us all to unite in fiddle-farting around!"

        Modern version:  CAFE doesn't work.  Damn goals.  Damn vision.


        "We in the gloam, old buddy," he said, "We definitely right in the middle of it." -Larry Brown

        by BenGoshi on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 07:51:42 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  No. That's not what I said. (0+ / 0-)

          I said CAFE is an ineffective means by which to accomplish the end everyone wants - less fuel consumption.

          •  Like JFK said . . . ( nt ) (0+ / 0-)

            "We in the gloam, old buddy," he said, "We definitely right in the middle of it." -Larry Brown

            by BenGoshi on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 09:39:03 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  CAFE works just fine (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            BenGoshi, dewley notid

            Your alternative punishes the poor, and will until we have a robust mass transit infrastructure in place. In other words, it will punish them for decades.

            No laws but Liberty. No king but Conscience.

            by oldjohnbrown on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 10:02:07 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Two Points... (0+ / 0-)
              1. Whatever damage this may due to the poor can be offset in a couple of ways. A rebate check that slides in amount with relation to income (so someone who makes $30k a year would get a larger check than someone making 80k a year) to help rebate the cost of fuel tax. The other way to offset this would be to offer a tax credit for people to replace old clunkers with new more efficient American made cars (say $5000).
              1. It will encourage construction of a decent mass transit infrastructure in the country.
              •  I'm not sure that would work (0+ / 0-)

                Someone who makes $30k a year and lives and works in West Branch, IA doesn't really need it. Someone who makes $30k a year, lives outside of Oakland, CA and works in San Francisco, CA, could really use it.

                So, for that matter, could someone who lives 25 miles outside of West Branch and works in (relatively expensive) Iowa City.

                You have no idea how much someone spends on gas from looking at their income, and never mind income relative to cost of living. The rebate would be nice, but they'd have to be substantial and timely to offset a 30-50 mile commute—not unheard of in the Midwest or in California.

                No laws but Liberty. No king but Conscience.

                by oldjohnbrown on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 12:10:29 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

      •  You are right (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        CAFE standards are a poor way to solve this problem. And you are also correct that, as Europe has shown, you can impact consumer choices through gas taxes. Unfortunaely higher gas taxes are politically toxic and any polititian who forcefully supports them will be out office at the next election.

        "let's talk about that"

        by VClib on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 08:44:39 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  here here (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I'm guessing that the main reason that many Kossacks are opposed to high gas prices is that they live not in flyover country (where commutes are relatively short) or on the East Coast (where high quality mass transit is an option), but in a particular state where being "green" involves commuting 2+ hours to work (no carpooling please) in a hybrid.

        Too many folks here want to tell other folks how to live. High gas prices let individuals decide how they want to deal with the costs of their behavior. Some folks will purchase smaller cars. Some folks will carpool. Some folks will work from home. Some folks will move closer to work (aside: you can call bullshit on CA until it dramatically increases the density of its communities). This kind of approach actually works, as evidenced by the events of this summer. Telling folks what they can't do, and can't buy, is only preaching to the choir.

    •  The problem was (0+ / 0-)

      that the management, UAW, and members of Congress knew that the Big Three could not make small, high milegae cars at a profit. As long as gas prices were low, and consumers wanted big cars and trucks, it made economic sense for rust belt members of Congress to resist changing the CAFE standards. The notion that higher CAFE standards would have fixed the problem by forcing domestic auto makers to make small, high mileage cars is nonsense. What it would have done is forced the Big Three into bankrupcy sooner. The cost structure of the Big Three, which cannot make small, high mileage cars at a profit now, is actually better than it was five or ten years ago.

      "let's talk about that"

      by VClib on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 08:41:13 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Nonsense. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        dewley notid

        That's why Detroit's thriving and the Japanese auto makers (even the ones based in the U.S.) are about to fail during these tough economic times.

        And that's why Toyota et al never sold any cars in the US over the past 10, 20 years:  mehr'cans only wanted heavy, over-powered, bloated gas-hogs.

        Gee, what was I thinking!


        "We in the gloam, old buddy," he said, "We definitely right in the middle of it." -Larry Brown

        by BenGoshi on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 09:43:26 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Doesn't respond to my statement (0+ / 0-)

          The Big Three cannot make small, high mileage cars at a profit now. They have improved their cost structure over the past five years. What makes you think they could have made small, high mileage cars at a profit five or ten years ago? They could not, and just would have gone bankrupt sooner.

          "let's talk about that"

          by VClib on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 10:35:45 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Your whole premise is b.s. (0+ / 0-)

            and a whine.

            Detroit could have made quality, fuel efficient cars any damn time it wanted to over the past 20+ years,   it.   simply.   chose.   not.   to.

            And whiners like you demonstrate the exact kind of "blame everybody else" attitude that will, if it continues, ultimately sink Detroit for good.

            Rather than just up and saying, "We fucked up.  Majorly.  We'll try and get it right from this point on."  A few people like you just whine and moan about how it's everybody else's fault, it's macro-economies' fault, it's energy prices' fault, it's the three-eyed, balloon-people's who live on the 28th invisible moon of Neptune's fault, it's everybody's fault but the shitheads in Detroit AND their UAW allies AND their boneheaded enablers in Congress.

            Good luck with all that.


            "We in the gloam, old buddy," he said, "We definitely right in the middle of it." -Larry Brown

            by BenGoshi on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 11:48:31 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Not true (0+ / 0-)

              I am certainly not whining and facts, are well, facts. I think it was really poor management over the past several decades that allowed the Big Three to put themselves in a position where they could only make money on big cars, trucks, and SUVs, but they did. Given that they could not have made the transition to small, high mileage cars five or ten years ago it is easy to understand how the management, UAW and Congress joined together to keep the companies profitble and the jobs in place.

              "let's talk about that"

              by VClib on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 04:36:20 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

    •  dude UAW dropped opposition to CAFE (0+ / 0-)

      in 2003 or 4. Get with it.

      A dream catcher works . . . If your dream is to be gay.

      by thethinveil on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 12:53:18 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Dude, you're an idiot. Read this, dude. (0+ / 0-)

        Here, dude, from 2007 (dude):

        "Meanwhile, environmental groups and their allies in Congress continued to call for the adoption of much higher CAFE standards for both passenger cars and light trucks.  Although the UAW continues to support the CAFE program, and believes that modest improvements can be made in the fuel economy of conventional vehicles, we oppose proposals that would mandate drastic, discriminatory increases in the CAFE standards. In our judgment, these types of CAFE increases are not economically or technologically feasible.  Also, they would discriminate against full line producers, and would therefore jeopardize the jobs of thousands of UAW members. Fortunately, in the end Congress did not take up any of these dangerous CAFE proposals during 2006.  However, we need to remain vigilant against similar proposals during the 110th Congress."

        That's a big UAW whine, dude.  And, dude, even if the UAW had gotten behind the highest, most ambitious CAFE standards in 2003, that still would not have made up for all the stupid-ass heel-dragging up to then, dude.


        P.S. - Next time, use the google, dude.


        "We in the gloam, old buddy," he said, "We definitely right in the middle of it." -Larry Brown

        by BenGoshi on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 01:30:51 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  okay then be a douche dood. (0+ / 0-)

          Where did you get off being such a condescending little bitch?

          Dood look here,business fleet reports,

          Michigan voters and UAW families strongly support stricter fuel economy standards, a Sierra Club survey released Jan. 31 shows snip Of an additional 150 United Auto Workers members who also were surveyed, 88 percent favored increased fuel standards for cars and 79 supported it for light trucks. When asked if they favored increasing standards to 40 mpg, 84 percent of UAW members said they did.

          So I guess I shouldn't use UAW the organization you should read UAW workers.

          AS for

          In our judgment[UAW's], these types of CAFE increases are not economically or technologically feasible.

          Which is why they joined the Energy future coalition. Heres a press release from the UAW president on producing more fuel efficient cars,

          That's why, in 2003, when our union joined the broad-based Energy Future Coalition, we proposed a "Marshall Plan" for the U.S. auto industry. Our proposal centered around a retooling effort, with incentives for the manufacture of advanced technology vehicles and their key components here in the United States.

          snip Last year's energy bill established a low-interest loan program to encourage production of advanced technology vehicles and their key components; now Congress has to appropriate money to make this program a reality. Even more important, the climate change legislation being debated this week in Congress includes a provision that would use a portion of the revenue created by the auction of carbon emission permits to fund a major retooling of the auto industry.

          Providing public support for advanced automotive technologies was a good idea five years ago -- and it's an even better idea now. We don't have to compromise the economic strength of the auto industry to get more fuel efficient vehicles on the road. But we do have to plan ahead, because the future is already here.<</p>

          Can you blame them for wanting to save jobs of workers which they are paid to protect? Apparaently you do .

          Do you give them any credit for looking for alternatives? Apparently you don't.

          But as Ben truly proves what a douchebag he is:

          And, dude, even if the UAW had gotten behind the highest, most ambitious CAFE standards in 2003, that still would not have made up for all the stupid-ass heel-dragging up to then, dude.

          Yo douchebag, sounds like you are not one for coalition work amongst the progressive community. Instead of moving forward with allies you are simply fine with condeming them for life.  Its asshats like you that prevent real change where we can move forward together..

          P.s BEN Fuck off.

          A dream catcher works . . . If your dream is to be gay.

          by thethinveil on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 03:02:42 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Dude . . . (0+ / 0-)

            First, you were wrong.  Admitting it would be nice.  I've done it a time or two here myself, dude.

            Second, one doesn't "save their job" by sticking their head up their nethers and pretending it's 1955.  Dude.


            "We in the gloam, old buddy," he said, "We definitely right in the middle of it." -Larry Brown

            by BenGoshi on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 03:15:07 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  come on, douchebag. . . (0+ / 0-)

              First, you were wrong.  Admitting it would be nice.

              Douchebag, who are you - who just finished insulting me for no reason - to talk about who should be nice, douchebag?

              Douchebag, did you read where I pointed out that it was workers not the union officials who support CAFE standards, ?

              Second, one doesn't "save their job" by sticking their head up their nethers and pretending it's 1955.  Dude.

              And finally, douchebag, UAW signed on to the energy futures coalition  so they could increase cafe standards. They weren't for CAFE in the past because it would benefit foreign automakers.  With the retooling they have pushed for along with other environmental groups they can now  can support them. First read your first response then actually read my response.  Then take your ass to the shower room and wash that elitist anti-worker stink off yourself. douchebag.  

              A dream catcher works . . . If your dream is to be gay.

              by thethinveil on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 04:05:53 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  rolls eyes. (0+ / 0-)

                When you and your "Bridge to the 19th Century" friends want to stop whining and want to start working, let us know.  

                Thanks for the apology, dude.


                "We in the gloam, old buddy," he said, "We definitely right in the middle of it." -Larry Brown

                by BenGoshi on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 04:35:13 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Now I know you haven't fucking read a thing. (0+ / 0-)

                  Douchebag who are you to say that I come from the past?

                  I have been an Organizer for over two years for the Siera Club. What the fuck have you been doing to bring the world into the 21st century?

                  I am hardly calling for a bridge to 19th Century. In fact I am not even for the Bridge Loan- that is what you were referencing? I would support nationalizing the Auto makers while using their plants and workers to built green technology so that the government can make  a profit rather than T Boone Pickens.

                  And again UAW now can call for CAFE standards after retooling and tax credits for green cars which UAW have been pushing for along with the Sierra Club. Demagoguery and Insults  towards the workers who support of CAFE standards won't make it happen any faster and it certainly   won't win you any friends amongst them.

                  I have made all these points in the last paragraph before but your attention span doesn't seem to last long enough to read them. And fuck you. My comments never warranted any apology if anything it was your insulting comments that warrant one.  

                  A dream catcher works . . . If your dream is to be gay.

                  by thethinveil on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 05:04:28 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

  •  We have enough car companies without the Big 3 (7+ / 0-)

    What we don't have enough of is mass transit manufacturers, even when it comes to the most traditional idea of them all,'s all Bombardier or Mercedes.  So I would go with Moore's point #2 (simply buy up the stock and own the companies), reconfigure their physical plant and collective expertise to build everything from buses to maglevs, and (frankly) hope for the best.  That's got to be better that giving them ten times more money, to build things we know are ecocidal in direct and indirect ways....and we're still just hoping for the best, in terms of ever seeing our money again.

    -5.38/-3.74 I've suffered for my country. Now it's your turn! --John McCain with apologies to Monty Python's "Protest Song"

    by Rich in PA on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 05:29:58 AM PST

  •  asdf (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sparhawk, ekthesy, rainmanjr, adrianrf, Losty

    I was watching on some news channel (I think cnbc) with two guests - one for the big 3 and one against.  When I first stopped on the segment one guy was touting all of the cars of the year that the US carmakers made.  But the other guy shot back where are these cars going to be five years later!!  I bought a Honda four years ago specifically because I had the money to buy it and didn't want a car payment for a long time.  Sure enough, right now I am unemployed but I don't have to worry about a car, because the only money I have spent on it has been a trip to jiffy lube every three months and gas.  I haven't had it at the shop even once.  You can't say that for US made cars.  

    •  More important than you think, even (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Can you IMAGINE where you'd be without that car? You're lucky you made a wise decision when you bought it. Lack of transportation is one of the biggest barriers to securing employment.

    •  My Accord... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      unionboy, Losty, westbynorthwest

      ...I bought new in 2004 (which I will probably never do again, buy new that is). And it runs like a top. I've had to replace worn brake pads, make sure I change the oil, and do a few other minor maintenance things and it's taken me 73,000 miles, including two major multiple thousand mile road trips with no problems at all.

