KIA MOTORS BUILDS FACTORY IN DEEP SOUTH

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World auto markets are in turmoil.  The NYT has an article about how Kia Motors from South Korea, is the only automaker to open a factory here in the last year. As per usual, this foreign company chooses a rural southern town and will have everyone work for hourly wages and no unions!  Yup.  Paradise.  Also, we get some pictures of the Chinese Shanghai Auto Show and I want to talk about the latest line-up of Chinese cars.  Lots of fun!

 

One Town’s Rare Ray of Hope – New Auto Plant – NYTimes.com

 

While much of the rest of the country remains mired in the depressing grey of recession, this rural town of fewer than 3,500 people on the Georgia-Alabama border, about 80 miles south of Atlanta, has somehow managed to draw the winning ticket in the nation’s economic lottery.

All foreign automakers are following the lead of the Japanese: if they can establish a few factories inside the US, their political power soars.  This way, they can insure that the US cannot protect itself from foreign competition.

A new Kia Motors Corp. automobile manufacturing plant is opening here later this year, an event that many residents of this former mill town, where life had slowly been ebbing away, can only describe as heaven-sent.

They were chosen because they are rapidly falling to third world status.

Foreign automakers have flocked to the South, drawn by huge incentives offered by state officials, cheaper labor costs and the non-union environment. (In the case of Kia, which is based in South Korea, state and local officials doled out some $400 million in tax breaks and other incentives.) But this year, Kia’s will be the only car factory to open in the country, drawing workers to one of the few regions in the country now with concrete hopes of quickly escaping the economic downturn….

These same states howled with rage when unionized automakers asked for help.  Then, they turn around and go off to Asia to offer tax cuts and all sorts of financial assistance.

Hourly jobs, which are not unionized, in contrast with those at the Ford and General Motors plants that recently closed in the Atlanta area, are still expected to pay between $14.90 and $27 an hour. The suppliers are now beginning to ramp up their hiring, too.

 

Another Asian automaker is aggressively moving into more and more of our markets and note that these are mostly hourly workers who are, status-wise, no better than burger flippers.  The only reason their wages are $14 an hour which is poverty wages up here in NY, is because Democrats have a minimum wage law.  Which has been allowed to fall ever-further behind the real rate of inflation.

 

All Asian automakers prefer to locate their factories in small, rural towns far from any major cities.  This way, they can control the workforce better.  Their political and financial power will overwhelm all other considerations.  The workers will get to vote for whoever they wish and elections will always be on meaningless issues like scaring them about gay men, but the action in DC or in the State Capitol will be, servicing Korean owners.

 

To sell these immense public give-a-ways, there has to be excited talk about better wages.  But in reality, this diminishes rapidly and the costs of building up a small, rural town will cause rising taxes, since the foreigners will not be paying much or any taxes at all, and rising cost of living due to housing pressures, etc.  Landowners, of course, will benefit if the price of real estate goes up.

 

But the people flooding into town hoping for ‘high wages’ will end up paying much more for their habitations.  And then, later, the school taxes become an issue.  I bet, the schools there are quite minimal.  Now, let’s meet the Glorious New Leader:

 

Welcome to Kia Motors

picture-155

I keep harping on this: we are in a major, major industrial downturn.  US organizations are going belly up while Asian ones are still expanding, despite very bad sales figures.  This is because they are CAPITALIZED while the US is not.  This is ultimately the reason why we have to stop imagining, we can fix things while still running our trade deep in the red.  Our trade statistics are improving only because of two things: global trade has collapsed.   And our competitors are aggressively moving into US markets, internally.

 

KIA Motors IR SITE

 

(SEOUL) April 16, 2009 — Kia Motors Corporation announced today that it has continued to gain market share in general markets, China, Korea and North America posting March sales growth of 19.9%, 10.4%, 6.1% and 0.9%, respectively.

By region, Kia posted year-on-year sales increases in general markets (22,546 units sold, a 19.9% year-on-year increase), China (14,540 units, a 10.4% year-on-year increase), Korea (30,043 units sold, a 6.1% year-on-year increase), and North America (28,279 units sold, a 0.9% year-on-year increase).

Sales in the Middle East & Africa remained particularly strong in March with 14,192 units sold, representing a 70% year-on-year increase.

Cumulatively through the first three months of 2009, Kia’s global sales increased in general markets, Korea and North America. General markets experienced the largest gain, selling 62,957 units to date representing a 20.1% increase, while the Korean and North American markets showed cumulative year-on-year sales increases of 6.7% (79,406 units sold) and 1.5% (79,494 units sold).

