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Angus
06-02-2008, 12:02 PM
Frustrated rant here.

Has anyone seen the Ford Mondeo (http://www.ford.co.uk/ie/allnewmondeo/mdo07_photos/mdo07_ext_gal/-/-/-/-)? It was the car in Casino Royale that Bond drove. Great looking car! European style body that easily competes with the BMW/Audi crowd, but gets better mpg. Stylish interior, great technology.....

and only available in Europe!!!!!

What the hell? Are the knuckleheads in Detroit that stupid that they are unwilling to bring a car that the Europeans have embraced to the States? BMW/Merc/Audi are selling better here every year. Americans want that cool Euro style car: responsive, sporty, clean lines. What is wrong with the Ford upper management that they cannot see that the Mondeo will sell well here? I called them and they told me that there are no plans to sell that car here. No wonder our car industry is suffering a slowdeath.

MORONS!

Angus

Just as a mater of interest - what car do you drive?

Mine - 2004 Toyota Corolla LE (148,000 miles and still getting average of 34 mpg).

Summersolstice
06-02-2008, 12:37 PM
I wish there was a car designed and made in the US by a domestic manufacturer that I could embrace. My wife's cousin is married to a used car dealer here in town and he's selling full-size 4X4 pickups and SUVs faster than he can buy them at the auction. Maybe Detroit, like many successful companies in the US, build and market to the lowest common denominator. How can people still buy these monsters and continue pouring money down the drain?

We have 2001 and 2007 Accords and we obviously love them. Detroit can't build anything to equal them.

wayneb
06-02-2008, 12:57 PM
I disagree -- but only somewhat. Detroit could build cars such as the ones we have embraced, but their careful marketing research and their chosen business strategy suggested to them that they'd make far more $$ per-unit selling full sized SUVs than they ever would selling an Accord or Camry class vehicle. Detroit's not stupid, but they do always look to the bottom line above everything else when making their build plans. That does from time to time come back to bite them in the ass. That's why they almost lost everything in the 1970's - 1980's. They were so intent on looking at the next quarter's bottom line that they failed to see where technological and market advances made by the Japanese were about to eat their lunch. They finally started to figure things out, when relatively cheap fuel became readily available again and they manufactured the SUV craze to allow themselves to slap a different shell on some 20 year old pickup truck chassis designs, to allow them to be sold for tens of thousands of $$ more than the original trucks ever cost, because they had "style." Again -- nothing ever over-rules striving to maximize the profits (or minimize the losses) for the next quarter's sales. A peculiar kind of myopia that may yet doom them in the long run.

BTW - I have a Subaru Outback -- 1996, coming up on the quarter million mile point. I got rid of a 1988 Honda CRX on the insistence of my wife -- not enough seats for the family -- I sold that one with 195,000 mi on the odometer. We also have a Chrysler minivan with AWD -- virtually necessary where we live for winter driving and also from 1996, bought before the Honda Odyssey or any other import van could be had with AWD.

lastbornjoker
06-02-2008, 01:00 PM
mine is a 04 toy tacoma. 42k miles
wifes is a 08 toy highlander. 496 miles
tacoma is about to be traded in the next year for a tundra. >:D

beachfrontmeadman
06-02-2008, 01:04 PM
i'm still holding on to the relics of the past with my 1970 mustang, for back before the last oil crunch
the bottom will drop out again, the land ships will get sold and the little cars will rule the roads

akueck
06-02-2008, 01:32 PM
We've got a 98 Corolla, a hair more than 100k miles on it. Still getting 35 mpg, close to 40 on long highway trips. New brakes too.

Even so, my wife is trying desperately to find a bike with the intention of riding to work. (I bike to work now.) Anybody in SF bay area have a ~48cm frame bike to sell? ;)

Oskaar
06-02-2008, 01:53 PM
Well, I'm not surprised by the US auto manufacturers getting their asses kicked by Toyota and Honda. I worked for Hughes Aircraft before GM bought us, and left within a year after we were acquired. They pretty much ran it into the ground right out of the gate. I have little to no respect for American Auto Manufacturers and will not sanction their low quality product with my dollars. I loved my Chevy, Olds and Buick big blocks and then watched as the quality of the engines and vehicles that succeeded them dropped. I'd love to buy a great US car and will when I can get the reliability that I have with my Toyota.

I'm driving a 1990 Toyota 4x4 with almost 300,000 miles.

Oskaar

wayneb
06-02-2008, 02:36 PM
BTW - My first car, (and first love) was a 1968 Oldsmobile 442, with that sweet big-block Olds V8!!

happymondays
06-03-2008, 07:25 AM
I must admit the new Mondeo does look the part, Fords over here are pretty reliable cars and cost effective and parts are cheap to replace too, they have had a bad rap in the past through there easy to steal stigma but seem to be back in favour, the Focus ST is quite a cool little car its been used a lot in the dirt Rallies.
Maybe with the oil prices going through the roof more people will be reverting to smaller economical cars its beyond a joke over here its £1.31 a Litre and rising but the "Government" slaps 65% in taxes on it to get it this high.
Well I own a 1997 Ford van more for practical reasons than choice did have a great Land Rover Defender before that and miss it dearly just too expensive to run and expect to be buying another van this summer and hate to admit it will be French.

storm1969
06-03-2008, 01:35 PM
I own a 1992 Ford ranger (250k miles) and a 2007 Ford Ranger (9k miles)

I think they are great!

And to compare, I had a 97 accord that the engine caught fire... (at 105k miles)) Needless to say I won't ever own a Honda again!

I also read a recent report that said Ford's initial quality was the same as Toyota's, go figure...

And if you read the recent news, GM is shutting down four of it's large truck plants, in favor of their smaller cars. (Even suggested the Hummer is not going to be produced any more.

Brad Dahlhofer
06-03-2008, 02:22 PM
GM also announced that they're finally going to mass produce the VOLT (all electric car) and produce them right here in the D.

yabodie
06-03-2008, 02:50 PM
Angus, I agree. But I also need to slap the European car makers for the crap they sell in this country. Back in the 80's my dad had a BMW 745i and it was getting in the mid to upper 30s MPG. During a visit to the states, in CA, he went to a dealership and the exact same model got in the upper 20s MPG. So why can't the high MPG versions of the cars, let alone the diesels in Europe, be sold over here? Just crap!!

On a lighter note I did see that GM is planning to release the Volt on early 2010. Granted shifting the carbon footprint, but for what our family does in a day this type of car would suit us, IF it is built with quality.

We have a Corolla with about 75K and a Jeep Grand Cherokee (the weekend, trip to Lowes, garden center, Home Depot vehicle) sitting in the driveway with 35K.

wolf_tracker
06-03-2008, 07:27 PM
:wave:

Kool car coming soon... Oscar might be the first to see one...

http://www.flytheroad.com/

hope to get one before I retire

:cheers:

wolf

wayneb
06-03-2008, 08:16 PM
Oooh! I could use one of those NOW!! ;)

GrantLee63
06-03-2008, 09:01 PM
Morons?

Keep in mind Angus that there are people who fully support this site that either work for - or used to work for - Ford Motor Company, that could potentially find your comments somewhat offensive. Do you really believe that importing the Mondeo would make a measurable difference in the bottom line at Ford these days? Would you replace your Toyota with one? You don't think for a minute, just one minute, that some of the problems the domestic auto industry is going through has anything to do with what the majority of those who responded to your Just as a matter of interest question have parked in their garages ..... do you?

Frustrated rant here also - GL63

Angus
06-03-2008, 09:44 PM
GrantLee,

Good point, and, despite the obvious contradiction to my 'Moron' comment, I do not mean to offend anyone. I just want to vent my frustration at those people at the top who do not seem to be making the smart decisions. I realise that there could be some Ford employees who are GotMead members, and I apologise if I offended.

Would I buy a Mondeo if it was available here? Absolutely! It looks like a fantastic car. Do I think that the suffering of the domestic auto industry has anything to do with my Toyota? Again, absolutely. GM, Ford, etc. are great companies that design great cars. Case in point, the Mondeo. They have it, just not here. Why? They do not have to start from scratch in their design. Just retool the domestic factories to start making their own car. Easier said than done? Of course. But they know what direction the auto industry needs to go to survive. Toyota is an example to follow, which is why foreign auto companies are decimating our own. They make a good product that is designed for the current needs of the people.

I want the American auto industry to survive. I will buy one when I feel that they are making a car that is reliable, economicle, and sips gas. I just cannot believe that they will not do whatever it takes to win all of the people who currently drive a foreign car back by doing something that I think is so obvious. Bring us the Mondeo, and we will come!

Angus

yabodie
06-04-2008, 09:38 AM
I think Jay Leno sums it up nicely:

Jay Leno tells Detroit how to fix itself
Jay Leno advises Detroit on how to get Americans to buy American
By Jay Leno
Portfolio.com
updated 3:55 p.m. ET, Fri., May. 23, 2008
The type of vehicles America makes best are, unfortunately, not the type of vehicles that people really want anymore. Nobody builds better trucks than the Americans do. Not even the Japanese build as good a truck as the Ford F-150 or the Chevy Silverado.

It’s the same with performance cars. The Corvette Z06 has 505 horsepower, comes with a big warranty, and can hit 200 miles per hour. It weighs almost exactly the same as a half-million-dollar Porsche Carrera GT and gets higher mileage — 26 miles per gallon.

Where we seem to lose it is in the low-bucks econocar. I used to be able to identify any American car from 25 yards. Now they all have this jellybean look. It’s a mystery to me, because the one thing we used to do better than anybody else was build cheap, extremely high-quality cars. We did it for decades, all the way back to the beginning of the industry.

There was no better car for the money than the Model T. It was a basic car, but it used the finest materials available. There are still almost a million of them out there.

