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Old 05-03-2005, 05:53 PM   #1
brounie
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Default GM should sell its stake in Subaru

Though I may be a Subaru enthusiast, I'm one of those Americans who takes no pleasure, and feels no schadenfreude, in seeing General Motors tank so badly. It's just scary. The stock is plunging. My father worked blue collar for GM for 20 years and now lives on one of those supposedly "R&D-starving" GM pensions.

So here's my question: Could General Motors use its 20% stake in Subaru more wisely? The development of the "Saab-aru" (Saab 9-2X) is pretty cool, but you have to admit: it ain't going to save GM. No one expects Subaru's investment strategy to resuscitate the dying patient, but somehow I'm underwhelmed by GM's choices, once again. The management completely sucks. I'm so sick of hearing people blame the pensions and health insurance scheme for GM's troubles. Fuji Heavy Inds. has the same great employee benefits.

GM is like a conniving spouse who starts having an affair when the going gets tough. It seems to me the main reason GM keeps the 20% stake has nothing to do with truly creative car development; they're simply hedging their bets. GM should sell its Subaru stake and get back to creating its own future. Time is running out!
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Old 05-03-2005, 06:13 PM   #2
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GM deserves to die a slow, painfull death...

I just hope they sell the Corvette design to someone else before they do.
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Old 05-03-2005, 06:22 PM   #3
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dont american car companies have a harder time than europe and japanese to sell cars?
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Old 05-03-2005, 06:32 PM   #4
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I think they are stretched Waaaaayyy to thin. It is the biggest car company in the world, is it not?
They should sell everything that they got their grubby hands on and go back to being isolationists.


Then again, I H8 GM with a passion, so maybe I'm biased.
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Old 05-03-2005, 06:34 PM   #5
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GM has been a fat cow fr years,,they and their employees almost deserve what they get.The unions IMHO ruined that company along with their "we can do no wrong attitude" till the Hondas and Datsuns started to eat them up.

Rudy<<before you flame me,,I worked the line at GM myself,built POS pickup trucks and Chevelles
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Old 05-03-2005, 06:56 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Medina
dont american car companies have a harder time than europe and japanese to sell cars?
Some american car companies are fully penetrated in the euro market

examples are Ford and Vauxhall, Opel for GM
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Old 05-03-2005, 06:58 PM   #7
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And here you can even more see evidence of a difference between Japanese and American cars. I personally want GM to succeed, 'cause I'm an American, but these companies have to learn to be competetive.

Why don't Ford and GM see what Subaru/Mazda is doing to increase their reliability? The Japs obviously are doing something right.

Example: Recent Consumer Reports rated the Mazda 3 (with an imported engine) as very reliable, while the Mazda 6 V6 (Ford made engine) scored much much worse.
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Old 05-03-2005, 07:04 PM   #8
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Why would they want to give up an investment which is actually paying off when they're in such dire straits?! It makes no sense.
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Old 05-03-2005, 07:14 PM   #9
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GM and Dodge have ridden the "gas guzler" craze all the way to rock bottom. I do not know if it's true, but I was watching Bill Maher's HBO show last Friday and he stated that the Japan car industry has patented hybrid technology. I know Ford has a hybrid, but I'm assuming that it's not that same kind as the ones Japan's companies produce. He also said that the big 3 American Auto makers lost over a billion dollars in the last 3 months.

Last edited by jetfan2207; 05-03-2005 at 08:26 PM.
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Old 05-03-2005, 07:26 PM   #10
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GM's problem right now is simply competition. The platform sharing deal is probably the only thing keeping them from tanking right now. To me, if they wanted to do a 'comeback' they'd look at what Chrysler is doing. Create some awesome, affordable V8 (or decent V6.. not the blow-a-gasket-every-90-thousand-miles aluminum headed Buick V6s) RWD vehicles. The GTO is a nice start, but it's out of most peoples price range. I've seen more new Cadillacs on the road now since they did thier revamping than I ever have before. Oldsmobile tanked due to poor management and too much platform sharing. Pontiac better shape up or thier next.

-EDIT-

Oh, and it is possible to create powerful engines that get great gas milage. Look at Corvettes for example, and F-Bodys wern't shabby either.
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Old 05-03-2005, 07:32 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by US2JDM
Why would they want to give up an investment which is actually paying off when they're in such dire straits?! It makes no sense.
exactly
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Old 05-03-2005, 07:51 PM   #12
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Any truth to the rumors that GM will buy 100% of FHI's Subaru division in 2007?
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Old 05-03-2005, 08:03 PM   #13
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Many of you fail to understand why the American automakers are in dire straits. The unions are to directly to blame for most of the (current) monetary woes. GM is paying more people a pension than actually still work for the company. Think about that. Their retirement plan and health care plans are dragging the company down, much like what happened to United Airlines. The unions are unwilling to budge a ****ing inch, and as a result, the companies are hemorraghing money.