 

See? Korean sales are slightly more than US sales.  China and the Middle East are still a much smaller proportion of Kia markets.  But they are growing while the US market is stagnant.

KIMTF Stock Charts – Kia Motors Corp Stock Market Charts – Free Stock Charts

Here is their 5 year charts which topped out at $28 a share in 2006.  It declined to only $4 a share this year, which is only about 15% of what it was earlier, which is an 85% drop in value.  Yet, they are still able to ‘expand’ into the US!

picture-167

GM Stock Charts – General Motors Corp Stock Market Charts – Free Stock Charts

Below is GM stocks: they, too, were at $20 a share when Kia was $28 a share, in 2006.  

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Then, when credit collapsed in the summer of 2007, GM went down, rapidly.  This is why our leaders think, if only we get lots of credit flowing again, all will be well.   But if we look at a longer graph, we see the usual boom/bust cycle of excessive credit markets:

picture-185

The GM stock peak was during the Dot Com Bubble.  It shot up, very fast and fell, just as fast  As usual, it falls much further than it rises.  This crippled GM, of course.  But Kia is barely better off!  GM, on the verge of bankruptcy, is nearly the same value as Kia was during the worst of the global collapse.  

us:DAI Stock Charts – Daimler AG Stock Market Charts – Free Stock Charts

The German automakers are also in the news.  Daimler is in talks with the Chinese.  Here is their 5 year charts:

picture-192

 

Daimler held talks with China wealth fund: report | Deals | Private Capital | Reuters

 

German carmaker Daimler (DAIGn.DE) has held talks with Chinese sovereign wealth fund CIC over a possible investment by Beijing, its chief executive told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper.

“We have met several times in the past, and talks have not in principle been broken off,” Chief Executive Dieter Zetsche told the paper.

The China Investment Corp is a $200 billion fund that has seen sharp declines in its investments in Wall Street bank Morgan Stanley (MS.N) and U.S. private equity house Blackstone Group LP (BX.N) since buying stakes in the two firms.

 

Their chart peaks in the summer of 2007.  All sellers of cars are seeing difficulties due to lack of easy lending for buying cars which is why all governments who have large auto markets are worried about credit.  Today, it is shooting upwards [being well above both Kia and GM stocks, to begin with] due to the potential investment talks in China.

 

24 HOUR NEWS CHANNEL ::::::::::::::::::::: YTN (와이티엔)전체

Kia Motors Corporation, along with its joint venture Donfeng Yueda Kia (DYK), has taken the wraps off its locally-produced Forte C-segment sedan (export model from Korea known as “all-new Cerato” in many markets) today at Auto Shanghai 2009, which runs through April 28 at the Shanghai New International Expo Center. Also making its Chinese debut is the Korea-produced new Sorento Highline Cruiser which made its world premiere earlier this month at the 2009 Seoul Motor Show….

Kia Motors has been active in the Chinese market since 2002, when it formed the DYK joint venture and began local production of the TianLima sedan. Since then DYK has added numerous Kia models to its local production lineup and opened a second manufacturing facility in early 2008.  Kia Motors also supplies the Chinese market with vehicles exported from plants in Korea. 

Expanding market share is the game here.  

The Associated Press: Report: Toyota’s Japan output lowest in 31 years

 

Toyota Motor Corp. expects its output in Japan this fiscal year to fall below the level needed to maintain its full-time work force for the first time in more than three decades, a report said Tuesday.

Toyota sees the production of 3 million vehicles as necessary to maintain its full-time work force in Japan of about 69,400. But its output is projected to be only 2.8 million units in the fiscal year through March 2010 — its first dip below 3 million in 31 years, Japan’s top-selling Yomiuri newspaper said….Toyota’s global output in the year will likely stay at 6.2 million units, the paper said.

 

Kia is very much smaller than Toyota.  

TM Stock Charts – Toyota Motor Corp Stock Market Charts – Free Stock Charts

Here is Toyota’s 5 year graph:  Their peak was at the beginning of 2007.  And like Germany, the stock value is still very high compared to both GM and Kia Motors.  The lowest point was $55 a share but it is now $76 a share.  More than a 50% drop.  

picture-205

The fact is, even though both Germany and Japan have been hammered hard, they had more cushion for losses than GM or Kia, for example.  This is because Germany and Japan had the biggest trade profits for the last 5 years.  They are both hurting now and may even now be running trade deficits for the first time in many years.  

