GM Has Record $38.7 Billion Loss For 2007

GM is better at losing money then they are at making cars, says the Associated Press. The auto-maker lost $38.7 billion in 2007, a record for the industry. Still, they’re optimistic:

During a conference call with analysts and media, Chief Financial Officer Fritz Henderson said 2008 will be difficult, but the company sees the potential for significant earnings increases by 2010 or 2011 once it reduces its work force and labor costs and transfers its retiree health-care costs to a new UAW-run trust.

The Detroit-based automaker said it was offering a new round of buyouts to all 74,000 of its U.S. hourly workers who are represented by the United Auto Workers.

GM won’t say how many workers it hopes to shed, but under its new contract with the UAW, it will be able to replace up to 16,000 workers doing non-assembly jobs with new employees who will be paid half the old wage of $28 per hour.

Ouch. Let’s hope the predicted tsunami of bad auto loans doesn’t affect their plans.

GM posts $38.7B loss for 2007, offers buyouts to 74,000 hourly workers [LA Times]
(Photo:RebekahSue)

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  1. Parting says:

    That’s what happens when quality isn’t there. Why bother with GM if for the same price you can get Honda/Toyota.

  2. Anonymous says:

    “potential for significant earnings increases by 2010 or 2011 once it reduces its work force and labor costs and transfers its retiree health-care costs to a new UAW-run trust.”

    I didn’t notice anything in there regarding the improvement of their actual product. That might be a good place to start.

  3. joeblevins says:

    Scary how much they have been paying these low-skilled workers for so long. Too bad they can’t just run a round of layoffs. You don’t need to pay the minimally skilled $28 per hour. You can get them for $10-15, and quickly train them up.

    Hell, just say $15 bucks and that gives them a good living wage.

  4. Pinget says:

    How long til rational business practice means they should go out of business? Why has this not happened already?

  5. zentec says:

    What’s happening to the American auto brands should serve as a stern warning to all corporations; thou shalt not abuse the customer.

    I am deeply affected by the woes of the American auto manufacturers, and yet I will only buy Honda. Yes, I know Ford has a great system for tracking assembly and product defect issues, and I know first hand how improved GM cars have become. Chrysler is building compelling products, and yet, I refuse to buy them. That’s because I want to buy a vehicle and keep it for 7 to 10 years. I’ve been burned too many times by Ford, Chrysler and GM and I’m simply unwilling to gamble $25,000 on a domestic brand that in the past has turned into a maintenance pig within five years.

    Until the domestic brands shed the two albatrosses; bad brand perception and utterly unbelievable labor costs for bolting fenders on cars, it’s going to be economically gloomy weather around Detroit.

  6. friendlynerd says:

    The American manufacturers sealed their fate when they convinced the car-buying public they needed an SUV instead. They modeled their business so only SUVs made the company money, and guess what? People don’t want 14 MPG behemoths anymore.

  7. boandmichele says:

    soon to follow: the inevitable fact that auto companies with actually decent, affordable, quality vehicles (the Japanese ones) will employ more Americans than the domestic auto manufacturers.

    i suppose north americans are Americans too, right?

  8. friendlynerd says:

    @boandmichele:

    That’s a good point – most of the best-selling Japanese or Korean models are made here in the US. Camry. Accord. Sonata. The UAW, of course, isn’t pleased with that, because those companies won’t suck the UAW’s dick every time they grunt.

  9. boandmichele says:

    the scary thing is that i live in spring hill, tn, which has a booming economy based on the people moving down here from michigan to work at the saturn plant. it will be horrible for a lot of people around here when they close that plant.

  10. @friendlynerd: Plus the CEOs and management will be Japanese, which is OH NOES bad for the American corporate types. And bad for the politicians because they won’t be getting support from them OR the UAW. So, for us, its lose, lose, lose and a big win for the Japanese.

    Too bad. Thanks for playing, stupid American car companies.

  11. loganmo says:

    Even BMW is opening a plant in South Carolina…it is where their new 1 series is being built.

  12. coaster.n3rd says:

    @chouchou:

    Is there any fact to your argument?

    As you may or may not know, Toyota was 2nd in recalls for 2007. 2nd to VW. I have a soft spot for Honda and they make a good car, but google “Honda Civic 3rd gear” and repost what comes up.

  13. boandmichele says:

    and another thing! :)

    the nissan plant in smyrna, tn pays like 16/hr, while the saturn plant pays like 25/hr (or so i have heard). they do the same thing, and are 40 minutes apart from one another. the cost of living is not that different.

  14. friendlynerd says:

    @HRHKingFriday:

    It sucks, bad. A lot of my family works for Chrysler in some capacity, so I do understand the damage this is going to cause over time. However, it could lead to something good – politicians not beholden to what is essentially unskilled labor making wayyy more than I do as an educated IT professional.

  15. sleze69 says:

    @friendlynerd: My old Nissan Altima was made in TN. After selling it to my cousin, it finally died at 180,000 miles with the only repairs coming after I (or my cousin) did something stupid.

    My Explorer on the other hand…LOTS of costly maintenance.

  16. friendlynerd says:

    @coaster.n3rd:

    I’d challenge you to find how many 1988 Accords are still on the road. Then find me how many 1988 Corsicas are on the road.

  17. coaster.n3rd says:

    @friendlynerd:

    GM recently won green car of the year with their Tahoe Hybrid. It gets the same amount of City mpg as a Toyota Camry with a 4banger. 21/22.

    GM’s issue is not quality, or not being Green. It is perception. The perception some of you have belongs in the 80s and 90s. Its 2008 and I emplore you to check out a domestic manufacturer and the reviews from the major autorags. Anyone see the latest reviews of Toyotas Sequoia? Its smaller than a Tahoe and gets worse mpg. So include the proper parties in your arguments.

