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Author Topic: Hollowing out manufacturing  (Read 125 times)

Phil

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Hollowing out manufacturing
« on: November 29, 2018, 03:44:11 am »
I know there aren't many fans of the Washington Post here but I came across a contributed piece from someone whose family has lived through the end of manufacturing in the US. There's a paywall but you can go incognito.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2018/11/28/i-sent-my-dads-manufacturing-job-overseas-my-own-followed-not-long-after/?utm_term=.bbfc47f78d1e


Phil

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And some perspective on sedans not being popular anymore
« Reply #1 on: November 29, 2018, 04:08:16 am »
So it seems that GM is closing factories because sedans aren't selling but Japanese branded sedans are doing okay thank you very much.

https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2018-11-29/chevrolet-sedans-suffer-while-toyota-and-honda-hang-on

I know that American cars are as good as Japanese cars are but Honda never fucked me over on a new car while Ford and GM both have multiple times. I would find it very difficult to walk into an American dealership these days.

WildRiver

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Re: Hollowing out manufacturing
« Reply #2 on: November 29, 2018, 04:39:34 am »
I lived in Ann Arbor, MI for 16 years and Mount Pleasant, MI for 2 years. I worked in the car industry (suppliers) on and off. Here is my personal experience and feeling about it. I'm talking about 1997-2008 time frame.

American car companies used to make shitty cars saved for the luxury brands. I don't know what it is. I think the bean counters who decided to get the cheapest parts and put it in the car. Plastic pieces come off in about 1 year time. Mechanical components failed too early. The design was hideous for low end cars.

In the late 90s, American car companies started catching up with the Japanese in term of quality. I haven't driven an American car since my bad experience with Dodge Neon years ago. This leads to my personal experience. So I was and always am patriotic. I just graduated from grad school and found the first job in computer industry in 1995. I decided to buy an American car. I bought a Chrysler Neon. It was shocking when I got home and started looking under the hood. The car was assembled in Mexico! I'm sure some parts were from Canada. That Neon didn't last long. 5 years in and it started having problem with head gaskets. It costed me thousands to fix overheated engine. After that I said no more shitty American car for me.

I then went on to my first Mazda 6. It was a joint venture between Ford and Mazda. The car was assembled in Michigan with Ford engine block and everything else Mazda. I think some plastic pieces were American. In the first month I have to take the car back few times for warranty work. Brake pad warping and engine code update! What's the hell going on with American production? I'm sure the Japanese didn't screw it up.

Now I drive Mazda 6s and it is 100% from Japan since Ford and Mazda got divorced years ago. It is a perfect car. It is the best for my money and beautiful styling. At 23K price it is nice and well made.

Union - I know we need union but they suck! I once went to Ford to fix a problem on testing equipment that my company sold to Ford. I am not allowed to put a USB cable into a computer and upload the code. I have to wait for the union guy coming back from lunch. It is union rule that only union guy can do the work. So I waited for 2 hours. He came back and said OK you can put that cable in. Goddam wasting my time for that???

Retirees pension - this costs a lot. I am trading Alcoa Aluminum stock right now. It is shocking to hear that there are 50,000 retirees and 16,000 active employees. Companies must make enough money to cover pension before talking about profits.

I have never worked with companies that have pension. I think it is fair that they just give me x amount of money for me to save and that is all I want. When I leave the company, I want nothing.

WildRiver

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Re: Hollowing out manufacturing
« Reply #3 on: November 29, 2018, 05:07:49 am »
We don't have royalty in this country any more. I don't understand the logic either. Shipping factories to China and India help making big profits for management and companies. However, they kill their current and future customers. Basically, they don't care if Americans don't have jobs to pay for the products they want to sell. I guess the CEOs and Wall Street don't care because they will be dead by then. The question to me always comes back to this: you can't take money to your grave and you only live to ~100 years max. Why making it so bad for fellow citizens? I don't have the answer. If we ever get to the point of civil war, we will help the CEOs and Wall Street guys to meet their maker earlier than living out to 100 years. lol

ilconsiglliere

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Re: Hollowing out manufacturing
« Reply #4 on: November 29, 2018, 08:53:04 am »
The culture of America revolves around the worship of greed and money. That is why these people behave they do. They got theirs so the heck with everyone else.

