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Thread: Who Does Detroit Think They Are Fooling

  1. #1

    Default Who Does Detroit Think They Are Fooling

    Detroit keeps commenting on the fact that electric vehicles are to expensive to make and manufacture and yet people making them one by one are making better and cheaper models of totally electric vehicles than anything Detroit has even suggested they can make.

    Even the Washington Post was talking about this yesterday. Detroit's problem is hey can't find a way to make these cars and make a profit off of them. Let me interpret this to what they really mean.

    " We can't find a way to make these cars and redo the glory days of selling gas guzzling SUV's to Americans like we did in the 90's and early 21st century when we made the most money we have ever made since the inception of the industry. "

    Evidently no one in Detroit has read the new business model the economists of Bloomberg have predicted will come out of this new economic model being created for the next generation. Gone are the years where 10% profits are assured. Corporations will be lucky to make 1-2% profit and should be glad to get it when they do.

    All of this leads to the bailout issues we are dealing with right now. If we continue to bailout these old world business men who will not accept that we no longer are interested in supporting their fat cat lifestyle, then things are going to get worse and worse for the majority of us. It would be better to allow these businesses to fail, and focus our attention on making sure our government is ready and willing to step in and accelerate the bankruptcy process to a point where people who work for them will only loose a few weeks pay, covered by unemployment benefits while the courts restructure these vital industries with new management and a new goal for the future.

  2. #2
    Olympic Champ therick's Avatar
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    Default Re: Who Does Detroit Think They Are Fooling

    I'll add another observation when it comes to electric cars and technology in general as it relates to Detroit.

    Why is it that GM and Detroit in general thinks that they need to come up with a whole new car, i.e. body style, platform, etc., in order to introduce electric or hydrogen?

    I ask this because BMW seems to be of the opinion that they can offer those types of technologies in existing body styles. For example they have a hydrogen/gas (it can run on either fuel) powered 7 series. It looks just like the normal 7 series with a price tag only slightly higher than the normal 7. They were smart and started with the high end car since the technology to make the car is expensive and leased them to celebrities and the wealthy in California. This allows them to bring the technology to market earlier in a controlled method that gives their engineers real world feedback and also allows them to create a market that they can eventually filter the technology down to as hydrogen pumping stations become more readily available and costs become more accessible.

    BMW is also introducing an electric version of the Mini Cooper. Again, unlike GM with the Volt, BMW is using a platform and body style that are already successful (fastest growing premium brand in the world) and being manufactured on their assembly lines thus keeping down extra costs and ensuring a market for the electronic car based on looks as well as technology.

    Honda has also been smart enough to put hybrid technology into the existing civic for similar reasons.

    Again, why does Detroit and GM in particular (Ford is doing better by partnering with Toyota for hybrid technology) feel the need to waste so much money on unproven and expensive concept cars and new body styles instead of focusing on technology that can be put into existing and successful body styles?

  3. #3

    Default Re: Who Does Detroit Think They Are Fooling

    Quote Originally Posted by therick View Post
    I'll add another observation when it comes to electric cars and technology in general as it relates to Detroit.

    Why is it that GM and Detroit in general thinks that they need to come up with a whole new car, i.e. body style, platform, etc., in order to introduce electric or hydrogen?

    I ask this because BMW seems to be of the opinion that they can offer those types of technologies in existing body styles. For example they have a hydrogen/gas (it can run on either fuel) powered 7 series. It looks just like the normal 7 series with a price tag only slightly higher than the normal 7. They were smart and started with the high end car since the technology to make the car is expensive and leased them to celebrities and the wealthy in California. This allows them to bring the technology to market earlier in a controlled method that gives their engineers real world feedback and also allows them to create a market that they can eventually filter the technology down to as hydrogen pumping stations become more readily available and costs become more accessible.

    BMW is also introducing an electric version of the Mini Cooper. Again, unlike GM with the Volt, BMW is using a platform and body style that are already successful (fastest growing premium brand in the world) and being manufactured on their assembly lines thus keeping down extra costs and ensuring a market for the electronic car based on looks as well as technology.

    Honda has also been smart enough to put hybrid technology into the existing civic for similar reasons.