  18. coaster.n3rd says:

    @friendlynerd:

    probably more Accords. I’m not arguing for the sake of argument. just because an 88 Accord is on the road does not mean GM or Ford or Chrysler make crap cars now. Its like saying “I had a crappy blender from Oyster in 88 and now their product sucks” There is no merit in that. No proof, no go.

  19. coaster.n3rd says:

    @boandmichele:

    Which Saturn plant?

  20. SarcasticDwarf says:

    @coaster.n3rd: It is NOT just perception though. A large part of it is that people simply DO NOT LIKE the the cars the domestic automakers are producing. Most of the foreign cars have a much more stylized/sporty look while the domestic cars all look damn near the same.

  21. friendlynerd says:

    @coaster.n3rd:

    I hear this “perception” argument fairly often. It’s funny – what creates or drives a perception? Did the LIBERAL MEDIA make it all up? Did a group of Honda owners just decide to form a little conspiracy club of sorts to convince Americans that their Chevys weren’t built well or worth the asking price?

    Being a Consumerist reader I’m sure you know that perceptions are largely driven by word of mouth from people who actually own the products. There’s no conspiracy here.

    If American companies want to change their perceived quality, they need to make quality cars. They may be starting to do that now, but it’s going to take time and hard work. Hyundai didn’t reinvent itself overnight, and neither will GM, Chrysler, or Ford.

  22. boandmichele says:

    this one: [www.google.com]

    im not trying to be smart, i really just cant find a link to anything else about it, other than news and such. :)

  23. Wimpkins says:

    @Pinget: Because as much as 38 billion is, it’s not that much to GM.

    Correct me if I’m wrong (I know the kind readers here will), isn’t GM the biggest company in the world.

  24. Silversmok3 says:

    [www.autospies.com]

    According to the numbers, the vast majority of the $38 Billion loss is due to GMAC( Home mortgage lending) and a different accounting procedure. In terms of car sales alone GM actually made more money.

    Financially speaking, GM is a bank that makes cars , not a carmaker that lends money. Hence GM could sell record numbers of cars and still lose money.

    This has little to do with foreign competition, seeing as how Toyota and Honda dont sell home loans. Neither do they have union workers.

  25. The Porkchop Express says:

    @coaster.n3rd: plus the chevy truck that just hit 1 million miles. The american cars can be really good vehicles with proper care.

    Sometimes though, you get a crap car.

  26. B says:

    @boandmichele: My car was made there. It’s a pretty good little car, for a FWD econobox.

  27. chiieddy says:

    @coaster.n3rd: Imagine the mileage a hybrid NOT SUV would get if automakers put some of them on the market.
    Of course, hybrids have an unexamined environmental problem all on their own. What happens to the batteries when they failed.

    Not to say I’m dissing US vs. Foreign automakers, but right now my 2008 Subaru Outback (which is technically NOT an SUV but the EPA does mark it as such for their purposes) regularly gets ~23 – 24 mpg (according to its own computer and closer to 25 – 26 mpg on all highway driving trips) and has an EPA rating of 20/26 (new adjusted EPA rating standards).

    I’d love for some of the urban and suburban dwelling SUV and truck owners (and yes, I do understand a pick-up truck is essential for those who are in certain businesses as a commercial vehicle and people in outlying areas might need a vehicle with more oomph) to tell me what’s so important about having one over a more efficient station wagon other than the fact SUVs are so incredibly popular right now due to marketing techniques employed by the manufacturers.

    GM actually has me excited with their Volt concept car. I’d love to see that vehicle come to fruition and have the technology advance. The question with the Volt is, will the savings in gas costs override the additional cost of electricity and the emissions that escape for electrical plants as a result. :-)

    It’s never just one trade-off, is it?

  28. Snarkysnake says:

    Shed no tears for GM . They sure as hell weren’t shedding any for you when your only choices were Chevy , Ford or Plymouth. We got here because of the myopic greed and stupidity of men like Ed Cole , Roger Smith and James McDonald (all past GM presidents). They could have demanded that their battalions of engineers and scientists design world class cars and trucks and that their assembly line workers put them together with skill and care or be fired. Every one of the former executives that helped put GM in the position that is in retired unimaginably rich and comfortable. And for God’s sake please don’t all of you “buy American” zombies start saying it’s the customers fault. Great world class cars and trucks can be built here at a profit – the Japanese have been doing it for 25 years.Responsible critics were warning GM that this day was coming back in the 70’s and ealy 80’s. The dumb assholes just wouldn’t listen.

  29. pyloff says:

    @CHOUCHOU Since when is it up to you how much a “low skilled” worker makes. If someone can make 50K a year why shouldn’t they. I just don’t understand how you take it upon yourself to decide how much someone is “worth”. You comment pisses me off on so many levels.

  30. pyloff says:

    Whoops My previous comment was directed at the wrong person. Sorry CHOUCHOU

  31. @coaster.n3rd: Yes, but at the same time there’s more to a car than gas mileage (and 21 MPG is NOT something to brag about). My bf had a somewhat new (a couple years old) Dodge, which cost a boat load in maintainence. He might as well have bought a new car, thats how bad it was.

    If you can’t engineer a good engine under the hood, I don’t care what you’re selling. Hyundai solved that problem with their guarantees, GM thinks they’re going to solve it by making it more fuel efficient but with the same crap engineering.

  32. coaster.n3rd says:

    @friendlynerd:

    No one said anything about a conspiracy. perception comes from the truth and I will be the first in line to tell you GM made crap cars 20 years ago. But now it seems the tables have turned. how long before the back lash against Toyota for not fixing the sludge and trans issues in the Camry? Things are different now, check out an American car without the attitude and ou will see the difference.