When you get into a high-priced, well-made American car today and the key is in the ignition, you hear a melodic bong, bong. But when you get in a cheap American car, like a rental, and the key is left in, it goes plink, plink, plink. It’s just horrible. Every time you use the turn signal, it’s like breaking a chicken leg.

In order to make the more expensive car more appealing, U.S. companies feel as though they have to dumb down the cheaper car.

I believe that, all things being equal, Americans will buy American. It just has to be as good as the competition; it doesn’t have to be better. The classic example is Harley-Davidson. Throughout the ’70s, the motorcycle maker had huge quality-control problems. Then Harley-Davidson said, “Look, let’s take our time. Let’s build fewer bikes. Let’s build them properly, so they don’t leak oil and they’ll run forever.” Harley-Davidson won back the market share it had lost, and it continues to dominate today.

Even though the bikes might not be technically superior, they’re bulletproof and they’re American. People will buy American if given the chance.


The automakers are starting to think like Harley and understand that when you get into an automobile, everything should be appealing to you. If you see stitching that’s out of line on the dashboard, you’re going to get madder and madder every time you see it. That’s one place where the American car companies dropped the ball.

Thankfully, in the past couple of years, they have gotten better. If you look at the new line of G.M. cars, they are almost as good as what the Europeans are doing, especially when you compare interiors. Cadillac has a line of small four-door sedans that are, if not quite the rival of Audi or Mercedes, pretty darn close for quite a bit less money.

The problem with what's happened over the past few decades is that you have a whole generation of kids who have no brand loyalty. They've grown up on Honda, Hyundai, Kia and Toyota. To lure them to the American brand, you’ve got to give them something exciting, something bold, something different.

America does technology well, and I think this is how the companies will bring those buyers back. I think cars like the Chevy Volt, which is entirely battery-powered, or hydrogen cars from Chrysler, Ford and G.M. will take off.


Looking into my crystal ball, I predict that Toyota will probably become the dominant force, and the other companies will have to become leaner to survive. They’ll start reining in some of the more unprofitable models.

The overhead at most of the U.S. firms is crazy, and they’ll have to figure out a way to fix that. They’ll ultimately survive, but I think that they’ll need to change how they do business. And in the future, you’ll see smaller companies doing more boutique manufacturing, as BMW has with the Mini.

One last thing: No matter what happens, do not expect all American cars to go Eurosize. American buttocks are not getting any smaller.


URL: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/24714435/

sandman
06-07-2008, 10:25 PM
As a former Ford salaried employee (I was bought out in 2001 during one of the early workforce cutbacks) I'll attest to the fact that I'm not offended by an opinion that reflects poorly on Ford. I currently own two of them (a 2000 Taurus and a 2000 Windstar). Aside of the fact that my Taurus gets crappy mileage and always has, I've always liked them both as far as layout and design goes. Now if only they'll figure out that oil companies are NOT their friends and create something that's affordable and gets GOOD mileage. When they do that I'll but another one. Until then, I'm planning on Toyota or Hyundai for my next vehicle. Mileage is a really important factor these days. That and the fact that I'm 6'4" and can not fit into a crackerbox sub compact. My Taurus has plenty of room for me, but at 16 miles per gallon I've always felt like I got kind of boned on that purchase. :protest:

Dwhite
06-08-2008, 08:07 AM
The US automakers (Ford, Chevy, Chrysler) have GOT to get the union thing out of their business to regain profitability. I read that $1500- $2500 of every GM vehicle (and I expect similar for Ford and Chrysler) goes to compensation for a retired union brother/sister. The compensation, especially retirement perks, these companies pay union workers is a HUGE thorn in their business.

American Axel in Michigan went on strike a few months ago severely affecting GM's production. When is the last time you heard of Toyota, Honda, Hyundai, or Nissan having a plant shut down due to a strike? It doesn't happen because they've been successful in keeping unions out of their facilities. They don't pay their people union wages either. They treat their employees fairly though and treat them more like partners. The Japanese and Korean builders don't have this same $1500-$2500 burden on the cars they produce. It gives them the ability to put more money into R&D and overall quality.

I found out last year if a union plant has to lay-off union employees for lack of work the company still has to pay them for 40 hours. The purpose of the lay-off is supposed to be to save money due to low business. The problem is you can't take a seat installer off his station on the assembly line and have him install tires at another station because that potentially puts another union brother/sister out of work. The Japanese and Korean builders don't have this problem either. Most employees are trained to do multiple jobs and are expected to perform those duties when asked.

The (once) big 3 have got to get a better handle on the union thing to get more competitive in the market place.



All the Best,
D. White

fatbloke
06-08-2008, 10:58 AM
Some will agree, others not, but...........

Mondeo's are crap. Mediocre, bland, useful only for "sales rep's"! They're not alone. So many cars on the roads today are just bland, bland, bland.

The sales types hypnotise us into thinking that the latest shiney new XXX is the latest wonder car. But in truth they're more hideous crap.

The market in the US and the market in Europe are diametrically opposed. Damn, the average "local" road in most major US cities are bigger/wider than the vast majority of motorway/autobahn/autoroute/autostrada etc. Hence the US market has historically been aimed at big, gas guzzling, "comfortmobiles".

One of the few makes that seem to come close to the "Japs" are BMW, with merc/VW not so far behind.

As for "technology" and/or innovation ? Well how about this, most of the manufacturers only produce more of the same crap, but with slightly better finish/facilities because their shareholders are conservative by nature and wouldn't want to put money into something that just won't sell.

Whereas the Japs have come on "leaps and bounds" since they started making cars for "foreign" markets. They seem to have learned quite well from the West/US mistakes. Sure they still haven't managed to "crack" the problem of depreciation of prices, as they drop quicker than a lot of the others, but they've made huge gains in quality of finish, reliability, MPG etc.

In the US, you have some incredible motoring heritage, which I believe should be saved, but also kept garaged and only brought out on "high days and holidays" - damn some of those mid-60's mustangs are beautiful. But impractical, especially in Europe. Who can afford to run a car that does 10 to 15 MPG when places like the UK are looking at 11 $US per gallon.

So save the dinosaurs, but keep them well fed and watered and only take 'em out for a walk occasionally :D

The same could be said for the motorcycle industry. Harley's are vvv pretty bikes, eminently customisable, but here in the UK the average owner is well over 50 years old. Cos' practically nobody else can afford them. Plus while they have beautiful styling, excellent engines/gearboxes, they handle like shit, with awful suspension and crap brakes. Anyone who can afford, can often be found replacing the brakes with brembo's or similar and the stock suspension with stuff like WP and/or Ohlins. Which improves handling some, but they're not bikes for small streets, they were developed for long, straight "cruise" roads. Which are rarer in Europe than they are in the US.

Oh and before I finish, good luck with the presidential election. I'd like to hope that Mr Obama will be as good as he seems, that'd be truely excellent. My problem is that "Obama 08" seems too similar to "Blair 97" i.e. an overly glib/smug car salesman. I hope in the event of his election he doesn't turn out like Bliar did, feeding us so much crap, but in a nice, plausible but patronising way. Ha!, politicians! Bless 'em. I just wish they could "do" honesty.

regards

fatbloke

p.s. "the fatbloke has left the thread" :D

webmaster
06-08-2008, 02:21 PM
Speaking as one who was born and raised in Michigan, and whose entire family, most of my friends' folks, and nearly everyone I knew or met that lived in Michigan was in some way or another supported by the Big 3 automakers, I can say with confidence, that they haven't a *clue* what the American public wants. They never had to bother before.

Why? Because for many, *many* years, they told *us* what we wanted. And we, the sheeple, (this is a generalization of Americans at large, and I note that there are many exceptions to the market-driven *average* person) ate it up and bought what they told us to buy. During the heyday of cheap, abundant gas, we bought those big gas guzzlers. I can't bow out of this, I did it too. I've always loved Mustangs. I've owned 2. I'd love to get me a Saleen, but I just can't justify the gas vs. the fun right now. Now that the worm (or the economy) has turned, and suddenly we are being forced to stop and consider that while Hummers are cool, can I really afford the $400/month of gas I'd spend driving it to work? there are a *lot* of folks who blindly bought into the 'impress your friends with your Hummer' ads, and are now stuck in upside-down loans because the trade-in value is in free-fall.

However, the Big 3 are nothing if not resilient, and they're re-tooling as fast as possible. They're learning they have to win our business now. Tho, I have to say, the recent Ford commercial that touts, "Our quality is up to that of Toyota now" makes me cringe. What marketing dildo put *that* out there, and why hasn't the guy to ok'd it to go live been fired??? That doesn't make me want to buy Ford, it makes me think, "Oh, maybe I should look at Toyota".

Me? I've got:

- The venerable 1995 full-size Ford Bronco XLT 4x4 w/ 351 engine (ahh, Detroit iron!!) (13 MPG), with 200,000+ miles, running on a re-built engine and tranny <--this will likely be my daughter's car until we can get her something else
- My beloved 2002 Subaru Impreza WRX wagon (love this car!!!) with 120,000 miles, still running strong! (20-28 mpg)
- Our trailer puller/hay hauler - 2006 Dodge RAM 3500 Turbo Diesel (19 mpg hwy) with around 40K miles. This stays parked except when we go to shoots and camping trips
- The new baby (and my car now) - 2008 Toyota RAV4 (<1000 miles), which should get around 23 city, near 30 highway (and runs regular!!)

Muirghein Tarot
06-12-2008, 02:26 AM
There is a car company in europe that is working on the idea of a compressed air car. two tanks under the car filled up at your home from a compressor give the car about 120 mile range. Sounds good till you see it. It's smaller than most sub compacts around the size of a cooper mini. Seats three small adults.

