Shock, Vibration and Noise Blog Blog

Shock, Vibration and Noise Blog

The Shock, Vibration and Noise Blog is the place for conversation and discussion about shock absorbers, dampers and gas springs; noise control and measurement; vibration/acceleration control systems; and machine mounts and vibration isolators process control tools, specialty chemicals and health and safety. Here, you'll find everything from application ideas, to news and industry trends, to hot topics and cutting edge innovations.

Previous in Blog: Overboard in a Sea of Opportunity?   Next in Blog: Complacent Society or Survival Strategy?
Close
Close
Close
45 comments

What Really Caused GM's Downfall?

Posted June 22, 2009 7:19 AM

Thirty year ago, General Motors had a great idea and a viable product that might have revolutionized the automobile industry, and at the same time could have been a real dagger to oil profits. There has been debate as to why exactly the company suddenly canceled the EV1 project, perhaps for technical reasons or possibly under pressure from the oil lobby. Whatever the case, we can only imagine where the company would stand today if the program had been fully developed and prospered. GM made a corporate decision to stop production of the electric car, so shouldn't they, not the taxpayer, be responsible for their bailout? Can they redeem themselves by finally going green?

The preceding article is a "sneak peek" from Shock, Vibration & Noise, a newsletter from GlobalSpec. To stay up-to-date and informed on industry trends, products, and technologies, subscribe to Shock, Vibration & Noise today.

Reply

Interested in this topic? By joining CR4 you can "subscribe" to
this discussion and receive notification when new comments are added.

Comments rated to be Good Answers:

These comments received enough positive ratings to make them "good answers".

Comments rated to be "almost" Good Answers:

Check out these comments that don't yet have enough votes to be "official" good answers and, if you agree with them, rate them!
3
Guru
Engineering Fields - Systems Engineering - New Member Popular Science - Weaponology - New Member

Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Borrego Springs
Posts: 2636
Good Answers: 62
#1

Re: What Really Caused GM's Downfall?

06/22/2009 9:12 AM

We are bailing out GM because of the number of people they employ and suppliers they support and their potential to go forward even moderately successful, not because of some emotional argument about "deservedness" or some "greenness quotient".

And whether the EV1 would have been a "dagger" to oil profits or a financial disaster to GM isn't within my view - but the fact that, sustainable or not, this conversation is going to be emotional and limiting until we remember three things:

1. Big OIL has been feeding OUR appetite.

2. Big OIL employs a lot of people - many of them Americans, just like GM.

3. America's biggest trading partner for energy is Canada.

The exact same argument goes for Hummers vs Volvos.

We don't stop in the street to glare at Volvos, yet I have owned two of the heavy things (some years old) that got Hummer mileage.

Unified, comprehensive, intelligent solutions are not going to be the result of emotional arguments, jingoism that insists on finding a "bad guy", or a search for the "deserving".

__________________
"If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!"
Reply Good Answer (Score 3)
4
Guru
Popular Science - Weaponology - New Member United Kingdom - Member - New Member

Join Date: May 2007
Location: Harlow England
Posts: 16499
Good Answers: 662
#2

Re: What Really Caused GM's Downfall?

06/22/2009 11:52 AM

It is VERY simple.
By definition it must be bad management, because they didn't 'manage' the factors which led to it's downfall.
What those factors were is a different dabate.
Del

__________________
health warning: These posts may contain traces of nut.
Reply Good Answer (Score 4)
Guru
Engineering Fields - Systems Engineering - New Member Popular Science - Weaponology - New Member

Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Borrego Springs
Posts: 2636
Good Answers: 62
#3
In reply to #2

Re: What Really Caused GM's Downfall?

06/22/2009 1:08 PM

Well put!

__________________
"If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!"
Reply Off Topic (Score 5)
Guru

Join Date: May 2007
Location: Geelong, Australia
Posts: 1084
Good Answers: 54
#10
In reply to #2

Re: What Really Caused GM's Downfall?

06/22/2009 11:45 PM

Clear, concise and undoubtedly correct. Sorry, but you'll never make it as an economist.

__________________
If there's something you don't understand...Then a wizard did it. As heard on "The Simpsons".
Reply
Guru
Popular Science - Weaponology - New Member United Kingdom - Member - New Member

Join Date: May 2007
Location: Harlow England
Posts: 16499
Good Answers: 662
#12
In reply to #10

Re: What Really Caused GM's Downfall?

06/23/2009 2:56 AM

Sorry, but you'll never make it as an economist.

