Ford’s Game Changer

Ford has been on the front line of innovation in the auto industry….think Mustang and Pinto……and now they have done it again…..and it is the most popular pick-up truck in the world….the F150.

Ford has revealed the all-electric F-150 pickup truck one day ahead of schedule. The truck, dubbed F-150 Lightning, was on display Tuesday at Ford’s Rouge Electric Vehicle Center in Michigan during a speech from President Biden.

Images from the event show that the F-150 Lightning largely looks like its gas and hybrid counterparts, though the truck has a more modern grille, with an unbroken light bar that stretches from headlight to headlight. And even from a distance, it seems that the F-150 Lightning will have a large portrait touchscreen similar to the one in the Mustang Mach-E.

Biden gave the country and the world a peep at the new Ford in a speech in Michigan….

President Biden got to test drive Ford’s electric pick-up truck Tuesday when he made an unscheduled visit to a Ford driving course that typically carries out safety tests. The Secret Service trailed Biden as he tried out the Ford F-150 Lightning, CNN reports. Biden apparently gave away a secret when he told reporters the truck went from 0 to 60 in about 4.4 seconds; a rep later told reporters that information was supposed to be made public when the truck is officially revealed Wednesday, though he said it was fine that the president had let it slip early.

I applaud the ingenuity of Ford and under different circumstances it could be the game changer they are promoting.

A game changer?

First there needs to be a game before it can change…..

Who will buy an electric truck when there are few power charging stations across the country?

Wait…Biden has said that his infrastructure plan would give the country about 50,000 charging stations.

Now that sounds good right?

The problem is that his plan will most likely go NOWHERE in the Senate.

I say again…hard to be a game changer when there is no game to change.

This was purely a political thingy….reality says it all….was this just a PR thing to justify any government funding?

Watch This Blog!

Turn The Page!

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

New Years Day News–2019

Before I shut it down for the day…..let us look into the year, 2019…..

First, you heard that GM was shutting down plants and laying off people, right?  Well 2019 will see the end of several models of cars that have become sort of iconic….

  • Cadillac ATS
  • Cadillac CTS
  • Cadillac XTS
  • Chevrolet Cruze
  • Chevrolet Impala
  • Ford C-Max
  • Ford Focus
  • Ford Taurus
  • Honda CR-Z
  • Hyundai Azera
  • Nissan Juke
  • Toyota Prius V
  • Volkswagen Beetle
  • Volkswagen Touareg

See what other cars are leaving the production line here. (The “surprise” among GM’s discontinued vehicles.)

I own a Ford Focus and it is a great car it has been reliable for 15 years…..but I guess they are not profitable in the SUV generations….I hate fads and trends.

Since I am a international relations geek there are some conflicts that need watching so that the US will not be drawn in (some we are already ass deep)……

Instruments of collective action, such as the UN Security Council, are paralysed; those of collective accountability, including the International Criminal Court, are ignored and disparaged.

Nostalgia can be deceptive. Too fond a portrayal of the era of Western hegemony would be misleading. Iraq’s chemical weapons use against Iran in the 1980s; the 1990s bloodletting in Bosnia, Rwanda, and Somalia; the post-9/11 wars in Afghanistan and Iraq; Sri Lanka’s brutal 2009 campaign against the Tamils; and the collapse of Libya and South Sudan: all these happened at a time of – in some cases because of – U.S. dominance and a reasonably coherent West. A liberal and nominally rules-based order hardly stopped those setting the rules from discarding them when they saw fit. The erosion of Western influence, in short, looks different from Moscow, Beijing, and the developing world than it does from Brussels, London, or Washington.

https://www.crisisgroup.org/global/10-conflicts-watch-2019

This will be overlooked I fear….but not to worry someone will pick up the coverage when it is too late to stop it.

Every American knows that National Security is primary to any president or Congress…..these are the 5 NatSec concerns for 2019…..

Trouble with Russia and China top the list.

Winston Churchill once wisecracked that the politician’s job is to predict what will happen—then explain why it didn’t. More to the point, George Orwell mocked “the unsinkable Military Expert” who keeps venturing strong predictions about martial affairs, keeps getting forecasts wrong, and keeps drawing “fat salaries” despite repeated failures as a soothsayer. Be humble when prophesying—lest the ghosts of wars past appear before you and terrify you!

In that spirit of humility, my Five National Security Predictions for 2019:

https://www.realcleardefense.com/articles/2018/12/31/5_big_national_security_predictions_for_2019_114068.html

2019 will be an interesting year but more so on the international stage than any other…..we will be watching and reporting….

**********A parting thought……2019–the Dems take control of the House…and now DEFICITS will matter.*********

One more thing……

Have a day and a good day of rest and hangover remedies…..