  33. coaster.n3rd says:

    @boandmichele:

    A. Spring Hill is not a Saturn Plant anymore.
    B. Reading the whole article will enlighten you to see that GM is looking to reduce the wages of its workers to a reasonable real world rate.
    C. Don’t blame GM for what the UAW made them do.

  34. @pyloff: As someone who has invested in an education and thus, higher skills, I find it offensive that people who can barely get out of high school and did not make any such investment in themselves be paid as much or more than me (with equal years of experience).

  35. coaster.n3rd says:

    @SarcasticDwarf:

    January 2007. GM sales + Toyota sales -

    Seriously, the styling of the new Malibu and the CTS are so hot they can’t keep them on the lots. Saturn +27% for 2007 with style and a great car. The American public wants to buy domestic vehicles and thay are not that the doestics make a great car.

    Google “Tundra tailgate”

  36. weg1978 says:

    Um, GM didn’t ‘lose’ $38.7 billion dollars. They took a special charge against unused tax credits. The actual loss was about $23 million. Think of it this way, if you had a special $1 million tax break from the gov’t that had conditions attached, and you didn’t meet the conditions (and therefore didn’t receive the tax break), did you lose $1 million? No, you lost a tax break…same thing here. Nice job of sensationalizing though.

  37. coaster.n3rd says:

    @HRHKingFriday:

    Would you rather have A.
    5yr 100,000 mile warranty thats transferable and covers parts+ Labor, includes roadside assistance and rental

    or B.
    10 year, 100,000 mile warranty that is non transferable and does not cover labor costs, rental or roadside assistance.

    Which would you rather have?

  38. LatherRinseRepeat says:

    Why is anyone surprised? GM makes mediocre and unreliable cars. And there is so much redundancy in their vehicle line-up. A lot of waste. They should just kill off all their other brands and just have Chevy and Cadillac. From a business standpoint, I don’t see why it’s necessary to re-badge the same vehicle under 4 different nameplates.

  39. friendlynerd says:

    @coaster.n3rd:

    I agree with you on all three cars mentioned. As I said, they might be making quality cars now (I’ll wait at least 3 years before making a final judgement on that) but we were talking about perceptions.

    Perceptions don’t change overnight. So, if these cars hold their shit together (and I actually hope they do!) things might start to turn around.

    I’ve said for years I’d like to buy an American car again if they made something I wanted to buy that would last awhile.

  40. bbbici says:

    And don’t forget GM killed the electric car.

  41. coaster.n3rd says:
  42. bbbici says:

    Also don’t forget that GM graced us with the Hummer and Escalade. Brilliant!

  43. boandmichele says:

    @coaster.n3rd:

    1.its a saturn plant if it makes gm vehicles with saturn emblems on them.

    2.yes, and reading the article with enlighten you that they are still firing people, and hiring new people at half the wages, while the previous employees, if they agree to the new rate, must now live on half the income.

    3.i dont blame gm, but its interesting why such articles come along every so often with only three auto companies in the headlines, and they are all out of detroit…

  44. K-Bo says:

    @coaster.n3rd: The problem is, a car is not the kind of purchase someone usually gives second chances on. I have had 2 cars in my life, a 93 saturn and a 2000 honda. The saturn was always in the shop, needed its tires and batteries replaced all the time ( and took expensive tires ) while the honda just runs, gets me where I need to go, no hassle whatsoever. I hear people say they love their newer saturns, but I’m still a loyal honda girl, and probably always will be. A car is just too big of a purchase for me to forget my past experiences, and I think a lot of people feel that way.

  45. coaster.n3rd says:

    @friendlynerd:

    Your three years are up. Al ot of people don’t know the 2008 Chevrolet Malibu rides on the same platofrm and has virtually the mechanics as a 2004 Chevrolet Malibu. The Epsilon I platform has been around for quite some time. Again perception plays the role of the antagonist.

    Saturn Aura has been out for 2 years now. Why does that matter? Other than the sheet metal on the outside it is identical to the Malibu. Both won North American Car of the Year.

  46. coaster.n3rd says:

    @boandmichele:

    1. It doesn’t. It makes a Chevy.

    2. Too bad for them for letting a union run their life.

    3. Again, google Toyota, VW and recalls.. see what happens.

  47. aikoto says:

    Serves them right. Any company that would force a tracking and monitoring system that you have to pay for monthly on all their vehicles has certaintly lost my respect and business (OnStar).

  48. coaster.n3rd says:

    @K-Bo:

    2000 Honda what? An s2000? Or just a model year 2000.

    You got hosed by the shop if “it took expensive tires” and thats your fault. You can put shitty wheels and tires on a Corvette. I’m calling shenanigans due to the lack of any true info in your comment.

  49. coaster.n3rd says:

    @aikoto:

    You don’t have to pay for onstar if you don’t want to. No one “forced” you to do anything.

    Please people, only a few of you had anything smart to say.

  50. JackAshley says:

    @Silversmok3: You are correct; majority of this loss isn’t money lost, it’s changes in accounting procedures that ended up with a huge “Loss on the Books” but they physically didnt lose any more or less money. They would be in the same (physical) financial state if that huge 31 billion dollar accounting change hadnt happened, but wouldnt be reporting such a huge loss.

  51. MeOhMy says:

    @chiieddy:

    I’d love for some of the urban and suburban dwelling SUV and truck owners to tell me what’s so important about having one over a more efficient station wagon…

    I don’t own an SUV or truck (yet) but I’ll give you one amazingly compelling reason:
    You cannot purchase a real station wagon today. The closest we had in the last ten years was the Dodge Magnum which was ridiculously expensive and certainly not efficient. You can get cars today that are glorified hatchbacks, but you cannot currently purchase any car like the Oldsmobile Cruiser or the Buick Roadmaster. Currently the only cars that are “station wagons” are glorified hatchbacks that for many of us are still not big enough to adequately replace a pickup or SUV.

    @boandmichele:

    i suppose north americans are Americans too, right?