Lets flip this idea around some. Lets take a car the size of a 50s Chevy or a big modern SUV put that type of engine in it. Replace that 24 gallon gas tank with a two sided air tank. Put an air compressor with an electric motor in the back of the vehicle, now put a solar panel on that huge roof.

the solar panel gives the compressor's motor it's power on sunny days, a large battery on cloudy. Unlike the idea of solar or batter powered cars your not trying to power the whole car from a dead stop with them, just the 'what?" 20hp compressor motor. The compressor fills up both sides of the tank from the moment it starts to get light in the morning. You use one side of the tank till its done then flip to the other one. The first one gets a recharge from the compressor while your running off the second side of the tank

you have a car that is powered by the sun, with unlimited range, and seats 10. Build them out of the modern composites so their lighter and, an even less powerful motor would give that powerful acceleration we all want.

There are probably a dozen reasons why this wouldn't work quite as easily as I have put it down, the first that comes to mind is what do you do when the sun goes down, but it's one idea that's outside the 'fuel' box we seem to be stuck in. Some of the ideas that are out there are not much better, (a car run off a tank of compressed hydrogen "shudder") using corn as a fuel when there are still people starving in some parts of the world.

have a laugh at the high school drops out idea but then think where are the high IQ people and what are they doing to fix this problem their buying stock in the gas companies.

one pirate's opinion

Tarot :icon_pirat:

jt852
06-12-2008, 03:53 AM
Compressed air cars periodically keep reappearing as though they're something new, but nobody has ever been able to solve the infrastructure problem yet, or deploy a critical mass to encourage the development.

So, lets examine your idea of a solar powered air car. There's a reason we don't have an unlimited range car that runs on pure solar yet. Its just simply impractical. To run your hypothetical 20HP compressor (I have no idea if this is realistically what it would take), you would need roughly 1200 square feet of solar panels. Anything less and you will be having a net energy loss when you drive the vehicle. (for those that want to check the math, 1HP=756Watts, and typical solar panel efficiency is about 12Watts/ft^2)

Since the vehicle is obviously incapable of continuous driving on solar alone, lets store the energy somehow. Except that compressing air is actually fairly inefficient and results in substantial losses from heating the compressed air, as well as friction within the compressor. We're much better off just storing the electricity that solar panels provide in a battery. This puts us right back to where we currently are with battery powered electric vehicles.

I also don't understand people's fear of hydrogen. Sure, its flammable, but you know what, so is gasoline. And unlike gasoline, hydrogen is lighter than air so in the event of a leak or accident, hydrogen will rise away from the ground and be rapidly dissipated by even the slightest breeze. Gasoline vapors on the other hand are heavier than air and will tend to concentrate in low spots. However, I won't pretend that hydrogen is the miracle fuel some people claim it is. Right now, just about every method of producing hydrogen comes from fossil fuels. However there are alternative methods that don't require them. Additionally, its extremely difficult to make a hydrogen tank that can effectively keep hydrogen in a gaseous state, but again, there is work being done to store it in a solid and release it through reversible chemical reactions.

Arjan
06-12-2008, 07:34 AM
guess there are more innovative things besides the compressed gas etc.

take a look at a concept car from BMW (car with a skin!)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bnd9VsoETrM

webmaster
06-12-2008, 08:24 AM
There are a lot of good ideas out there, and some of them have been floating around for 20-30 years. Problem is, the Big Three would either buy the idea up and bury it, buy the *inventor* up and bury him, or just make the guy/idea disappear. They have way too much invested in fossil fuels to let the American auto industry move away from what they're pushing.

Sad, isn't it? Fortunately, the Big Three have less and less power to force trends in this country, and now with the hybrid movement finally making some chinks in their armor, I'm hoping that we'll start to see some real advancements in car technology. I'm hoping that the Toyota RAV4 is the last gas-burner I'll ever buy......

Angus
06-12-2008, 12:12 PM
Update

Communication with Ford Customer Service:

"If I am interested in a Ford vehicle, please contact the sales department to discuss the many models currently available in the U.S., one of which will almost certainly satisfy your needs. "
"But I would like a Mondeo, or at least the opportunity to have one."
"We are sorry, but there are no plans to manufacture that model for the U.S. market."
"Why?"
"Because we already have a line of vehicles that are currently made for the U.S. market."
"Why not the Mondeo?"
"Because it does not fit the current U.S. market."
"How did Ford come to that conclusion?"
"Because it is made for the European market."
" <long pause> So your conclusion that the Mondeo will not sell in the U.S. is because it is made in Europe?"
" Yes."
"Thank you. Goodbye."

CBBaron
06-12-2008, 01:38 PM
There are a lot of good ideas out there, and some of them have been floating around for 20-30 years. Problem is, the Big Three would either buy the idea up and bury it, buy the *inventor* up and bury him, or just make the guy/idea disappear. They have way too much invested in fossil fuels to let the American auto industry move away from what they're pushing.

Sad, isn't it? Fortunately, the Big Three have less and less power to force trends in this country, and now with the hybrid movement finally making some chinks in their armor, I'm hoping that we'll start to see some real advancements in car technology. I'm hoping that the Toyota RAV4 is the last gas-burner I'll ever buy......

I think you have a slight misconception about the engineering challenges to replacing the oil powered ICE (internal combustion engine).
Gasoline and diesel store a very large amount of energy is a small volume of liquid that is easy to handle. It is also fairly inexpensive to produce this fuel source and distribute it. Much of that reason is because the infrastructure is already in place.
The ICE is a reasonably efficient mechanism form transforming the energy from chemical potential to mechanical energy. It handles a wide variety of environmental situations and performance situations.
Combined they make a portable power source for an auto that is difficult to best. Even today hybrids do not beat straight ICE combinations as a cost effective solution.
As fuel prices increase however alternative energy sources become more economical.

The purpose of most auto companies is to sell more vehicles with a better profit margin. If some technology was available that would allow them to produce a less expensive car that outperformed the competition then they would jump all over it. However most technologies that might make significant differences in fuel efficiencies either cost much more to manufacture or hurt vehicle acceleration. The majority of auto buyers would not make that tradeoff when fuel was cheap. Even today at $4 a gallon gas it would take nearly 100k miles to pay for a hybrid vehicle over the equivalent straight ICE.

As for selling Euro cars in the US market, it costs a considerable amount of money to qualify a car from a safety and EPA regulations to sell a car in the US market. It also costs money to ship a car from Europe or to retool US plants for production. If that Ford ends up being priced at $30k+ it probably won't sell enough to make a profit in the market. The decision may have been wrong but the executives have alot more information about the situation than we do and the decision is much more complicated than you might first think.

All that said, I still do not like most of the choices I have for transportation options. Luckily I can build a very nice commuter bicycle for a reasonable price. I have been commuting and running many errands by bicycle for the last 4+ years. That combined with living in a neighborhood that is close to work, schools and shopping mean that my family spends much less on gasoline than the average American family. Its still more than I would like but gas prices have not made a big impact in our budget.

Craig

Angus
06-12-2008, 02:15 PM
As for selling Euro cars in the US market, it costs a considerable amount of money to qualify a car from a safety and EPA regulations to sell a car in the US market. It also costs money to ship a car from Europe or to retool US plants for production. If that Ford ends up being priced at $30k+ it probably won't sell enough to make a profit in the market. The decision may have been wrong but the executives have alot more information about the situation than we do and the decision is much more complicated than you might first think.

Questions on this point then. What costs more, designing and testing a new vehicle, or certifying it for use in the U.S. market? Then, how much does it really cost to retool production for a new model? You are probably correct that the heads of Ford probably are working with information that we do not have access to. But, since they know that BMW and Merc are selling big here, and they already have a vehicle that bears some of the same aspects of those two, what can it possibly be that is a major barrier to trying to sell it here?

As for alternate fuel vehicles, I am excited to see what the manufacturers come up with, but am not holding my breath. I think electric vehicles is the future, but they need to have cheaper energy production (Fusion is the answer but is probably 15 years away at least), and more efficient and lighter batteries.

One thing I do notice is the number of cars in the morning with only one occupant. If we can get more people to carpool, the number of vehicles on the road will drop dramatically, which will result in less need for gas (dropping prices due to supply and demand), less smog, less wear on the road infrastructure etc. etc.

Angus

ucflumberjack
06-13-2008, 01:03 AM
Ive not done enough research or owned enough vehicles to contribute much other than that i think that hydrogen will be the next popular fuel.

"hydrogengarage.com" i have a friend that actually has made one the things on this site and she claime it works and has increased her fuel efficency 50%. i havnt tried it but i dont think shes making it up.

california is going pretty hard after the hydrogen idea..... well ... arnold is...... and ive seen it work myself in small model cars. my high school even had partial power from a hydrogen electricity cell. plug power is the company that im partially farmiliar with just from the model cars and the high school but there are others out there that are doing research to fogure out how to make hydrogen fuel a real possibility. literally millions a year are being poured into the research by the various companies.

jt852
06-13-2008, 02:03 AM
As far as the onboard generators producing hydrogen from water, they won't improve mileage. In fact, for them to improve mileage, they need to violate the law of conservation of energy. The thing that is commonly forgotten is that the electricity to power the generator needs to come from somewhere. Drawn from the battery like in all systems that I'm aware of, that ultimately places an extra load on the engine through the alternator resulting in a mileage decrease. Theoretically, the electrolysis of water is at most 94% efficient, and thats using a specialized reactor. The more common homemade type is closer to 60%. The rest of the electrical energy ultimately ends up wasted as heat.