Thanks for the compliment...I don't dabble in pseudo science...economist spend their time explaining why they were wrong.
Come to think of it, a bit like financial advisors and politicians. Bunch of charlatans the lot of 'em.
Del

__________________
health warning: These posts may contain traces of nut.
Reply Off Topic (Score 4)
Guru
Engineering Fields - Electromechanical Engineering - Technical Services Manager Canada - Member - Army brat Popular Science - Cosmology - What is Time and what is Energy? Technical Fields - Architecture - Draftsperson Hobbies - RC Aircraft - New Member

Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Clive, Alberta, Canada
Posts: 5907
Good Answers: 204
#23
In reply to #12

Re: What Really Caused GM's Downfall?

06/23/2009 2:44 PM

I can't see the reason this was OT... This is the real answer if you ask me!!

Chris

Reply Off Topic (Score 5)
Anonymous Poster
#4

Re: What Really Caused GM's Downfall?

06/22/2009 2:57 PM

The oil price was very low to go for EV project then. Now they should go for it. Also smaller cars.

Reply
4
Guru
Popular Science - Evolution - New Member Popular Science - Weaponology - New Member

Join Date: May 2006
Location: The 'Space Coast', USA
Posts: 11112
Good Answers: 918
#5

Re: What Really Caused GM's Downfall?

06/22/2009 4:55 PM

The EV1 didn't get into production because:

1. There was no profit in the design!

I know there is a very, very tiny minority of people that are EV1 fans. There is nothing wrong with that. However, if you (or they) believe GM should pull out all the stops to mass market these cars, then it must be a long distance phone call between you (or them) and reality.

Why in the world would somebody pay huge sums of money for a vehicle with limited range, high cost of maintenance (i.e., battery replacement), and high cost to manufacture (translates into higher cost to the end user)?

If spending money is the bottom line, buy a used beater for $5,000. Figure that the entry price for a EV at $35,000, you can buy $30,000 in gas.

At $5 per gallon, $30,000 in gas will get you 120,000 miles or about 10 years of average traveling if you average 20 mpg.

The problem with GM is that they can't sell cars and trucks at a profit after they pay wages, benifits, and operational costs.

Reply Good Answer (Score 4)
Guru

Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Transcendia
Posts: 2963
Good Answers: 93
#6
In reply to #5

Re: What Really Caused GM's Downfall?

06/22/2009 8:04 PM

Certainly Anonymous Hero you have demonstrated over the past couple of years that I've been around, a great grasp of certain aspects of the car industry.

It was a victory for me that you even entertained some of my proffered concepts concerning an Electric Road.

However, even though you are a logical expert, that is not necessarily perfect, since people are funny.

Of personal vehicles below 12,000 pounds there probably ought not be more than 4 models for instance.

Maybe 6, but basically what makes sense is small cars, medium sized cars, trucks, and vans.

Now it is known that in the US, we have pretty much gotten all the oil we are going to get out of Texas.

Canada is still giving us some at good prices, but even they are up for melting gooey sand.

Frankly if you crunch the numbers a Prius hardly seems to make any sense at all to me, but where I live you'd think it must be the most sensible car in the world to buy, since there are an awful lot of them.

Now in fact the EV1 is now an old and obsolete vehicle.

In a way considering the basis for GMs success, it was stupid for them to have abandoned the project since much of their success had nothing to do at all with being sensible, and a lot to do with "fashions".

Further I consider GMs failures unique to that particular company, and its culture.

Then I go further when thinking of what the roads in the US are really for.

I start thinking of real trucks of over 18 thousand pounds Gross Vehicle Weight.

That's why I want an electric road really.

Sometimes things are more complicated than we would prefer, but what a successful company does is actually get the money that is on the table.

Apparently Toyota figures that getting a little here, and a little there, adds up enough to keep them in business.

P.S. Forgive me, I'm out of steam for this post, that is a letter, and to get everything really put together from past, present, and into the future, requires a book.

__________________
You don't get wise because you got old, you get old because you were wise.
Reply
11
Guru
Popular Science - Evolution - New Member Popular Science - Weaponology - New Member

Join Date: May 2006
Location: The 'Space Coast', USA
Posts: 11112
Good Answers: 918
#7
In reply to #6

Re: What Really Caused GM's Downfall?

06/22/2009 9:55 PM

Hi!

Well, the bottom line is that people have to buy what you make. Right now there is a disconnect between what some people think other people want to buy.

That is not a new problem, but stretches back to the roots of time.

I love the idea of a new design of cars, particularly electric. However, I am keenly aware that the bottom line is that you have to sell what people want. All anyone has to do is simply look at the sales figures for the types of cars people are buying to see the truth. That is, little tiny gas saving cars are not big sellers and only make up a small segment of the total market for cars and trucks.