    Not unless the US has managed to take over Mexico and Canada without anyone realizing it.

  52. boandmichele says:

    @coaster.n3rd: if they make a chevy, it is only because GM took over saturn’s management, and ruined the somewhat decent and cheaply made saturn cars coming from that factory. i dont care if a block is foam cast or the body panels are like trampolines, if they run for 200k miles.

    you have to know what a recall is versus a technical memo, or whatever it is that GM calls it. there is a huge difference. its basically that toyota has more recalls because they are more honest with their customers, and dont screw them over.

    would you rather have a company that makes everything into a recall, where you are notified that your car might have some non-dangerous problem that they are fixing for free, or would you rather have a company that only fixes the problems that the NHTSA makes them fix, because people might die?

    i can google all day. i used to work at saturns customer service center, many years ago. learned plenty of things about how they work, and when GM took over, the ways that the end customers get the shaft.

  53. skotty4 says:

    GM does NOT force you to pay for OnStar…where did you ever come up with that? It’s an added service, services cost money. You dont get XM radio free either. Furthermore, both xm and onstar come free for the first year anyway.

  54. K-Bo says:

    @coaster.n3rd: a 2000 civic. The saturn took the expensive tires, and yes, I could have put cheaper than recommended, but then I’d have to replace them even more often, and since the fact I stated were facts I experienced, and my point was that peoples individual experience shape their future buying habits, how can you call shenanigans? You know I won’t buy a honda over a saturn for the rest of my life? The actual facts of my experience are not important, the point as far as what I was saying is so far for me, Saturn = bad, honda = good, so I’m gonna buy another honda. I didn’t say every saturns bad and every honda good, just showing how easy it is to loose a customer with one bad car.

  55. pibbsman0 says:

    The fact of the matter is that companies like Toyota and Honda can make a good car for an estimated $1500 less than GM or Ford, due to many factors, such as healthcare costs, etc. Toyota has stated in the past that the only reason many of their cars are made in America is to soften the industry and consumers that support US-made vehicles. It is still makes more sense for Toyota and Honda to make vehicles in Japan. In the 80’s to compete with the Japanese, who could make a reliable car cheap due to labor costs, the Americans sacrificed quality so that the Union workers could keep their cushy wages. And where has that gotten us? To the point that many of those same workers were forced into early retirement or have gotten laid off. In my opinion, it isn’t quality that is the problem for American manufacturers, which has greatly increased over the past 7 years, but unfortunately their reputation as poor quality continues, but labor unions. Granted I’m not an expert on the subject, but from what I read this is what I gather.

  56. coaster.n3rd says:

    @boandmichele:

    GM has always had control over Saturn. keep that in mind.. I’m calling shenanigans that you worked for the service center. Tell me what Saturns number 1 rule is. Anyone that worked for Saturn will know this. I sell for Saturn of Farmington Hills in Michigan. I know this company inside and out.

    Seriously? toyota wont screw their customers over? Did you hear this one:

    [www.leftlanenews.com]

    Or this one:

    [www.leftlanenews.com]

    No you didn’t. They are being honest and not screwing over their customers.. Its not a recall, just a bulletin.

  57. Jaysyn was banned for: http://consumerist.com/5032912/the-subprime-meltdown-will-be-nothing-compared-to-the-prime-meltdown#c7042646 says:

    @Lo-Pan:

    `99 Dodge Neon with 1/4 million miles & still going strong.

  58. hubris says:

    @K-Bo: Much of it depends on the driver as well as the car. Not bashing you by any means, I’m talking in general.

    My first *real* car was a ’93 Saturn I bought from my sister. When she had it, it was a friggin mess, mainly due to neglect. I got it at 130,000 miles and never had a problem with it that didn’t originate with her (had to get new mirrors, a new seat, a new windshield [holy crap did Saturn screw people with that windshield], and various other things. While I had it (for another 70K miles), *all* I did was get tires and get the oil changed. That’s it. And the only reason it died was because I forgot to put the oil cap on during a highway road trip and the oil soaked the clutch line and shattered it. Wasn’t worth getting a new clutch put in.

    A *lot* of car problems have to do with the way they’re maintained.

  59. hubris says:

    @Troy F.: If by “real” station wagon you mean the huge grocery getters of the 69s and 70s, maybe I’ll agree with you. But my VW Passat wagon has as much storage space as the Jeep Grand Cherokee it replaced. Perhaps even more.

  60. pibbsman0 says:

    @omerhi: Sounds like the same thing my sister did to the 02′ SC-1 I “gave” her. She kept forgetting to change the oil and at 60,000 miles couldn’t understand why the motor blew. As well as every 95′ through 2000 Chevy Cavalier/Pontiac Sunfire… was there a single person on the planet that actually took care of that model?

  61. Falconfire says:

    @coaster.n3rd: Part of your problem was “Its a Saturn.” Mechanics had no clue how to work on them when they came out because of the alloys they used on the engine and some parts. My 92 Saturn was in the shop constantly for this very fact, they kept working on it like a typical Domestic using parts that where not to spec for a Saturn.

    People with newer Japanese/European vehicles have the same issue when they take them to any old joe schmo mechanic.

    That being said, I went on to a Chevy instead for my most recent car, and I am going back to a Saturn. I cant stand GMs other brands, as there is a distinct lack of care in their creation. Saturns atm are all European cars btw. The Sky is the only one I think thats a American from the ground up, all the current models are Euro transplants from Opel.

  62. hubris says:

    @omerhi: Whoops. Meant 60s and 70s. Heh.

  63. K-Bo says:

    @omerhi: True that the driver matters, but remember these 2 cars had the same driver. I took better care of the Saturn too, just because I had too. I knew that if I didn’t, it would be even worse if I didn’t. The Honda, I’ve probably become too complacent about, because it never has problems.