Usually why people that install such devices claim to see improvements is from a placebo effect. When someone installs this sort of device, they're looking to stretch the mileage so they unconsciously do things like gentler acceleration and more coasting combined with less aggressive braking. These subconscious efforts add up to produce increased mileage. If this really did work as claimed, don't you think that either cars would come with it standard or there would be a huge aftermarket industry built up around building and installing them? Basically if it sounds too good, it probably is.

beninak
06-13-2008, 02:47 AM
Let me disclaimer this post by saying quite clearly that I serve in the US Air Force, and am a F'n patriot who bleeds red, white, and blue. :usa2:

I have always bought American cars strictly on principle. My most recent car, a Cadillac Catera that I got a very good deal on, however was a total lemon. After numerous repairs, I finally got so frustrated with it and the dealership that I got it from, and all of the "certified GM Goodwrench technichians" that worked on it that I decided to cut my losses and get something else. I really kind of wanted a truck, but I vowed never to do business with that GM dealership aagain so I shopped at the Ford dealership in town. (unlike where some of you live we only have approximately one dealership for each auto maker).

The salsemen and pricing schemes at the Ford dealership were sooo shady I finally got frustrated with them too and went shopping elsewhere about town.

Anyways, long story short I wound up at Toyota and between being impressed with their business practices, customer service, quality of cars, and because of the current fuel prices, I'm currently driving a Toyota Prius :o


which is why I can appreciate this parable about the auto industry in the US...
(not meant to offend anyone, just to explain why after 14 years of driving American cars, I've finally bought a "Japanese" car and have never been more satisfied with a purchase)



Toyota and Ford decided to have a canoe race on the Missouri River. Both teams practiced long and hard to reach their peak performance before the race.
On the big day, the Japanese won by a mile.

The Americans, very discouraged and depressed, decided to
investigate the reason for the crushing defeat. A management team made up of senior management was formed to investigate and recommend appropriate action.
Their conclusion was the Japanese had 8 people rowing and 1 person steering, while the American team had 8 people steering and 1 person rowing.



Feeling a deeper study was in order, American management hired a consulting company and paid them a large amount of money for a second opinion.

They advised, of course, that too many people were steering the boat, while not enough people were rowing.

Not sure of how to utilize that information, but wanting to prevent another loss to the Japanese, the rowing team's management structure was totally reorganized to 4 steering supervisors, 3 area steering superintendents, and 1 assistant superintendent steering manager.

They also implemented a new performance system that would give the one person rowing the boat greater incentive to work harder. It was called the 'Rowing Team Quality First Program,' with meetings, dinners, and free pens for the rower. There was discussion of getting new paddles, canoes, and other equipment, extra vacation days for practices and bonuses.

The next year the Japanese won by two miles.

Humiliated, the American management laid off the rower for poor performance, halted development of a new canoe, sold the paddles, and canceled all capital investments for new equipment.

The money saved was distributed to the Senior Executives as bonuses and the next year's racing team was out-sourced to India .
Sadly, The End.

Here's something else to think about:
Ford has spent the last thirty years moving all its factories out of the US, claiming they can't make money paying American wages.

TOYOTA has spent the last thirty years building more than a dozen plants inside the US . The last quarter's results:

TOYOTA makes 4 billion in profits while Ford racked up 9 billion in losses.

CBBaron
06-13-2008, 08:30 AM
As far as the onboard generators producing hydrogen from water, they won't improve mileage. In fact, for them to improve mileage, they need to violate the law of conservation of energy.

That was my first thought also. However thats not completely true. Gasoline engines only convert around 25% of the energy available in the gas to usable mechanical energy. If by injecting hydrogen and oxygen into the engine they could improve the combustion efficiency then you could improve the efficiency of the vehicle without violating laws. I have read about a company working on introducing this type of system into long haul semis. That is one area where fuel efficiency has a big payoff and where extra weight and cost are less significant. My understanding is that the expense of the system was still cost prohibitive for smaller lesser used vehicles like autos.

Craig

CBBaron
06-13-2008, 08:41 AM
As for selling Euro cars in the US market, it costs a considerable amount of money to qualify a car from a safety and EPA regulations to sell a car in the US market. It also costs money to ship a car from Europe or to retool US plants for production. If that Ford ends up being priced at $30k+ it probably won't sell enough to make a profit in the market. The decision may have been wrong but the executives have alot more information about the situation than we do and the decision is much more complicated than you might first think.

Questions on this point then. What costs more, designing and testing a new vehicle, or certifying it for use in the U.S. market? Then, how much does it really cost to retool production for a new model? You are probably correct that the heads of Ford probably are working with information that we do not have access to. But, since they know that BMW and Merc are selling big here, and they already have a vehicle that bears some of the same aspects of those two, what can it possibly be that is a major barrier to trying to sell it here?


I'm guessing here but it may be that the car if brought to the American market would cost significantly more than the BMW and Mercedes models. Therefore they don't expect they would sell the quantities necessary to pay for the retooling and qualifications necessary and still make a profit. However they may be planning on introducing a related model here in the future if the market appears to be shifting. I know all of the major manufacturers are reconsidering plans given the market shift from SUVs to smaller cars. Out local paper pointed out the days of the Big 3 losing money on each small car sold will have to change soon. I guess there are already adjustments in plans to have the next gen small cars from europe be the basis for small cars in the US. Currently the small cars sold by GM and Ford in Europe are considerably more up level and expensive than those sold in the US.

Craig

Angus
06-13-2008, 09:09 AM
Here's something else to think about:
Ford has spent the last thirty years moving all its factories out of the US, claiming they can't make money paying American wages.

TOYOTA has spent the last thirty years building more than a dozen plants inside the US . The last quarter's results:

TOYOTA makes 4 billion in profits while Ford racked up 9 billion in losses.

Not wanting to kick the hornets nest too much on this one, and correct me if I am wrong, but the big 3 moving production out of the U.S., I think, has more to do with moving away from the Unions. If I am correct, the Toyota plants are non-Union, and therefore can manufacture here without all of the additional costs that are forced on companies by Union pressure, e.g. not allowed to fire poor performers, pay for performance, eliminating redundant positions etc.

Unions were, 100 years ago, necessary. Since then, the courts ensure fair employment practices, leaving nothing for the Unions to do except destroy industries. England used to have steel and coal industries until they became too expensive to maintain. A guy I knew in England worked on a coal sizing line. Then they invented a machine that did it automatically. The union made sure this guy was not fired (which is good), but he was also not allowed to be moved to another position as he would then be taking away a job from someone else. Instead, he sat in a chair next to the machine for 8 hours a day reading and getting paid. When it costs more to make something than you can sell the product for, you are finished. The big 3 have been hurt by Unions, and the only way to get away from them is to move.

Angus

jt852
06-13-2008, 02:18 PM
Craig,
You're indeed right that the hydrogen can cause a more complete and efficient combustion. This is exactly why propane injection systems are used on many heavy duty diesel vehicles. HOWEVER, while it does cause a more complete combustion it still takes more energy to create the hydrogen onboard than you get out from the increased efficiency. If we generated the hydrogen somewhere else and simply filled a tank, then it certainly could work.

GrantLee63
07-20-2008, 03:05 PM
Perhaps Ford will start building your Mondeo here in the States Angus:

http://tinyurl.com/665xaf

- GL63

Angus
07-21-2008, 10:28 AM
Nice!

Thanks for hte update. Let's see what happens on Thursday then.

Angus

welder
08-14-2008, 12:55 AM
1985 CUCV 6.2 diesel (military 4x4 chevy k30) 22mpg
2002 dodge 2500 Cummins 21mpg
2005 jeep liberty diesel 27mpg

fatbloke
10-05-2008, 05:05 AM
Not wanting to kick the hornets nest too much on this one, and correct me if I am wrong, but the big 3 moving production out of the U.S., I think, has more to do with moving away from the Unions. If I am correct, the Toyota plants are non-Union, and therefore can manufacture here without all of the additional costs that are forced on companies by Union pressure, e.g. not allowed to fire poor performers, pay for performance, eliminating redundant positions etc.

Unions were, 100 years ago, necessary. Since then, the courts ensure fair employment practices, leaving nothing for the Unions to do except destroy industries. England used to have steel and coal industries until they became too expensive to maintain. A guy I knew in England worked on a coal sizing line. Then they invented a machine that did it automatically. The union made sure this guy was not fired (which is good), but he was also not allowed to be moved to another position as he would then be taking away a job from someone else. Instead, he sat in a chair next to the machine for 8 hours a day reading and getting paid. When it costs more to make something than you can sell the product for, you are finished. The big 3 have been hurt by Unions, and the only way to get away from them is to move.

Angus

Now that just sounds like a history lesson, from a "right wing" teacher Angus, a.k.a. FUD (Fear, uncertainty and doubt).

When unions were first thought of, it was about protecting the work force from exploitation. So called "free markets" still exploit whatever their given area is. What do you think the "credit crunch" and "sub-prime" business is all about ?

The move away from traditional areas of manufacturing, is more to do with enabling those industries to continue to exploit. I'm unsure where "US Automotive" are moving too, but Western Europe industry is tending to move to Eastern Europe, India, China, etc, because not just wages, but working conditions, taxes, land and building costs, etc etc etc are lower and/or less restricted.

Think on why it is, that big corporations fight so hard to prevent the news of exploitation of any type, becoming common knowledge/public domain. Nike and the various scandals about low wages and child labour. Or Coca-Cola and the extraction of water in already parched areas of India, etc etc.

It's quite simple, exploitation and greed are "the nature of the beast". Whether it's the imaginary concept of the value of paper money, or the harder, more tangible currency of gold, diamond or other "valuables". If shareholders are involved (whether it's a sole owner or an incorporated business/PLC etc), then it's the increase in value and reputation of the company that's more important to the senior exec's, rather than the actual quality/reliability of actual goods and services.

Hence, "the co-operative" idea is probably the fairest one i.e. everyone involved in "it" owns a share. As long as they enjoy are reasonable standard of living for their particular location etc etc.

Of course, it doesn't stop greed/exploitation etc creeping in, it just takes longer, as the varying political influences nullify the excesses of the "left and right". In the same way, governments are often "fairer" if they're coalition, rather than one way or the other.

