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Episode 726 – GM and UAW Reach Agreement, Ford Ad Slams Bailouts, Adopt a Chrysler

September 19th, 2011 at 11:02am

Runtime: 8:32

GM and UAW reach a tentative contract agreement that raises entry-level wages and more. Ford finally goes for the throat in a new ad that uses the “B” word. For only dollars a day, you can adopt a Chrysler. All that and more, plus a drive in the new Mercedes-Benz M-Class.

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Arr, this is Autoline Daily for September the 19th it is. And this is International Talk Like A Pirate Day. Avast ye land lubbers, we sail for uncharted waters.

DON’T STOP BELIEVIN’! (subscription required)
And that’s what Fiat did when it started selling a rebadged version of the Dodge Journey as the Fiat Freemont in Europe. According to Ward’s, the Freemont, is off with a bang. Dealers already ordered 20,000 Freemonts, about 70% of its 2011 sales goal.

GM AND UAW FIND COMMON GROUND

General Motors and the UAW reached a new labor contract that now must be ratified by hourly workers in the United States. It gives them a $5,000 signing bonus and it will raise wages for entry-level workers by $2 to $3 an hour over the next four years. It also provides them with profit sharing that will be determined by profitability at GM’s North American operations, not just those in the United States. Here’s my Autoline Insight. GM and the UAW wanted a simple formula for profit sharing that anyone could figure out at the kitchen table. Since GM only breaks out North American profit, not US profit, that’s likely why it went this way. Also, this contract does not include any kind of cost-of-living-adjustment, or COLA, so the small raises for entry level workers probably will not affect labor costs all that much. While analysts are slamming GM for not holding the line on labor costs, my bet is that overall they could go down. But here’s what I don’t understand. These labor negotiations are just so much theater. These negotiations have been going on since July and yet they still went past deadline and involved exhaustive bargaining sessions. Bob King promised a new era in labor relations, but I don’t see it. He’s still kowtowing to union politics. While much of the media is jumping on the rah-rah bandwagon and proclaiming how wonderful this is, it sure looks like the same old adversarial relationship to me. And this does not bode well four years from now when the union will be able to go on strike again against GM and Chrysler.

FORD AD SLAMS BAILOUTS
Well it was bound to happen sooner or later. A new Ford ad slams the GM and Chrysler bailouts. It’s part of Ford’s series of “Drive One: Press Conference” ads, in which real people give their honest opinions about Ford in a press conference setting. Here is what’s said in the new one. What do you think? Is it too much or is this a good idea for Ford to attack its cross-town rivals like this?

ADOPT A CAR
The Walter P. Chrysler Museum in Auburn Hills, Michigan is giving history lovers the opportunity to sign up and adopt their favorite car in the collection. The cost is $450 per year for museum members, $500 for non-members.

PAPER PONY
A New York-based artist named Jonathan Brand is building a life-size replica of a ‘69 Ford Mustang . . . out of paper. And he’s recreating every single nut and bolt. AMAZING! He started with a 3-D computer model of the car and then he flattened everything out so it could be printed on paper. Then came what I’m sure were hours and hours and hours of cutting and gluing. So far he’s finished the engine, a door and a wheel with a tire.

Coming up next, a look at the new Mercedes-Benz M-Class

Some would say the definition of luxury and beauty is Montana, just look around me, the scenery here is absolutely breathtaking. But to Mercedes-Benz, it just might mean something else.

Like the brand-new M-Class, now in its third generation, but you may not notice at first glance. The 2012 model looks remarkably similar to its predecessor and that resemblance is more than just skin deep.

The M-Class started the midsize, luxury SUV segment back in 1997, and it’s all new. It’s really the same dimensions in size and weight but a lot of great, new standard features.

And some of those thoughtful amenities include an automatic parking system, amazingly effective heated AND cooled cup holders, plus new control stalks that are easier to use.

As with the design, the powertrains are familiar as well. The M is launching with a pair of V-6 engines, one gas and one diesel. At 3.5-liters, the gasser is brand-new from the oil pan to the intake. With direct fuel injection it delivers 302 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque.

A 3.0-liter BlueTEC diesel is also available. It churns out 240 horsepower with a mountain-climbing, stump-pulling 455 pound-feet. And better fuel economy, too. Really, this is the engine to get. It’s smooth and PLENTY powerful.

An updated seven-speed automatic transmission is standard across the board. If you’re wondering where the V-8s are don’t worry. They, along with a hybrid model, launch early next year.