  64. balthisar says:

    @weg1978: thank you! No one bothers to read the FA, let alone the profit and loss statement. This was actually quite an excellent year for the General.

    @boandmichele: GM created and has always owned and controlled and engineered Saturn. Sure, they had some pseudo-autonomy in the hopes of doing things “the Japanese way” and failed at that. Even their union members dropped their “special” contract and went with the UAW national several years back. It wasn’t a viable business, regardless of the quality (or lack thereof) of the vehicles.

    Collectively the Big 3 still own 50% of the US auto market. That’s versus 20+ other companies (Japanese, Korean, European) in the same market. Gripe about how their out of touch all you want, but they’re obviously doing something right.

    Also consider that when talking quality, only Toyota and Honda have excellent metrics versus the Americans. Everyone else is behind. If you buy a Mitsubishi or a Volkswagen because of quality concerns, then you’re a fool (but if you like them anyway, then you’re okay in my book).

  65. K-Bo says:

    @K-Bo: wow, remove the extra if I didn’t

  66. boandmichele says:

    @coaster.n3rd: okay, you are right. im making it all up. GM is clearly the best, Toyota is not. I never worked at Saturn, in fact, i live in Mogandishu…

    anyway, i didnt work for the service center. i worked for the customer service call center in spring hill. saturn parkway to the front gate, go left to the first building that is on the hwy 31 side, second floor, north side of that building. most of the building is empty. there are about 50 people answering calls in dual cubicles, training takes 2 weeks of classroom time, plus on the floor training. i cant remember much else, because i didnt stay for long. was horrible to talk to people about a product that no one trusted on any level, except for money-blinded execs, and brainwashed people from the detroit area. i have gone on to much bigger and better things.

    ps, you can find anything on the internet to back a claim, but that doesnt really strengthen the defense of a pisspoor car company. you are on the consumerist. everyone has have a bad experience with every company ever. a site such as leftlanenews is not the least biased of sites, if you just glance at the homepage.

  67. The Porkchop Express says:

    @HRHKingFriday: Knowing a trade and having the experience can sometimes be much more important to an employer than a degree (really an expensive piece of paper until you apply what was taught).

  68. The Porkchop Express says:

    @K-Bo: tires and batteries are usually made by someone else. and the tires generally good bad because of how you drive, not what.

  69. MeOhMy says:

    @omerhi: Can you fit a 4×8 sheet of plywood in your Passat wagon? That’s pretty much the benchmark. I’m not surprised that it seems roomier than your Cherokee did. A lot of wasted space in a lot of SUVs. My dad thought an SUV would adequately replace his Roadmaster. He was disappointed.

  70. nequam says:

    @coaster.n3rd: It’s funny. I’ve been reading the reviews of the new Malibu and they are all fairly glowing — Consumer Reports calls it the best American family sedan they have ever reviewed. That said, as a longtime Honda owner (2002 Accord, which replaced a 1999 Civic, which replaced a 1986 Accord), I have concerns about Chevy reliability. I guess time will tell. And that is the key to the Malibu’s success. If the cars hold up comparably to Accord/Cambry, people like me may consider buying American. Call it perception or whatever, but buyers focused on reliability need to wait and see on a car like that.

  71. HOP says:

    gm makes junk..they haven’t made a decent cat since 1959…………

  72. HOP says:

    i ment car…..sorry ’bout that

  73. mzs says:

    Look at what happened to the British auto industry. Chinese SAIC owns the remains of MG Rover and India’s Tata now owns Jaguar. The same is happening now in the US. Cerebus is just trying to bring Chrysler closer to profitability before they sell it off. If Ford and GM cannot et out of the red, the same fate awaits them. GM is trying to bring Opel to Saturn, Ford flounders and only brings Ford Europe products over as Mazda and Volvo.

  74. Dawnrazor says:

    There are a lot of reasons for the terrible shape that the “Big 3″ are in now. The bottom line boils down to their inability/unwillingness to build and deliver CARS (NOT SUV) people actually WANT. Large SUV sales carried them for several years, but Toyota and Nissan have made a big dent in their sales and these types of vehicles are falling out of favor. Another factor no one seems to be aware of is that the Japanese have been artificially manipulating the Yen to the advantage of the automakers, so the playing field may not be as level as everyone thinks. It is true that a large number of Japanese (and German for that matter) vehicles are built in the USA. This no doubt provides good jobs as well as steady revenue for the local economies, but really does little in the way of reinforcement for the national economy as a whole. Remember too that many of the foreign factories are located where they are based upon what economic incentives/tax breaks were offered to them by the local (sometimes state) governments, further diluting their positive impact by allowing them to escape paying their “fair share” of taxes. (I have nothing but contempt for corporate welfare schemes.)

    GM’s quality is, without a doubt, rapidly increasing. I looked at an ’08 CTS over the weekend-spectacular. This car truely, without qualification, is the equal (if not better) than anything comparable from BMW, Mercedes, Lexus, Infiniti, etc. I have owned exclusively Honda and Nissan (Toyota too boring) products since the early 90’s (after being burned twice with unmitigated pieces of detritus from GM-’88 Grand Am, ’92 Achieva-need I say more?) but am seriously considering this car (when the hype subsides and one can be had for a reasonable price). I currently drive an ’04 G35, which is a spectacular car in its own right (the equal of the 3-series in performance, no competition in quality/reliability) with impeccable fit and finish but seems somewhat lower-rent compared with the CTS. Everything about the fit and finish of the CTS suggests that GM may actually be getting things right at this point. I did not drive the car, but the buzz suggests it does not disappoint in this regard either.

  75. I will buy a GM auto at the point where they make a competitive product at a competitive price. That means they must have interesting designs (lacking), high quality (lacking), and an appropriate cost structure (lacking). A large buyout and relocation of jobs to non-collective bargaining units only addresses the cost structure.