I know that runs counter to what Obama told us earlier this year, but the actual sales figures for automobiles tell a completely different story.

The actual reasons for Detroit's troubles have virtually nothing to do with innovation or selling the wrong type of cars (as our President would have us believe). These quoted reasons are only trying to hide the real reasons which few of us want to face.

1. CAFE standards have forced Detroit to build a fleet of cars that does not accurately match public demand. CAFE was a social engineering plan by our Government to move the population from one type of vehicle to another. The results have been mixed and Detroit is struggling with selling cars that are not popular in the market.

I am not saying that I am against a smaller ecological footprint, but everything has its price.

2. Union labor has created a huge financial burden on the industry. Compared to the rest of the world our workers are over paid and over compensated. This creates a very unlevel playing field compared to other auto companies operating in the US and abroad. Unless this problem gets a radical overhaul we only need to look at the US steel industry to get a good look of the future for Detroit.

3. Detroit management is not blameless. Middle and upper management has aggreed with union demands. They have made bad business decisions. No one in management has had the real guts to do what needed to be done to get the ship back on course.

4. The government takeover of GM is probably a recipe for doom. Government has zero experience with making a profit and the selected players that are charged with overseeing the industry lack any resume experience for the task at hand.

5. The current administration's belief that small cars are what the population wants from Detroit is totally out of sync with the real market. If the administration decides that come hell or high water that they will force GM to build a higher percentage of those cars they will soon find that the market will look overseas for what they want.

Foreign automakers will happily build what we refuse to build. Just look at the trend of trucks and SUVs that are imported in the last 10 years. That market was almost exclusive territory of Detroit 10 - 15 years ago.

The administration's next move will be to punish the market for not buying what the administration has decreed they should buy. To do this the government will increase taxes on gasoline, add import duties to foreign cars, and subsidies for domestic cars. In short, the consumer will be made to pay for not buying in on Obama's dream through a number of revenue channels.

6. The latest rounds of CAFE changes will further weaken a crippled auto economy as more people simply hunker down and keep the cars they got until they are taxed out of them. Japan has led the way with such a plan by setting a limit as to how long you can keep a car before it must be removed from the road.

Meeting the new CAFE standards will run against the market desires. The alternative will be for the industry to pay fines, which will be passed on to the consumer. Think of it as another form of a tax on the people.

All of this at a time when the auto industry is suffering the biggest setback in decades. Frankly, it is stupid to tax and saddle an industry when they are sick and trying to recover. That goes for the rest of the private sector. Bad medicine, but you can't sue for malpractice. Good thing the government is not a physician... Oh, wait... Healthcare, but that's another topic and I will not digress. Back to the point of the topic.

7. Finally, accepting bailout money was just letting the monster in the door. GM and Chrysler must have thought that the bailout was free money. Not so. Now the government pulls the strings and determines whose heads roll. Not much of a surprise since we already saw what was to come after bailing out the banks and insurance industry. Only Ford showed any intelligence and quickly backed out of the Devil's game. Kudos to Ford. I hope they do well.

I find it frustrating that so many people and organizations have stuck their heads in the sand and built straw men to point to and accuse for Detroit's demise. We are very good at creating a lot of pretty lies.

As long as we refuse to recognize the real root causes of our failure we are only doomed to fail and fall harder.

That's the real cause if you can stomach it.

Reply Good Answer (Score 11)
Anonymous Poster
#8
In reply to #7

Re: What Really Caused GM's Downfall?

06/22/2009 11:12 PM

"The administration's next move will be to punish the market for not buying what the administration has decreed they should buy. To do this the government will increase taxes on gasoline, add import duties to foreign cars, and subsidies for domestic cars. In short, the consumer will be made to pay for not buying in on Obama's dream through a number of revenue channels"

Just look at the motor cycle market today to see where that will lead. When Harley was going under because the Japaneese iron was more affordable, more user friendly, better built etc. Dear old US slapped a huge tax on imported bikes to make Harleys competitive and now there is a complete lack of variety in the bikes available today. You either buy a Harley clone from a Japaneese manufacturer, or a real Harley, or a "sport" bike. Where are the wonderfull commuter bikes we had in the late 60s and 70s? Where is the Honda 750?

Reply Score 1 for Good Answer
Power-User
Hobbies - Fishing - New Member Popular Science - Evolution - New Member United States - Member - New Member Engineering Fields - Mechanical Engineering - New Member

Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Cleveland, OH
Posts: 445
Good Answers: 10
#17
In reply to #8

Re: What Really Caused GM's Downfall?

