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De Lorenzo is 3 for 3

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http://www.autoextremist.com/current/

New Detroit vs. Old Detroit in Washington.

By Peter M. De Lorenzo

Detroit. In the last week I have done several live and taped radio interviews across the country and with the BBC in London, a spirited interview with Diane Tucker appearing in The Huffington Post entitled, “Journalist to GOP: You're 100 Percent Wrong About U.S. Automakers,” and I have several national and international TV appearances slated for the next few days too. The subject? The looming implosion of Detroit, of course. People want to know the who, what, when, where, why of this whole thing, and they want to know about the cost, both in terms of taxpayer money needed and the real cost to the economy if the Detroit automakers don’t receive these bridge loans.

The din out there in the media right now is so anti-Detroit, anti-“bailout” that I welcome the opportunity to present the other side of the debate, even if it appears with each passing day that Detroit is running out of time and unable to break through the negative media clutter that envelopes the industry at every turn. And after that death march of a hearing before the Senate Banking Committee yesterday, I’m even more pessimistic.

When Alan Mulally, Rick Wagoner, Bob Nardelli and Ron Gettelfinger sat down in front of the microphones, I knew it wasn’t going to be good, especially when Peter Morici – the relentlessly self-promoting economics professor from the University of Maryland – sat down next to them (more on him in “On The Table” this week – ed). Which Senator was responsible for inviting him is anyone’s guess, but it was clear that this was a setup from the get go.

We then had to watch as each of these U.S. Senators spewed their particular brand of inaccuracies and flat-out misconceptions about the automobile industry in their opening statements. A very few were actually worth listening to – and I mean like two - while most of the others were so blatantly self-serving and out of touch with reality that it was painful to watch. And then some acted like they were just hatched yesterday and were so resolute in their lack of awareness about what was going on and why they had to be there in the first place that it was simply appalling .

I can’t help but think that when enlightened Americans watched these people in action – the people who were actually elected by us to be in office – that they recoiled in horror at the absolutely stunning lack of knowledge, awareness, sense of place, sense of well, anything that was displayed by these Senators yesterday. Is this really the best we can do? I certainly hope not.

At any rate, the message in that hearing room was clear: Detroit put itself in the shape it finds itself in by building bad, low-tech cars that nobody wants. That they were regurgitating the now-obligatory woeful misperception of Detroit that has spread across the country - a Detroit that hasn’t existed for the better part of a decade, by the way - was obvious. The fact that these Senators weren’t aware of the kind of ultra-competitive products that these companies have out now was predictable. And the fact that they weren’t aware of the kind of leading edge technological development that Detroit is actively engaged in was predictable too.

Being clueless in Washington isn’t all that uncommon, unfortunately, but when misconceptions, half-truths and flat-out lies get hoisted up the flagpole as Fact, then it’s no wonder that the leaders of these Detroit car companies were on the defensive and unable to score points with the judges.

Proof of that was on display yesterday when the senators in that hearing room kept talking about restructuring, as if it was a new-fangled idea that these Detroit CEOs weren’t aware of. And they had to be reminded over and over again that Detroit has been restructuring and revamping since 2000, that Detroit hasn’t been operating in a vacuum, that Detroit does build competitive and class-leading products, that Detroit has pioneered new technologies, that Detroit is a viable, relevant, strategic industry that’s part of the crucial fabric of America’s manufacturing base, that the worst financial crisis in seven decades has wreaked havoc on their ability to do business, and on, and on, and on.

Back when things were booming for the domestic automobile industry, the importance of lobbying in Washington and having a consistent and focused image strategy that presented these companies’ positions and outlined their contributions to the American economy wasn’t a top priority. Now that it is, and the Detroit Three are playing catchup - while taking body blows and backed up against the ropes - the Old Detroit is still slamming the New Detroit to the ground.

The Perception Gap that exists out there for the Detroit automakers isn’t narrowing, it’s actually growing wider. Because when Americans get what minimal news they’re willing to digest – and only because it’s pre-packaged in carefully doled-out sound bites – then the Old Detroit will perennially overshadow the New Detroit, hands down.

Detroit may get help from Washington, but left to their own devices - and timetables - it’s looking like the politicians will come up with something that’s too little and too late to actually make a difference.

And that’s a giant bowl of Not Good.

Thanks for listening.

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So very true, and so very sad.

Of course these same elected officials were more than happy to bailout the banks.

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aaaaand, 4 for 4:

http://www.autoextremist.com/on-the-table1/

November 19, 2008

Dick Shelby. The stumblebum Senator from Alabama could barely contain his glee at the sight of the CEOs of the Detroit Three sitting before him asking for bridge loans. His mind was as closed as the incentive-laced back room deals that he helped grease in order for Hyundai, Mercedes-Benz, Honda and Toyota to build plants in his home state. It's not a national problem, he insists, even though Toyota and Honda are both extremely fearful that if one of the Detroit Three goes down, it will take their shared suppliers down with them. Shelby is a clueless, self-serving buffoon who displayed his true colors for all of America to see on Tuesday. Nicely done.

