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E-mail from an auto industry worker

By Michelle Malkin  •  November 13, 2008 08:55 AM

Didn’t have time to post an alert beforehand, but I did a brief segment on Fox& Friends this morning on the mega-auto bailout. Reader Alan e-mailed about his experience in the industry:

Dear Michelle,

Thank you for taking the time to read my comments. I worked in the Automotive Industry for most of my career as a supplier to GM, Ford, Chrysler, Honda of America, Toyota, Nissan, and BMW.

You were exactly right with your comments on Fox & Friends this morning. The UAW has handcuffed GM, Ford, and Chrysler with unreasonable and unrealistic burdens. Their balance sheets will never improve until they shed this weight.

There is another aspect affecting their business and is not being talked about in the media very much.

Having dealt directly with all current domestic automobile manufacturers, there is a distinct difference in how the Big 3 do business with their suppliers as compared to Honda, Toyota, and other foreign automotive assemblers. Toyota, Honda, and Nissan in particular want to make sure they are entering a partnership that insures financial success to all parties.

GM’s business practices generally lead to no profit, tremendous oversight by their internal supplier quality watchdogs, who demand unrealistic expectations, and extremely slow payment in the reimbursement of tooling costs to start new programs. It is not unusual to see reimbursement for tooling costs years after the program has started.

Their business practices are not a tax payer problem, but a terrible management problem. It was a noble idea for the Federal Government to lend them $25 billion to help. It is now known 4 X’s that amount will not cure the root cause of the problem., but only buy them 4 X’s the amount of time.

When a cancer is identified inside a person, it is immediately removed if possible. The Big 3 has a cancer that needs to be removed. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand why they cannot compete profitability. They have parity on supply costs, materials, and energy with Honda and Toyota. So why can’t they compete? It is clearly the cost of labor.

A few years ago I was in Warren Assembly, in (Warren, County, (sic) [Macomb County,] Michigan. Two plants side by side make the Ford Focus and the Ford Expedition. As you drive from [Dearborn] to Warren County, every abandoned shopping center parking lot was full of vehicles. A friend of mine was then the HR Manager for Ford Truck and I asked him why they were still building.

His answer astounded me. UAW Labor is paid company wages whether they work or not. America has to wake up concerning this. Until we can get organizations like the UAW to understand the only missing ingredient to creating a level playing field is getting the cost of labor to a realistic level, domestic car makers will never be successful.


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