By on January 21, 2009

2008 was supposed to be a banner year for Hyundai. The company predicted a huge sales jump and promised a new flagship. And then 2008 actually happened. Sales were, well, you can guess that one. From a sales and PR point-of-view, the new, V8-powered Genesis was well received. From a sales perspective, not to much. Still, as one Hyundai Marketing VP put it, “if [consumers] aren’t forced to reconsider us, they won’t.” To paraphrase Elvis, perhaps we ought to give Hyundai a little more time. Meanwhile, the comparison between Hyundai and a young Toyota seem to have faded from view. In fact, you could make the case that Hyundai is more GM than Toyota. Well, if not you, me.

Perhaps one of the biggest similarities between GM and Hyundai: a disfunctional relationship with its organized labor. Actually, the comparison leaves the GM-UAW relationship looking downright touchy-feely. In 2006 alone, Hyundai lost 118,293 vehicles worth $1.75b due to strikes and walkouts alone. When it refused to pay year-end bonuses of 1.5 times the monthly pay (even though the production goal wasn’t met… due to strikes and walkouts) workers (wait for it) walked out.

Hyundai caved a few days later, with bosses calling the bonus as a “fresh deal” and “an opportunity to clearly recognize that appropriate remuneration can only come after workers achieve the goals.” But Hyundai management is well-trained by now. Their notoriously militant union has held a strike every year since 1987. Except for 1994. Maybe NAFTA scared them for a year. In any case, if the brand that was launched by Rodney King wants to join the Toyotas of the world, something will have to be done about its labor relations.

But Hyundai management doesn’t have much moral high ground from which to fight. The antics of President Chung Mong-koo would make Blagojevich blush. Mong-koo was convicted on $100m embezzlement and bribery charges–and then freed on the grounds that he could “contribute to the company and the national economy one last time.” Although his son Chung Eui-sun has left the top spot at Kia, he’s still considered the dynastic heir apparent to his headline-grabbing father.

Kia was supposed to provide an opportunity for Eui-sun to prove himself. That hasn’t panned out. High steel prices in Asia and union turbulence have played merry hell with Kia’s thin profit margins. “Kia’s profitability this year and its longer-term competitiveness depend largely on labor flexibility,” says Stephen Ahn of Woori Investments. His theory: it will be better for Eui-sun to keep his hands clean. With another Hyundai strike looming and some serious coming to terms with economic reality ahead, he may be right.

So Eui-sun will stay on as head of Kia’s overseas operations, busying himself with successful Slovakia operations and a giant factory under construction near West Point, Georgia. While basking in the glow of Kia’s new products, from the current Euro Cee’ds to their forthcoming cousins, the Soul, Forte/Spectra and YN. But even on the product front, more symptoms of “Big  Company Syndrome” loom for the Hyundai conglomerate.

If the Genesis got people thinking differently about Hyundai, a super-Genesis will bring in the few remaining skeptics, right? That seems to be the thinking behind the Equus, the troublingly named, packed-with-technology, S-Class fighter. The car will clock-in with a reported price tag north of $95k. Luckily for Koreans, recent rumors of a stateside debut for the Equus means grey-market imports a la Genesis can begin.  

Even at a lower price, the Equus reeks of “Big Company Syndrome.” Whereas the Genesis adds least some enthusiast rear wheel-drive panache to the Hyundai brand, the Equus is a staid limousine. Its owner (Chung Mong-koo?) will likely never stray from the back seat, as he or she is shuttled from payoff to “political fundraiser.” More importantly, a $96k car in the midst of an economic downturn doesn’t say anything positive about the Hyundai brand that the Genesis doesn’t. A budget S-Class is one thing, a Hyundai Maybach is another. And that’s before you start on the name.

In reality, Hyundai is letting Kia take over as the purveyors of cheap and cheerful. And as the “junior brand” picks up its game with the Forte and Soul, Hyundai is chasing the American brands with SUVs, Crossovers and RWD offerings. Product overlap between the two brands, a coming labor confrontation and untimely upmarket ambitions by Hyundai may be enough to take some shine off the Hyundai-Kia juggernaut. Moody’s is eyeing a credit rating cut for Hyundai-Kia, as a weak Won kept things from getting too nasty in 2008. This year will be tougher still.

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70 Comments on “Editorial: Is Hyundai The New GM?...”


  • avatar
    Billy Bobb 2

    Heh-ro. My name is Hyundai Bentaree.

