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Barnstormin': Were the Big Three Really That Good?

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  • Barnstormin': Were the Big Three Really That Good?

    http://www.bangshift.com/blog/Barnst...That-Good.html

  • #2
    Re: Barnstormin': Were the Big Three Really That Good?

    There is a lot more to this story, and this is but one part of it.

    After World War II, there was nothing left of Japan. As part of being the "winning" USA, our government felt duty bound to rebuild the country we had destroyed. If this was to work, they would need a manufacturing base. And, because the country is so small, they would have to export to other country's. Our government knew before the war most of the things Japan made were cheap junk. If Japan was going to be able to survive and find customers to buy their product, they would have to change this.

    Enter President Roosevelt. He needed someone to help Japan change and grow. He sent a young man named Dr. W. Edward Deming to teach his manufacturing philosophy to them. He understood quality could not be inspected into a product, it had to be made into it. Although he died years back, is philosophy is well known in industry, and many of the top US companies have adapted it. As part of this teaching, the leaders of industry were brought to the USA and shown how we build things, cars included.

    When the first products form Japan started arriving in the US, they were better than in the past, but still not at the level of products built in the USA. They kept working, and became better than the teacher. Many years later we started copying their way. It is very obvious, they have continued to grow and improve.

    The entire US automotive industry stood by and watched it happen. The leaders of the day ignored them until it was almost too late. We are not just sitting around with our head in the sand anymore. The US auto industry has improved a ton, but there is still more work to do. Now the challenge is to get people to understand the US industry does build much better products than in the past.

    The auto industry is not alone in this, they are just one of the last to still be standing. Try to buy a American made TV, or computer, or the shirt on your back. You might find some things assembled in the USA, but most of the real work happens in other country's. It is difficult to find any thing made in the USA. With the world in a recession, and money in short supply, the struggle today is to survive long enough to see the results of all the work.

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    • #3
      Re: Barnstormin': Were the Big Three Really That Good?

      It took fifty years to put our domestic car industry in the sorry, life-support situation that its in today. Its a story of hubris and neglect. You're right Brian, the guys trying to save things today are faced with situations that the heros of yesteryear caused.

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      • #4
        Re: Barnstormin': Were the Big Three Really That Good?

        The Big Three didn't fail all of a sudden. They were doing fine, selling cars and trucks at record pace. They didn't cause the big drop in sales due it junk products. It is the financial punks - home loans and insurance - that caused all this. The auto industry is dependant on the financial world as all their products is bought on loans anyway. How many of us bought a new car in cash?
        The automakers built what we wanted to buy. They have stock-holders to answer to. They gotta feed thousands of workers and their familes. The news said the auto industry was out of touch by building SUVs. They didn't force us to buy "guzzling" SUVs. Nearly every car maker has more than one SUV model. As far as forcing us to buy SUV gas-guzzlers, remember the great "business" tax break the gov't gave us if we bought a 6000+lb vehicle. How many Hummers, Expeditions, Navigators, Suburbans were sold on this!
        The gov't doesn't need to put a major business death grip with "their expert" on the auto industry. Leave the car guys alone. They were starting to build exciting cars again along with their boxes and tanks. They have enough battles with the imports. (I getting off my soapbox before sumtin happens).

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        • #5
          Re: Barnstormin': Were the Big Three Really That Good?

          Brian: right on the mark. For too long the N American auto industry was able to project its shortcomings onto others -- and included customers in that group. Noticed in another thread here at BS.com (the one that had several picture muscle car ads from late-60s/early-70s National Geographics) the GM spread for the 1970 SS 396 Chevelle -- the slogan was "Putting you first keeps us first."

          For a long time that most certainly was NOT the case, although there seems to have been a turn-around in the last couple of years.

          The other thing that strikes me is that car industry has always been a world of sharks and little fish; just that for the first 60 years it was the N American sharks eating smaller N American fish. Who sheds a tear today for all the companies that folded in the 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s and even more recently (American Motors). Some will argue -- correctly -- that the resultant demand was, in those days, taken up by other 'made in America' cars. But the counter, in the modern context, is that today a lot of the cars we think of as 'imports' are actually built right here in N America in non-union plants.

          Thanks again for a nicely balanced opinion piece.
          Michael from Hampton Roads

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          • #6
            Re: Barnstormin': Were the Big Three Really That Good?

            LS1 -- great reply as usual. The only thing I'd say is that Deming was sent to Japan in 1946 and 1948 by the US Census Bureau to improve their census program. He gained some standing at that point, but it was in 1950 when he began lecturing engineers that his status was established. An amazing guy that helped save Ford in the early 1980's. He was largely ignored for most of his life here.