Even with all of these improvements the 2012 model has some pretty big shoes to fill.

The M-Class is hugely important to us. When you look at the car, introduced in 1997 we nearly sold half a million of that product over all these years. So we obviously have high expectations . . . We are right now seeing the second-generation M-Class in its last few months actually doing extremely well. In June we had an increase over last June of 44 percent, and year-to-date we are up 14 percent. It’s really a fantastic performance for a car which is two months before we’re discontinuing it. Obviously very-high expectations, the bar is very high for the new M-Class, and I think the way the car drives, the way the car looks we will get there, there is no question in my opinion. Consumers will see the value of the car, they will love it and we will have a success at our hand.

Thank you, Craig, for that report.

If you’re in the market for this Alabama-built luxury SUV, you don’t have to wait long. They should be arriving at Mercedes-Benz dealerships right now. As for pricing, an ML-350 4MATIC will set you back about $50,000. A diesel-powered model,15-hundred bucks more.

Check out a new episode of RoundAbout at Autoline.tv. This week, join the crew for a special edition in which they discuss sixty new vehicle reveals from the Frankfurt Motor Show in less than ninety minutes. Watch or listen right now in the John’s Journal section of our website.

We’ve got a great Autoline After Hours coming up this Thursday night with Clay Dean, the head of advanced design at General Motors. Here’s your chance to learn where GM Design is headed in the future. Join me and that bodacious Autoextremist Peter De Lorenzo for the best insider discussion in the industry.

Arr, and you better do what I tells ya, or you’ll not like the consequences. Them’s that dies will be the lucky ones. Aye, them’s that dies.

Thanks to our Partners for embedding Autoline Daily on their websites: Autoblog and WardsAuto.com

68 Comments to “Episode 726 – GM and UAW Reach Agreement, Ford Ad Slams Bailouts, Adopt a Chrysler”

  1. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The Ford ad is a turn off to me. Without the “bailouts” there would probably be 6,000 more unemployed people in my home town in Indiana. I think GM, Toyota, and others should run ads pointing out that Ford’s highest volume car, the Fusion, is built in Mexico, while Camry, Malibu, Accord, and all of the rest of Fusion’s competition are built in the U.S. Point out that part of the reason Ford remained profitable in 2008, is that they moved lots of production offshore.

  2. HtG Says:

    Here’s one way Ford took the money.
    http://jalopnik.com/5704575/

    Hands up, who noticed that the customer in the ad was named Chris, and that the Ford gal was named, Christin? Coincidence?

    I believe that if the financial world had not shot itself in the mouth in Fall of 08, GM and Chrysler would surely have been able to get the same kind of financing Ford got a few years earlier when they too went to the wall. That the govt took ownership of GM and C was only so that the taxpayers would get something for their dough(there was also a punitive interest rate, intended to force the two automakers to enter the private markets as soon as they had started working again).

    Ford must be desperate to run this ad, which takes advantage of widespread consumer ignorance and bias. When I first saw the ad, I thought it was a hit job someone did against Ford.

    Now, who wants me to lay out how Uncle Sam saved your ass, too?

  3. tj Martin Says:

    Marchionne’s Madness Marches On !

    Leave it to Sergio to never disappoint ( I’m a firm believer in the Agatha Christie axiom of ” I always expect the worst from people and am seldom disappointed ” )

    http://www.autoweek.com/article/20110919/CARNEWS/110919882

    And as far as the FIAT ne Dodge Freemont in the EU , ALD should be paying attention the numbers sold to the public ( pathetic according to AutoCar and Auto Motor und Sport ) …… not the numbers being bought by the dealers . Interest according to all the EU and UK press in the Freemont is negligible at best .

    And the other FACT is all EU and UK FIAT dealers have been mandated to purchase X amount of Freemonts ( based on dealership size as well as size of city/town they’re located in )

    Come on John … if I know those facts …. you sure as ____ ought to !!!

    FORD Ad ;

    I’m with Kit ( #1 ) 100% on this one .

    If this is the kind of advertising tactics FORD feels it needs to sell its cars & trucks , well then maybe FORD knows something that we all do not .

    Mainly that their current range of cars and trucks ARE NOT in fact competitive .

    Bad form FORD ! Very bad form .

  4. HtG Says:

    Was the whole continent tortured yesterday by the J-Lo ads, or just NY? Over and over, with the queen of autotune wiggling her hips. (Jets report, Mangold has a sprained ankle. MRI today)

  5. Kit Gerhart Says:

    HtG #4,
    We had the ads in Indiana.