  • avatar
    MikeInCanada

    I am going to buy whatever that blond standing next to the car tells me too.

  • avatar
    Dynamic88

    If we are focusing on American buyers, I believe most are blissfully unaware of what goes on in Korea, be it militant unionism or corporate malfeasance. Consumers will judge the cars on their own merits.

    From and industry watcher and/or investor point of view, you may have a point.

    I do agree that the Equus (got to change the name here) is the wrong thing for the Hyundai brand.

    Didn’t one of the top men at Toyota say that Hyundai had learned Toyota’s methods better than anyone else?

  • avatar
    dwford

    Hyundai USA didn’t want the Genesis, either. While it hasn’t set the sales charts on fire (yet), it definitely has upped Hyundai’s brand recognition and perception. Just having the car in the showroom makes everything else look better. “If Hyundai can make a car as good as the Genesis, imagine how good their other cars are..” works quite often. Now with the new Hyundai Assurance – which everyone already seems to know about after only 2 weeks, Hyundai has a lot going for it. But a $96k Hyundai in the States? No not yet..

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    Wow, Billy Bob, get your ridiculous stereo types correct next time. While many Koreans can speak Japanese, they don’t speak English with a Japanese accent. Sheesh.

    Anyway, Hyundai is no GM, but it could become one. They have shown an ability to improve at a much faster rate than GM has. Still, a lousy union relationship, and a leadership vacuum at the top could send them down the same path. Likely they could lose altitude and gain velocity faster than GM as well.

  • avatar
    Paul Niedermeyer

    I prefer to judge Hyundai on its products and growth rather than the messy stuff that goes on back in Korea. Certainly, Hyundai is not immune to the global crisis, and if things get bad enough, it may start hurting, along with just about everyone else (except VW?).

  • avatar
    rtz

    Where’s that tire smoking, Supra looking, two door Genesis at? That’s the one everyone wants.

  • avatar
    buzzliteyear

    I think the blond has a much more attractive rear end than the car….

  • avatar
    factotum

    What happens in Korea… do we really care?

  • avatar
    dwford

    Every auto maker goes through periods of bad decision making. Look at Nissan in the late 90’s. Look at VW and the hookers, Honda and those insanely ugly new Acuras, Toyota and the ignored sludge problems and the rusty truck frames, anything Mazda in the 90s except the Miata.

    I would rather see Hyundai create the most over the top Hyundai that may be worth the price but more than the consumer is ready to accept than to play it safe in the “not quite as good as Honda” niche they are in now. If nothing else, the stretch will improve their engineering capability overall, which will trickle down to the rest of the line.

  • avatar
    63CorvairSpyder

    Nice wheels…..how are the headlights?

  • avatar
    ra_pro

    Of course there is another way of looking at it and that is that despite all the union problems look how far the Hyundai has gotten in the last 10-15 years? Imagine their unions were like the Japanese. And if that’s the case than perhaps the problem with Detroit is not their unions but everything else as I always argued.

    I will still stick to my prediction that Hyundai will be the main Toyota competition within the next 10-15 years as the purveyor of reliable inexpensive cars just as Samsung is the main competition to Sony now.

    And I couldn’t care less as I don’t intend to ever buy either one.

  • avatar
    TEW

    I love the Genesis and if I had the money I would buy one. I am not one to show off so if the car is what I want I.e. luxury RWD V8 I would have no problem buying it. A manufacture needs a big flagship car so it drives people into the dealership for the little cars. With a 10 year 100,000 mile warranty I am looking at Hyundai for my next car.

  • avatar
    johnny ro

    good product sells

  • avatar
    Scott Galiger

    Said lady from the front . . .

    http://www.qwert.pl/foto/MTP_MOTOR_SHOW_2003/Hyundai_Equus.jpg

    or

    http://www.motoforum.pl/321/pms_hyundai_equus01.jpg

  • avatar
    wjo

    The article makes an indirect but interesting argument that maybe the unions aren’t really part of Detroit’s product development problem, despite the oft-vilified work rules, etc.

    As to Hyundai’s success in the US — well, they were definitely on an upward path before the economy tanked. I suspect that if they had 5 more years of an upward run, they would be able to weather shake-out taking place. As it is, consumers are going make a flight to quality in their buying choices. Hyundai, with its brand not quite intact, will lose quite a bit of ground in the next few years.

  • avatar
    harrpie

    I’d like to toss her in the backseat and leave some hot mustard sauce on the leather upholstery

  • avatar
    Cicero

    I see Hyundai’s hardnosed antagonism toward its workers has left one of them unable to afford an entire dress.

