John's Journal: John McElroy's multimedia blog about the automotive industry

Unscripted. Unapproved. Unusually frank discussion.

March 26th, 2009 at 8:41pm

If you missed our live show, be sure to watch this rerun of our new weekly discussion program all about the latest news, controversies and gossip to come out of the auto industry. John McElroy is joined in studio by Peter De Lorenzo of AutoExtremist.com and Jason Vines ex PR honcho from Ford, Nissan and Chrysler, just to name a few. Jeff Gilbert of WWJ.com joins us for the hour via Skype.

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9 Comments to “Unscripted. Unapproved. Unusually frank discussion.”

  1. Frank B. Rhodes Says:

    My name is Frank Rhodes and Walter P. Chrysler is my great grandfather. Along with being the family archivist I manage the Walter P. Chrysler Boyhood Home and Museum in Ellis, Kansas. My interest is from the heart. I will get the same benefits from Chrysler’s success as the rest of the American people. I have met Lee Iacocca, Robert Eaton, Dieter Zetsche, Bob Nardelli and Jim Press along with many other dedicated Chrysler employees over the years. Walter Chrysler personally took pride in all of his workers, knowing many by their first names. He personally attended the UAW Strike Hearing in 1936-1937 to aid in resolving the General Motors sit down strike in Flint. Yes, respect and power was a UAW success. During this period we were building the finest cars on this planet. Today the union is such a big issue. Years ago the retirement formula was calculated on a lower longevity. Now, thanks to our advanced medical achievements that has changed. I sort of equate this to our social security system which is slowly going broke. We need to deal with that someday also. We need a group of knowledgeable people to come to the table and form a unified consensus – a plan. I received a call from Mayor Virge Benaro of Lansing, Michigan last week – a avid supporter of our domestic auto industry and outspoken at media events. A quote from him “We need to be creative and inventive together and are working to keep the legacy of your great grandfather alive both in Michigan and this great country.”

    Anyway early December began to heat up. December 2nd I spoke at a bridge loan support rally at the Port of Baltimore. Jim Press, Chrysler president and Representative Elijah E. Cummings, a democrat and senior member of the Houses’ transportation and infrastructure committee also spoke. Mr. Cummings said “we cannot afford to lose one more job. Not one more.”

    The next day, December 3rd, I spoke at a large rally at a DarCars event which was shown on C-Span that day. On December 4th and 5th I was fortunate enough to attend both days of the grueling 6 hour congressional hearings concerning the Auto Bridge loans.

    My point is that I am tuned into what is going on in the auto industry.

    After several months, fate must have told me to check your site, Peter – the auto extremist. WOW – what a reality check or should I say your extreme negative views on the survival of Chrysler and their executives. I find some of your comments distasteful and unfounded. Mr. Nardelli is a good man. The folks in auburn Hills, dealers and suppliers across this nation want to succeed so badly. When in conversation I can see it in their eyes.

    Why are you so down on Chrysler? I know last year October 15th your blog wrote “The End of Chrysler as We Know It.” From what I have heard your predictions are fairly accurate. Maybe you want Chrysler to fail to protect your bet. If I’m not mistaken you had a relative who worked at G.M. Maybe you are softer on them than Chrysler because of that relationship.

    I have expressed my intentions regarding Chrysler and have nothing to hide. Transparency is key. Mr. Nardelli is a Detroit outsider – new on the job and maybe that’s just what it will take to shake up the good old boy system. Change is coming and you know it. Some of your comments, in my book, are fighting words and I’m ready for a good fight. To anyone listening you can bet I am willing to take a stand – those Chrysler folks are as tough as nails.

    Japan and Germany combined have a country footprint of approximately 284,000 square miles and the United States has a footprint of approximately 3,600,000 square miles or about 12 times the size of Germany and Japan combined. Our population is about 305,000,000 – Japan and Germany combined is about 210,000,000. Each of those countries have about 4 or 5 domestic automobile manufacturers. Has it been hard for our domestic automobile manufacturers to gain a manufacturing base in these countries? The incentives for them to build here is clear. Something seems unbalanced.

    Besides being first in many automotive inventions and innovations, Chrysler supplied a majority of our ordinance that helped defeat the axis powers during World War II. Chrysler through its relationship with NASA, was the prime contractor in early space race to the moon and Chrysler built the rocket that sent our first man in orbit. I could go on and on. Chrysler has been an iconic symbol of America for over 80 years.

    The negative thinking on this automotive matter needs to go away. I am sure there will be a successful outcome, failure in not an option.

    Yours sincerely,

    Frank B. Rhodes

  2. Episode 110 - Tesla Unveils New Sedan, Mazda To Focus on Diesels, No Dark Car Ban - Autoline Daily Says:

    [...] case you missed it, last night was the first edition of our new Autoline live webcast. We talked about everything from GM’s and Chrysler’s restructuring plans to new product [...]

  3. Clem Zahrobsky Says:

    Why did it take GM 10 years to try and fix the intake gasket problems with the V-6 engines ?? I know 50 people who will never buy GM again because of this stonewalling about this problem.

  4. Adam Says:

    That was an enjoyable “chat” session. I’d suggest you tone down some of the rhetoric that just doesn’t help anyone (criticizing Tesla or Silicon Valley as if they don’t know their own industries or don’t look at their own order book and know where their bread is buttered.)

    It was also enjoyable to read the comment from Frank B. Rhodes — I think people such as him deserve a more prominent position and voice, at least more prominent than a comment post to an video clip.

    Adam

  5. Tom Martin Says:

    I also appreciated the comment from Mr. Rhodes.

  6. jim Says:

    John, great forum. Thanks for archiving it for those of us that cannot watch live.

  7. John Says:

    Financing is the root cause of the drop in sales. GM has had fantastic product. Without loans (and leases) no one has the reserves to buy, most people just can’t afford to walk in and pay with cash.. So to fix the Auto Industry:

    *Don’t give money to the Auto manufacturers! – give rebate vouchers to consumers – stimulate demand for products. Write it up as an automotive industry stimulus package.

    *The vouchers are only good on fuel efficient vehicles. Anything that gets 28mpg+ is ok.

    *Flex-fuel or hybrid gets an additional voucher.

    *Trade-ins are required – 10 year old trade-ins are worth more than 3 year old (that have better emissions technology). SUV’s get higher worth than small cars. This clears out the old poor-mpg fleet.

    *Vouchers are only good on GM or Chrysler products. Not rebadged brands. Vehicles that are ‘genetically’ US designed and built.

    *How much should the voucher be worth to consumers? GM asked for $30Billion in Federal Loans, they sold $3Million vehicles last year in the US. That’s a thousand dollar rebate. If it’s not taxed then it’s worth maybe $1500 per vehicle per consumer.

    *Backstop loan guarantees for consumers, and require low interest loans be provided by the Financial Investment firms that have shared in the $700 Billion payouts.

  8. John Says:

    This Ustream segment never loads and plays.

    When it was live it kept disconnecting and reconnecting for security but never played then either.

    And now it says transferring data app.scanscout.com…

    Why don’t you use the regular Flash Video that works all the time just fine?

    This just won’t load and play.

  9. John Says:

    Just now when I hit “Submit Comment”
    the system hung for about a minute because it could not connect to “twitter counter”….

    Cut the fancy stuff and make function priority number one please.