  6. pedro fernandez Says:

    The Fiat Journey story proves that there are suckers on both sides of the pond. Those Ford bragging ads are getting to be annoying, alright we get it Mullaly, no bailouts. You’re a freaking genius, now go to the Mexico Ford plants and see how much you’re helping the local economy over there.

  7. pedro fernandez Says:

    I’m sick of J-Lo’s puss all over the place, no wonder the last husband got fed up too. There’s only so much a man can take.

  8. Chuck Grenci Says:

    I put the Ford commercial on par with the Nissan commercial touting their lack of supply shortage (against their Japanese competitors); poor taste.

  9. RonE Says:

    I agree with Poster #1. The ad is a turnoff.

    A few months ago I purchased a new Ford and the bailout picture never played into my decision.

  10. Chuck Grenci Says:

    Welcome back John (could have ditched the pirate talk though), just kidding; I guess you need to maintain the lunacy that Peter and Jim provide (when they fill in forya; crap, I did it myself) :)

  11. pedro fernandez Says:

    Do you guys suppose the Focus is being built here due to pressure from outsiders that too much production has moved to Mexico?

  12. W L Simpson Says:

    Michigan is a slum because it didn’t have right to work.

  13. RS Says:

    What’s the big deal with the Ford ads? That same sentiment exists all over North America – including Michigan. I like the fact that Ford didn’t have to take our money. I guess it’s different when someone from GM says “Lincoln is dead.”

  14. tj Martin Says:

    @ RS

    # 13

    Bad taste is bad taste , no matter who it is .

    But before jumping to FORD’s defense . read HtG’s post and the link he included ( # 2 )

    Not only is FORD guilty of bad taste , but blatant lies as well

    Just like every time GM claims they paid back the Government bailouts .

    Lies is Lies , Bad Form is Bad Form , and damn well deserves our ire and criticism !

  15. tj Martin Says:

    #4

    No J – Lo ads here , but then again I don’t watch the Stick and Ball sports . Unless of course you include Tennis in that category . Oh and when the Yankees are in the World Series :o

  16. HtG Says:

    “I like the fact that Ford didn’t have to take our money”

    when someone gets that thought in their minds, it’s over. As though personal values are directly extendable to multinational corporations. I suppose we should have let the big banks and insurance companies go down as well. We’d feel better then, as 60+ trillion dollars in derivative contracts ripped pensions worldwide into ribbons. I know how I’d feel.

    I also wonder if one of Ford’s PR intentions was to put out a controversial ad that would get discussed in free media. Like when the Willy Horton ad got on the news for weeks, thus reinforcing the message at low cost. I know this ad has changed my view of Ford for the worse, but it’s not like I’ll take it out on my Ford/Mazda service department.

    For John, does anybody at Ford PR want to talk to you about this ad?

  17. pedro fernandez Says:

    Welcome back TJ your absence was like when Johnny Carson left the tonight show.

  18. pedro fernandez Says:

    Saw another couple of 500′s on the road this weekend, that’s over a dozen in 2 weeks, what is the problem with these idiots???, in this day of tight money you would think they would put their dough into something more reliable and proven than that piece of crap!!

  19. LS ford Says:

    I guess i feel the ad is true and that it seems to represent a lot of the sentiment I hear from many consumers. I think that a percentage (not sure how big or small) do buy Ford becuase they feel ford did not take the huge handouts.

    But, if it were my call, I would let that rumor quiently go forward. I might not have made an ad such as this. Let that feeling be what it is, and leave it out of a campaign.

    I think that no one plays nice in the auto world. Not one of these companies plays fair or by any rules. They all play to win, even at the death of another. Death of Lincoln, Ford did not bailout, Fox news….its all a lot of smoke and mirrors.

    Its part of the world we live in, not the world we would make. But maye that is too idealistic

  20. Jon M Says:

    John, the new Ford ad is a brilliant display of backstabbing and unprofessionalism. Was it not Alan Mulally sitting between then-fellow CEOs Rick Wagoner of GM and Bob Nardelli of Chrysler in support of their taxpayer handout requests? Did not Mr. Mulally, that is, Ford, wish the Government to bailout their fellow “titans” of automotive industry? But then again, Ford doesn’t seem to know how to market their vehicles without attacking their competitors, instead of promoting their vehicles on their own merits. It’s just another low confidence attack ad.

