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CARBIZ

THE TOYOTA STAR IS AT IT AGAIN

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Here is a link to the wonderul, well researched article in the Toronto Star today:

www.thestar.com/Business/article/533168

Not sure if that is how you do it, but that is the article in this rag today. This rag never ceases to amaze me with their hatred of the U.S., and Detroit.

Anyway, here is the text of the email that I sent this ass-clown, David Olive:

I used the description of: Toyota called: your check is in the mail,

followed by,

"I am speechless. Your meager understanding of the auto industry is breathtaking. I don't quite know where to start.

I guess the part that angered me the most is where you give the illusion that Washington somehow gave Chrysler a gift back in '79. Are 'loan guarantees' a gift? Did Chrysler not pay it back, with interest, within 3 years? If you knew anything about banking, the sheer definition of a banker is someone who will loan you an umbrella on a sunny day, then yank it back at the first sign of clouds, to coin a phrase. How is GM or Ford supposed to exercise their 'turnaround' plans when all funding has dried up?

Are the twin disasters of the oil bubble and the mortgage/banking crisis the fault of Detroit? No. Nor were the twin oil shocks of the '70s. Were lessons learned from the oil shocks? Indeed, U.S. oil consumption flat lined for over a decade after the '79 hostage crisis oil spike. Were the current horsepower wars of the past decade Detroit's fault? Who had the first 240 horsepower minivan? Toyota. Who just spend 1.3 billion dollars on a truck plant, deliberately placed in the heartland of the truck market of Texas? Would Wagoner or any of his cronies still have a job if GM's virtual deadlock on the large SUV market was not defended? Toyota and Honda do not answer to Wall Street, sir. Any VP who had proposed to spend $1 billion on a small vehicle (like the recently launched Cruze) in 2001 would have been summarily fired. Was the EV-1 project not investigated (and shelved) in an era of sub-$30 a barrel oil?

Wagoner did have the foresight to drag Lutz out of retirement 7 years ago and put him in charge of product development. All the accolades and awards that GM has won in the past couple years are Lutz creations. Mulally has done the same thing over at Ford. The Cobalt XFE gets the same mileage as your precious Civic.

Here are some facts that you conveniently left out:

1) Fact: GM, Ford and Chrysler still account for more than 50% of the sales in both our countries, and 70% of the auto-related jobs. Sure, Toyota opens a couple plants here and there, but the bulk of their parts (not to mention the far more important value-added jobs and intellectual property) all comes from Japan. If all the engineers, metallurgists, chemists and such are in Japan, where will your grandkids work in 10 years? Wal-Mart?

2) Fact: Jim Press, who ran Toyota for 2 decades in North America, and who is credited with building the Lexus brand, now openly admits that the Japanese government paid for the synergy drive development. Coupled with an artificially low yen, protectionist import laws in Japan, ability to borrow at 0% in Japan to finance their overseas operations, 'free healthcare' in Japan and a host of other advantages, is it any wonder that Japan Inc has been so successful in North America? Why is it that Toyota is not even in the top 3 or 4 in sales in ANY of the world markets, except North America? Perhaps your journalistic curiosity could be tweaked a bit there, no?

3) The catalytic converter and the crash test dummy are but two inventions of GM's that you conveniently left out. Didn't GM risk all in '71 by announcing the switch to lead-free gas? Weren't they the first all-line manufacturer in '93 to install ABS on all its vehicles? Wasn't GM the first to 'downsize' its full sized car in '77 - at great risk? Isn't Toyota and BMW scrambling to catch up in the areas of telemetrics? On Star has given GM a 10 year lead in this all important field.

4) What about the $24 million design and engineering studio GM built in Oshawa a few years ago? While Honda and Toyota slap together a few vehicles here, GM actually designed and engineered both the Equinox (as the upcoming fuel cell) and Impala (40 mpg in a 201" 6-passenger?) right here in Canada.

I won't even get into the problems of a future President having to beg China or Japan to build tanks and troop transport vehicles for it in a future war. Wasn't Detroit the 'arsenal of democracy?'

You were correct about one thing: Wagoner and the Board are fighting a multi-front battle. GM and Ford both build fantastic vehicles overseas (the Astra has been #1 in Europe for some time), but then GMNA has contracts and commitments (like over 1 million retirees) to answer to. Or would you suggest throwing them all to the wolves? GM is the #1 healthcare provider in the U.S. Honda has 200 retirees on the payroll.

In an article covered in the Post on Thursday, it is estimated that within 3 years of GM and Ford going down, over 3 million jobs would be lost in the States alone and the loss of over 150 billion in tax revenue. Did Detroit make mistakes? Yes, they did. As much as I dislike Roger Smith's tenure, how could he have defied UAW contract demands at a time when GM commanded 40% market share and made billions in profits every year?