    Once, in business school, I laid out a good plan for GM. It involved dumping a number of brands, which only complicate the marketplace and make it harder to solve the question of which GM car is right for me (current answer may be none, but wait). In the consolidation (down to three or four brands: Chevy, Caddy, Saab and Hummer), you reduce models to eliminate duplication. For instance, you make Hummers and you make GMC Yukons. They share a base. It’s engines and sheet metal that make the difference. You don’t need the Yukon. You need appropriate price points on the Hummer. By clarifying the marketplace, you make it easier for the consumer to sort your product. You also save on marketing. Or you can focus your marketing better. Either way. Similar things in design and engineering. Oh, and manufacturing as well.

    This is a half step. Until they make up the design gap and the quality gap, I’m going to stick with Toyota (best manufacture) and Honda (best engine).

  76. @Lo-Pan: Trade, fine, I gather one probably goes through some kind of vocational apprenticeship for things like woodworking and agriculture. But pushing a button on an assembly line? Please, that’s hardly a “trade”. Like it or not, car manufacturing has become increasingly dependant on robotics.

    Re: my expensive piece of paper- I’d like to see you read and write in a little library for 4-7 years and not think that’s hard work. Also, most college students these days have to intern for free to learn the “trade” part of our careers.

  77. Amelie says:

    My family has owned only GM cars, and we usually drive them for 15 years. My only complaint is that I can’t buy another Oldsmobile.

  78. @coaster.n3rd: Its still called a Malibu. If they are too dumb to fix something simple like that, I can’t imagine what else went wrong inside the car.

  79. @Dawnrazor: All well and good, but the CTS is still an ugly old person car. Except that only mid life crisis old people are going to drive it. Don’t buy caddy’s hype. They have been getting uglier and uglier since the 70’s.

  80. Buran says:

    @coaster.n3rd: Yes, there is a recall on my VW. For something totally inconsequential. GMs, on the other hand, have recalls for things like “may catch on fire”. GM products tend to die randomly and have SEVERE problems. Don’t forget that recalls can be about very minor “problems” as well as major ones. I don’t expect the transmission in my GTI to randomly die the way transmissions have in relatives’ domestic vehicles.

    GM has a quality problem. It painted itself into this corner. It can get out of it IF it produces quality products at a good price — except it’ll have to win back the customers it lost during all those years it cranked out crap. Most of them have moved on to higher quality imports.

  81. modenastradale says:

    Mmmmm… $14 an hour? Just imagine what will happen to GM’s legendary product and service quality. :-)

  82. Buran says:

    @Troy F.: Why does that matter? Most people don’t NEED to carry 4×8 sheets of plywood.

  83. Derp says:

    @HRHKingFriday: I second that statement!

  84. BalknChain says:

    I had a good thing with my old used Camaros (an ’85, 2 ’92’s, and a 2000) and my husband’s used Monte Carlo (1995). We decided to upgrade from the 2000 Camaro, the 1995 Monte Carlo and even sold off my old 1985 I-ROC since the money wasn’t there to paint it. We purchased a 2003 TrailBlazer followed shortly by a 2003 Silverado. The Silverado’s transmission valve assembly blew at 20,000 and change and the TrailBlazer’s valve assembly went at 84,000 and change. Yes, same part same year. Neither are 4 wheel drive and just shuttle back and forth to work in NJ. No harsh climate, no towing, no long distances with regular dealership maintenance and they still went. I will not even bother listing the other issues like spiders living in the TrailBlazer’s headlights. Good one right? I’m a Chevy person with MAJOR buyer’s remorse. Shouldn’t $50,000.00+ buy some security? I’m buying an old car when the Blazer is paid off. My husband wants an old one as well.

  85. @HRHKingFriday: “As someone who has invested in an education and thus, higher skills, I find it offensive that people who can barely get out of high school and did not make any such investment in themselves be paid as much or more than me (with equal years of experience).”

    Uhm, whose fault is that King Friday?
    Plus, an education doesn’t give you higher skills. I came out of undergrad with the ability to do research, write papers, and focus a video camera. Is that a higher set of skills than someone who operates a robotic welder?
    PS- now that I have an MBA, I have some actual skills. But, you’re going to begrudge a collective bargaining unit for maximizing returns to members because they make more money than you? What kind of capitalist are you? Maybe from the Daniel Plainview school of capitalism.

  86. K-Bo says:

    @Lo-Pan: Funny that I keep tires twice as many miles on my civic, and they are cheaper tires.

  87. @skotty4: The free for the first year is known as the crack dealer marketing method. They give you a taste for free, then they kill you with prices. It’s a nice little externality/cash cow, with a vicious marketing practice that’s highly effective and seems consumer friendly.

  88. noquarter says:

    @HRHKingFriday: As someone who has invested in an education… I find it offensive that people [who] did not make any such investment in themselves be paid as much or more than me.

    I also made an investment in an education. However, unlike you, I don’t think that I’m therefore entitled to make more money than anyone who didn’t. If someone who didn’t go to college makes more money than you, and if income is your standard for a good job, then it appears that going to college was a bad “investment” decision on your part.

    It sounds like your offense stems from your poor understanding of real-world economies. And the real world has no obligation to change just to soothe your offended ego.

  89. Silversmok3 says:

    @Buran:

    [www.pritzkerlaw.com]
    “VW is recalling 58,900 MY 2006 Jetta vehicles equipped with 2.5l gasoline engines. These vehicles may have a small plastic tab located on the windshield washer fluid reservoir that may chafe against the underhood fuel supply line. If this happens, the chafing has the potential to cause a fuel leak over time. Fuel leakage in the presence of an ignition source could result in a fire. Dealers will remove the plastic tab from the windshield washer fluid reservoir and will also inspect and, if necessary, replace the underhood fuel supply line. The recall is expected to begin on or about August 13, 2007. “

    Even Bentleys have recalls. And every car manufacturer makes mistakes.Toyota, Dodge, and Audi built defective oil sludge-prone engines.Guess which of the three got the reputation of being ‘unreliable’?