In the longer term, once the so called "third world" has gone through the same processes that the 1st and 2nd worlds already have, it will have come full circle and may then be "cost effective" to produce in the original areas - the only thing that might prevent that is the availability of natural resources. They're expensive to move. The "thinkers" are easy, they can be bought and sold like any other commodity.

To move back to the original point though, using "semi's" as an example. Are any of the "US makers" still actually owned by US companies ? I understand that most, if not all, are now owned by the European manufacturers. As for cars.....well I understand that maybe Ford or GM might be the biggest for cars, but some of the Japanese companies actually dwarf them because they are so much more diverse in their range of products. I might be wrong, but that's how I understood it.

It's a logical conclusion of capitalism, that either one company "owns it all" or owns so much of "it", that it has undue influence over "the market". Then when they get caught out exploiting whatever, it's governments that step in and raise legislation, breaking them up until it starts all over again (again, unless the governments raise further legislation to prevent "monopoly").

That's my 2 cents (OK, maybe 50 cents) worth ::) :laughing7:

regards

fatbloke

liff
10-05-2008, 10:31 AM
Sorry to kick up an older topic....

Buisness exploiting labor and labor exploiting buisness are two sides of the same problem.

If labor says, "Pay us more or we will stop working." How in anyones mind is that statement not Extortion (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extortion)?

I think Fatbloke has it right when he says the 'collective' way of buisness is probably best. Everyone gets paid better when the buisness does good, and everyone gets paid worse when the buisness does bad. Utopia in my world right there.

However, Fatbloke has it wrong when taking potshots/insults/labeling other people in statements like:



Now that just sounds like a history lesson, from a "right wing" teacher Angus, a.k.a. FUD (Fear, uncertainty and doubt).

sandman
10-05-2008, 11:43 AM
I'm going to have to disagree on that point liff. For a reference I would cite "Atlas Shrugged" by Ayn Rand. It's long, it's verbose, and at some times it gets a bit preachy, but it makes some excellent points and it's a highly impacting novel. The main being you get what you earn. If you try the whole collective thing you're doomed to failure. There'll always be a contingent of people that'll realize they can do little to nothing and still get "their share" when working through a collective. While I agree with the Utopian societal concept it just won't work when reality bites.

Angus
10-06-2008, 02:53 PM
fatbloke,

FUD? No. Observation and discussion. My comment here would be - name one thing that a Union does that cannot be done by the employees themselves, or the courts. The employees can leave one company and go work for another if they are not being compensated fairly. May be hard for them, but when a company loses qualified staff, they take notice. The courts will ensure there is protection for the employees should the company be breaking any labor laws. So what is left? What role do the Unions perform that cannot be acheived by a fair and open market, supported by a just legal system?

Right here in Wisconsin, there is a GM plant that is closing because they are moving their manufacturing to another State where it is cheaper. The Automobile Manufacturer's Union is not blocking this move. Rather, they see that the welfare of the entire company will suffer if the move does not occur. If the entire company suffers, it could go out of business. If this happens, all of the workers will be without work, and the Union will die. Therefore, in an act of self-preservation supported by the fact that there will be no net loss of employees, the Union is letting it happen. The hypocrisy comes in the Union's reaction when management makes the decision to move overseas to acheive the same result, i.e. the company not going out of business. The Union opposes this vehemently. What's the difference? Answer - If the jobs go overseas, the Union has fewer members and will eventually become extinct.

What is the lesson I take from this? Any group, be it management or the Union, will make a decision as long as it benefits them. Nobody will do any more than they have to, want to, or need to unless they get something out of it. That is human nature. Now I agree that the ideal situation for our society is socialism, where all people earn the same, receive the same, and pay the same. A Utopia will exist when this occurs. Unfortunately, this will only happen when the science fiction of 'I, Robot' is made a reality and all of the work is being done by robots. Being paid the same as everyone else sounds great, unless you are the one crawling around inside a septic tank whilest someone else is teaching a supermodel how to Jet-Ski. Fair distribution of work for equal pay? Hardly. And as for the fair distribution of wealth, every person wants more than someone else. Our egos demand that we have a bigger house, faster car, more expensive Rolex. If we are all made to have the same as everyone else no matter how hard we work, we lose the desire to do more than the next guy, and our lives and economy stagnate. The collapse of the Soviet Union was caused by economic pressures, not idealistic ones. As Sandman states:



There'll always be a contingent of people that'll realize they can do little to nothing and still get "their share" when working through a collective. While I agree with the Utopian societal concept it just won't work when reality bites.

It is therefore up to the global businesses of this world to provide a service or product that people want, and to provide it as cheaply as possible without exploiting the workers. But, "exploitation" is a very delicate subject since the other side of that coin is "competition". For a company to succeed, it must find a way to cut costs, or convince the buyer that it is worth paying more for the product. Ferrari or Rolls Royce will always be able to charge a mint for their vehicles since the name brand recognition is so valuable that they have no incentive to manufacture a "common man's" car. They still have to be careful not to price themselves out of the wealthy person's market though. Toyota, Fiat, and Ford on the other hand must reduce their costs or die, since we the consumers are unwilling to spend more than we can afford. This means that the large companies must cut costs where they can. Since one of the biggest costs is transportation, it does make sense to move to the natural resources. But then there is the resultant cost of transporting the finished product to the consumer. Do these cancel each other out? To some degree. One of the natural resources a company has to pay for is labor. If a company can 'mine' the human resource cheaper in one location than another, they simply must since it is an absolute that their competitors will. If this location is in another country, what social or geopolitical reason could there be that would incentivize the company to remain patriotic in the face of economic pressures to build their product cheaper than the next? Hanging the biggest flag on the outside of an empty factory acheives nothing.

In conclusion - we all know what the right thing to do is. We all know that capitalism is the only motivational force that will eventually lift the 3rd World countries up to the same level of wealth and comfort that we enjoy in our developed nations. We also know that greed is an inherent principal of capitalism. It is therefore up to us to moderate our greed so as not to destroy ourselves or others, whilst at the same time allowing the gears of progress to slowly drive our economy, and the economies of the 3rd World, such that all people can acquire that which they not only need, but want.

"America's abundance was created not by public sacrifices to 'the common good,' but by the productive genius of free men who pursued their own personal interests and the making of their own private fortunes. They did not starve the people to pay for America's industrialization. They gave the people better jobs, higher wages and cheaper goods with every new machine they invented, with every scientific discovery or technological advance -- and thus the whole country was moving forward and profiting, not suffering, every step of the way." [Ayn Rand]

Angus - my 2 cents worth (which is the only change I expect to see should a certain party win this November ;) )

ucflumberjack
10-06-2008, 03:58 PM
If labor says, "Pay us more or we will stop working." How in anyones mind is that statement not Extortion (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extortion)?


Its not extortion:

Extortion, outwresting, or exaction is a criminal offense, which occurs, when a person unlawfully obtains either money, property or services from a person, entity, or institution, through coercion.

Demanding better wages is legal, so its not extortion. Its how the labor market works. If I won't work for $10/hour but my roommates will then I'll have to look somewhere else and they will be hired. Its why certain people work their asses off for less than minimum wage while others live off of wellfair. When unions artificially set those wages then there is an inefficiency. The money isnt being allocated effictively within the economy.

Medsen Fey
12-07-2008, 12:40 PM
Angus,

You are truly a prophet! :notworthy:


No sooner do you point out the generally poor performance of American automakers than they go in the tank. That's not bad enough. The chiefs of the big three fly in (on their private jets) to sit before congress looking like Moe, Larry, and Curly asking for $25 BILLION to bail them out of the mess that their poor choices have created. So they get shot down and have to go back to get $9 Billion worth of lobbyist to come back and ask for $34 BILLION of the tax-payers dollars, of which they are certain to get at least half.

Utterly unbelievable! What Chutzpah! The government decides to give out $700 BILLION :eek: to the banks, and these guys are lining up like pigs at a trough to get their snouts in. So you make a car that I don't choose to buy, then you come back to have the government take my money (essentially at gunpoint) to give it to you. I feel quite confident that if they could just jettison the car-making and close all the plants, and take the $34 Billion each year, they'd be just thrilled to do it - wouldn't have to be bothered by those pesky meetings and would have more time for golf - Woo, Woo, Woo, Nyuk, Nyuk, Nyuk!

What the heck is a working tax-payer to do?


Now Angus, since my retirement account has been wiped out, perhaps I can make a little back by short selling the next incompetent industry that's due to flop. What are you reading in the tea leaves? Who's next?

Angus
12-08-2008, 09:07 AM
Oh, I wish I had that skill. Superbowl is coming up!!

This was not a real hard one to predict. The car companies got themselves into big trouble 30 years ago, when nobody could compete against them and times were good, by making deals with the devil (UAW). Now, times are hard, and the union shackles are killing the industry. The foreign car companies explosion was proof of how the old way of doing business here in the States was just not going to work. Detroit did not listen. Sad.

So what is next? Back to the airlines. Oil prices have dropped dramatically again, but expect them to go up over the next few months/years. Airline ridership will drop as more people try to cut unnecessary expenses, pushing the industry closer to bankruptcy again (perhaps Detroit should be forced to follow the airlines example?).

As for a boom industry, BEER. Hard times push more people to look for something to cheer them up. This tends to result in an increase in drinking, and the cheapest alcoholic beverage is still beer. So if you are looking for an industry to invest in.....

