Countless articles have been written about General Motors and its massive recalls earlier this year. What hasn’t been fully told is how GM might have gotten away with multiple counts of consumercide were it not for the efforts of three men: a Georgia lawyer, a Mississippi mechanic, and a Florida engineer.
How an unsafe ignition lock helped kill tens of people and the people who found out the truth about it
Hey, remember when Oprah gave everyone in her audience a new car (previously
)? It was ten years ago tomorrow
What do the words "safety," ''chaotic" and "problem" have in common? They're all on General Motors' list of banned words for employees who were documenting potential safety issues
. The revelation of the 68-word list is one of the odder twists in GM's ongoing recall of 2.6 million older-model small cars for defective ignition switches. Last Week Tonight with John Oliver
In 1984, the Canadian branch of the United Auto Workers
, represented by Bob White
, and General Motors Canada, represented by Rod Andrew
, sat down to negotiate a new wage agreement. GM had gotten the American UAW to agree to profit sharing
and was dead-set on doing the same in the North; the Canadians were bitterly opposed to the idea. By the end of the negotiation, workers had struck, negotiators had been stabbed in the back, White and his allies had split
from the UAW to form the CAW
, and a compromise was reached that left everyone a bit unhappy - but the workers less so than their managers. Filmmaker Sturla Gunnarsson
used his unprecedented access to both teams of negotiators to craft Final Offer
, "the best collective bargaining film ever made."
You can stream the movie in its entirety at the National Film Board's website
General Motors is literally tearing its competition to bits ...so its 3D scanning can reverse-engineer others' vehicles, increasing speed to market.
'All this technical innovation makes it easier for GM to react to competition faster and push innovations out rapidly. Still, it doesn't guarantee that GM will execute in a way that makes people want to buy the company's vehicles.' 'The capabilities that come from GM's benchmarking efforts bring another sort of risk with them—GM could learn from its competitors too well and become indistinguishable from them. It's a problem that plagues today's auto industry, where you often can't tell vehicles from different manufacturers apart in a parking lot without looking at the name plate.' [more inside]
The Chevy Volt, GM's new plug-in hybrid electric car. For a customer driving about 40 miles a day or about 15,000 miles a year, compared to a 30 mpg car, the Volt would save about 500 gallons of gasoline per year. If the car is charged every night, the driver should be able to achieve that mileage using virtually no gasoline. That same example would also save 4.4 metric tonnes of CO2 every year from each car.
All it needs for mass production is a supplier for its untested lithium ion battery concept.
What separates GM from Honda? The development process.
An interesting read about Honda's lean and mean development process, as compared to the bureaucratic nightmare that exists at General Motors. A fascinating read and good insight into one of the many reasons why the domestic automakers are getting spanked these days.
It's Hard Out Here for a (Ta)Hoe:
The smartypants over at GM are running a contest to "make your own" commercial for the gas-guzzling Tahoe SUV. People are giving them just what they deserve
These are likely to be yanked sooooooon, so get 'em while they're hot!
General Motors is cutting 9% of their workforce
. Some fear it is too little, too late
. Chicago Tribune fear this is only the beginning
. Detroit News has an FAQ
for those affected. A sad day for the US automotive industry indeed.
GM in trouble:
"If you erased the company name from the balance sheet and showed it to a forensic accountant, the recommended treatment would probably be to seek protection from creditors by filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. "
GM's troubles are as much a result of the exploding costs of health care
as they are due to the company's dropping market share
. In Canada
increasing health care costs (PDF with many charts)
are taking a greater and greater share of government expenditures
. In the US it's hurting big employers
and regular people
But either way the problem doesn't seem likely to get better any time soon.
GM are looking to the future
with plans to get a fuel cell vehicle (dubbed AUTOnomy
) on the road by 2010, unlike past attempts where fuel cell powerplants were shoe-horned into conventional cars
GM are redesigning it from the ground up with a six inch flat chassis that contains the fuel cell and powertrain allowing them to plonk a variety of different bodies on top all the while cutting costs by being far simpler to produce than conventional cars.
The Day My Car Ratted Me Out.
Dear Winston Smith,
Your 1984 Corvette has informed us that over the past month, you have failed to obey the speed limit 36 times, at times reaching speeds exceeding 130 MPH. As A result, we feel that we can no longer provide you with coverage. We have also supplied this information to the proper authorities, their jackbooted thugs should be in your driveway momentarily. Thank you.
First it was the rental car companies, now it is GM and the Insurance companies. This is the top of a very slippery slope of privacy issues and technology, specifically GPS.
WAR IS PEACE, FREEDOM IS SLAVERY, and, IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH.
GM encourages new SUV owners not to drive.
"No injuries yet." But how bad does the defect have to be for them to tell their customers not to drive the damn things?
The next Java frontier: your car.
Sun Microsystems announced Monday it would partner with General Motors' dashboard technology division, OnStar, in an effort to make Java the computing standard for the automotive industry.