      It's paid down now, and I plan to drive it into the ground, probably another 120,000 miles.

      •  '84 Honda Accord with 420K (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Sparhawk, Losty, View From The Hill

        That's my car.

        '88 Honda Accord with 500K, original engine. My dad's car.

        '95 Honda Accord with 160K. Mom's ride. Before that, she drove a '98 Accord which turned over 300K before someone ran into it.

        All well-maintained, with minimal repair work.

        Best wishes for your 2004. Hopefully, driving it into the ground will take 1,200,000 miles, not 120,000!

      •  '89 Honda Prelude with 250K (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Losty, westbynorthwest

        20 years young and although the original paint isn't as shiny, the upolstery is fine and it's reliable and starts up fine on those freezing mornings. It has been driven up an down both coasts, across the US and Canada, into Mexico, shipped to Germany for an embassy job to be driven 120 mph on the autobahn safely, through France, England and Amsterdam and back to the USA. It has hauled 15' wood beams and all sorts of house renovation supplies. They don't make these anymore and I can't see parting with mine. (It even caught a hit and run perpetraitor at 4am by the bumper grabbing the other car's license plate for evidence!)

        Got a Honda Civic a few years back through Carmax as a second car and again, no problems - just regular maintenance like oil changes and new tires.

        Honda's are dependable, don't need much care, last a long time and good on gas. I love mine.

  •  How can we let the companies die (5+ / 0-)

    but still somehow protect the workers? I could care less about the companies. As far as I'm concerned they've mismanaged themselves into oblivion, and that's what happens in the free market.

    But the employees don't deserve to be turned out on the street (although you could also argue that ALSO happens in the free market, and too bad on them).

    Michael hit on it--this is our best opportunity to revamp the auto industry towards environmentally sound technology, and these workers have to be the vanguard for that...

    •  You can't... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      If you've lived int he rust belt, you know that once the plants close they never reopen for anything other than a Wal Mart.

      Manufacturing must be saved...

      Comments that say "GM workers should get retraining" without SPECIFIC DETAILS about those "new jobs" that never come are trollworthy

      by LordMike on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 08:15:43 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Oh, Yes We Can ! (0+ / 0-)

        Just because there's never been a reopening doesn't mean that there can't be in the future.

        Nothing less than total overhaul --- probably including death & rebirth -- will cut it this time.

        #3: ensure network neutrality; #2: ensure electoral integrity; #1: ensure ecosystemic sustainability.

        by ivote2004 on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 03:50:37 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Not die, but restructured to produce (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cotterperson, ivote2004

      modern transportation as the Mike's letter suggests.

      hybrid cars
      electric cars
      very small electric cars

      high speed monorail public transportation

      These things are not science fiction, they already exist but they have been shunned by the big three.

      The big three are in bed with big oil so they will never move into 21st century transportation.

      This above all: to thine own self be true...-WS

      by Agathena on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 08:33:59 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Who, oh, who, pray tell, (0+ / 0-)

    can run GM and Chrysler as going enterprises, now? These companies, as currently sized and structured, are doomed.

    No one wants to be responsible for letting that many people go, destroying that many communities. But who will be stuck with that thankless job?
    Will it be the current management, or a new one?

    Congress will be blamed, of course, regardless. Do we have any presidential leadership nowadays? I haven't seen it.

    •  How about letting the workers (20+ / 0-)

      run these companies.  I'm sure there are plenty of engineers in the company who would want to design fuel efficient cars if they were allowed to do this.  Get top management out of the picture.

      The Long Beach Naval Shipyard ran this way, and it worked.

      Speak softly and carry a big can of tuna.

      by Cat Whisperer on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 06:14:48 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  employee ownership and control (6+ / 0-)

        Buy out all the stock.

        Place it into a trust account.  

        The trustee votes the shares on a percentage basis governed by the votes of the workers, one worker / one vote.

        Meanwhile the workers pay off the cost of the shares in the trust via payroll deductions.  

        At some point the workers own the trust outright, having paid back the government loans for the cost of the shares.  

        Governance continues as per above: one worker / one vote, where the trustees (now elected directly by the workers as well) vote the shares proportionally.

        For robust models of employee ownership, look up "the Mondragon Cooperatives," "Stone Construction Equipment," and "The National Center for Employee Ownership."

        Yo Mike Moore, what do you think of that?


        BTW, I drive an American car.   Dodge Caravan 1996, used in a tradesman application (telephone systems installation/service).  Never had a major mechanical problem.  It's had its share of little quirks, but it has always been a 100% reliable vehicle.  It now has about 120,000 miles on it and shows no signs of needing replacement any time soon.  

        Last time I did a fuel mileage check for about 300 miles of highway driving:  With a constant speed between 50 - 55 miles per hour, I was getting 39.5 miles per gallon.   This based on miles driven as per the trip-odometer, and gas used from a fill-up at the start to another fill-up at the same pump on returning.  

        There are good solid efficient vehicles being produced today.  We need to demand more & better along those lines.  Less bling, more solid engineering.  We can do this.




  •  Sadly, yes, nationalize them. Let shareholders (5+ / 0-)

    stay in somehow to catch some of the upside.  Put them to work building non-gas based cars and the public transit vehicles MM mentions.  

    But don't stop there.  The US needs money, lots of it or the dollar is going to depreciate by half to three-quarters.  THAT MEANS EVERYTHING TO YOU AND ME because most if not all of our assets are based in US dollars--our homes, our labor, our investments, our purchasing power.  Imagine buying one-fourth the value in global terms with the same amount of dollars.  Gasoline, a global commodity, would quadruple overnight, for example.

    The US government needs money.  I've been thinking of ways for it to make some more, increasing federal income taxes on workers being the last and most distasteful resort.  How about legalizing marijuana and taxing it just like gas or cigarettes?  Legalizing and taxing booze worked well in the Depression to fill government coffers.  How about pulling the leases O&G producers aren't using and having the government hire workers to drill the stuff and sell it?  How about not giving away broadband licenses and setting reserve prices high enough to reward the American public who own them through a government collecting these revenues for us?

    Create jobs, definitely, but the US needs to make more money to pay down its debt and reaffirm the value of the dollar before we become Weimar Germany in terms of having an almost worthless currency and starving hyperinflation.

    It's not enough for us to be right. We have to be right and we have to win.

    by RickinDallas on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 05:36:17 AM PST

    •  the big 3 is a cluster f*** (0+ / 0-)

      The problem with Michael Moore's proposal is that a nationalized public work producing "automotive" sector would do a great deal of good - for 2 years.  Public works programs shouldn't be perpetual, and after we're over the hump and we sell GM back to private hands (at a profit) we still haven't actually modernized the industry, and they'd still have to lay off those people, and there'd still be massive unemployment in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois.

      Unless the US government rewrites the union contracts and dealer franchise laws (which no one here wants to do because it will cost jobs) or absorbs the pensions and health care costs of the industry, even after nationalizing the automakers they still won't be competitive.  GM used to control 3x the market share it now does, and in a global economy it's never going to get it back.  The problem is that they've signed contracts, and we've passed laws requiring them to maintain the infrastructure they needed when they sold 2 out of every 3 cars on the road.

      The industrial midwest needs the auto industry to survive, and it needs another non-transportation industry - so they won't be cannibalizing.  Maybe that industry is windmills or some other green energy technology.

    •  hy should sharholders make money off of (0+ / 0-)

      citizens investment I want that money to fund training and better schools

      A dream catcher works . . . If your dream is to be gay.

      by thethinveil on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 12:56:02 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Another great commentary-too bad we need one (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Agathena, Philly526

    I think Obama should create a new cabinet position- Secretary of Public Awareness. MM could be the head of the department & people like Nader would also have a place to take his message to the people.

    It is amazing that people in this country have such open access to all forms of news but are in the dark on most issues til it's too late. We have been like the frog in the old joke- sitting in the pot of water happy as can be as the water keeps getting gradually hotter. When the frog finally realizes he's in trouble the water is boiling & the pot is too deep for him to hop out.

    I would love to buy an American car. The reason I have a Nissan is that 7 years ago the Jeep dealer wouldn't budge on the price at all. The sales guy also said that the cashback incentive would only be given if I financed the car. Now nowhere did any of the material say that & it didn't make sense to me. Nissan was the total opposite- willing to negotiate, gave me $500 in free gas & made everything easy.

    I did buy #1 daughter a Chrysler in 2004. She loves it & this time the dealer was a bit more accommodating. They also let me take the car home for the weekend to test it. I was able to deal with them & the cashback wasn't a problem. But dealing after the sale has been a hassle. The service after the sale has not been easy. I think all companies need to work on that. Make a vehicle that is good quality & value then be as supportive after the sale as you were before the paper was signed.

  •  good idea..seen it from others too. (0+ / 0-)

    "but I would not be convicted by a jury of my peers. still crazy after all these years".....

    by JadeZ on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 05:39:06 AM PST

  •  The point (13+ / 0-)

    of "saving the automakers" is to save the jobs.  Any bailout plan that includes laying them off is, therefore, a non-starter.

  •  These dinosaurs have been fighting environmental (13+ / 0-)

    standards for decades, and they haven't stopped.  Many progressives really hate these guys for this reason.

  •  I drive a 2000 Mercury Cougar... (6+ / 0-)

    Since 2000, I have enjoyed 33/38 mileage and excellent reliability from my Cougar.

    The only "problem" with it is that the fuel pump tends to quit every four years.  Other than that, it requires just routine maintenance.  I now have 140,000 miles on it.

    What I don't understand, is that in 2000 I could purchase this economical car for $14,000.  Well, they stopped making the Cougar in 2001 and I'm hard-pressed to find a comparable car that gets as good mileage as the Cougar.

    My plan is to keep driving the Cougar until an affordable plug-in/flexfuel/hybrid is available.  In the meantime, the Cougar is my best option.

    One of the reasons I chose the Cougar was the great mileage -- in 2000 gas was inexpensive however I wanted to minimize my use of fossil fuel.

    During that same time-period, other were getting tax credits for purchasing SUVs!  The government was, indeed, subsidizing the wasteful use of fuel.

    The auto makers are capable of building reliable, fuel-efficient vehicles and we need policies that enable the auto-makers to do this.

    There is no time like now to get this done.

  •  The Mister is a mechanic (9+ / 0-)

    for Denver's light rail system.

    They buy the vehicles from Germany.


  •  Too big to fail whether they get bailout money (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cotterperson, peace voter

    or not.  Too big to be run so derned poorly.

    Yes the automobile and (ahem) the whole transportation industry are critical ones for this Country...and we need an overall approach that saves jobs and sets energy independence and good for the environment as top priorities.

    Not just throwing good money after bad...

    Some good ideas here...for all our futures.

    Lisa in CT, RIP Silver, Midnight, Jinx, Bailey, Princess, and Sparkey. Our pets who died Oct. 11th in our devastating house fire. We will miss you always.

    by JellyBearDemMom on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 05:46:41 AM PST

  •  They used to let (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    peace voter, imchange, Philly526

    car companies die. And then they made movies about them, like the one with Jeff Bridges. And there's another one out...or was that about windshield wipers?

    Anyway, this idea makes sense.

    It's kind of ironic how communism fell of its own excess and incompetence.  

    Will capitalism go the same way?

    I heard some so-called economist on the radio babbling about "the invisible hand of the marketplace" and all I could think was "WTF"? Invisible hands from the 18th century? To me, that's right up there with Sarah Palin's exorcist. (Maybe Bobby Jindal will take that job).

  •  Excellent ideas. How do we make them listen? nt (3+ / 0-)
  •  Wanted You To See This Healthcare Story (2+ / 0-)


    Thanks for all you do. I know this thread is about the Big Three Automakers, but given your intense interest in health care, I was wondering what you thought of this disgusting story in the NY Times today:

    UnitedHealth to Insure the Right to Insurance

    This is my diary about it here, with commentary

    Pretty patent example of what is wrong with this system, in my eyes. Thoughts?

  •  Actually... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dufffbeer, curtadams

    the mean time between failures (MTBF) of American made cars is as good or better than the majority of foreign made cars.  Also, Detroit has more multi-fuel and/or hybrid models than any of the foreign makers.  Add to that the fact that the most reliable vehicle on Earth is the Chevrolet Malibu.  Do you homework.

    It's not the cars that is causing Detroit to implode.  The Chrysler-Benz deal almost fell through, you may recall, because the Chrysler execs. made something like 20 times more than their German counterparts.  The problem lies with management, or lack thereof, and overblown union deals.  This is another management failure:  giving in to avoid a strike.  I'm a staunch union advocate, but like what we've seen from this banking disaster, too much and too greedy does the best of things in.

    "Have a beginner's mind at all times, for a beginner knows nothing and learns all while a sophisticate knows all and learns nothing." - Suzuki

    by dolfin66 on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 05:50:57 AM PST

    •  I keep reading this but (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tari, Losty

      look at the Consumer Reports satisfaction ratings for 2008.  Of the 27 cars that got the highest satisfaction rating, 3 are American.  Of the 23 cars that got the lowest rating, 20 are American.  

      I'm not anti-environmentalism, I'm anti-colonialism.

      by sneakers563 on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 08:52:31 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes (0+ / 0-)

        There's more, much more to those ratings than the basic technical stuff I mentioned.  Given the choice, I'd probably select a BMW over my Chevy Malibu.

        "Have a beginner's mind at all times, for a beginner knows nothing and learns all while a sophisticate knows all and learns nothing." - Suzuki

        by dolfin66 on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 07:09:12 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Once we own them... (3+ / 0-)

    We can crack open their safes to implement the proprietary innovations they've hidden away there for DECADES.