The Gorn

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We're heading out of one economic cycle to another
« Reply #5 on: November 29, 2018, 09:03:18 am »
The culture of America revolves around the worship of greed and money. That is why these people behave they do. They got theirs so the heck with everyone else.

It's always been that way. We all grew up at the tail end of the middle class expansion and none of us was around during the Robber Baron era of the late 1800s. We're pretty much returning back to that dynamic now.

The difference between now, and 20-25 years ago, is that back then in the late 80s the idea was still prevalent (starting to die significantly, though) that corporations located in the US had a self-interest in maintaining social stability, including employment and wages.

I kind of agree with Trump's threat to pull back GM's bailouts, if that is in any way possible. The bailouts (which never should have happened! Ever!) should have had one purpose: to maintain employment. GM allowed the US gov to become an equity partner. They reneged on the deal. So fuck 'em.
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Re: Hollowing out manufacturing; shitty US car makers
« Reply #6 on: November 29, 2018, 09:16:27 am »
I lived in Ann Arbor, MI for 16 years and Mount Pleasant, MI for 2 years. I worked in the car industry (suppliers) on and off. Here is my personal experience and feeling about it. I'm talking about 1997-2008 time frame.

American car companies used to make shitty cars saved for the luxury brands. I don't know what it is. I think the bean counters who decided to get the cheapest parts and put it in the car. Plastic pieces come off in about 1 year time. Mechanical components failed too early. The design was hideous for low end cars.

In the late 90s, American car companies started catching up with the Japanese in term of quality.

I grew up a couple hundred miles south of that location along I-75, so you can guess where. A GM town. I'm familiar with stories about auto workers in Michigan who made the mistake of driving a rice burner to work being ordered to park remotely rather than in assigned spaces, as punishment/stigmatization. Also in my town I worked with a guy whose shiny new Honda Prelude in 1978 that he parked outside at night was badly "keyed".

That Neon didn't last long. 5 years in and it started having problem with head gaskets. It costed me thousands to fix overheated engine. After that I said no more shitty American car for me.

Every GM car I owned or drove fell apart or was not worth keeping after about 4-5 years. I completely discounted GM and American cars as a result.

I know that American cars are as good as Japanese cars are but Honda never fucked me over on a new car while Ford and GM both have multiple times. I would find it very difficult to walk into an American dealership these days.

Phil, these statements seem a little mutually contradictory - US cars as good but the manufacturers fucked you over.  I understand you're differentiating service from the good itself.

My position is that post-sale service is a BIG component of vehicle quality.

I bought a Ford Taurus in its first model year. It was OK until I sold it three years later. The only things being: all of the coolant hoses were internally ripped at the factory, so each coolant hose would blow out because the mesh liner was damaged (the rubber looked OK but couldn't hold coolant pressure back by itself.)  I had several events where I was out running errands and I'd start to smell strong antifreeze odor inside the car. I'd have to go immediately home and patch the hose.

The Ford dealer I bought the Taurus from was pure shit. They gave me the run around on several issues. I started to neglect the (new) car because getting basic stuff taken care of was a total hassle.

My wife's Ford truck had a parasitic voltage leak that drained the battery after a couple of days. The Ford stealership charged her $100 for a electrical search that was fruitless. The guy tried to sell her a new battery to "fix" this for $200 (she had a 3 mo old battery in the vehicle.) A friend found the source of the leak, a shorted light bulb. Ford dealers are scumbags.

On the other hand, my wife's Altima had a major rust-out of the floor pan after about 8 years of ownership. We complained bitterly to the dealership. Eventually Nissan fixed the floor and undercoated it to reduce the chance of rust again.

Nissan was a PITA to get this out of but at least they did it.  I can see the big three saying "FU, we have your money now! Ha ha!"
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Phil

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Re: Hollowing out manufacturing
« Reply #7 on: November 29, 2018, 09:41:43 am »
Quote
Phil, these statements seem a little mutually contradictory - US cars as good but the manufacturers fucked you over.  I understand you're differentiating service from the good itself.