    In any instance I fail to see what this has to do with GM changing accounting policy.

  90. @PotKettleBlack: Grande LULZ for the Plainview reference.

    I suppose I am a part of the survival of the fittest school of thought, where we should reward people based on how much they contribute to society. Why should lazy people be rewarded with the same pay as an IT analyst who has spent years learning complex computing systems?

    I also happen to think that by the time high school rolls around, most people can think for themselves and choose to go to college or not. Or, they decide to go to college in a couple years after they save up enough money. Either way, I’m tired of people bitching and moaning about their min wage job flipping burgers, as if society has brought that fate upon them. You will not be rewarded with buckets of cash like Paris Hilton simply for operating machinary. A modest life, yes, but no McMansions for you.

  91. @noquarter: All I’m saying is that people should get paid what their job is worth. As we all saw from the tech boom, people with very little formal education can develop “high skills” that are extremely valuable to us. If GM all of the sudden started turning out high efficiency solar cars that required a lot of detailed engineering and attention to how its built, I say pay the workers more.

    But, if you’re still selling me a shit sandwich of a car, I don’t see why GM needs to be paying them that much.

  92. MeOhMy says:

    @Buran:

    Why does that matter? Most people don’t NEED to carry 4×8 sheets of plywood.

    Because it’s a good and easy reference point. If it’s got a bed big enough to carry plywood, then it’s likely that it can carry anything the average homeowner might need to haul. Furniture, luggage, athletic equipment, appliances, construction supplies, your family, etc. It’s pretty much what most casual pickup owners would neat at minimum to replace their pickup.

    Try not to be so myopic. Just because you don’t need it doesn’t mean other people or indeed most people don’t need it.

  93. samson says:

    GM is better at losing money then they are at making cars, ha ha ha thats funny

  94. coaster.n3rd says:

    @PotKettleBlack:

    The first part is subjective. Looks don’t matter. Quality does and when will Toyota fix the trans problems in Americas best selling car? They already said they wouldn’t. When can a good ol’ boy go out and buy a Tundra that has a tail gate that will not collapse when he sets his ATV on it? They don’t see a problem.

    In your little business plan, did you figure the amount of money it would cost GM to shut down those brands? I’m betting you didn’t. If you did you wouldn’t have posted this as a good idea because the company you pretended to run just shut down after losing billions on your idea.

    —————————————————

    I’m getting a little sick and tired of this “GM ONLY MAKES TRUCKS and FORCES THEM ON THE CONSUMER” argument. No Assholes, they don’t. Who got Truck of the year at NAIAS 08? Toyota. Who was protested at L.A. for releasing a new SUV this year? Toyota. Who does not have a hybrid Truck? Toyota. New Truck based crossover? Toyota. Meanwhile GM has 3 Full Size Hybrid SUVs. 2 Hybrid pick-ups. 1 Hybrid Crossover, 2 Hybrid Sedans and a fleet of Hydrogen vehicles on the road in real world testing.

    I’m laughing at all these Honda owners who are getting nothing but quality from their Civics.

    [s134.photobucket.com]

    [www.8thcivic.com]

    [automotivetech.org]

  95. chiieddy says:

    @Troy F.: When I was shopping for my Outback in November, I found the Mazda 6 and the subaru Outback wagon (not sport) were full station wagons. So, yes, there are alternatives.

  96. mzs says:

    @Buran: Funny you mention that VW does not have recalls for “may catch on fire” as I looked at a 200x Jetta after a fire in a Chicago suburb. It was caused by the seat belt pretensioners. There was was insulating material too close to the pyrotechnics that make that work that caught fire. The car was a smoldered, smokey, charred, and melted mess inside.

    Sure enough about a year later there was a letter for owners to bring in their VWs.

  97. impetus says:

    And posted on the same day as “Detroit is America’s #1 most miserable city”, no less.

  98. chiieddy says:

    @Troy F.: Dimensions of:

    2008 Outback 2.5i (my car): 33.5 cu. ft./65.4 cu. ft. (with rear seat lowered)
    2008 VW Passat Wagon: 35.8 cu. ft./61.82 cu. ft (with rear seat lowered)
    2008 Jeep Grand Cherokee: 34.5 cu. ft. (behind 2nd seat)/68.5 cu. ft. (behind 1st seat)

    A 4’x8′ board is 32 sq feet and will fit in each of these vehicles.

  99. SoCalGNX says:

    Dang! That car in the picture would look so much better if it was a black Buick!
    Like maybe a GNX!

  100. chiieddy says:

    @Troy F.: I have a question for you. For the 1 time a year most people who own a super-large SUV or pick-up use it to haul something that wouldn’t fit in a standard size station wagon, getting > 23 or 24 mpg, how much would it cost to rent an SUV or pick-up for a day? How much gas savings would you save per year to rent just the once?

    For example, I’m going camping this summer and renting an SUV for capacity, hauling and back-country reasons (we’re flying into Jackson Hole, WY and going from there so not renting is not an option). It’s costing me a grand total of $28/day during 4th of July week (high season).

  101. The Porkchop Express says:

    @HRHKingFriday: I’m not actually downing your degree or your education. Just that sometimes people who didn’t go to college are better at the same job regardless and deserve better pay.

    And a lot of internships don’t teach you the real deal at jobs, they give you stuff they don’t want to do.

    I also doubt that all of the jobs at a auto factory are just “pushing a button”, plus there is that little fact that it’s probably a somewhat dangerous environment where injuries can happen very easily, injuries that may keep you from working again or at least working at a decent job.