06/23/2009 9:06 AM

I wouldn't say that. I see everything from 1800 cc cruisers, which are far quieter and more comfortable than a Harley, to small street-legal dirt bikes and "crotch rockets". BMW still sells 750 and 850 cc bikes. In the 60s, Harley was about the biggest bike you get. The 750 Japanese bikes were considered powerful, although not as much as a "Hog". Today the 750 cc bikes are not seen because the makers have switched to 1500 and 1800 cc bikes that make Harley look anemic, and are excellent commuter bikes.

__________________
"Just a little off the top" - Marie Antoinette
Reply
Guru

Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Transcendia
Posts: 2963
Good Answers: 93
#9
In reply to #7

Re: What Really Caused GM's Downfall?

06/22/2009 11:31 PM

Dear Anonymous Hero,

Possibly I live in a weird place for I see an awful lot of brand new Prius, or Toyota Hybrids showing up on the roads around here.

Some of the Hybrids, like the Camry aren't all that small either.

As well, partly because this is a University town, those stupid little scooters are doing well.

-(sure they're cute, but well, just too slow for me.)

The issues of Unions and Labor, and International competition I have grappled with in other threads.

I end up back in Holland looking at how they do things now for lessons.

Best Regards.

__________________
You don't get wise because you got old, you get old because you were wise.
Reply
Guru
United Kingdom - Member - Indeterminate Engineering Fields - Control Engineering - New Member

Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: In the bothy, 7 chains down the line from Dodman's Lane level crossing, in the nation formerly known as Great Britain. Kettle's on.
Posts: 30335
Good Answers: 818
#13
In reply to #7

Re: What Really Caused GM's Downfall?

06/23/2009 5:09 AM

<...people have to buy what you make...>

Codswallop.

<...you have to sell what people want...>

That's better.

<... Foreign automakers will happily build what we refuse to build....>

In a free market economy that rates as a wonderful opportunity.

__________________
"Did you get my e-mail?" - "The biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place" - George Bernard Shaw, 1856
Reply
Guru
Hobbies - Musician - New Member Hobbies - Car Customizing - New Member Hobbies - Target Shooting - New Member Engineering Fields - Power Engineering - New Member

Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: FL Space Coast
Posts: 536
Good Answers: 14
#14
In reply to #13

Re: What Really Caused GM's Downfall?

06/23/2009 7:00 AM

<...people have to buy what you make...>

Codswallop.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Yeah, that statement seemed strange to me as well.

I just assumed that Anonymous Hero probably meant to say:

"People have to want to buy what you make."

But I will let him clarify/correct, if he wants to.

AH what say you?

Reply
Guru
Popular Science - Evolution - New Member Popular Science - Weaponology - New Member

Join Date: May 2006
Location: The 'Space Coast', USA
Posts: 11112
Good Answers: 918
#15
In reply to #14

Re: What Really Caused GM's Downfall?

06/23/2009 7:24 AM

Sorry for the confusion, but I meant that to be successful, people have to buy what you make.

Sorry for the mystery.

Reply
Guru
Hobbies - Musician - New Member Hobbies - Car Customizing - New Member Hobbies - Target Shooting - New Member Engineering Fields - Power Engineering - New Member

Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: FL Space Coast
Posts: 536
Good Answers: 14
#18
In reply to #15

Re: What Really Caused GM's Downfall?

06/23/2009 9:28 AM

Yeah, that's what I thought. Well said. I'd give you another good answer, but I already gave you one for that post and that would be cheating. Should I GA the clarification?

Reply
Guru

Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Mumbai, India
Posts: 1985
Good Answers: 25
#16
In reply to #7

Re: What Really Caused GM's Downfall?

06/23/2009 8:18 AM

So it is Unions,oil prices, bad management and no market research responsible for the downfall of the great Auto Giants?

__________________
"Engineers should not look for jobs but should create jobs for others" by Dr.Radhakrishnan Ex President of India during my college graduation day
Reply
Anonymous Poster
#27
In reply to #7

Re: What Really Caused GM's Downfall?

06/23/2009 7:22 PM

" Detroit management is not blameless. Middle and upper management has aggreed with union demands. "

Why does'nt anyone ever bring up the benefit package and wages of the salaried work force? Also up for consideration should be the absolutely ugly design of many of our american made cars. Most look like they came out of the same cookie cutter. It is not the union that designs cars that won't sell. Nor is it the union that hires twice the number of management employees that our foriegn competitors do.

Reply Score 1 for Good Answer
Guru

Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Defreestville, NY
Posts: 1072
Good Answers: 87
#29
In reply to #7

Re: What Really Caused GM's Downfall?

