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What kind of car do you drive

  • Domestic (Ford, GM, DCX)

    Votes: 11 35.5%
  • Import or Foriegn owned brand

    Votes: 20 64.5%

  • Total voters
    31
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I worked for GM in St Catharines from 1983 to 1994. At it's peek, GM employed just over 11,000 people in St Catharines. There were 4 plants here at one time. When I left they were down to about 3400. Today they are around the 3000 mark. They closed two plants and the remaining two are barely alive. Across NA they are closing plants and trimming the workforce at alarming rates. Some financial experts believe that it is only a matter of time before they will have to file a bankruptcy claim. They are dumping their interest in Isuzu and are actively seeking to drop 50% of GMAC (about the only division that made money)

Ford and DCX are not in that much better shape. DCX is making a little money but are like number 4 or 5 now. Ford pulled the trigger on the layoffs and plant closures a little sooner than GM but too late to really impact the future.

Today, we have many of the offshore makers building and assembling vehicles in North America. The profits going back home. I have been working for and with the auto industry, mainly GM for about 23 years and I have never seen it as bad as it is today. The future, at least for the next 10 or so years is in China, not only for the savings in manufacturing but for the emerging market as well.
 

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How come Toyota , Honda, and Hyundai can come to North America, build cars, and increase market share whilst the traditionals lose?? I'll narrow it down for you. For years they built crap, and force fed it to us. They kept giving us 75 year old engine technology, and giving us suv`s, vans and trucks that were not safe. Trucks are not required to be built to the same safety standards as passenger cars, so the profit margins were bigger, because they didn't have to engineer them to the higher levels of safety. The unions strangled the companies, and demanded huge benefits and pensions. Now they're gonna pay the price. I think its time for a good feed of humble pie, what do you think??

CT.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Well Coco, here is my take on it. I listed the effect in my opening post, but not my "cause". You have a few points that I would agree with but not all. Firstly, the car game is not a "if you build it they will come" type of business, at least not since Ford was rolling model T's of the assembly line. The industry is driven by demand. Japanese imports have been around since the late 60's and if you recall, anything that you purchased from Asia throughout the 70's and into the 80's essentially disintigrated from the outside inward within about two years. They were using lawnmower engines and expoxy to build them. What happened was the price. They brought them in so low that a lot of people could not turn them down.

Now there is no argument that through the 70's the big three quality was terrible as well. I can think of about 7 cars in particular that were real lemons. But that changed dramatically in the mid 80's and today the quality of the cars coming out of the big three are on par with anything in the world. In terms of engine technology, a 5.3L or 6.0L Vortec from GM is going to run 300,000 KM for you with regular maintainance. Can you think of any engines in the past doing that.

The reason they build gas guzzling SUV's and Trucks is beacuse "we buy them" the same reason that the margins are so high on them is because "we are willing to pay for them". Do you think that if people did not buy them, that they would make them? Up until a few years ago when the oil started to get out of control again, people were gobbling them up left and right. I have never in my life seen so many 1/2 ton trucks on the road that have never seen, nor ever will see a load in them... what fool buys a 1/2 ton truck and then sits around polishing it everday? Only here in North America. It's the public that drives what the car companies do.

Yes, the foriegn car companies are all here. A large part of the components are brought in from foriegn sources. What they do here is assemble and sell. Thats exactly where the big three are headed, they will eventually move as much of the manufacturing as they can offshore, then bring it back, assemble and sell. This reduces cost.

A prime example of the cause and effect is the company I work for today. The pressure is so intense from the big three on price that we, and any other North American based supplier are being forced to set-up manufacturing facilities in China, India, Mexico etc to utilize the cheap labour. Build the parts bring them back and sell them for North American consumption. All contribute to job losses. Do the Union's fight it, of course. In the global economy the unions will lose. But in the long run who is really losing?
 

