Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Vroom! *SPUTTER*

It's being covered in a few places. here, here, and Hoy.

A little over a month ago, I'm pretty sure I said the auto industry was a mess and would be looking for a bailout. I'm too lazy to check, but really, it's not like it was an original thought. I just agreed with others out there.

Here comes that bailout. It WILL happen, and it WILL be a disaster. Barney Frank continues to prove he's a grade-A moron who deserves a trip to Bovine University with lines like "there's no harm in trying." $25 billion is now "no harm". And my grandparents told me *I* didn't know the value of a dollar.

GM, Ford, Chrysler... all broken systems. You can point to too many brands, mediocre cars, the lack of a legitimate luxury line (Cadillac is about it now... maybe Lincoln), poor customer service, too many dealerships, high repair costs, or any other number of gripes. But the BIG money is spent on the unions.

Auto workers are paid EXTREMELY well in North America for work that can, for the most part, be done by a robot. Ford's plant in Brasil is amazing, but it would never happen here. Why? Well, the employees would gripe about losing jobs to automation and strike. The different plants spread out over the country that make individual parts would bitch about losing a job as the supply got vertically integrated into single plants (nothing like waiting for a new car to show up because the axle plant is on strike).

There are millions of employees receiving pensions from the automakers, and only hundreds of thousands currently employed. With the pay these guys get, they should have saved enough to retire comfortably on their own.

Throw in that GM is worth less than zero, and how does a bailout help? These companies NEED to go bankrupt. They need to file Chapter 11 and reorganize and tell the unions to shut the fuck up and do what they're told or nobody has a job. They need to cut lines, be more efficient, and stop fucking begging and bitching themselves. Oh, and think a bit more into the future than 6 minutes. Anybody could have seen that SUVs were dying as oil was climbing. But nope, now Hummers are sitting on lots taking up space.

Of course, this was long-delayed because numbers were artificial. GMAC provided sub-prime loans to anyone who wanted to buy a car but couldn't afford it. GM gets to say "We sold a car for $50,000!" GMAC gets to say "We have $49,000 + interest over the next 10 years coming our way!" Someone who was tired of taking the bus but couldn't afford a car got to say "I have a $50,000 car!" And then the credit market collapsed and everyone got fucked. No more free money. No more free ride. Now reality comes up and bites them on the ass right quick.

The Big 3 will be the Big 2 soon, I have no doubt. Then possibly the Big 1, and it will still be falling behind the Toyotas of the world.

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