Friday, November 25, 2005

Saving General Motors: 105

GMAC: The cash cow?

It is reported to be one of General's best: the finance arm of the company; an easy extension by which cars are sold, General Motors Accetance Corporation - GMAC; but what should the company do with this cash cow?

Rumors abound as to the company's goal for this division, now that the company is in the throes of a massive reorgiznation, but if I may offer a suggestion: Sell the majority stake in the company!

Sure: General Motors will still be able to use this entity to finance their purchases but with this company being a complete seperate entity, it can be used by others to buy other cars; and General Motors will benefit from these transactions. After all, wouldn't it be sweet to get a few dollars on other companies' cars: Ford, Toyota, Nissan and all the rest?

Another reason for off-loadig GMAC is liabilty. If the economy takes a down-turn, and people cannot pay their auto loan bills, then recall is their last recourse and GMAC can find themselves with a lot of used-cars on their hands. That is good news for buyers but not for a company who is trying to sell new vehicles. I hear the used-car market can be a racket!

General Motors can now use this new found money to rebuild their core business, which is building cars. On second thoughts, well, they should save some of it and rather than give rebates, simply sell the cars cheaper; they may have to do it soon anyhow...

So, General Motors: Sell the majority stake in GMAC, and get back to the production line;

Ditto for GM-Real Estate division...

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Saving General Motors: 104

Dealing the the unusual children...

But first, a comment: "There is absolutely no plan, strategy or intention for GM to file for bankruptcy." Richard Wagoner, Chaiman of General Motors Corporation

Excuse me, Mr. Chairman:

I know that you are a brilliant man, else you would not have made to the top of the world's largest automaker BUT do not count the count public as idiots or even worse, fools. Your job at the helm of General Motors is to, NOT only think of every possiblility BUT to have a plan in place to deal with the contingency. Hence; I find this comment rather laughable...

But of course, if you mean those words then you should not be leading this company because you would be failing in your duty: and while we are at it; your recent plans for saving the company is only dancing around the problem.

They are not going to work because all that you are doing is minimizing the ultimate problem which is DUPLICATION of product. You need to restructure the company and that means getting rid of those numerous divisions...

Which bring up an interesting conumdrum: What to do with with your bastard products?

Saturn began as a bold experiment but jealously and in-fighting have made it just another division of General Motors; and while its products are somewhat different, there are but the same as say, Chevrolet or Buick. The styling is closer to SAAB, if anything else but what is the basic difference, other than spreading employment around the globe?

The Hummer is at the other end of the scale: a sacle down Military vehicle that has seen better days in the sands of Iraq but now, is based on the Tahoe frame and to offer more choice (which is always good), you have downsized it even more in the form of the H3.

Hint! The H3 looks like a short fat xoman with extra hips!

The Corvette is the American muscle car; capable of running with the big boys at a fraction of the cost. Its history speaks for itself and I won't bore you with the details...

But what to do with these vehicles, seeing they don't really fit with the restructuring plan that I have offered. I am inclined to suggest a bold plan of rebranding these three vehicles under the Cheverolet brand and then spinning off this unit as a seperate entity.

And if seperate, then it means they either sink or swim on their own merits. Investors and car enthusiasts could buy this company and take these products where they really need to go: Upscale! One added bonus of spinning off these three brands is reintroducing the small man back into the automobile business. That's probably not a bad idea, given the current climate of business these days and you could score brownie points of creating the David and Goliath syndrone...

The Corvette could possible grow to take on Ferrari and the Hummer, well, you get the idea. You could pocket a hefty piece of change from the deal and reserve the option to rebuy the vehicles later.

Reserve but not recommended!

Better plan would to sell them through your network but that would entail changing the entire structure of the much vaunted dealership (Thoughts on that later)...