Get rid of the unions, scale down the benefits, cut bloated salaries, increase design efficiency (a colleague of mine's husband used to work for Ford as a designer....he could not touch CAD or draw anything....he had to verbally communicate his ideas to a UNION drafter), etc.
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Old 05-03-2005, 08:13 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sha_zapple
exactly
Yeah, the investment is paying off -- for FHI. They get to sell Saabs in Japan, they've strengthened their purchasing agreements, they get a better sales network in the USA. All GM has got is another illusion that you can invest your way into building better cars. Idiots.
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Old 05-03-2005, 08:14 PM   #15
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It also didn't help that GM had to pay Fiat SpA 2 Billion dollars. Yea, that's a lot of zero's. And that payment was to keep from having to bleed more. Those idiots.
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Old 05-03-2005, 08:14 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jetfan2207
GM and Dodge have ridden the "gas guzler" craze all the way to rock bottom. I do not know if it's true, but I was watched Bill Maher's HBO show last Friday and he stated that the Japan car industry has patented hybrid technology. I know Ford has a hybrid, but I'm assuming that it's not that same kind as the ones Japan's companies produce.
Ford bought a mighty expensive license from Toyota for their 1st generation hybrid. Toyota, on the other hand, is already on the 2nd generation hybrid and keeping it for themselves. For obvious reasons. Toyota was the one who spent money on R&D on the technology.

As for GM, there was an article about 4 weeks ago that mentioned that GM put the axe on R&D on RWD sports cars. Instead they put all their eggs in one basket; on developing more gas guzzling SUV and trucks. GM is going to miss the boat on this one especially with gas prices going up.
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Old 05-03-2005, 08:19 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ktm
Many of you fail to understand why the American automakers are in dire straits. The unions are to directly to blame for most of the (current) monetary woes. GM is paying more people a pension than actually still work for the company. Think about that. Their retirement plan and health care plans are dragging the company down, much like what happened to United Airlines. The unions are unwilling to budge a ****ing inch, and as a result, the companies are hemorraghing money.

Get rid of the unions, scale down the benefits, cut bloated salaries, increase design efficiency (a colleague of mine's husband used to work for Ford as a designer....he could not touch CAD or draw anything....he had to verbally communicate his ideas to a UNION drafter), etc.

Wow! That sucks, you can't even put your own design down?

Ford, Gm etc. just need to put more quality parts in their interiors, and start making cars for the youth. If you look at the affordable automakers, their cars designs are outstanding, their interiors are nice and they are priced to sell. Just look at the Mazda 3's interior, the car starts at 14K, the Cobalt comes with some cheap plastic and starts at the same price, which would you take? Oh yeah and too many SUVs!!!!!!!
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Old 05-03-2005, 08:21 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ktm
Get rid of the unions, scale down the benefits, cut bloated salaries, increase design efficiency (a colleague of mine's husband used to work for Ford as a designer....he could not touch CAD or draw anything....he had to verbally communicate his ideas to a UNION drafter), etc.
What a load of kneejerk, dogmatic nonsense. Blame the unions for GM's failure. Hahahah! FHI has strong trade unions and "bloated" benefits, too. Hahaha! And don't try saying, Oh, it's different there, Japanese trade unions are "nicer." Hahaha! Sohyo and Domei play hardball, too.
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Old 05-03-2005, 08:28 PM   #19
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It is not kneejerk, dogmatic nonsense, oh unelightened one. If you read my statement, I said (current) monetary woes. The Big 3 have really turned around since the 1980s and early 1990s, when the Japanese automakers gave them a big wake up call. However, it is a well known fact that GM is hemorraghing money because of its archaic pension plan.

Unions have their share of the blame. The steps that the Big 3 need to make in can not be implemented because of the unions.

You need to educate yourself.

Edit: Do you know why Chevrolet is not bringing back the Camaro in the near future? When they closed the plant in Canada (I believe), they had to sign an agreement with the union that the car would not be built in any other plant. Good thinking, eh?
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Old 05-03-2005, 08:42 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brounie
What a load of kneejerk, dogmatic nonsense. Blame the unions for GM's failure. Hahahah! FHI has strong trade unions and "bloated" benefits, too. Hahaha! And don't try saying, Oh, it's different there, Japanese trade unions are "nicer." Hahaha! Sohyo and Domei play hardball, too.

Dude, you may not like to hear it because your dad worked union, but ktm speaks the truth. Unions kill innovation and make US industry MUCH less competitive than it could be otherwise. What is the goal of a union? Boil it down, it's "more pay/benefits for less work." It's not about innovation, customer service, or competitivness. Screw company survival, as long as they get maximum pay and benefits as long as the ride lasts. Unions get their teeth into a company/industry, and suck the blood out until it is a withered corpse.

