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  • William Maley
    William Maley

    Ms. Barra Goes to Washington

      Hoping to mitigate some of the damage caused by the announcement

    General Motors' upcoming restructuring plan where more than 10,000 jobs will be cut and five factories losing products has caused many politicians to become very upset. Yesterday, CEO Mary Barra traveled to Capitol Hill to try an mitigate the social damage by this announcement. Those expecting Barra to backpedal or balk under pressure from various lawmakers on moving production of certain vehicles out of Mexico to plants in the U.S. would come away disappointed. 

    “I want to make sure that the workforce knows that there are limitations and we do have an overcapacity across the country. I understand this is something that impacts the country and I understand that there is a lot of emotion and concern about it,” Barra told reporters in a press conference after meeting Senators Sherrod Brown (Democrat) and Rob Portman (Republican) of Ohio.

    The two senators have been critical about the plan and pushed Barra in their meeting to get a new product in Lordstown, whether that be one of the 20 new EVs GM is planning or move production of the Chevrolet Blazer from Mexico.

    “GM says it expects to build 20 new EVs in next five years. We want one or more of those vehicles to be built in Lordstown, Ohio. That’s where it belongs,” said Portman.

    Barra said during the meeting she'll "keep an open mind but she doesn't want to raise expectations."

    Speaking to Reuters, Barra said it would “very costly” to shift production from Mexico of the Chevrolet Blazer that will begin shortly. But she did mention "GM planned to add other products at U.S. plants next year." Whether that includes Lordstown or not remains to be seen as negotiations with the UAW kick off next year.

    President Donald Trump has been very critical of this plan, saying he could eliminate federal subsidies on electric cars - something that would hurt other automakers more than GM as it's close to 200,000 mark where the $7,500 subsidy begins to fade. When asked about this, Barra gave an indirect answer.

    “I understand this is something that impacts the country and I understand that there is a lot of emotion and concern about it,” said Barra.

    She continued by saying GM wanted to “do the right thing for our employees but also make sure General Motors is strong and lean in the future.”

    Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required), Detroit Free Press, Reuters

    GM Statement: Chairman and CEO Mary Barra on meetings with members of Congress from Ohio and Maryland

    “I had very constructive meetings with members of Congress from Ohio and Maryland. I share their concerns about the impact the actions we announced last week will have on our employees, their families and the communities. These were very difficult decisions -- decisions I take very personally. I informed the members that many hourly employees at the impacted U.S. plants will have the opportunity to work at other U.S. GM plants and that we are committed to working with them to minimize the impact on the communities. I also informed them that all salaried GM workers impacted by these actions are being offered outplacement services to help them transition to new jobs.”

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    Lordstown will most likely join the ranks of Fords Wixom Michigan plant or Fords Lorain assembly plant as a historical rather than current production facility. If anything, it is better to get the pain over with quickly and re develop. Communities don't gain anything from a shuttered plant in their midst.

    Really understand why both of them are doing it but disappointed to the highest degree with my senators for pressuring GM. It is GM's plant, they have a right to close it if they wish.  Making other profitable plants subsidize Lordstown will only drag the whole company down.

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    58 minutes ago, riviera74 said:

    Lordstown is scared because of what happened to Youngstown back in 1977.  Youngstown never fully recovered from the loss of six steel mills.

    Ohhh absolutely. But my point is GM owns the plant...if they want to move it or shutter it...that is there right.

    Now...no statewide elected official can be seen as neutral on this and keep his job.

    I just don't want the thing to sit empty for ten years like Janesville did for GM.

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    14 hours ago, riviera74 said:

    Lordstown is scared because of what happened to Youngstown back in 1977.  Youngstown never fully recovered from the loss of six steel mills.

    True, true...my childhood hometown down the river from there (Steubenville) lost a ton of mill jobs in the 70s, never recovered and has maybe 1/2 of it's population left today.     Same story anywhere that a city has a dying, old-economy industry as it's main employer(s) and doesn't diversify. 

    Edited by Robert Hall
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    10 minutes ago, Robert Hall said:

    True, true...my childhood hometown down the river from there (Steubenville) lost a ton of mill jobs in the 70s, never recovered and has maybe 1/2 of it's population left today.     Same story anywhere that a city has a dying, old-economy industry as it's main employer(s) and doesn't diversify. 

    So true, companies have to respond to stay alive and while people might not like it, it is not the governments role to force companies to keep jobs alive. It is their role to diversify the economy and look at ways to improve the overall quality of life in the city that they are responsible for with the basics of security, fire, medical, roads, schools. Make it a inviting multi-cultural place that is desirable to live with benefits for companies to setup shop and you can forget worrying about one company destroying the city. 