  21. LS ford Says:

    Also, lets define the difference between direct loans to a coprporation and federal reserve loans that are normal process of business. #2 link talks about the loaning process that the Fed Resv does all the time. Many companies took that same lending option as the Fed stepped in place of other banks that could not backs loans. This process still occurs today.

    The only issue I have with bailout money is this:
    If someone gives me money equal to 50% of my company, then they are my partner. So all the profits we make should be shared. But in this condition, those bailed companies, used the money to stay afloat. Made a profit from this JV, and then used those profits to buy the partner out.

    Give me $100 bucks, once I make $100 more, I will give you the money back. The money I made from your $100 bucks is for me to keep…

    Not fair to the american people if you ask me.

  22. MW Says:

    I agree, John, it looks like the UAW hasn’t changed much. Amd I think you ought to put a picture of Dan A. on the wall next Rick Wagoner. He didn’t do much to change the way this went down from the old days. Next time we have contract talks Dan won’t even be around and we might even see a strike.

  23. dcars Says:

    In reference to the J Lo Fiat adds, sex sells. They didn’t show the car much and if it wasn’t for the fiat logo at the end, we wouldn’t have known it was a car ad.

  24. Lex Says:

    Welcome Back John,

    Craig’s report on the Mercedes Benz M-Class was clean and clear, good job Craig!

    Why would anyone waste the time and effort to reproduce a Pony in Paper?

    All the domestic OEM’s need to put their money were there mouth is and really stand behind their products with longer bumper to bumper and power train warranties.

    If the European’s like the Fiat (Journey) Freemont, maybe the combining of American and European technology, tastes and driving dynamics will lead to a much better future vehicle for all. Look it seems to be working for Buick which is getting rebadged product from Opel and China.

    The American Standard of living is erroding quickly. If The Detroit Big 3 thinks that sending American Jobs to build American Vehicles in Mexico is going to increase profits, so be it. However, if the jobless Americans can not afford to buy these products, or better yet boycott the Detroit Big 3 for eliminating so many US based manufacturing jobs, better yet! I believe Bob King(UAW)and President Obama should be telling the Big Three Detroit OEM’s to restore US jobs and make no more off shore investments. If Detroit wants help from Washington with CAFE and Taxation, then job creation needs to be on the table.

  25. tj Martin Says:

    #16

    Well HtG , I’m betting the reality of the FORD ad them following the old Entertainment Industry axiom of ;

    ” The ONLY Bad Publicity is no Publicity at all ”

    @ Pedro – Molto Grazzi

    @ LS Ford – Direct Loans that were in fact backed and financed with Bailout ( e.g. Tax Payers ) moneys is Bailout no matter how you spell it .

    Just because it was passed under the table doesn’t change what it is one tiny bit ;

    The old ” A Rose by any other name ………. ” routine .

  26. dcars Says:

    Sergio noted that the Chinese will soon sell competitive cars is the US and it’s a threat to all the western car companies. I bet the next round of negotiations in four years will signal the end of US car makers or the end of the Union.

  27. tj Martin Says:

    FIAT 500 Spotting ;

    Saw three of them on the Interstate ( I-70 ) .

    Funny thing about the 500 being that its styling is so boring and innocuous you don’t know for sure what you’re looking at one till its right across the divide from you .

    Whereas the MINI ( any model ) you can spot a mile away .

    And again , those shades of paint they’re using !

    The blandest Red I’ve ever seen on a car . White that’s almost grey and Black thats more a darker shade of grey then Black ever should be .

    WTH is FIAT getting their Paint supply from ?

    Dull Are Us ?

  28. tj Martin Says:

    @ dcars

    I’ll take that bet with Signor Marchionne at any odds he’d like to offer .

    The Chinese cars are crap , and if you’ve read the NYTimes recently they’ve been reporting a major slow down in automotive production in China , government mandated ….. so their pretentious little toys , passing themselves as car won’t be seeing our shore for quite some time

    Take ANYTHING Marchionne says with about a Pound of Salt , Il Stronzetto having a hard time of late discerning fact from fiction , and well a truth from lies .

  29. LS ford Says:

    @ #25

    TJ – so is our taxes (bailout money) that funds senators salaries, national defense, infrastructure renovations all considered bailout? Should we stop driving on our roads because we had to “bail them out”. Maybe we should campaign against using highways as all of this money was bailout money?

    The difference is that all business’ use other people’s money everyday. But when you have to give up a percentage of your company ownership to the lender, then that would be considered a bailout. They might have folded otherwise.

