Monday, June 22, 2009

Chrysler's new boss and Koenigsegg's new pal

Well tonight I have to eat a bit of humble pie I made a comment about Saab being stuck with GM for another year. Well it's really more like a few months until the lease on the manufacturing for the 9-4x runs out.

Exotic car fans will have heard of a little company from Sweden called Koenigsegg, they produce ridiculously expensive cars and last year the 45 employees of this company cranked out a whopping 18 cars. What can be said of those cars? Well to paraphrase a line from sin city their cars are "boner inspiring."

Why do I mention Koenigsegg? Simple. In an "ant swallowed the elephant" move they are purchasing Saab from GM. What? Yeah that's right this 45 person million dollar car manufacturer is taking on the roughly 3400 workers and the 93000 cars sold last year that Saab has. Did I mention the $600 million dollar financing bill that's being guaranteed by the Swedish Government? Yeah put all that together and Saab may yet live again, or one of my favorite car makers is going to tank.

Little side note here. GM is also selling all but 35% of its stake in Opel and Vauxhall, Saturn is being sold to the Penske group and there is a preliminary arrangement to sell Hummer to a china based manufacturing company. All that's left is for GM to stop buying Daewoo crud (unable to sell in north amaerica due to lacking safety equipment) and selling it under a Chevy badge, with the added safety features mind you, and there may be hope for one of this country's formerly prominent auto manufacturers.

Ok enough stalling, I promised a bit on how Fiat is going to come to own Chrysler, well here goes. In a move that is really allowing Fiat to buy Chrysler stock for pennies on the dollar Fiat is going to be holding at first a 20% stake in Chrysler, later rising to 35% and eventually to a majority stake in the new Fiat-Chrysler alliance. This is all provided deal mandated targets are met and the bills on the bailout money are paid. Let this be a lesson to people in publicly traded companies, never owe too much to too many or you wind up working for someone else.

That's enough for tonight it's time to head back to some 10+ year old re-runs of deep space nine.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

General Motors

Well by now everyone has seen them. I'm talking about the four or five or how ever the F*ck many variations of the same damn screen shots spouting crap they're going to put out there.

Now they're talking about re-invention.

They're talking about a new beginning.

They're divesting the Pontiac division, keeping Saturn and forcing Saab to endure yet another fiscal year of failure being managed by people who have no idea how to market European styled cars, or even electric cars, but their complete mishandling of the EV1 is another story for another day.

We're told that those who don't understand the mistakes of history are doomed to repeat them so let's look at some history of GM.
First off, the minivan, GM had the first set of plans for a minivan but someone at the top decided to sit on them, believing that there was no market for such a thing. What did they get for their hesitation? Chrysler produced the caravan and had a record year (Chrysler is very soon going to be owned by fiat by the way, that story next time).
Second, Trucks. For almost three years they sat on the fence while the other guys made large sums of money marketing trucks to individuals (environmental foolishness of commuter trucks aside since that wasn't why they refused to sell commuter style trucks)
Now for my favorite, V8 rear wheel drive vehicles. in 1964 the mustang was introduced (65 model year cars came out in 64) it was half the cost of a corvette at the time. Now a corvette will run you $70000 and a decent mustang is still only about half that (if not less) and now the challenger (and to a lesser extent the charger) is back and it's most pricey option is really only around $40000. GM seemingly didn't have an answer to the affordable rear wheel drives the other guys were making, then news came in 2007 about the camaro coming back in 2008, it's now the 2010 camaro. Then in 2008 news came about the Pontiac G8 ($40000 for the most expensive version), a rear wheel drive Holden inspired machine (quite nice to drive actually) they finally began selling them and a little over a year later the news came out that Pontiac was going to be no more. Botom line here is they keep ignoring the market for an affordable rear wheel drive car.