06/24/2009 12:19 AM

Stomach this : GM cars suck.

__________________
Charlie don't surf.
Reply
Guru

Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Large hole formally occupied by furry woodland creature.
Posts: 3385
Good Answers: 97
#45
In reply to #7

Re: What Really Caused GM's Downfall?

01/27/2010 5:10 PM

"2. Union labor has created a huge financial burden on the industry. Compared to the rest of the world our workers are over paid and over compensated. This creates a very unlevel playing field compared to other auto companies operating in the US and abroad. Unless this problem gets a radical overhaul we only need to look at the US steel industry to get a good look of the future for Detroit."

What should "our workers" be paid and to what level should they be compensated?

Should we use the lowest scale as a model?

__________________
CRTL-Z
Reply
2
Associate

Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 39
Good Answers: 1
#26
In reply to #5

Re: What Really Caused GM's Downfall?

06/23/2009 3:48 PM

I agree a100%.

People are living in the past, (post WWII times) when we where the only nation standing up with an intact manufacturing infrastructure.Back then industries could afford to pay high salaries to untrained people and they got used to it. We are in a different situation, the rest rebuilt their manufacturing infrastructure and we kept the old one and kept paying high salaries to people without any training. We priced ourselves out of the market, (not to mention the quality of the products).

We have been swallowed by the forces of our own system

Reply Good Answer (Score 2)
Guru
Hobbies - Musician - New Member Hobbies - Car Customizing - New Member Hobbies - Target Shooting - New Member Engineering Fields - Power Engineering - New Member

Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: FL Space Coast
Posts: 536
Good Answers: 14
#30
In reply to #26

Re: What Really Caused GM's Downfall?

06/24/2009 6:30 AM

Well spoken and very true.

The market has been changing for many years and we have been sticking are heads in the sand, fighting to keep it the way it is. When, instead we should have been restructuring the system to stay competitive. Well, now the chickens of reality have come home to roost and we are calling foul. Unfortuneately, upper management and the gubermint are still pandering to the unions and thier interests.

Reply
Associate

Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 39
Good Answers: 1
#11

Re: What Really Caused GM's Downfall?

06/23/2009 12:14 AM

You got to be kidding. What make you think that the ones benefiting from scams are going to change their ways?

Reply
2
Power-User

Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 303
Good Answers: 5
#19

Re: What Really Caused GM's Downfall?

06/23/2009 9:51 AM

Paying out 75 an hour of American dollars for a 20 dollar an hour job!

Don't candy coat it, its still going to suck on the way down!!

The irony here...it was a great job to have...if you had it.

Let say you work 20 years at a automotive plant. Good job, great pay, to the nines in benefits. The retirement package ain't to shabby either. If you made through your hole carrier and actually collected on your pension, congratulations.

Now lets look at the reality of what happens. Most of everyone in the entire organisation is over paid. Everyone in is either fighting over benefits or pay increases and paid vacation time. By the time you factor all the strikes, talk of strikes, negotiation of contracts, money and time spent talking about contract negotiations you could be building cars!

IF YOU NEED TO NEGOTIATE JOB SECURITY IN A CONTRACT...ITS OVER!

__________________
"I had not anticipated that the work would present any great difficulites" SHACKLETON
Reply Good Answer (Score 2)
Guru
Popular Science - Weaponology - New Member United Kingdom - Member - New Member

Join Date: May 2007
Location: Harlow England
Posts: 16499
Good Answers: 662
#22
In reply to #19

Re: What Really Caused GM's Downfall?

06/23/2009 12:59 PM

Paying out 75 an hour of American dollars for a 20 dollar an hour job!.

Yup..that's management's failing...

Most of everyone in the entire organisation is over paid. Everyone in is either fighting over benefits or pay increases and paid vacation time. By the time you factor all the strikes, talk of strikes, negotiation of contracts, money and time spent talking about contract negotiations you could be building cars!

Yup..that's management's failing...
Del

__________________
health warning: These posts may contain traces of nut.
Reply Off Topic (Score 5)
Power-User
United States - Member - New Member Popular Science - Weaponology - New Member Hobbies - Automotive Performance - New Member

Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Danbury, CT, USA
Posts: 103
Good Answers: 2
#20

Re: What Really Caused GM's Downfall?

06/23/2009 9:52 AM
__________________
6 * 9 = 42 in base 13
Reply
Guru
Technical Fields - Technical Writing - New Member Engineering Fields - Marine Engineering - New Member

Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Vancleave, Ms about 30 miles inland from Biloxi and the coast
Posts: 3199
Good Answers: 105
#21

Re: What Really Caused GM's Downfall?