***Disclaimer - I am not in investment analyst. I am an engineer. So if you follow my Mead addled advice and lose money by investing unwisely, I deny all responsibility. Of course, if you make a ton of money, my fee is 10% ;D ***

Angus

Teufelhund
12-08-2008, 11:03 AM
Well Angus, you're partly correct. However, if it wasn't for the GM CEO making $8.7 MILLION, ANNUALLY, with a 4.5 MILLION ANNUAL retirement package and the Board of Directors EACH making more than $5 MILLION a year, for shuffling papers and making gas hogs INSTEAD of what Americans REALLY wanted: a fast, futuristic car line that runs on water or electric or whatever, they wouldn't NEED our money!
Seeing as they are working WITH the gas and oil companies, sharing stocks and profits, it's only appropriate that they continue to make cars that run on gas and pertroleum products. Even beautiful smoggy LA whose toxic atmosphere peels paint has a Governor who drives a Hummer.
The original $700 Billion bail out was SUPPOSED to be for the housing market and insurance companies who got busted ripping off millions of Americans shamelessly and now every greedy son of a bitch who has screwed Americans over for decades had piss poor prior planning and they're losing their asses AGAIN and WE have to bail THOSE *ssholes too? Give me a break! Where is OUR voice as to HOW, WHERE and WHEN that money is supposed to be spent?? Just like a friggin' kosher tax!!
Let them go bankrupt! Many WILL lose jobs but only so long as it takes for someone to buy out GM and start making more fuel-efficient/enviro friendly cars.
Just my non-PC .02 perspective.

:occasion14:

DD

CarriageWorks
12-09-2008, 03:11 PM
My comment here would be - name one thing that a Union does that cannot be done by the employees themselves, or the courts.

Charge dues?

GrantLee63
12-09-2008, 03:25 PM
Now Angus, since my retirement account has been wiped out, perhaps I can make a little back by short selling the next incompetent industry that's due to flop. What are you reading in the tea leaves? Who's next?

Well, it should not be too difficult Medsen. If any of the domestics should fail, the other two will be gone shortly afterwards because the tier-one suppliers will NOT be able to stay in business should they lose one of the Detroit 3. Come to think of it, the plants that Honda, Toyota, Nissan, and Daimler have here in the U.S. will have to cease operating as well as they will lose those same tier-one suppliers.

Here in Michgan, even hospitals have started to lay-off staff as a result of greatly diminshed revenue because of the massive unemployment here in this deeply recession ravaged state - perhaps the medical industry will be next? That is what I'm reading in the tea leaves.

Once all is said and done, and there are another 2.5-3 million people (for starters) on the unemployment ranks, the number of industries to collapse will be many. So choose your industry and start short-selling because although the fall-out will be an economic catastrophe, there will be opportunities to capitilize !!!

- GL63

osluder
12-09-2008, 03:41 PM
There are valid points to be made on all sides of this discussion, but the automakers not making the cars we want is a red herring. Walk out into any parking lot here in Texas and you will see most of the vehicles are trucks and SUV's. The Ford F-150 pickup is the most popular vehicle by sales in decades. The immediate problem is a credit crunch: The financial markets literally seized up and no one is getting credit to do anything much less buy a car. One of the things automakers (all of them, not just the Big Three) suffer from is nimbleness: The time it takes to retool an assembly line is pretty long. The sole exception I know of is Nissan with a new, showcase plant in Ohio or Indiana, where they can retool in weeks rather than months. Toyota opened a Tundra truck plant here in San Antonio a couple of years ago. They had to idle the plant for three months recently and still have only brought back up one of two assembly lines. I have not heard anything about them retooling that one to build Prius's, but that might be moot with gas below two bucks a gallon.

As far as unions and such, I am pretty much in an industry devoid of them (Information Technology), but I would give serious thought to joining one. Not sure you can fault the unions for trying to get everything they can for their members when executive compensation is outrageous (already mentioned in other posts) having risen versus their "lowly" employees from maybe 20:1 to 200:1 since WW2. It is one thing for someone like me a white-collar professional with portable skills to "vote with my feet" and leave because I don't like what is going on in my workplace. It is an entirely other thing for a blue-collar factory worker maybe holding down two or three jobs just to keep his family fed.

Angus
12-10-2008, 09:04 AM
Outrageous salaries for the top execs of all companies is a problem. No doubt about that. There is a ton of blame to dish out on all sides of the issue.

The problem I personally have with unions is that they cannot be handily disposed of should their actions hurt the company. A CEO of any company can be kicked out if he/she are losing money/business, albeit with a golden parachute. Unions, on the other hand, cannot be kicked out unless the workers decide to do so, which is extremely unlikely. They use blackmail (i.e. strikes) to force their will upon a company, even if doing so will only result in bankruptcy. They are usually inflexible, obstinate, and greedy for their own little cabal of execs.

Look, there is no single group that I think we can blame the current auto crisis on. They are all to blame, corporate on down. And their lack of foresight may very well lead to many other industries and communities suffering, if not the entire country. They do cater to the needs of America with respect to SUVs and Pickups. But they must have known that the future would demand more economical and fuel efficient cars. Ford knew, since they build the Mondeo (deja vu, all over again). They just did not make the moves to set themselves up for the inevitable increase in gas prices here in the States. And the Unions, once the crunch hit, have done nothing to help cut the crippling costs in an attempt to stave off collapse. Continuing to pay people who no longer work for the company is ridiculous.

Something has to give. Let's hope somebody can talk sense into both sides before they hurt the whole country.

Angus

MrMooCow
12-10-2008, 10:29 AM
Outrageous salaries for the top execs of all companies is a problem. No doubt about that.

Actually, I'd argue the specifics of this a bit. Apparently, there used to be a law that forbid sitting on a corporate board if you were a CEO of another company, and vice versa. Something like 20ish years ago, that law was repealed/expired/whatever. So now, CEO A is a board member of CEO B's company, and CEO B is a board member of CEO A. So they do a lot of back scratching, voting each other unwarranted compensation.

It's not that CEO salaries are high, they should be high, it's that there are no controls in place to make sure that honest people are making honest votes regarding that high salary.

In my opinion, I say we let them all go bankrupt. When the day is done, it's not the responsibility of the government or the taxpayers to keep businesses in operation. There is no issue of critical services that will be lost, as with the airlines. If I need a new car, I'll still be able to get a new car.

These companies have flushed trillions of dollars worth of capital down the drain in the last 20 years. Literally destroyed it. Gone. Obliterated. I say there punishment should be that the same thing happen to them. This is the way of the Free Market, and in the long run it is good.

Vino
12-10-2008, 11:08 AM
They do cater to the needs of America with respect to SUVs and Pickups. But they must have known that the future would demand more economical and fuel efficient cars.

I think most Americans are too quick to point the finger at someone else for their lot in life...You make a valid point when you say they cater to Americans with respect to SUV's and Pickups...The problem is not the industry it is the consumer...just like in elections...we the people are who determine the market.

Over the past several years as gas prices have risen...SUV and Pickup sales have gone up when they should have gone down...it wasn't until gas prices went up to $4/gallon that people really started to feel the crunch...and sales slowed.

Example...I purchased a Honda Insight in 2001 that has averaged over 54MPG for the life of the vehicle...the purchase was a conscience decision to help reduce the demand for fuel until alternative sources were more readily available…in 2006 Honda stopped production due to slumping sales, note that gas prices at the time were averaging $3/gallon nationwide...why weren’t people buying the cars…STATUS!

Every soccer mom wants to drive the latest greatest “Biggest” SUV currently available…and since times were good financially (110% home mortgages, deferred payments, debt consolidation loans, and 60-72 month auto loans) people didn’t want to look too far into the future…pair that with an “It’s all about ME mentality” and the results are our current economic state.

I learned at an early age to not live beyond my means (thanks to my Grand Parents)…No bankers forced anyone to purchase a home they could not afford, no automobile CEO used gunpoint to sell SUVs and other gas hogs…It's not the Auto Industry CEOs job to look into the future to determine what we need...they are expected to make sure they are producing what we want.

When WE THE PEOPLE decide to make a change…change will happen.

Unfortunately, many will suffer as a result of the choices THEY made.

Please forgive me for breaking my rule of not discussing politics and the economy on forums…But that felt good.

Now I think I’ll drink some Mead! It's 5 o'clock somewhere :cool:

MrMooCow
12-10-2008, 11:18 AM
It's not the Auto Industry CEOs job to look into the future to determine what we need... they are expected to make sure they are producing what we want.

Absolutely true. And they didn't do this job, and so they should be allowed to go out of business.

osluder
12-10-2008, 12:21 PM
This is the way of the Free Market, and in the long run it is good.

Actually, one could argue that the current financial market mess is a good example that a totally unfettered Free Market is not good, but that some regulation is needed. For all that we wish high ideals in our fellow man, the simple fact is that human nature makes us largely greedy bastards looking out only for ourselves or those very close to us. The really funny thing is that when you poll people it's not them, but everyone else who is at fault. For example, Congress traditionally has very low approval ratings regardless of which party holds power, but if you ask individuals about their own congress-person, they walk on water. "Can you say cognitive dissonance? I thought you could..." ;D

Vino
12-10-2008, 12:30 PM
cognitive dissonance?

Someone stayed awake during Sociology Classes...;D

Angus
12-10-2008, 12:39 PM
It's not the Auto Industry CEOs job to look into the future to determine what we need...they are expected to make sure they are producing what we want.



Isn't it? I think it is their job to make sure they are not only providing a needed service, but to be looking to the future and determining what the consumer will need and want. Otherwise they will fade into obscurity and irrelevance (anybody bought a Palm Pilot recently?). This is how the foreign companies have taken over as the top selling car manufacturers. They cannot compete with the Chevy F-150, but the Camry is once again the #1 selling car in the US. A CEO, and the entire management staff, should be working hard to grow the company, not just sustain.

As for the consumer being the driving force, that is partially true. But remember that the consumer will be guided by other factors too, and the big one now is the price of oil. Detroit has got to be more agile and willing to change quickly to meet the changing market, or it will go out of business. What that means to the economy, who really knows. but it cannot be good.

