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Caravan to DC !!!

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Detroit's new plan: Drive point to Congress

Fuel-efficient caravan would roll to hearing

BY TOM WALSH and MARK PHELAN • FREE PRESS BUSINESS WRITERS • November 24, 2008

A plan is taking shape for auto suppliers, dealers and the UAW to participate in a cavalcade of fuel-efficient American-brand vehicles to Washington, D.C., in December, when Congress reconsiders the industry's plea for quick action on low-interest loans.

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The aim is to put a populist face on the need for the American auto industry's survival and to build grassroots support for federal aid, in the wake of criticism that the Detroit Three chief executive officers and UAW President Ron Gettelfinger did not make a convincing case during two days of congressional hearings last week.

"There was so much misinformation in the hearings last week. I'd love to see something come to fruition where people show what this industry means to the country," said Carl Galeana, president of Galeana Automotive Group, which has domestic and import dealerships in Michigan, South Carolina and Florida.

"I'll do whatever I can to save this industry," he added.

The proposal took shape Friday after Tim Leuliette, chairman and CEO of Dura Automotive, a Rochester Hills-based supplier, broached the idea to Rick Wagoner, Alan Mulally and Bob Nardelli, the CEOs of General Motors Corp., Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler LLC. Other supplier executives and auto dealers were quickly engaged in the discussion.

"We want to help dispel the myths" about the Detroit Three, Sean McGuire, Dura vice president of marketing, said Sunday. "It's important to show that these are truly high-tech companies that produce a variety of alternate-fuel and high fuel-efficiency vehicles."

Ford, GM, Chrysler and UAW representatives expressed support for the idea Sunday.

"The UAW thinks it's great that so many people understand the importance of good American jobs and know the value and quality of American vehicles," spokesman Roger Kerson said.

The goal is to bring together a group of 100 or more auto industry leaders and local officials for a rally in Hart Plaza in support of the loans. A cavalcade of hybrids and other fuel-efficient vehicles made by GM, Chrysler and Ford then would head to Washington, with stops along the way for rallies and news conferences. If the CEOs and Gettelfinger present Congress with a specific recovery plan as requested by Dec. 2 and appear for more testimony on Dec. 8, the cavalcade probably would begin on Sunday, Dec. 7.

But the date and the specifics are still under discussion.

Metro Detroit component suppliers and dealers are generally supportive of proposals for a bridge loan of $25 billion to the Detroit automakers to help with immediate cash flow needs, plus another $25 billion already approved for retooling to make more fuel-efficient vehicles. But many are concerned that Congress has a distorted view of the industry, which was exacerbated by the contentious exchanges at last week's hearings between the CEOs and some members of Congress, who criticized the CEO salaries and use of private corporate planes to attend the hearings.

Many suppliers and dealers already have sent letters supporting aid. But they think that a more visible public show of support is warranted.

In a letter sent Nov. 13 by Leuliette to President George W. Bush, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and members of Congress, he said, "The U.S. auto industry is an integral part of the American economic fabric. It has been aggressively and successfully restructuring but it has been caught in a perfect storm that caused an economic crisis over which the industry has no control. The crisis not only endangers that restructuring but the future of one of America's most important industries.

"As a nation we are in the midst of the greatest financial crisis since the Great Depression," Leuliette wrote. "It will deepen if the auto industry collapses. Without federal loans that is not a possibility; it is a certainty."

Contact TOM WALSH at 313-223-4430 or twalsh@freepress.com.

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Tee hee.

Wonder where they got this idea from....

:CG_all:

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I smell the beginning of a social movement!!!

(GM, are you reading my posts?)

If this goes off as planned, this could have a HUGE impact on turning the perception of these companies around. But it needs to be flawless.

And the media needs to be alerted and asked to cooperate (Most of the time, the media is alerted to social movements by the people who design them -- the media is an industry and they will cover what sells, good or bad)

The only question is; will the media give Detroit a chance or will it continue it's smear campaign?

This is the kind of grassroots main street campaigning that the industry needs to embrace. america has no idea what clout this industry still holds. america views this industry as old, deceitful and disposable because it doesn't understand how many peoples lives these companies still affects. This is where the UAW and all the little people like us come in and it is why I have been shamelessly promoting the "bailout" in every way possible. (Seriously, has anyone seen my Facebook?) If all of the people affected by this industry come together, then we can't be ignored.

Edited by FUTURE_OF_GM
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If I had one of the new GM vehicles, I'd join the caravan and follow along to DC.

edit: Hell, if I had one of the old GM vehicles with 200,000 miles on it, I'd follow along also to disprove the myth that the old stuff was crap.

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We are such trend setters 8)

It's an excellent idea. I think they should open it up to more than just executives and officials, but a caravan of them and any owners of new GM Ford or Chrysler models that are fuel efficient, and make it a huge event, to show just how many people care about the American auto industry.

Edited by Dodgefan
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If I had one of the new GM vehicles, I'd join the caravan and follow along to DC.

edit: Hell, if I had one of the old GM vehicles with 200,000 miles on it, I'd follow along also to disprove the myth that the old stuff was crap.

I like that idea too of owners with high mileage cars (or trucks in this case) journeying with them.

But which would I take? I have so many (3)! :scratchchin:

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I like that idea too of owners with high mileage cars (or trucks in this case) journeying with them.

But which would I take? I have so many (3)! :scratchchin:

Best condition + highest mileage.

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Best condition + highest mileage.

Good way to narrow it down.

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Gee I wish I had an idea like this and started a thread on cheers and gears on doing a caravan to DC. :rolleyes:

I am glad they are paying a lot of money to people just to use some horse sense! It is no wonder they can figure out the auto market.