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I really, really want to buy an American car, but they never build them the way I want them. American cars are cheap to drive, cheap to fix, cheap to insure. If only they could build a car for me, I would be happy. I've tried Japanesse cars, and I really cant stand them. I dont like my tach needle higher than my speedometer. Things go in cycles. At one time VW had 67% of the import market, then they changed their cars, and their market share evaporated. The same will happen to everyone who is a leader in the car business. They only stay at the top for awhile, and then someone else takes over. They will be back.............
 

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I finally moved to import with my last vehicle. I don't think I'll go back. It's been a year without a hickup, my last american product would have been recalled 3 times by now.

Though I did have a Pontiac Grand Prix GTP that treated my right for 6 years, only an alternator replacement.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Jeff Flowerday said:
I finally moved to import with my last vehicle. I don't think I'll go back. It's been a year without a hickup, my last american product would have been recalled 3 times by now.

Though I did have a Pontiac Grand Prix GTP that treated my right for 6 years, only an alternator replacement.
Those 3.8L Grand Prix's and Bonnies were notorios for alternators. I had a Bonneville for a few years and had three alternators replaced. I currently have the Grand Prix GTP and have had no issues at all with it. I turn them over every 2.5 years so I have not had the opportunity to see what they will do in the lomng run. But the 3.8L pushrod from GM has to go down as one of the best engines thay have ever made. That thing will run forever.
 

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GuitarsCanada said:
Those 3.8L Grand Prix's and Bonnies were notorios for alternators. I had a Bonneville for a few years and had three alternators replaced. I currently have the Grand Prix GTP and have had no issues at all with it. I turn them over every 2.5 years so I have not had the opportunity to see what they will do in the lomng run. But the 3.8L pushrod from GM has to go down as one of the best engines thay have ever made. That thing will run forever.
Mine was a 96', I think it was the 3.6L.

Had an Envoy after that, seemed to get recalled every 2 months. Tranny problems, stalling problems. Collapsed cat. The list goes on and on.

I'm in a G35 now with the VQ35 engine which may be the best motor ever produced, period!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Bizarre how that works, I just rolled over an Envoy when I got this GTP. I remember a few recalls, but nothing serious. Other than that it was great. I miss the room in it for sure. The brakes were a little weak in my opinion, but again, I had no issues with mine.
 

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My day gig is a sales manager in a Honda store, so I'm pretty close to the pulse of the auto biz. The folks at Honda Motor Co. are masters at creating a niche for a product, and then producing the perfect vehicle for that niche. Look at the CR-V, and how sucessful that has been. The Accord back in `77 was the first in that intermediate size, and they own that segment. What GM has to do now to survive, is downsize, which they are doing at a furious pace, but they also have to slash product lines. They certainly don't need all the shared models that they have. I really don't see them survivng and coming out the other end remotely resembling the company that we know now. I don't want to get into a pissing contest, because that would get us nowhere at all, but they are doomed. The writings` on the wall.


CT.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
CocoTone said:
My day gig is a sales manager in a Honda store, so I'm pretty close to the pulse of the auto biz. The folks at Honda Motor Co. are masters at creating a niche for a product, and then producing the perfect vehicle for that niche. Look at the CR-V, and how sucessful that has been. The Accord back in `77 was the first in that intermediate size, and they own that segment. What GM has to do now to survive, is downsize, which they are doing at a furious pace, but they also have to slash product lines. They certainly don't need all the shared models that they have. I really don't see them survivng and coming out the other end remotely resembling the company that we know now. I don't want to get into a pissing contest, because that would get us nowhere at all, but they are doomed. The writings` on the wall.

CT.

CT.
No pissing contest on this side, I happen to agree with you. In the end GM will have to emerge as a much smaller, leaner company. it's the only way they can survive. Some of this can be put down to bad decisions, stupidity etc. But a lot of it is pure global economy and the lack of preperation for doing business in it. You cannot apply the 70's and 80's business model to today's market. Your comments on those Honda models goes to what I was saying. The buyer drives the market. Build something that people "want" to buy and you will succeed. My concern is that I would like to see these NA companies back on their feet. I do not want to see them die.
 