  •  Michael Moore-No friend of mine. (3+ / 7-)

    You are no friend of mine for this garbage of a article. You have pratically pissed on every hardworking UAW worker in our great country. Maybe you need to get off your fat-ass in Traverse City and visit downstate once in a while or do your homework on the improved fuel efficiency and quality of D3 products.

    •  Please read this. (3+ / 0-)

      A Comment above, and the P.S. under it.

      Shorter version:  what the F was the UAW thinking when it got into bed with Detroit Execs and their past 20 years Whinathon about the awful and dire consequences of higher CAFE Standards?  Well, of course, it wasn't thinking.

      Again, the paragraph above is the short version.  I request that you do the link and read the whole thing.  I welcome your comment(s) after that.


      "We in the gloam, old buddy," he said, "We definitely right in the middle of it." -Larry Brown

      by BenGoshi on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 06:16:26 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  But . . . (6+ / 0-)

      Mr. Moore praised unions and chastised the CEOs for basing their "plan" on the promise to layoff workers.  He drew a line in the sand, and which side is it that you want to be on, exactly?

      "If we believe that all humans are human, than how are we going to prove it? It can only be proven through our actions." Lt. Gen. Romeo Dallaire

      by djs on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 06:17:56 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Here's where the UAW's been... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        From 2007 (UAW Website):

         "Meanwhile, environmental groups and their allies in Congress continued to call for the adoption of much higher CAFE standards for both passenger cars and light trucks.  Although the UAW continues to support the CAFE program, and believes that modest improvements can be made in the fuel economy of conventional vehicles, we oppose proposals that would mandate drastic, discriminatory increases in the CAFE standards. In our judgment, these types of CAFE increases are not economically or technologically feasible.  Also, they would discriminate against full line producers, and would therefore jeopardize the jobs of thousands of UAW members. Fortunately, in the end Congress did not take up any of these dangerous CAFE proposals during 2006.  However, we need to remain vigilant against similar proposals during the 110th Congress."


         "In our judgment".  Well, UAW, your judgment is F'd-up and wrong.


        "We in the gloam, old buddy," he said, "We definitely right in the middle of it." -Larry Brown

        by BenGoshi on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 06:25:15 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  tr'd for fat comment. (3+ / 0-)

      you wanna disagree.. fine, but keep the personal insults out of it.

      "Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect." Mark Twain

      by dotdot on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 06:31:03 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  You mean like the efficiency of 25-30 MPG... (4+ / 0-)


      Actually, it's the deadwood up at the top of these companies who need to stop pissing on UAW folks by making them build shitty, low-mileage cars.

      And furthermore, if these same execs are going to come hat in hand to the government begging for tens of billions in bailout money for an industry that they've helped to run into the ground, then it is the right and furthermore the responsibility of every American to take a good, hard, hyper-critical look at that industry and how it's screwed itself.

      The American auto industry is not sacrosanct simply because it employs union workers. That's a load of bullshit, and I say this as somebody who has always believed in the importance of labor unions. Nowhere in this article did Mr. Moore "piss on hardworking UAW workers." And in fact, he was bemoaning the fact that the "bold new solution" of at least one of the Big 3 is to take almost $20 billion in bailout money and then turn around and shitcan 20,000 of these UAW workers you claim to be taking umbrage on behalf of.

    •  I own a Honda b/c its better made, retains (4+ / 0-)

      its value and has higher gas mileage.  Substantially better gas mileage than anything put out by the big three.  I know that since I bought my Honda that Detroit has improved their cars so that they retain their value more and are better made, but they continue to lag behind the technological inventiveness of the Japanese in regards to fuel efficiency.  As a consequence I will continue to purchase cars from foreign automakers b/c I want a fuel efficient car, and Detroit, and their union apologists refuse to provide a product I wish to purchase.

      The UAW is complicit in Detroit's continued reliance on gas guzzling vehicles as the bulk of their business.  I don't blame the workers for this, but I do blame the UAW hierarchy, who hasn't served the interests of their workers or their consumers well by siding with Detroit's bad management decisions in regards to these concerns.

      The only thing we have to fear is fear itself - FDR. Obama Nation. -6.13 -6.15

      by ecostar on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 06:51:21 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  get to work union boy (0+ / 0-)

      we don't pay you to write posts.

    •  Personal abuse is uncalled for (0+ / 0-)

      i am jack's complete lack of surprise -- fight club

      by bustacap on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 04:17:21 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Didn't you once complain that (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Miss Blue, LordMike

    your new VW bug wouldn't start? Like, day after day?

    I've got a 9-year-old Pontiac with 168,000 miles with never one problem.  She's never failed me.

    These auto makers, however, have failed big time. They could have seen the writing on the wall years ago, if they had wanted to. Sadly, no.  Profits were more important. Profits for their shareholders, and CEO bonuses.

    They should be forced to do it the European way. If you get money from the gov't, you all have to resign.

    •  VW's do suck (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      oldjohnbrown, tari

      We have a '99 New Beetle.  It's terrible.  The engine is OK, I suppose (although it's crazily expensive to fix), but small stuff breaks all the time and it's designed to be difficult for the owner to fix.  In order to change the headlight you have to remove the entire assembly from inside the hood.  Naturally, there's hardly any room inside the hood and the job takes serious time and effort.  In order to change the driver's side light you have to remove the battery.

      Still, just because VW's suck, it doesn't mean American cars are great.  

      I'm not anti-environmentalism, I'm anti-colonialism.

      by sneakers563 on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 08:56:58 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Bill Gates can buy GM and Ford (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Miss Blue, yoduuuh do or do not

    Then he could make them realize that they are not in the car making business, they are in the transportation business. That means they can invest light rail, etc. That is what Henry Ford realized when he started his "transportation" company 100 years ago.

  •  Smart American Cars for Americans (2+ / 0-)

    The unholy alliance between Detroit and Big Oil has to be put to rest once and for all. Any taxpayer help for the Big Three has to come with stipulations, namely, that plug-in electric cars should be and will be the future for the American automobile industry. If the Big Three can get with the program and manufacture vehicles that make sense for people and for the environment, they will control the worldwide auto industry for decades.

    The Road to 2010: More Democrats. Better Democrats.

    by Splicer on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 06:02:04 AM PST

  •  Ford will survive without the money. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I think the real key to salvaging this industry will be competative fuel sources, which in turn would disperse and spur competition. When the fuel and design regulation barriers to entry into the auto market are lifted the idustry will self correct like beer did with micro-brew revolution.

    Mid-westerners buy cars built in the mid-west. Californians buy cars built in Japan and shipped here. I imagine some of the parts travel from Detroit suppliers to Japan then back again as part of car.
    You'd think California could manage to produce a car itself that meets the local consumer demand and uses locally produced energy.

    •  California (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      theran, fumie, View From The Hill

      has a new auto manufacturer.

      Right now they're in concept car phase and the cars they produce are too expensive for the average consumer, but if they can get a foothold and get their manufacturing costs down (i.e. not build each one by hand), California may have its first mass produced fully electric car. Living in Silicon Valley where these cars are produced I've actually seen one up close.

      So many impeachable offenses, so little time... -6.0 -5.33

      by Cali Techie on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 09:16:03 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  There are, perpetually, concept shops (0+ / 0-)

        that never make it to the market.

        •  Tesla (6+ / 0-)

          Is a startup looking to get the funding it needs to build the plant to manufacture the cars. They do the sexy cars to get attention and show the technology is there, that electric cars can be performant (0-60 is actually better than most consumer sports cars), and efficient. The Tesla can go 240 miles on a single charge.

          They can put pretty much any body on that chassis and with modern technology they should be able to produce a lower cost consumer vehicle provided they can get the startup capital they need to build the automated factory.

          So many impeachable offenses, so little time... -6.0 -5.33

          by Cali Techie on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 09:43:29 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  The Roadster is not a concept (0+ / 0-)

          Over 80 ov these $110k cars are in the hands of paying customers, and the rate of production has been scaling up over the past six months.  They have enough preorders to keep them going for years.

          The Model S still is a concept, but they were well on their way to production before the financial crisis hit.  No loans = no scaleup.  They had to postpone the Model S and are instead focusing on the Roadster; they expect to get into the black on it this year.

          •  It's still a boutique car (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            They are all built by hand and they can only build so many units per year. With only 80 on the road I wouldn't call it a production car by any stretch of the term.

            While the Roadster may prove profitable to Tesla, it's clear from the coverage they've been getting lately they have bigger plans and that is to provide the American public with a completely electric car they will enjoy driving. They've been in the news around here a LOT lately, which means they are actively seeking investors even in this economy. There is money out there, it's just being hoarded instead of invested.

            Maybe if one of the big three fails Tesla can buy a manufacturing plant or two (there are some in CA) at fire sale prices and proceed with the Model S.

            So many impeachable offenses, so little time... -6.0 -5.33

            by Cali Techie on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 11:36:11 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  No, it's not (0+ / 0-)

              It's over $9 million in sales so far, with the pace of production many times higher now than what it used to be.  And apparently having the body built on a standard assembly line at Lotus's Hethel plant is what you call "by hand" merely because the drivetrain components are inserted by hand.  And lastly, from your statement "can only so many units per year", I must assess that you think 2000 (the annual production rate their factory is designed for) is "only so many".  2000 Roadsters per year is, by the way, over 220 million in sales per year.

              The very nature of production lines is that scaleup is not linear.  It's exponential.

              •  They may have capacity for 2000 (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                but they've only sold 80 @ $100K each. That's not a lot of cars and a very low number considering the millions of cars currently on the road today. They may have a design capacity for 2,000 cars per year but they're clearly not able to produce that many yet.

                In the current economic climate I can't see them selling 2000 of them every year because people don't have the money and there aren't that many super wealthy people out there looking for toys to make it a sustainable business model. I think they're smart enough to know they can't build their business selling 2000 cars per year at any price.

                Selling 2000 cars is a net revenue of $200M, while nice, the profit margin probably isn't all that great since I'm sure Lotus doesn't build the body inexpensively and the employees who install the drive train components probably get paid more than the average unionized assembly line worker at GM.

                The news coverage they've been getting makes it clear they are aiming to produce cars the masses can afford to buy and drive because when asked that question by interviewers, the answer is an emphatic yes. Otherwise, why bother getting the word out? Until they are mass produced on the order of 10s or even 100s of thousands of units it's still a boutique car, no different than Ferrari, Maserati, or Maybach.

                So many impeachable offenses, so little time... -6.0 -5.33

                by Cali Techie on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 12:06:16 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Thanks for making my reply easy for me (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  It's always simple when you can just quote yourself from your previous post  ;)

                  That's not a lot of cars and a very low number considering the millions of cars currently on the road today. They may have a design capacity for 2,000 cars per year but they're clearly not able to produce that many yet.

                  "The very nature of production lines is that scaleup is not linear.  It's exponential."

                  There we go  ;)  Oh, and:

                  In the current economic climate I can't see them selling 2000 of them every year because people don't have the money and there aren't that many super wealthy people out there looking for toys to make it a sustainable business model.

                  They already have a waiting list of thousands who've put down deposits.

                  •  That doesn't make any sense (0+ / 0-)

                    If they can make 2000 cars in a year why do they have a waiting list of thousands (somehow I doubt that).

                    AND... in a down economy people will cancel orders even if it means abandoning their deposits. It's in Tesla's best interests to crank them out as quickly as possible right now before their buyers get cold feet or lose their ability to afford their product.

                    The bottom line and my point is while they have the designed capacity to produce 2000 cars every year, they aren't able to actually do it yet. Until they can manufacture on the scale Toyota, Honda, GM, Ford, Chrysler, Renault, etc., they're still a boutique car only available to those who can afford to pay $100K for a car that isn't much more than a status symbol.

                    BTW, repeating yourself doesn't prove your point otherwise. It's the equivalent of sticking your fingers in your ears and yelling LALALALALALALALALA at the top of your voice.

                    So many impeachable offenses, so little time... -6.0 -5.33

                    by Cali Techie on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 03:52:51 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Which part do you doubt? (0+ / 0-)

                      If they can make 2000 cars in a year why do they have a waiting list of thousands (somehow I doubt that).

                      They do have a waiting list in the thousands.  If you need me to, I could probably dig up a fairly precise number (it's been a while since I checked).  Lots of people have been waiting for a good electric car.  Even old Rav4EVs sell for over $60k a pop on Ebay; that's how much pent up demand there is.

                      The bottom line and my point is while they have the designed capacity to produce 2000 cars every year, they aren't able to actually do it yet

                      Once again, copy-paste: "The very nature of production lines is that scaleup is not linear.  It's exponential."

                      BTW, repeating yourself doesn't prove your point otherwise

                      If you'd actually address the point instead of ignoring it, I wouldn't have to keep repeating it.  Producing 2000 cars a year isn't 2000 times as hard as producing 1 car a year.  The fact that they're now producing about one car a day means that they're closer to producing 2,000 a year (5 1/2 per day) than they are to, say, one a week (where they were less than half a year ago).

                      •  Sorry reptititon doesn't sway me (0+ / 0-)

                        just because you keep saying it over and over again doesn't make it true.

                        If they have the ability to make 2000 cars per year and there's thousands of orders in the pipeline (I find it hard to believe in this economy they have thousands of orders) why aren't they operating at full capacity? It doesn't make sense.

                        Yes, there's pent up demand, but there aren't that many people who have a spare $100K lying around to blow on an expensive toy. In case you haven't noticed it, but roughly 40% of the wealth in this country evaporated over the past couple of months.

