By on August 24, 2014

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There is news, at least partially confirmed by General Motors, that the Cadillac brand may expand its operations in New York City, moving some business functions from the RenCen in Detroit. It’s thought that moving some marketing, advertising and strategy functions to the Big Apple will add luster to GM’s luxury brand by separating it from the city of Detroit’s tarnished image, as well as make it easier to attract talent to those positions. Some people apparently have the notion that “Detroit” is this incredibly provincial and insular place and that the only way to thrive in the highly competitive  global automobile industry is to leave the Motor City behind, both figuratively and literally. That attitude, though, is nothing new, either outside Detroit or in the region. Also, the idea that the domestic car companies have been operated in Detroit by Detroiters, insulated from the rest of the country (and world) is contrary to the historical record.

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You’ve probably heard of Sloan-Kettering hospital in New York City, one of the world’s best cancer treatment centers. This is car site so some of you may recognize those two names as being associated with a business headquartered not in New York but rather in Detroit. That firm is General Motors. Sloan was Alfred P. Sloan, who ran GM from 1923 to 1956 and Kettering was Charles Kettering, the prolific inventor who was GM’s first chief engineer. As with the copper boom in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, more than a little bit of the money made by Detroit automakers made its way back east.

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During GM’s heyday, it’s true that the individual divisions, what we today call GM’s brands, were operated in many ways as completely different companies and most of the decisions of those companies were made somewhere near Detroit, but many of the overarching corporate decisions were made about 600 miles east of the Motor City.

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Alfred Sloan was no stranger to New York. Though born in Connecticut and educated at MIT near Boston (MIT’s school of business management was endowed by Sloan), he was raised in Brooklyn and he died in New York City at the age of 90. The financial community of New York and east coast investors had a major role in the way the GM was managed for much of the 20th century. GM is sort of notorious among car enthusiasts for giving the “bean counters”, the accountants and financial folks supremacy over the product people, the engineers and designers. Where do you think those bean counters work and live? It’s not southeastern Michigan. General Motors Treasurer’s Office has long been located in New York City and it’s long been recognized as holding a lot of power within the company.

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GM’s ties to major east coast investors goes back to Billy Durant’s days of putting the company together, and then losing control to bankers. Starting up Chevrolet to compete with GM, Durant eventually got the backing of Pierre S. DuPont to retake control of GM. One of Durant’s acquisitions for GM was the Hyatt Roller Bearing Company of New Jersey, whose president was a 26 year old Alfred Sloan. By 1918, Sloan was a GM vice president and member of the executive committee and when DuPont forced Durant out of GM for the final time, under the Delaware millionaire’s influence Sloan became first operating vice president and then CEO. Sloan took Durant’s haphazard corporation and reorganized it’s structure and corporate governance along the lines of the then more than century old source of his patron’s wealth, E.I. Dupont de Nemours & Co.

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In the young General Motors, Pierre DuPont saw a great opportunity to make money at least a couple of ways: dividends on GM stock and profits from selling the automaker DuPont products.

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After World War One, the DuPont company, which had started out making gunpowder on the banks of the Brandywine River in 1802, had large amounts of capacity for cellulose chemistry because of the manufacture of guncotton, nitrocellulose. Working with Kettering’s team at GM, DuPont chemists developed Duco brand nitrocellulose lacquer, a quick drying paint available in a variety of colors.

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Slow drying enamel paint that needed to be rubbed out because of all the dirt that collected as it dried, was a bottleneck in automobile production. Pierre DuPont had also moved the DuPont company into the young plastics industry through acquisitions and growing the company’s own research team. DuPont Fabrikoid Rayntite brand synthetic leather was used for roofs in an era when few cars had full steel bodies.

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While the DuPont family and company didn’t own outright controlling interest in GM, for much of the automaker’s early history DuPont interests owned about 40% of GM stock, enough for effective control of the automaker. The fact that those interests were making money owning GM stock and selling GM paint and plastics eventually caught the attention of the anti-trust division of Pres. Harry Truman’s Dept. of Justice. After more than a decade of litigation, DuPont finally divested it’s GM stock in the early 1960s.

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The two companies, though, remained close. DuPont not long ago sold off it’s automotive paint operations (now known as Axalta) because the profitable unit wasn’t making quite enough profits, but until then DuPont was still supplying GM with hundreds of millions of dollars a year worth of top coats, the color and clear coatings that give modern cars their sheen. While they no longer sell paint to GM, DuPont is still a tier one, tier two and tier three supplier because of the polymers the company manufactures.