I was referring to the quality of the product. Every American car I bought except one (a Plymouth Horizon) had terrible quality failures and limited lifetimes. My issues with walking into a dealership is mostly the brand they represent but also concerns their failures in service. I don't even like to have Fords parked in my driveway.


Phil

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Re: Hollowing out manufacturing
« Reply #8 on: November 29, 2018, 09:50:47 am »
The culture of America revolves around the worship of greed and money. That is why these people behave they do. They got theirs so the heck with everyone else.

Very true.

I've also noticed though that management doesn't seem to want to get their hands dirty or deal with blue collar people. It seems like they consider it better to get rid of the factories altogether then to have to manage them. I've personally had experience where management spent millions on automation to what to me looked like a desire on the part of the COO to not have to deal with union contract negotiations.

unix

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Re: Hollowing out manufacturing
« Reply #9 on: November 29, 2018, 06:52:07 pm »

my bama-era chevy is the biggest POS ever. the only thing that works well is the actual engine.
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ilconsiglliere

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Re: Hollowing out manufacturing
« Reply #10 on: November 30, 2018, 04:43:19 am »
Not a fan of American cars though from what I can see the pickup trucks seem to just run forever. I dont know how reliable they are but every contractor I have ever seen has one. Though my brother in law has a few years old Dodge Ram 1500 and in the beginning it had electrical problems. He would come out in the morning and the battery would be dead. Turns out the car would turn on the dashboard at night by itself. Went to the dealer I dont know how many times. It turned out to be the computer in the radio. They replaced the radio and the problem went away. He uses this thing for work so he has no time for this.

My first car was a used Ford Mustang. I had untold amounts of grief with it. Three transmissions (and being a poor college student didnt help), front frame rotting out, broken axles, seized brakes, electrical problems and more. The car would just disintegrate while driving. Finally I got to the point that financially it broke me. I had to get rid of it though I loved the way it looked. I sold it and bought a made in Germany VW. The dam thing ran for 250,000 files with almost no repairs beyond wear and tear. Every since I have nothing but German and Japanese cars. Had an Acura Integra that went all the way to 200K with almost no repairs beyond normal wear and tear. Sold it at 200K and it was still running great.

Have to say that Honda was dam good and always took care of me. At one point I had a distributor bearing seize in my Acura, turns out Honda knew about it as it was manufacturing defect. They knew that a bunch of cars had it but didnt know which ones had it so they waited till it would happen. The car died on the road, the Acura dealer came and got it. They gave me a loaner and repaired it for free. I was expecting an absurd amount to do that job. Honda paid for EVERYTHING including the towing.

I agree that dealer post sale service is very, very important. I dont have time for a lot of bullshit so I appreciate it when I take the car in for service there is no nonsense.

jbucks

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Re: Hollowing out manufacturing
« Reply #11 on: November 30, 2018, 08:57:41 am »
Odd man out (as usual).....

I've had excellent experiences with Fords. 
  • Had a 97 Crown Vic (my daily commute car) that went to almost 300k miles (before wife blew the engine).
  • Had a 98 Explorer that was great up until a tornado collapsed a garage on top of it (it still ran, but all the windows were blown out and could never got all of the tornado "vomit / spooge" out of all the nooks and crannies.
  • Had a 98 Fusion that was ok.
  • Had a 2007 Taurus that got to about 200k miles (started to have transmission lights come on sporadically
  • have a 2015 Taurus that's at about 90k and still going strong.
  • There were some earlier fords in the mix, but too far back to remember
 

Now GM products (except for my 1st - a 59 Bel Air) were all crap. 

Jim

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Re: Hollowing out manufacturing
« Reply #12 on: November 30, 2018, 09:36:34 am »
I've had excellent experiences with Fords. 
...
Now GM products (except for my 1st - a 59 Bel Air) were all crap. 

