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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Was at the supermarket this afternoon and spied a copy of the May 9th Business Week. The cover story was the future of GM. The cover art was a car headed down the road...but whoa...a chasm had opened up and the car was perched on the edge about to topple over into the void.

Guess which GM car Business Week had chosen to represent the fall into the void? Yup, none other than our Goat!

The article went on to speculate about the short and long term prospects of GM and their strategy to deal with issues they face. It also speculated (half dozen different theories) on why Kirk Kerkorian at age 87 is investing heavily in GM shares.

Well, business theories aside, I think they could have chosen many other poster children to represent GM's product and strategy mistakes. But, like it or not, the lackluster sales of the 2004 GTO have made this car an emblem of failure the likes of the Edsel for GM. The market has a perception in their mind and it will be nearly impossible to change it. I'd say kiss the GTO goodbye after 2006. GM will want to run and hide from this fiasco. What a shame. The car is great. Oh well, we all own a little piece of automotive history.
 

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I've read posts elsewhere that sales of the GTO are coming around. In fact, information published by GM's investor relations department shows GTO sales up 80% so far this year.

GM's got a number of problems:

1. Failure to develop a compelling product range. There are one or two hits here and there -- but for the most part, the product simply isn't hitting the mark (G6, LaCrosse, first year GTO, etc.).

2. Sales of their most profitable products, large pickups and SUVs, have fallen as fast as the price of gas has gone up.

3. Management that just seems out of touch with the marketplace.

4. Boatloads of debt.

5. Union contracts that are expensive to maintain.

6. Legacy medical benefits to retirees.

Medical costs add something like $1500 to every GM car. The Japanese and European makers are something like $500 -- because their medical plans are government run. Japan is something like $250. And in China, the next country to target our auto industries -- it's less than $50. After all, in China, they don't care when someone croaks while screwing together ****boxes for export -- they just get someone else to do the job for peanuts.

Know where the most cars are built in the world? Michigan. Not anymore. It's Ontario, Canada -- because of their government backed medical. Out of control medical costs are killing Ford and GM now -- GE in the future. It's only a matter of time.
 

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b_a_betterperson said:
Out of control medical costs are killing Ford and GM now -- GE in the future. It's only a matter of time.
Trust me..the LAST thing we need is government backed health care. How do we pay for that?? Higher taxes?? No thanks. Anytime you take something from the private sector and put it into the hands of our moronic goverment, all they'll do is triple the problem. Big goverment of any kind is NOT the answer. They're complete buffoons. If they can't even close our borders to protect us, do you really think they can run healthcare?? Product quality along with fresh, innovative designs are what's going to turn GM around....not the goverment.


:willy:
 

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MoreMoonShine said:
Trust me..the LAST thing we need is government backed health care. How do we pay for that?? Higher taxes?? No thanks. Anytime you take something from the private sector and put it into the hands of our moronic goverment, all they'll do is triple the problem. Big goverment of any kind is NOT the answer. They're complete buffoons. If they can't even close our borders to protect us, do you really think they can run healthcare?? Product quality along with fresh, innovative designs are what's going to turn GM around....not the goverment.
:willy:
:agree

Giving Heathcare to the gov'ment to manage will be disastrous. We would loose the benefit of "cutting edge" medicine and "preventative care". I do think we should have some government oversight. Prescription Drugs, for instance, is getting way out of hand.

GM should spend more to lobby for healthcare reform on behalf of all of us on. (this doesn't mean have the GOV manage it, but merely oversee). This would help to reduce medical cost if we can get control of "Greedy Business".

I'm sure there are lots of ideas all of you think would be a start in the right direction. The fact is, GM is a business, maybe a poorly run business right now, but they are out to make a buck or two. If that means cutting some of the line, then it's unfortunate for us.

I'm just glad I was able to get my GTO when I did.
 

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20 and out, UAW did their job.

Being an Indiana boy, I've known many folks that worked for GM (FisherBody, Chevy etc.) and retired with benefits after 20, 25 or 30 years. God bless them for not wanting to work in a factory forever, but GM can't possibly pay for the health ins. for another 20 or 30 years. These people are often still fairly young when they retire.

After 40 years my dad retired from Ball Corp (a $2 billion a year company) and my mom from 3M (another huge company) and neither pay more than a small supplement on health insurance.

GM has an uphill battle here, the UAW did their workers a service by protecting them in the long run, but it could actually kill GM. Cash rich or not, how do you pay $1000 (or whatever the number is) a month for someone's health insurance for 25 years of retirement?

This article is worth reading.
 

