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Hollowing out manufacturing

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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.


So it seems that GM is closing factories because sedans aren't selling but Japanese branded sedans are doing okay thank you very much.


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.

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.

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

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.


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