  • avatar
    Rix

    Hyundai isn’t competing with Toyota. It’s crushing GM at the value end of the market.

  • avatar
    schadenfred

    Is she reflexively doing the CYA with her hands because the car is named after a horse?

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    This is what I do know….

    after watching several friends deal with their craptacular Hyundai Excels two decades ago, Hyundai was dead to me.

    But starting with the current Sonata, and then the Santa Fe, Elantra, Entourage, and now the Genesis, they have clawed their way back on my radar screen. While their drivetrains may still be a beat behind Toyota and Honda, the rest of the package is ready, and for 70% of the price. And I think the Kia Soul is going to be blockbusters.

    And with a pretty incredible warranty behind them.

    Hyundai learned their lesson.

  • avatar
    KalapanaBlack

    I don’t understand why a scheduled redesign of an existing model (the Equus) is beat on to death as some proof of a dysfunctional company. I can’t speak to Hyundai’s labor relations, corporate thinking, or product strategies at large, but the Equus’ redesign proves nothing other than that they are redesigning a car. The Equus nameplate has been around since 1999, and this will be the third distinct generation of the car. It was co-developed with the Mitsubishi Proudia/Dignity, though it was available with smaller Hyundai engines (though the distinctive FWD 4.5L Mitsubishi V8 was an option).

    The ’99 Equus replaced a previous large sedan, the Dynasty, which was related to the second-gen Grandeur (we know the third-gen Grandeur as the XG, and the fourth-gen as the Azera), which shared parts with the Diamante-sized Mitsubishi Debonair.

    I understand that these products were all small-volume (though the Equus has been a sales success in Korea) and not available outside the Japanese/Korean markets, but the existence of a third-generation vehicle of a commercially successful nameplate isn’t indicative of failure, even if it isn’t available in the US. To say so smacks of a closed-mindedness I haven’t seen before on TTAC.

  • avatar
    Qwerty

    A $95K Hyundai! I just fell off my chair.

  • avatar
    PanzerJaeger

    Someone forgot to edit this.

    Good editorial though. All is not as it seems in the auto world. The domestics had some great years in the 90s, but that didn’t mean they were well run companies.

  • avatar
    WaftableTorque

    I would be in the market for the Equus if it ever came to Canada, assuming it was AWD. I’m far more trusting of Hyundai’s reliability than I would be of the German marques.

    I already have a Lexus ES and LS, and I just don’t like the trendy interior and exterior design direction that company is going towards, so I’m open to change.

    But at that price point, Hyundai better have a good value proposition, because their image still doesn’t match their aspirations.

  • avatar
    V6

    the Equus would have been in development for a while now, it’s not like they can pull the plug on a car almost ready to go because the market has tanked in the last 6 months

    i like Hyundai. the Getz is one of my favourite small cars because it’s not a feminine design and not marketed directly to girls like so many small cars

  • avatar
    no_slushbox

    This car makes a lot of sense in South Korea. It is their equivalent of something like the Toyota Century.

    Unlike the Japanese, and some other island dwellers, the South Koreans drive on the correct side of the road. That means that their cars can be exported to China, Western Europe and the Americas without switching the side of the steering wheel.

    Hyundai probably doesn’t expect this car to sell well, but it doesn’t have to because the cost of selling it in the US is very low.

    It is a crazy world when Hyundai, under its own badge, is going to be selling a car in the US that is more expensive than any sedan built by an American automaker, and more expensive than every Japanese sedan sold in the US except for the LS600h.

  • avatar
    shaker

    What a lovely beast

    (And the car’s not bad, either).

    Hyundai is following the Toyota mantra (incremental improvements) better than Toyota itself – they’ll be well-positioned when the economy groans upward.

    Edit: Scott Galiger-I think the second photo that you posted (thanks!) is the lady in question… rrrowww!

  • avatar
    Bunter1

    Hyundia’s improvement in reliability in the last 5 years shows clearly that GM has simply been giving lip service to the concept (having charted some of the data it appears GM peaked about ’04/’05 and are now losing ground).

    In this market it is hard to call what will happen but I suspect Hyundia will weather this storm and prove to belong with the “big dogs”.

    They are getting the product and quality right, baring massive management foul-ups, the sales will follow.

