The Truth About Cars » american auto industry http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Mon, 20 Oct 2014 22:44:14 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » american auto industry http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Beauty All Around Us: Artists Use Industrial Bi-Product To Make Jewelry http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/beauty-all-around-us-artists-use-industrial-bi-product-to-make-jewelry/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/beauty-all-around-us-artists-use-industrial-bi-product-to-make-jewelry/#comments Fri, 02 May 2014 15:35:04 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=814178 Imagine Detroit at its height, enormous factories and mile-long production lines running day and night, a roiling, churning symphony of man and machine where thousands of workers joined together parts, large and small, from a myriad of sources into single, working vehicle. Although I have toured modern factories in Japan, meticulously clean facilities where technicians […]

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fordite 1

Imagine Detroit at its height, enormous factories and mile-long production lines running day and night, a roiling, churning symphony of man and machine where thousands of workers joined together parts, large and small, from a myriad of sources into single, working vehicle. Although I have toured modern factories in Japan, meticulously clean facilities where technicians in spotless coveralls only complete the tasks that robots cannot, I view the old factories, places like Rouge River that were built in in the first part of the last century, with a special sort of awe. The entirety of what went on there is, to me, unknowable and, like the great pyramids, all that is left of the human toil is the end product. That’s why, when some small piece of history, some bi-product of that mysterious past, catches my attention, I stop and look.

Yesterday, Reddit user “FissurePrice” posted several images in that website’s photographic sub-forum, r/pics, of something he referred to as “Fordite.” I had never heard of the material, but I was instantly captivated by its bright colors and by the way that skilled hands had taken the raw product and shaped it into jewelry. When I found out that the material, also called “Detroit Agate,” is a bi-product of the automotive manufacturing process it got my full attention.

Fordite, it turns out, is actually countless layers of baked together paint. It is created during the painting process when paint overspray falls upon the various racks and trollies that carry car bodies through a car factory’s paint booth. When the vehicles or their parts are moved into the oven to cure, they remain on the racks and so the overspray hardens and cures in exactly the same way it does on the car body. Once the car moves on, the trollies and racks return to the starting point and repeat the process again and again until the overspray builds up to the point where it must be removed. The result then, are the many layered, oven hardened, chunks of paint you see here.

fordite 2

In the century since cars entered mass production, particular colors have come to the fore, lived in the limelight as the height of fashion and the retreated back into nothingness. Each block of Fordite, then, is like the rings of a petrified tree, capable of telling the story of the environment in which it was originally formed. Different eras have produced different color combinations, the somber colors of the early years, the bright pastels of the ‘50s, the bolder colors of the 60s and 70s, etc and, as a result, different varieties of the material attract different kinds of people.

Not being the kind of person who wears much jewelry, I don’t believe I will ever end up purchasing any Fordite of my own but, because of my interest in both autos and history, I’m happy to see people putting the material to such a creative use. In the same way that people have worked to form natural products into beautiful art, it’s nice to see something man made, something that is technically a waste bi-product, be used in such a way. It just goes to show that beauty and art is all around us, we just need to know where to look.

fordite 3

Thomas Kreutzer currently lives in Buffalo, New York with his wife and three children but has spent most of his adult life overseas. He has lived in Japan for 9 years, Jamaica for 2 and spent almost 5 years as a US Merchant Mariner serving primarily in the Pacific. A long time auto and motorcycle enthusiast he has pursued his hobbies whenever possible. He also enjoys writing and public speaking where, according to his wife, his favorite subject is himself.

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Bailout Watch 573: GM Bailout Cost Taxpayers $12,200 Per Car http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2009/11/bailout-watch-573-gm-bailout-cost-taxpayers-12200-per-car/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2009/11/bailout-watch-573-gm-bailout-cost-taxpayers-12200-per-car/#comments Thu, 19 Nov 2009 17:14:52 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=336115 This according to the National Taxpayer’s Union report “The Auto Bailout: A Taxpayer Quagmire,” authored by Rochester Institute of Technology Professor of Economics, Thomas D. Hopkins. That number includes the $52.9b taxpayer “investment” in General Motors, as well as GM’s portion of the GMAC bailout, which brings GM’s taxpayer tab to over $60b. Chrysler’s GMAC-inclusive […]

