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Poll of Automaker's problems

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vote here

Along with an article on the Chrusler job cuts, there is a poll of readers to discern the cause of the big 3's troubles. I voted that the problem was high health care costs. Other options include building lousy cars, not knowing what the coutomer wants, and the most popular - all of the above.

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I was going to vote "none of the above" because in my opinion, the greatest hurdle that the manufacturers are going to have to overcome is public perception. However, you can't deny that Health care costs and union wages are a problem for the Detroit automakers. As for the others...

"Too many employees"

We are talking about huge companies that need to cover a lot of ground in a short time span. They need engineers, designers, manufacturers, marketers, web developers, accountants, lawyers, and I've barely scratched the surface.

"They don't know what consumers want"

Consumers don't want pick-up trucks, the Solstice, the Corvette, the Escalade, the Chrysler 300, the Ford Fusion, the Mustang, the Charger, and the HHR? Customers won't want the Lambdas, the G8, and the 2008 CTS? Bull. The Big 3 know exactly what consumers want: a prominently displayed H or T badge.

"They make lousy cars"

Quality and performance numbers put the Big Three at least on par with other major manufacturers. I can go ahead and name some "lousy" Detroit cars (the Five Hunde-- Taurus, the G6, the STS), but then I can continue and name several imports that are just as lousy (the Avalon, the Sonata, the E-Class).

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+1 High healthcare costs.

but in reality the true problem is "high legacy costs". The expectation that any company can offer a lifetime pension after retirement is insane in this day and age. All new GM employees should be offered a 401k program with matching funds just like the rest of us in the U.S. The pension system should be phased out entirely.

The "lousy cars" is wrong also. For every lousy domestic there is an equally lousy foreign car.

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I voted all of the above.

It seems like all too often that when it comes to regular production automobiles, the domestic automakers seem like the blind man in the dark basement trying to find a black cat that isn't really there.

Although health care, benefits, and the old people cost a crap load of money, there are many other issues that go along with this.

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