Bailout Watch 250: Sound and Fury

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago
bailout watch 250 sound and fury

This is the week that the CEOs of Chrysler, Ford and GM make their second attempt at securing enough bailout bucks to stave-off bankruptcy (Ford not-so-much, but since you’re offering…). As is the way of such things, the serious “negotiations” is already going down, as politicians and supplicants prepare to posture for public presentation. Automotive News [sub] reports that Republicans have decided to focus their hypocritical ire (imagine a politician chastising an automaker for not balancing their budget) on the United Auto Workers’ (UAW) Jobs Bank. “The Jobs Bank requires the Detroit 3 to pay nearly full wages to hourly workers who have been laid off. Although the number of workers in the Jobs Bank has dwindled, the concept has become a powerful symbol of auto industry excess. General Motors is likely to propose its elimination, says a source familiar with the company’s thinking. Last week Bond did not spell out precisely which concessions he expects from the UAW. But during the congressional debates, many GOP lawmakers singled out the Jobs Bank as a wasteful Detroit 3 practice.”

Don’t be fooled by the pro’s prose. Either GM’s already cut a deal with the UAW to kill the Job’s Bank, or it hasn’t. And if it has, you can bet the UAW didn’t ask for something in return– something which will NOT be the subject of public debate or disclosure (the joys of having a public turnaround plan and private for-pols-eyes only plan).

“The enormous costs in union-required benefits are unsustainable,” said Sen. Elizabeth Dole, R-N.C. “Renegotiating these contracts would be essential if there were to be hope of keeping these companies afloat.”

What’s the bet the automakers’ suits will throw the UAW’s recent “historic accord” (Daniel Howes) under the proverbial bus? And why not? As many TTAC commentators have pointed-out, the UAW’s compensation is hardly the central reason for The Big 2.8’s slide into bankruptcy. But it’s a lot better for the D2.8’s chiefs if Congress focuses on the union– rather than the CEO’s epic mismanagement on the branding, product development, manufacturing, planning and marketing fronts.

In fact, Jet-gate may set the template: a class war between the haves and the have-mores, with a sideshow of SUV bashing. Politics. You gotta love it.

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  • ToolGuy CXXVIII comments?!?
  • ToolGuy I did truck things with my truck this past week, twenty-odd miles from home (farther than usual). Recall that the interior bed space of my (modified) truck is 98" x 74". On the ride home yesterday the bed carried a 20 foot extension ladder (10 feet long, flagged 14 inches past the rear bumper), two other ladders, a smallish air compressor, a largish shop vac, three large bins, some materials, some scrap, and a slew of tool cases/bags. It was pretty full, is what I'm saying.The range of the Cybertruck would have been just fine. Nothing I carried had any substantial weight to it, in truck terms. The frunk would have been extremely useful (lock the tool cases there, out of the way of the Bed Stuff, away from prying eyes and grasping fingers -- you say I can charge my cordless tools there? bonus). Stainless steel plus no paint is a plus.Apparently the Cybertruck bed will be 78" long (but over 96" with the tailgate folded down) and 60-65" wide. And then Tesla promises "100 cubic feet of exterior, lockable storage — including the under-bed, frunk and sail pillars." Underbed storage requires the bed to be clear of other stuff, but bottom line everything would have fit, especially when we consider the second row of seats (tools and some materials out of the weather).Some days I was hauling mostly air on one leg of the trip. There were several store runs involved, some for 8-foot stock. One day I bummed a ride in a Roush Mustang. Three separate times other drivers tried to run into my truck (stainless steel panels, yes please). The fuel savings would be large enough for me to notice and to care.TL;DR: This truck would work for me, as a truck. Sample size = 1.
  • Art Vandelay Dodge should bring this back. They could sell it as the classic classic classic model
  • Surferjoe Still have a 2013 RDX, naturally aspirated V6, just can't get behind a 4 banger turbo.Also gloriously absent, ESS, lane departure warnings, etc.
  • ToolGuy Is it a genuine Top Hand? Oh, I forgot, I don't care. 🙂