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MoreMoonShine said:
Trust me..the LAST thing we need is government backed health care. How do we pay for that?? Higher taxes?? No thanks. Anytime you take something from the private sector and put it into the hands of our moronic goverment, all they'll do is triple the problem. Big goverment of any kind is NOT the answer. They're complete buffoons. If they can't even close our borders to protect us, do you really think they can run healthcare?? Product quality along with fresh, innovative designs are what's going to turn GM around....not the goverment.
Fair enough, then what do you call Medicare and Medicaid? And that prescription drug plan passed last year? A plan that is going to be more expensive to administer than SOCIAL SECURITY in as little as 15 years? Talk about a gift for the big pharmaceutical companies.

I am not for big government, either -- but the current system is completely out of control. We either figure out a way to rein in these costs -- or go to a Canadian style "single source payment" system where caps are put into place.

Bottom line? You might not think your tax dollars are going toward big medical bills -- but they already are. And, unlike other countries, we've got gigantic amounts of private sector dollars going toward it, too. So we've got the worst of both worlds. If our system was that good, then why are all those jobs being moved north of the border?
 

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b_a_betterperson said:
Fair enough, then what do you call Medicare and Medicaid? And that prescription drug plan passed last year? A plan that is going to be more expensive to administer than SOCIAL SECURITY in as little as 15 years? Talk about a gift for the big pharmaceutical companies.

I am not for big government, either -- but the current system is completely out of control. We either figure out a way to rein in these costs -- or go to a Canadian style "single source payment" system where caps are put into place.

Bottom line? You might not think your tax dollars are going toward big medical bills -- but they already are. And, unlike other countries, we've got gigantic amounts of private sector dollars going toward it, too. So we've got the worst of both worlds. If our system was that good, then why are all those jobs being moved north of the border?
:agree
 

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b_a_betterperson said:
And, unlike other countries, we've got gigantic amounts of private sector dollars going toward it, too. So we've got the worst of both worlds. If our system was that good, then why are all those jobs being moved north of the border?
Good points, but I think the answer, in part, is to allow the competion of other countries (Canadian drugs etc) to compete within our own system. Let the market sort it out to deflate the over bloated FDA. Thus, competion (capitalism) increases along with research, thereby reducing costs naturally....all without the goverment. Funny how our congressmen have their own private system of healthcare and seperate variation of social security, yet when we want something similar, it's tagged as "risky". Time for another Boston Tea Party.
:cheers
 

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b_a_betterperson said:
Fair enough, then what do you call Medicare and Medicaid? And that prescription drug plan passed last year? A plan that is going to be more expensive to administer than SOCIAL SECURITY in as little as 15 years? Talk about a gift for the big pharmaceutical companies.

I am not for big government, either -- but the current system is completely out of control. We either figure out a way to rein in these costs -- or go to a Canadian style "single source payment" system where caps are put into place.

Bottom line? You might not think your tax dollars are going toward big medical bills -- but they already are. And, unlike other countries, we've got gigantic amounts of private sector dollars going toward it, too. So we've got the worst of both worlds. If our system was that good, then why are all those jobs being moved north of the border?
The Canadians would never allow us to go to a healthcare system like theirs, Where would they go for healthcare?LOL!!

In a seriousness, if you look at the things that are all screwed up in the health care industry it goes back to two things: Government involvement in the private sector and the lack of tort reform. Look at how much a doctor pays for malpractice insurance, if you limited the awards that juries dish out to real costs plus 25% for pain it would fix alot. We should also go to loser pays legal system, and cap the amount of fees and % a lawyer can take from the settlement to 20%. That would fix alot that is wrong with our healthcare industry among other things.
 

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I try to stay out of these kinds of arguement. BUT!!!! Why do you think those OTHER countries can have cheap health care for less money and the same DRUGS. It's because we ( the Good Ole USA ) bear the brunt of research and development costs for the rest of the world. I lived and worked in Europe. The health care was payed by the government. The Goverment told Doctors not only what they could charge but tried to tell them HOW much total costs for the year ( a doctors total perscription costs , or book of buisness)would be for SICK FOLKs. I purchased the same drugs in Europe, By the same drug company as those I purchase HERE. Yet the cost in the USA ( At the time I was in Europe was $112 dollars, over there I payed the equivence of $30 dollars US, and the government gave me back $ 28. Over there you pay the doctor and pay for the drugs, submit the bill and get rembursed for most of your costs. ) Unless we as Americans wise up to how the game is played GOBALLY ( there's that word again ) we are going to continue to pay and play on an uneven playing field. Drug companies make money because the drugs sold in Canada and Europe as well as most of the rest of the world, had the development costs PAYED by that same "PRIVATE Health Care " we are so fond of....There is no easy answer but when Canadiens resent our few folks crossing the border to buy "THEIR ( Canadien )" Drugs, I would like to ask who the Hell DO they think subsidizes THEIR system. I have friends and family that work in the drug industry, and that is how the sytem really works....A little off topic, but folks should understand where the money comes from to pay for other countries CHEAP Health care. ( Many of the Doctors I met in Europe were trained RIGHT HERE )
 

