Friday, November 14, 2008


I am absolutely opposed to the bail-out program on every level.

I believe it was a result of the poorest of governmental interference and blindness.

The government regulated what did not need regulating and refused to regulate what needed regulating.

One of the cries heard often when the "rescue" plan was first introduced was "If we do it for one we will have to do it for everybody."

That is exactly what has brought on the auto industry's groveling for a piece of the federal bail-out pie.

Now sit back and learn, 'cause I'm about to tell you how to "save" the auto industry in the United States of America.

I bought a Saturn SL2. It came with a crooked finder, a door handle that was not fully installed, a defective alternator and a cruise control that worked only spasmodically, at best.

I bought a Honda Accord. It came with no unfinished parts and no defects.

That's the difference between what is happening to American auto companies and what is happening to "foreign" auto makers (most of whose "imports" are no longer imported, but are made in America).

So here's what needs to be done.

American auto makers need to produce a product that delivers on its promises.

They need to make a car free of defects (yes, it CAN be done).

They need to price their products in a way that is fair to the consumer as well as to the manufacturer.

They need to employ workers who are dedicated to building a great product, rather than to making all they can for as little work as they can get away with.

This is accomplished by management, their enthusiasm, their proficiency and their absolute dedication to the needs of their employees.

Most American management says, "I'm the boss. Do what I say, when I say it, as soon as I say it and don't make any suggestions, 'cause that will make me feel like I'm not the boss."

Most American workers say, "Pay me top dollar, don't make me show up on time, don't make me be dependable, and don't expect me to be creative."

This mix is deplorable. It will NEVER work.

The problem with management is ego and power.

The problem with labor is wanting as much as possible for as little productivity as possible. What it boils down to is Management vs Union. That's sad.

If labor trusted management to treat them well, they would be treated better and would work based on pride, not only on pay.

If management trusted labor, they would let those "in the trenches," who deal with the product day-by-day, pass on good ideas that would garner serious consideration.

They don't trust each other, and each one behaves in ways that preserve that mutual distrust.

The only ones who really benefit from all of this are Union Leaders.

They end up serving themselves while convincing Union Members that they are serving them.

They do that very well.

Ask most Union members and they will tell you that the Union is the only way to go. Argue with them on this point and watch them explode.

That's a testament to how well Union Leadership has done its job. Not the job of representing the Union Members, the job of representing themselves.

What the American auto industry must do is to reinvent its methods of providing the product that Americans absolutely love: well made; good looking; dependable vehicles that last at least as long as the warranty.

The answer is not in technology, as important as that is. The answer is in relationship.

If they keep going like they are, no bail-out or "rescue" plan will be of any help at all. In a short period of time they will be right back where they are now.


Tapline said...

Joe, Great post, as usual. Unfortuntely, Government aligned with unions are the downfall of this industry. If a worker sees a loose or crooked handle, they probably couldn't fix it. its not covered in their contract or they can't touch anything other than what is covered... Government also dictates to management what they can and cannot do....Quality control is a thing of the past, to save money....I could go on is way out of context with what the worker actually does. It has been that way for decades. It is my understanding that the bailout is the result of pention funds drying up....could be wrong, but Government is not the answer to all ills. Management wanted to save money so they, with the blessings of government outsourced much of their needed parts and services. When was the last time you called on a warrantee and got India or somewhere outside the US. All you knew was that you could not understand what the person on the other end was saying.....They're saving money....No medical, no benefits of any kind....Ask why ???...I'm with you NO to bailout and fire Paulson..I ramble...say well...

Joe said...

Fire Paulson!

I like it!

But I won't hold my breath.

shoprat said...

You've hit the nail right on the head. I used to work for a parts supplier that made parts for virtually all auto-companies and the standards for American companies were a joke. (Though Volvo's standards were pretty pathetic too.)

Mark said...

They need to eliminate the extra and uneeded expense of installing all kinds of emission control devices in their cars.

I remember life before emission controls and I don't remember ever choking from the smog.

EnvironMENTALists pressured the auto makers into installing these white elephants, and they do nothing except create bigger problems. If it weren't for all these little unnecessary extras, automobiles would be cheaper to build, and cheaper to own.