Wed. Apr 17th, 2024


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Ken Carman
14 years ago

Of course half of those will be gone soon. Why they’re dumping Saturn but keeping Buick… well, I’m told Buick is popular in Europe, though I have heard this no where but that one source. But Saturn? I still don’t understand. It’s like “we really don’t want to be a forward looking company,” because that’s the rep they spent so much money building around Saturn.

God these guys stink at what they do. I feel sorry for the workers. No amount of reorganizing and bailouts can rescue sucky management from themselves.

RS Janes
14 years ago

I have known three people who own/owned Saturns and all of them had good things to say about the car. Meanwhile, the worst car I ever drove was a brand-new 1980 Chevy Citation I once rented from Budget. Not only did the engine unexpectedly fail on occasion, and it choked and spluttered every time you turned the key off, but the windows and doors squeaked, the dashboard was falling apart, the gauges were hard to read, the front seats were uncomfortable, the steering was mushy, the automatic transmission groaned and hesitated before engaging, and it had the acceleration of a 2-HP go-cart, which was great when merging on highways. Even the frigging gas pedal was loose — you had to press a quarter of the way down until the motor responded.

When I returned the car, I told the clerk about the various problems of this lemon and he said he knew, he had been hearing the same things about every GM car on the lot. I haven’t driven a GM car since the ’80s and would never consider buying one. I can’t imagine what they were thinking by putting crapmobiles like the Citation on the market. While their quality may have improved since then, it’s no wonder they’re going bankrupt — they have so little respect for their customers.

The idiot executives madea decision in the 1990s to focus on gas-guzzling light trucks and SUVs since they rendered the highest profit. They are now paying for that dumb decision. Oh, wait — I mean WE are.

Ken Carman
14 years ago

While on the road my Sirius was down so I wound up listening to a lot of NPR. It’s worse than I thought. According to the report I heard Saturn had their own engine; even down to casting the block. They had their own sales motif, as we all know. GM execs weighed in and decided this wasn’t “cost effective” and decided they had to share platforms and sell like the rest.

This has always been my complaint. Whenever GM gets something good upper level management screws it up. We’re wasting our damn $$$. I still think we could make honey deals with the Japanese and make sure they produce it on shore, steadily increasing American labor and parts… something they don’t have now… with the great deal we offer them and we could save the car industry.

We simply can’t keep rewarding really bad management that is more interested in their own egos than either their product or their workers.

We’re losing Saturn here in TN, but on the bright side we still have Nissan as far as I know. Nissan makes a decent product and does seem to take care of their workers. I’ve had three. One we traded for a Honda, the other two have almost 300,000 and the other over. No major repairs. The only one close was a water pump… we just did that on the 320,000 plus truck.

RS Janes
14 years ago

Te only problem with Nissan, Honda and Toyota is that they won’t deal fairly with the unions. They only pay well now because of the Big Three; the minute GM and Chrysler go under, with a bigger pool of labor available, they’ll be dropping their workers’ wages and benefits, too.

Instead, why not dump the top management and let the workers run the company for awhile? I’ve met some people related to auto workers in Michigan — they say they knew putting all the eggs in the SUV-light truck basket was a major mistake back in the late ’90s, but nobody in management would listen. They also knew the quality was poor compared to the Japanese cars, but the execs seemed unconcerned. At any rate, how could they possibly do any worse?

We had a used Nissan Maxima for five years and it performed pretty well, except the seating was too low to the ground and we had to replace the radiator. Also had a ’94 Dodge that lasted for over 10 years with few major problems. (It’s still being driven by the guy who bought it from us.) It obviously isn’t that hard for GM to build a reliable car that holds together, as its Saturn brand has proven — I just don’t understand that level of incompetence, stupidity or hubris that doesn’t care about such things, which GM management has in bushels.

Ken Carman
14 years ago

The workers managing it isn’t a bad idea at all, though at what point does worker-management become just “management…” and the cycle begins again? I hadn’t heard that about our local Nissan, but never having been in a union I wouldn’t know. The only union I really might have joined was the local musician’s union here and they’re very famous for helping no one: except to lighten wallets.

That does bring up a topic. If you read my Inspection regarding militias, I think the same rule applies. Right or wrong, I think the union brand has been damaged. Corruption; or the perception of it, can do that… almost as much as Oklahoma City. Perhaps it might be time for a rebrand, like “worker’s cooperative?” I think there’s an absolute need for organizing to deal with the clowns who too often wind up in corporate management: but I think the term “union” may be damaged beyond repair.

I know: a union by any other name… but have you noticed despite our well deserved ridicule the corporate militia formerly known as (no not “Prince”) Blackwater has gone off the radar after rebranding themselves? Seems to work.

What a sad comment, if true. Maybe someday they’ll prove gnats have better long term attention spans than humans. I know from practical experience that mosquitoes do.

RS Janes
14 years ago

I think part of that ‘worker-management’ problem can be solved by paying the management a flat salary rather than a salary with stock options, which encourages them to drive up the stock price. (And the salary should be in the $200-$300K per year range for the president/CEO, rather than the million-dollar stratosphere.) Also — and I know I’ll be condemned as a dirty socialist for this — another quaint idea that should be resurrected would be tying increases in pay and bonuses to company performance. If the company doesn’t do well, neither does the management.

I’ve been in two unions — the Musician’s Union, and SEIU — and, to be honest, the Musician’s Union didn’t do much for me, except send me a monthly magazine that listed jobs most musicians didn’t qualify to play. (Still, I had to have the card to play at certain venues.) I’d suspect there was considerable corruption in the Chicago Musician’s Union.

The SEIU, of course, guaranteed a set wage scale and benefits, but my local office head wasn’t much use, unless you brought him a bottle of wine or liquor once in a while. Even with that, I was glad to be in the union so I didn’t have to negotiate every little detail with the company that employed me.

I understand, though, that under Andy Stern the SEIU has cleaned up its act and gotten rid of most of the old goombahs like the guy who headed my local.

People I know who are/have been in the Teacher’s Union, the Plumber’s Union, and the Electrician’s Union say they’re generally pretty good, but the UAW has had some problems. But they do have the chance to elect new union leaders, which has happened in the past.

The sad fact is that there is some degree of corruption in any large organization, from corporations to unions to our government. The problem comes when the scoundrels start running the damn things and making the rules to suit themselves, such as Bush, Cheney and the GOP.

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