                        So many impeachable offenses, so little time... -6.0 -5.33

                        by Cali Techie on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 12:30:35 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Are you even reading what I'm writing? (0+ / 0-)

                          Because if not, why should I spend time responding to you?  I've never once stated that they're already up to their maximum production rate.  What I've stated time and time again is that production scaleup is not linear.  I.e., it's easier to go from 1500 a year to 2000 (a gain of 500) than it is to go from, say, 50 a year to 350 a gear (a gain of 300).  As long as you keep attacking straw men, I really have nothing to say to you, do I?

                          Anyways, I just re-looked up the waiting list on the Roadster (not even going to bother responding to your trolling post below that pretends that the names and addresses of people on waiting lists are public information).  As of the start of November, they had shipped 50 and had 1200 on the list. (the 80+ number I saw was from last week; I can dig up that article for you, too; as I've mentioned, and as their plans were, they've been significantly scaling up the rate of production recently).  And given that they've only just recently started marketting internationally, and that people have to sit on a huge waiting list, Tesla is not at all short on paying customers, nor will it be even if there is a significant cancellation rate.

                      •  Tell you what (0+ / 0-)

                        You want to prove it to me? Give me names and e-mail/telephone numbers of all the people who are standing in line for the Tesla roadster.

                        Go ahead. I'll wait.

                        So many impeachable offenses, so little time... -6.0 -5.33

                        by Cali Techie on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 12:32:59 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

      •  There's also Better Place and an upcoming X prize (5+ / 0-)

        for the practical car that will get 100 miles per gallon and can be built now with off the shelf parts and a business plan. All of the above could easily use recently shut auto plants and those slated for closure. They could use the people who have worked in the industry. They could help rewrite American auto policy. Why not give them the money instead? Especially as I'm sure they could sit down in front of Congress tomorrow and give them detailed plans of what they are ready to do now, and given a few months, plans to expand that vision with an unexpected windfall of tens of billions of dollars.

        Better Place
        X Prize (.pdf file)

        Chapter 8 of Neoconomics: The Chickenhawks Come Home to Roost.

        by Noodles on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 10:20:17 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yup (5+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ivote2004, fumie, Noodles, Shakludanto, Losty

          Based on what I heard in the news yesterday the CEOs of the big three still don't get it. I want to walk up to them and ask them "Do you have a fucking mental block???"

          They don't get they need to change how they run their businesses at a fundamental level from the ground up. They don't get they need to look toward the future instead of at the past. They don't get that Congress wants to hear "we will change our product line and build cars using sustainable technology people can afford to buy and drive even if the price of gasoline reaches $10/gal." Instead they offer lip service like cutting their own base pay (note they still get stock and bonuses) to $1 annually and of course laying off more people.

          Seriously I think one of them is going to have to go into bankruptcy and fail in order for them to get it. These CEOs are acting like spoiled children if you ask me.

          So many impeachable offenses, so little time... -6.0 -5.33

          by Cali Techie on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 10:34:07 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  "A" new manufacturer? (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ivote2004, Cali Techie, Losty

        You mean about a dozen.  California is ground zero for EVs and plug-in hybrids.  I'm eagerly awaiting my Aptera 2E from Aptera Motors of Carlsbad, CA and Vista, CA.  Their first delivery is scheduled for this month; I'm hoping for mine by summer of next year so I can take it on a big EV-promoting cross-country tour.

  •  I agree with Michael... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shann, Neglected Duty, Larry Parker

    Screw the Big 3.

    But lets demand accountability for the first 700 billion we seem to be pi**ing away.

  •  I sympathize, Michael (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LordMike, yoduuuh do or do not

    I had similar problems with my downticket Chrysler, a Dodge.  Here's how I envision the bailout:

    Congressional bailout:  $18 billion (for a start, anyway)

    Eliminating (temporarily) CEO private jets:  $1 million or so a year

    Eliminating thousands of older, unionized workers:  priceless.

  •  I would support this idea. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    yoduuuh do or do not, chrome327

    2nd time I've heard it in 2 days.  I sincerely doubt the American people will, though.  Despite how popular our new president is.  They will see it as more nationalization and get very, very, scared.  Still, it is the right answer, I think.  I didn't know that GM will still lay-off 20,000 more people after getting money from us.  This is just a workingman's nightmare all around.  And all because a bunch of our pride-and-joy companies made humongously bad decisions.  

    "It's time to start all over/make a new beginning." - Tracy Chapman

    by rainmanjr on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 06:12:31 AM PST

  •  Bravo! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Neglected Duty, Loose Fur

    I completely agree.  One caveat -- get the unions to buy into this agreement first and very publicly.

    -9.00, -5.85
    What do you talk about when you cannot explain the last eight years of failure? -- Joe Biden

    by Wintermute on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 06:18:20 AM PST

  •  Michael asks us to look at the bigger picture (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dar Nirron

    If you were to specify a personal transportation system today, what would it be? I think that this might be an opportunity for radical change and I think that we should either own the big-3 or completely control their product goals until we have implemented a complete generational shift in cars.

    I think that, for now, efficiency is a more attainable goal as vs. eliminating fossil fuel. We currently get about 22mpg overall passenger fleet efficiency. Another way to look at it is load carrying efficiency. The two extremes that I have calculated is a large SUV, 5500 lbs with a 120 lb person driving to work. That's a payload efficiency of   2.1%. The other extreme would be 4 170 lb guys in a BMC mini, 1500 lbs. That's a load carrying efficiency of 31%, and that's a 1960s design. The bottom line is that there is a long way to go for improvements, both in design and materials and use. So Michael Moore asks why not? I guess that I have to agree with him, but the one caveat that I would go for efficiency and then work in alternative fuels. They go hand in hand. A 1500 lb EV has a much greater range than a 4000lb EV given the same battery capacity. If we can up our fleet mileage to 44 mpg we have cut our fuel consumption and CO2 emissions in half, and it could be done in 3 years if the government mandated it. The big three are working on the principle of keeping cars and SUVs as they are and working in hybrids. That doesn't work and we should not bail them out without insisting on significant generational change in their products.

  •  You might want to send this to Thad McCotter... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chrome327, TheCid

    As you know he's the MI Republican who wants the auto industry saved too, but.... he thinks they're in trouble because of "too much regulation"....

    must be nice to live in Fantasyland Thad...

    Listen to Noam Chomsky...

    by MrBurns17 on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 06:25:03 AM PST

  •  Over thanksgiving (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chrome327, TheCid

    my relative went on a tirade blaming the union workers for the failing auto industry. I did my best to rebut him, but it fell on deaf ears. It's funny how everyone always blames the little guy.

    "Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect." Mark Twain

    by dotdot on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 06:25:58 AM PST

    •  They have a share of the blame. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Not all, certainly, but a share.

      See here.

      And see here, e.g.


      "We in the gloam, old buddy," he said, "We definitely right in the middle of it." -Larry Brown

      by BenGoshi on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 06:30:00 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  But is it the union workers (0+ / 0-)

        or the union execs that should be blamed?

        "Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect." Mark Twain

        by dotdot on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 06:32:43 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  If I'm not mistaken, the workers... (0+ / 1-)
          Recommended by:
          Hidden by:

          vote-in their execs/bosses/leaders/policy-makers.  Are they such sheep or dimwits that they can't say anything akin to:  "Go F yourself, bosses!  You need to support dramatically higher CAFE standards to jump-start the industry!  JFK didn't say, 'Let's fiddle-fart around for 30 years and then maybe go to a tall mountain and look at the moon through a telescope and then return safely.' did he?.  Well?
          They do bear the responsibility of keeping, over and over and over and over again such dumbshit, non-visionary, narrow-minded, putzes in power.


          "We in the gloam, old buddy," he said, "We definitely right in the middle of it." -Larry Brown

          by BenGoshi on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 06:41:44 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  To be fair (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            The thing about the long run is that you have get there.  As a UAW member myself, I don't agree with the leadership's stance on the CAFE, but I understand where it comes from.  From what I can tell, there was a sense that the companies would use this as an excuse to cut jobs (whether it was warranted or not), so the leadership's been taking a kind of rearguard action.

            I don't agree with it, but then again, my job's not on the block.  There's plenty of responsibility to go around on this issue, but I believe that on the whole, my union stands for what is right and shouldn't be eviscerated because of the CAFE issue.

            (I'm not saying you're arguing this, but I've heard - a few - others say so.)

            Procrastination: Hard work often pays off after time, but laziness always pays off now.

            by Linnaeus on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 04:19:06 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Where it comes from . . . (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              is dunderheaded, idiotic, short-term thinking and actually buying-into the stupidities of the Detroit Execs/Mgt.  

              How is it that the UAW heads are generally suspicious (as well they should be) about Management, but, somehow, bought into this bullshit about  "Bold Innovation=Job Loss"???

              The rank and file (you and your brethren) have NOT been well represented.  As for said rank and file, I say "Solidarity".  But I also say:  "Roast your leaders on a big spit and feed 'em to wild things and then elect some visionaries."


              "We in the gloam, old buddy," he said, "We definitely right in the middle of it." -Larry Brown

              by BenGoshi on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 04:41:50 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  My guess (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                BenGoshi, thethinveil

                How is it that the UAW heads are generally suspicious (as well they should be) about Management, but, somehow, bought into this bullshit about  "Bold Innovation=Job Loss"???

                I don't think it's so much that they actually believe in that equation, but that they would not be able to prevent the company from using the CAFE issue as an excuse.  So, again, it's a rearguard action.

                I do agree with you that it wasn't the right move.  Definitely a failure of strategy.

                Procrastination: Hard work often pays off after time, but laziness always pays off now.

                by Linnaeus on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 05:04:45 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

  •  You make so much sense, Mike (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dar Nirron, Larry Parker, kathleen518

    No wonder they hate you! It is time to bring reality into Washington. As you say, when you can buy all the common shares of Gm for $3B, why lend them even more? Take control and run it: certainly you cannot run it any worse than those dweebs.

    Well? Shall we go? Yes, let's go - a new dawn rises.

    by whenwego on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 06:26:35 AM PST

  •  why are you still driving a christler (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BenGoshi, Paul Ferguson

    WTF...Chrysler has always had starter issues. you could always count on the family station wagon, to NOT START on the coldest morning of the winter.
    i need quality...went to it

  •  A Chrysler? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    fumie, FishBiscuit

    Seriously Mike, what were you thinking when you bought it, and ok'd $1400 to give it new life?  Dude, the ride is smooth because it isn't going anywhere.

    And the old saw about banks only being willing to make loans to people who can prove that they don't need one - it's good guidance here.  So, Ford says that they probably don't need the money but simply have been lining up to get free money.  I understand that, and Congress should look for ways we might help if Ford can take up some slack in the rest of the industry.  GM puts a gun to its head and threatens to shoot if we don't pay ransom.  Give the gun to Ford, and tell them to shoot all the parts they don't want.  Chrysler is just pitiful.  Get it over, this is a zombie company coming to infect the rest of us.

  •  Appreciate the distinction how CEOs were treated (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    ...differently than the financial CEOs.  

    Epecially that know-nothing criticism about flying to Washington in a corporate jet.  Hey, I'm a populist too but I expect someone in charge of a $multi-billion multinational to spend time as productively as possible, especially with staff.  Compare with trying to have a business meeting while flying commercial. The cost of a corporate jet is insignificant in the scheme of what's at stake.  

    I'd rather some lawmakers spend time at hearings exploring how to save jobs than than asking grandstanding questions.

    We're in a culture that increasingly holds that science is just another belief. - Alan Alda

    by sawgrass727 on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 06:30:10 AM PST

    •  nonsense (11+ / 0-)

      I flew down to DC two weeks ago and Chuck Schumer was sitting two rows behind me and he seemed able to work just fine flying commercial.  

      Private jets are fancy baubles.  They are not safer than commercial travel.  For travel to most destinations, they're also not faster than commercial travel.  They are useful really only for trips to remote places that would take a long time to get to if you were going commercially.  A car company could probably do with just one commercial jet instead of five.  They could also save money by sharing ownership of a corporate jet with other companies or chartering one as necessary.  

      Private jets fill psychological, not concrete needs, of executives.  It's good to feel that important.  Companies with far flung operations and extremely busy executives can usually make do with one jet or more often, by sharing the expense of a corporate jet with other companies.  But then their executives wouldn't feel nearly as important.

    •  The private jets (6+ / 0-)

      are nothing more than a very sweet perk and a status symbol. It saves the CEOs, upper level executives and their families from having to endure the indignities foisted upon the ennui by the TSA and allows the them to go anywhere in the world they want on a whim at company expense since it's more cost effective to keep them flying instead of parked in the hangar.

      I'm not sure you get how much maintaining a fleet of private jets costs. First there's the cost of the planes themselves, then the cost of the hangar where they are parked, maintenance crews, pilots, fuel, etc. The cost is staggering when compared to private charters or plane-sharing arrangements because they're paying for those planes by the hour even when they're not flying.

      "There is a delicious irony in seeing private luxury jets flying into Washington, D.C., and people coming off of them with tin cups in their hand, saying that they're going to be trimming down and streamlining their businesses," Rep. Gary Ackerman, D-New York

      And of course by trimming down and streamlining their businesses they are talking about cutting jobs, not their own salaries and perks.

      So many impeachable offenses, so little time... -6.0 -5.33

      by Cali Techie on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 09:33:17 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I bet they were working... (0+ / 0-)

        on their private jets, from the time they boarded until they arrived.  If they would have flown together in a private jet they would not have had the privacy needed to work.  Commercial flights would be even worse as far as getting anything done.