Angus

wayneb
12-10-2008, 12:51 PM
I'm loving this discussion -- it is an almost classic example of the blind men describing an elephant. ;D Before anybody takes offense, let me explain what I mean by that....

The troubles of the American auto industry are complex, deep-seated, and long-standing. Everyone here who has posted their opinion of what is "wrong" with the current system is right... but not completely so. In fact, all these reasons, taken together, probably don't comprehensively characterize the entire problem. As a child of a union employee in a union town back when we had a strong steel industry in this country, I saw all too well both the benefits, and the problems, with unions. However, I also saw the raw greed inherent in the corporate steel management of the time virtually decimate our ability to compete in the world steel marketplace. And that was a market that WE first established at the end of the first world war, and GREW throughout the 1950's. We blew it ourselves. Government regulation, well intentioned though it may have been, didn't help matters any. And NOBODY, not the unions nor the steel management nor the government, could stop the migration of our "home grown" industrial capability to overseas venues.

It is tragically funny that our only other homegrown great industrial capability of the early 20th century, automobile manufacture, is currently sliding down an identical slippery slope.

I am only wondering one thing at this point -- which is going to last longer? The vestiges of an auto industry in this country, or this thread talking about the problem! :clock:

MrMooCow
12-10-2008, 12:53 PM
Actually, one could argue that the current financial market mess is a good example that a totally unfettered Free Market is not good, but that some regulation is needed.

Actually, it isn't neccesarily. A large part of the mess was caused by lost capital to conforming with useless regulations (Sarbanes-Oxley), or nonsense like being required by law to loan to people that were bad risks. Fanny/Freddie are somewhat of an example, but are really more of an example that people involved with economic oversight committees shouldn't be sleeping with CEOs ;D.

Vino
12-10-2008, 01:07 PM
The reason car sales are in the pits has nothing to do with what they are building...gas is below 1.50/gallon here in Alabama so gas guzzlers aren't a problem...It's the current state of the economy...It's not that people can't buy a new car...It's that most of those who would can't really afford it, so they can't get a loan (now there's a concept)...and the few who's credit is good enough for a loan are waiting for the economy to stabilize.

If Ford or GM were building a vehicle that averaged 50 mpg, they still would have a hard time selling them.

Over the last several years I have been a spokesperson for fuel efficiency and alternative fuel sources, and the majority of the people I meet say the same thing...the only way they'll give up their big SUV or F-150's is if they have no choice...as osluder said "cognitive dissonance"...how about the Escalade Hybrid...it gets an estimated 20-22 mpg...woohoo...the only reason they build it is so that greedy parents can tell their kids that they are doing their part for the Environment.

If our economy were to make a miraculous upswing over the next several months everything would return to business as usual.

Most people live with their heads stuck in the sand oblivious to what is actually going on around them...and the rest of us have to live with their mess.

MrMooCow
12-10-2008, 01:27 PM
the only way they'll give up their big SUV or F-150's is if they have no choice...

And why should it be any other way? Why would you not do something you want if the negative consequences are minor?

Why should I get a small car if I can, in some fashion, afford a big car? Why is it greedy to want to own a SUV? Because it uses more gas? So what? You use more honey then the average consumer. Are you greedy?

osluder
12-10-2008, 01:37 PM
I am only wondering one thing at this point -- which is going to last longer? The vestiges of an auto industry in this country, or this thread talking about the problem! :clock:

I'm betting on the thread! ;D

And after we solve all the ills of the auto industry, we should move on to affordable housing and global warming. :)

osluder
12-10-2008, 01:59 PM
[Unions] use blackmail (i.e. strikes) to force their will upon a company, even if doing so will only result in bankruptcy.

Unfortunately, that is the way the system works: Strikes are the only real leverage the unions have to get the company executives to the bargaining table.


No bankers forced anyone to purchase a home they could not afford, ...

Actually, there is evidence to the contrary: Predatory lending was at play for many (but certainly not all) of the people now in the direst straits. One typical ploy was to convince someone to accept an Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM) in hopes that they could sell or refinance before the rate adjusted. Unfortunately, as the housing market soured and the financial markets seized up, they were stuck in homes they could not sell and no longer afford.

lastbornjoker
12-10-2008, 02:05 PM
Actually, there is evidence to the contrary: Predatory lending was at play for many (but certainly not all) of the people now in the direst straits. One typical ploy was to convince someone to accept an Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM) in hopes that they could sell or refinance before the rate adjusted. Unfortunately, as the housing market soured and the financial markets seized up, they were stuck in homes they could not sell and no longer afford.

These people didnt use the "search" function.

MrMooCow
12-10-2008, 03:08 PM
One typical ploy was to convince someone to accept an Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM) in hopes that they could sell or refinance before the rate adjusted.

I have trouble accepting this claim. When I bought my condo, they offered me a lower rate if I took an ARM. My, says I, lower rates are always nice. I then says, "What's an ARM?" My banker tells me it stands for Adjustable Rate Mortgage. "Right, what does that mean?" He explains. I ask another dozen questions. He answers. I ask for a copy of the ARM contract. He sends it to me. I look over it very carefully. Finally, I agree to it.

Most of the people in dire straights did not do this. "Predatory Lending" is a buzz word that absolves the person in trouble of any responsibility from having failed to engage in due dilligence.

I recently refianced my home. The contract signing took three hours because I insisted on reading the entire 100 page contract, and having every little piece of it explained to me.

Additionally, when I first went for a mortgage, they offered me 3x my salary. Most people max this limit out. I, on the other hand, took the time to lay out a very precise budget for exactly how much I spend. I then increased all those numbers by 10% to account for future price increases in the absence of future pay increases. I figured out I could actually only afford 2.4x my salary.

For these reasons, among many, my mortgage rates aren't skyrocketing. I did my due dilligence, I was careful, thought my financial situation out in exquisite detail. Other people did not. I have little sympathy for these people.

osluder
12-10-2008, 04:10 PM
Sorry to keep highjacking the thread with a side discussion on home lending practices, but ...


"Predatory Lending" is a buzz word that absolves the person in trouble of any responsibility from having failed to engage in due dilligence.

It is not a buzz word, but a recognition that there are many factors--including a certain level of confidence gaming--at play. Did you do your due diligence? It sounds like absolutely yes and all the more credit to you. Others may not know the right questions to ask or take at face value what they are told by someone they consider knowledgeable or trustworthy. Perhaps you would just call them gullible and maybe they are, but does that absolve a con man of any wrong doing because the mark should have known better? The law (in most cases) says otherwise.


Nobody's right if everybody's wrong. -- Buffalo Springfield, For What It's Worth (1967)

MrMooCow
12-10-2008, 05:09 PM
The law (in most cases) says otherwise.

Actually, Fraud law is pretty specific. You have to demonstrate that the "con man" was actually lying, knew he was lying, and was doing so with the express purpose of defrauding someone.

The fact that few of these so called "predatory lenders" have actually been arrested and charged with a crime indicates that none of this is true. They offered people a deal, those people took the deal, and got bit in the ass. They should have known better.


Others may not know the right questions to ask

Then they shouldn't have tried to buy a house. One of the reasons I don't play the Stock Market is I recognize that I don't really understand it well enough to even begin to research a company to determine it's future worth.


take at face value what they are told by someone they consider knowledgeable or trustworthy

Their mistake. Again, /they/ failed to read the contract, to do their due dilligence.

More to the point, I have yet to see any evidence that most of these lenders actually lied. I'm sure there were a few who did, but the vast majority of people had plenty of opportunity to read the contract. They didn't, and that's their fault. They allowed themselves to be led astray by fancy marketing and slick talk.

The job of a business is to convince you that you /need/ their product. You have got to have a Big Mac, you have to have a BMW, you have to have $150 jeans. How many other businesses do you want to blame for these people's problems? Best Buy shouldn't have sold them a big screen tv! Harlem Furniture shoudn't have sold them leather couches! Ford shouldn't have sold them a $50k SUV! It's not the buyers fault! How were they to know they couldn't afford these things?! Why did no one save them from themselves?! Oh the Humanity! :rolleyes:

Query: I recently purchased a large sum of raw honey from Company X. A week later, I find out that Company Y has the exact same brand of honey for $1 less a pound. Whose fault is it that I over paid? The answer is my fault. Company X in no way forced me to make the purchase. They offered me a price, I chose to accept it. I, through my own laziness, didn't think to look for a cheaper price elsewhere. The lost money is the price I pay for a lesson learned.

Query: Is the Megamillions Lottery a scam? Yes, they tell you the odds are 1:175,711,536 , but it's in tiny print several clicks away from their main website. How many people actually understand what that means? If I purchase 175,711,536 tickets, and don't win, did the Lotto Commission "con" me?

Rambling. Here's my position in a nutshell: If the lender actually lied to them, he should go to prison. If instead, as I believe is usually the case, he failed to look out for their best interests and they failed to read the contract.... well tough. I am not my brother's keeper.

osluder
12-10-2008, 05:22 PM
I am not my brother's keeper.

And therein lies the problem and why we must agree to disagree. I do believe I am my brother's keeper. :)

MrMooCow
12-10-2008, 05:52 PM
I do believe I am my brother's keeper.

Hey, more power to you. Frankly, it's all I can do to keep myself from trading my only cow for some magic beans..... ;D

Vino
12-10-2008, 05:56 PM
I do believe I am my brother's keeper. :)

ditto

I am leaving to go to my LHBS to pick up supplies for 2 batches of Robust Porter and a couple of 3 gallon carboys…I’m listening to UB40’s Red Red Wine with the MP3 player set to loop.