    Bunter

  • avatar
    Bunter1

    I think in a “less aggressive presentation” the blonde would be fairly ordinary in booth-babe terms. You reacting to the wrapper, not the person..The Lambo babe in the “booth babe” article smokes her. IMHO. ;^D

    Bunter

  • avatar
    KalapanaBlack

    I’d like to point out that Hyundai, despite labor relations that are far worse than those in the US, still manages to make money, increase sales, design and build cars that people want to buy (and not only in one or two markets, they do it in nearly all markets across the world), and have managed to, you know, actually stay in business. Which is a far more realistic measure of corporate success than personal anecdotes about slightly off-kilter product strategy and disagreement with pricing.

    Would you’ve said Toyota couldn’t sell a $35,000 Lexus LS in 1990? What about the LS600hL, which sells for $90+ grand today? Yet no eye is batted at that. Hyundai’s simply growing its business. The scrutiny seems very unwarranted.

  • avatar
    menno

    Hyundai had a current gen Equus (which is named after the root word for “horse” as in Equine, not some weird play, I’m sure) at the Montgomery, Alabama plant for visiting VIP’s. Our tour guide simply indicated that it was a non-US market Hyundai when we went past. The car in question was the most hideous weird non-descript (closest I could guess would be some weird khaki) color, but having looked at the Hyundai worldwide and Korean websites, I knew what it was when probably nobody else on the golf cart “train” did. (Hey, I’m a car guy, ok?)

    As for the labor problems in South Korea, the South Korean workforce is no different than the British workforce in the 1970’s who struck continually and pushed themeselves out of jobs, so guess what? Folks in and around Montgomery Alabama and West Point Georgia will be more than happy to work for a living without continually striking, if treated even half humanely. Which, from what I could see, Hyundai certainly was doing when I visited the plant on their tour in January 2008.

    Hyundai-Kia remains a healthy company with issues, just like any human enterprise, but I think that they will come through better than the Detroit 2.452.

    Certainly we are going to very probably take on a 3rd Hyundai Sonata, a 2009, once the lease on our 2007 finishes. I suspect that by the end of June when the lease is up, 2010 cars may be arriving and we may get a real steal deal on a leftover 2009 lease. I can hope.

  • avatar
    KalapanaBlack

    You’ll flip over the ’09’s interior. It’s 250% better than the ’06-08. I didn’t realize how cheap it was until the ’09 came out. There isn’t a cheap part anywhere, the knobs and buttons feel fantastic, and the gauges are the most expensive-looking and ornate in a sub-$40,000 car on the market. They really are gorgeous.

  • avatar
    KalapanaBlack

    As I said (it was edited, for reasons beyond me), the concept pictured is not the forthcoming Equus, but the 2002 HCD-7 concept sedan. I believe it was the first done by Hyundai’s US styling center, but I could be wrong.

  • avatar
    akear

    The Genesis is the DTS Cadillac never built. Cadillac is going to regret the day they cancelled their Ultra V8 program. Come on, Cadillac even Hyundai and now *Acura have advanced V8s.

    *Acura recently announced they will be producing an advanced V8.

  • avatar
    tedward

    I don’t know, they outluxury the Corolla with the Elantra (boring isn’t despicable if you’re the best at it), they produce a flagship V-8 sedan in the LS tradition and they give us a moderately sized rwd turbo coupe. Can’t really hate on Hyundai this year, sorry.

    Also, why assume that the striking is a strictly negative thing? A free market also implies the freedom to collectively bargain, and so long as the company is turning out cars, employees that can afford to consume and a profit it’s good job to them, regardless of the melodrama. None of that is meant to say that they shouldn’t fire the executives that handle union negotiations, because they clearly need to go.

  • avatar
    no_slushbox

    akear:

    The STS is the Genesis that Cadillac builds. But it costs more and has less content. The vast majority of STSes have the 3.6 V6, and according to a Wards Auto Hyundai expects an 80% take rate on the V6 in the Genesis.

    Also, Honda has canceled their V8 program, unless you have something more recent than January 7, 2009:

    http://www.autoweek.com/article/20090106/FREE/901069977

    Canceling their new DOHC V8 program is one of the smartest things that GM has done. The LS small block is brilliant and most people opt for the V6 in the Genesis/STS/M/GS/E/5 midsize luxury segment anyway.