    Again, why does Detroit and GM in particular (Ford is doing better by partnering with Toyota for hybrid technology) feel the need to waste so much money on unproven and expensive concept cars and new body styles instead of focusing on technology that can be put into existing and successful body styles?
    Part of it is that Honda tried bringing out a hybrid utilizing their current body style and it failed. Toyota, with the Prius, gave the car a very distinctive look. In California (where, from what I have read, about 85% of all alternative-fuel autos are sold) it is important to alternative-fuel users that their "coolness" be immediately recognisible. Since you are paying significantly more for the priviledge of saving the environment, it needs the social reward of recognition. That is the reason Honda gave for pulling their hybrid Civic.
    By the way, have you seen the Cooper electric? The battery/electrical system is in the back seat. It is carpeted over, leaving just the two front seats.

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    Olympic Champ therick's Avatar
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    Default Re: Who Does Detroit Think They Are Fooling

    Excellent points on the whole "coolness" thing. One of my favorite Southpark episodes makes fun of this very thing.

    As for the Cooper having only two seats, in my personal opinion, I don't see that as a drawback given the target market for the car. If it's meant as a cleaner alternative for the daily work commute, then it doesn't need more than two seats. Hell, in my situation my car could be a one seater 95% of the time with no issues, and seriously, how many households use more than two seats for multiple vehicles on a regular basis? If it weren't for the lovely Columbus, Ohio weather during the winter, I'd sell my car and stick with just my bicycle for my daily commute.

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    Olympic Champ therick's Avatar
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    Default Re: Who Does Detroit Think They Are Fooling

    The issues with the Cooper miss my point however. Detroit keeps coming up with reasons why they can't bring electric or hybrid or hydrogen to the market.

    BMW, Toyota, Honda and others are at least making the attempt and getting the technology out there so that they're going to years ahead of the big three in real world research not to mention market share by the time Detroit brings anything of worth to the market.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Who Does Detroit Think They Are Fooling

    I agree that part of the problem is the American attitude. I'm not exactly sure where this idea that you have to be cool and you have to show off your coolness came from but it is beside the point when it comes to a new technology. Americans will either change or they will be left behind. Corporations will either change or they will be left behind. As for this technology being significantly more expensive, well yes it is a little more expensive because of the battery itself. However, people have proven that these cars can and are being made one at a time for a lot less that Detroit seems to think they can be made. One music star converted a 1959 vehicle that weighed 5000 pounds to total electric and it has good specs and only cost $41000 for the conversion.

    The bottom line here is Americans are going to have to change their attitudes. These new cars are going to be smaller and they are going to look funny. A vehicle is for getting you from point A, to point B. It is not cool, it is not a status symbol, it is a tool. With that said I am totally against the hybrid technology because of the reliance on a resource that we still have to depend on other nations to provide. Also with upcoming battery technology coming out next year we could in reality see batteries that can hold 1000% more charge in them giving these electric vehicles a 1000-1500 mile range per charge for the price of a tank of gas today.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Who Does Detroit Think They Are Fooling

    When I first saw this thread this afternoon I thought it was going to be about the Lions claiming to be a real NFL team.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Who Does Detroit Think They Are Fooling

    I had the same thought. I was sure this thread was about the Lions.
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  9. #9
    World Champ ODH's Avatar
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    Default Re: Who Does Detroit Think They Are Fooling

    The Big Three have many problems, but their downfall has little to do with not fully embracing Hybrid / Electric cars. This is still aniche market that has to be extremely hard to make money on. Where it really hurts them is in the political arena as shown by the above threads.

    Hybrid cars are over rated in my opinion. They are alot more complex and most of them get worse gas mileage than the best small gasoline powered cars do.

    My take on the problems with US car companies are:
    1. Health care and retirements costs are killing their profits. They have way too many retirees and not enough workers to conitnue supporting all the retirees. Nationalized health care would be the best thing in the world for them.
    2. High labor costs due to Union contracts.
    3. Reliance on SUVs and trucks for all of their profits. Where this market tanked because of high gas prices they had nothing left that was profitable or consumers wanted to buy.

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