        I'm an engineer, retired from a former Big 3 division; years ago corporate had a couple of turbo prop planes, would seat maybe 20, which i flew on several times with both divisional and corporate execs, and they spent  the hour flight time working.

        Yes, they should be ashamed of their pay, especially in the light of the recently approved contracts that cut wages for new hires to around $14 (less than the national average of similar manufacturing), and for my former 'division', ALL production workers now make the new lower $14 wage.  Top level execs need to sacrifice in a REAL way - like taking $1 yearly salary with NO stock options / bonuses until all loans are paid off, pension funds fully funded, etc.

        •  then charter the stupid plane (0+ / 0-)

          If they need the privacy to conduct business meetings they can get into a corporate jet sharing arrangement or charter planes, but only use such travel when going to remote locations ill served by commercial airlines or when the executives will be working on the flight.  If they want to take the spouse and kids to Aspen or make an extremely quick flight from Detroit to New York or DC, they can fly commercial like the rest of us schlubs.

          Private planes are so cost ineffective it's insane.  They're an insane expense when they're not flying and it would be way more efficient to charter planes when necessary or to join a jet sharing partnership to split all the maintenance and storage costs.  

  •  Damn socialist. /snark :) Thanks Michael. n/t (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    [-5.38,-6.77]"The great thing in the world is not so much where we stand as in what direction we are moving." - Oliver Wendell Holmes

    by mamamarti on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 06:33:31 AM PST

  •  Big Oil to the rescue (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bustacap, FishBiscuit

    of the free enterprise capitalism we so adore. The American auto industry provided the gas hogs which produced billions of profits per quarter for the oil industry.

    Unlike the financial industry – those profits are real, huge wads of cash. Dick Cheney is looking for a new job and would love to run the auto industry for U.S.

    Our excess monthly fuel bills could have been car payments.

    The unfettered free market supports the robber barons and con artists – and then the American public whines about it.

    It seems we deserve a mind adjusting depression, if only it would just affect the neo-cons...

    •  Let Big Oil bail them out (5+ / 0-)

      After all the big three have been fighting tooth and nail to keep big oil profits high by fighting higher CAFE standards and producing low gas mileage cars for the past 30 years, let big oil invest some of the billions in profits they've made over the past few years into keeping the big three alive because their own bottom lines depend on it.

      So many impeachable offenses, so little time... -6.0 -5.33

      by Cali Techie on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 09:35:47 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  another idea: (0+ / 0-)

    Give them a contract to build GM Volts to replace the entire federal municipal car fleet.

    I had the idea of coercing them into building train cars and trolleys a month ago, but adding on the existing municipal fleets would be beneficial as well.

    It doesn't have to be GM Volts, but it needs to be some form of green car that can be used by local, state and federal agencies to insure that our government, at least, is practicing what it preaches regarding carbon footprints.

    It would also put people to work, and ensure a steady demand for manufacturing in an otherwise harsh it won't be a giveaway.  If needed we can pad the contract a bit to make sure that they are making a respectable profit on each unit, rather than losing money on each car as a way of helping out. Much better than a giveaway, or any punishing tariff on imports.

  •  Certain Of That Are You? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    [Congress] must save the world from the internal combustion engine.

    During the last five years, Gregory G. Coates has worked closely with his father, inventor George Coates, in efforts dedicated to improving every aspect of the automobile. Through these focused efforts, Gregory has created a new design for wheel bearings that will dramatically improve the long-term performance of an automobile. This brief informational memorandum introduces this innovation, the Coates Infinitely Self Adjusting Wheel Bearing and its inventor, Gregory G. Coates.

    Never thought none about those dang old wheel bearings but have thought a heap on seals.  No not those cute little fur-bearing seals that Canadians love to club to death for the pure pleasure of it but engine seals that the Coates have been working on so long that one could get old watching.

    While the Coates engine can theoretically burn even effluence from either ends of politicians' orifices, it probably isn't up to burning orange peelings, chicken fat and waste heat like one external combustion engine.

    Bent Glass Design Purchases Engine System From Cyclone Power Technologies

    Monday November 17, 8:30 am ET

    POMPANO BEACH, FL--(MARKET WIRE)--Nov 17, 2008 -- Cyclone Power Technologies Inc. (Other OTC:CYPW.PK - News) announced today that it has signed a purchase agreement with Bent Glass Design of Hatboro, PA for a Waste Heat Engine (WHE) cogeneration system. This is Cyclone's first sale and commercial installation of its award-winning WHE.

    Whether any of many hare-brained - er, innovative ideas will ever get to market depends more on whether people are open to ideas rather than picking a winner between decaying monopolists and idle dreamers.


    Best,  Terry

  •  I think the solution is pretty clear, then (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    salmo, Dar Nirron, alexa100

    The management at GM and Chrysler have failed, miserably.  Ford's business model is sustainable IF the other two don't keel over and take most of the American parts industry with them.

    Nationalize GM and Chrysler.  While we're at it, set up a government holding company to run nationalized firms until they can be re-privatized.  That includes banks too.  Ford's management, on the other hand, took quality seriously a while ago, took product seriously a while ago, and foresaw this Depression sufficiently to arrange huge lines of credit at favorable interest rates.  I can't endorse lumping them in with the other two.

    Unfortunately an awful lot of money has been wasted away on non-voting "preferred stock."  But as long as the dollar still has reserve status, we can still change direction.

  •  Now THAT's a bailout I can get behind (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Larry Parker

    I heard Dan Neil  of the la times presenting something similar on hardball yesterday. Made a hell of a lot of sense to me.

    I demand prosecutions for torture.

    by heart of a quince on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 06:41:36 AM PST

  •  Funny... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bustacap, Dar Nirron

    ...but I didn't realize until I saw the diary that I was wating for Michael Moore to weigh in on this topic.  This makes as much - if not more - sense as anything I've heard on this question.  Of course, Moore's proposal overlooks two key things:

    1. If we take over the auto companies, we won't be giving away billions of dollars and getting absolutely nothing in return.  That, after all, is the point of our current policy.
    1. If we take over the auto companies, we'll have to figure out some other way to get rid of those millions of pesky union jobs.  (Not to mention the UAW itself.)  

    If Mr. Moore can come up with a plan for nationalizing the auto industry that will also satisfy these two vitally important goals, he'll be golden.  Otherwise, we might be in peril of doing something sensible without the support of a single Republican - and that's socialism, dammit!

    "I'm not negative - I'm ANGRY!" -- Howard the Duck

    by Roddy McCorley on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 06:50:08 AM PST

  •  I disagree. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Larry Parker

    To the extent that a bailout should be considered for the Big-3, the investment should be considered separately from the banking/investment bailouts.

    Apart from that, the proposal has merits. Management in Detroit has taken the tactical view for their businesses when they should have taken the strategic view. Seeing the Republicans blame Detroit's problems on Unions makes me angry.

    Still, the fact that the investment/banking/insurance industries are being (or may be) bailed out should have no bearing whatsoever on whether any bailout of Detroit happens.

    The victorious strategist only seeks battle after the victory has been won, whereas he who is destined to defeat first fights and afterwards looks for victory.

    by Pacifist on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 06:50:10 AM PST

  •  gm killed the ev (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cotterperson, fumie, Losty

    Anyone see this movie. Who killed the electric car. yeah it was gm. Why don't they start cranking them up again. oh i know, they work to well, and you don't need oil. remember when they wanted you to change your oil every 10.000mile, then it went to 3000. now it is 5000 miles. hmmmm
    yeah, it really does come down to parts sales, and oil sales. quckie oil change
    places have only been around since 1980. they changed the whole garage, gas station industry. now if  you need a tire change, you go to a tire store. Wal-mart is now in that business too. I wouldn't trust my car to wal-mart.
    i now drive a scion (a toyota product) I love this car. it gets average of 33 mpg. and no it isn't even a hybryd. but gets better milage than the ford hibryd. i liked it so much i bought my daughter one, when she started driving. Great milage, up to 44 on the hiway. that is from consumer reviews.. It has great safety features, like side airbag etc. I'm sorry, but supporting a losing design is like supporting a losing president. I drove a Ford explorer for years, then starting fearing for my life, i didn't want to worry about a rollover if a tire blew out. come on, who's fault was that. Ford has many recalls, So they lost my business. The other thing, is the cars I bought, the Scions, they were literally thousands of dollars less than the american models of comprable style. Toyota got them beat hands down. But even they are losing money. Whoever comes up with the
    best electric car has my business. until then, i will stay in these little Scions, and ford, gm ,chrysler, will just have to sink or swim, like the rest of us.
    There are about 4 car plants here in alabama, and they are laying off too. So it is not just Detroit.

  •  Let Chrysler fail (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cotterperson, salmo, tari

    if for no other reason than it is run by John Snow, and G. Damnfool Quayle runs one of its units.

    Republicans shouldn't be petitioning the government for a handout.

  •  Already been done. (0+ / 0-)

    Various foreign car companies have been showing the Big 3 how to run viable operations in the U.S. for quite a few years now. And it's not about using cheap labor, their workers are paid pretty well, although I'll admit right now that the Big 3 workers get a lot more in benefits, anyway. It's partly about having a management vision for products of the future, and partly about having a cooperative workforce not tied up with bureaucratic work rules.

    When I interviewed at Ford in the mid-70s, it was clear to me that as an engineer who hoped to take part in their new idea of putting real engineering into their products I would not be able to do actual hands-on work in the labs because I was told that work rules would require me to get somebody else to do that part. Seemed very inefficient. So I went to work for a Department of Energy laboratory, where, ironically, I was able to get more done.

    Sorry about your car maintenance nightmares, Michael. It's not the cars, though. When I moved from Ann Arbor to Idaho Falls, I noticed a quantum leap in car dealer repair competence. Same cars, different folks. And it wasn't just Ann Arbor, my in-laws lived in the Saginaw area and had the same problems. For example, a company named "Bolt Buick" left a bolt in one of the cylinders of my father-in-law's Opel. Imagine the mayhem after a week of driving that around.

    Most of my wife's relatives worked for GM in those days, so I feel your pain. But face it, the Big 3 are so screwed up there's no fixing them.

    As for maintaining them so we can keep our defenses up for the Peak Oil end times, if you're advocating getting off of oil for transportation, what the fuck is up with that???

  •  James Kunstler posted a quote from (6+ / 0-)

    one of his readers that the $700 billion bailout would have been enough to put in a good, working rail system for every town in the U.S. that was over 5,000 people in size (in his Oct. 3 Daily Grunt).

    If true, what a shame that the money went down a black hole instead of toward this, eh?

    •  And think of all the people... (6+ / 0-)

      . . . from general semi-skilled and skilled workers,  to engineers,  to logistics and supply chain managers,  to surveyors,  to construction crews,  to fabricators,  to welders and iron-workers and other tradesmen,  to architects,  to accountants,  to (yes, even) lawyers (someone has to write-up gijillions of contracts, agreements, releases, buy-sell agreements...),  to dock-workers,  to shippers and (ironically) long-haul truck-drivers,  to mechanics,  to crane operators,  to biologists and environmental engineers,  to map-makers,  to caterers and restauranteurs,  to CAD wizards and other digit-heads . . .

      Yeh, it'd be a shame to employ all those millions of Americans!



      "We in the gloam, old buddy," he said, "We definitely right in the middle of it." -Larry Brown

      by BenGoshi on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 07:04:57 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Technically nobody has lost that money (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      We may still get most, all or more back. That is unless we enter a depression that we will never come out of, and at the moment that's a distinct possibility.

  •  hindsight is always 20/20 (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mary Julia

    now we know how bad internal combustion engines are, and we have known with increasing degrees of certainty for maybe 35 years.

    But the big three didn't melt the polar ice caps by themselves, though they accelerated it by blocking reforms.  

    We are always brilliant when we review history looking backwards, but not always right.  For many years that engine made life easier for a lot of people.  It advanced the ability to feed people, save lives (as well as take them), all aspects of modern life across large parts of the globe changed and at the time very few people knew those changes would threaten the environment to the point of destructive climate changes.

    That the last three decades happened is part of the Big Three's fault, but people sometimes have to own up to their own responsibilities, we didn't get motivated and organize in large numbers to demand change, we didn't change our purchasing patterns in large numbers.  We were fat, dumb and happy.

    We had the example of Europe before us, and we did nothing.  The Chinese have the example of Europe and US and still they love them some big SUV and conspicuous consummation even though the sun can't be seen there many days.  People are people.  We don't always get what we deserve, but sometimes we do.   And sometimes we get what we don't deserve because it serves a greater good to be forgiven and the mistakes put behind us.

  •  You can't mandate a market or inventions (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    What makes you think that GM could switch from making the current line of cars to making all hybrid / electric cars?  That kind of change would take years and years and billions upon billions.  And when they were done what would happen? Americans for the most part don't want to buy those cars, so you would drive down the cost of a prius, but you would lose billions.

    Make buses and trains?  For who?  Who is going to buy these buses and trains?  Cities already buy as many buses and trains as they want.  They aren't all of a sudden going to start demanding more buses and more trains because GM is building more of them.

    All this would do is waste billions more than the current company policies will.

    I don't argue with you at all that it would be a good thing if we had more buses, trains, EVs, but you can't change America's infrastructure or culture in just a few years.  It would take decades.

    •  Yeh. What'd Henry Ford know. Idiot. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      We always told him he couldn't "create" demand.


      "We in the gloam, old buddy," he said, "We definitely right in the middle of it." -Larry Brown

      by BenGoshi on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 07:06:17 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Ford mandated nothing. He created something. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        There's a big difference, and the difference is that he was successful. Many others created things that didn't succeed, and that's why you mentioned him instead of one of those other guys.

