Honestly, no, I don't sympathize with any corporate executive who whines about having to obey the law. We live in a nation of laws, and we all have to follow them, whether we agree or not. As a matter of fact, the way laws are made in this country tends to (strongly!) favor corporate interests, since politicians rely on their money to win re-election. So corporate interests should have the least right to complain of anyone.
Maybe automotive executives are not literally lighting cigars with hundred-dollar bills, but they aren't exactly struggling either (regardless of what happens to their companies). If I were looking for someone to sympathize with in this economy, they wouldn't exactly top my list.
The new California law may not be the most effective way to protect air quality, and there are probably more intelligent ways to achieve the same goals. But I'm not going to stay up at night crying about its effects on automakers' profits.
While my father worked for a large auto manufacturing company I had to wait until I was over the age of 12 to tour the plant he worked in. I was a little older than that when I finally entered the soul killing dark greasy plant. I could not believe how the smell of machining coolant hung in the air, that no light came through the windows, and how hot it was. My father had 10 brothers and sisters working at the 4 various plants in the city. He asked witch one of my relatives I would like to visit first I asked to see one of my uncles. I said Uncle Roy he replied that he was playing cards at this moment. I then asked to see another relative and he said that person was sleeping. I asked well who is working. He said lets go see Fred he is working, my uncle Fred was working in quality control. As we got to Fred’s work station he was busy counting to 25 then throwing one of the transmission parts into a failed box. I noticed he had a working unit in the test station that he would whack with a hammer every now and again and it would start working for a short while after he hit with a mallet. He explained that none of the unit’s worked as designed but when he failed them all the administration would come down on him hard. The management claimed that the engineers predicted a one in 20 fail rate at the most. Thus about every 25th unit he put into the failed box. That was interesting to my teenaged self.
We went to my father’s work station he was a tool setter. He set the tools in the multiprocess machines and was very good at it. That really impressed me because my father had dropped out of school during the 8th grade because the large family needed some of the children to support themselves at that time in our history. I asked my father how long he trained to do his job he replied about 3 months to do the job but you had to do this job for about a year to get good at it and fast enough to suit the company.
We roomed through the plant with him explaining the operation and introducing me to just about every person on the production floor. Finally he took me to a break area to wait for him to finish his shift.
Once in the car he said well what do you think? I told him I didn’t want to hurt his feelings but I never wanted to work there. He laughed and said that was the purpose of the trip and he would like to hear my plan to escape his fate. I told him that I was going to be a carpenter so I could work outside. He liked that idea and asked what else I had thought about the plant. I blurted out that if part of the crew was sleeping and other playing cards while getting paid that I thought someone speaking Japanese would have their jobs one of these days. His face turned red he clinched his jaw trying to control his response. Then he started telling me that I knew nothing of what it was like working there and dealing with corporate greed. He tried to explain the give and take of the worker, the union and the corporation. He made some pretty good points. Then I tried to explain how it would take me years to learn how to build a house and earn less than him that took less than a year to learn his job. At that point I realized I should stop arguing with my father and just learn and one day show him.
What a load of right-wing claptrap. Might as well be a Rush Limbaugh site.
The bosses of US automakers deserve no sympathy whatsoever. They have dug their own grave over the last several decades by pushing one nonsense after another onto ordinary working folks, both employees and customers. Trouble is we get shoved in their grave and they (the bosses) waltz away with their golden parachutes. Now California tries to whap them on the side of the head to make them wake up and take some responsibility for our future. Does not work though. They just call out the disinformation army again.
No matter how many mandates, rules and regulations, ultimately the consumer and to be specific the New Vehicle Buyer, makes the ultimate decision.
BMW, Daimler, and few others have for years paid millions in EPA/NHTSA fines for not meeting the CAFE Standard, and their vehicles are still selling well and are desirable.
Attempts like the SMART to convince Americans that they need such a vehicle have been the ultimate failure for Automotive "midas" like Penske.
Every SATURN ever made was sold at loss of about $900 per vehicle, in an attempt by GM to gain market share. (GM disclosure during the bankruptcy)
The previous CAFE mandate only moved people from cars and station wagons into pick-ups and SUV, while the over all MPG average actually declined by about 1 MPG in 20 years.