 

But again, they do this with significant cushions unlike the US which has only one thing going for it: the ability to generate seemingly endless amounts of international red ink.  Not something to lean on in the future, I may add!

 

Slowly, very slowly but increasingly fast, China’s sun is rising in the East:

 

Auto Shanghai 2009: China’s biggest motor show – Telegraph

Chinese automaker Chery

picture-73

Here is a cute little number!  I don’t have the faintest idea, how good the engine is or how well this runs, how smoothly or quietly, etc.  But it certainly is Barbie-doll cute!  Of course, all the guys will gag and run the other way but don’t forget, you all aren’t the only drivers on the road!

 

I hope it comes with a VANITY MIRROR.  Heh.

 

picture-83Chinese car producer Geely with their new model GE:   And move over, Barbie, here comes Muscle Beach Ken in his pseudo-Teutonic mega-Mercedes monster machine….grrrrr….run over the pink lady!  Ha. 

 

Sorry, buddy, you don’t run over the girls.  They will not like you for it nor will they kiss you afterwards.  Au contraire!

 

On the other hand, a good gangsta car.

 

picture-94


 Dongfeng Motor’s Mengshi, or Brave Soldier

And for all Chinese males who want a mini-Hummer to go about Tibet, this is the ticket.  I wonder if it gets better milage than our own machines?  From the looks of it, it probably does.  But the burning question is, is this thing bomb proof?  Can it run over demonstrators?

 

 

 

picture-115

This car could so easily be painted slightly differently so it looks like an anime cat-like creature.  Make the yellow a bit less green and you have…PIKACHU!

http://www.boston.com/news/globe/ideas/brainiac/2007/05/pikachu_vs_grim.htmlNow, this could be a big, big hit with the right people.  Turn the fenders into Pikachu’s paws, two red circles for his cheeks….yes, a real winner.

 


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27 Comments

Filed under Free Trade

27 responses to “KIA MOTORS BUILDS FACTORY IN DEEP SOUTH

  1. if

    Auto Shanghai 2009 & Iran goes “green”? We live in interesting times!
    The motto of this Iranian year has been chosen “Correction of Consumption Patterns” or “Correction of Consumption Habits”.
    http://tinyurl.com/cxk2q7

  2. David

    Elaine:

    Early in my working career, for a few years, I was a factory trained Ford line technician…and since that time, I’ve kept an eye on the makes and quality of different kinds of cars.

    I am not at all surprised that KIA is stepping out front with its sales. The Koreans have worked long and hard and with less than many other industrial nations to produce good products.

    Several years ago when I went to purchase a skid steer loader, I looked at Caterpillar…way overpriced…and then Bobcat…lots of bells and whistles, but you paid dearly for them…and a couple of others that were substandard, but then I climbed into a Korean Daewoo…It had a high quality British built Perkins diesel and a German Sundstrand Hydrostatic drive system and a super sturdy Korean built chassis and boom and bucket….and the controls were very simple, straightforward and basically trouble free….I bought it for 1/2 what a Caterpillar of the same size sold for and the damned thing ran daily without breakdowns for 5 years with only standard servicing….a damned fine work machine.

    Right now, KIA is a solid line of little cars, and they sell for 3/4 what a Honda or Toyota or American brand sells for and probably 1/3 to 1/2 what a basic Mercedes or Beemer sells for…
    and the KIAs are well built and reliable, but without a lot of the bells and whistles that come on the other brands.

    So, the Korean products are very good, solid and reliable, maybe not quite as refined as Japanese or German, but every bit as good or better than American products….and priced right for the times…and that, in my opinion, is a major reason for their success.

    The following is my personal opinion on todays cars, and I was a line technican for 8 years and taught technology for 25 years:

    Japanese cars are very reliable, great designs, super quality with far too many bells and whistles…they need some basic lines that they can sell for less during these economic times…and their electric cars are too expensive,but prices are getting better….but battery replacement is very expensive.

    German cars have superb designs that everyone copies…everybody copies Mercedes or BMWs. And German cars have superb and reliable drive train systems…tiny bit weak in electrical systems and far too expensive and a bit tedious to maintain and repair….but require little maintenance and repair…so overall a good value if you can afford them….Mercedes just came out with the new two seater Smart Car..around 70mpg…a great idea for city dwellers, but too expensive for what you get.