    The Equus is going to be the DTS that Cadillac never built, especially if Hyundai brings over the factory limousine version. Here is the current generation factory limousine version:

    http://carscoop.blogspot.com/2008/08/hyundai-releases-teaser-shot-of-new-rwd.html?showComment=1219375920000

  • avatar

    I said a long time ago that if any of the Detroit companies had the management, ahem, turmoil of the Hyundai/Kia complex they’d be slammed more often than this post by Farago. Instead the same folks who bash Detroit make excuses for Hyundai. Rick Wagoner may or may not be incompetent, but he didn’t embezzle $100 million.

    Frankly I’ve always thought it was humorous the way Hyundai/Kia rarely put a Korean out front at one of their US product reveals. It’s always the American executive of the month with a bunch of identically dressed Koreans pacing nervously on the periphery. Would you go to work for Hyundai/Kia at a high level in the States? They change US executives and ad agencies so often it’s hard to remember who’s got the job and who was fired most recently. I’m not surprised that their chief designer, Joel Piaskowski, left to go work for Mercedes.

  • avatar

    Hyundai is not synonymous with GM but rather Ford. The problem with GM is that the people in charge care only about themselves rather than the company. At GM there is no vision and there is no one in charge. At Hyundai and Ford the family cares about the company though they can be dead wrong but they are in charge. Henry Ford was a megalomaniac genius. He was either right and ahead of his time or dead wrong going down blind alley. Hyundai suffers from the same problem of Ford (until now) in which the family refused to let potential competing managerial talent run “their” company. Hyundai in another generation will be hurting really badly just as Ford was when the controlling family refused to put the company in the hands of their best people who are probably not family members

    On another note I find it amusing that all the UAW bashers who proclaim that UAW is the reason why the former big 3 are going down have always failed to realize that all unions even in Japan Germany Korea etc primary purpose is to benefit the workers. The unions are all somewhat militant to varying degrees when they don’t get what they want. It is easy to be cooperative when you have good pay, good benefits and job security.

    I can seem to recall seeing in the news a while back scenes of striking Hyundai workers battling it out in the streets of Korea with Korean riot police. The workers were throwing flaming Molotov cocktails. I don’t ever recall the UAW doing that. Most people here including me don’t speak Japanese, Korean or German so we can’t watch their news and read their papers so we can’t see the asinine comments made by their union leaders.

    Virtually all autos sold in the US are made by union workers but somehow the demise of the former big 3 is summed up as the fault of the UAW. That is a crock. The difference between the former big 3 and their competition is simply their management. The Toyota Corolla and Tacoma are made in the US by UAW workers. Those vehicles are not crap, they are well made, they are well engineered, they are dependable and they are made at a profit in America. The difference maker is management.

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    Sherman,
    Your argument fails due to lack of cultural sensitivity. You see, as our liberal professors were so happy to point out, one cannot judge other countries by our particular standards. Korean protests are simply more violent than ours. When I was there, there were always riot armed police fighting with someone. Also, Japanese unions are nothing like the UAW. In fact, none of the unions from the other countries are like the UAW. That would be your second problem. Lastly, foreign management is not like ours, which makes a big difference as well. Good American manager talent simply prefers not to put up with UAW BS, and they have a LOT of other choices. I blame the lack of management talent at the 2.8 on the unions and government as well.
    TINSTAAFL.

  • avatar

    Landcrushe, I agree there is no free lunch. Everything has costs but your argument is false. According to the premise of your argument there can be no good talent at NUMMI by definition as there is a union.

    Well there sure as hell seems to be good talent there making good cars that people want to buy at a profit with UAW workers. That’s because they are run by smart good managers and GM is not. Just a thought, contrary to your beliefs talented and smart people do not exclusively have to hold same thoughts, preferences, and political viewpoints as your own.

    I know lots of brilliant talented people who are right wing as well some that are left wing in their viewpoints. It has been my experience that good managers can make chicken salad out of chicken shit because by definition they are good managers. Bad managers fail because they are bad managers but they always find a scapegoat other than themselves.

    The blame it on the union is in my opinion a cop out for no talented no goodniks in the industry. An easy scapegoat for Detroit to avoid admitting they are run by a bunch of doofuses.

    Companies are run from the top not the bottom. If the idiots at the top are idiots then the company will fail.

  • avatar
    tedward

    Landcrusher
    The Koreans just aren’t as far along in their industrial development as us, we’ve had all our bloody confrontations already (Battle of Blair Mountain for example). Our union laws were passed specifically to prevent what goes on over there and they work.