    It does matter how and when the money was used. Mind you, I truely support how we bailed out GM and Chrysler. I think we needed to support those companies, but I am not sure we should have sold our share of Chrysler to Fiat at a negotiated rate?! Lets charge them full price.

    And the money made while the government owned half of chrysler, well half of that belongs to the us citizens. Fiat still owes us that money….

  30. LS ford Says:

    Again, I will get off my soapbox.

    Great dialogue by all as usual.

  31. HtG Says:

    Here’s an AP story that makes clearer how Ford got bailed. http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/businesstechnology/2008888528_apfordtalfcorrective.html

    The TALF was a program created at the Fed during the crisis under its authority to take extraordinary measures in a crisis. TALF didn’t exist before the crisis, and was available to many companies since the normal commercial lines of credit that companies use for day to day funding had frozen(that’s the part I wrote about earlier, where the Fed saved your money market account, which was almost certainly being used as commercial paper)

    But really, the history of what happened is either a mystery or a fairy tale for most people, so maybe Ford should just go for it.(whoopy, there goes my blood pressure)

  32. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG

    # 31-
    Molto Grazzi gumba !

    And just breath there HtG . Slow …….. even ……. breaths . Like I said , coronaries are against the Forum rules here

    ( Article 617-Paragraph 7- Sentence 2 ” Thou Shall Not Have a Coronary Event in the Process of Conversation on this Site at the Penalty of Permanent Exclusion ” )

    @ LS ford – hey Soapboxes are what good discussion is all about here , so don’t be shy !

    FYI Salaries paid to Federal and Government employees Senators etc are just that . Salaries .

    Bailouts is Bailouts . One again , under the table , in public view , no matter . A Bailout is a Bailout is a Bailout

    And its not a matter of whether or not to buy a FORD that’s the issue here .

    The Issue with FORD’s ” No Bailout ” Ad is its ;

    #1 In very bad taste

    #2 A blatant lie

    Just like their counterparts at GM when they post Ads claiming the Bailouts have been repaid , when in reality they took another Government Loan to Pay the Government Bailout … plus a few million extra to tide them over .

    SEE ? Soapbox ! This time my bad .

  33. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG

    TJ’s Corporate and 21st Century Bailout/Government/Financial/Auto News Survival Kit

    Go to your local fine hard woods store and purchase a nice looking 3 ft long 2 X 4 . Preferably Rosewood or Mahogany

    Sand it down to a fine finish on all sides , then French Polish the board to a smooth yet semi gloss luster

    To use ;

    Hold at the bottom edge firmly

    Aim directly at the center of your forehead

    Pull board away from you as far as your arms can reach

    Then with extreme force … ram the board into your forehead

    All for the next Four Hours or so will then make perfect sense

    Repeat as needed

    :o

  34. HtG Says:

    Let me kick Ford one more time. When Ford got into trouble it got lines of credit from some of those big bad banks in New York City. Here’s a link to the WaPo article.
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/11/27/AR2006112700263.html

    And here’s a cool quote…”a $7 billion secured loan and a secured revolving line of credit for $8 billion, which replaces an existing $6.3 billion unsecured credit line. Ford’s loans, arranged by Citigroup, Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan Chase, are expected to close by the end of the year. A Ford spokeswoman said final terms have not been set, including what interest rates Ford would pay.”

    Notice that those banks were kept alive during the crisis through the largesse of the US and Fed. Where do you think Ford was keeping the unused portions of its available capital, except at these institutions?

    And here’s where John M. may call me out, but was not the interest of the Ford Family as shareholders in the company a consideration in the decision not to have chosen the bankruptcy route in 2006 since it would have rendered all their shares worthless? Now FoMoCo has quite a debt burden so Billy can stay in the big chair.

  35. MJB Says:

    @ 24 Lex

    Question posed: “Why would anyone waste the time and effort to reproduce a Pony in Paper?”

    The same reason someone would reproduce vintage racers out of miscellaneous metal parts
    http://www.autoline.tv/daily/?p=18005#more-18005

    Answer: For some collector to step in and pay some ridiculously ludicrous amount for your artistic interpretation.

  36. HtG Says:

    @33 Yes, tj, I know about this. I go out back with a hammer, and whap the curdled blood out of whatever rock I come across. It’s better after.

    If you fellas think this shitstorm is over…It’s only the govts and central banks that are keeping the European banks from splattering your upholstery. They haven’t been able to borrow short term money for operations since the summer. Now is a good time to pray. Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em.