If North America is going to have any kind of healthy manufacturing base, it can only do so with a healthy domestic auto industry. It is literally the backbone of industry. Any recover plan is going to have to involve better, fairer coverage by the media. News of the Toyota Tacoma's frame problems, Consumer's Report's mea culpa last year about ignoring problems with the Camry and Avalon and electrical problems over at Honda have gone completely unobserved in the mainstream press. How do you explain that?

Both GM and Ford have exit strategies to this mess. The Chevrolet Volt (which has already been widely driven by media types in the U.S.) is within 18 months of full production. Don't believe it? Then why is Toyota cranking up their PR machine to oppose it? Hmmm?

Every once in a while I make the mistake of picking up the Star and when I do, it never fails to remind me of why I cancelled my subscription 4 years ago, after 22 years of faithfully reading your paper."

My apologies to you veterans who have heard most of this before, but clearly this so-called writer has not. The entire rag was filled with suggestions that Ford and GM be allowed, no encouraged, to die.

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'BIZ, short of having an extremely bad experience with a GM, Ford or Chrysler machine or being felt-up in a theater by UAW members, I can not fathom the overarching contempt of the manufacturers or the workers as I'm seeing here and there.

Personally, having had 32 GM vehicles in nearly four decades, the biggest deal I had was a leaking intake-manifold gasket on a 1990 1 Ton Chevrolet Silverado pick-up. Numerous little items, of course, that were routinely dealt with in turn at services intervals. That's it.

Yet in driving the highways and byways I've seen as many foreign-branded/built vehicles stranded with concerned owners peering owlishly under the hood as though enlightenment would suddenly come upon them and through insight and chewing gum the situation would be rectified and their travels would resume.

Go figure.

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Will your well-written rebuttal be published? If it isn't, you'll know why. Your subject line is correct.
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GM is the #1 healthcare provider in the U.S. Honda has 200 retirees on the payroll.

Maybe this very fact is the catalyst for Obama to push nationalized health care.

I am not totally for it, but maybe this really is what is the 'outdated business model' here. Maybe its not GM out of date. Maybe its our national culture of the employer being responsible for this. If other countries pick up this tab, well, no sht sherlock, you can spend more on interior plastics and R&D!!!!!

I still think aside from the 'reliability myth'....that interiors is the single most area that people formulate their 'imports are better' position on. No doubt an Audi interior is WAY NICE. But cmon, that Audi costs way more than that 500 of mine that attempts to mock it. So if you are a well off person who loves to spout, of course you will spend more on your car and it will be nicer and that you will tell everyone else its better.

Edited by regfootball
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Nationalized healthcare is not the answer. In those countries where healthcare, not just health coverage, is nationalized, the health system is in even more crisis than the US. The difference is there is no money to pay for hospital staff, or hospital facilities. You can afford heathcare, you just can't get it. You can turn up to an empty emergency room and still wait hours for treatment. Nurses and doctors are overworked, underpaid and overwhelmed leading to mistakes, poor hygiene and inadequate care. Universal, non-employer-based healthcare coverage is essential for industry and consumers, but it just shifts the cost burden. Healthcare globally is a morass of exorbitant cost over-runs, waste, inefficiency, and in the worst cases, chronic malpractice. Healthcare needs a company like Toyota to re-organize it from the ground up, from pharmacies to GPs, to specialists to hospitals, universities and pharmaceutical companies (now there is an industry which needs to be nationalized). You need a way to pay for it, but more importantly, to keep costs under control but innovation and quality increasing.

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What we need is a few strong, yet smart CAW members to sneak up behind this guy (or this team of writers) in a dark alley on night and "change their opinions"

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One of the reasons the domestics are in trouble more than they should be IMO is this kind of inaccurate crap reported as "fact".

Buyers who are tossing and turning between buying domestics and imports read this stuff and figure it is factual.

Edited by CMG
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More and more I am starting to question whether the internet, or media in general, need to somehow be reigned in. Negative news (and it's not just limited to GM) just seems to play on and on and on. It's to the point where I can barely watch business programs any more.

I was reading on the fastlane blog earlier and it blows me away the degree of anger and sheer hatred of the domestic auto industry out there. People really need to grow up. Seriously. The degree of jealousy/hatred toward the UAW is uncalled for. Blaming GM for union concessions made in good times is ridiculous. Blaming the unions for holding out for higher pay is also ridiculous - that is what the UAW leaders are paid to do. Killing an entire industry just because it is trapped with relations and ties to a different time is not the answer.