Battle Of The Economic Stars

The economy is doing well under Trump….well with the exception of wages and markets and housing, etc etc……but the sector is being the focus of a game being played by both sides…..

GM will close plants and lay off over 1000 workers…..

It’s a bleak day for workers at General Motors: The automaker said Monday it’s cutting about 15% of its salaried workers in the US and Canada and closing five plants. The Wall Street Journal reports that the moves could translate into the loss of about 8,000 jobs. The company plans to close three assembly plants next year—in Hamtramck, Mich.; Lordstown, Ohio; and Oshawa, Ontario—as well as two transmission plants, in Baltimore and Warren, Mich., reports the New York Times.

“We recognize the need to stay in front of changing market conditions and customer preferences to position our company for long-term success,” said GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra in a statement. One big part of the shift is to put more focus on electric and hybrid vehicles, as well as SUVs and pickups, while sedans get lower priority. US auto sales set records in 2016 but have since slowed, reports the Detroit Free Press, which adds that automakers also were facing pressure over rising tariffs on steel and aluminum

After all his promises on the campaign trail trup fires back at GM…….

President Trump took to Twitter on Tuesday to express his displeasure with GM’s planned 14,000 layoffs and five plant shutterings; National Economic Council director Larry Kudlow did the same thing from the White House. In afternoon tweets, Trump issued a sort of threat, writing, “Very disappointed with General Motors and their CEO, Mary Barra, for closing plants in Ohio, Michigan and Maryland. Nothing being closed in Mexico & China. The US saved General Motors, and this is the THANKS we get! We are now looking at cutting all @GM subsidies, including … for electric cars. General Motors made a big China bet years ago when they built plants there (and in Mexico) – don’t think that bet is going to pay off. I am here to protect America’s Workers!”

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports those tweets came “moments” after Kudlow departed the White House Briefing Room, where he had said much the same thing: “We’re going to be looking at certain subsidies regarding electric cars and others.” GM Kudlow characterized the administration’s reaction as “a tremendous amount of disappointment maybe even spilling over into anger,” reports the AP. Kudlow met with Barra Monday, and on Tuesday told reporters, “The president is very cross with her and of course I transmitted that.” He added the sense was that GM “kind of turned” its back on the president in making its move. (There’s a surprise among GM’s six discontinued cars.)

Keep in mind that a 1000 auto jobs lost could cost as much as 10,000 along the supply line…..so auto jobs are not the only ones on the chopping block…..

GM record- Got $514 million from the Trump tax scam – Made $6 billion in profits – Poured $100 million into stock buybacks – Paid its CEO $22 million – Received over $600 million in gov’t contracts.

I am still waiting for all those jobs to come home….as promised in 2016.

Closing Thought–14May18

Speaking of the all important policy of jobs…..

The US auto industry has been struggling for decades……and after the last hit it took it did what it had too to streamline…..a few models went away….Mercury, a few models of Ford, Saturn, etc……well the streamlining is not yet complete……

Some 110 years after the first Model T rolled off the line, Ford has decided to start phasing out car sales. The company announced Wednesday that it “will not invest in next generations of traditional Ford sedans for North America.” In a financial release, Ford said that it plans to transition to just two cars over the next few years: the Ford Mustang and the new Ford Active, a “crossover” vehicle to be released next year. Ford currently sells the Fiesta, Focus, Fusion, C-Max, Mustang, and Taurus sedans and coupes in North America reports TechCrunch, which notes that the Lincoln sedans are also expected to vanish.

Ford hasn’t said exactly when the Taurus and other models will be phased out, but the company’s statement says almost 90% of its North America portfolio will be trucks, utilities, and commercial vehicles by 2020. Auto industry experts say the move is a bold one, but not totally unexpected, given the continuing shift among consumers away from cars and toward SUVs. ” Ford’s announcement to pretty much get out of the car business … comes as no surprise,” says analyst Michelle Krebs, per the Detroit Free Press. “Ford’s car sales have been dismal for the past couple of years, and there’s no end in sight to the decline of traditional cars.”

Since the auto industry is struggling…..which models will be next and which maker will close down completely?

What say you?

What Happened to Sports Cars?

Today is the Super Bowl and readership will most likely be down for most people will be spending the day reliving every game since Christ was a corporeal…….ergo I have chosen a topic that will not be that important to anyone but me……..

I have been accused, mostly by my daughter, as being a hermit or a vampire because I spend many hours reading news and analyzing the stuff I read….she thinks that I spend way too much time locked in my “war room” and that I need to get out more or find a hobby that will give me a break from my passion.

All this is well and good……but the only other passion I have is auto racing……formula one and sports cars and a little rallye…..NASCAR is just too boring for words….it consist of driving fast and turning left….so I have decided to write about my other passion……..auto racing.