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GTO TOO said:
I try to stay out of these kinds of arguement. BUT!!!! Why do you think those OTHER countries can have cheap health care for less money and the same DRUGS. It's because we ( the Good Ole USA ) bear the brunt of research and development costs for the rest of the world. I lived and worked in Europe. The health care was payed by the government. The Goverment told Doctors not only what they could charge but tried to tell them HOW much total costs for the year ( a doctors total perscription costs , or book of buisness)would be for SICK FOLKs. I purchased the same drugs in Europe, By the same drug company as those I purchase HERE. Yet the cost in the USA ( At the time I was in Europe was $112 dollars, over there I payed the equivence of $30 dollars US, and the government gave me back $ 28. Over there you pay the doctor and pay for the drugs, submit the bill and get rembursed for most of your costs. ) Unless we as Americans wise up to how the game is played GOBALLY ( there's that word again ) we are going to continue to pay and play on an uneven playing field. Drug companies make money because the drugs sold in Canada and Europe as well as most of the rest of the world, had the development costs PAYED by that same "PRIVATE Health Care " we are so fond of....There is no easy answer but when Canadiens resent our few folks crossing the border to buy "THEIR ( Canadien )" Drugs, I would like to ask who the Hell DO they think subsidizes THEIR system. I have friends and family that work in the drug industry, and that is how the sytem really works....A little off topic, but folks should understand where the money comes from to pay for other countries CHEAP Health care. ( Many of the Doctors I met in Europe were trained RIGHT HERE )
So what's your complaint? Instead of blaming countries outside the United States -- start blaming the United States for allowing itself to get screwed. The pharma companies' R&D argument is the equivalent of oil companies charging people in Saudi Arabia $112 a barrel for oil -- while charging us $30 -- because they have the expense of pumping the stuff out of the ground. Won't happen there with oil. Why's it happening here with pharmaceuticals? It's total B.S.

The only thing countries like Germany do is concentrate their country's buying power within an office in the government. The pharma companies come in and work a deal with them -- no differently than what group buyers do here on this forum. And the pharma companies know damn well that if they don't come in with a fantastic number -- the buyers will say no thanks.

The United States had the perfect opportunity to do the same when the idea of a prescription drug program came up. But instead of condensing the buying in one place and doing the job right -- it's scattered all over the place -- because the big pharma companies had campaign contributions (bribes) and lobbyists crawling all over the place to turn a good piece of legislation into a multi-billion white elephant that isn't doing anything for anybody.
 

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b_a_betterperson said:
The United States had the perfect opportunity to do the same when the idea of a prescription drug program came up.
Please tell me you 're not referring to "Hillary Care"?? There are WAY too many entitlements in this country already. The main reason drugs/healthcare are so-called "free" in other countries is their citizens are taxed to death. If the goverment takes control over the private sector (even more so than now) what's the incentive to invent a cure for anything?? To the point of "GTO TOO", too much gov't kills the recipe for success. While I agree costs are too high, a huge reason is due, in part, to the frivilous lawsuits. Worse than that, is the HUGE vacuum you hear when you don't even have to be a legal citizen to get "free" healthcare and schooling. Sneak across the border from Mexico into McAllen TX and go into any area hospital. Mothers-to-be are able to give birth for no charge along with anyone that has an ailment. Under current law, once they give birth here, boom...they're a citizen. They have to be treated for any illness for free. If not, they'll be sued by the ACLU and the hospital closes. They break the law by crossing our borders illegally but get treated for any illness before (if at all) being sent back. But you and I pay...err ahh...are forced to pay exhorbant taxes so that these entitlements continue to feed off our backs. If we don't pay our taxes, here comes the IRS to seize our assets. Neat huh??

That's it. I'm running for office. In one term, I'll piss 'em all off, but I'll at least raise enough awareness that these other clowns are too afraid to touch....and then speed off in my '06 GTO.

:D
 

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When this prescription drug bill came up -- it originally was a single buyer program. The single buyer program would have negotiated rates on pharmaceuticals, then provide for their distribution. People would have paid on a prorated basis based on their ability to pay. Yes, there would have been government cost involved.