        A mandate is a consensus, a situation where government officials believe they have been told to do something by the electorate. If the electorate says build electric cars, or whatever, that is a mandate. If what the elected officials create in response to that is not what enough consumers actually end up wanting, then the product won't succeed.

        So in that sense, you can't mandate a market or inventions, except in your imagination.

      •  You don't get it (0+ / 0-)

        Ford was able to produce cars for drastically less money.  He didn't "create" demand, the demand was already there.  There were thousands of people who would LOVE to buy a car if they could afford it, but they cost far more than they could afford.

        The demand was there.

        So if you think the government can just wave a magic wand and make GM produce cards for $5k, or on the other side of things, produce technical marvels (300 hp cars that get 120 mpg and only cost $15k), then yes you are right, it can "create" demand.

        We already have trains, buses and hybrids.  The supply equals the demand.  

  •  Yes. That's all, just yes. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SkiBumLee, Dar Nirron

    There are a lot of things that should be done, but I think your basic point is beyond correct and it's beyond time we verbally abuse those who dispute it:

    If any company that is "too big to fail" demands a bailout that is within the ballpark of the controlling value of the company, just nationalize the fucking company and let the voters and their elected representatives bring it back, in the interest of the public, rather than in the interest of "shareholders" or the golden parachute set.

    Nationalize, nationalize, nationalize.

    And if it sounds like a communist proposition, it's because I'm a communist. And maybe, just maybe, some common sense is starting to creep into the ideological rat's maze and spider's web that is the American public's ideological consciousness.

    Why in hell would anyone not buy for $18bn what they could own for $3bn? Purely to maintain ideological purity. Even if it means lining the pockets of those that exploit you, driving yourself to the poorhouse (in a broken car), and choosing national collapse over national success.

    We must never nationalize anything? Why? Nonsense. Ideological buggery.

    You've got it exactly right, Moore.

    -9.63, 0.00
    Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from idiotic American minds.

    by nobody at all on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 06:57:37 AM PST

  •  American pride or stubborn ignorance (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I grew up with instilled in me - ALWAYS buy American and always buy LOCAL. My parents were middle class and could save money buying a car and many other things in a bigger city 50 miles away but knew the importance of supporting local business. My dad has never bought anything but an American car. I consquently also have only owned American cars - and yes, have had my fair share of issues with them - but so far am loyal.

  •  Michael, my 20-year old son wants so bad (7+ / 0-)

    to build the next generation of cars. But he's not a good student; he's got a learning disability and has trouble with language arts. (He's also in the top 5% in math/physics/science; and just got an associates degree in precision metalworking with mostly A's and B's in a tech school.)

    He's a victim of our education system that won't let kids do what they do best, because we can't leave some behind, so we've gotta leave them all behind.

    He's an example of how we can't let some who have the ability succeed because they aren't "well rounded" traditional learners.

    You put a tool in his hand, give him some stuff, and he builds things. Always has. He was meant to build things; he loves building things. He's like an extreme example of what boys do when it comes to building things.

    You want to see Detriot succeed, let Boys succeed; let 'em build motorcycles, lawn mowers, and four-wheelers they don't use combustion engines in middle school and high school. Put those programs back, like the space race and rocket in the '50's; the race to the moon. You won't believe the results.

    "In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act." George Orwell

    by zic on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 07:00:50 AM PST

  •  Should buy GM (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    (not the others) and then create a management company and eventually auction off the pieces.  We could eventually make money off it.

    And the reason that people have little sympathy for the car companies is because it's so easy to find whom to blame.  

  •  The big 3 have had over three decades (7+ / 0-)

    of me driving to win my allegiance, and they've failed at every turn.

    Until I bought my Accord, I just assumed that being a car owner entailed: parking in a position that would give easy access to jumper cables; employing a juju man to spiritually assist the mechanic in figuring out the real reason the car was not performing properly; making sure each of my three kids had a car so at least one of us would have a working vehicle to rescue a stranded family member and/or give rides back and forth to the repair shop; wondering how soon "that noise" would become critical and whether it would spread like cancer to the rest of the engine; waiting for the dreaded call from the mechanic and wondering if the $1,300 in my vacation savings account would be enough to cover it;

    Etcetera, etcetera.

  •  This is a brilliant solution (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sandy on Signal, Dar Nirron

    from your lips to Obama's ears and then to execution.  If we are to be committed to ending our reliance on oil, foreign or not, public transportation has to have a more prominent place all across America.  

  •  I suppose I'm lucky (0+ / 0-)

    I never had a problem with the American cars I owned - and in fact, I ran several of them long past their normal lifespans. That I own a Toyota now is not because of a choice but because my Mercury was totaled in an accident two years ago, and I could get this replacement inexpensively and quickly.

    "Our brighter days are still ahead. But we have to invest in our people again. It will require us to all come together." -Obama

    by Word Alchemy on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 07:10:20 AM PST

  •  GM is only laying off 20,000? (2+ / 3-)

    That number should be much higher based on the drop off in demand.  With that many people out of work, their possible pool of employees grows as well.  This all means that they should be drastically reducing wages and benefits for those they continue to employ.  Doing those things may save these companies and isn't a bad idea.

    •  Head on over to (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      zinger99, trashablanca, chrome327

      Free Republic. You'll find lots of kindred spirits there.

      "All that serves labor serves the nation. All that harms labor is treason. -Abraham Lincoln

      by happy camper on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 07:40:53 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I am not debating (1+ / 2-)
        Recommended by:
        Same As It Ever Was
        Hidden by:
        djtyg, Uncle Irish

        I thought the focus was on saving these companies?  How do you propose saving GM without massive cuts and massive wage/benefits cuts?  When your balance sheet us upside down you either go under or you start cutting.  Since the goal seems to be about saving GM, then massive cuts are in order.

        The sad truth is these companies weren't profitable for awhile.  Now we are in a recession and they are experiencing a massive drop in demand for the products on top of the fact they weren't making a profit when they were selling more product.

        All this points to layoffs and wage/benefits cuts if they want to survive.  This isn't an argument, it is a statement of fact.

        Your choice:

        1. They go bankrubt causing millions to lose their jobs.
        1. Massive job cuts and massive pay/benefits cuts but the company survives saving millions of jobs.

        Either the workers that are left want a job or not.  Wanting a job means they take a pay/benefits cuts to save the company they work for.  Sounds better then having no job.

        These companies have no other option.

    •  Why was this troll-rated? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Roger Roger

      Companies have to downsize to survive.... Would you rather 30K or the entire company?

      Some people here are so dogmatic they ignore the facts on the ground.

      •  You want facts? (5+ / 0-)

        Here you go. Direct labor is 5% of the cost of a new car. Cut wages and benefits in half and you save a whole 2.5%. They could save more by cutting some advertising costs, which along with shipping account for 2/3 of all costs. Or this: GM builds more cars now than they did 20 years ago, with less than half the number of workers, so  productivity is way up. In January, retiree health care becomes the responsibility of the UAW, and will be off GM's books forever. Ford too. The new contract allows GM to pay new hires $14 an hour. No pensions. Is that little enough to satisfy you? GM is also investing billions in new plants in places like Brazil and China, where they will partner with the Chinese government to build cars. Maybe they should bring that work here instead of laying off Americans. Oh, that's right, I forgot that due to prohibitively high tariffs, the only cars we export to China are luxury models that only the wealthy can afford. My bad.

        I will, however, not remove my troll rating from Roger Roger. His attitude that workers are a commodity is plain wrong.

        "All that serves labor serves the nation. All that harms labor is treason. -Abraham Lincoln

        by happy camper on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 10:32:25 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I have a GM automobile, Mini Van, I love it (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Its pretty good on gas, its not my dream car, but I don't have a dream car.  I buy what suits my needs and I need my van, it helps me make money.  

    I don't want to see these companies go down, I really don't, this is all we have left in American is our cars.  If we don't hold onto this we have nothing left to manufacture, but they have to get smarter, they have to quit bowing down to the oil companies.  I hope oil companies fail.

    I couldnt' agree with you more on the Mass Transit and train systems and after visiting Europe several times, I never understood why America refused Rail Systems.

    Great idea Michael Moore, I love you, please keep making movies.  I bought Farenheit 9/11 the other day at a yard sale for $1.00.  I don't mean that as an insult, I mean that because I wanted it on DVD.

  •  American consumers helped create this mess, too (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    theran, westbynorthwest

    They believed the hype of new is better, big is better.  Except that that was only true for the car makers, not the consumers.  Customers didn't care as long as gas was cheap and credit was easy.  

    I dread the day when I may have to buy a new car--just driven off the lot.  I have a 1980 Mercedes 300TD bought used and I know it will need work on a regular basis.  I have my '95 Tracer art car to fall back on when the wagon is in the shop--and it's a great little car (no matter what my husband says)--even I can change the bulbs and air filter without getting messy, and parts are cheap and readily  available around the corner.

  •  thank you (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    minorityusa, Amber6541

    It astounds me that "progressive" opinion has been gelling around the idea of bailing out GM--even with the corollary that they must be allowed to abandon fuel efficiency in the attempt to return to profitability. As you say, the recession means that their sales are off for the duration, and they'll burn through that $34 billion very quickly and ask for more.

  •  Well this is good-but who is listening? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Brian B, Amber6541, chrome327

    Our Congresscritters would rathar yell and puff out their colorful feathers in front of cameras then when no one is looking drive home in their benz to their gated communities.  What you are asking would require a gut, something our elected representitives do not have.  So who will listen?  We here on this site pull our hair out in frustration but the ones who actually have a voice seem to be not interested.  This is like the origianl bailout, there were 100 different plans by 100 different economists but you know which plan won?  The rethug plan because they had ONE plan and they stuck to it-their plan was to give themselves the money and that was that.  But you see, even in the media we loose because instead of ramming this idea home we would rathar talk about wether or not the rifts between Obama and Clinton have healed.

    "To the corruptions of Christianity, I am indeed opposed; but not to the genuine precepts of Jesus himself." Thomas Jefferson

    by meatwad420 on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 07:35:41 AM PST

  •  Regarding point 1 (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The Big 3 are, from this point forward, to build only cars that are not primarily dependent on oil and, more importantly to build trains, buses, subways and light rail (a corresponding public works project across the country will build the rail lines and tracks).

    In order for auto makers to get away from the internal combustion engine, Obama administration needs to make a commitment to whatever is going to be the fuel of the future. Right now I'm leaning toward hydrogen fuel cells, and if H2 is determined to be the way forward, we need to start building the infrastructure to support it.

    As to building rolling stock for public transit, one thing not generally talked about is the fact local governments make too much money from auto sales.
    The L.A. Times had a story in Monday's paper: Government coffers feel drop in auto sales.
    Here's a quote:

    More motor vehicles are sold in California than in any other state; in the second quarter, nearly 15.5% of all sales taxes here, or $193 million, came from the automotive and transportation sector, compared with about $135 million from restaurants and hotels, according to Hdl Cos., which compiles sales-tax data for government agencies.

    Also, note that the governor is planning on trebling the vehicle license fees to ease the CA budget deficit.

    So, I agree that we need some way to force Detroit to give up the ICE, but we also need to build the infrastructure to support the next version of personal transportation whatever form that takes. Also, I would to see more and better public transportation, but we need to find some way for local governments to replace the revenue they get from auto sales or they will continue to be an intractable opponent of mass transit.

  •  Make the bridge loans with conditions... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FishBiscuit, Amber6541

    and have an oversight board that will make sure the slimy execs don't use it to bash labor and break unions/ contracts but make cars that meet our needs.

    Nationalizing autos would be a bad move. Sure, it's $3 billion to buy up GM stock but they are losing billions a month. You don't turn that around on a dime. Why do financial institutions WHO CREATED THIS CRISIS get a free pass and trillions but the auto industry can't get a measly 35 bil loan?

    Put tough conditions on the loan and follow through.

  •  Neil Young has the best solution (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I've seen so far...
    His auto industry manifesto outlines the needed solutions quite well. Nobody gets hurt, it's a win win situation all around.

    •  Neil Young's (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Neglected Duty

      solution won't work. Anyone who has ever worked in a factory can see that. He proposes building cars with no drivetrains and then running them down the line to finish them at some later date.

      Believe me when I tell you that will not work.

      "All that serves labor serves the nation. All that harms labor is treason. -Abraham Lincoln

      by happy camper on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 07:43:15 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  um, not exactly as you say... (0+ / 0-)

        Please read ALL of what he says.

        Eventually the SCEV technology could be built into every new car and truck as it is being assembled and the stop gap plan described above would have completed its job of keeping America building and working through this turbulent time.

        However during this TRANSITION, the purpose is to keep building cars, in order to keep millions of workers employed and to retrofit/repower the cars into self charging electric vehicles which get 100 mpg.  
        There's no need to throw everything out and start over. There are tens of thousands of unsold cars just sitting on lots right now that can also be retrofitted.

        •  If you had worked (5+ / 0-)

          in an auto factory, and knew how cars go together, and how complex their systems are, you would understand that Young's idea is unworkable. The costs involved with such a scheme would be unacceptable, because the price of a vehicle built in such a manner would be too high for the market to bear.

          I read this when he proposed it. Sure, it sounds good, but Young is not an industrial engineer. It won't work. Not even as a stopgap.

          "All that serves labor serves the nation. All that harms labor is treason. -Abraham Lincoln

          by happy camper on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 08:16:57 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  No Neil is just financing the the dream. (0+ / 0-)

            Uli Kruger, of Australia's Alternative Engine Technologies is one of the main guys behind the new engine technology transformation.