Now fire up the damn Cruze Volt Mule and hit the road.

You know they will screw this up some how. I know some idiot will send the hybrid SUV and expect the unwashed media to understand them as they get blasted for only getting 22 MPG.

If it does not get 30+ MPG highway GM does not send it.

Pay attention GM you need to make a big impression on Washington and a lot of Toyota and Honda owners not the local GM fans.

Edited by hyperv6
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We are such trend setters 8)

It's an excellent idea. I think they should open it up to more than just executives and officials, but a caravan of them and any owners of new GM Ford or Chrysler models that are fuel efficient, and make it a huge event, to show just how many people care about the American auto industry.

I don't agree with you on everything, but you are right on about this one. They need this money and in addition to that if they get the money they need to change their buisness model and get costs down to Toyota/Honda levels. This is what they needed to do the first time, they need GM owners and also workers from all around this great nation. As for the idea of a Caravan I think it started here first. :AH-HA_wink:

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One thing that still pisses me off about this whole situation is that the Big 3 have to jump through hoops to split $25 billion, while the government write out a check for $20 billion to Citigroup with no strings attached, no demands for a restructuring plan, no demands for cut workforce, reduced pay, and reduced benefits.

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One thing that still pisses me off about this whole situation is that the Big 3 have to jump through hoops to split $25 billion, while the government write out a check for $20 billion to Citigroup with no strings attached, no demands for a restructuring plan, no demands for cut workforce, reduced pay, and reduced benefits.

I think the money going to Citi is a complete sham, however they did just lay off 50,000 people.

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Mulally should drive there in the 39 mpg Fusion hybrid. Wagoner's problem is the Volt would probably break down and not make it, and is left with the 20 mpg Tahoe hybrid. Same problem for Nardelli with the 20 mpg Durango hybrid. On last night's episode of Top Gear they had a 700 mile race with any car they wanted, the only stipulation was they would only get 1 tank of gas. Richard Hammond with a Volkswagen Polo diesel averaged over 70 mpg on the trip. GM makes a big deal that the Cruze may get 40 mpg in 2011, but that is mediocre for what Europe is doing now. The Detroit 3 execs are out of touch with what is going on.

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One thing that still pisses me off about this whole situation is that the Big 3 have to jump through hoops to split $25 billion, while the government write out a check for $20 billion to Citigroup with no strings attached, no demands for a restructuring plan, no demands for cut workforce, reduced pay, and reduced benefits.

Why Citigroup got Detroit's money

The government wants the Big Three to prove they are worthy of a $25 billion loan but Citigroup didn't have to twist any arms to get another $20 billion.

http://money.cnn.com/2008/11/24/markets/th...rce=yahoo_quote

The article still begs a few questions, but the terms relegated and relic apply. I would not say unworthy however.

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I am very proud of the Big Three that they are going through with this. Let's hope it opens some eyes!

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Mulally should drive there in the 39 mpg Fusion hybrid. Wagoner's problem is the Volt would probably break down and not make it, and is left with the 20 mpg Tahoe hybrid. Same problem for Nardelli with the 20 mpg Durango hybrid. On last night's episode of Top Gear they had a 700 mile race with any car they wanted, the only stipulation was they would only get 1 tank of gas.

Malibu Hybrid, Vue Two-Mode, Aura Hybrid, Malibu 4-cylinder LTZ,

Richard Hammond with a Volkswagen Polo diesel averaged over 70 mpg on the trip. GM makes a big deal that the Cruze may get 40 mpg in 2011, but that is mediocre for what Europe is doing now. The Detroit 3 execs are out of touch with what is going on.

You always find some way... any way... to bash GM in every post.

Pray tell, which European gassers of the Cruze's size get 40mpg?

If you have a problem with the lack of diesel choices in the US, take it up with the EPA. Even emissions queen Honda couldn't get their diesel to pass emissions tests for the US.

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What do you mean you're not sending the Pontiac (cough, cough, Holden) G8 to Washington? Don't hide the dirty laundry, let Congress see it all. :smilewide:

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Malibu Hybrid, Vue Two-Mode, Aura Hybrid, Malibu 4-cylinder LTZ,

You always find some way... any way... to bash GM in every post.

Pray tell, which European gassers of the Cruze's size get 40mpg?

If you have a problem with the lack of diesel choices in the US, take it up with the EPA. Even emissions queen Honda couldn't get their diesel to pass emissions tests for the US.

I think that this person is a maladjusted sociopath. There is a consistency that this poster unwaveringly cleaves to. As such, I dismiss him/her.

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What do you mean you're not sending the Pontiac (cough, cough, Holden) G8 to Washington? Don't hide the dirty laundry, let Congress see it all. :smilewide:

I'd send a G8 also..and a G8 ST.. and a Vibe...and a Tahoe.

The point is that GM makes great cars of all sizes, for all pocket books, and for all needs.

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What do you mean you're not sending the Pontiac (cough, cough, Holden) G8 to Washington? Don't hide the dirty laundry, let Congress see it all. :smilewide:

You know what, they should, so Congress can see in person the car that drives every bit as good as a 550i yet gets better gas mileage and costs a lot less.

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I'd send a G8 also..and a G8 ST.. and a Vibe...and a Tahoe.

The point is that GM makes great cars of all sizes, for all pocket books, and for all needs.

I'd consider leaving the Vibe home. The whole "built by Toyota" thing may come back to bite them.

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I'd consider leaving the Vibe home. The whole "built by Toyota" thing may come back to bite them.

I agree but it is fuel efficent and made in Cali.

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