GM autos from CHina etc

I know there’s another thread but it’s getting very long…

I just read that GM importing cars from other countries may not go over too well with Team Obama. Their having assisted GM with billions of dollars in order to retain jobs here in the U.S. of A., they may not take kindly to doing this.


I’m really against jobs going overseas…All we’ll have is Service jobs which can NOT sustain our economy. The UAW AND GM have to sit down and both make concessions to keep jobs here in the US. I believe that GM can survive…What I hate seeing is these companies moving jobs overseas to increase from 15% profit to 17% profit. GE did this in the 80’s and 90’s. When they did this…stock rose…executives got huge bonuses…stock went up…and wall-street made a lot of money…meanwhile…15,000 LOST their jobs

You make an excellent point, however if GM does not take this step and Chery and Tata come in under someone elses unbrella even more jobs may be lost.

I don’t think there’s a simple answer here. I’m inclined to try not to let the sins of the past color my opinion of decisions now that might be necessary to make them healthy again. I don’t think GM can compete with these companies on a level playing field. Their costs and long term obligations are too high. At least if they import the cars they can get some benefit.

These cars are coming over anyway. And they’ll be taking over a market segment that we cannot currently service, unfortunately taking some from the lower end of a segment that we CAN service while they’re doing it.

Thinking about the “nation-state” as an economic unit is no longer viable and hasn’t been for a long time. At least not if we are to be “laissez-faire” capitalists. The only other option is protectionism. US “free market” folks are in a terrible pickle over this kind of thing - though the problem is rarely if ever made explicit.

The only other thing would be consumers who are willing to pay a lot more for stuff rather than taking advantage of cheap global labor. So far, I see no signs of anything happening there.

Protectionism and consumers paying more are unfortunately inextricably intertwined.

I’m not personally in favor of it. We save jobs but pay more. We don;t really gain as a country.

Protectionism and consumers paying more are unfortunately inextricably intertwined.

I don’t necessarily think so, depending on how one defines protectionism. That normally comes out of state activity (tariffs & such), so that this forces people to pay more.

People could still choose to pay more. And before you scoff at that, think about this. We have a country full of people who hate jobs going overseas and love WalMart. There is a little switch that has to click somewhere, and we have to decide which it will be. Right now today’s short term, narrow “rationality” may be creating longer term, broader irrationalities.

I see your point. I think of protectionism as federal tariffs.

Think of it this way, if we allow the imports in question to enter our market unfettered, those who choose to pay more still can. And those who choose not to won’t have to because of artificial market controls. We the consumer should have that choice. I suspect that if we do, the majority of the people in that market segment will choose the imported brands.

At least if GM is allowed to freely “badge” and resell them we’ll save SOME of the jobs. If not, I’m afraid we won’t.

An analog to the auto industry might be the steel industry. It went through tremendous changes in the 1980s and 1990s. Yet, there are still several steel mills operating in the USA. They are fully competitive with other international manufacturers by selling high-end goods. More than wages, the biggest changes were in work rules, allowing the facilities to operate with half the staff they used to when the union bloated the payroll. This was especially true in the trades, like millwrights and electrical repairmen. Sure, management could have said no, but add two percent each year during several contracts and it doesn’t take too long to double the employee rolls. Shop stewards got re-elected by pushing this self-defeating idea. It was good for them in the short run, but killed them over the long haul. Does that sound familiar?

This is an age old question, and the “Law of Comparative Advantage” was originated by Adam Smith. It means that everyone benefits if you do those activities with the highest value added that you are capable of. Let others do things that add less value and let them import the things that you do best. So the US should make high tech goods, aerospace products, information technology products, etc. Let the Chinese make the cheap kitchen radios, low end TVs, inexpensive cameras, etc.

IF the US car industry reforms itself with wage packages no higher than Honda and Toyota, and IF the management is restructured to a flat Toyota style organization with lean manufacturing, the Detroit 3 could be competitive in all motor vehicles EXCEPT the minicars. Even Toyota has difficulty making minicars with North American labor.

Pfaff is the best known European sewing machine manufacturer. Their top of the line computerized units sell for over $8000, and are made in Germany. AS you go down the price range they are made in Spain, Eastern Europe, and the cheap ones (not complicated, but still good) are made in China.

As for buying locally, my wife had a Chinese made “General Electric” kitchen radio with disc player that would not work without interference, no matter what I did. It works in other people’s kitchens but we are too close to high tension power lines. I paid $100.00 for this radio.

We now have a “made in USA” Bose kitchen radio (“music system”) with CD player, as advertised in the National Geographic and other prestigeous magazines. It works great, but cost over $500.00!

So, draw your own conclusions.

That sounds less like a “draw conclusions” then be clear about your choices. The average US consumer is someone who has gone whole hog into have a lot of stuff. The way one has all of that stuff is by being able to get it very inexpensively which means that it is also “cheap.” The stuff often doesn’t work well and often doesn’t work for long.

I tend to choose to have less stuff that is better (I have one of those Bose things too). But I don’t think that most people have given this kind of thing much thought.

One thing I can say is that most people don’t need nearly as much “stuff” as they have. But the world capitalist economy does require that everyone buys it.

Agree, cigroller, buying high quality stuff that lasts a long time is my preference. We have an expensive barbecue that is designed for long life with heavy cast iron grids, and no carbon steel anywhere; it’s made of cast aluminum, cast iron, stainless steel with heavy ploycarbonate side trays. I expect to use this thing for the next 20 years, although it is already 7 years old. I also have an Apsco stapler, made in Sweden, of cast aluminum. It dates from 1971 and still performs perfectly. I’ll probably never wear it out.

Good stuff does not have to be expensive; some of the econoboxes sold in the past were very durable and reliable. We’ve now made them too complicated with safety and environmental gear so the repairability has gone downhill!