The U.S. Senate Banking Committee. The opening remarks by these Senators bristled with enough half-truths, un-truths and flat-out inaccuracies to fill up the airwaves for a month. What, did they send their staffers home early for the break, or is that just the standard operating procedure and level of interest that they bring to work each day in the Senate? Yikes.

Bob Menendez. It's hard to make Dick Shelby look august, but this Senator from New Jersey was a tightly wound, boiling cauldron of mediocrity from the time he first opened his mouth. Hello, New Jersey, you actually voted for this guy? Wow.

Peter Morici. The fact that this self-promoting hack was allowed to testify before the Senate committee on Tuesday was unconscionable and a measure of the "setup" that was in place before the hearings ever took place. Morici is consistently more interested in promoting his brand than he is in presenting useful information, and his command of the facts in the case of the crisis in the domestic automobile industry left much to be desired, needless to say. Why this abject embarrassment was allowed to impart his "wisdom" at the hearings is beyond us. Pathetic.

Neal Boudette. Continuing the Wall Street Journal's relentless jihad against Detroit and the Detroit-based automakers, Boudette weighed-in with an item on WSJ.com on Tuesday afternoon (11/18) that takes Detroit's top executives to task for flying to the hearings in Washington D.C. on their company jets, instead of flying commercial. Boudette said, "There are good reasons for flying the company plane to Washington – it’s corporate policy, ensures their security, saves executive time, which is a legitimate and limited resource. Still, taking the corporate jet costs thousands of dollars more than flying commercial and that may not help the auto makers’ already controversial request." Then Boudette adds, "Now GM’s Rick Wagoner will try to make the case he’s doing everything it can to stave off disaster. It may have helped if he were able to add: 'And the sacrifices are starting with me. I've cut my pay and in fact I took a Northwest flight to get here today to save the expense of using the corporate jet.' " I'm sure Autoextremist readers would love to know that this is the same Neal Boudette who has availed himself access to flights on many of these automakers' corporate planes himself, so it's more than a little puzzling that he would choose to slam the top executives of the Detroit car companies on this issue, don't you think? The Wall Street Journal's coverage of the crisis in the American auto industry has been reprehensibly flawed and blatantly biased from the beginning, a classic example of how piss-poor hacks masquerading as front-line journalists can screw-up a story on a grand scale. Boudette closed his little post with the following: "When these three executives turned to politicians for money, the political implications of their travels and salaries became relevant." To that we say when a publication with the reputed reputation of the Wall Street Journal allows this kind of crap to go out under the guise of "responsible journalism," then that publication becomes fair game for the kind of brutal attacks that are sure to ensue.

VW, Tennessee. Do you want to know what the real scope of subsidies to import auto manufacturers looks like? Click here and see what the State of Tennessee is doing to make sure VW has a golden ticket to build a plant there. It's a sad irony that Senators like Dick Shelby are decrying any kind of help for the Big 3 as "nationalization" or "state cars like in Russia" when Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee have been directly subsidizing the foreign makers via abatements and giveaways for years.

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Let's not forget Ohio and Honda now...

Chris

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Your not the only one. And here is the thing...once our domestic auto industry is gone, who is to say that the import brands will leave their plants here?

Honda is allready pulling its motorcyclew plant from Ohio, and sending it back to Japan. What is keeping them from pulling Civic and Accord production if there is no domestic competion?

Chris

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>>"Bob Menendez. It's hard to make Dick Shelby look august, but this Senator from New Jersey was a tightly wound, boiling cauldron of mediocrity from the time he first opened his mouth. Hello, New Jersey, you actually voted for this guy? Wow."<<

This, the "Soprano State", is so F'ed up politically, it's hopeless. I didn't vote for this clown; every sound bite I hear/see of him makes me blurt out "IDIOT!", but the 'blue' hardliners keep pulling those levers overwhelmingly....

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for vw...AIG, LOL

A $35 million environmental insurance policy is provided for the site through AIG.

like i said in the other topic, this detroit lynching has a sidebar, the south is pissed that they couldn't get plants from the detroit 3, now look at how they get their revenge..........and you wonder why they are so against it

Edited by regfootball
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He's 100% right on... as I was listening to the senate and house hearings, I was completely baffled by the total lack of knowledge the politicians had in the auto industry.

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There was an idiot on the radio the other night, late shift, talking about the 'bailout'.

He actually said, seriously & repeatedly, 'Don't worry, they'll sell everything off and the models will be picked up by other manufacturers who will built them better & cheaper.'