  37. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG

    Hee Hee . I knows all about the coming Hell thats about to rain down upon us when the Govt’s and Central Banks can no longer contain the massive load of dung thats been building up over the last decade .

    Fact is with the cousins/money guys I may even have a bit more insight than you at this point . No matter though , a little more a little less its all coming out the same in the end . Just that having an inside line got me/us out of the market well a ahead of the curve . Yeeesh ! And phew !!!

    FYI I gots em and I’sa smokin em . While they’re still around to be smoked . A glass of Stranahams ( mighty good stuff from CO ) and a fine stogie on the deck . Mighty fine combination as you watch the World fall apart before your eyes .

    @ MJB – #35 – Good answer . And I’ll guarantee you some pretentious Art Fart Collector WILL pay said Godawful fortune for said bits of fluff

  38. dcars Says:

    If I was in the market for a new car, I think I would consider the car’s quality, reliability and utility first. US content, bailouts, whatever, would be a secondary consideration. This is a nice talking subject, but if the car is good and it meets your needs than do like Lee Iaccoca said and buy it.

  39. tj Martin Says:

    A Question from TJ

    So ….

    Why is it that the segment of the General Public thats most actively and vocally ( Tea Party ) supporting No Added Taxes , More Tax Cuts for the Wealthy , Cutting Federal Aid etc are the VERY people that WILL NOT benefit One IOTA from the Tax Cuts and are the most in NEED for the Government Handouts ?

    Does that seem right to y’all ?

    I mean seriously . They want to give the wealthy more money so they can have less ?

  40. MJB Says:

    @39 tj

    I think you’ve got the prime government handout benificiery crowd twisted there tj. It’s the largely democrat/liberal group that contains the biggest portion of these people.

    I’m not saying that all democrats/liberals are government handout recipients. But that an overwelmingly large percentage of gov. handout recipients are democrat. I know. The vast majority of my hometown’s inner city votes democrat (Detroit). I’m not saying that most Detroiter’s are on gov. support. But the percentages are much higher than any of our more affluent suburbs.

    I challenge you to locate a single one of them who have marched in any Tea Party rally.

  41. HtG Says:

    @39 IMHO, and I repeat, IMHO, the problem with philosophies is believing in them. The world doesn’t care what thoughts make life sensible to us apes.

    Trick question; Plato asks the young man, ‘Can a man’s eye be both sick and healthy at the same time?’

    Another trick question; what is 5+3?

  42. HtG Says:

    Off topic post, hopefully. Tj, click and listen, especially at 3:50. What Whalen says about Countrywide not having conveyed the mortgages had better not be true; I have heard it isn’t, so enjoy your smoke.

    http://finance.yahoo.com/blogs/daily-ticker/whalen-bofa-survive-file-bankruptcy-202956404.html

  43. tj Martin Says:

    @ MJB

    Me thinks you misread my post .

    Its those IN FAVOR of tax cuts for the wealthy as well as IN FAVOR of cutting Government Spending and Benefits that I was asking about . e.g. The Tea Party Ostriches ( head in the sand )

    But hey ……. you know what ?

    The last round of that sort of thinking ( G Dubba U ) paid for mine and the wifes Mercedes ( if she gets one ) what with G Dub raising the limit on Capitol Gains taxes ( yup we paid Nada when we sold our last house and didn’t buy another )

    And now again Thanks to G Dub ( at least I’ve got something to thank the _____ hole for ) we’ll not be paying a dime of Taxes on the wifes inheritance either ……….. which ………… will pay for a whole lot of things , possibly including another house some day should we finally decide to purchase ….. again .

    So Fine Tea Party idiots . Keep dumping money into my accounts at YOUR expense ( this part isn’t aimed at you MJB )

    Hell lets make it easy fer ya ( to speak yer own lingo )

    I’ll set up the TJ & Mrs TJ FBO Trust ( with us as sole beneficiaries ) and then y’all can bypass the Politics etc and just pay me direct . Cash or Cashiers Check Only

    @ HtG

    OK I’m an online Luddite .

    WTH is IMHO ????

  44. HtG Says:

    IMHO=inmyhumbleopinion

  45. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG

    # 42

    After hearing my Countrywide story ( remember them trying to manipulate us into a higher priced house six months after just purchasing one ) and you doubt that Whalen is correct in what he says ???

    Heck there’s nothing negative I wouldn’t believe about CountryWide and their actions/behaviors .

