What should automakers do?

Censport

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In Europe there is a credit crunch, where people cannot get loans for new cars. The U.S. has the same problem, but some folks in the industry say there's nothing wrong, that loans are still available. Still, the U.S. is in a recession and everybody stops spending when they hear that, whether they are affected or not. So people aren't buying cars, and the domestic automakers are hitting congress up for massive loans. As things stand now, it doesn't look like they'll get them.

So what should automakers do? In the U.S., we have just about every manufacturer in the world building cars here, so it's not just a GM-Ford-Chrysler issue.

First, I think the labor unions should be scrapped. Yes, I know that will inspire people to call me an extremist, but several manufacturers in the U.S. have no problem building cars without unionized labor, and their employees are hardly slaves. Could such a thing happen? No. Especially not with the incoming administration.

Second, new priorities.For example, Mercedes-Benz should change from making M-series SUVs at their Vance, Alabama plant and switch to making the smart fortwo there. Why? Well, besides the wild fluctuations in fuel prices in the U.S. (Which will likely increase again with Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and Barack Obama calling the shots, as none of them are for increasing domestic supplies.), importing smart cars from Europe adds too much to their MSRP. If the prices for smart cars could be reduced to the $8,000-$10,000 range by building them in the U.S., sales would increase dramatically. Having more dealers would help too, so maybe M-B should get over itself and start selling smarts at their regular dealerships. Could such a thing happen? Yeah, actually.

Third, lower the tax on diesel fuel and encourage the import and manufacture of more diesel cars (Yes, California, I'm looking at you.). Jaguar makes a very good diesel, and the new London Taxis would be a great replacement for the dirty, ratty American taxis made from full-size sedans and minivans (people carriers). Could such a thing happen? I dunno, California legislators aren't as open-minded as they claim.


The future of taxis in America?

Those are just three ideas to get the discussion rolling. Anyone have ideas for England/Europe as well?
 

Spectre

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In Europe there is a credit crunch, where people cannot get loans for new cars. The U.S. has the same problem, but some folks in the industry say there's nothing wrong, that loans are still available. Still, the U.S. is in a recession and everybody stops spending when they hear that, whether they are affected or not. So people aren't buying cars, and the domestic automakers are hitting congress up for massive loans. As things stand now, it doesn't look like they'll get them.
Oh, they'll get them. Whether it will be in time or not is another story. But they'll get them; the unions spent too much money buying Congress and the Presidency to NOT get the bailout. What's taking them so long is the mass backlash against the Wall Street Bailout and most of the Republicans' refusal to give the Democrats (who control Congress) cover - the Dems could pass the bailout right NOW, and then probably override the presidential veto in the Senate, and certainly in the House, but they won't do it without the Republicans' support, so they can blame the Republicans when it inevitably goes wrong. The Republicans appear to be all done with playing *that* game - it cost McCain the election, in part.

By the way, there's an animated version of the Laughing Man avatar running around now. :D

So what should automakers do? In the U.S., we have just about every manufacturer in the world building cars here, so it's not just a GM-Ford-Chrysler issue.

First, I think the labor unions should be scrapped. Yes, I know that will inspire people to call me an extremist, but several manufacturers in the U.S. have no problem building cars without unionized labor, and their employees are hardly slaves. Could such a thing happen? No. Especially not with the incoming administration.
Look for *those* plants to leave the US too - the unions bought Congress and the Presidency, and they have the "card check" idiocy running through Congress now. If it passes, it means NO MORE SECRET BALLOT when it comes to unionizing. Union thugs will intimidate people into signing and therefore get more members/captive victims to fund them.

Why would they do this? Because almost *nobody* willingly joins a union or votes for unionization.

Second, new priorities.For example, Mercedes-Benz should change from making M-series SUVs at their Vance, Alabama plant and switch to making the smart fortwo there. Why? Well, besides the wild fluctuations in fuel prices in the U.S. (Which will likely increase again with Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and Barack Obama calling the shots, as none of them are for increasing domestic supplies.), importing smart cars from Europe adds too much to their MSRP. If the prices for smart cars could be reduced to the $8,000-$10,000 range by building them in the U.S., sales would increase dramatically. Having more dealers would help too, so maybe M-B should get over itself and start selling smarts at their regular dealerships. Could such a thing happen? Yeah, actually.
The problem with Smarts in the US is that on a US freeway they're a REALLY bad idea. And in many parts of the US, you *have* to get on a freeway to go anywhere.