    Volvo and other Swedish vehicles….very good, will last forever, and good fuel mileage and very safe…a little unexciting and a bit underpowered, but overall great cars….a little expensive,but usually worth the money if you keep a car for the long haul. Before leaving the trades, I was a Volvo technician for a year…and replaced one transmission and one differiential and only tune ups….in comparison, when working for Ford, I rebuilt 2 or three Ford transmissions per week and at least one differiential per week.

    According to Hertz records, the worst car of all time was the 1977 Ford LTD. It actually stayed in the shop more than it was on the road during the time Hertz rented these things.

    Europeans do not change body designs each year so your ten year old Mercedes or BMW or Volvo or other cars still look fairly up-to-date which is a great idea.

    American Cars—
    Sturdy, bulky designs, heavy, soft metal bodies….huge, heavy wheels and a thousand pounds of gear works underneath…far too heavy….or “heavy metal.” Barely adequate fuel economy and fair reliability. Superb electrical systems in comparison to European and even better than Japanese in this area. Drive trains are superb also, but bulky and heavy as lead. GM and Ford transmissions are sold and installed in European luxury cars like Rolls Royce and Jaguar…I once repaired a Jag automatic transmission with standard Ford transmission parts…same exact transmission…For awhile Rolls used the same GM 4L60E automatic transmission that chevy put in their trucks and SUVs, but I don’t know now…a superb transmission for pulling a truck or boat or big old Rolls, but not much for good gas mileage.

    Where American cars mainly fall far short is in heavy,soft metal truly ugly body designs…like plug ugly battle tanks for the highway…and the SUVs were the worst of this lot.

    If anyone remembers the go bot transformer toys that kids played with back in the 1980s…Well auto designers just produced a bunch of US cars that followed the same design principles and even painted them silver like the toys…and the coming of age generation ate them up until they discovered that they things guzzled gas like hogs drinking water.

    Part of this “going big” with American cars, in my opinion, was due to insider deals by CEOs made with old school American gear manufacturers like Eaton and Dana and Borg Warner gear manufacturers who sell drive train components to the American Big three…..many of the drive trains used in the big thuggish SUVs were used in 1960s and 1970s Ford and Chevy pickups….and without much updating, and manufactuers didn’t give a damn about gas milage…only in maintaining their required fleet average mpg so they could keep selling the money maker models….so they made large numbers of cheap inferior models with tiny engines and sold them very cheaply just so they could sell the expensive models at high prices and still meet government fuel mpg requirments.

    The American manufacturers would be producing great products if their cars were being sold 30 years ago. In fact, many Ford and GM V-8 engines are derived from designs that came about back in 1955 through 1965 and which have been morphed many times into what is in today’s trucks and SUVs….so the damned things are very dated and far too heavy for the power they produce.

    Wife has a small Mercedes with a little 4 cylinder supercharged engine…and on I-95, the thing will easily outrun any American V-8 SUV you put against it, and I do mean blow the American heavy metal away, and the Mercedes will still average 28 mpg even after you average between 80 and 90 for long distances..and peak it over 100 now and then….so American heavy metal is far behind in technology.

    What his means is the American car companies have not spent nearly enough on R&D and their CEOs are way behind the times..and are trying to keep sales up with inferior, outdated products….and this is not all their faults. American directors and stockholders demand instant profits, and American CEOs who do not deliver will be sacked in short order…so they keep hanging differing configurations of heavy sheet metal on the same old chassis that were produced back in the 1970s, and try to keep up. For the money, you get about what you pay for in American cars…lots of heavy metal.. Heavy engines, heavy transmissions and big old truck wheels.

    GM designed some superb new style automobiles in the late 1980s and 1990s, but then failed to hire new visionary designers like the Germans and Japanese who left them far behind in this area….in fact, it seemed that American designers except for Chrysler which is affiliated with Damilar of Germany. GM and Ford it seemed, set their sights on producing some of the damned ugliest, most obsolete looking cars on the road….outdated designs by anyone’s standards…and it made me wonder if the CEOs in those companies were trying to speed up their demise.

    Now, as far as KIA coming to the South, Southerners are used to this. Since their defeat in the Civil War they have been fair game for industrialists coming here for cheap labor.

    I would warn KIA that they will discover that Southern workers are also used to giving just barely enough work effort to sustain their jobs…and they do not get very excited by big promises. Most understand that they will probably never get rich working in a factory owned by distant stockholders or that they will even gain much security for their elderly years. In fact Japanese who come here really dislike US Southerners because they see them as lazy and passive aggressive toward their work and bosses.

    But, when you attempt to run a semi-slave operation, the slaves are not going to give you their best efforts…and US Southerners have a long history of handling industrialists who come to “make a killing.”