Safety features to save speeding drunk drivers that refuse to wear seatbelts from certain demise increased the average vehicle weight by almost 1,000 lbs, that requred more engine power which in turn used about the same amount of fuel per mile driven, but with lot more computerized and expensive technology.
If everyone in USA would drive the Japanese style Kei-car, then overnight we would reduce our fuel consumption by 40%.
But the hope for that is the same as declaring that all World's problems will be immediately solved if all people adopt the "same" religion.
In theory it works, in reality it will never happen.
But ultimately people do NOT have to buy a "new" vehicle, and of about 1/2 the price of a current "new" car, they can restore 20 to 30 year old "classic" and drive it almost "forever".
The biggest benefit is that the old restored car will keep its value and will not depreciate (or can actually appreciate).
Plus the side benefit for the tree huggers, it takes lot less energy and resources to restore 25 year old car, than to make a new one!
You got it almost right; Just delete "California" in front of "is that too many..." Our so-called 'lawmakers" ignore the prime law: the law of Unintended Consequences. This is true from the highest level (US Congress & Senate) to the lowest (local governments, school districts, etc.) Combine that with the corruption that is endemic (both "official" criminalized kinds and structural types like special-interest laws and loopholes), and I'm ALMOST ready to revert to my youthful romance with anarchism! The bloated bureaucracies that constitute the vast bulk of the Executive branch have long abandoned the legitimate purposes for which they were ostensibly created. In the automotive industry, the NHTSA has created an incomprehensible amount of gobbledygook posing as "Safety requirements" that in MOST cases doesn't even properly define the goal of the regulation or specify the technical requirements! See my recent post about airbag disablement for passenger seats for an excellent example. That took up 500+ pages of the Federal Register for a totally ineffective regulation that hardly anyone has implemented properly in the sense of meeting the intent (but every car passes the test....). Regardless, I have little sympathy for the US auto industry as a whole; a very good case can be made that it has been on a downward slope for nearly 50 years. The fault lies heavily on generations of inept, arrogant management whose long-term planning horizon was measured in fiscal quarters, while the foriegn competition generally worked on 10 and 20-year plans. Unfortunately, arrogance knows no nationality, and Jpanaese and European automakers have been infected as well over vthe past 10 years.
And so the wisdom of Forrest Gump shows again, "Stupid is as stupid does." CA is probably one of the worst environments in the U.S. to even use EVs, with abnormally long daily commutes, and they import the energy they use. It makes no sense. The people of CA have dug themselves into a deep hole of ecomomic disaster by continuously voting in these liberal Democrates. None of the automakers can survive by selling cars at zero or negative margins, and will not just absorb a $5000 hit on each none EV they sell, and non-EV will be 99.9% of what they sell. In a fair world we would go back to having CA only cars and 49 state cars, and the poeple in CA can enjoy a $5000 up charge in all of the cars they buy while the rest of us are unaffected by this nonsense. Unfortunately, I anticipate the automakers will spread this added cost across the board, so that all of us get to pay extra for this foolishness. Basically all that is happening is that CA is in such a financial mess that they are charging a $5000 tax on each car sold in CA, and everybody in the country will be paying this tax to CA. As for the new milage standards that have come out of Washington, this is ample evidence that nobody in the EPA, or the Whitehouse, knows anything about simple physics or chemistry.
issues tabled here remind me of the story about the gardener with an elephant in his garden asking 'what's the best kind of vegetable to plant along my garden fence?' Throwing together the past, present and future directions of a global auto industry with the current economic state of the nation and adding in issues of global energy consumption and global warming makes for a difficult issue to talk about! I fear that no bandaid approach is going to get rid of the elephant. After all, this country went out of its way to build a giant infrastructure of wide roadways while during the same period we promoted urban sprawl and killed off public rail transportation. Now the country is complaining that people won't accept more expensive, smaller cars with less range? A textbook example of ignoring systems engineering! The best thing we can do to promote change is, today, before it is too late, promote our teachers and educators to the highest status we can and make sure our children get a decent education in reason and above all else, science. Maybe then our children will not make the same mistakes we have.
Fifty-six-year-old Pasquale Russo has been doing metalwork for more than 30 years in a tiny southern Italy village. Many craftsmen like him brought with them fabrication skills when they came from the Old World to America.
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