So on that what are we looking at for a recent track record? Hesitation, hesitation, lack of innovation. An these are the people who are going to re-invent? So far it seems like the management of GM needs to be "re-invented" but unfortunately we're in a culture where the management of a company who failed gets paid for doing wrong. Now I'm all for keeping GM and Chrysler in business but the people in charge need to be replaced with people who can make affordable, RELIABLE and fun cars, people like those at toyota.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

"clean" anything

These days there's any number of adverts for "clean" this or "green" that, and some times it seems that if you're not advertising as being green then no one wants anything to do with you. Well this has become so pervasive that even coal power is trying it.


Just as appears the backwards republican ideals were falling this crap makes it into the world. "Clean Coal, Americas' Power" is the slogan they're running with. I get what they're attempting to accomplish here though, by saying that coal power is "all around us" they imply that it's difficult to get power from sources such as solar and wind. We'll I'm not sure about wind - I do know that a decent turbine can generate 50kWH each day with good wind - but with two properly made and positioned solar panels you can power your home, put four in if you want to save up some power for that week when the clouds roll in - No you do not need to have sun all the time to get power from solar panels. SO by implying that alternative power is difficult to get they are swaying peoples' minds from installing alternative power generation measures and towards the complacent norm.

I'm not going to bother to rant about coal being unclean as that's a moot point.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Chrysler: Building New Spin

So it happened. the first of the big three auto makers went out and declared bankruptcy. If you don't believe me that's fine it's already legitimate news; the secret's out. Wait! Chrysler is still selling cars, trucks and vans, they can't be be bankrupt. In fact they just launched an add campaign detailing how they don't build cars they actually build life. Yeah, I've seen that one too, it's very nice and flashy and it really puts an idea out that they may be more than just a car company. They're still bankrupt!

So how is it that Chrysler is still operating as normal? That's where the real fun starts. As it turns out in the U.S.A. the government stepped up to not only funnel them cash to operate but also to guarantee their warranty program, in the meantime Chrysler will continue to function as a normal company just with the government paying their bills. The funny part here is Chrysler is still going to maintain their status as a private company.


IF you or I were to declare bankruptcy tomorrow it would mean all of our bills were put to an end yes, however we would not be able to own property, business, or large financial assets of any kind for at least 7 years. All credit cards would then be void and for another 7 years you couldn't even apply for any kind of credit; and even after that time good luck getting credit from ANYONE. On top of all that any tax returns filled would be under the strictest scrutiny. All this and a slew of other bad things happen to people and small business owners who declare bankruptcy, their lives are effectively under government scrutiny and control. So why then is Chrysler not becoming a publicly owned company? Look at North American politics and their hatred of all socialist practices for that one. Well all publicly owned things that aren't fire, water, police, mail. and if you live in Canada health care. You know, just the important things but apart from that we won't have any part of any socialist ideals.

Friday, May 8, 2009

This "Cash 4 Gold" thing

If you watch syndicated TV at all then you've probably seen commercials for either "Cash 4 Gold" or "dollars for Gold" with promises of "cash for your broken or unwanted jewelery." Well sure that sounds good, who wouldn't want money for things they no longer use?

Speaking of money; here's a bit of a history lesson for people who wonder about the paper and electronic cards we use for currency. Not so long ago a country's wealth was solely determined by the gold in circulation, however, gold is rather heavy and to carry it in large quantities is difficult so the dollar bill was born. These new pieces of paper were a representation of the gold in a country and so were redeemable in gold, one should note that these carried no inflation due to being back by gold. They even had it printed on them. then some folks who chaired some large name banks decided it was time for the banks to control the world. the federal reserve system was enacted after a series of bank closures due to outflows of cash. This new system required the banks to be in control of the gold supply of a country so that they controlled the entire money supply.

With the Fed. Reserve in place the banks loan money to the country in question and that's where each country gets the funds to buy and trade with others. Wait for one second and think "if the bank loans money to the country where do they get the money to pay off the loan?" If all other countries have to borrow money in this fashion then the money to pay off the loan interest can only come from the banks.

Now with this cash and dollars for gold they're out to tie up loose ends it seems. They advertise that "your gold goes straight to the refinery" and after that it's headed to a reserve because the supply must be controlled to maintain control over the people through these little notes that simply say "legal tender" which is really another way of saying "completely worthless."