    I remember when Seattle in the mid 70's had signs all over that said, last person leaving turn off the lights during the big downturn in Boeing and Weyerhaeuser lumber. Pretty much until Microsoft opened and John Fluke expanded, those two companies is what most worked for and when the jobs / layoffs started, plenty of people lost homes and were scared about providing for their families.

    I can understand and relate to it as my dad went through it and I remember my mom going to the food bank. It was rough, but we survived and dad started his own business repairing cars much cheaper than the local mechanics charged.

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    1 hour ago, dfelt said:

    So true, companies have to respond to stay alive and while people might not like it, it is not the governments role to force companies to keep jobs alive. It is their role to diversify the economy and look at ways to improve the overall quality of life in the city that they are responsible for with the basics of security, fire, medical, roads, schools. Make it a inviting multi-cultural place that is desirable to live with benefits for companies to setup shop and you can forget worrying about one company destroying the city. 

    I remember when Seattle in the mid 70's had signs all over that said, last person leaving turn off the lights during the big downturn in Boeing and Weyerhaeuser lumber. Pretty much until Microsoft opened and John Fluke expanded, those two companies is what most worked for and when the jobs / layoffs started, plenty of people lost homes and were scared about providing for their families.

    I can understand and relate to it as my dad went through it and I remember my mom going to the food bank. It was rough, but we survived and dad started his own business repairing cars much cheaper than the local mechanics charged.

    Free markets are wonderful things when used properly.

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    There is nothing that a 50% tariff on all cars imported from Mexico, or anywhere else for that matter, won't fix. In fact, there is very little a 50% tariff on all imported goods won't fix.

    Free Trade = Suicide.

    Less Trade, or even no trade, is better than Trade Deficits. Trade Deficits = out flow of wealth, period.

     

    Edited by dwightlooi
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    6 minutes ago, dwightlooi said:

    There is nothing that a 50% tariff on all cars imported from Mexico, or anywhere else for that matter, won't fix. In fact, there is very little a 50% tariff on all imported goods won't fix. 

     

    That would kill the economy.  What percentage of consumer goods are imported?  Pretty high I think...

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    Here's the (hypothetical) thing. Standing there, palms upturned, and stating 'McDonalds is upping their price of cheeseburgers by 50% how am I going to eat, I'm going to STARVE!" is wondrously short-sighted. The word is 'options' and everyone has 'em.

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    2 hours ago, dwightlooi said:

    There is nothing that a 50% tariff on all cars imported from Mexico, or anywhere else for that matter, won't fix. In fact, there is very little a 50% tariff on all imported goods won't fix.

    Free Trade = Suicide.

    Less Trade, or even no trade, is better than Trade Deficits. Trade Deficits = out flow of wealth, period.

     

    This is profoundly anti American and anti free market. In fact thinking like this is exactly why I drive a car built in Mexico.

    I don't want the government telling me what to drive...period.

    2 hours ago, Robert Hall said:

    That would kill the economy.  What percentage of consumer goods are imported?  Pretty high I think...

    Or conversely how many of our exports would be stone walled? Ask midwestern farmers how that trade war is working out for them.

     

    I suppose if closing yourself off from the world and abandoning trade worked North Korea would be the most prosperous country on the planet. In fact the opposite is the case.

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    56 minutes ago, balthazar said:

    Here's the (hypothetical) thing. Standing there, palms upturned, and stating 'McDonalds is upping their price of cheeseburgers by 50% how am I going to eat, I'm going to STARVE!" is wondrously short-sighted. The word is 'options' and everyone has 'em.

    Quoting again...everybody has 'em...yes...and alternatives have a unique way of opening markets.

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    2 hours ago, A Horse With No Name said:

    This is profoundly anti American and anti free market. In fact thinking like this is exactly why I drive a car built in Mexico.

    I don't want the government telling me what to drive...period.

    Or conversely how many of our exports would be stone walled? Ask midwestern farmers how that trade war is working out for them.

    I suppose if closing yourself off from the world and abandoning trade worked North Korea would be the most prosperous country on the planet. In fact the opposite is the case.

    There is four problems with your argument.

    #1 How is it anti-American to encourage the consumption of American goods and services? And, since when is Free Trade "American" or "Un-American"? The USA was very much a tariff economy through out most of the industrial revolution and all the way past WWII. It is totally fair to tariff imports. Why? Because foreign manufacturers do not pay US taxes do they? They don't pay by our labor standards do they?