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Condition 1: taxpayers get the hose (courtesy:dailymail.co.uk)

This according to the National Taxpayer’s Union report “The Auto Bailout: A Taxpayer Quagmire,” authored by Rochester Institute of Technology Professor of Economics, Thomas D. Hopkins. That number includes the $52.9b taxpayer “investment” in General Motors, as well as GM’s portion of the GMAC bailout, which brings GM’s taxpayer tab to over $60b. Chrysler’s GMAC-inclusive bailout bill totals $17.4b, or $7,600 per vehicle, based on estimated 2009/2010 sales. Don’t believe that GM or Chrysler will match their projections over the next twelve months? The NTU estimates that total government support for the auto industry comes out to $800 per taxpaying American family. These numbers do not include the Cash for Clunkers program, likely future bailouts of GMAC (projected at a further $2b), or Department of Energy retooling loans (ATVML). These numbers also do not reflect the very real possibility that GM, Chrysler and GMAC could continue to drain taxpayer money post-2010. “For each year of survival beyond 2010,” the report warns, “the burden per vehicle would decline [Ed: but not disappear] – so long as no additional government funding is provided.”

The report concludes:

Viewed from today’s vantage point, the auto bailout is troublesome in a number of respects. As already noted, the bailout has become a taxpayer quagmire, escape from which will be a major public policy challenge. The recommendations offered by the GAO have much merit, especially those focused on developing an exit plan and on ensuring during the interim that management of the three firms is insulated from political pressures. Sound business practices, not special interest advocacy, should prevail. Both require that a qualified, objective and independent team be given full access to current information about the firms’ operating and financial conditions.

Greater transparency should be achieved so that taxpayers will be better able to understand both issues and outcomes. In particular, taxpayers as part-owners of each of the three firms should be given the same information, on the same timely basis, that public corporations routinely would be required to provide shareholders.

More generally, the bailout has been a sobering experience whose adverse consequences cannot be corrected easily. Auto producers whose products American consumers find most appealing have been notably missing from the roster of bailout recipients. Our subsidies instead have gone to the poor performers, firms whose past management decisions proved faulty. As a result the bailout has created moral hazard problems, inadvertently handicapping the progress of stronger, non-subsidized producers. The problems extend beyond just the auto industry, as favored status for one financial company and its bank necessarily complicates prospects for non-subsidized rivals. The time has come to stop such bailouts, and in an orderly way, to seek at least some recovery for taxpayers.

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Trade War Watch 8: China Probes US Bailout http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2009/11/trade-war-watch-8-china-probes-us-bailout/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2009/11/trade-war-watch-8-china-probes-us-bailout/#comments Tue, 17 Nov 2009 10:40:21 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=335847 As U.S. President Barack Obama landed in Shanghai for a weeklong visit to his largest creditor, China, the news awaited him that China’s Ministry of Commerce will investigate the U.S. government’s financing and rescue plans for the American auto industry, Shanghai Daily reports. The move is part of China’s probe into possible dumping and subsidies […]

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Bail! Picture missinginaction.be

As U.S. President Barack Obama landed in Shanghai for a weeklong visit to his largest creditor, China, the news awaited him that China’s Ministry of Commerce will investigate the U.S. government’s financing and rescue plans for the American auto industry, Shanghai Daily reports.

The move is part of China’s probe into possible dumping and subsidies on U.S.-made vehicles imported to China, the ministry said. Trade officials will be looking for dumping practices and for unfair government subsidies.

Ministry spokesman Yao Jian said China’s probe will look into 24 items which include the U.S. government’s rescue and restructuring plans for the auto industry as well as government subsidies on new-energy vehicles and its “cash-for-clunkers” incentive program.

The concerned U.S. automakers have the right to defend themselves with evidence presented to Chinese investigators by registering within 20 days after China started the probe of U.S. auto imports on November 6, and corrective action must be taken within 60 days after a case is registered.

The investigation applies to sedans and off-road vehicles with engine displacements of 2.0 liters or more, and the whole process of the probe and ruling is expected to be completed within 12 months.

The probe is widely seen as a tit-for-tat measure after Obama imposed punitive tariffs on Chinese tires and steel pipes. These investigation have become a common occurrence: The U.S. has carried out 13 investigations against Chinese products this year for alleged dumping and illegal subsidies.

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