06/23/2009 11:42 AM

In a nutshell, the reasons GM failed is, the union, oil prices, poor management and in the case of the EV1, cost effectiveness. The latter has been the reason for most good ideas to end up in the waste bin. We are now at a point in time where cost effectiveness can no longer be used as an option to deep 6 an idea. Fossil fuels will become more costly. Solar and battery technology will still be costly, but we don't have much of a choice left. It means "bite the bullet" whether we like it or not. If you can afford that gas guzzler, well it's your money, but for most of us, the switch over to more costly green technology may become a fact of life.

__________________
Mr.Ron from South Ms.
Reply
Power-User

Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Anthem, AZ
Posts: 392
Good Answers: 8
#24

Re: What Really Caused GM's Downfall?

06/23/2009 2:55 PM

Here is a list of best selling cars in the USA for April 2009:

Top 10 Best-Selling Cars

  • Honda Accord: 29,212
  • Ford F-Series: 28,757
  • Chevy Silverado: 26,437
  • Honda Civic: 26,252
  • Toyota Camry: 25,324
  • Toyota Corolla: 18,534
  • Ford Fusion: 18,321
  • Dodge Ram: 17,903
  • Chevy Impala: 17,532
  • Chevy Malibu: 14,665

So it appears that what America wants is either a fair-sized car with good gas mileage (say 25 mpg), or a pickup truck (many really NEED these to make a living).

So, GM has missed the mark on pickup trucks, letting Ford dominate that market (Chrysler 2nd). For the medium-sized car market, they have spent too much time trying to "tune" their offerings. They have dropped several reliable models (e.g Corsica) in favor of more expensive Malibu, Regal in favor of another new model that nobody is buying.

Notice that there are no SUV's or Crossovers on that list ! But GM still says something like "every one in the USA wants to buy the big cars".

Reply
Guru
Engineering Fields - Systems Engineering - New Member Popular Science - Weaponology - New Member

Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Borrego Springs
Posts: 2636
Good Answers: 62
#25
In reply to #24

Re: What Really Caused GM's Downfall?

06/23/2009 3:42 PM

Cross-overs (I assure you) are considered "small and cute" and generally get awful mileage.

Want to save the planet and put America back to work?

I need a pick-up with a 20Klb load capacity, for rough country (so 4X4), that gets even 30MPG and costs $20,000.

Not $49K with leather seats and electric whatnots that break.

__________________
"If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!"
Reply Off Topic (Score 5)
Guru

Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Defreestville, NY
Posts: 1072
Good Answers: 87
#28

Re: What Really Caused GM's Downfall?

06/24/2009 12:06 AM

They made crappy, unreliable cars.

My '89 Honda Prelude lasted 15 yrs, and with 275k miles on it I sold it, still running fine albeit a bit rusty at the wheel wells, for $400. A friend of mine still drives a '86 Toyota Tercel daily in Manhattan.

I see 20, 25, even 30 year old BMWs and Mercedes on the road all the time. Not so much with GM cars.

I wish them well with their Volt and new car battery plant though, good move GM!

__________________
Charlie don't surf.
Reply
Guru
Hobbies - Fishing - Old Salt Hobbies - CNC - New Member United States - US - Statue of Liberty - New Member

Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Rosedale, Maryland USA
Posts: 5198
Good Answers: 266
#31

Re: What Really Caused GM's Downfall?

06/24/2009 7:28 AM

I wonder if thats where GE got the name for this time frame fits?

Was used on a lot of Electric Lift Trucks.

__________________
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving in a pretty, pristine body but rather to come sliding in sideways, all used up and exclaiming, "Wow, what a ride!"
Reply
Anonymous Poster
#32
In reply to #31

Re: What Really Caused GM's Downfall?

07/02/2009 6:54 PM

According to the DVD "Who killed the electric car" GM never sold the EV1. They were all leased.

When oil friendly politicians got in power in California and undid the Zero Emission law, GM let all the leases come due and pulled all of them back.

Ed Beagly Jr., Mel Gibson and other "rich" folks were not allowed to buy them when the lease was up.

They were crushed and none are in scarp yards today. The crushed remains of all EV1's are on trailers, on GM property.

Why would GM go so far to keep "un-profitable" cars out of our hands? Do electric cars spoil tune ups, spark plug, oil filter and oil sales? Or is it a motor that does not wear out as fast as an internal combustion engine does.

A family may need one traveling car to go farther than 150 miles but all the rest of the family cars could easily be electric for all the farther most of us go to work, shopping, and back in a day.