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GM isn’t the only “Detroit” automaker to have been, if not managed, influenced heavily by the financial industry centered in New York City. After Horace and John Dodge died within months of each other, their widows, Anna and Matilda, sold their stock in Dodge Brothers to New York bankers, making them perhaps the richest widows in the world. Control of the Dodge car company would eventually return to Detroit when Walter Chrysler bought it in 1928 as he put together the Chrysler Corp. Chrysler himself was also no stranger to New York and its financial industry, using some clever procedures to take control of Maxwell before he actually owned the company. Walter Chrysler, it should be noted, built the Chrysler Building, one of the more distinctive skyscrapers in New York City.

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The influence of the Ford family has meant that Ford Motor Company has been run from Detroit (well, Dearborn) for its entire history. However, I’ll note in passing that when FoMoCo managers mortgaged the entire company down to the blue oval logo to borrow the $23.5 billion or so they realized they’d need to both get past the upcoming rough times and revamp their product lines, they went to the New York financial community to borrow that money, not Les Gold’s pawnshop near Eight Mile Road.

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Besides the fact that at least GM and Chrysler have had pretty strong ties to New York City (and Wall Street held some serious paper on Ford as well recently), the idea that a car company has to break out of Detroit to get the pulse of the market is not exactly a new idea either. Not only does just about every car company in the world have some kind of design facility in southern California (that was once explained to me by a high ranking designer as “the talent likes to go to the beach and hang out with pretty girls too”), in 1998 Ford Motor Company made a big deal about the fact that the Lincoln brand was going to be headquartered near Los Angeles. The following year Lincoln was indeed moved out to southern California and made part of Ford’s ill-fated Premier Automotive Group, headed by Wolfgang Reitzle, formerly of BMW. Mark Fields, FoMoCo’s new CEO, was named head of PAG in 2002 and one of his first moves then was to shutter Lincoln’s California “headquarters” and move those operations back to Dearborn.

Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth, a realistic perspective on cars & car culture and the original 3D car site. If you found this post worthwhile, you can get a parallax view at Cars In Depth. If the 3D thing freaks you out, don’t worry, all the photo and video players in use at the site have mono options. Thanks for reading – RJS

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72 Comments on “There’s a Reason Why Sloan-Kettering Hospital is in Manhattan and Not Detroit...”


  • avatar
    VoGo

    Great history lesson, Ronnie,
    Keep ’em coming!

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    Kurt Russell will reprise his role as Snake Plissken in “Escape from Detroit”

  • avatar
    Hillman

    Nice story. Sadly, most Americans don’t know/care where their car is made let alone where it was designed.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      That’s so true, but it’s worse than that. Most Americans don’t even know if their car is front or rear wheel drive, though they know if it’s all wheel drive because they had to pay extra for it.

    • 0 avatar
      Fred

      I care where it’s assembled, but not where they bank or advertise. Which I gather is why GM moved some offices to NYC.

      • 0 avatar

        Final assembly is different from the manufacture of components. These days vehicles are produced from modules and assemblies. It doesn’t make much difference where that takes place aside from labor costs for the final assembly.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Yes but the OEM pockets the labor savings, there is no incentive to you the buyer. Toyota might put out a base Camry for 22 and change, Ford will sell you a Focus S for about the same. Toyota’s labor costs are going to be three or four times the $5/hour paid by Ford in Mexico. Whats the difference between the two in the grand scheme of things?

          • 0 avatar

            Of course the OEMs pocket the labor savings. Do you think they operate as a community service?

            Toyota also manufactures in Mexico. What’s your point? Toyota’s expansion hasn’t been fueled by production from its home market.

            All of the major OEMs manufacture in second world countries.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      Hillman, I too enjoyed reading this story but don’t care a hoot about GM cars any more. Only GM fan club members still buy GM products, and there haven’t been enough GM fan club members since way before GM’s death in 2009.

      • 0 avatar

        There will be about 10 million of those this year.

      • 0 avatar
        George B

        highdesertcat, GM has continued to be a successful manufacturer of light trucks and they seem to be competitive in engine and automatic transmission design. Lots of management and legacy cost problems, but GM puts out some cars worthy of consideration along with the what-were-they-thinking duds. Cadillac has transformed itself from the Fat Elvis of car companies, a joke, to a company that makes some desirable cars if the price is right. Cadillac hasn’t won back the prestige, but the general trend is in the right direction.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          Guys, guys, I don’t care what people buy. I used to drive GM and Ford vehicles exclusively myself. I grew up.