            If you are interested in Deming and his philosophy, "Out of the Crisis" his book on how to pull American industry and business out of the tank in the early 1980's does a fantastic job. It's part management book, part statistics lesson, and part philosophy. His 14 points are very good for anyone who manages a business for a living


            Roosevelt did send people like Joseph Dodge (no relation to the Dodge auto company), McArthur, and a host of other brilliant minds to rebuild the Japanese enonomy.

            I'm pulling for you guys.

            Brian
            That which you manifest is before you.

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            • #7
              Re: Barnstormin': Were the Big Three Really That Good?

              Just out of curiosity, does anyone here know the true cost of building a new car...i.e. if a car costs 20 grand, is the hard cost of parts and labor 8 grand..or 40% of the cars total retail price....and what is the dealership cost? I know the marketing budget must be huge! What percentage of the cars cost go to pensions of those already retired? Don't get me wrong, I know they worked for what they are getting, but did the union get more them more than the what was comensurate to their pay scale? Are the sins of the past keeping us from moving forward?

              This is not antagonistic, just curious!

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              • #8
                Re: Barnstormin': Were the Big Three Really That Good?

                in 02 GM had so much cash , they were thinking of buying HONDA

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                • #9
                  Re: Barnstormin': Were the Big Three Really That Good?

                  Now they can't afford A Honda.

                  Brian
                  That which you manifest is before you.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Barnstormin': Were the Big Three Really That Good?

                    I thought I heard at one time that GM was worth 4 Trillion. Anybody?

                    Seth
                    200 mph or bust.......

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                    • #11
                      Re: Barnstormin': Were the Big Three Really That Good?

                      Brian....that bit you put up really makes me want to re-think what I had believed was an absolute.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Barnstormin': Were the Big Three Really That Good?

                        Funny story about Toyota's body shop back in the day:

                        According to one of my profs who used to work at Ford, the guys who swapped out the dies in the equipment to make body panels were pretty self-obsessed. So much so that they insisted on shutting down the assembly line for several hours when they had to change the equipment over. Once the machinery wore out, they sold it to Toyota and said "good luck figuring out OUR job."

                        Toyota engineers slapped caster wheels on the sides of the dies, and put in an overhead track to roll them into the machine. The job was now done in twenty minutes, using regular assembly-line Joe.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Barnstormin': Were the Big Three Really That Good?

                          Originally posted by CarPlayLB
                          Just out of curiosity, does anyone here know the true cost of building a new car...i.e. if a car costs 20 grand, is the hard cost of parts and labor 8 grand..or 40% of the cars total retail price....and what is the dealership cost?=
                          I can't comment on the cost, but my wife worked for many years at a Ford dealer - you might be shocked at how little the markup is between dealer cost and sale on a new vehicle. They make a LOT more on used cars than new per vehicle. One reason why you occasionally hear the horror stories about the dealer "options" people - the ones that try to sell you undercoating, clear coats, titanium bug shields, etc. That is pure profit for the dealer. That, used cars and service work are typical profit centers. The new car deal depends on the deals and the volume. IF I understand correctly, the dealers have to order their stock up front for the year - that's right, they have to guess their market. Guess wrong - you're stuck. A clue as to why trucks and SUVs are now selling 422% off list. And depending on what they buy - that also impacts their cost. Which is why you see deal X at one place and deal Y at another on the same car.

                          No simple answer.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Barnstormin': Were the Big Three Really That Good?

                            Originally posted by SpiderGearsMan
                            in 02 GM had so much cash , they were thinking of buying HONDA

                            yeah right :D

                            in 2002 Q3 including their "write downs" they were only losing money at a rate of $1.42 per share. per quarter. Sure they were thinking about buying Honda, just like I think about buying a house overlooking the ocean in SoCal
                            www.realtuners.com - catch the RealTuners Radio Podcast on Youtube, Facebook, iTunes, and anywhere else podcasts are distributed!

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                            • #15
                              Re: Barnstormin': Were the Big Three Really That Good?

                              Heard on the news tonite that more vehicles are made in Canada than the U.S.
                              Anyway,forget the Edsel and Airflow.If the consumers don't want,it won't survive.
                              Why SUV'S?,cuz they're what was wanted by the consumers.
                              So now the auto makers tool up for electric vehicles,and consumers
                              will be dissapointed with batt.replacement cost and recharging time,
                              and limited driving range,so the auto makers lose more money cuz sales are low.
                              It doesn't take a crystal ball to see a new bail out or bankruptcy comming
                              down the road.
                              Calypornya...near the beach

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