Then there is SAAB, which is not a North American division but has enjoyed the exposure as such. I leave that problem to your imagination, sir but it is possibble to exist peacefully with the Swedes on this one; personally, SAAB needs their own dealerships.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Saving General Motors: 103

Rebuilding General Motors is NOT in the realm of reinventing the wheel, in a manner of speaking, though it can be considered of magnaminous proportion to this region of America, if not the entire country. I'd say it's crucial to our survival given the fact that General Motor's Headquarters is located on the Detroit riverfront in downtown Detroit.

That being said, the proposal of streamlining General Motors is bound to have serious ramifications for this town, indeed this region if not this state, because many people will lose their jobs. Manufacting and office jobs will not only be eliminated BUT the remaining workforce will be recieving lower wages and benefits, compared to what they are currently recieving.

Nothing can be done about that!

It is as sure as night, which follows the day!

Dear Mr. Chairman of General Motors Corporation:

Your company doesn't have to loose the entire line of cars in order to rebuild itself; just the duplication across the brands and with the elimination of those brands, your problem is partially solved.

Building your luxury devision depends on the publics' uptake of those cars. The decision of building that line under the Cadillac's brand is a good one.

It is in the regular General Motors Car Division that I want to offer my idea for scrutinization, and I want to use one of your more poupular cars as an example.

First let me back up a minute and say that your cars should cover the market segment. They do right now but not in the way envisioned by me. You could have two or three offerings for every engine proposed: economy, up-scale and performace.

How would this work?

Take the current Pontiac Grand Prix. There is no need to have the Grand Am and the Grand Prix. Scrap the Grand Am and extend the range of the Grand Prix into the Grand Am's terrritory. That Grand Prix, in base trim, could easily fit into the high-end line of the Grand Am. The four cylinder engine with a manual transmission should work with this model.

Then you'll have the regular Grand Prix with fabric seats, or leather on special order. The 3.5 litre with your 4-Speed transmission is okay here.

After the regular model, comes the "UP-Scale" model. This one comes with leather trim, cloth option but the engine gets the better treatment. It can have better heads (18 or 24 valves) and multi-port fuel inject for increased performance.

The 4-speed automatic transmission is standard BUT manual can be ordered.

The "performance" model comes after the "UP-Scale" model. This car get the best engine: Four valves per cylinder, multiport fuel injection and twin turbo chargers. Wider wheels with low profile tires and full leather interior.

Aim this car to the enthusiast driver. He'll buy it, especially if it comes in a AWD configuration; and offer it with the manual 6-Speed transmission as standard. Automatic transmission as the option.

Savings will come by using one body style to produce three or maybe four models and two engine blocks:

Grand Prix: Base - 4cyl, 5 speed

Grand Prix: Regular - 6cyl, 4 speed automatic

Grand Prix: UP-Scale - 6cyl, 24 valve, 4/6 speed automatic

Grand Prix: Performace - 6cyl, 24 valve, twin turbos, 6 speed stick shift or 6 speed automatic

This cost savings can be multiplied throughout the entire range of available cars, paving the path for General Motors' revival.

Rambling Thoughts

Hardcore gamers aren't the only ones BUT they, probably constitue the largest recreation group of people within any geographics, especially within the USA where they spend oogles amounts of money on, well, games.

With this segment expectation to grow at an alarming rate over the next five years, you can bet that those concerned are doing their best to get their cut of the pie.

Gamers are also the ones on technology's cutting edge, which explains why nVidia and ATI markets their high-end graphics cards with these people in mind first. Hardcore gamers want the best, in everything, to satisfy their gaming experience and they would spare no expense in doing that.

This well known fact is quite surprising for a couple of reasons: the first is; there are few games' developers who are rushing to take advantage of the dual core microprocessors from AMD and Intel, and if they are, then I am not hearing much about them.

Yes, I know of Quake and Doom but where and who are the others?

Should the game developers be letting us know about all the wonderful stuff they are doing with this new slew of hardware?

However, MicroSOFT says most of their games are going to be multithreated in their upcoming xBOX 360 console.

But isn't MS also a major PC game developer?

And why did the PC crowd have to wait until MS finish the coding for their console to benefit from it, especially since MS announced the ease of cross-compatability with their games XML code two years ago?