          But there weren’t enough GM fans in the past to keep GM from going t!ts up. If only there had been more GM fans, GM would never have had to declare itself dead in 2009.

          Now, there are people in America who thought GM smart for getting the tax payers to pick up their tab and nationalizing their liabilities. I’m not one of them, but more power to GM that they were able to do that through their elected government.

          So, if people want to buy GM, they deserve whatever they get, even if it kills them.

          It’s all about choice! It’s all about choice.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            @highdesertcat,
            I read an interesting article by an economist and not a journo.

            The issues that confronted GM up until 2009 have manifested themselves over decades.

            He claims that due to poor policy by government has lead to many of the problems we are now encountering (economically overall).

            Most policy has been driven by interest groups and GM themselves have been one of the strongest lobbyist with the UAW, energy in the US auto sector.

            Go back straight after WWII, policy was made to ‘protect’ certain areas of an economy. The changes made with these protectionist measures has a flow on effect. It will create imbalances in other areas.

            So what does the government do? It creates more policy and on and on.

            GM’s situation was created by decades of mismanagement as was found in the longer term (2009). Some might argue it was good at the time. But the overall policies didn’t reflect requirements to maintain a profitable industry.

            The US manufacturers have changed, but have they effected enough change to sustain themselves in the future.

            I don’t think so. More changes are needed for the US manufacturers to maintain US production.

            This will inevitably come at the cost of jobs. If this is needed then so be it. At least jobs in the future will be retained and not all lost to “overseas” competitors.

            The global auto industry will be a completely different animal in a couple of decades, similar to the way aviation has headed with common rules and regulations, etc.

            Less manufacturers in more countries, it will rationalize much further.

            As I’ve stated the Big 3 dug themselves into their own hole with the assistance of a greedy and not so forward thinking workforce. The government didn’t help either, that’s both sides of politics.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            BAFO, I may have read that same article, or similar articles.

            And my personal experience included a very astute stock broker who hounded me to divest my GM stock as far back as mid-2007.

            Although I initially resisted selling my stock holdings, I eventually relented and got out of the stock market completely by mid-2008.

            Glad I did. I got out at the top. And just in time, too.

            By mid-2008 I had also bought my very first Toyota and now I am a convert. I’m a believer!

            There was an aberration in my wife’s judgment in Nov 2011, brought on by her emotion about styling and color, that caused us to buy a 2012 Grand Cherokee, but that will be history once our 2015 Sequoia arrives at the dealership in a couple of months.

            The Detroit 3 made some big mistakes over a very long period of time, exacerbated by the relentless and never-ending demands for more from the UAW.

            I’m all about choice. The more the merrier! But no one needs to reserve a GM or Ford product for me ever again.

            My choice for future purchases is clear and it does not include GM or Ford. Nor Fiatsler for that matter.

            When the US government decides which companies will live on and which ones will die on the vine, it’s time to buy Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Subaru, Hyundai/KIA, Mercedes, or BMW.

            Tax inversions are the latest corporate craze for those US companies who can swing it.

            Next to go may be Burger King, hooking up with donut outlet Tim Hortons (or something like that) and moving North to Canada to cut their tax burden from 35% in the states to 15% in Canada.

            But we will still have GM.

      • 0 avatar
        stuki

        The new Stingray is recruiting more fans for the club every day…..

        GM also makes the world’s best wagon. With a manual tranny. Pretty good for an outfit in a country where noone buys wagons…

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      I know (in that I looked it up and then promptly forgot).

      What I don’t is *care*.

  • avatar
    turboprius

    Good article. I just looked at the post about Cadillac moving to NYC, and I saw a comment on there that was everything I was thinking. Basically, why is Cadillac going to NYC? It’s a lot more expensive there, and the high-life one would live in Detroit would take them nowhere in NYC.

    Another option for Cadillac: Georgia. Cheap land costs in the rural areas, right-to-work state, rarely any snow, Atlanta the powerhouse, and Porsche is already there. Not that I’m biased or anything. ;)

  • avatar

    This is really good stuff. I love these history lessons. Some of it might be stuff one already knows but is unaware of the context. I never connected Sloan Kettering to Alfred. In fact, you made MANY connections I wasn’t aware of.