    What was this about?
    “Good American manager talent simply prefers not to put up with UAW BS, and they have a LOT of other choices.”
    What other choices? Can American management simply refuse to deal with their own unionized employees? I do believe that is the entire purpose of a strike, to destroy businesses that refuse to negotiate or bring them to the table. If you mean that they can have strikers arrested and fired, then fine, up to a point this is sort of possible (although not always legal…), but too much of this leads to violence, and frankly it dosen’t take much violence to shut down a factory or bring in a pissed-off big government.

    The other choice that I can think of would be hiring consultants to come in, costing tens of millions of dollars, to neuter the fledgling union. What this does besides costing more money than the union requested in concessions is beyond me, and it certainly does nothing positive for workplace morale. This is just a way for executives to spend company money, chasing a result that has more to do with their bruised egos than any business necessity.

  • avatar
    geeber

    Sherman Lin: Virtually all autos sold in the US are made by union workers but somehow the demise of the former big 3 is summed up as the fault of the UAW….The Toyota Corolla and Tacoma are made in the US by UAW workers.

    The BMW, Honda, Nissan and Hyundai plants in the U.S. are not unionized, and the only unionized Toyota plant in the U.S. is the NUMMI facility in California. And that’s because it used to be a GM plant, so the UAW was already there when Toyota and GM entered into their joint venture during the 1980s.

    So I don’t know if it’s accurate to say that “virtually all” of the vehicles sold in the U.S. are made by union workers.

    I do agree, however, that companies need to manage their workforce effectively. It’s interesting to note that since the early postwar years Ford has had a much better relationship with the UAW than GM and Chrysler…and Ford made the most headway in getting the UAW locals to sign up for competitive operating agreements at its U.S. factories.

  • avatar

    You’re right Geeber my bad. I was referring to the autos actually made in Japan. Korea and Germany but you are correct a sizeable portion of the market are domestic non union autos.

  • avatar
    like.a.kite

    A hundred grand for a freakin’ Hyundai is ridiculous. Truly something egotistical, and misguided. The brand is not there yet.

  • avatar
    scartooth

    I have yet to see one American vehicle on this site. This must be a propaganda site for cheap imports. To have a true newsletter you have to have one that is objective in its research. This one seems to be very biased and I can tell by your sponsors. So,this is not The truth about cars and yet another hidden agenda of foreign industries.

  • avatar
    akear

    My heart sank when Cadillac ditched the ultra V8.
    It is to point now I don’t even want to talk about Cadillac anymore. The Genesis has Cadillac’s number.

  • avatar
    wsn

    Sherman Lin said:

    On another note I find it amusing that all the UAW bashers who proclaim that UAW is the reason why the former big 3 are going down have always failed to realize that all unions even in Japan Germany Korea etc primary purpose is to benefit the workers. The unions are all somewhat militant to varying degrees when they don’t get what they want. It is easy to be cooperative when you have good pay, good benefits and job security.

    The unions can bargain for whatever they want. That’s fine with me, as long as they get it from the management or the share holders or the bond holders.

    But when they are bullying their way to get my tax money. I am entitled to bash them. No, I don’t bash the Japanese unions because they haven’t received a cent from me.

  • avatar
    wsn

    Sherman Lin said:
    Landcrushe, I agree there is no free lunch. Everything has costs but your argument is false. According to the premise of your argument there can be no good talent at NUMMI by definition as there is a union.

    I am with Landcrusher on this one.

    NUMMI is not a good example, because it’s only a tiny fraction of the Toyota empire. If NUMMI goes on strike, so be it. Toyota can simply ignore it, and let the strike go on for eternity. But the same cannot be said for GM, all the plants would likely go on strike at the same time. And that will break GM.

  • avatar
    scartooth

    No I just want to tell the whole truth about cars. Where they come from and what it takes to make them. Also Japanese cars have received millions of American tax dollars and still do. Where you been. So now we know this which most people do. I believe we need to address the unregulated businesses of Japan from the fishing industry to the killing of whales. Now the Chinese with their child slave labor to their unregulated pollution standards to the toxic foods and toys that enter the USA. We have laws in the USA in order to protect the consumer and to let these inferior products to flow into our country without regulations abroad is unAmerican and should be shunned by any BLUE BLOODED AMERICAN

  • avatar

    I have yet to see one American vehicle on this site.

    Really? In Latest Car Reviews at the top right I see Dodge, Chevy, Lincoln…..

    John

  • avatar
    scartooth

    I say put some mudflaps on the hyuidai and send it to the bottom of the river. Its junk.

  • avatar
    agenthex

    Landcrusher:
    I blame the lack of management talent at the 2.8 on the unions and government as well.