  102. Buran says:

    @mzs: I didn’t say they NEVER have such recalls — my point was that GM has a LOT more of the nasty recalls, and how likely is it that your washer fluid tank is going to cause a fire vs. your GM-mobile is going to have major problems given the relative reputations of the two automakers?

    I’ll stick with the miniscule chance of washer tank related problems (well, I would if I had that model, which I don’t). I feel a lot more confident about than I do about driving something that could have the transmission disintegrate on me.

  103. Buran says:

    @Troy F.: And who exactly hauls that crap daily? If you do, you’re in a small minority unless you own a business that does that kind of thing. If you don’t, then why are you buying an SUV? Why aren’t you buying something small and fuel-efficient and renting that large gas-guzzler for the ONE DAY that you need it to get that huge appliance or piece of furniture home from the store that inexplicably doesn’t have its own truck and delivery service?

  104. MeOhMy says:

    @chiieddy: Sq Ft is a measure of area. Cu Ft is a measure of volume. And fairly useless as far as figuring out how much a car can carry. They do not directly translate. Yes, if you could fold up a sheet of plywood you could fit oodles of them in a Cherokee. But it doesn’t work that way in reality.

    For a look at the fundamental problem, go here:
    [www.wjjeeps.com]
    I have no idea what year Cherokee this is but it’s fine for this example.

    As you can see, the hatch opening is neither 48″ high nor 48″ wide. It looks like you might actually be able to get them in on the diagonal in a Cherokee (in a lot of cars the wheel well makes it impossible to do this), but of course your question was why can’t people replace their big SUV with a wagon.

    I can’t find a similar diagram for a passat but it’s a safe bet that there is not 48″ of clearance.

    Like I said I don’t want an SUV, I want a big enough wagon. The extra few inches needed to make it work would not reduce the fuel economy by much. My dad’s V6 Roadmaster got mid-20s and that was 10 years ago. A 4-cyl today? They could probably make one that gets close to 30MPG.

    And again – just because *you* would only need that capacity once a year doesn’t mean *everyone* is the same!

    You asked. The answer is that in practice the SUV has replaced the full-sized wagon. They call it full-sized but that just means it’s the biggest one they make.

  105. D3R3K says:

    I don’t GM is too concerned… right now they’re main focus is on the Chinese market, and they have Saabs to balance out the other lackluster brands.

    However, being a current Saab owner, I will most definitely avoid getting another one at all costs.

    Saab = heavy maintenance.

  106. D3R3K says:

    *they’re = their :/

  107. coaster.n3rd says:

    @Buran:

    You’re a fucking idiot.

  108. coaster.n3rd says:

    @Buran:

    No really… Someone shows you a fact and you brush it off for a name. I hope you never have children and that your VW does catch on fire and you burn slowly to realize how much of an idiot you really are.

  109. Buran says:

    @coaster.n3rd: WTF? You wish death on me because I posted something you don’t like, and when pointing out what I was getting at, you say I shoudln’t ever have kids?

    Fine. I hope you’re in Iran when the A-bomb finally gets dropped on them and you die of radiation sickness and that your dick falls off and you bleed out through teh hole and you have to watch through the excruciating pain.

  110. rikkus256 says:

    I really wish to support domestic brands. But I also do not have the cash to burn on all those heavy maintenances/repairs bills from domestic cars (Talking from my past experience).

    No need to argue here. Let the market speak for itself. If GM does make quality cars then people will buy them. Just like how everyone buys Toyotas and Hondas.

  111. kusto says:

    where are all the early bought out factory workers going to work?

  112. coaster.n3rd says:

    @Buran:

    I never said anything about death. Your stupidity will probably kill you off on its own.

  113. Buran says:

    @coaster.n3rd: If stupidity is “anyone who posts something I don’t agree with in a forum” then how the hell did you get out of kindergarten? Wishing that someone burn in a fire is wishing death on someone, and I’m tagging your bullshit.

  114. Rusted says:

    @chouchou: Or Subaru.

    @joeblevins: Depends where they live. Also price of fuel and food way out there along with everything else.

    @bbbici: To say that GM killed the electric car is overstated. It’s just one model, one brand. Many more out there. Yeah, they could have sold the cars to their customers and said, “As is, no support”. Think there’s two sides to that story.

    @Buran: Actually a Subaru Baja gets decent mileage and can haul that refrigerator home. Not only that, the bed is low enough to get heavy stuff into. Good luck finding one, it went out of production two years ago.

  115. pyloff says:

    @ HRHKingFriday
    “As someone who has invested in an education and thus, higher skills, I find it offensive that people who can barely get out of high school and did not make any such investment in themselves be paid as much or more than me (with equal years of experience).”

    What an asshole comment. “Higher Skills” means what…?

    Please come down from your fucking mountain. Barely get out of high school now? You have done a case study on auto workers?

    You sir are an asshole and I can confidently tell you to FUCK OFF. Time to go back to school asshole, are you sad because your schooling couldn’t teach you how to make a decent living.

  116. sue_me says:

    I may be crazy, but I’m pretty certain that any auto worker would have a very difficult time pulling apart a supreme court case and its legal arguments, analyse its significance on society at the time, and apply it as a matter of common law to other cases that have come after it. A law student can do it blindfolded after having downed 6 beers inside of 20 minutes, if they went to a decent law school.

    I’m also pretty sure that an auto worker will have a very hard time ripping someone’s chest open and removing their appendix and sew them back up and the person would walk away. A medical student can probably do it blindfolded, from a computer 2000 miles away from the patient. Which is to say it’s easy, because it’s not. I can’t do it, that’s why I’m going to go to law school.

    Schooling (including college) gives you higher critical thinking and analytical skills, which are critical skills to have and are in high demand in this increasingly service-based economy.

    THAT’s what HRking means by “higher skills.”