    The high-life in Detroit isn’t the high-life in NYC. Not even close. But this is about the available talent pool, which is truly rich in NYC. Its easier to recruit Europeans to NYC than Detroit. And why would a brand like Cadillac need to recruit Europeans? Language skills, if nothing else.

  • avatar
    jbltg

    Great piece Ronnie, thank you. Any idea what the history is of the GM skyscraper that was on Fifth Avenue near Grand Army Plaza for so many years?

    • 0 avatar
      ect

      I remember dealing with a law firm that was located in the General Motors building – it’s still there, and it occupies a full city block (Fifth, 59th, Madison, 58th).

      It was built in the 1950’s, and GM was then the major tenant. So, GM does have a history of operations in New York.

  • avatar
    Jeff Waingrow

    Have faith, Ronnie. Detroit will rise again. I lived through the 70s in NYC, and I can tell you for fact that absolutely everyone wanted to get the hell out of NYC. Scores of corporations moved to suburban Connecticut or New Jersey locales. Crime was rampant in New York and nobody was exempt. In fact, the city was officially bankrupt and was , for a time, being run by a state authority. Trash littered the streets, homeless people slept in cardboard boxes wherever they would be tolerated. Roads were rarely paved (and they still aren’t!). You walked through parks only if you were somewhat suicidal. Cops stayed in their cars as much as possible. And look at it now. You can hardly recognize it. Back then, to say you lived in Brooklyn was to brand you a hopeless loser. So Detroit will rise again. I just hope they don’t sell their great art collection before it does.

    • 0 avatar
      Roberto Esponja

      Jeff Waingrow has a point. When I went to New York City for the first time in the mid 1980’s, I was disgusted. Went back about ten years later, and the change (for the better) was remarkable. And, it’s kept on improving since.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      You have a point, but if you’re from NYC, then you know the reason for its’ comeback was that the financial sector took off in the 1980s, and brought lots of highly paid people back into the city. New York has always been a world capital of finance, though, so when the boom happened, New York was well positioned to take full advantage of it. And with the influx of all those monied people came a boom in construction and retail, which that stabilized the city’s tax base.

      But what is Detroit a world capital of? Their primary business automaking, and little else. I don’t see domestic automaking experiencing the same kind of renaissance that finance did in New York, and any comeback would be bringing back well-paying manufacturing jobs, but not the kind of six-figure jobs that high-level finance generates in New York.

      I think Detroit will come back too, but if it happens, it’ll be built around smaller scale industry.

  • avatar

    Remarkable how this succeeds in escaping even TTAC’s attention. No, it’s not about Cadillac, but about GM’s main brand Chevrolet. December last year, GM announced it would kill the Chevrolet brand in Europe to concentrate on ailing Opel and its UK sister brand Vauxhall. A reshuffling of priorities that made sense given Opel racked up an incredible $18 billion in losses over the past 12 years. Can somebody explain Chevrolet’s recent $600 million sponsorship deal with Manchester United then? That’s a lot of Chevy’s that need to be sold, well into the next century before there’s any return on invested dollars… But not in Europe evidently.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      They could probably change the sponsorship to Vauxhall or Opel.

    • 0 avatar
      Manic

      These events were discussed here when news came, first sponsorship deal and then much later that Chevy is dead in Europe.
      And it seams they will keep Chevy on shirts for now, hoping ManU’s global brand will help car sales in Asia for example. Btw, I’m not sure why GM needs Vauxhall brand in UK, can’t they sell RHD Opels as Opels? If they switch (to Opel?) branding on ManU shirts would be easier to have 1 brand.

      http://www.latimes.com/sports/soccer/la-sp-manchester-united-20140722-story.html

  • avatar
    mfgreen40

    I dont know when DUCO paint was replaced, but I am old enough to have sprayed it!! A very good small engineering collage is Kettering U in Flint, it was GMI before being renamed a few years ago.

  • avatar
    mcs

    GM and Chrysler have their ties to NYC. Toyota’s 3rd largest shareholder (technically 4th and 10th) is listed as State Street Bank in Boston.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    They should keep going. Move Cadillac HQs to Munich.

  • avatar

    yes Sloan lived in NY but his marching orders came from Europe, just like JPM. your history lesson is amazingly accurate though I would add it was CS Mott who operated GM, and he did so from Michigan. not to belittle the esteem rightly due Eleuthere and his progeny.

