General Motors

Photo of the Day

John DeLorean with His Automobile. DeLorean made sure his cars looked cool, but even more importantly, he made sure John DeLorean looked cool. When DeLorean first rose to prominence in the 60s he became known as a swaggering bad boy with dyed-black hair, big sideburns, and unbuttoned shirts. As the head of Pontiac, DeLorean became a show-business fixture in Hollywood who dated starlets like Ursula Andress.

Playboy Carmaker John Z. DeLorean

Inventor of the GTO. Father of the DeLorean. Lover. Huckster. Genius.

John DeLorean was a 6′ 4″ automotive superstar. The tall, good-looking guy had it all — wealth, fame, style, success, a fashion-model wife. Father of the GTO, brain behind the Firebird, instigator of the Grand Prix, and eponymous founder of the DeLorean Motor Company. Shaggy hair—dyed jet black—thick sideburns, Italian suits, and shirts unbuttoned to the navel. He wore gold chains and had a garage stacked deep with foreign sports cars.

A Detroit native, DeLorean started in the business with Packard but soon moved to General Motors where he ultimately ran the Pontiac and Chevrolet divisions and is best remembered for starting the Muscle Car era by putting a big engine into a Pontiac Tempest and renaming it the GTO.

Unlike the conservative and reclusive auto executives of the time, DeLorean dressed in designer suits, dated and married models and starlets, and moved in celebrity circles. Yet, despite his high profile, many considered him to be on the fast track to one day lead the world’s biggest automaker.

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The crony capitalism of electric cars

Eric Peters discusses the crony capitalism of Elon Musk:

If Elon Musk’s various projects are so fabulous, why do they all need government “help”?

Musk will tell you all about the virtues of his Tesla cars. They are sleek and speedy. This is true. But they are also very expensive (the least expensive model, the pending Model X, will reportedly start around $35K, about the same price as a luxury sedan like the Lexus ES350).

The real problem with Tesla cars is that no one actually buys them. Well, not directly.

Their manufacture is heavily subsidized — and their sale is heavily subsidized. Either way, the taxpayer is the one who gets the bill.

On the manufacturing end, Tesla got $1.3 billion in special “incentives” from the state of Nevada to build its battery factory there. This includes an exemption from having to pay any property taxes for the next 20 years. Another inducement was $195 million in transferable tax credits, which Tesla could sell for cash. California provides similar incentives, including $15 million to “create jobs” in the state.

Tesla does not make money by selling cars, either. It makes money by selling “carbon credits” to real car companies that make functionally and economically viable vehicles that can and do sell on the merits — but which are not “zero emissions” vehicles, as the electric Tesla is claimed to be.

Laws in nine states require each car company selling cars in the state to sell a certain number of “zero emissions” vehicles, else be fined. Since only electric cars qualify under the law as “zero emissions” vehicles — and the majority of cars made by the real car companies are not electric cars — they end up having to “purchase” these “carbon credits” from Tesla, subsidizing Tesla’s operations.

The amount Tesla has “earned” this way is in the neighborhood of $517 million.

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Toyota bails, car industry now dead across the Tasman, killed by unions

Toyota has finally jacked it in, announcing they are closing their plant in Australia, joining Ford and Holden in halting manufacturing of cars in Australia.

The end of car manufacturing in Australia – confirmed with Toyota’s announcement that it would shut local production in 2017, taking thousands of jobs with it – could tip Victoria and South Australia into recession, industry experts and economists have warned.

The automotive giant’s global boss, Akio Toyoda, travelled to the Altona plant and told 2500 workers their jobs would go in three years. The decision is a massive blow for the Victorian economy in particular, where more than 25,000 jobs are likely to go across the car and automotive components industries. Unions claim 50,000 skilled jobs may be lost nationally. Toyota will follow Ford and Holden out of the country, with all three car makers announcing in the last year that they would cease manufacturing by 2017. All three brands will now import all their vehicles.

Those jobs weren’t real anyway…heavily subsidised, loans, grants and tax breaks for the companies. The unions can hardly complain with the workers heavily unionised and paid far above their actual worth or productivity justified.

That isn’t stopping them from blaming everyone but themselves.

Federal Opposition Leader Bill Shorten blamed Toyota’s demise on the Abbott government. ‘‘It’s an unmitigated disaster,’’ he said.

‘‘The car industry has died under the Abbott government. It’s a disgrace.’’   Read more »

Who killed Holden?

smashed

The unions of course…who else…with some help from idiot governments over the years who addicted the company to corporate welfare which the unions trousered.

THE outrageous assertions by the unions and the Labor Party that General Motors’ decision to leave Australia was a result of government policy is an insult to any thinking Australian. To suggest that General Motors Holden made its decision yesterday is totally absurd. These decisions take months to make.

The true culprits are the unions and their enterprise bargaining over many years that has made their own members unemployed. The cost of wages is more than double what it should be.

It was a great effort by the unions to achieve high pay rates, but now there are no jobs. Any Australian who does not recognise the truth is sadly deficient in reasoning ability.  Read more »

Bye bye Holden, corporate bludging is over

Holden has announced that they will bludge no more off of the Australian taxpayer.