  46. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG

    #41 The math question ;

    In the real world 5+3=8

    In the current Financial and Governments World

    5+3 can equal any damn thing they want to tell you it equals . And you damn well better like it as well .

    Is that the correct answer ?

  47. HtG Says:

    On Countrywide, I have heard good arguments why the worst is not true. On 8, you got it, though it’s not different from the certainty you feel about whether the sun will come up tomorrow, and why I like Schoenberg.

  48. Rafi N Says:

    I don’t like the new Ford ads attacking GM and Chrysler. While I was -and still am- against the bailouts (it had something to do with the “survival of the fittest” thing that I had learned in school which was that Capitalist/Free Market Economies, such as the one in USA, would promote competition and not interfere with failing businesses). Instead, I think Ford needs to focus on and promote the great list of its recent products. Most of the public may not notice this, but here at Autoline we (the Autoline staff and viewers) all know that if it wasn’t for the the bailouts, most of the suppliers would have failed and Ford too would have been in a really bad shape. So again, Ford, keep listening to your customers and keep improving your products (like installing a better interior in the Mustang), keep promoting those great products, and we, the people, will continue buying your stuff. The End.

  49. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG

    # 47 re; Schoenberg

    Funny you should mention him . I’m in the process of converting/rewriting a formerly improvised ( w/ consistent accompaniment ) piece into a loosely based 12 Tone composition . For Solo instrument or string 4tet . And since its yet to be published ( so not online ) its titled ;

    ” Garden Gnomes Are Stealing my Brain “

  50. tj Martin Says:

    @ Rafi N

    # 48

    Amen !

    Seems to me of late FORD’s Advertising Firm may of been spending a little too much time around the Political scene , picking up all their recent Bad habits of back stabbing and criticism , rather than focusing on what it is they do better .

    As far as the bailouts . I was all for them . Without them 1000′s would of been put out of work . What has my ire raised is all the lies and BS the Automakers keep throwing at us about the Bailouts as well as them using said Bailout monies to move production overseas .

    That ……. is just plain WRONG !

  51. Robert Morrison Says:

    John

    You missed another story about Ford ending production of the Crown Victoria/Town Car/Grand Marquis. They were around since 1979 on the Panther platform sold over 10,000,000 units since then—a real milestone in auto history.
    Also Ford shut down the plant in St Thomas Ont Canada which has been open since 1967 making everything from Falcon’s to Maverick’s to Pinto/Bobcats to Faimont’s to Escorts/lynx/exp/Ln-7. Another North America plant with history shut down.
    Come on Ford you have made some good moves but I am not sure on this one. Still a market for those vehicles. Should have re-styled they would have a hit on there hands.
    And John shame on you for this one, you missed it!!!

  52. HtG Says:

    @49. I watched my cuz transcribe a piece from orchestra to violin/piano duet. Holy Till Eulenspiegel does that take a lot of cigarettes. Be careful, tj!

  53. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG

    Oh heck Ole Schoeney is nothing more than 1+1=2 .

    Actually he’s a bit of a lark sometimes

    And it is my composition …. so ultimately what ever I say goes .

    :o

    FYI my smoke of choice is either a good cigar or a mighty fine pipe w/English Blend tobacco . Ahhh Latakia ! I can just smell it now .

  54. Dave Says:

    I wish I had the kind of free time required to make a car out of paper!

  55. pedro fernandez Says:

    Isn’t it better to devote the time, money and energy to restore a classic that you can drive and enjoy rather than a complex origami good only to stare at?

  56. HtG Says:

    You see, Pedro, here at Original Origami Motors, we’re investigating the process of repetitively folding a certain material, paper, so as to recast the mass produced, or should we say repetitively created, metal internal combustion engine. Paper enfolds the opposition of the inflammable motive force of the motor against the propensity of paper not to resist burning. The finished work, has only the utility of being an object for visual pleasure, whereas the source object was conceived solely to do useful work, though largely unseen.

    Any questions? A book about the artist is available in the lobby for 57.00

  57. Kit Gerhart Says:

    re. #51,
    The Crown Vic/Grand Marquis were long overdue for an update, but with police departments and taxi
    operators wanting them, it seems they should have done an update.

    The cars, as they existed, were not very good. I had a 2000, not much different from a 2011, and it had few redeeming virtues other than a big trunk. The back seat was lacking in leg room for such a big car, and it wasn’t particularly quiet. I bought my car used, mainly to try to find what the appeal was. I ran across a used Grand Marquis, equipped exactly as I would have ordered one, including color and “handling package.” The car was ok, but there are, and were much better cars that use less gas. They could have done an update though, and gotten several more years out of the platform, solid axle and all.