  • avatar

    and yet many a day, the quiet on Fourteen was interrupted by a heavy east coast accent heard yelling “Horseappples!”

  • avatar
    jimmyy

    True, many quality engineers and managers refuse to live in Metro Detroit. However, Detroit has additional problems … workforce diversity and below average professional pay. A white top engineer from MIT who is employed by a Detroit auto firm is a fool, even in a NYC office. Why? There will be no promotions. Ever.

    Imagine the white MIT engineer passed over again and again while an affirmative action minority who went to a lesser college with a lower IQ and GPA is rapidly promoted. If the white guy decides to stay, he will do the minimum while either waiting for that pension or searching for a firm that promotes the best and brightest.

    Did I mention the low wages paid to the top white MIT engineer? After the overpaid and over-benefited UAW workforce gets their share, not much is left for the white MIT engineer. But, HR will tell the engineer. based on their statistics, the engineering compensation is competitive. But everyone knows the UAW worker who could not score a wall mart position is overpaid by 5x. The overpaid UAW workforce results in underpaid professional staff.

    In the meantime, the Asians promote the best and brightest.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      This might be true, but I couldn’t be sure without data. This is certainly true in gov’t, though. I also observed this behavior in a IT division of a Fortune 100 company, one closer to the top than the bottom.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      While I don’t entirely agree with this tirade, any engineer who accepts and then remains in a position such as described is by definition not one of the best and brightest. If you are that good and don’t like the working conditions, it should be a cakewalk to find a better job as a skilled engineer.

      Given there is actually very little wrong with GMs (or Fords, or Chryslers) engineering when not hampered by the beancounters, I suspect this is not a fair picture.

    • 0 avatar

      I’ve heard BS before, but this takes the cake. I can imagine this dolt being one of the Wing Nuts who thinks interracial marriage should be against the law.

      This rant needs no further comment from me.

    • 0 avatar
      jimmyy

      There is no hate in my comment. Just the truth. On the east and west coast, the economies are much better because business are run as a business. The best rise with no consideration to the color of their skin or gender.

      But, in Detroit, business has turned into a social experiment regardless of the business damage. Detroit automakers consider the color of your skin and gender before selecting management. Often, the white male candidate is excluded.

      I was fortunate to avoid the auto industry. I landed up in a business that only considers performance. Many engineers I went to college with landed up in a Detroit automaker dead end.

      As far as unqualified people, look no further than Obama, our affirmative action president. Clearly, because of affirmative action, he got a slot in a university that should have got to a sharper person. The, many elect him since it was time a minority was elected president … kind of what happens in workforce diversity initiatives at the automakers. Now look at the world. He is in over his head. It is possible we are looking at the start of a major war. The fool took the troops out of Iraq … now we have ISIS. Yea. Affirmative action.

      • 0 avatar
        Stovebolt

        Just stop it, please.

        I was delighted to find TTAC because it was about CARS. Turning it into another rant website will benefit no one.

        • 0 avatar
          jimmyy

          stovebolt, but this is about cars. It is about Cadillac moving offices to NYC with the thought that this should help them attract the talent to compete. My point is a NYC office will not make a difference since talent will still avoid the firm since “workplace diversity” limits the opportunities for the white male engineer, which is the majority of the engineering workforce. The Detroit auto company broadcasts “workplace diversity” on much of their recruitment materials … a white make reads that then knows an anti white culture awaits those that apply. So, white male engineers, which on average have the highest GPA, will avoid the companies pushing “workplace diversity”.

          I think this is a politically charged but correct viewpoint which affects Cadillac’s ability to compete with the likes of the Germans and Japanese firms which are unwilling to put out inferior products in the name of workplace diversity.

      • 0 avatar
        George B

        jimmyy, all large companies have a fair amount of inefficiency due to human nature that seems to be reasonably universal across geography and ethnic group. All people will game the system for their own personal benefit. Frequently success for the middle manager is not well aligned with success for the business. Just as true at the Korean companies I’ve worked for as the American companies. Companies and fairly autonomous divisions of companies seem to run well with about 200 or fewer employees and 3 or fewer layers of management. Bigger companies become slow and inefficient.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        @Vogo:

        “Jimmy,
        I am sorry you got passed over for promotion. Do you think it’s possible that you don’t fully understand your employer’s criteria for promotion to the next level?”

        Yeah, like not being an a**hole who blames everyone else for his lack of success?