    Is there anything conservatives can’t blame on unions and government?

  • avatar
    agenthex

    NUMMI is not a good example, because it’s only a tiny fraction of the Toyota empire.

    I recommend reading at least some of the posts in a thread before replying. There are numerous posts above that talk of unionization of their own domestic operations.

  • avatar

    “NUMMI is not a good example, because it’s only a tiny fraction of the Toyota empire. If NUMMI goes on strike, so be it. Toyota can simply ignore it, and let the strike go on for eternity”

    It simply guts the argument that the UAW is why GM etc is failing. Good management can succeed where bad management fails. I’m sorry if the facts don’t conform to some people’s world view on unions etc.

    The basic fact remains that popular well made and profitable vehicles like the Corolla and the Tacoma can be made in the US for good wages and benefits with UAW workers. It is simply not disputabe.

    As to your contentions of the consequences of a strike, you amaze me. Why is it that you somehow assume that there will be a strike? NUMMI is well run as opposes to GM. Why would there be a strike? Most people here also don’t seem to understand some basics of US labor law. When there is a signed contract there can be no strike during the term of the contract. It is illegal. The only time a union can strike is when the contract expires and a new contract has not been signed. Toyota is a well run company, They don’t have a history of screwing virtually everyone over unlike some companies. When you don’t screw over your workers and treat them well they in turn don’t strike over petty shit

  • avatar
    geeber

    agenthex: There are numerous posts above that talk of unionization of their own domestic operations.

    The Japanese domestic unions are similar to company unions, which were banned in the U.S. in the 1930s. They cannot be compared to the UAW.

  • avatar
    wsn

    Sherman Lin said:
    As to your contentions of the consequences of a strike, you amaze me. Why is it that you somehow assume that there will be a strike? NUMMI is well run as opposes to GM. Why would there be a strike?

    There will be a strike if:
    1) UAW wants more pay, AND
    2) UAW believes that they can make the auto makers yield

    (1) is always true, and can be said for any other industry or person (including me)

    (2) is only true sometimes. Right now with this recession, for example, it’s not true.

    Back to the NUMMI example. (2) is never true for NUMMI, becasue Toyota can ignore its effect. The UAW knows this. So they don’t bother.

    But (2) is true for the entire GM, when they still can get by. So they do it, or threaten to do it often.

  • avatar
    wsn

    Add to my above post.

    That logic is not limited to UAW. I would do it, if I can pull if off. But my boss won’t bulge.

    Realistically, only UAW made (2) possible in recent years.

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    Sherman,

    You completely mischaracterized my objections to your argument. Nowhere do I say that there can be no success where there is a union, or even the UAW. Also, as noted by another, the plant you mention could only posssibly stand for evidence that a UAW plant could possibly work, not that the UAW has no responsibility for the 2.8’s mess. Having driven a Matrix, I would argue that it doesn’t work either.
    If you look again, you will see that I make the point that those unions are NOT the same as the UAW, and that they are in countries with vastly different cultures and circumstances.

    Tedward,

    My point about American managers is that they choose not to work for GM anymore. Why work for a 2.8, when you can work somewhere where your ideas and initiatives aren’t battled by union employees who don’t even have to argue with you about why they disagree with your plans? Why leave the union and take a lower management job that likely pays little more, but comes with a LOT more work and headaches? IOW, the UAW gets the management they deserve. It’s like a bunch of women ranting about men, when they get exactly the husbands they deserve, and vice versa.

  • avatar
    tedward

    Landcrusher…ok, sorry, I thought you meant to say that management dosen’t have to deal with the UAW. I kind of agree that the UAW management is partly responsible for the poor general management of GM, although I think the problem is just that the UAW is probably too big. What universal action that they take, justified or not, seems to have too extreme an effect (leaving aside the strike and die provision of the recent gov. loans, which basically just stripped their right to strike regardless of the scope of the action).

  • avatar
    don1967

    Interesting point… some of Hyundai’s overseas fiascos do seem more reminiscent of GM than of Toyota. But in terms of product I still think Toyota is aiming to be the new GM (ie: quantity over quality) while Hyundai is aiming to be the new Toyota (ie: quality and value over excitement).

  • avatar
    Orian

    South Korean companies are notorious for scandals. It amazes me some still exist in this day and age.

    As for the Excel comment from above, those had Mitsubishi drive trains in them as did most Hyundai cars up until they implemented their own power train program in the late 90s. Only then did they move to the 10yr/100k warranty program.

