Blog de KingShamus

"When an entire nation thirsted to break free from PC…Andrew Breitbart opened a big bar."–Chris Muir

Posts Tagged ‘Government Motors’

The General Problem With Government Motors

Posted by KingShamus on March 13, 2011

I’m not really a car guy–the brake pedal is the middle one in between the gas-o-tronic lever and transmissionary position switch, correct?–so let me note something certified automobile enthusiast CG Hill said.

To this day, General Motors hasn’t figured out all its brand positioning. Chevrolet, of course, is pitched to Everyman, and GMC to the guy who thinks he’s a trifle too good to drive Everyman’s truck. It seems clear, though, that the Chinese are calling the shots at Buick — not surprising, since they buy more of them than we do — and Cadillac is still trying to reestablish itself as a creditable luxoboat. (Which is more than Lincoln is doing; except for the ancient Navigator, they have nothing that wouldn’t be equally at home in a Mazda dealership these days.)

I basically agree with Mr. Dustbury on this one.  The truth of the matter is that GM really did have too many brands in the late 90s/early aughts.  What reason did anybody have to buy a Pontiac if it was just a rebadged Buick/Olds/Chevy?  The lack of distinction between the marques was confusing. 

But now, even with the streamlining of GM’s various brands, General Motors is still a puzzle.  While I think Cadillac is still the dream car of middle manager retirees and wannabe hip-hop moguls, what exactly is Chevy supposed to do for the consumer?  I guess it’s supposed to be the average person’s car.  However, it seems like Chevrolet has some weird identity crisis shit going on when it’s the home of both the gorgeous old-skool performance growler Corvette and the overhyped underwhelming future-car wannabe Volt at the same time.

I think some of this brand confusion comes from the fact that GM is Government Motors.  As such, the moving parts within the company are working at cross purposes.  I think most of the folks at Chevy want to sell cars.  Under the constraints that they find themselves working with, they want to make good reliable affordable vehicles that respond to customer desires. 

At the same time, because the left-wing Obama administration wants to use the US government’s official car company to make hopeychangey statements, the Volt has to be pushed no matter what problems arise.  The Volt is a mid-sized 4 seater hatchback, yet it’s MSRP is a whopping $41,000.  Using a normal household outlet means the car takes 11 hours to charge.  If the buyer wants the home charging kit, which takes plug-in time to a more manageable 4 hours, he has to spend another $2000 to get it.  Buyers can snag a $7500 tax credit from the government when buying the Volt, which sounds great until you find out that the all-electric Nissan Leaf has a $25,750 (after tax credit) price tag. 

Then there are the economic dilemmas created by an automobile which requires the federal gubmint to fork over a $7500 dollar bribe just to make the car even sorta competitive.  America is already broke, but apparently we’ve got enough dough for to pay people to buy the Volt.  Does this make any sense to anybody not getting a government paycheck?

Looking at all that, what is Chevy supposed to be?  The issues revolving around the Volt suggest that GM doesn’t really have a clue.  If Chevrolet itself doesn’t know what it’s role is, then it seems kinda crazy to expect consumers to sort out the mixed signals the company is sending to the car market. 

Normally, an identity crisis isn’t necessarily fatal to a big company.  Coca-Cola recovered from New Coke.  Microsoft is still alive after it’s flagship operating system Windows Vista took a shit.  But GM, with all its other problems, might not be able to overcome the fundamental issues behind it’s muddled branding.

Posted in Domestic Happenings | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Toyota recalls it vehicles, Government Motors and Zombie Chrysler win?

Posted by KingShamus on February 27, 2010

As you are aware, the government and the auto unions own two American car companies.  Toyota is owned by the Toyoda family and is a non-union shop.  Congress dragged the head of Toyota into hearings to discuss the safety issues concerning his company’s cars. Hmmmmm.

Before anybody get their panties in a twist, I’m not saying Toyota’s cars didn’t have mechanical defects that led to people dying.  I do find it rather interesting that the government is holding hearings on Toyota in the first place.  After all, Toyota isn’t just another car company.  Since the federal takeover of GM and Chrysler, Toyota represents a competitor to the government’s car makers.  By holding hearings, Congress is asking one branch of the government to act like an impartial referee when it is in fact an active economic player is the car manufacturing game.

The appearance of favoritism…even when it might not exist…is going to set off a chain reaction of cynicism about the economy.  Just saying.

Posted in Domestic Happenings | Tagged: , , , , | 4 Comments »

Your tax dollars hard at work: The Cars Edition

Posted by KingShamus on November 13, 2009

Ummmm, where are the new cars we were supposed to get when the government bailed out the auto companies?

Things you thought you were getting in the auto bailout. … Chrysler’s showy electric and hybrid cars? Forget them. Now that Chrysler has your money, they’re dead. … GM’s 2010 IPO? The one that was going to raise money to repay taxpayers? It’s receding rapidly into the future. “It depends on how quickly we become profitable. … I can’t promise a date,” says GM Chairman Ed Whitacre. Translation: Not going to happen… Suckers!

From one perspective, I’m not psychotically pissed, even though Mickey Kaus seems to want me frothing mad over this debacle. Electric and hybrid cars never seemed like the panacea so many  want them to be. So in that respect, I don’t really give a shit if Chrysler and GM comes out with a dozen new electric/hybrid cars or none.

On the other hand, the bailout was supposed to turn these companies into lean mean green machines. Our money was supposed to buy us something, namely car companies that would be producing ‘green’ vehicles and profitable.  Now it should be crystal clear that the enviro-cars GM and Chrysler were supposed to hook us up with ain’t happening.  Is the profitability part of the equation out the window too?

I think we all the answer to that one.

Heh.  By the way, here’s an apropos t-shirt.

Posted in Domestic Happenings | Tagged: , , , | 4 Comments »


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