However, after all the bribes were paid and the hookers went home, Congress approved a bill that diffused the single buyer aspect of the program. THE REST OF THE BILL, HOWEVER, IS THE SAME. So, the government pays way more for drugs -- and still subsidizes the cost to people based on their ability to pay. Who wins? Big pharma. That's it. Hilary Care? No. Bush Care? Yes.

I agree that government entitlement programs stink. Problem is -- this drug thing is a HUGE one. And it's a disaster. Bigger than Social Security in a few years. And while Europeans are taxed to death -- we're spending ourselves to death. The only difference is that the credit card bills aren't due yet. Just wait.

Meanwhile, there goes another auto plant to Canada, Mexico, Venus, Mars, anywhere but here...
 

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b_a_betterperson said:
Who wins? Big pharma. That's it. Hilary Care? No. Bush Care? Yes.

..
You'll be shocked, but I agree with you. I wasn't crazy with the recent law passed either, although it will help my elderly parents. I know Limbaugh blasted the drug program up and down, but it's been so long, I can't give the specifics you did. Now what were we talking about again?? Oh yeah...GM :D

:cheers
 

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Intersting topic in a car forum. There are so many reasons that healthcare is so expensive. The drug companies certainly profit considerably from all of this. They create needs by influencing studies to show an increased need for medications. They provide MD's with free samples to hook patients on to expensive new meds. They spend billions on advertising (over 4 on direct to consumer marketing alone, probably similar amount to medical personel) on a product that you can't get on your own. Who do you think pays for all of this? Us. Lawsuits settlements can be astronomical and malpractice out of sight, depends on the state, Wisconsin is pretty good right now. One of the largest espenses is the patient. If you run to the ER for every little thing, its expensive! The average patient sees an MD 6 times a year. Last I heard the average cold that a medical assitance patient has gets three trips to the MD. Its self-limited people, wait it out. I spend more insurance money to reassure normal people that everything is normal than I care to disclose.
Its a very complex problem with no simple ansewer. Government healthcare, no matter which party proposes it will really solve the problem until people's expectations return to normal. If you can't control expenditures, you won't contriol costs and premiums will continue to go through the roof. Eventually the current system will break and I hope someone smarter than me has a solution by then or I'm out of business(hope the Goat's paid for by then). The government would likely ration healthcare if it takes over and that's usually not good for the elderly and disabled.
I'm sure there are many other aspects to touch on, but long enough rant. Thanks for letting me vent.

David
 

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Just so you know, I'm not some kind of goofy "feed the world" fool. I'm just really concerned about the American middle class.

I travel a fair amount -- and what I'm seeing is not good. In North Carolina, 120,000 head of household jobs in the textile and furniture industry are gone for good. Another 50,000 will be gone soon. The area from Richmond County, around Rockingham, over to High Point, is in a huge depression. Folks who were making $20 an hour are now working 2/3 minimum wage jobs with no benefits just to stay alive -- and there's nothing better on the horizon. In the meantime, I toured a furniture plant one MILE long in Shanghai. Raw timber and chemicals in one end -- furniture bound for the US out the other. Brand new -- and the guys in the paint booths don't even wear masks.

There are spots in Ohio, Indiana and Michigan that are plodding along -- but the manufacturing industries which are kind of the bread and butter jobs for the middle class are under siege from China. There is no question that unless those folks really get their act together and change how they do business -- such as going to the high end and offer advanced tooling, rapid turnaround for custom jobs, etc. -- they will be gone in 5-10 years because of global commoditization of everything.

Meanwhile, in Vegas and out here in California -- a bunch of construction jobs, which used to pay $15 to $25 an hour -- are now being done by illegals for $5 an hour tops. I've even see that crap going on in Alabama(!) of all places. The supervisors speak English, the workers don't -- and the care and attention to detail that you associate with a craftsman simply isn't there.

Bottom line? GM is really screwed up right now. I try to buy American and help out whenever the option is there. Yeah, the GTO's screwed together by some blokes -- but the profit came back to Detroit. Yet between the Asians dumping crap in our market, stupid "fair trade" laws that tie American manufacturer's hands behind their backs (strictest air control standards in the world vs. China and India's none) and crazy stuff like the status of the USA's medical plans (really expensive for everyone -- yet people in other countries are now living longer), insurance coverage, and the rape and pillage trail lawyers -- we are deep, deep trouble -- and our government is fiddling while our middle class burns.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Geez. When I started this thread I was just pointing out that the GTO had once again been unfairly maligned by the press.

You budding internet economists took a left turn and never looked back.

Perhaps the forum for social and political theory would interest y'all.
 
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