If this is not a conflict of interest, then at least can we call it a:
"wait until we are good and ready for you PC gamers attitude?"

I liked the SONY corporation. It made some pretty useful stuff that I have used from time to time, a,ong which is a radio-walkman and two (2) PS2s. I find it interesting however, concerning two stories about the Japanese media giant.

The first has to do with putting some type of siganture software on MicroSOFT Windows PCs, which breaks the system when the user attempts to remove it. Even if that was excusable; IT IS NOT, SONY's refusal to admit to doing anything wrong surely is insulting.

Surely SONY must recognize that more harm is done by allowing this thing to fester in the public; but I don't see how the company can easily undo the harm?

With perception being reality, I do not see myself spending any money on SONY's music anytime soon...

The second story has to do with a similar idea: putting an ID signature on their upcoming PS3. The story ran at joystick: but the inquirer chronicled it:

This story says something about SONY won't allow used games to be played on their consoles. Rumors are damaging and destructive at worse, ugly and hateful somewhere in the middle and annoying at least BUT SONY must also recognize the mere fact that there is concern because it has made it in the news.

Once again, I fail to see how SONY can stop this once it has taken on a life of its own.

Interesting speculation here: Who benefits from both of these stories?

Redmond, WA?

The big question: Shouldn't we, as consumers, wait until all this new technology be out for a while before running to become the first adopters?

While the bigger question is: Is SONY hurting the one person who should matter the most, to them, at least?

The customer...

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Saving General Motors: 102

General Motors had its longest bask in the sunshine with the television series: The Dukes of Hazzard; that fracus about a crooked sheriff, his bumbling sidekick and the twin cousins of Bo & Luke with the lovely Daisy and the affably Grand-Pa. Nice show: pretty funny; one can learn alot about moonshine and all the good stuff that makes up country living from it...

Of course, that was television: a perfectly packaged deal delivered for mass consumption but there is always a grain of truth behind the biggest farce...

But in the real wolrd however, General Motors must start doing somethings, if it is to be saved. I made two points during my last post regarding the company's move and I continue here.

03: Streamlining Manufacturing:

General Motors Corporation should immediately stop all production of diesel engines! Work all current diesel engines into their current product line and cease production of making diesel engines. Close those plants and buy diesel engines from either Cummins, Detroit Diesel or Caterpillar.

Let the customer specify which engine they want but use On-Time delivery from these companies so as not to keep invetory at your plant.

All engines should have identical engine mounts so that it shouldn't matter who provides the engine. Also the electronic controls for the engine performance should come from the respective engine manufacturer; it does now but, I am speaking about having the ability to drop the engine in and plug it in universally into the truck's electrical syatem.

This shouldn't be a problem...

Also it is time to introduce the 24V or even 48V system. Try it here as an option!

04: Streamline Your Engines:

Make Four (4) Engine Blocks and tune each for their respective performance. Engine sizes should be in the 2.5L, 3.5L, 4.5L and 5.5L catergories.

That's it!

Four engine blocks should be fine BUT the performance will come from the tuning of each block. Four valves per cylinder will always deliver a better perfomance than two, so use that to differentiate your engines: base engines get the regular head while the high performance engines will get the better heads.

04: Offer Stick shift transmissions on your high performance vehicles! Some guys do actually engine driving and you need to actively pursue these people.

05: Offer All Wheel Drive (AWD) cars! This shouldn't de that difficult to incorporate into all models, especially Front Wheel Drive vehicles.

06: No more drum brakes! All your vehicles should come equipped with disc brakes. Also, standardize your vehicles on wheel and tire sizes; 15, 17, 19 inch for cars and 19, 21, & 24 inch for trucks should do...

This consolidation should help reduce your tire suppliers.

The other major component of the drive train, the axle is pretty much accounted for but if you make these, then out source them and savings can probably be made here by reducing the number of your suppliers.

One final thought about mechanical compoents: General Motors has to make it, not only easy but convenient for customers to order their trucks with these diesel engines. Turn around time should be the same as one going down the production line.