    Still, in the South, the industrial revolution mindset has been dogmatically pounded into Southern thinking to such an extent that Unions are seen as taking jobs…and many Southerners still foolishly believe this…and Southern legislators will do just about anything to get more jobs in their districts…as far as kowtowing to people who desire to come here.

    So KIA can expect some Southern kowtowing,but then also a lot of foot dragging in their factories….but KIA is attempting to keep the avenues for its imports open…so it probably knows this already.

    Oh, and Daewoo tried bringing a car into the US through GM, but GM killed it off with poor servicing and by not pushing sales…and it faltered, so, KIA is much smarter in this respect. KIA is following the Japanese example with a cheaper car more suited for the times.

    In summary, I will say the US auto industry needs to be rebuilt from the ground up to ever again become successful.

  3. openlyhidden

    you are teh damnest improbable liberal i ever heard of. do you pay no attention to stereotypes? skid steer loaders, caterpillar, bobcat, perkins diesel (i have one of those), you were a technician. i mean you admit to being a logger at times even! come to think of it, eliane isn’t exactly what a liberal is supposed to be either living on her working farm and fixing roofs….nor is gary….wtf! you all seem to be useful! why am i the only one getting government subsidies? something strange is going on here.

  4. emsnews

    We are LIBERAL CONSERVATIVES. We want civil rights and a functioning court system. We don’t want snoops. We don’t want foreign wars or letting aliens take over our country without first becoming full citizens and swearing to uphold our government.
    .
    What we smoke or drink is our own beeswax and personally, much of my sex life is OFF LIMITS. I control it, not some bureaucrat. This is why we hate the GOP and are very, very leery of the DNC.

  5. openlyhidden

    “liberal conservatives”!!!! omg! my head just blew clean off!
    sex life? whats that? humm. i am looking for some flaw in your reasoning. well, i thought that is what government is for! i.e. managing our lives. heh. by the way, fyi you all basically have ruined my reading of the lucianne site now. completely ruined the experience for me lately. which by the way, i thought the lucianne readers were supposed to be the conservatives?? but they actually mostly are not are they….

  6. openlyhidden

    i mean looking at what has happened with our government in the last generation from a … “traditional” point of view, republicans really aren’t “conservative” anymore are they. i mean i regarded eisenhower as a “conservative” example. what would ike think of the republican party now i wonder. wasn’t ike the one who warned of the military industrial complex? i mean what would kennedy think? or johnson? and so far, i am pleasantly surprised by obama. i told you so.

  7. emsnews

    Eisenhower saw the future and blanched. My main problem with the military/industrial complex is, they are on a looting expedition….HERE! This is intolerable. 😦

  8. Simon

    em, watchout for the new Korean overlords
    They have a reputation for military style management and crack the whip more often than the Japanese overlords