Since the 1960’s I have been a Ferrari fan…..mostly from my fave driver in those days….Wolfgang “Taffy” von Trips who drove the red machine in formula one….he was killed in 1961 at the Italian Gran Prix in Monza…..

This first post is about today’s sports cars….all 800+ HP and speeds of 200+ mph…..why?  Just where would one drive this car to push it to these limits?  The emphasis is on a computer to all the work for the driver…..where is that enjoyable?

Back in the day I enjoyed driving so much….the power, the sliding, the shifting, the whole ball of fun….but today’s cars do all the thinking for the driver with traction control,the paddle shifting, etc…….the driver basically has to steer the car and the computer will do all the other thinking….that is NOT fun or fulfilling…..at least to me.

Then there are the cars themselves….today most of them have similar appearances in the body…….back when I was trying it you could look at the field and know who made the car and the model that went by…..today you need a program to explain the cars to you…..where is that enjoyable?

Back then cars were cars…….like the Lotus, Ferrari, Maserati, Triumph, TVR, Fiat, even the US has some cool cars like the Cheetah, Ford GT40……….. that had their own development teams…..now the cars are a mongrel vehicle……with a Mercedes engine and a body by Abarth and the chassis from a Renault Clio……on and on……

Today it is all about the technology and less about the art of driving and for that I have lost my passion for today’s cars…..I will remain a vintage sports car person…….I am too damn old to enjoy participating in races but I will watch it whenever the chance arrives….there is always thePS3 and a racing game to lull away the hours…….but it is just not the same as feeling the car respond to your every move………(HEAVY SIGH)………

Have a great weekend……I will return to form on Monday!

The Auto Bailout

Just after Obama took office the auto industry was going down the drain and the government stepped in and save them from dying an agonizing death…….of course once we did bail them out there was a wealth of pros and cons and just an amazing amount of bat crap crazies….the usual suspects that radio guy and the Info guy and the like…..let’s just say a lot of them came out of the woodwork…….

After awhile the auto industry got back on their feet and started showing a profit and even paying the government back for their confidence in the industry to bounce back….all it needed was a little help….

Could there be more to the story of the auto bailout?  Glad you asked…….

DETROIT, MI- The auto bailout of General Motors cost taxpayers more than initially reported, according to a government report released today.

In its quarterly report, the Office of the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Assets Relief Program reports taxpayers lost $11.2 billion on the bailout of the Detroit-based automaker, up from $10.3 billion the U.S. Treasury estimated when selling its last GM shares on Dec. 9.

Overall, the report finds that taxpayers lost roughly $15 billion from the $85 billion automotive bailout of GM, Chrysler and their financial arms.

“As of March 31, 2014, taxpayers have lost $11.2 billion on the principal TARP investment in GM. Taxpayers had also lost $845 million on the sale of Ally Financial’s common stock, as well as $2.9 billion on the principal TARP investment in Chrysler Holding LLC,” reads the more than 500-page report.

Oh goody!  we were duped again.  It is amusing that I NO longer find any of this surprising…….just another indication of how the news is manipulated…..and just another lie to the American people……when will we ever learn?

Let me know if you have seen this on any of the major news outlets, please……so far I have seen NOTHING!

Labor For Life

In my younger more impetuous days I was a labor organizer and since then I am always reading about the movement and trying to decide where it is going in this country…….

In modern politics the word labor and unions are dirty words in conservative circles……..this institution has been blamed for all sorts of woes…it has been blamed for a wide array of situations from the high cost of cars to poor educational performance to the unwanted outcome of elections…..in short…..unions are the anti-Christ in some corners.

The perfectly executed character assassination of unions has, in my opinion, has lead to a weakening of labor’s position in the workplace which in turn has slowly fueled the demise of the middle class….

Fast forward to this week……the ‘big story’ has been the union vote in a VW plant in Tennessee on whether to unionize or not….BTW the union lost out in that vote…..they voted to NOT unionize…….

The obvious loser in last week’s failed bid to unionize the Volkswagen auto plant in Chattanooga, Tenn., was the United Auto Workers. The union was counting on a victory at the German-owned plant, which stayed officially neutral in the unionizing effort but hinted it welcomed a platform for organizing other plants in the South.

But the vote — and the forces that had arrayed themselves against the UAW — could also represent a setback for the economy and blue- and white-collar employees, a number of auto-industry and economic experts suggested.

U.S. management and labor organizations have battled each other —with both sides wasting resources in the process — ever since Frederick Winslow Taylor used his “scientific” methods a century ago to de-skill and control production workers, explained James P. Womack, founder of the Lean Enterprise Institute in Cambridge, Mass., and a co-author of “The Machine That Changed The World.” For Womack, the acrimonious fight and vote in Chattanooga was part of a historical continuum that has often hobbled U.S. industry, especially in the face of international competitors who embraced much more collaborative approaches to management.