Sixty-five years after it first began producing cars in Australia, Holden has confirmed it will cease local manufacturing in 2017.

Holden released a statement saying it would “transition to a national sales company in Australia and New Zealand” from 2017.

“This has been a difficult decision given Holden’s long and proud history of building vehicles in Australia,” said Holden chairman and managing director Mike Devereux.

“We are dedicated to working with our teams, unions and the local communities, along with the federal and state governments, to support our people.”  Read more »

How the unions and subsidies wrecked Holden

Ford is closing down its taxi plant and Holden’s own taxi plant is precarious.

Both companies have taken literally billions in handouts and subsidies all to feather-bed and support rapacious union labour.

It turns out that if Holden’s workforce accepted wages for what they were actually worth the company would be immediately profitable.

In the past, Holden has misinformed us on its workers’ salaries, claiming the average worker earns $55,000….

While the Modern Award base salaries for vehicle builders are in the modest $37,000-$42,000 range, the base rates in Holden’s agreement are in the $60,000-$80,000 range. Add on to this loadings and penalties and I am comfortable betting that if Holden was compelled by government, as it should be, to produce the group certificates of workers, earnings would show in the $100,000 to $150,000 range.   Read more »

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Didn’t Obama already save Detroit?

Over the weekend Detroit finally declared bankruptcy, pushed under by a debt burden of locked in spending promises and shrinking tax revenues. But during the 2012 presidential campaign we were repeatedly told that Obama had saved Detroit…but did he?

The news that the city of Detroit is declaring bankruptcy may not surprise many observers who were aware of how economic decline, shrinking population, the burden of huge public employee contracts and political corruption was leading inevitably to this outcome. But it might come as something of a shock to the vast majority of Americans whose only thoughts about the subject prior to today were framed by the demagoguery on the issue that came from President Obama’s reelection campaign. As we all recall, Democrats spent a good deal of 2012 telling us that “General Motors is alive and Osama bin Laden is dead” and hounding Mitt Romney for saying that Detroit would be better off going bankrupt rather than being bailed out by the federal government. But yesterday we learned that all the sunny talk about what Obama had accomplished did nothing to save the city.

Now will come the weasel words…politicians have plenty of those.

Of course, Democrats will say that when they were talking about “Detroit” last year, they were just using the word as shorthand for the automobile industry and not referring to the Motor City itself. But the memory of the way the president pounded Romney on the issue should do more than point out Obama’s hypocrisy. The collapse of what was once one of America’s great cities should also inform us about the way the liberal project is dooming municipal and state governments around the country as well as Washington to a sea of debt that cannot be sustained. Detroit isn’t just the most spectacular example of urban blight. It’s the poster child for the consequences of liberal governance.   Read more »

Tell the Holden bludgers to piss off

Holden is on the bludge for more cash to prop up their broken-arsed manufacturing in Australia.

The corporate bludgers of Holden should be told to get stuffed.

HOLDEN has asked the federal government to almost double the money it pledged to keep the company making cars in Australia or it will quit manufacturing in three years.

The company wants a further $265 million on top of the $275m already committed by Canberra, South Australia and Victoria, a source close to the negotiations told The Australian, because it cannot make a profit building cars in Australia.  Read more »

Gillard and the union’s grasp

Julia Gillard is staying staunch, but then she knows what many in the media seem to be missing…that Rudd won’t take over to watch Labor get gutted like a trout…he will wait and let Gillard take the blame.

The bravest woman in Australia is Julia Gillard. She continues to defend her government staunchly and, as her troops falter and bicker around her, and the media exhibits an obsessional, monumental fixation with possible challenges to her leadership, she continues to get on with the job, focused on the core mission of her leadership – protecting and projecting union power.

There is now even a sanctimonious media chorus calling for Gillard to step aside, as if the federal Labor caucus has the option of telling the electorate: ”We’ve just knifed our leader and installed the leader we had previously knifed because he has better poll numbers. So vote for us because now we are competent and credible.”

Disaster. Voters do not like to be treated with contempt. Even if this desperation saved a few skins in Queensland, it would guarantee electoral disasters elsewhere. The poll numbers for Kevin Rudd the exile and martyr are one thing, but they will not simply translate to similar support for Rudd the recycled leader. Especially as minister after minister resigned rather than serve under him.

Why would Rudd want to be eviscerated in an election he cannot save for the sake of a few more months as prime minister?    Read more »

Ratbag unions and Labor politician would rather cost jobs than accept pay cuts

There are none so bad as those who are willing to sacrifice all in their pursuit of a flawed and unattainable goal. The unions and the Labor party are rejecting proposals to reduce wages at car plants in Australia in a bid to save jobs, in effect damning those workers to the scrap heap.

Toyota Australia complained about high labour costs and sagging productivity at an emergency summit of car industry leaders with Prime Minister Julia Gillard but was brushed off by union opposition.

The meeting was convened two weeks ago after Ford decided to stop making cars in Australia from 2016, leaving only General Motors Holden and Toyota.

At the Melbourne summit, chaired by Ms Gillard and Industry Minister Greg Combet, Toyota executive David Buttner raised the problem of high wages and poor labour productivity.  Read more »