  9. David

    OH:
    ___
    “I thought that is what government is for! i.e. managing our lives. heh.”
    ___
    I Know you’re being sarcastic and having fun OH:
    ___
    __
    Government should be used to help all citizens live better lives…by protecting us from foreigners who desire to enslave us and gnomes who want to steal our wealth and criminals who want to commit crimes against us…and to operate reasonable justice and civil service and legal systems so justice can prevail in our dealings with each other….and it should work to ensure a basic standard of living for ever man,woman and child in the nation…through reasonable taxation and social programs….and ensure our freedom to choose our lifestyles and what we choose to talk about and protect those freedoms with enforced laws….and that’s about it….simple enough…why can’t it seem to do these simple things…especially protecting us from criminals and gnomes right now…and also protecting our basic freedoms against abuse and torture and against wrongful imprisonment for minor offenses like using unprescribed drugs…but I guess I foolishly have high expectations that government will try to be fair and honest.
    ___
    As far as knowing how to do stuff, I’m an old farm boy. When I was young, there were no after-school jobs at McDonalds…only the farm or sawmill and I’ve done both…working with machines, engines, tractors, trucks and farm equipment and building things for useful purposes.
    ___
    When I went through public high school here in the South, you were trained for four possible occupations, timber cutting and processing, furniture factory work, textile factory work or farming or service work to keep these industries going…Only the children of petite bourgeois elites ever darkened the doors of private and state colleges…and it wasn’t until after I returned from Vietnam that our Community college opened…by then I had seen a bit of the world and wanted to know more…
    ___
    I first chose mechanics because it paid better and got me out of the factory where the school placed me…During my senior year of high school, I worked at a junkyard for almost nothing to learn the basics of auto mechanics, and quickly moved to diesel trucks after working in a factory for 3 months….and I was one of those sullen, passive aggressive Southern factory workers, so I know how they think…..”They (factory owners)don’t give me much, I don’t give back much”…I loved the big trucks and repaired and drove them back in the 1960s up and down the east coast without even a commercial license…and I drove a big truck in the Army…
    ___
    Returned from Vietnam…determined not to become a factory drone…and became a Ford automatic transmission technician for awhile but, alas, I had seen the world a bit, and then realized how very little I really knew…and was curious about everything….so began my education career that ended with a Master’s program under the old retired liberal Professor from Columbia who became my Guru and taught me stuff that I had only imagined before that time…
    ___
    Until I accidentally began reading Elaine and discovered the same very high level of intelligence and intellectual honesty in her thinking and writing that that old professor possessed…so here I am…
    ___
    Life is not too easy for me at times…but,in my opinion, it beats the alternative….
    ___
    OH! Life is interesting….and I don’t know how long I will stay here on Earth or exactly what if anything is waiting after death, but, for me it has been a challenge and a struggle…and still is, but it is also a hell of a fun ride…..
    ___
    Oh…a final boast! I once flew Dale Earnhart’s Bell 405 jet powered helicopter by myself too….was teaching technology and I had flight simulators on my classroom computers and the kids and I were flying our computer planes in the classroom.
    ___
    I rented a house to a pilot who worked for a NASCAR driver (NASCAR drivers buy houses and airplanes with their winnings) (this was the same pilot who was flying the news helicopter over Columbine High when the school shootings occurred, and Peter Jennings reported using the live video this pilot was shooting)…Dale Earnhardt had met and hired this pilot and brought him to NC..and then Dale promptly got himself killed the next weekend..so the pilot helped Dale’s family sell off the eight airplanes Dale owned…and this pilot went to work for the NASCAR driver who bought Dale’s 405 Jetcopter.
    ___
    Well, I told the pilot about what we were doing in the classroom and He remarked that, “Heck, you can probably fly a plane if you are doing that.”
    ___
    Much to my amazement, a week later, as I was putting up a fence along my property, I looked up and there was the pilot in the big black helicopter…and he motioned for me to come after him and he landed in a nearby field. I climbed in, and we took off. At about 2000 feet, he had me take over the controls and I was soon using the artificial horizon and altimeter and compass on the dash to make pretty good turns….I flew for two hours…and explored all of the countryside where I grew up….So, I actually once flew Dale Earnhart’s Helicopter….and it was fun.
    ___
    I don’t have a clue why all of this stuff happens to me…just luck and not knowing where I’m going or what I’m doing at times I think, but living sure is fun at times.

  10. openlyhidden

    you’re all right david. if you say life is interesting and worth doing presumably, thats good enough for me. heh. ty too.

  11. CK

    The last Republican conservatives were Barry Goldwater and Robert Taft. I would include Dr Paul, but he is a libertarian more than he is a republican.

  12. emsnews

    David, you got to write your memoirs! Love your stories. You can come fix my diesel work truck any time! 🙂

  13. JSmith

    “As per usual, this foreign company chooses a rural southern town and will have everyone work for hourly wages and no unions! Yup. Paradise.”
    .
    Damn. No retirement at 50 with full pension and health care for the rest of their lives?
    .
    Those poor, poor people!

  14. leavingtheoffice

    Elaine and David,

    Toyota took a different approach in Canada. They located their factory in an area heavily populated by ethnic Germans (largest Oktoberfest outside of Bavaria, etc.) Most of the guys were crazy hard workers. They treaten to bring in a union every few years; but the company will do things like hand over $1000 cheques and the guys calm down again.

    Anyway, to follow up on the discussion fomr last week, all the autoplants are draining profits out of Canada. We accept that. Profits used to flow to Detroit, now more flows to Tokyo. C’est la vie. We’ve traditionally balanced trade by exporting commodities. I agree 100% with your assessment on state of things from a US perspective, though. You need to protect your industries before the last of the generation of skilled people retires.

