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If you don't have to take responsibility for your shortsightedness.
If you can lay off thousands of workers multiple times a year after you already shaft them on insurance rates
If you lack vision in developing your automobiles and don't have sufficient insight to innovate for the future
If you put all your eggs in the SUV basket
If you didn't think the price of oil would screw with your sales
If you didn't take a massive paycut and worry about losing your own job either.
General Motors announced yesterday they would cut 30,000 jobs and close all or part of 12 facilities. The main reason is to help deal with Japanese automakers like Toyota who're moving up in the world. Toyota is the number 2 automake in the U.S.
It's odd. GM has more selection, more labels, product lines etc. The problem is most of their lines are the wrong product. It's all SUVs. They placed all their eggs in the the back end of a Yukon and they can't afford to drive it now.
This will butcher he economies in the communities these plants are in because these types of jobs usually pay well and industry goes up around them. Whole towns will dry up.
Competition is only part of the reason though. Like so many others in corporate America, they lack vision to out-hustle their competitors. GM and Ford both could build the vehicles they need to build. They just didn't have enough foresight to notice that fuel prices wouldn't last forever. One would think as much money as they companies spend on marketing and advertising, they'd have some to spend on R&D so they could not only figure out what people want to drive but have enough things in planning stages to make modifications as need be. Heck, it wouldn't surpise me if Toyota tried to buy GM in a few years. The people in this country are willing to work but the executive management in corporations, just like in politics, have to be willing to look into the long term, not a year or two down the road but 6 or 8 down the road and 10 or 15 down the road and even further. They just don't have it.
posted by Stithmeister @ 11:18 PM
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Executives at the Big Three automakers all have M.B.A. degrees.
The Masters of Business Administration courses teach you that you do NOT have to know anything about the product to succeed, you just need to be a MBA skilled 'manager'.
And further, long-term planning means "to the next quarter after this one", i.e., six months. The only thing that really matters are the quarterly reports for THIS quarter (3 months). Anything that boosts this quarter's numbers - mass layoffs, screwing the retirement fund, ending R&D and counting the money saved as 'income', even plain Enron lies - any such things are "good business".
Japanese auto execs are stupid in comparison. The Toyota management is made to work on the assembly line before they start managing - and that means months, not half a day. They spend perfectly good money on R&D, both making better cars and figuring out what needs to be concentrated upon. They screw over their employees as little as they can. And -the idjits! - they think in terms of 5, 10, 20, years ahead, or more!
No wonder those Japanese just make little plastic widgets, while GM astonishes the world with quality and productivity.
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Moronic Brainless @ss-h*les?
Malicious Bandit Accountants?
Sad thing is, as far as I can tell, the vast majority of people 'Running' America's companies have no real experience in the business.
I work in sales as a support rep. Basicly, I'm the person they come to for actual knowledge of what we sale. Will this product work for this function? How does this device actually work? The majority of people I provide support for are straight from college and have a business degree. What edge does the degree give them in the sales area? The ONLY THING(!) is an understanding of sales margins on profits.
Cynicus, Kitiara and I had an extended in person discussion on this over Thanksgiving. The knowledge from the degree is not what is desired. It is instead the modern equivilent of having the right "Name". In fuedal days, if you lacked a nobles name, you weren't granted certain positions. Today, you stick a MBA after your name and you are the 'DeMedici' of olden Italy. It 'Enobles' you. so that you may be considered for a position of worth. Ever wonder why their is a plethora of online degree mills these days? They are the equivilent of the days when you could buy an entitlement of nobility. The interesting thing is, many of the Diploma Mills are as pricey, if not more pricey than an actual university.
I wish I had Cynicus' comments memorized. His was more coherent than mine and more in depth. The sum of it was that it doesn't matter what you actually know, it's what 'Title' you hold, be it "Baron" or "MBA".
As for me, until I finally get back in school and get a degree (any degree), me, I'm just another 'Commoner' who fixes what the 'Lords' mess up.
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I agree that GM has made some very poor decisions, but the primary cause of their present situation is employer responsibility for health care. All other industrialized nations have national health insurance and that gives them a tremendous competitive advantage over our companies. Free trade has hurt American workers although not GM since they can always open plants outside the U.S.
I have always purchased union made American vehicles. For a time in the 70's and 80's if it were not for my strong labor movement orientation, I would have driven a Japanese car. The quality of American vehicles has improved considerably over the past 15 years or so. Our standards are now on par with or even better than the Japanse. U.S. companies just need to keep pace with changing demands and health care reform would help greatly to make our companies competitive.
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I would have to say I completely disagree with you on this one. I think the GM execs are almost completely to blame on this one. Their lack of vision and foresight is what created this catastrophe more than anything.
GM thought hydrogen would be their big thing in a few years and figured the SUVs would hang on until then. They failed to watch the energy market, watching prices rise because of significantly increased consumption in foreign markets like China and India. They haven't made significant improvements of any kind in the direction of fuel conservation, either through hybrids or something else.
GM hasn't done much of anything in the way of new cars in years. They'll build new SUVs or they'll introduce a new model of Cadillac, but they've done nothing to develop economical and appealing cars in quite some time. They may rework what they've got somewhat but nothing that catches the public eye.
A huge business can be supported and can survive even in the heaviest competition but it means innovation and not resting on laurels. Ford has had the same problem. The best thing that happened to Chrysler was Daimler execs taking over. They've been producing new products. It all comes down to moving product and GM's not doing it. It's as simple as that. They may be somewhat hamstrung by the unions but they wouldn't be in any of this shape if they were selling attractive, quality products they appeal to the market. If they can't do that, it doesn't matter what the unions do or don't do.
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I'm currently working in the telecomm industry but one of my passions is still politics.
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