Here is where the video will come into its own. You have started by telling a story and began showing how it is to be done.

Next, I'll take a look at the cars...

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Saving General Motors: 101

I have a candid admission: I like General Motors. No apologies; I like the General!

General Motors,' vehicles have graced everything American: from the movies to racing and from television shows to mod-shows; Detroit is represented with gusto and enthusiasm but having admitted to that bias, I must say the General is in serious trouble: some may say the icon is headed for Chapter 11 or worse yet, Chapter 13, if all the pundits and nay-sayers are to be believed.

Another admission: I happen to believe General Motors will go into bankruptcy protection within 18 months in order to shed some of its dead weight, and to reorganize so that the company will continue to have a meaningful life in these USA.

But my personal feelings aside on both fronts: the love and the bankruptcy; I am going to offer an approach here that, can not only save General Motors but will permit future growth that will satisfy both its share holders and provide good jobs to the community.

Mr. Chairman:

I won't bore you with the analysis of your company's problems becasue they are well documented; the ultimate here is diminishing market share but never fear.

Here are my suggestions.

01: Make an infomercial about how a car is made. Begin with the concept, walk the audience through the design stages before prototype and finally production.

Make it and show it. Buy time on TV and show it. Offer copies to those who want them; ask for handling and shipping but make it availabel to the general public.

I know, you know how a car is made. I know, you know that your engineers know how a car is made. I know, you know that the general public know how a car is made.

I know, I know, I know!

But sir, this not the purpose of this infomercial; its purpose is for the parents to get this information in the hands of the young. That's right, you are about to rebuild the techno-class in this town, not from the point of view of college but from the common kid on the street.

The kids need to know about the lead time it takes from conception to reality; the unforseen problems, scheduling and any other business that will crop up.

An infomercial would do that!

02: Scrap the current brands!

That's right! Get the rid of the current brands that you have. Buick, Chevrolet, Pontiac and Cadillac: Let them go! These were useful in the past as you had patriotic buyers but these names mean nothing in the global market.

Create three divisions in place those brands: Luxury, Trucks and General Motors. These brands are self explanatory and for the sake of conversion, I would allow for the retention of the word Cadillac (for use in the luxury division) but that is neither her nor there; Three divisions is all that you need for streamlining your operation.

The choice of retaining the GM brand is obvious; it could help build brand loyalty to the corporation but please DO NOT refer to the name as GM but rather call it by the full name: General Motors.

I am incline to keep this name but if another can be found which could achieve the same objective, then by all means we should use it but I like the words: General Motors. It has a nice sound to it.

The Truck Division will emcompass all trucks from the smallest to the largest, including the bus division but even so, there will be ample room for collaboration within these classifications.

With the first two steps, Mr. Chairman: (i.e): The creation of the infomercial, the scrapping of division names and the creation of those three simple divisions; Luxury, General Motors and Trucks, you are on your way to revitalizing one of the best companies in the world.

In my second part, I shall give further ideas on how to accomplish this goal.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Dealing With Frustration

I have just spent the last two days trying to set up a 'Rsync Server' under the GNU/Linux Operating System and am no way closer to achieving my objective than when I first started. I have read just about everything the pros have said about setting up back-up systems on networks but, well, to no avail.

I shall retire from sitting in front of this computer screen and go play a video game for the balance of the evening: maybe...

Other short thoughts:

I am going out on a limb and say it doesn't matter who the president replaces Ms. Meirs with, now that his nominee for the high court has resigned. Our problem is not with those nine "men" with their robes on backwards but with the 535 members of the congress: 435 Reps plus 100 senators. They are spending money hand-over-fist like there is no tomorrow: maybe that's the problem.

Does the congress believe there is no tomorrow?

Indicting people for CIA leak 'crimes' is pretty childish, considering the state of world affairs. It must be a smoke screen for something else.

Enabling others to help you picking fights is the screen...

Prediction:

The secretary of war: Ms. C. Rice will run for the presidency of America. She will begin talking about it next year...