My personal opinion was that it would not succeed in unionizing the plant….after all it is in the South and Right To Work is strong in the region…….so was the vote a big win for VW?  I thought so until I read another article shortly after the vote…….

The head of Volkswagen’s General Works Councils in Germany is threatening to block any further investment in the southern United States, Reuters reports, after workers at VW’s Chattanooga plant voted against union representation. “I can imagine fairly well that another VW factory in the United States, provided that one more should still be set up there, does not necessarily have to be assigned to the South again,’ Bernd Osterloh said. “We as workers will hardly be able to vote in favor” of one. Osterloh blames US conservatives for stirring up “massive anti-union sentiments.” He serves on a 20-member supervisory board split evenly between workers and management that could block future investments unless Chattanooga gets a German-style workers’ council. VW would still like to create a council without the United Auto Workers union, the New York Times reports, but legal experts say that might violate federal laws against company-controlled worker groups. Some anti-UAW workers have offered to set up an alternative union to get around the problem.

An interesting turn of the screw, right?  With all that info in hgand, who would you say was the big winner in this situation?

Please throwing your hat into this conversation.  I would like to have as many thoughts as possible……

How Many American Jobs Will This Create?

Without an industrial policy, this is the future of the auto industry.

As reported by Reuters:

Chrysler Group is planning to produce Fiat SpA’s Fiat 500 subcompact at a Chrysler plant in Mexico, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

The Toluca, Mexico plant, which currently makes the Dodge Journey crossover and PT Cruiser, is an attractive home for the 500 because cars could be exported to South and Central America where the Fiat brand is popular, the Journal reported.

Fiat acquired a 20 percent stake in Chrysler and entered into agreements to give it access to Fiat technology and platforms. Chrysler filed for bankruptcy in April.

Let me see if I have this right……taxpayers bailed out Chrysler but it was not big enough…they then sold part to Fiat and now they will build cars in Mexico…is that about it?  So, just what did the taxpayers money do for the country?  We help save a company that will now use cheap labor in Mexico…..I feel really good about this (sarcasm).

Demand–Now That Is What I Am Talking About!

Since the economic collapse I have been saying that demand needs to be created not liquidity–for without demand nothing will move in the economy. I even have a page on the subject. We have pumped billions into banks and still not much is happening in the demand arena. We have tried to pump dollars into the infrastructure and again not much demand has been created. Then what shall the admin do to create the demand that is needed to jump start the economy?

Well they had a good start….with the cash for clunkers program. The WaPo is reporting:

Passed by Congress in late June to help the flagging U.S. auto industry and launched just a week ago, the $1 billion program gives vouchers worth up to $4,500 to consumers who trade in gas-guzzling cars for more fuel-efficient models. The highly publicized effort was scheduled to run until Nov. 1, or until money ran out. It was not expected to run out of cash so quickly.

The effort, formally known as the Car Allowance Rebate System, or CARS, appeared headed for a temporary shutdown at midnight Thursday. Federal transportation officials became increasingly concerned that the program’s popularity with consumers could drain its budget by week’s end, according to sources familiar with the discussions who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

The government’s “cash for clunkers” program, aimed at boosting stagnant auto sales, is almost out of money, putting its future in question, according to sources familiar with the effort.

Gee, sounds like they created demand…..you think that this could be an answer to the economic crisis? Some of us have been harping on that for a long time and it looks like we were correct in our premise.

Now that is what I am talking about…..create demand and the economy will start working again.  Go figure!

I Have Heard It All, Now!

Think back to the days gone by of political pandering and lies….I am speaking of the last primary then election cycle.  Recall when the buzzword of the day was patriotism or patriotic?  Remember when one candidates patriotism was questioned when there was no pin visible?  Think back to when liberals in Congress and the country were called un-American.

I know you would like to know where I am going with this…..I am coming to that.  Recently a conservative talk show host has called for a boycott of Chrysler and GM.  Yes you heard it right…a BOYCOTT!  Why would he do this?  Because if we buy from GM or Chrysler we woulkd be supporting socialism……and there it is the conservative argument to Obama’s success.

Several othe talk show host have signed on to this thinking…telling there listeners that it is better if these companies fail and disappear then to support they paranoia over socialism.

These dipsticks had rather see American workers loose everything than support a popular president.  I have even heard them say that the workers will get over it…that they will find other employment …..would that be in the same country as I live where the unemployment is 9.4% and climbing?

Sorry guys but that call is about as unpatriotic as it comes…..anytime someone calls for the destruction of an Americaqn industry…they are unpatriotic.  The biggest problem is that someone is listening….the same people that still think Obama is a Muslim….the same idiots that wantr the country to fail….the same people that hate.