    #2 A country like the USA with lots of resources, technology, infrastructure and people can make everything that we need and want. In fact, we used to and that made the USA the per-eminent world power. However, because Americans have higher living and working standards, it will ALWAYS cost more to build locally than to buy from 3rd world countries. When you buy more than you sell it is called a Trade Deficit -- an outflow of wealth from your country to another. If you have no barriers and no policies to encourage domestic production and consumption, you WILL buy everything and make nothing. The sht hole countries will buy nothing from you and sell you everything.

    #3 You cannot want social safety nets, a minimum wage, environment standards and also want Free Trade. You have to choose between wanting these things or having factories in the USA that pays 20 cents an hour. Yeah, let's have a minimum wage and mandatory labor standards, but let's buy stuff from countries with no such nonsense with Free Trade. Makes a lot of sense! They get all the jobs, you get all the deficits and instead of workers making minimum wage you get workers with no job on welfare .

    #4 Trade is war and it has been waged since the beginning of time. You can either fight or you can lose. The EU tariffs US cars at 10% while we tariff theirs at 2.8%. China tariffs our exports from 20~60% while we tariff theirs at in the single digits. Normally, you sign deals like this when enemy tanks are on the Capitol Lawn! But we willingly sign such unfair and losing agreements. This is because for decades our elected Swamp Creatures have not been negotiating in our best interests. They were negotiating in the best interests of transnational corporations like Apple which cannot care less where products are built or sold, or which countries get richer or poorer, only that they profit in the process.

    Free Trade is simply stupid. It is stupid because a country which makes nothing and buys everything with its accumulated wealth is neither secure nor sustainably wealthy. At some point, you will be that useless country with an expended treasure trove. Free Trade is also stupid because it simply doesn't exist.

    Tariffs do not close you off to the world. Nobody is banning imports or exports. You can buy whatever you want. But, if you buy Russian Vodka or Chinese electronics you are going to pay more. Sure, other countries will retaliate with tariffs, well we have a $800 billion deficit so they will LOSE any trade war. And, much of the exports which you lose you regain in domestic sales due to barriers to imported competition. And, US workers and US companies making US goods pay US taxes. Chinese workers and Chinese companies making Chinese Goods DO NOT. It's not rocket science.

     

    Edited by dwightlooi
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    It's Anti American to have the government dramatically reduce your choices. If you want Cadillac to build you a Lumina and sell it to you as a Fleetwood...this is exactly what they would do without competition.

    I will not be lectured or shamed or taxed into buying American products. End of story.

    Now if I freely choose to buy American that is something else entirely.

    Agree with you on elected swamp creatures though.

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    45 minutes ago, A Horse With No Name said:

    It's Anti American to have the government dramatically reduce your choices. If you want Cadillac to build you a Lumina and sell it to you as a Fleetwood...this is exactly what they would do without competition.

    I will not be lectured or shamed or taxed into buying American products. End of story.

    Now if I freely choose to buy American that is something else entirely.

    Agree with you on elected swamp creatures though.

    Is it anti-American to pay your taxes?

    Instead of paying for an American made product whose company and workers pay US taxes, US wages and comply with US employment laws, you pay a TARIFF to buy a product whose manufacturer pay no US taxes, no US wages and comply with no US laws. I think that's fair. Who is dramatically reducing your choices? You can buy all the imports you want; it just won't cost less than US made stuff.

    What is not fair is to have US taxes, US wages and US laws which result in that iPhone being $1000 if made in the USA, and at the same time having no tariff so you can buy it for $500 from some Foxconn factory in China which pays no US taxes, no US wages and comply with no US laws!

    How is that ever going to work anyway? On one hand you want a high standard of wages, benefits and safety for American workers which then causes American made stuff to be more expensive. On the other hand, you want to allow companies to make the same product in another country without the high wages, benefits and safety for a lot less and sell it in the USA with no tariff? No wonder we send over $800 billion -- more than we ever spent on Defense, Education or Infrastructure -- overseas every year more than we bring in!

    It's time to forget the "Free Trade is Great" nonsense the media and your stupid professors have been selling you for decades, and wake up to Common Sense!

     

    Edited by dwightlooi
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    a lot of this recent GM and probably Ford bullshit.  They clearly want to shed US production, and keep digging into the union contracts.  That's probably why Ford initially killed the Ranger back when, at least part of it.  Now they are bringing it back.  GM can kill making the Cruze and other vehicles here, Ford can kill Fusion and Focus.  Rid the market of such things for awhile, then bring the products back and stealthily have choice of making it elsewhere.