Third, lower the tax on diesel fuel and encourage the import and manufacture of more diesel cars (Yes, California, I'm looking at you.). Jaguar makes a very good diesel, and the new London Taxis would be a great replacement for the dirty, ratty American taxis made from full-size sedans and minivans (people carriers). Could such a thing happen? I dunno, California legislators aren't as open-minded as they claim.


The future of taxis in America?
We have some of those in Dallas. They don't really work all that well - compared to, say, a Crown Vic taxi, they don't have enough space for all the stuff one would bring with you when normally employing the use of a taxi - such as luggage when going on vacation.

As for lowering the tax on diesel? Not going to happen - Obama and company are on record as wanting fuel taxes *higher* to "encourage alternative energy"... which they also won't permit (no new nukes, no new other energy sources without 10 year environmental impact studies, no energy research funding unless it's "politically correct", etc., etc.).

Those are just three ideas to get the discussion rolling. Anyone have ideas for England/Europe as well?
I won't comment on that. I usually refrain from comment on the European auto market as I don't know it well enough. I will say that the solutions for the US may not work for Europe and vice versa, just like "mass transit solutions".
 

klankymen

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The problem with Smarts in the US is that on a US freeway they're a REALLY bad idea. And in many parts of the US, you *have* to get on a freeway to go anywhere.
How come? I mean, how come it's a bad idea, I know you need to take the freeway everywhere.
 

Spectre

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It's a bad idea because despite the speed limits, the minimum speed at non-rush-hours is about 75-80, and the things are too twitchy at those speeds - plus I've seen, in person, what happens when they get nailed by an F-350 at those speeds. It wasn't pretty.

Smarts are good city cars, but they just don't belong on the freeways at speed.
 

klankymen

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While I'm definitely with you on not wanting to be nailed by an F-350, my friend has the old Smart car, and he drives in on Autobahns all the time. And the new smart is supposedly even better. And lets face it, if a car can handle the Autobahn, it shouldn't have trouble on any other freeways.
 

Censport

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By the way, there's an animated version of the Laughing Man avatar running around now. :D
Excuse me while I take a break to do an image search... :lol:

Look for *those* plants to leave the US too - the unions bought Congress and the Presidency, and they have the "card check" idiocy running through Congress now. If it passes, it means NO MORE SECRET BALLOT when it comes to unionizing. Union thugs will intimidate people into signing and therefore get more members/captive victims to fund them.

Why would they do this? Because almost *nobody* willingly joins a union or votes for unionization.
Crap, I completely forgot about that. You're right, the unions will run the non-U.S. manufacturers out of the country and then blame someone else for it.

The problem with Smarts in the US is that on a US freeway they're a REALLY bad idea. And in many parts of the US, you *have* to get on a freeway to go anywhere.
True. Sad, but true.

We have some of those in Dallas. They don't really work all that well - compared to, say, a Crown Vic taxi, they don't have enough space for all the stuff one would bring with you when normally employing the use of a taxi - such as luggage when going on vacation.
That's because all people there use the taxi for is going to the airport.

As for lowering the tax on diesel? Not going to happen - Obama and company are on record as wanting fuel taxes *higher* to "encourage alternative energy"... which they also won't permit (no new nukes, no new other energy sources without 10 year environmental impact studies, no energy research funding unless it's "politically correct", etc., etc.).
*sigh* When you're right, Spectre, you're right.
 

Spectre

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While I'm definitely with you on not wanting to be nailed by an F-350, my friend has the old Smart car, and he drives in on Autobahns all the time. And the new smart is supposedly even better. And lets face it, if a car can handle the Autobahn, it shouldn't have trouble on any other freeways.
You know, they thought that about the VW Beetle, too - and that didn't do so hot on American freeways either. :p

One of the other problems that I've seen is watching a Smart get knocked around by the wake of a big tractor-trailer truck. It's so bad that sometimes the things do involuntary lane changes.

*sigh* When you're right, Spectre, you're right.
You have no idea how much I wish I wasn't, sometimes.
 
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Spectre

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Probably down to the bumpyness in the states.
There's some of that, but there was also the whole "won't climb hills and sustain speed" issue that anyone who's been stuck behind a VW Bug or Hippietransporter on I-5 or at the Cajon Pass can testify to.

Apparently, the Smart suffers from much the same maladies.
 

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I wish America got more diesels but really if America started to have more diesels Americans would use it like a road bump/crutch like we do with the "hybrids". What I mean by that is Americans would be buying lots of diesels because most Americans are scared of alternate fuels which means there will be no demand for alternative fuel meaning we will be where we are now. I think if we suffer enough it will create a huge demand for alternative fuel where someone will get sick of not being able to afford to drive/own a car and will create a great new source of fuel.
 