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well I drive a 95 cavalier, and love it, my dad drives a 98 corolla and my car was way cheaper, faster, better handling, especially in the winter, and the only thing i've had to do with the car in the past 3 years (when i got it) was the brakes once. And the stereo.

I think that the reason that people are buying import is because they have a better reputation than domestic. But chevy has a better reputation than chrysler and ford. My dad also has a Ford and it's in the shop every other month.

Basically i'm sticking with Domestics, chevys, for a while until either the imports drop in price or domestics start to lose reputation again. When we buy stuff made in our own country, we are helping our economy.
 

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Xanadu said:
well I drive a 95 cavalier, and love it, my dad drives a 98 corolla and my car was way cheaper, faster, better handling, especially in the winter, and the only thing i've had to do with the car in the past 3 years (when i got it) was the brakes once. And the stereo.

I think that the reason that people are buying import is because they have a better reputation than domestic. But chevy has a better reputation than chrysler and ford. My dad also has a Ford and it's in the shop every other month.

Basically i'm sticking with Domestics, chevys, for a while until either the imports drop in price or domestics start to lose reputation again. When we buy stuff made in our own country, we are helping our economy.

Hondas and Toyotas are made here. You new?

CT.
 

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GuitarsCanada said:
Honda's and Toyota's are assembled here. Where is the money going?
...no sir,,they`re manufactured here. Over 80% domestic content on Odyssey, Ridgeline, Civic and Element. Even the engines are cast and built here in Ohio. Nice try tho ... ;) Sure, a percentage of the net goes back to Japan, but remember, this is very much a global economy, so at this point in history, that is very much a moot point.

CT.
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
CocoTone said:
...no sir,,they`re manufactured here. Over 80% domestic content on Odyssey, Ridgeline, Civic and Element. Even the engines are cast and built here in Ohio. Nice try tho ... ;) Sure, a percentage of the net goes back to Japan, but remember, this is very much a global economy, so at this point in history, that is very much a moot point.

CT.
So you are of the belief and understanding that Toyota and Honda are a North American company? This is where it's all gone wrong my friend. The assimilation continues.

Do some checking into the companies based in North America that supply this 80% content and you will discover that many of them are also foriegn owned. The Japanese take care of their own. Most of them are part of the Keiretsu and are told what their components are worth. They are offered lifetime contracts to supply but must meet the target pricing and are essentially without creative freedom on design or pricing. It's like Dieter Zetsche at DCX running around having his picture taken in Cowboy hats and shaking hands with all the charities. The bottom line is DCX is now German owned.

The 80% content is what the sales dudes are given to make the buyers feel that they are truly buying a North American product. Once the 3% profit is banked by these "suppliers" the profits on the sale of the vehicle get put on a plane and are flown out.

Which one is not the redneck?
 

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CocoTone said:
Hondas and Toyotas are made here. You new?

CT.
i know hondas and toyotas are made here, but it doesnt mean that they're a north american company
 

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I find it funny that Japan is closed to almost all import cars, and they only allow a certain amount of them in each year. The people of Japan want to buy an import too, but they cant. Japan also makes them buy new cars every few years, as they force older cars off the road, and stimulate their economy. The grass is always greener on the other side. In terms of reliability, the leader for the past 10 years for building unreliable junk is a Japanese company. They may not be in the car business any longer so Scott will be happy, although the Japanese government has mentioned that they will try to rescue it and take it national, so they'll be around to cause havoc for another 10 years. The car industry in Japan is a big pride thing, so they dont like embarrassments..........
A big thing in Japan is to buy a classic American car, invite your friends over, pay someone to drive it around the race track as you all watch, and then have dinner inside the car. They are strange people. My car has 1% North American content. Maybe I should find out what that 1% is and remove it, then I'll be really evil..............
 

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i know my companies production is increasing huge, i work for a tier one supplier though. we mostly supply to the "big 3" but now we're trying to get more asian customers. i dont think the "industry is dying"... maybe north american owned industry. but there'd still be jobs here supplying to foriegn companies.

needless to say, i work for an italian owned company. haha.
 
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