Has anybody else noticed that Chrysler stated they were making an electric car this year and then whet bankrupt. Then Saturn was to have an all electric car and poof it is to be sold.

Are any fully electric cars on dealer lots yet? No, just hybrids.

I know most people are not impressed with the idea of a fully electric car but do 99.99% of us feel that way? I know I would buy a fully electric commuter, especially if electricity is like sixty cents per gallon.

Steve N., Mechanical Engineer

Reply
Guru
Popular Science - Evolution - New Member Popular Science - Weaponology - New Member

Join Date: May 2006
Location: The 'Space Coast', USA
Posts: 11112
Good Answers: 918
#33
In reply to #32

Re: What Really Caused GM's Downfall?

07/02/2009 9:39 PM

Crushing experimental products is pretty much standard operating procedure in the industry.

I worked at Whirlpool and engineers and select customers got a chance to test drive new concept products (typically for a year) and were required to file reports about the product as they used them for that year. At the end of the year if the customer or engineer wanted to buy it, and if the product had gone into production, you had the option to buy a new one off the line at a discount.

If the product was not a production item it had to be returned.

Afterword, these prototypes were all destroyed (I watched the process) due to liabilities.

In the EV1's case it was not only about the liability, it was about stocking parts. Have you any idea what it would cost GM to build and stock replacement parts for a fleet of only 1100 vehicles?

Everyone wants to believe in conspiracy theories, buy the long and short of it was that the electric car was not going to earn GM or anyone else a profit. Just because there were a tiny few hard core fans (less than .1% of the market) does not make it a profitable venture.

Yeah, GM might have sold 1,000 EV1s , but hell, they normally sell about a million vehicles a year. GM sells 1,000 vehicles every 1/3 of a working day.

The battery technology is just not good enough yet. If you look at the real cost of an EV, even with the gas savings, it just doesn't measure up in the eyes of a consumer.

If saving money is your biggest concern, consider a cheap electric car at $35,000. That is the Chevy Volt. I am not counting electric golf carts as cars.

I can buy a cheap Hyundai for $12,000 and have $23,000 to spend on gas. If I travel 12,000 miles a year at 30 mpg and $5 per gallon, that's $2,000 a year in fuel. I could drive the Hyundai for 11.5 years on the savings alone. That's assuming you get electricity for free for your EV.

10 years from now you need to buy a new battery pack for $10,000 (actually, probably in 5 years). With that money I could go another 5 years paying for gas for a total of 16 years service. "Hello brain!"

For the foreseeable future, the only reason to buy an electric car is because it is cool and you have a lot of money to burn.

"I know most people are not impressed with the idea of a fully electric car but do 99.99% of us feel that way?"

That's 1 in 10,000. Probably about right.

Reply
Associate

Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 39
Good Answers: 1
#34
In reply to #33

Re: What Really Caused GM's Downfall?

07/03/2009 2:26 AM

good and ogjective analysis, the way it should be

Reply
Guru
Canada - Member - New Member

Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: GTA Canada
Posts: 722
Good Answers: 23
#35

Re: What Really Caused GM's Downfall?

07/09/2009 3:56 PM

probably the same things that brought down Studebaker, Nash, Packard, Cord, Hudson et al - low sales or bad management or both.

__________________
Have a Happy! ;-)
Reply
Anonymous Poster
#36

Re: What Really Caused GM's Downfall?

07/10/2009 4:05 PM

Sin is any doubt that a deed is righteous

Redemption is can only come to those with a conscience of sin

There is no doubt that our tax money bailout was taken by the same coscience of greed that committed the original sin to exploit oil sales

Redemption is not obtainable for they don't believe they have sinned

Fogiveness is attainable though provided I get my full measure of social security benefits that I have paying into for 45 years.

Your blog is upsetting the general public

Reply Off Topic (Score 5)
Anonymous Poster
#38
In reply to #36

Re: What Really Caused GM's Downfall?

07/15/2009 9:30 AM

How is this blog upsetting the general public?

Reply Off Topic (Score 5)
Associate

Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 39
Good Answers: 1
#39
In reply to #36

Re: What Really Caused GM's Downfall?

07/15/2009 12:00 PM

some body have his head screwed up by religion....uhm...

Reply Off Topic (Score 5)
Guru
Engineering Fields - Electromechanical Engineering - Technical Services Manager Canada - Member - Army brat Popular Science - Cosmology - What is Time and what is Energy? Technical Fields - Architecture - Draftsperson Hobbies - RC Aircraft - New Member

Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Clive, Alberta, Canada
Posts: 5907
Good Answers: 204
#40
In reply to #39

Re: What Really Caused GM's Downfall?

