Hawknc wrote:You would be hard pressed to attribute the problems that the auto industry had over the last few years to any one cause. Legacy costs associated with union-negotiated pensions were one factor and the credit crunch was the trigger, but there were systemic flaws in the way they did business that left them vulnerable. You can't discuss the downfall of GM and Chrysler without discussing the corporate culture that refused to build competitive small cars even as gas prices rose, leaving them with big trucks piled high and nobody who could afford to run them; or without considering government protectionism that let domestic manufacturers become inefficient and complacent (like a 25% tax on imported trucks because of a dispute about chickens); or looking at the vicious cycle of cutting manufacturing costs and increasing dealer incentives in an effort to boost sales numbers, resulting instead in massively reduced profit per car as well as the quality of what they sold and killing residual value. Blaming unions alone is short-sighted and dishonest.
I do not recall stating that the unions were the sole problem.
I've only said that I blame them for doing any number of short sighted greedy things... and then refusing to make meaningful concessions until the government forced them too.
GM the corporation had started turning the corner on improving small car fuel efficiency and quality before the crises hit, Starting with the Cobalt, and the Cobalt XFE. And even at that time, had had plans for the 1.4L turbo charged Cruze Eco, that forced Honda to release a High Fuel economy model of their own to be able to compete fuel economy wise.
That's actually part of the reason the crisis hit them so hard. They had spent $4 billion dollars developing the Cruze. But the appropriate response of a union who's company is floundering is to at least agree to temporary concessions, until the company is out of the woods. The autoworkers union did not to do this.