{Hey neighbor, how do you like my new toyota Chevy Malibu LE?}

As he rattled off his cars, 3 of 5 were japanese, of course.

I wanted to drive to the station and punch him in the throat.

Naturally, most callers agreed NOT to get loans for the autoamakers.

Hope some miracle happens soon.....

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Neal Boudette. Continuing the Wall Street Journal's relentless jihad against Detroit and the Detroit-based automakers, Boudette weighed-in with an item on WSJ.com on Tuesday afternoon (11/18) that takes Detroit's top executives to task for flying to the hearings in Washington D.C. on their company jets, instead of flying commercial. Boudette said, "There are good reasons for flying the company plane to Washington – it’s corporate policy, ensures their security, saves executive time, which is a legitimate and limited resource. Still, taking the corporate jet costs thousands of dollars more than flying commercial and that may not help the auto makers’ already controversial request." Then Boudette adds, "Now GM’s Rick Wagoner will try to make the case he’s doing everything it can to stave off disaster. It may have helped if he were able to add: 'And the sacrifices are starting with me. I've cut my pay and in fact I took a Northwest flight to get here today to save the expense of using the corporate jet.' " I'm sure Autoextremist readers would love to know that this is the same Neal Boudette who has availed himself access to flights on many of these automakers' corporate planes himself, so it's more than a little puzzling that he would choose to slam the top executives of the Detroit car companies on this issue, don't you think? The Wall Street Journal's coverage of the crisis in the American auto industry has been reprehensibly flawed and blatantly biased from the beginning, a classic example of how piss-poor hacks masquerading as front-line journalists can screw-up a story on a grand scale. Boudette closed his little post with the following: "When these three executives turned to politicians for money, the political implications of their travels and salaries became relevant." To that we say when a publication with the reputed reputation of the Wall Street Journal allows this kind of crap to go out under the guise of "responsible journalism," then that publication becomes fair game for the kind of brutal attacks that are sure to ensue.

You know, I'm so f*cking tired of hearing about this....

The companies are burning BILLIONS of dollars to remain alive. In the grand scheme of things, a damn corporate jet isn't a drop in the bucket.

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We just had a plant close in Dayton...things are going to get real ugly in the Buckeye state unless things change real fast...

Chris

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You know, I'm so f*cking tired of hearing about this....

The companies are burning BILLIONS of dollars to remain alive. In the grand scheme of things, a damn corporate jet isn't a drop in the bucket.

The CEOs should have responded to the idiotic comments about the planes this way"

Senator, we reserve the use of our corporate jet for pressing business and this occassion qualifies.

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Your not the only one. And here is the thing...once our domestic auto industry is gone, who is to say that the import brands will leave their plants here?

Honda is allready pulling its motorcyclew plant from Ohio, and sending it back to Japan. What is keeping them from pulling Civic and Accord production if there is no domestic competion?

Chris

BINGO! WE HAVE A WINNER.

Since GMAC has yanked leasing and Chrysler has gotten out of leasing, I have noticed all the imports advertising 5.9% and higher lease rates. Lease payments on a Honda have gone up - and that is against a recent record high $C. :scratchchin: That is far different than a year ago. I was thinking just that: if this is what Honda and Toyota are pulling now just because we've gotten out of leasing, what will happen if GM (and/or Ford) aren't around at all?

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Just wait - Henry Waxman (LA, Beverly Hills, CA) replaced Dingell (from MI and a friend of the Big 3) on the House committee that oversees the auto industry.

I would spend some time learning about him.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Waxman

GOP urges Waxman to drop support of California emissions limit

David Shepardson / Detroit News Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON -- Republicans wasted no time in urging the new chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee to back automakers.

House Republican Leader John Boehner of Ohio wrote the new chairman of committee, Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif, on Friday urging him to reconsider his support a bill to allow California and 13 other states to impose a 30 percent cut in tailpipe emissions by 2016.

The letter came a day after Waxman defeated Rep. John Dingell, D-Dearborn, who had been the top Democrat on the panel since 1981.

http://detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?A...449/1148/AUTO01

That is only part of it.

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Just wait - Henry Waxman (LA, Beverly Hills, CA) replaced Dingell (from MI and a friend of the Big 3) on the House committee that oversees the auto industry.

I would spend some time learning about him.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Waxman

GOP urges Waxman to drop support of California emissions limit

David Shepardson / Detroit News Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON -- Republicans wasted no time in urging the new chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee to back automakers.

House Republican Leader John Boehner of Ohio wrote the new chairman of committee, Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif, on Friday urging him to reconsider his support a bill to allow California and 13 other states to impose a 30 percent cut in tailpipe emissions by 2016.

The letter came a day after Waxman defeated Rep. John Dingell, D-Dearborn, who had been the top Democrat on the panel since 1981.

http://detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?A...449/1148/AUTO01

That is only part of it.

QFT

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