Likewise, actually. I badmouth the dealers and the build quality, but the basic Ford vehicles I've owned or driven have been OK. Ford dealers, however, are the AntiChrist.

And likewise, the GM products have been shyte - self destruction modules, more or less. I can't think of one GM vehicle in my immediate family that lasted more than 4-5 years without major problems.
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unix

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Re: Hollowing out manufacturing
« Reply #13 on: November 30, 2018, 06:49:49 pm »
Not a fan of American cars though from what I can see the pickup trucks seem to just run forever. I dont know how reliable they are but every contractor I have ever seen has one. Though my brother in law has a few years old Dodge Ram 1500 and in the beginning it had electrical problems. He would come out in the morning and the battery would be dead. Turns out the car would turn on the dashboard at night by itself. Went to the dealer I dont know how many times. It turned out to be the computer in the radio. They replaced the radio and the problem went away. He uses this thing for work so he has no time for this.

My first car was a used Ford Mustang. I had untold amounts of grief with it. Three transmissions (and being a poor college student didnt help), front frame rotting out, broken axles, seized brakes, electrical problems and more. The car would just disintegrate while driving. Finally I got to the point that financially it broke me. I had to get rid of it though I loved the way it looked. I sold it and bought a made in Germany VW. The dam thing ran for 250,000 files with almost no repairs beyond wear and tear. Every since I have nothing but German and Japanese cars. Had an Acura Integra that went all the way to 200K with almost no repairs beyond normal wear and tear. Sold it at 200K and it was still running great.

Have to say that Honda was dam good and always took care of me. At one point I had a distributor bearing seize in my Acura, turns out Honda knew about it as it was manufacturing defect. They knew that a bunch of cars had it but didnt know which ones had it so they waited till it would happen. The car died on the road, the Acura dealer came and got it. They gave me a loaner and repaired it for free. I was expecting an absurd amount to do that job. Honda paid for EVERYTHING including the towing.

I agree that dealer post sale service is very, very important. I dont have time for a lot of bullshit so I appreciate it when I take the car in for service there is no nonsense.

what era was that Mustang? They had a million generations. I suspect the early 80s was the worst.

Brawndo. It's got what plants crave.

ilconsiglliere

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Re: Hollowing out manufacturing
« Reply #14 on: December 03, 2018, 07:31:05 am »
Not a fan of American cars though from what I can see the pickup trucks seem to just run forever. I dont know how reliable they are but every contractor I have ever seen has one. Though my brother in law has a few years old Dodge Ram 1500 and in the beginning it had electrical problems. He would come out in the morning and the battery would be dead. Turns out the car would turn on the dashboard at night by itself. Went to the dealer I dont know how many times. It turned out to be the computer in the radio. They replaced the radio and the problem went away. He uses this thing for work so he has no time for this.

My first car was a used Ford Mustang. I had untold amounts of grief with it. Three transmissions (and being a poor college student didnt help), front frame rotting out, broken axles, seized brakes, electrical problems and more. The car would just disintegrate while driving. Finally I got to the point that financially it broke me. I had to get rid of it though I loved the way it looked. I sold it and bought a made in Germany VW. The dam thing ran for 250,000 files with almost no repairs beyond wear and tear. Every since I have nothing but German and Japanese cars. Had an Acura Integra that went all the way to 200K with almost no repairs beyond normal wear and tear. Sold it at 200K and it was still running great.

Have to say that Honda was dam good and always took care of me. At one point I had a distributor bearing seize in my Acura, turns out Honda knew about it as it was manufacturing defect. They knew that a bunch of cars had it but didnt know which ones had it so they waited till it would happen. The car died on the road, the Acura dealer came and got it. They gave me a loaner and repaired it for free. I was expecting an absurd amount to do that job. Honda paid for EVERYTHING including the towing.

I agree that dealer post sale service is very, very important. I dont have time for a lot of bullshit so I appreciate it when I take the car in for service there is no nonsense.

what era was that Mustang? They had a million generations. I suspect the early 80s was the worst.

80s. Turned me off to Fords. My family has had a bunch of GM cars and every single one had lots of problems.