07/15/2009 1:43 PM

Any religion or set of beliefs is only bad if it fails to give one the right answers at the right time, in order to prolong your life, and the lives of your dependents. Remember Science is a set of beliefs also. There was a time when Religion was the set of beliefs that worked. It worked well because it was static, at a time when life was static, and not much was known about the universe. When learning and knowledge accelerated, those beliefs were still static, and so appear to not provide the right answers at the right time. They still have a lot of value with regards to human behaviour. The society created by advanced science is not so perfect either, and has largely been perverted by warmongers and powerfreaks... There is still a place for 'goodness' and ethics in this world, especially as it relates to the use of powerful energies. Where does science and engineering teach that set of values? Most of the concepts of ethics taught to a P. Eng. are derived from where?

Chris

Reply Off Topic (Score 5)
Associate

Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 39
Good Answers: 1
#41
In reply to #40

Re: What Really Caused GM's Downfall?

07/15/2009 2:07 PM

Wrong! Science is not a believe, it is a procedure to investigate situations...

Reply Off Topic (Score 5)
Guru
Engineering Fields - Electromechanical Engineering - Technical Services Manager Canada - Member - Army brat Popular Science - Cosmology - What is Time and what is Energy? Technical Fields - Architecture - Draftsperson Hobbies - RC Aircraft - New Member

Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Clive, Alberta, Canada
Posts: 5907
Good Answers: 204
#42
In reply to #41

Re: What Really Caused GM's Downfall?

07/15/2009 2:17 PM

... that the human believes will produce the most correct answer. Always forgetting the observer part is human, and lives in a virtual world of perceptions and beliefs inside the skull. If science proves anything, it also proves this.

Chris

Reply Off Topic (Score 5)
Associate

Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 39
Good Answers: 1
#43
In reply to #42

Re: What Really Caused GM's Downfall?

07/15/2009 2:24 PM

Delution is tricky. Playing with words is part of it.

Reply Off Topic (Score 5)
Guru
Engineering Fields - Electromechanical Engineering - Technical Services Manager Canada - Member - Army brat Popular Science - Cosmology - What is Time and what is Energy? Technical Fields - Architecture - Draftsperson Hobbies - RC Aircraft - New Member

Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Clive, Alberta, Canada
Posts: 5907
Good Answers: 204
#44
In reply to #43

Re: What Really Caused GM's Downfall?

07/15/2009 2:39 PM

there are thousands of sources, far smarter and more knowledgeable than me, who will say that this is not semantics. For example, how much of an impact does perception have on events in daily life. check this article which says that 90% of accidents are attributable to human errors of perception.

not to mention the way that graphics are perceived.

I'm very pro-science, and understand and agree with what you are saying. I'm just saying we need to be aware of the limits, and some of those limits are human perception, along with greed, ignorance, powermongering, etc. Let us not make science into an all-powerful religioin. It is just a tool (or process), and needs to stay that way.

Chris

Reply Off Topic (Score 5)
Power-User
United States - Member - New Member Popular Science - Weaponology - New Member Hobbies - Automotive Performance - New Member

Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Danbury, CT, USA
Posts: 103
Good Answers: 2
#37

Re: What Really Caused GM's Downfall?

07/11/2009 9:43 AM

Keeping the battery alive.

The latest issues of Car & Driver has a section on EVs. A side bar about battery life states that the Toyota Prius uses a "charge-sustaining" cycle. It never charges the batteries above 80% and never discharges much below 50%. You cell phone is more like 100% and 5(?)%.

__________________
6 * 9 = 42 in base 13
Reply
Reply to Blog Entry 45 comments
Interested in this topic? By joining CR4 you can "subscribe" to
this discussion and receive notification when new comments are added.

Comments rated to be Good Answers:

These comments received enough positive ratings to make them "good answers".

Comments rated to be "almost" Good Answers:

Check out these comments that don't yet have enough votes to be "official" good answers and, if you agree with them, rate them!
Copy to Clipboard

Users who posted comments:

Anonymous Hero (4); Anonymous Poster (6); chrisg288 (4); Del the cat (3); edignan (3); ffej (1); HarryBurt (1); IanR (3); Loupy (1); msm98lw (2); NELPASA (6); NiCrMoNoMore (1); ozzb (1); PWSlack (1); ronseto (1); stevem (2); suresh sharma (1); Transcendian (2); Unredundant (1); WoodwardDL (1)

Previous in Blog: Overboard in a Sea of Opportunity?   Next in Blog: Complacent Society or Survival Strategy?

Advertisement