            People can throw up all kinds of reasons to roadblock the transition, but cost shouldn't be one of them. That's a head fake at this point.

            •  New technology is great. I'm all for it. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              But when you build cars in the manner he describes, the cost will be astronomical. Two trips down the line won't work. Neither will retrofitting an entirely new drivetrain to an existing vehicle. Maybe Neil can do it in his garage to one car--hell, I'm sure he can--but mass production is a different story.  

              Unless, of course, you want someone to subsidize the enormous cost added to each of these cars.

              "All that serves labor serves the nation. All that harms labor is treason. -Abraham Lincoln

              by happy camper on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 09:58:57 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  that project, the Lincvolt (0+ / 0-)

            as i see it, is testing the waters.  they have to make it cheaper for the masses to afford it, and work the bugs out.  but it's pretty damned seductive if you ask me.
            i don't drive as much as i used to.  i like bicycling a lot better.  but if i could take in my 16 mpg '02 chrysler minivan and have it converted into a 100 mpg hybrid for a reasonable amount, i'd do it in a heartbeat.  what a wonderful idea.

  •  I felt tearful reading this. (4+ / 0-)

    Because I know we as a nation simply don't have the mindset to do something like this.

    The culture of the CEO (and disdain for the worker) has eaten deep into our psyche as a nation, and into the political process, to try anything this radical.

    Michael Moore's assessment of what occurred is right on the money.  The representatives of the phantom economy - the great Ponzi scheme - are given the utmost respect, while those of the real economy - making real stuff for real people - are treated like lepers.  

    Creating thousands of new jobs for working families, eliminating the bad management, jump-starting a clean energy Marshall Plan for our nation and the world - just not things I can envision our political leaders, bought and paid for by the Ponzi schemers, doing.

    But - we can put the pressure on them to do this.  This is a beautiful essay Mr. Moore has written this morning.  We can do this.  

    President-elect Obama, you are from the Midwest.  Please fill those factories.  Return true dignity to work.  You can do this!

    Change has come to America.

    by Chi on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 07:40:19 AM PST

  •  Perfect Timing (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FishBiscuit, alexa100

    The auto industry's collapse is perfectly in tune with normal economics. There will be no better time than right now to literally get America's transit systems back on the rails.

    We need to spend a lot of money to fix the system, and to get money into people's hands. We need to get away from the low efficiency systems since we all know now that the oil's quickly running out and the environment is stuffed with more pollution than it can stand. And since the entire world is dragging down with us, we have the cooperation to make huge, radical changes to move us all forwards.

    And we just elected a young, smart president driven by the hunger for change. While the old president is the most hated in history, shunned by everyone, a known liar and fool. Who's defined as "an oil man", and will always be identified by an era of SUVs, war for oil, and doing everything wrong. He's still in office only because Congress wanted him twisting in the wind rather than impeaching him.

    So it's clear that the only possible obstacle to doing the right thing, exactly what Michael Moore says so simply here, is Congress. Yes, the Democratic Congress that would save us if only it had the chance.


    We will now see whether the Democratic Congress is more interested in the country's future, the Earth's future, humanity's future, the thousands of $TRILLIONS of the global economy for the lives of everyone now alive... or in a few $million in bribes from the oil corps, the car execs and the other few thousand "captains of finance and industry" who have run us aground where we are now.

    This is our last, greatest chance. Our only hope. If we blow it, we are doomed. If we make it, we're golden.

    "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

    by DocGonzo on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 07:43:05 AM PST

  •  Good Economics (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Michael--Brilliant as usual.  We could all make some money off buying car companies and placing smart and honest people in top decision making positions.  We could make better cars--keep people at work while retraining them for the manufacture and assembly of hybrids, etc.

    My only dissent with your diary is that you think it nasty that the fatcats got their knuckles rapped soundly.  They need to do their homework, better still, resign and let somebody with intelligence and integrity do the spreadsheets. Frankly, I'd like to see the Banks do some homework and have the teacher in charge of oversight yank them out of their jobs when they don't use the money given them as intended.  ARGHHHH!

  •  Yes! Preserve industrial base, not Big 3 (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mconvente, Amber6541

    Thanks, Michael, for saying what needs to be said.

    Additionally, as a lifelong union supporter, it pains me to listen to the head of the UAW sounding indistinguishable from the idiot management of those companies.  (Unfortunately, that has happened too often, as with fighting higher mileage standards.)

    The public interest here is to preserve our industrial base and the unionized workforce to support it.  But we need to turn them, as you say, toward producing for the future, not the past.  Public transit infrastructure first, and sustainable private vehicles second.

    What we don't need to preserve is the Big 3 companies in their current form, and their idiot management.  And I'm afraid we need some changes to the craven union leadership as well -- let's get some leaders who remember what an adversarial role vis-a-vis management looks like, and who will look beyond very short-term thinking.

    "To initiate a war of the supreme international crime" - Nuremberg prosecutor Robert Jackson, 1946

    by grassroot on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 07:47:30 AM PST

  •  Nationalising the Big Three? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    libnewsie, tari, Amber6541

    I'm not sure that would end well.

    Off the top of my head, I think a better way to go would be to use a significant portion of the $500 billion stimulus to create new transport infrastructure, and perhaps limit the competition for contracts to American companies, create and enforce better standards on the auto mobile industry (perhaps even radical standards - less than 120grams/km CO2 by 2012, and/or significant taxes at the point of purchase for SUVs and pickups (with exceptions for people where such vehicles are essential for their jobs).

    What should happen to the big three? I'm not sure. I have a bad feeling about the any loans - kicking the can a few more yards down the road is an apt analogy, but I'm more petrified of letting them go bankrupt or nationalising them. I don't want them to be a Lehman Bros or a cement boot for the Obama administration.

  •  we need to make this happen... (0+ / 0-)

    I'd like to ask everyone who agrees with this idea to write President-Elect Obama at and tho write their Congressmen and Senators.  Also, forward this article to all your friends and ask them to forward it and write their congressmen.  We need to do this!

  •  How about This? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gpclay, westbynorthwest

    I fear a repeat of what the British government did under Old Labour, the centralized planning that did in British Steel, British Coal and my fave sad song, British Leyland.

    How about this: buy the stock (a good idea), and demand the heads of all the top execs - at the next shareholders' meeting.  Take ownership of the land and buildings, like a city redevelopment authority.  I suggest this,because in the event nothing works, the physical plant and location can be retooled, rehabbed and sold to a leaner industry.

    Keep and promote the design and engineering managers, who have improved most all US cars (sorry, Chrysler). Promote from within and from the floor.

    Install a CFO that answers to the shareholders (the US government).  Renegotiate the obsolete health and pension system with the unions, and make that the first step to a broader single payer (get people used to more centralized health care.

    Sunset provision the government CFO, and get it back into the hands of shareholders.

    Sell the shares at preferred prices to the employees.  Employee ownership is the end game here, IMO.

    Find the Power in the Land

    by Joshua911 on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 07:53:01 AM PST

    •  It would be cheaper to let them go bankrupt (0+ / 0-)

      the plants, land and buildings would be sold on, the Government wouldn't be lumbered with their debt or the responsibility. Either way a significant number of jobs are going to be lost (you're not going to be able to guarantee jobs if you buy the companies and sell them on).

      •  yeah, cheaper in the short term (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        gpclay, libnewsie, Joshua911

        But watch how fast Jennifer Granholm will be asking for Federal Disaster Relief when Michigan dies.

        it will be like Katrina without water.

        •  Michigan's Katrina (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          gpclay, stillman, libnewsie, tari

          that's the issue. Tax receipts to the state would vanish.  That's why bankruptcy is a neat solution, but in the long run untenable.

          Find the Power in the Land

          by Joshua911 on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 08:04:00 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I think it depends on what happens after (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            bankruptcy. If the plants are gutted of machinery and sold overseas, yes it would be a disaster. But if they are sold to competitors or other investors, retooled for a better product line up, then maybe a phoenix will rise from the dust.

            I have no idea what the best course of action is, all three ideas - loans, nationalisation, bankruptcy - are mired with problems. Nobody is going to be able to get out of this painlessly. I prefer solutions in which shareholders are not rewarded, nor the CEOs, and they will profit if the stock is bought (perhaps there will be a loss, but not as large if they go bankrupt). It's going to near impossible for the government to prevent some job losses, unless they just go out and support them entirely on tax payers money for an undetermined length of time, and once you have that precedent, why not guarantee all jobs that are not sustainable during the recession by borrowing from China?

    •  that sounds like a smarter (0+ / 0-)

      more thought out version of what Moore wants in the end.

      more of this!

  •  Pretty simple, really. The power of (0+ / 0-)

    advertising is immense. They could so easily have shifted American perceptions of what is cool to drive, making people proud and excited about low gas mileage cars. Instead, they said SUVs were 'what the customers want,' without regard to the fact that they can to a large degree control what customers want. But shifting US perceptions away from favoring SUVs would have been too.. what.. patriotic?

    Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. Matthew 25:40

    by pixxer on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 07:58:39 AM PST

  •  In Defense of My American Car (7+ / 0-)

    I drive a 2005 Ford Focus wagon.  It has never been in the shop for anything but routine maintenance.  It has never failed to start.  It gets 30+ mpg. on the highway & we've driven it to FL (approx 900 mi each way) several times, without any problems.  It has great cargo capacity & we've hauled doors, bookcases, etc in it.

    We've owned other American made vehicles over the years with similar results, and with only one vehicle that gave us any problems. I get a little tired of the conventional wisdom that all things Japanese/Foreign manufactured are automatically good, and all things American manufactured are automatically bad.

    That being said, I do agree that the American Auto Industry needs major revamping and if taxpayer money goes into that process, so should taxpayer oversight and some degree of ownership--Something, BTW, that Congress didn't feel necessary when they gave $700 billion + to Paulson to shower on the criminally inept on Wall St.  

  •  We have two Fords (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gpclay, libnewsie

    The first, a '99 Taurus wagon bought used five years ago, cost about $1000 a year in repairs.  Considering the initial cost, not bad. Overall.    

    The second, another used car, a '97 Escort Hecho en Mexico, has yet to see the shop, other than for oil changes, etc.  Bought for $2,500. And it gets around 30/mpg.  Sweet.

    So, overall, I am pleased with my American (cough) made cars.  But then again, I never buy new, rarely pay retail,  (see Millionaire Next Door) and choose to waste money on relatively small ticket items, like good beer and sushi.

    Its not that the Big Three can't make good cars.  They do.  Its that they make so many crappy gas-guzzling trucks.  

  •  Love it. Buy GM/Ford for their stock price. (5+ / 0-)

    Costs us $10B. We can meet the payroll for the next 10 years with the other $10B and retool with the third $10B.

    We fire current management and hire smart people who can do what we need, build great high mileage cars.

    •  It will be cheaper (0+ / 0-)

      All their stock are still going down.

      On top of that government can do market manipulation> (suppose they say. we gonna take over GM/Ford. and there is a chance we gonna screw it all up. be ready.)

      so stock tank 50%.

      Then buy them all for pennies.

      After that, real national program to revive car industry.

      1. nationalized health care/insurance/pension. (this is the most obvious and financially smart thing to do)
      1. Fired all the idiots in charge.
      1. install management geniuses.
      1. chop off those gigantic car companies (they are selling itself piece by piece at the moment anyway)
      1. Then Tell each of the smaller companies: "ok. we gonna give fresh capital, fresh equipments, and your job is to make the best car for the market. Get ready.
      1. Sell those cars to the public 5 years later.


      This is really basic M&A strategy commonly done in maturing industry.

  •  another great idea! now what! (0+ / 0-)

    I think we all agree that this sounds great. Now what? From your mouth to who's ear's? Nobody's listening!

  •  I pray P.E. Obama (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    northsylvania, mconvente

    will do exactly that.  Thanks M.M.  

    "Intelligent minds believe only in lost causes, realizing that all others are merely effects." -e.e. cummings

    by Super Grover on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 08:09:16 AM PST

  •  The Big Three will still fight CO2 Cap and Trade (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    with everything at their disposal.

    The Big Three's agreement to CO2 Cap and Trade should be part of the bailout


    by Lefty Coaster on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 08:10:47 AM PST

  •  Sent you an email. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gpclay, northsylvania, libnewsie

    I had an idea similar to yours in that it would help revive the industry while providing a greater public service along the way.

    Thank you for keeping an eye out on behalf of the workers, Michael.
    As usual, keep kicking ass.

    "I'm not an actor, but I play one on TV."

    by zeitshabba on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 08:15:33 AM PST

  •  Mike, you aren't helping... (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gpclay, rockhound, libnewsie, thethinveil, blw

    ...if you care about your home state, stop fueling the "let them die" fires... even if your ideas are decent....

    The right wingers are salivating at the destruction of manufacturing and the good union jobs that go with it... too many liberals (who have never stepped foot in the midwest and could care less about its destruction, despite it's strongly going for Obama) are joining in on the fun to do the right's dirty work.

    You're not helping by inflaming the left's emotion... I know you hate the car companies... but, don't you love your hometown of Flint?  Think what would happen there if the big three was gone?

    I have family in Michigan, too, Mike... they don't feel the same way... they are GM retirees, and you are throwing them under the bus with the rhetoric you are throwing out there...

    By getting people all riled up, you are making it very difficult to save your beloved state... very difficult to save manufacturing... I know that the california contingent could care less about saving midwestern manufacturing... I guess 'cos they haven't experienced it...

    But, you should know better...

    Comments that say "GM workers should get retraining" without SPECIFIC DETAILS about those "new jobs" that never come are trollworthy

    by LordMike on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 08:23:58 AM PST

    •  You know, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I happen to think Mike got the tone roughly correct, but, either way, this...