    I hope they put the crack pipe down – a $95k Hyundai will not sell in this country. They can ask VW how well the Phaeton sold here at those price points.

    Scartooth, I had far fewer problems with my 2000 Hyundai that I purchased new in 1999 than I’ve had with my 2004 GM product. Please put the mudflaps on my GM product and sink it and give me a Hyundai in its place.

  • avatar
    agenthex

    It’s really quite amazing the elaborate and pathetic excuses people will put up for everyone else just to pin everything on the UAW.

    I’ve got to hand to the psychological puppet masters who designed this meme. GM’s (and chrysler’s) products suck, but pay no attention to anything but the few hours manual screw turning part of the sophisticated process/system; because unions are bad, just like communists, and those brown terrorists/communists.

    I blame Bush. And the lack of rolleyes icons on this site.

  • avatar
    scartooth

    Whats Pathetic is the Leeches from Foreign businesses that are sucking this country dry.Whats more pathetic is noone is stopping it. At least GM, CHRYsLER and Fords provides JOBS for their people. These FOREIGN industries only TAKE JOBS and MONIES OVERSEAS and that is the MOST PATHETIC. That is Why any AMERCANS with a BRAIN the size of a PEA should see whats happening in their COUNRTY and turn away from FOREIGN GOODS all together.

  • avatar
    don1967

    Don’t tell Scartooth, but many Fords and Chevys are built in Mexico, while Hyundais are built in Alabama. And the Hyundais are proving to be superior in every way.

  • avatar
    scartooth

    Well the secret is out. Ok, I will answer your request. YEP your wrong again. hehehehehhe. When I speak of making an automobile I am not talking about the assembly of pieces that are made overseas. I am talking about American made parts and American assembled. Now when you have Americans making and assembling these parts you have and awesome vehicle that is far superior to those that have sent cheap sub-par parts to an elite assembly process. No matter how you put those foreign parts together they still are sub par to American made. But I will say that the americans that put those sub par parts together are far superior to their counterparts overseas. This is not do to the foreign workers but, the conditons in which they work in and also the fact that China has child slave labor. So I hope I have answered your question and as I always say. BUY AMERICAN keep your JOBS in AMERICA.

  • avatar
    Richard Ellis

    Having worked as a mechanic for over twenty years let me tell you of working at a Hyundia dealership.
    The brand is really a racket, The R&D of the company is derived from so-called “contests\'” of the up and coming engineering students. The ‘winners’ are presented with the token plastic trophys a nod and wink. The thousands of ideas are dechiphered and implemented.
    And let me tell you of the Excells that blow up their fuel tanks randomly…the EVAP system runs whenever, even with the car parked & shutoff….like in your garage. We had the evidence in our dealership parking lot.a torched car..parked as far away as possible, then covered with a tarp…us technicians determined the source of the fire…yeah the evap system that runs hot to the touch. Then there was that other Excell that “mysteriously” caught fire.. in the news..in town. “Our” car/evidence was promptly towed away…the owner bribed with a new/upgraded replacement. Racket, pure racket.
    __________________________________________Rick…..

  • avatar
    tedward

    Richard Ellis

    what’s this, the blog comment that launched a thousand lawsuits?

    Seriously though, that could be a pretty serious accusation assuming you aren’t just venting. I hope for your sake that you didn’t post that at work (assuming you’re still at the dealer).

    The last thing Hyundai needs right now is a Pinto problem, and having cars that burst into flames on people would definitely qualify as one of those.

  • avatar
    Richard Ellis

    Yes, There are Soo… many serious problems with todays new cars that the public are blissfully unaware of. Did you know In-tank electric fuel pumps are cooled with the gasoline in the tank??
    That the fuel senders will sizzle the gasoline when the level is almost empty? There is an exposed coil of wire that a wiper arm sweeps across according to the float level.
    Do you see fuel-cell (Bladder style)nascar type technology in todays cars?? No, Too expensive.
    The “Crush test” the US does on current cars is seriously flawed. The ‘test’ drops a car straight down on its’ top…if the car in question is dropped off kilter as in NOT straight down most autos will fail this crush test. Stand on an aluminum pop can with one foot, can hold your weight right?? While balanced on this can tap your free foot on the side of the can..It will instantly collapse…….same concept.
    _____________________________________Rick….

  • avatar
    agenthex

    Maybe they should step up and start taking engineering advice from technicians.


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