I'm not intimately familiar with the Japanese system, but union companies/industries in other countries might have it easier because there is more or a social safety net (ie, national health care) and the standard or living/expectation is different. Here, many people have the mentality that getting a high school diploma and doing 20 years on an assembly line entitles them to a free ride for the rest of their lives. I think that is a uniquely American attitude, and it's killing us in many industries.

I'm not saying unions are ALL of GM's problem, there are a lot of things they should do differently. But I think unions are the single biggest problem, not just of GM, but of American industry at large. They once served an important role, back when people were working 18 hour days and routinely getting limbs ripped off or dying on the job. Eventually, laws were enacted to protect workers and regulate industries. Since then, unions' role has become maximizing pay, minimizing work, and protecting job security. They are dinosaurs and need to just go away.
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Old 05-03-2005, 08:43 PM   #21
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gm has more problems than they care to realize. they've hid behind the "we're the biggest darn car company int he world and nothing can hurt us" mentality. well guess what gm, every year you lay off more and more people and are constantly cutting back here and trimming back there. when's it going to stop?!

gm's problem is bigger than the unions. their problems lie more in the product. how many rebadged trail blazers and mini vans do you need? every company doesn't need a copy of the same vehicle just more expensive. too much sameness and too much money.

other than that gm has forgot the basics of selling... #1 LISTEN. gm has grown so big that they just don't care what the customer wants they are going to shove whatever crap they produce right down the throats of the buying public no matter what it costs them - even if it means laying off 10,000 more people.

what gm needs to do is not be so generic. they need so difference in the brands. heck if they want to share engines and platforms that's all fine and dandy but don't make one car a rebadge of another. redesign the outter skin, the interior, the suspension, etc. to make it a different car. heck be even cheep but different, bring opels from europe and rebadge them. i know that the past few attempts have failed (cadillac catera and pontiac gto) but market them correctly and don't try to go too up brand with them. the catera would have been a great oldsmobile and the gto should have been a bit more redesigned and not given the gto name (which it has shamed).

basically gm needs to get their head on right and get back to the basics.
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Old 05-03-2005, 08:45 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ktm
It is not kneejerk, dogmatic nonsense, oh unelightened one. If you read my statement, I said (current) monetary woes. The Big 3 have really turned around since the 1980s and early 1990s, when the Japanese automakers gave them a big wake up call. However, it is a well known fact that GM is hemorraghing money because of its archaic pension plan.

Unions have their share of the blame. The steps that the Big 3 need to make in can not be implemented because of the unions.

You need to educate yourself.

Edit: Do you know why Chevrolet is not bringing back the Camaro in the near future? When they closed the plant in Canada (I believe), they had to sign an agreement with the union that the car would not be built in any other plant. Good thinking, eh?
I am of the opinion that the are failing as they are because of short sightedness, questionable expansionist tactics, poor product design, non-global market outlook, and just damn too American.

Look at how they've shot themselves in the foot, GM has with its dumbass agreement with Fiat. Has anyone been following this fiasco? Fiat is losing cash bigtime, and because of GM's contract with FIat, they can force GM to buy Fiat's car business which is in serious debt. So as to deter Fiat from excerising this put out option, they paid them 2 Bazillion dollars.

Then there's the dealings with the unions, and about your example with the Camaro. You point to the union workers there as a source or reason why GM tanked but you neglect to mention that the Camaro was a horrible seller as it was an outdated design that just does not sell in a complex market as we have today. Thus the unions are not dumb enough to invest in the foundations for the commitment of a 'factory town' only to have the automaker walk out on them when they can't sell the car because they are woefully subpar. Let's not forget about Flint in other industries not totally unrelated. I'm not supporting the unions actions in this particular event, but I can see why they forced the outcome the way they did.

At the end of the day, I really do think that if you build it they will buy it. Problem is for the big three, there's only so many Nascar dads in the world.
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Old 05-03-2005, 08:47 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ktm
Do you know why Chevrolet is not bringing back the Camaro in the near future? When they closed the plant in Canada (I believe), they had to sign an agreement with the union that the car would not be built in any other plant. Good thinking, eh?
Erm, bringing back the Camaro would save GM? Who friggin cares about the Camaro? More nostalgia "branding" BS. Meanwhile, while you're lamenting a 70's car, GM's getting its arse kicked in the 21st century. The fact is, the Cobalt bites the big one -- it's at best a lackluster, rattle-prone Civic wannabe. Sad, sad, sad!
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Old 05-03-2005, 08:51 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zeek
basically gm needs to get their head on right and get back to the basics.
'Da boy is a genius. Yeppers.
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Old 05-03-2005, 08:57 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by XenoWolf
Any truth to the rumors that GM will buy 100% of FHI's Subaru division in 2007?
Oh I hope not. If that's the case then the Subaru I buy this year will probably be the last Subaru I buy.
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