  15. Paul S

    The crux of the problem is a fatal flaw in the American management approach. For all their talk of “world class” innovation, the American manager is all too often a one or two trick pony. Destruction of Unions is priority number one. Management’s second “task” is to MASSIVELY boost their own compensation; all the while reducing wages and benefits of the rank and file employees. Profits before patriotism, that’s what it’s all about. The first step to correcting this situation is to close the corporate tax havens in the Cayman Islands and the Dutch Antilles. I think it is absolutely despicable that our honorable politicians will vote ‘No’ on GM bailouts, but then subsidize Honda, Toyota and KIA to move to the South. And the bad news is the foreign automakers have an accurate measure of who they are dealing with; when the bennies to locating in the Southern US go away, so do Honda, Toyota, Nissan,etc. The Republicans have been relying for YEARS on people voting against their own best economic interests. Hopefully that act is wearing thin.

  16. Gary

    When i was an itty bitty baby
    my mammy would rock me in the cradle
    in dem ol cotton fields back home
    I was born in Louisiana
    just about a mile from Texarcana
    in dem ol cotton fields back home
    and when dem cotton bolls get rotten
    you caint pick a very much cotton
    in dem ol cotton fields back home
    da da de do da da…cant remember the rest of the song

  17. Gary

    Hey Jack S…

    When those wicked vile yooyunz get busted up Nawth you can bet your
    bottom dollar that the paychecks down there will “go south” as well, ha ha
    …..
    But hey all dem boyz is happy like chillun workin for da massa eh ?

    The evils of slavery,er non union work, has been grossly exaggerated by
    those wicked socialists, eh …
    …ha ha ha ho he ha ha.
    ….
    Your tongue is black from shinola boy.

  18. David

    Paul S:
    ___
    “The Republicans have been relying for YEARS on people voting against their own best economic interests. Hopefully that act is wearing thin.”
    ___
    Paul, I wouldn’t count on it. I have some republican friends here in the South, and for some of them, whatever their two year Bible college educated fundamentalist preacher tells them is truth…or the politician who makes them believe that the evil Democrats are going to take all their guns (many of them only own one or two rusty old poor quality guns that nobody would really want to take)…or that Muslims are going to take over the entire world unless good Christians oppose their evil empire with everything they have including war….and they actually believe that if Iran gets a nuclear weapon, it will immediately attack Christians in the US….and this stuff has been continually pounded in their heads by talk radio and their preachers.
    ___
    It is just unbelievable the totally irrational beliefs that are parroted as truth on talk radio.
    ___
    Here in the South Clear Channel radio is king…gospel rock, non-political or conservative Country and Western music…80s soft rock and talk radio featuring Michael Savage and other conservative morons pounding listeners daily with the conservative mantras. How I long to hear some Led Zeppelin or even Nirvana.
    ___
    The old south was making good progress except for latent racism until Reagan was elected…and things have been going steadily downhill since that time….until we are in our present state of decline which, in my opinion is about as bad as it was in the Old South of the 1950s,minus the racism. In fact, in my view, racism is in a major state of decline here in NC. In fact, NC barely went for Obama…in the hope he would improve things….and blacks and whites now interact rather freely where they didn’t ten years ago…so there is some positive change here also.
    ___

    ___
    JSmith:\
    __
    Have you ever seen the inside of an automobile plant? I once took my classes to Atlanta and toured the GM plant there…..tour guide explained to us that the main enemy of workers in those plants was pure boredom…doing the same rote tasks over and over year after year…thousands of times…and it is hot and noisy on those lines with welder sparks flying everywhere…now robots do much of the spot welding, but it is still hot and noisy.

    If those workers can join a union and get a contract that allows for retirement at age 50, more power to them. Working an assembly line is not like pushing paper around a desk and sipping coffee with the secretary and boosting your ego by talking down to the little people around you…put one of those desk commandos on an assembly line for three hours and he would collapse of exhaustion.

    I am nearing legal retirement age now and I would sure hate to get up each day and face a day of work on the assembly line that I saw in operation.

    I cannot see how managers can believe that they are benefiting human progress by working employees until they are completely worn out and then discarding them without retirement or any form of compensation…that is pure sick bullshit…but some of these guys take pride in how shitty they treat their fellow man….in my opinion, they are much less than human beings…and there is probably legitimate basis for why social cleansing occurs after upheavals like occurred in Russia and China during the last century…after generations of worker abuse.

  19. Simon

    A bit of social cleansing of the slave-pen holders now and then is a good thing.

  20. JSmith

    “When those wicked vile yooyunz get busted up Nawth you can bet your
    bottom dollar that the paychecks down there will “go south” as well, ha ha”
    .
    Hey, Gar… Every other automaker in the world has seen what’s happened to GM, Ford, and Chrysler and said, “We’re not going down like that.”
    .
    Pretty simple lesson: if you want to stay in business you have to build cars for less than you sell ’em for. I’m surprised I have to explain that.