      I know that the california contingent could care less about saving midwestern manufacturing

      ...and this...

      too many liberals (who have never stepped foot in the midwest and could care less about its destruction, despite it's strongly going for Obama) are joining in on the fun to do the right's dirty work

      ...are not helpful.  I don't know why so many of you people in the Rust Belt insist on attacking people in California or, as is often the case, those of us who live elsewhere on the coasts.

      Maybe it's a result of being fed the Heartland/"Real 'Murka" myth for so long, but, believe it or not, some of us do care.  And it's not unreasonable for people to voice their concerns and frustrations.

      And you being a prick about it doesn't help those of us who agree with the others in principle but support the bailout for other reasons.

      "Words ought to be a little wild for they are the assault of thought on the unthinking." - John Maynard Keynes

      by Drew J Jones on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 08:56:39 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I have no problem with California... (5+ / 0-)

        ...except when 95% of the "LET THEM FAIL" contingent seems to all come from that region, and their excuse is that everyone they know drives Japanese cars, or something...

        I'm not out to attack California...  But, I do wish Californians would stop being so flippant about our economic plight here.  This is our economic Katrina, and a significant amount of people on this site want to eat birthday cake while we are drowning...

        I get that you like japanese cars... that's great... We here like to drive domestics, I know that's difficult for people outside the region to understand... but, we like our American cars.  More importantly, we like our American jobs.

        But, you are right... I shouldn't generalize like that, and I apologize...  It isn't helpful to the discussion.... I'm sorry....

        Comments that say "GM workers should get retraining" without SPECIFIC DETAILS about those "new jobs" that never come are trollworthy

        by LordMike on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 09:05:08 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I'd like to add... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        rockhound, thethinveil

        ...that in my various discussions over the weeks on this topic, I have found that if you don't live in the rust belt you simply don't get it... don't get the role manufacturing plays in the daily lives of every citizen in Michigan, Ohio, Western PA, Western NY, Indiana, Wisconsin, and Minnesota...

        It's not about a few jobs... it's an essential part of what makes us who we are.... Cars are to Michigan like Corn is to Iowa.  If you got rid of all the corn in Iowa, what would become of the state?  Well, it would become like Michigan if the Big 3 failed...

        Manufacturing to the great lakes states is like farming to Kansas, or Ranching to Texas... take those away and not only do you devastate the local economies, but it's like seeding the soil with salt for any possible new economic growth in the future....

        I can't come up with any comparative examples for the west coast.  Silicon Valley and Hollywood don't work 'cos if they suddenly disappeared, only small regions of the state of California would be affected.  Ditto for Microsoft in Seattle...  I could say logging in Oregon, but Oregon has a lot more economic diversity.

        Here in the great lakes states... manufacturing is about it... almost every business and industry in these states is connected to manufacturing... even the white collar jobs...  It's is the economic fabric that binds this region of the country...

        But, unless you've been here... It's just hard to get across... I've been trying with no success...  People outside of the region simply do not get it, period.  I wish I could make people understand.

        Comments that say "GM workers should get retraining" without SPECIFIC DETAILS about those "new jobs" that never come are trollworthy

        by LordMike on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 10:03:20 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  And this means the bailout would (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          We understand.  I'm a former rust-belter myself.  I understand.  But there's something YOU need to understand as well.  The way the Big 3 are approaching this is no more than asking everyone to piss away billions of dollars with absolutely no business projections at all that it will do any good.

          It's not a matter of how much we want it, or how much we need it. It's a matter of doing something that freaking WORKS for a change.  Haven't we had enough of lip-service programs that waste money and do nothing at all in the 8 years of Bush?

          The Big 3 have gone to congress and asked for ***pull random number out of your ass*** billion dollars with NO real plan to put on the table of how this money is going to allow them to become profitable before it runs out.

          None.  Not one business plan.  They are just farting out numbers and holding out their hands.

          This approach simply cannot be sustained in an economy that is sliding toward depression.

          You've misstated Michael Moore's approach to the bailout in your first comment as well.  He's not saying to let the Big 3 burn.  He's saying to transform them into companies that:

          1.  We have control of so we can make sure the money isn't sucked into corporate pockets just to disappear.  (See AIG)
          1. The companies can employ US citizens (no taking the money and offshoring the plants, thank you very much)
          1.  The companies will begin building things that are forward looking and enhance the future of EVERYONE.  Mass transit, alternative vehicles, etc.

          Your comments seem to be demanding that we dump some number of billions more into the pockets of Big 3 executives because you have an emotional tie to the region....  with no idea whether that money will last 6 months, 8 months or 10 months, and no plan of what happens when the money runs out.  And when people balk at that idea you tell them they don't understand.

          Hell, it's YOU that doesn't understand.  It's time for sensible approaches that work, not emotional exercises in pissing away what's left of the treasury to keep failing enterprises running for 6 more months.  

          Hell, if there is no projection for a turnaround in the auto industry, I would much rather figure up all the salaries and benefits for the employees for whatever amount of time the bailout would last and just give the money directly to them.  Cut out the middlemen who are sure to take a fat share of it and end up closing the plants anyway.

          •  This isn't like the banks... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            ...where it was, "here's free money!"  Ok!  What do we do with it?

            No one ever grilled the banks on their "business plans"?

            As mentioned in the previous hearings, Ford was profitable until the financial crisis hit.  GM already had a long term competitive plan which involved shedding all their health care and pension obligations to the UAW by 2010.  Chrysler... well, I don't know what's up with them.... they will merge with GM if the money goes through...

            The fact is, if the financial crisis had hit in 2009 instead of 2008, the big 3 would not be in the position they are in now.  They got hit with a perfect storm at a time when GM's expenses were unusually high due to their previously negotiated cost savings plan that had a high up front charge.

            Ford's in the clear... they are asking for a line of credit that they don't plan to tap unless absolutely necessary....

            Chrysler is going to merge with GM, and GM just needs some money to buy some time until 2010, when it's expenses drop like 40% overall...

            The "business plans" you talk about not existing have existed for several years... and they companies have already presented detailed refinements today...  but, you're not istening,
            'cos you don't want to listen....

            No one is buying Toyota's either.  The difference is, that the Japanese government has no qualms about propping their national business up... why should we?

            People will start buying cars again at some point... the perfect storm will end...  when that happens do you leave the midwest in tatters, or do you give them the chance to shine again, 'cos I really think that is coming...

            GM is all in on the Volt and electric cars... ALL IN... do you really want to lose that in a pique of moral outrage?  You put some government orders in for railcars and electric vehicles and watch GM thrive...

            But, they have to get out of the storm.  They've done a good job restructuring their business so far.... they just happened to be vulnerable this year, which is the year they got hit...

            The banks had much less of a plan than the big 3, yet no one gave them a hard time in congress.

            Comments that say "GM workers should get retraining" without SPECIFIC DETAILS about those "new jobs" that never come are trollworthy

            by LordMike on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 12:43:34 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  The banks (0+ / 0-)

              should have gotten a MUCH harder time than they did, and they should have gotten no money without some very specific agreements on how the money would be used.  That was a stupid waste of money. This may be another one.

              I think the area where we disagree is that you and the Big 3 seem to think that this money will tide them over until the storm ends.  I think this money will keep them going for a few more months, then they'll want more.  I also think that if we're not clear on exactly WHO this bailout is for, the businesses or the workers, that it will seem reasonable to congress that the Big 3 will employ cost-cutting measures such as moving to non-union states or out of the country all together.  But, long as the business stays afloat, right?  That's our goal?

              I don't think the real storm has even begun yet.  I participated in a discussion here yesterday where we tossed around ideas about how to grow our own food and what skills would be useful to barter.  In that scenario, nobody is buying cars, and once the bailout money is gone, it's gone and can't be used to keep people alive and warm and healthy.  

              The Baltic Dry Index keeps going further down than anyone ever thought it would go.  There's a real chance we'll be popping into our grocery stores in January and finding nothing on the shelves.  How the hell will the Big 3 keep going if that happens?

              In any case, I hope you can see that people have some real concerns and real arguments against this bailout as it stands today and it's not a case of "nobody cares about Michigan" or "nobody understands the rust belt".  You can't rebut these concerns with emotional arguments about the history of a region and the benefits of unions.  That's not the problem that many of us have with this.

              •  When people say... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                "LET THEM FAIL" out of spite, then, yes, they don't care about Michigan.

                When they say that, "I'm not sure this could work." That is a different story... I rarely hear the latter.

                This is a one shot deal, the Big Three and everybody knows it...  after the grilling they got, no one expected that they will get a dime more.  Had the banks not run out of money to lend, the Big three wouldn't even BE in this position.  Ford is OK, 'cos they got our a bunch of loans before the crisis hit...  Had GM been so prescient, we wouldn't be talking about this.

                It's the financial crisis that is taking out GM, not GM's "bad management"  Like I said before, had the crisis hit in 2010, GM would be in great shape!  This was the year that its underbelly was left exposed and now it got hit by Bush's incompetence and the banking meltdown.

                I think part of the problem is that people just assume that GM was going under anyways, and this just accelerated the inevitable.  That's far from the case... the perception is simply wrong....   Just like the perception that U.S. cars are crap, and nobody wants to buy them...  These are all myths borne out of a strange, undying prejudice against American carmakers that is unfair and unwarranted.

                If the right wing wasn't so happy to crush the UAW, they'd be calling us traitors for the continuous, disparaging remarks made here about U.S. manufacturing...  

                The other point is that a healthy GM is the foundation of Obama's green economy, and without the industrial base being solvent, Obama's vision will not pass.  Of course, that vision would bring in new moneys and resources to the big three to not only keep them surviving, but thriving.

                This is America... the people that work those lines can do anything they put their minds up to, but only if we give them a chance.  The American autoworker has done a lot, considering the unfair advantages that foreign competition has had over the years.  They can, and will, do it again...  Michigan built this country... They voted Obama in 57% to 41%... They had our back when we needed their votes, why won't you have their backs now?

                Comments that say "GM workers should get retraining" without SPECIFIC DETAILS about those "new jobs" that never come are trollworthy

                by LordMike on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 03:01:08 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

    •  GM stuck a fork in Flint (0+ / 0-)

      a long time ago.  i don't know what they could do to it at this point to make it much worse.

    •  If I may (0+ / 0-)

      I have enjoyed reading your dialog.  

      You made one comment how Japan doesn't shy away from supporting their industries.  I think this is an important point.  Because its not just Japan. Its Korea, Germany and soon-to-be-competitive China.

      One of the best ways our competitors aid their industries is subsidizing an important cost: health care.

      Its high-time we do the same.  A national-health plan would do a lot for the Big Three's long term outlook.  

      And the American Worker.

  •  Nothing can work if they do not (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gpclay, FishBiscuit

    make a product worth having.
    Fact are, from independent consumer research groups, the majority of top rated cars & trucks, are foreign made. In spite of higher cost, tariff and taxes, foreign cars are preferred. Consumers have voted with their dollars, consistently, for many years. The big 3 have NOT heeded this.
    I feel for the worker, but they have skills that can be used to make alternative energy engines and turbines. Yes, a rough patch, but they can have a future. The asinine managers and CEOs deciding the cars deserve to be fired, and fired from cannon w/o nets.
    My personal experience: 2 weeks ago, I was rear-ended, my car totaled. I was ok (as was the other person). The rental car I was given was a Ford Focus. It was very nice, leather seats, many bells and whistles and good gas mileage BUT the damn headrest would not be adjusted to anything comfortable. I had worse neck pain from the  rental car than the accident.
    Because of this, I won't even consider a Ford. It was that HORRIBLE of a car, that it taint my view of their whole product.
    No, I'm going back to Toyota. Comfortable, reliable. Some thing American cars USED to be.

    -7.50/-7.90 Everyone knows I'm out in left field.

    by WiseFerret on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 08:25:25 AM PST

  •  Here is my proposal: (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    1.  Bring Japanese auto workers to America in order to train American auto workers how to make cars.
    1.  Allow 2 years for the training sessions to be completed.
    1.  After 2 years, withdraw the Japanese workers & see if Americans now know how to make cars (& trucks, etc).
    1.  If American workers now know how to make cars, require a significant percentage of American made cars should be hybirds (and 100% are ecologically friendly).
    1.  After 1-4 is met, allow auto worker executives to drive to Washington in newest ecologically friendly hybirds in order to beg for their money.
    •  This is not a worker problem (0+ / 0-)

      This is a long term R&D and engineering problem, which was caused by improper resource allocation.

      I also believe that the unions should have a significant stake in the auto makers, who have an insignificant market cap at this point.

  •  Pathetic, simply pathetic. WE have problems (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    philboy1, thethinveil

    in America and WE have to address them.

    Did you see ME in that statement?

    Did you see I in that statement?

    Why don't WE attempt to secure a solution to the problems and for a few moments of everyone's wonderful life think in terms of WE instead of me me me me me me me?

    Who gives a shit if Ford is best or GM is better?

    Who gives a shit what you drive?

    Does any of that bullshit help create solutions?

    For Christ's sake, grow the fuck up.

    Hey, Harry Reid! joe lieberman said you and all other Democrats can KISS HIS ASS!

    by 0hio on Wed Dec 03, 2008 at 08:30:58 AM PST

  •  As usual, a bulls-eye hit, Michael (7+ / 0-)

    Are you working on a documentary about the great bailout swindle of 2008/2009?  I hope so.  Somebody has to document this fraud, for future generations if nothing else.

  •  EV 1 (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gpclay, greenpunx

    Considering how G