Spectre

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Erm.. no, most Americans aren't scared of alternate fuels, if they're available. Witness the huge number of diesel trucks and cars in Texas.

The catch is availability. You have to be able to fuel your car and if fuelling stations aren't very common for your type of fuel, you have a problem.

Also, remember that California pretty much wants to ban the car and REALLY hates diesels, which is why you don't see many out there.
 

E34lover

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Erm.. no, most Americans aren't scared of alternate fuels, if they're available. Witness the huge number of diesel trucks and cars in Texas.

The catch is availability. You have to be able to fuel your car and if fuelling stations aren't very common for your type of fuel, you have a problem.

Also, remember that California pretty much wants to ban the car and REALLY hates diesels, which is why you don't see many out there.
Yes I completely agree on California wants to ban every car it's dumb. I still think the average American isn't ready to give up gas though. If you ask anyone (and not just in California I used to live in Houston till a year ago) most people won't even buy a diesel car because they still think diesels are old, smelly technology that pollute the environment more than regular gas cars. Also really I know there are plenty of diesel trucks in Texas but cars?
 

Spectre

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Yeah - remember the tons and tons of diesel Mercedes and VW TDIs that inhabit Texas? IIRC, Texas is still the #1 US state for Mercedes diesel car sales. Back in the 80s, it was the #1 US state for *all* Mercedes sales for a while.

One of the reasons that diesel is a viable fuel in Texas is that just about every fuel station has at least one diesel pump, due to the trucking and agricultural industries. This is not the case elsewhere - I mean, just look around in California there, it's easier to find E85 than it is to find diesel.
 

E34lover

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Yeah - remember the tons and tons of diesel Mercedes and VW TDIs that inhabit Texas? IIRC, Texas is still the #1 US state for Mercedes diesel car sales. Back in the 80s, it was the #1 US state for *all* Mercedes sales for a while.

One of the reasons that diesel is a viable fuel in Texas is that just about every fuel station has at least one diesel pump, due to the trucking and agricultural industries. This is not the case elsewhere - I mean, just look around in California there, it's easier to find E85 than it is to find diesel.
You know what. Now that I really think about it I do really remember lots of old Mercedes diesels. Maybe I do underestimate the average American. Also I should clarify that what I mean by Americans are scared of alt. fuels is if Americans are faced with diesel vs a new fuel at the same price Americans will go for the diesel but hey I could be wrong I'm just a kid.
 

thedguy

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Yeah - remember the tons and tons of diesel Mercedes and VW TDIs that inhabit Texas? IIRC, Texas is still the #1 US state for Mercedes diesel car sales. Back in the 80s, it was the #1 US state for *all* Mercedes sales for a while.

One of the reasons that diesel is a viable fuel in Texas is that just about every fuel station has at least one diesel pump, due to the trucking and agricultural industries. This is not the case elsewhere - I mean, just look around in California there, it's easier to find E85 than it is to find diesel.
Uhhh What? There are less than 10 E85 stations in the state, there are at least that many diesel stations here in Fullerton. I know this because I wanted to convert the miata to e85 (and throw tons of boost at it) and I drive my friends tdi VW quite often.

I see quite a few Diesels. A lot of VW's I notice are TDI once I actually read the badge as modern Vdub diesels are so damn quiet it's hard to notice when not paying attention.
 

Spectre

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I type corrected - I had read an article which stated otherwise.

Last time I was out there, I think there were a grand total of *two* diesel stations in Huntington Beach, for example.
 

GRtak

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I have been wanting a full size car with a deisel for years. I would like to get one like Clarkson drove (12-4) from Switzerland to Blackpool. But they don't seem to be avaiable in the states.

Part of the reason a lot of Americans are afraid of deisels is because of the crappy deisels GM built in the late 70s/ early 80s. It is hard to convince anyone that they are capable of building one now. Unfortunately, deisel fuel isn't available everywhere, and it is hard to drive a car somewhere when your not sure of the fuel being along the way to get you back.
 

awdrifter

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I believe they will get some moeny from the government, maybe not as much as they ask for, but at least enough cash for them to burn for another year or two.
 

prizrak

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Third, lower the tax on diesel fuel and encourage the import and manufacture of more diesel cars (Yes, California, I'm looking at you.). Jaguar makes a very good diesel, and the new London Taxis would be a great replacement for the dirty, ratty American taxis made from full-size sedans and minivans (people carriers). Could such a thing happen? I dunno, California legislators aren't as open-minded as they claim.
Not sure about other places but here they are replacing CV's with hybrid Camry's and Altimas.
 
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