  21. CK

    Even if you can price your shit less than your shit cost, it just might be that you designed and made shit that no one wants at any price.

  22. David

    And, JSmith, you cannot sell shit for less if your executives are stealing massive amounts of company money to give themselves huge bonuses so they can buy a dozen mansions and several Jets and a villa or two in France, Italy or Costa Rica….and the directors want maximum dividends and so do the stockholders also….and the same old designers keep producing sorry designs each year instead of a fabulous design every ten years….and budgets in R&D get cut to the bare bones as a cost cutting measure.
    ___
    JSmith…remember the Ford Pinto….most people believe that it was a bad car….not so…It was a fair quaility cheap car…and the government bought a blue million of the things…and liked them….fairly reliable, but no bells and whistles whatsoever.
    ___
    Then what happened to the Pinto to kill it and a bunch of owners..
    ___
    Ford executives instituted a cost cutting campaign…The pinto gas tank filler spout was bolted to the fender…and the gas tank to the body, but good engineers had wisely made the spout extend into the gas tank about a foot and a half through a rubber grommet…and the system was very safe….even in a rear end collision.
    ___
    However, then, cost cutters found that extra galvanized pipe extending into the gas tank and decided to save about a dollar per car by cutting it shorter…about two inches from the grommet.
    ___
    Then, if you and your family stopped too suddenly and another car slammed you in the rear…the gas tank separated from the filler spout dumping gas everwhere that sparks were already flying from the accident..
    ___
    Needless to say, you and your family became instant crispy critters…
    ___
    And that is how good old American executive stupidity killed the Ford Pinto and quite a few innocent people to boot.
    ___
    JSmith, I place the blame for American auto industry demise squarely in the boardrooms and executive suites…not the factory floor or worker wages.
    ___
    Look at the KIA…If any nation had little or nothing to start with, it was Korea..and Korea pulled itself up by its bootstraps with sheer determination and good sound business decisions and is now joining Japan in dominating US markets and labor…
    ___
    So don’t give me that high wage, blaming unions bullshit!
    You just can’t keep selling that idea…nobody buying it anymore.

  23. Paul S

    David: That explains how in 2000, the state of Florida could be “awarded” to “Dubaya”. Nobody seemed to think it suspicious that Florida’s governor is “Dubaya’s” brother Jeb. Or that the person who certified the election FOR “Dubaya”, Katherine Harris, was co-chair for the Bush/Florida campaign. I hope Ms harris likes her seat in Congress; I guess she earned it. Looks like the South is still run by the plantation owners. When Katrina hit, Trent Lott’s area was rebuilt immediately. New Orleans got a flyover by “Dubaya”. Shows you who rates. Well I hope the tea baggers down South enjoy the “Free” market now. When they are making minimum wage, they might change their minds, but then it will be too late. I wonder if these folks will EVER discover the sneering contempt their “leaders” have for them?

  24. emsnews

    They think their leaders are their best buddies.

  25. JSmith

    “JSmith…remember the Ford Pinto….most people believe that it was a bad car….not so…”
    .
    People next door bought one, the first year they came out. It died of terminal rust. Had some screws loose, here and there, as well. The word “rattletrap” was used appropriately.
    .
    I’m not putting the demise of the US auto industry soley on the assembly workers – there’s plenty of blame from top to bottom – but all those Pintos, Vegas, Gremlins, etc., etc. fully deserved their bad reputations. (Compare with all those VW “bugs” that lasted for decades…)

  26. JSmith

    “I wonder if these folks will EVER discover the sneering contempt their “leaders” have for them?… They think their leaders are their best buddies.”
    .
    Actually… they don’t. And they have an excellent idea of how they’re regarded in the boardroom.
    .
    I think what you’re suffereing from here is a confusion in terminology. Automakers are corporations – investor owned. It’s a category mistake to expect them to behave like some sort of worker’s cooperative; that’s not what they’re designed to do.
    .
    The cooperative is an entirely legitimate way to organize an operation, but corporations aren’t co-ops and shouldn’t be expected to act like one.

  27. Jacquelin Brakefield

    I feel rather foolish writing this but thought I would give it a try. My husband is 82–was in the service from 51-53. He was in the Korean war, which is a forgotten war. We had a Kia Sedona, which we really loved, but had it repossessed. Some friends bought us a 20 year old car, which we are greatful for. I thought I would just ask you, since my husband fought to keep your country free, if you would consider giving us a new Kia van.

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