Camino LS6

What next?

15 posts in this topic

Congress is about to approve a loan that is nothing more than a firebreak, it does not extinguish the fire. The loan will give us the time we need as a nation to wet down the roof and call in the water bombers, but the fire still burns and the smoke and embers are still falling all around us.

The good news is, that the situation has spurred a great flood of creative thinking (even amongst the small minds in DC). Ideas with real merit are floating through the air like snowflakes in a blizzard, from how to finance the balance of the loans our domestics will require, to the (overdue) notion that the US needs to adopt a rational industrial policy to avoid crises like the one facing us now. When a conservative GOP Senator suggests that we need to adopt such policies ( and even compares them to what MITI did for Japan), you know we are breaking new ground.

Environmentalists and macro-economists alike are practically giddy at the opportunities for win-win arrangements to be born out of this dark period. There is talk of American innovation driving a recovery that will do no less than transform the nation and the world at large.

And it all revolves around the fate and future of our domestic auto industry.

So, from the idea of tax credits for the purchase of domestic cars, to forcing the bailed-out banks to finance the recovery of the Big3, the ideas and (dare I say it) the hopes of many creative people are starting to see the light of a possible future shining through the smoke of our current reality. Let's hope that we can get it right this time.

Please post any and all interesting ideas you run across in your travels around the net here in this thread, and let the brainstorming begin.

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I would like to see GM develop a car that can run on human feces and reach speeds approaching Mach 6.

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I would like to see GM develop a car that can run on human feces and reach speeds approaching Mach 6.

LOL. Of course, this is generally in line with what the politicians and general public think is within GM's ability, but since GM is in big oil's pocket, they'll never make a feces-powered car. When Michael Moore reads this, he'll make a "Who Killed the Mach Six Feces Car?" documentary.

In another somewhat tongue-in-cheek suggestion...

Since people are presently afraid of buying GM cars due to the possibility of a lack of parts if GM went bankrupt, I suggest GM turn the tables on the Japanese. In 1936, the Japanese started making stovebolt sixes that were such a close copy of Chevy's stovebolt that parts interchanged.

I suggest GM start making parts that are exact copies of Toyota and Honda parts for their cars. Then if your windshield wiper motor dies, and GM is history, you can pick one up at the Honda dealer.

Ducking...

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I really doubt GM's situation is as disastrous as GM makes it seem, while it is unthinkable to have such a slow year, GM wouldnt continue to offer support to delphi if they couldn't run themselves.

if there is money to spread, i'm sure i'd get in line and act the part of an ailing business.

I believe that Obama will do wonders for the industry, and america... protectionism is in his word and his nature.

Having congress on your side when it comes to union contracts, seems to be quite an advantage. I would hope that GM doesnt end up shelling out billions for health care to form a veba, and obama makes things free or much cheaper for insurance.

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Wow.

Not too impressive here, guys

I know you can do better.

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Easy. We simply use taxes to guarantee we have no trade deficit. If Toyota wants to import vehicles then their Government needs to ensure they purchase as much from us as we do from them, or their companies must simply pay a tax that makes up for it at the end of the year. This also applies to US companies that import parts into the US, as those manufacturers must export enough products to offset their imports.

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Tariffs won't work well against Toyota and Honda since so much of their cars are built here. Those that are actually made in Japan could well be a thing of the past as the financial crisis has evolved to raise the value of the yen.

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The government can stimulate vehicle purchases by changing the taxing and insurance regulations. One way to lower gasoline consumption in this country is by encouraging people to use the right sized car for the job. Generally people by the largest vehicle they expect to need. Think summer vacation time here. If instead of repeating that purchase once a decade, more American used their larger vehicle less and bought smaller ones for routine commuting/sharping, then the industry would sell more and the price of oil could remain low.

Specifically sales tax and yearly registration should be based on the largest vehicle in a family's fleet, not all of them. Likewise insurance regulators should insist insurance companies charge for liability insurance on just one vehicle per registered driver. There is no reason we must may liability insurance for cars that sit in the driveway unused.

I admit these are small matters, but we need to start somewhere easy and technically feasible.

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Tariffs won't work well against Toyota and Honda since so much of their cars are built here. Those that are actually made in Japan could well be a thing of the past as the financial crisis has evolved to raise the value of the yen.

I intended for foreign corporations domestically manufactured products to still be considered an import. So, even Tundras from Toyota's truck factory in Texas would be considered imported vehicles.

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I think a big part of the problem with the auto industry is that we as a people have not decided on any specific energy policy. When gas was $4 a gallon a few months ago everyone was talking alternative fuel cars. As soon as gas is back to $2 a gallon people go back to their SUV's and not another thought to energy in the long term strategic sense.

GM has been taking the path of least resistance as most businesses do.Their culture is not geared towards small fuel effecient cars because small cars mean cheap cars and theres just not been any margin in that segment for them historically. They could build them but it would be a very big (read expensive) paradigm shift and instead they keep pumping out trucks and SUV's that have a decent profit margin. Management that does otherwise is likely to be tossed out by the shareholders.

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regardless they have to import parts...

I heard that that is so for Hyundai, but it certainly isn't so for Toyota.