    There is a part of this that is political also.  Like it or not, they want to hold this over Trumps head for the 2020 election.  Get started on shaping public opinion now.  "This is Trumps fault".  They want their voter base that switched in 2018 to 'switch back' for 2020.

    GM's 'bailout' in 2009 had so many strings, one of which was bow to the CAFE altar, spend tons of $$$ of EV's (curiously without any product to show besides the Volt and Bolt and nothing to challenge Tesla) and dump all sorts of coin  into autonomous technologies (which someday will make government control of your transportation device and surveil you).

    Pontiac, Saab, Saturn, gone.  Cars with power, gone (Unless you pay dearly).  Now GM spends more time worrying about PR, social media, autonomous vehicles, etc.  They ignore their traditional base a lot of the time, and can't keep up fast enough with new products.

    This really would have been a good time to replace Barra, and concentrate on product again.  By that, I mean more and better choices, better gasoline engine powertrain development, and at least getting real competition for Tesla if they want to think they are part of the EV game.  Fix Cadillac, try to keep market share elsewhere and gain it, not cede it.

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    21 minutes ago, A Horse With No Name said:

    As it is I like Cadillac but the domestics are pretty much dead to me. They are not going to be building affordable product that I like.

    Agree with pretty much everything reg said.

    The domestics all basically abandoning the affordable products is their first step to the graveyard.  And they don't really care.  I look for Hyundai and Kia to make big gains in the next ten years and take over most of the affordable segments.

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    5 minutes ago, regfootball said:

    The domestics all basically abandoning the affordable products is their first step to the graveyard.  And they don't really care.  I look for Hyundai and Kia to make big gains in the next ten years and take over most of the affordable segments.

    I sadly have to agree with you on the first step to the grave. There are too many options today for a company to ignor customers from the entry level to the Luxury. With the start of moving to EVs, this will open up many options to smaller company's that can address and offer tech that buyers want that the traditional OEMs are ignoring.

    I honestly think Rivian will be the next new auto startup that will move forward and take some lunch from the traditional builders.

    GM ( I am sorry, but must state it this way) FUCKED UP when they killed the avalanche and EXT. As a loyal GM buyer for generations, I had bought my Escalade ESV Platinum and was planning to get an EXT when they killed it off.

    I honestly feel GM made a major mistake by not offering a like product on the new platform. I get they killed it off as they moved to a new platform but they should have also had a like product to offer in both the Chevrolet and Cadillac platforms.

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    10 hours ago, regfootball said:

    The domestics all basically abandoning the affordable products is their first step to the graveyard.  And they don't really care.  I look for Hyundai and Kia to make big gains in the next ten years and take over most of the affordable segments.

    And even up from there. Look at how fantastic the Kia Stinger is. The momentum is not with the domestics on new and creative thinking for the most part. 

    Look for Benz and the Europeans also to consolidate their lead ina the Luxury segment, and Tesla and others to dominate in electrics. 

    I could really see Ford becoming a utility company buildinf F series and Transits, with some SUV's and Mustangs thrown in for good measure...but largely a utility truck company. 

    GM I could see selling genteel cars for the upper middle class...Buicks and Cadillacs and GMC Denali products. profitable, but MUCH smaller than they are now. 

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    https://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/why-general-motors-is-ditching-the-chevy-volt

    Good read with clear answers from GM on why they are Ditching the Volt. I can understand it now.

    This is another example of the bulk of buyers are not getting out of Electric mode and so the engine sits and is the worst thing for it just sitting and never running.

    The charts supplied also show a valid reason to go all electric over ICE. I think GM's focus on ICE near term with pure electric being the long term plan makes sense. I also now think we will see Cruze like replacement options coming out.

    CA_EV_Sales_H1_2018_2176_1152_80.jpg

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    2 minutes ago, balthazar said:

    You'd think a guy who flipped & flopped his hands around so much might put them to use to clean out his shithoard garage for once.

    Not only clean out his garage, if he cared about anything other than listening to his voice, how about cleaning up the old bags of waste on the background. But sticking to cars, how about the occasional engine bay cleaning, how dirty his car is behind him. 

    The cut in change is terrible, clearly does not care about anything but bashing GM. He has no knowledge of the VOLT, clearly is just a bashing due to some past experience that he still is pissed about. WOW, talk about an idiot in how he addresses the ignition recall, praises Fiat, what a joke. 

    Clearly is all about buying american made Japanese products and ends with a watch my repair videos and ring my bell for support. What an Idiot.

    Have to say it was one of the hardest videos to watch, I would not watch that again unless there was a point I missed that was so important I had to see it.

    :puke:

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