Originally Posted by zjkid
That article is retarded.
I agree, if not for the massive idiocy of the average American. One person talks about greed, then turns around and chastises GM for pulling the EV-1 (which was heavily subsidized by the automaker).
Personally, and it may be because I've worked in the auto industry for 15 years, things are not as bad as they seem for GM and worse for Ford. Both GM and Ford have stopped producing 100% of their fleets as "Vanilla", and it can be seen in the Edge/Malibu types of products coming out now. I'm not sure about Ford, but I know GM has many new designs coming out - and while none will appeal to Scottie, they are pretty sweet.
As far as Ford goes, IMHO, they are in deep trouble. I left in 2005 because of a calibration manager named Brian Wolfe; I think he has singlehandedly decimated the calibration community by issuing ridiculous demands and making cuts in necessary development. The vehicle calibrator is the last person that takes the powertrain and makes it pass emissions, makes it run and drive good and also provides "electronic" fixes for stupid hardware changes to save money (6 or 12 months after design freeze). In simple terms, calibration teams are responsible for how the public perceives the product's driveability.
FORD is losing calibrators at an alarming rate
We were understaffed when I was there two years ago - there have been two rounds of buyouts since then plus an additional 10% have left above that. I'd be surprised if they have half the people left from when I was there. At the same time, as development was being cut to the bone, management still seemed to grow and create new positions above the engineering staff.
GM is in better shape than most to meet the new (and stupid) CAFE numbers with many hybrids coming out, including a plug-in hybrid (like having your EV-1 that isn't limited to 40 miles), hydrogen vehicles and the new HCCI (homogeneous charge compression ignition) engine technology that is showing a 15% increase in efficiency and a big reduction in emissions.
One thing that none of the legislators seem to realize is that the reason we build the cars we do today (trucks, SUVs, V8 cars, etc) is that is what our customer will buy. There is no secret pact between the automakers and big oil - hell, we research technologies that net 1% or 2%, even if it is high cost, because we know it will be necessary in the future. A lot of this new technology is also coming to the surface because we are starting to get the processing power needed to control this new technology (there never was, nor ever will be a 100 mpg carburetor).
Unfortunately, I don't see any of these idiots on capitol hill driving an econobox or hybrid car; they are shuttled around in Limos and Large SUVs that we, the taxpayers, pay for.
That leaves the general population mostly ignorant - not their fault, as they see what the news says, what Micheal Moore farts out and the occasional movie like "Who Killed the Electric Car" and take 100% of what is said as truth. And it seems like it is (still) fashionable to hate the American auto industry, which doesn't help the public's opinion.