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The government can stimulate vehicle purchases by changing the taxing and insurance regulations. One way to lower gasoline consumption in this country is by encouraging people to use the right sized car for the job. Generally people by the largest vehicle they expect to need. Think summer vacation time here. If instead of repeating that purchase once a decade, more American used their larger vehicle less and bought smaller ones for routine commuting/sharping, then the industry would sell more and the price of oil could remain low.

Specifically sales tax and yearly registration should be based on the largest vehicle in a family's fleet, not all of them. Likewise insurance regulators should insist insurance companies charge for liability insurance on just one vehicle per registered driver. There is no reason we must may liability insurance for cars that sit in the driveway unused.

I admit these are small matters, but we need to start somewhere easy and technically feasible.

I've often thought many of the same things and HEY. if we want to steer a POLICY? IMHO, the best way is tax incentives.

Want hybrids? How does NO SALES TAX sound? How does, 5000 deduction from taxable sound?

It's a daily tight rope we walk. Sell enough foreign oil to keep the people across the pond feeling wealthy, conserving our own. Prop them up enough so they don't shoot bombs at us. Stimulate our overconsumption of everything because that keeps the Chinese working in factories, so they spend time making lead toys, not war munitions to invade us and take us over by force (they'll take us over in sheer number and via economic asset takeover anyways).

When the other countries see our copious consumption backs are broken by high prices, they just turn on the faucets more and the price goes down and we buy bigger vehicles again. we love paying a lot less on gas than we do for our car payments themselves. Y'all need to remember that paradigm.

Edited by regfootball
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What I have been thinking...

Level the playing field by making wages the same across the board. You could make all carmakers pay their workers the same wage, say $20 or so per hour, with the same bennies. That way you get the best people building cars, and carmakers are forced to focus on design rather than low cost to sell cars.

Also, you could Unionize all of the plants in the US, domestic or foreign. Make everyone fund retirement, and overfund the retirement funds, like the railroads do. That way the legacy costs are spread out over everyone, and if say Honda or Mazda leave US production, their retirees are still covered.

I would unionize the plants in Mexico also. Instead of making the wages the same $20 or whatever, invest a certain amount in the community in Mexico where the vehicles are being built. This will make the investment a "long term" investment in the community, and will provide education, housing etc for workers. Kind of the old "company town" ethic.

If you unionized all of the plants and wages were set, then you could redefine the unions role as educational and safety oriented. Union dues could be used to educate line workers, and could also be used to set up scholarship funds for promising designers and engeneers. Actually, this would work better if you unionized white collar workers also. Given that you would have a large amount of $ to fund education, we would then train more workers to design cars, and this would help both the domestics and the imports. Honda has a huge design center here in Ohio, the Nissan 350Z was designed partly in California, IIRC the Miata was designed partly in California, etc.

Having a "slush fund" to pay for education would keep the highest value added jobs here in the USA.

Out of this educational effort I would force the UAW and the carmakers to have programs at the elementary, middle school, high school, and college level. I would give them a lot of liberty to design the programs, but I would want them to find the best minds young and develop them so that we could have the best possible technology and design for our automobiles.

Something as simple as say the "Pinewood Derby" would work for elementary kids. The Pinewood derby is a Cub Scout activity where the kids build cars out of wood and let gravity race them down a ramp.

For middle school students we need to identify people talented in art, math, and science and steer them towards an automotive career.

For high school students we need to find the best and brightest and give them scholarships to automotive oriented colleges.

I would also start a national level automotive museum, administrated by the Smithsonian, to preserve and present our automotive heritage. This museum would have two parts, one focusing on our heritage and another full of "hands on" exibits. Here in Columbus we have COSI, a science museum where kids can say learn about computers by taking one apart. This national level/Smithsonian museum should be a joint effort of the UAW and all of the carmakers, imported and domestic.

This would put a positive face on the automotive industry, which of late has had a rather negative view from Joe and Jane sixpack.

Cars built overseas could have a tarrif or tax put on them, and then those collected funds could be used to fund retirement, research, etc. The Tarrif should be used to level the playing field also...if it takes say 100 hours to build a particular car, and they are paying the overseas worker the equal of say $14 per hour to build the car, then $600 needs to be put in as a tarrif/tax to keep things balanced.

I would also tax gas, and use the money collected for energy research. Think of a "Manhatten Project" level effort, as has been proposed by several people. This would create more jobs here and eventually get us off of foreign oil.

Also, I think drilling here is a good idea, but we need to continue to work on alternative fuels. Biofuels from alage have great potential, as do several other biofuels.

I would have a rational national energy policy that focused on conservation...home, industry, commercial, government, etc. We started this in the 70's and kind of gave up on it. Methinks it is an idea whose time has come again.

I would also change the US emissions standards to match those of Europe, and encourage diesel cars. This would be infinitely more simple than the whole hybrid thing, and everything from the 300 to the PT Cruiser to the Astra to the Cadillac CTS is already sold as a diesel in Europe anyway, so we are using existing technology.

I would also make everyone take continuing education classes that offer behind the wheel training in emergency situations for ALL drivers. Also, make everyone take a road test when ther lic. comes up for renewal. This seems to work for over the road truck drivers...it might make driving here more safe. Also, make penalties tougher for drunk driving, etc.

Sorry if this is incoherent, I have an ear infection and am on four medications including codine for pain. But this is what I would do.

Chris

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Sorry if this is incoherent, I have an ear infection and am on four medications including codine for pain. But this is what I would do.

Chris

Get well soon! It really does suck to be ill.

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