Life is too short to dwell on the things I can’t control...hope I haven’t wasted too much of anyones time with my mindless babbling…I also hope nobody took offence at my posts…even with all the differing views I think we can all agree that over the next 12-18 months we will be facing some extremely difficult times.

dum spiro spero

osluder
12-10-2008, 06:28 PM
Back to the elephant grope ... ;D

Of course, calling the Big Three "American" automakers is a misnomer as is calling Toyota, et al., "foreign" automakers as so many of their vehicles are made here in the US. GM and Ford (at least) are really huge multinationals that happen to be headquartered here. I (mis)heard something in passing on the news the other day that even though GM makes tons of fuel efficient cars for other markets (Europe in particular), they are not brought over here because GM would not get credit against their Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) score. Anyone know the truth behind this?

Teufelhund
12-12-2008, 05:21 PM
Anyone who supports the CEOs of OPEC and the Big 3 need shock therapy. Perhaps then they could tell me WHY, exactly, the SOBs always jack up the price of gas every Thursday thru Sunday? People get PAID, that's why! They HAVE to fill up for the weekend and coming week and they know it too so they %#@ you! >:(
Personally, public floggings and the ol' tarring-and-feathering comes to mind and I can't write what I would really like to do. This is just a PG forum after all.

:occasion14:

DD

MrMooCow
12-12-2008, 05:46 PM
Actually, that's called supply and demand. The demand goes up, so the price goes up. It's actually a function of the market which acts to ensure a steady supply of goods. The alternative is price controls, which as history has repeatedly shown lead to long lines and product shortages.

More to the point, there isn't anything wrong with it. The fact of the matter is, there isn't a single one of us that doesn't use this function to our advantage. Example: In general, the more experience you have in a particular skill, the fewer contemporaries you have compared to your industry as a whole. IE, there are more novice engineers then master engineers (blacksmiths, accountants, artists, etc). The supply is lower, and so the price is higher. This is why you get paid more the more experienced you get in your job. The person who regularly turns down merit pay raises is the person who gets to criticize gas companies for raising prices when demand goes up.

Angus
12-12-2008, 09:58 PM
Well, there we go. The senate has rejected the $15 billion loan. The Republicans voted it down and are being blamed. Funny thing though. I thought the Democrats have a 58 seat majority in the Senate. Am I wrong? I guess 41 seats has more votes than 58.

Why was it voted down,we must now ask ourselves. The CEOs all agreed to make changes, and are working for $1 salaries (yes, I know they already have millions stashed away so it is not going to hurt them personally, but it is a gesture). Who is therefore to blame? The UAW union refused to make any concessions until the next union vote, which I think is in 2010 or 2011. They were not even given specific concessions that they disagreed with. They were just asked to work with management to try to stave off bankruptcy. And they were completely unwilling to give a single inch.

Who is at fault in this loan rejection, the UAW or management? I think the UAW. And if they are the ones at fault in this obviously desperate situation, perhaps this shows who is really the problem in the collapse of the auto industry. This is why unions are a cancer and will lead to nothing but the end of any industry they are involved in, in my oppinion.

Angus

MrMooCow
12-12-2008, 10:40 PM
This is why unions are a cancer and will lead to nothing but the end of any industry they are involved in, in my oppinion.

Under the right circumstances, Trade Unions, in my opinion, are at the very least not more harmful then they are useful. The UAW is a Collective Bargaining Union, where as the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers is as a Trade Union.

If I own a construction company, and I get more contracts then I have workers, I just pick up the phone and call the Union Hall. They send me a guy who they to some extent guarantee has X capabilities and Y competencies. If I decide he isn't worth shit, I call the hall up and they're pull him back and send me someone new.

From my vantage point as a Construction Engineer in the Illinois Public Works sector, they seem to do a pretty good job. I've rarely run across a worker, laborer, electrician, finisher, pipe fitter, etc who didn't pull his own weight. The two times I have, I saw the foreman give the guy a warning, then send him back to the hall with no complaint from the Union. Granted, he may get passed around from contractor to contractor like a bad cold, but in the big scheme he's not coddled enough to encourage other folks from doing the same.

In this case I agree that the bail out was sunk by the UAW. However, the situation as a whole has plenty of blame to spread around. Even if the UAW had offered concessions the whole thing would stink. When the Government begins taking actual ownership of manufacturing facilities, it's pretty much all down hill from there.

- Brett

sandman
12-12-2008, 10:48 PM
I stilll blame both sides on this one. The CEO's may be working for $1 this next year, but I guarantee there'll be bennies or bonuses involved in that $1 paycheck as well.

As far as the union goes, yep, they're grabbing for as much as they can at the expense of the rest of the american workforce. They're emulating the actions of managements lead all these years.

I actually got an email from a buddy today he had forwarded to me from Michael Moore of all people. Now I loathe Michael Moore for so many reasons I won't even get into it here, but these points were pretty valid to me.

"They could have given the loan on the condition that the automakers start building only cars and mass transit that reduce our dependency on oil."
"They could have given the loan on the condition that the automakers build cars that reduce global warming."
"They could have given the loan on the condition that the automakers withdraw their many lawsuits against state governments in their attempts to not comply with our environmental laws."
"They could have given the loan on the condition that the management team which drove these once-great manufacturers into the ground resign and be replaced with a team who understands the transportation needs of the 21st century."

No excuses for the UAW's actions here, but shouldn't we have made some of those demands on the car companies before giving them anything rather than just hitting on the workers? Everyone got us into this situation, shouldn't everyone should get us out of it rather than just sitting around pointing fingers?

MrMooCow
12-13-2008, 01:08 AM
Actually, no, we really can't. Central planning doesn't work. The absolute best solution long term is to let the companies go out of business. It's a hard pill to swallow, but it's really the only way.

Telling them to build X or Y is fraught with disaster for two principle reasons: One, It depends on magical technology they don't currently possess. Two, we can't be certain people actually want to buy these magical devices.

One of things most anti-oil people just don't understand is that oil is a really, really, really good deal energy wise. The energy input to output is huge compared with pretty much everything else. Anyone who thinks they'll see actual independence from oil within their life time is either foolish or a dreamer. Based on current rates of increase, it's a 75-100 year window for wind, solar, etc to start being competitive with oil. Nuclear is our best bet at the moment, but that's going to require a massive paradigm shift in the way folks think. Without some massive leap in technology (think on par with the transistor), it's just not happening anytime sooner.

And no, we can't become independent of foreign oil in any fashion that matters to the common person. Oil is traded at the global level, so the price is independent of how far away from you it was drilled. It may have military advantages to have a primarily domestic oil supply, but no real every day benefits.

Vino
12-15-2008, 11:33 AM
And no, we can't become independent of foreign oil in any fashion that matters to the common person.

We will become independant of foreign oil in the next twenty years...but not the Oil companies!

I worked for years in Fuel technology research under contract with the DOE, during which time we developed technologies such as Advanced Coal Liquefaction, Coal Gasification, conducted Solar and Wind research, as well as other technologies.

Solar and Wind technologies will never be viable alternatives if all we ever do is TALK about them…for years people have been saying we are years away from utilizing these sources of energy…the problem is that as long as we talk about it, we will always be years away.

The United States could convert existing oil refineries to produce fuel from coal (which we have in massive amounts) in less than a year, nuclear power technology is such that small self contained power generators could be installed to power large cities, fuel cell technology is advanced to the point that it could become the next “oil”, not only providing fuel for automobiles, but also for small home size generators providing additional power to reduce consumption from power plants.

Many people that follow technology trends believe that Fuel Cell technology will suffer because of a lacking infrastructure…my prediction is that when the Oil companies (BP, Exxon, Chevron) make sure that they have the contracts or rights to distribute the fuel we’ll see fuel cell pumping stations nationwide followed by a new line of fuel cell powered US automobiles flooding the market.

BTW, can you guess who provided most of our funding?

MrMooCow
12-15-2008, 01:21 PM
We will become independant of foreign oil in the next twenty years

No, we won't. There is absolutely no evidence to support this position. Even if we switched all of our cars to some kind of oil free thing, we still needs massive amounts of oil to support manufacturing plastics (which is really what we use most of the oil for).

Edit: Whoops. I'm making up statistics again. Gotta stop doing that. ;D

Still, I don't see managing to convert the entire US vehicle fleet from oil based in 20 years given that we haven't come up with any guaranteed answers as to what the alternative is.


Solar and Wind technologies will never be viable alternatives if all we ever do is TALK about them

No one is "just talking". Plenty of companies are doing research in this field. They still take time. Baring a tech leap, we're just not going to see anything in the near future. Betting on that is a bad plan.


The United States could convert existing oil refineries to produce fuel from coal (which we have in massive amounts) in less than a year

At what cost? Give me the cost estimate to do this. I can't imagine it's cheap.


nuclear power technology is such that small self contained power generators could be installed to power large cities

Well, maybe. That's still up in the air. It looks like that's the case, but we're still a few years away from this being proven technology. The first prototypoes have only just been built, so I think it's jumping the gun to say this is a done deal.

More to the point, convincing people to put a nuke plant in their backyard is going to be a nightmare. Even if we get the tech down pat, NIMBYs (Not In My Backyard)will pop out of the woodwork.


Many people that follow technology trends believe that Fuel Cell technology will suffer because of a lacking infrastructure

Absolutely. And it'll take decades to get that infrastructure in place to the point that we can claim to be "off the oil standard".

And of course, even when we do, how much will this cost? People have this idea that fuel cells will be cheap because they essentially run on water. But what happens when everyone starts using water as a fuel? You've got large sections of this country that can barely provide enough water for /drinking/, much less for running cars.

Ultimately, unless you can get the cost down well below $0.10 a mile or less, it's not really worth the investment in infrstructure. If the cost if more then $0.10/mile, most people would be better off just going with a proven technology like Hybrids, that only require infrastructure changes at places like factories rather then an almost block-by-block change that fuek cells will require.

Teufelhund
12-15-2008, 02:54 PM
'Nuff said.....

http://www.conspiracypenpal.com/rants/billions.htm

:occasion14:

DD