GM has a lot of responsibilities to its workers. Whether we like it or not, they have signed contracts. They also have contracts with their dealers, too. They cannot close brands or lay off many more people without it costing big time. They need breathing room to get the cost savings (P-B-GMC merger for the States and healthcare offloading) in place.

What they do need is LOAN GUARANTEES from Washington and Ottawa to free up banking money to allow them to get to market the vehicles in the pipeline (Orlando, Equinox, etc) and for the American car market to recover - all of which will happen by the 3rd or 4th quarter of next year. The Silverado/Tahoe hybrids are just coming onstream now and the truck market will probably recover over the next several months.

All the cost savings that were worked out over the past 3 or 4 years are only going to bare fruit in 2009/2010.

It just rots my f'ing socks that the oil bubble and housing market crash - both products of greed from persons unknown (who should all be in jail, IMO) could break the spine of industrial North America.

Hmm, I wonder where Toyota has been investing all of its profits over the past few years? :scratchchin:

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Ah sounds like more media bull$h!.

+1

Glad Carbiz has such a rational and thought out reply.

Chris :convertible:

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More and more I am starting to question whether the internet, or media in general, need to somehow be reigned in. Negative news (and it's not just limited to GM) just seems to play on and on and on. It's to the point where I can barely watch business programs any more.

I was reading on the fastlane blog earlier and it blows me away the degree of anger and sheer hatred of the domestic auto industry out there. People really need to grow up. Seriously. The degree of jealousy/hatred toward the UAW is uncalled for. Blaming GM for union concessions made in good times is ridiculous. Blaming the unions for holding out for higher pay is also ridiculous - that is what the UAW leaders are paid to do. Killing an entire industry just because it is trapped with relations and ties to a different time is not the answer.

GM has a lot of responsibilities to its workers. Whether we like it or not, they have signed contracts. They also have contracts with their dealers, too. They cannot close brands or lay off many more people without it costing big time. They need breathing room to get the cost savings (P-B-GMC merger for the States and healthcare offloading) in place.

What they do need is LOAN GUARANTEES from Washington and Ottawa to free up banking money to allow them to get to market the vehicles in the pipeline (Orlando, Equinox, etc) and for the American car market to recover - all of which will happen by the 3rd or 4th quarter of next year. The Silverado/Tahoe hybrids are just coming onstream now and the truck market will probably recover over the next several months.

All the cost savings that were worked out over the past 3 or 4 years are only going to bare fruit in 2009/2010.

It just rots my f'ing socks that the oil bubble and housing market crash - both products of greed from persons unknown (who should all be in jail, IMO) could break the spine of industrial North America.

Hmm, I wonder where Toyota has been investing all of its profits over the past few years? :scratchchin:

pretty much it. i just read where obama and the dems differ from bush. bush will only part with the money for the automakers if the dems agree to free trade with colombia and some other country.

if you would have asked me 2 days ago i would have said the loans would come through but now its going to happen that bush isn't going to do anything and Obama won't have the time to do anything.

the venom people have for the us auto industry on internet sites is incredible, although i still maintain a lot of it is from punks in their teens and early twenties who probably barely just got their liscense and more than likely have no grasp yet about what it takes to make a house payment and a car payment. but everyone believes everything they see on the internet and all those stories exist because some 'journalist' wants to shock the masses with a human drama. 'big corporate giant fails'. its like they feel like they are doing us all a favor with these endless speculation articles.

Hate to say it, but i think they are going to let them all go under and we'll be forced to watch the nasty mess play out. the people want to see this happen. the public is so angry and possesses so much hatred they want to take it out on a big company like GM to get some kind of revenge. But that doesn't solve the issue.

Any GM downsizing should be scheduled and planned over time....dealer reductions, etc. to let shutdown occur and the rapid failure of dealers and lost jobs occur in a compressed timeframe is unthinkable. at a minimum the loans would lessen the blow and spread out the transition to a smaller structure.

I think if I were the Detroit 3, I would pull the plug on the north american auto show this year as a statement. pay the convention hall for the lights and employees and concessions, but cancel the whole she-bang. send all the journalists home, don't feed em. Donate money to the local food shelters as they will be needing it more than the beat writers.

well, it was a nice 100 year run. but it might indeed be best to let public opinion win and have the US, the inventors of the automobile, opt out of the world car market. we will become pure consumers, assuming we have any money left for cars. there is a nice tata nano for you over here, sir.

BTW, Angus MacKenzie at MT has a brief fantastic editiorial this month on why we should help them out. Not laden with conjecture like most 'expert' articles. Just simple points of view that appeal to common sense.

yup, housing and oil broke the camel's back. don't also forget bushie wushie has problem spending that load money in Iraq every month.....for what exactly? Why bush is so intolerant of providing loans to the automakers when he himself has spent us into oblivion.......?

Edited by regfootball
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