    • 0 avatar
      turboprius

      As controversial as you may sound, you just explained why a white male like me will have a hard time finding a job.

      Companies crave workplace diversity, because it makes them look good. If a company employed too many white people, Al Sharpton or someone like him would cry racism and sue the company. They need to please the Jesse Jacksons of the world. Same reason why companies like McDonald’s use recyclable cups; people would get mad at them for disrespecting the environment.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        I’ve been hearing about “affirmative action” since the early 80’s. At that time I knew quite a few RCMP constables and the ongoing joke was that if you wanted a good career you needed to be a lesbian Aboriginal with a French accent and one leg shorter than the other.
        Part of me doesn’t want to believe it. I suspect that like urban legends or myth and fable, there is some semblance of truth to it.

        I don’t hear of it much any more so I doubt that it is a big issue. We see women dominating what once were male only domains. Med Schools are a prime example.
        Recruiting from “ethnic” countries due to a lack of “talent” or a lack of “affordable” talent also appears to be happening more.
        I think for the most part Affirmative Action is a left over of the post 70’s bra burning save the world hippie era.

        (but hey, I’ve been known to be wrong – just don’t tell Pch101).

      • 0 avatar
        Stovebolt

        You will not have more difficulty finding a job than anyone else, if you are well-qualified. It is more challenging if you are not, and blaming people or programs does not change that.

        Also, individuals cannot just go around suing companies based on a perception, whether correct or incorrect.

        Please don’t fall for such crap.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          Stovebolt, earlier this year we helped my wife’s niece move from Detroit to Zephyr Cove, NV, and we all were ecstatic that she was able to escape the slum that is Detroit.

          Given her excellent “qualifications” that would guarantee her a job anywhere, at least according to your comment, where do you think she would prefer to work?

    • 0 avatar
      chaparral

      I work for a Detroit automaker as an engineer. I’m a mixed-race man.

      I report to a white guy with a surname of German origin, who reports to a white guy with a surname of Greek origin, who reports to a white guy with a surname of Irish origin. They were either hired in at that level or were promoted there.

      In my experience there is no correlation between race and competence. Michigan and State engineering degrees do not come in the bottom of a cereal box. Even if the skids were greased to let you in, engineering science is the same no matter what color your skin is and you won’t get out without knowing it.

      Our biggest demographic problem is inadvertent sexism. We had an engineering meeting to discuss requirements for a CUV, primarily bought by women, and there were fifty men and two women. You can imagine the cluelessness.

      • 0 avatar
        jimmyy

        So, I guess you should hire then promote any woman engineer you can find, even if she attended third tier colleges and achieved a low GPA. That must be the solution … Right?

        And since Latinos and Blacks purchase many Toyota products, they should also do that?

        That is all nonsense.

      • 0 avatar

        Based on what I was told by nearly every company recruiting engineers at the SAE World Congress this year, if you’re a competent engineer you should be able to find a job. Lot’s of companies have unfilled positions, with companies looking for 100-1,000 engineers.

        Corporate HR programs are as politically correct as they come, and I think that affirmative action is just as bad as Cornell refusing my dad admission to their Vet school because their quota for Jews was filled. That being said, from my limited perspective it looks like the engineering and design side of the car business is driven by talent, not political or “diversity” concerns.

        As for the demographic problem relating to gender, I believe that you’re going to run up against the different bell curves on intelligence for men and women.

        • 0 avatar

          There are more women in college these days then men. Men are going to be on the outside, looking in, with no one to blame but themselves.

          I know a HOST of folks who live in and around Detroit, and they aren’t going anywhere. Detroit isn’t what it used to be. Mike Smitka can provide some perspective. He wrote a great piece on what happened to the city that adds meaningful context.

          Go to autosandeconomics blogspot
          and type in “Mack Stamping” into the search field.

        • 0 avatar
          petezeiss

          “different bell curves on intelligence for men and women”

          You could easily cross the aisle to allah.

          • 0 avatar

            While men and women have the same average intelligence, there are more women of average intelligence than men and more men at the extremes of intelligence than women. There are more low IQ men than women and more high IQ men than women. Of course you can’t use any of this to predict anything about individuals, but the simple reality is that there are more extremely smart men than women and more extremely stupid men as well.

            In any case, as I’ve told my kids, good is good and smart is smart and they’re not the same thing.