  58. Kit Gerhart Says:

    #48,
    Survival of the fittest my a#$. They just got their handouts, and started moving overseas early.

    As far as products, Mustang is good in a shrinking market segment. Focus is pretty good. The least-American-in-its-class Fusion is pretty good, but so is the competition. Ford has some of the worst operator interfaces out there.

  59. cwolf Says:

    John Mc: I have to disagree with your thought that the UAW was kowtowing to union politics. I think it better said, your desire to be first to know,as a journalist,is confused with the right to know. I have reason to believe the negotiations were completed weeks ago,except for a few details. However,talks with Ford and Chry. are ongoing. Did you ever give thought that these details are intertwined with the others and could not be publicized until an agreement was meet with them? Until the workers from GM,Ford and Chry. ratify the agreement, you’ll just have to accept being second fiddle!
    The $5K is a replacement for COLA and amounts to about $.60/hr for a 40 hr. week. over 4 years. Consider overtime and the amount of $00.38 is more realistic for most workers. Some medical benefits have been gained instead of a wage increase, but details are unknown. The $2-3 wage increase for starting 2tier workers will get many food stamp recipients off tax payer backs. I’m sure someone will bitch about this very fair agreement, but I just don’t know how.

  60. cwolf Says:

    Think about what has been transpired. GM will soon have a working Tennessee plant full of tier2 workers starting at about $15-16/hr. and at some point enjoy good medical,,Given the fact that approx. 30% of the workforce at foreign plants are only considered as temps,even though they have been employed for years and work more than 40 hrs./week,yet receive no benefits and no voice,these folks may choose to join the union. GM would not position themselves into this situation unless it was mutually beneficial. I think the right to work states have a challenge on their hands!

  61. cwolf Says:

    Yo! tj,welcome home! Time again for one of those free detail jobs?

  62. Kit Gerhart Says:

    cwolf,
    Have any plans been announced about re-starting the Spring Hill assembly plant?

  63. pedro fernandez Says:

    Oh, yes, OOM I’ve heard of them. They work with recycled newspapers, right? As a kid, I used to make paper airplanes, My IQ must be a lot lower!

  64. john787 Says:

    Ford of lately has been turning me off with it’s put-downs coming out of the mouth of it’s executives.

    It looks to me they want to be number one in auto sales, and they see it slipping through their fingers and feel they have nothing to lose by acting the way they do.

    They boast of things like they are the only ones with such technologies, and in reality were late in achieving some of those technologies. The shutter grill in the Volt comes to mind. I never saw an ad for the Volt shutter grill, but then, a year later, Ford comes out with one and brags about it.

    They brag about having the best HD truck and it’s not.

    http://www.autoblog.com/2010/10/04/chevy-challenges-ford-to-hd-towing-contest-gets-turned-down/

    http://news.pickuptrucks.com/2010/09/rocky-mountain-power-test-2011-gmc-sierra-denali-3500hd-and-2011-ford-f-450-king-ranch.html

    They claim not to have accepted money from the US government, but it’s not so.

    http://jalopnik.com/5704575/ford-bmw-toyota-took-secret-government-money?skyline=true&s=i

    I use to like Ford, but I don’t anymore.

  65. tj Martin Says:

    @ cwolf

    # 61

    Thppppppppt :o

    But seriously …… temps are back to normal ( 70′s – 80′s ) weather is mighty fine …. so nope ! No free detailing from M-B this round .

    Time to get the elbow grease out and tackle the job myself .

    Me likes maintaining my cars !

  66. tj Martin Says:

    @ pedro

    #55

    See here’s how it is mi hermano .

    If the guy spent all his time restoring a classic , well even at best he might and I repeat might see a 10 – 15 % return on his investment …… not including his time . More likely though he’ll lose money .

    Whereas with this Origami thingy , he’s maybe got $20 in materials .. plus time …….. and will sell it to some pretentious art fart down the road for I’m betting a good $20K or more .

    So doing the math ………. Art Fart beats out Reality

    Sadly :(

  67. pedro fernandez Says:

    Yeah, TJ but how MUCH time we’re talking about here? have you sen the details on this thing? If you talk business, ok. But as a hobby, I’d prefer the real drivable thing.

  68. Truman Lewis Says:

    Errrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr Matey!! keep your day job.LOL great work.