        • 0 avatar
          jimmyy

          There is a difference between getting hired as a staff engineer, and getting promoted to an engineering manager or higher, when the company practices “affirmative action”, although they call it “workplace diversity”. The trick is, if you are a white engineer, and you see “workplace diversity”, then you know the odds of a career beyond staff engineer is just not there. Move on to another opportunity.

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            Jimmy,
            I am sorry you got passed over for promotion. Do you think it’s possible that you don’t fully understand your employer’s criteria for promotion to the next level?

            I ask because most businesses are looking for managers who have the humility to understand their areas for improvement and take action to develop themselves, rather than blame inclusive policies or minority groups for their own limitations.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            “There is a difference between getting hired as a staff engineer, and getting promoted to an engineering manager or higher, when the company practices “affirmative action”, although they call it “workplace diversity”. The trick is, if you are a white engineer, and you see “workplace diversity”, then you know the odds of a career beyond staff engineer is just not there. Move on to another opportunity.”
            Doesn’t sound like that’s the case with the ACTUAL Detroit automaker engineer who just posted here.

            Or is he lying?

            By the way…when YOU have a degree from an Ivy League school, and then go on to graduate with honors from Harvard Law and edit their law review, then feel free to give Obama as much crap as you like about his educational attainment. I guarantee you the other well known government figure with a similar educational background – some guy named John Roberts (look him up sometime if you don’t recognize the name) has nothing but respect.

      • 0 avatar

        Thank you for your objective reply!

    • 0 avatar
      morbo

      You want to give some examples of this supposed affirmative action bias to this brown engineer that’s had to be twice as good as his white peers for the same benefits? Because you sound like a racist and a know nothing right now.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    Great and informative story Ronnie.

    This story illustrates why NY, London, Paris and Tokyo are major global cities and cities like Detroit will gradually fall away.

    The scope of what Detroit can achieve is limited by the influence and power of where the ‘money’ and decisions are.

    Look at the Roman Empire, or any Empire for that matter.

  • avatar
    Blue-S

    Although Ford did indeed dismantle the PAG, and sell (maybe lease?) the signature PAG building to Taco Bell, they kept their west coast design center in Irvine next to the former PAG building. I guess the designers still want to be 30 minutes from the beach.

  • avatar
    Bill Wade

    Interesting article.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      Ronnie continues to write excellent articles that evoke comments from a wide diversity of readers; comments that often come from different perspectives and loyalties.

  • avatar
    Vetteman

    You guys are missing the obvious . Cadillac as a brand is and has been deeply damaged in the minds of most consumers and no amount of reshuffling the deck chairs on the titanic will change that fact. Out here in the SF bay area affluent potential Cadillac buyers I know don’t trust the brand and the product to be a quality product and forget prestige . Cadillac has less prestige than a Suburban or Silverado pickup. GM is and continues to be a Joke of a company kept alive by stealing from the American taxpayers to prop up a corpse. As for engineering what has GM come up with in the last 15 years that distinguishes their cars from the rest of the automotive pack. They are followers not leaders . What real innovations have they brought to market? Instead they chisel suppliers to save two cents a part and kill people when these parts are installed at the assembly line and do not meet even their own engineers minimal specs. I worked my whole career for a GM dealer and the crap that we got delivered from the factory over the years we had to try and make salable was unbelievable . I will never buy another GM product again because I have seen myself how they talk a great game but don’t execute . Todays GM just like the former Bankrupt entity is corrupt at many levels and does not deserve the customers it has.

  • avatar
    probert

    “separating it from the city of Detroit’s tarnished image,”

    I assume that by “tarnished image” you mean a travesty of poverty and violence in the midst of the richest nation on earth. For some a never ending hell of despair and hopelessness. A monument to how americans treat their fellow citizens and really couldn’t give a shit.

    Not the sort of thing Cadillac wants hanging over its head. Maybe they could do a food drop as they fly over and eastward.

  • avatar
    Johnny Canada

    Killer stuff Ronnie. Thank you.

  • avatar

    RE: “My point is a NYC office will not make a difference since talent will still avoid the firm since “workplace diversity” limits the opportunities for the white male engineer, which is the majority of the engineering workforce.”

    So white male engineers will look for places to work where they won’t have competition from women and other minorities? They had that for centuries. Perhaps you want to return to that halcyon time when everything was stacked in favor of white men? Sorry. I don’t think so. That genie is out of the bottle and we’re much better off for it. Hell, we even gave them the right to vote. How magnanimous of us.

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