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Thursday, December 18, 2008

Shutdown and Breakdown in Detroit

Video Link Courtesy of MSNBC

Uttt OHHHH! The Big Three automakers are shutting down plants and that is not a good thing. Detroit is closing up shop because cars are not moving off the lots in the dealerships all across America. Trust me, this is not going to be an American made auto manufacturer phenomenon. Chrysler is shutting down all of its plants for thirty days and Ford is looking at similar options. GM is planning major shutdowns at plants as well and the ripple effect is not going to be good for the world economy. Over at Market Watch they have this to say and I have my own opinion on it afterward…

Chrysler to shut assembly lines for at least a month

Rival Ford takes similar steps, extending shutdown times at most plants

By Shawn Langlois, MarketWatch
Last update: 6:57 p.m. EST Dec. 17, 2008

SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) -- Chrysler LLC, struggling to keep afloat as it awaits word on a federal lifeline, said Wednesday it will idle all of its 30 plants for at least a month in an effort to bring output closer in line with plunging demand for new cars and trucks.

The privately held carmaker said it will shut its assembly lines at the end of Friday's shift and keep them closed through at least Jan. 19, extending a holiday shutdown that was already put in place. Under the current union contract, idled workers still receive most of their benefits and wages during the production stoppage.

Separately, Ford Motor Co. announced that it will shut down most of its North American assembly plants for an extra week in January, according to the Associated Press.
Automakers typically close their factories for a couple of weeks over the two weeks during holidays and often, as in Ford's case, target specific plants for even longer idle periods to keep a lid on inventory during times of slack demand. Yet Chrysler's move to idle its entire operation for at least a month reflects just how dire the situation is in Detroit.

"This is definitely out of the ordinary," analyst Jesse Toprak said. "I've never seen this kind of shutdown for this long, and if you read the language Chrysler used in the release, they're leaving the door open for another extension."

Toprak added that the company will probably take a hard look at its December sales results, which he expects to be down 45% from a year ago, and decide whether to keep blue-collar workers from assembly lines even longer.
- Market Watch (Link not working?)

It doesn’t matter anymore what side of the issue you stand on when it comes to the bailout for Detroit and its automakers. The Congress has spoken and the auto industry in America was told to go screw itself. That is a double edged sword so to speak.

Granted the UAW contracts will still pay many of the idled workers almost the same pay for a short shutdown but they can’t get paid forever if the companies end up folding. All of the investment capital that the Big Three used as leverage for long term loans was based on the price per share and all of them are in the toilet as far as share price goes. Wall Street can not and will not offer capital to these companies because the collateral in shares is just not there anymore. The Congress and the Republican members made that a reality by not backing the industry simply because they could. Rather than looking at the bigger picture, Republicans in the Congress looked to see who was in their own back yard and all they could see was Toyota, Honda and the list goes on of foreign owned plants here in the United States. Good for them, they covered their own political ass. Or did they?

While those same Republican leaders were looking out the back step they didn’t see their neighbor Joe that drives twenty minutes to a little mom and pop owned machine shop that just makes screws that go to Detroit. Those screws are installed by the thousands every day by Detroit workers in American made cars. All the little screws do is hold one little piece in a pick up or mid size car down so that another piece of the truck or car can be installed over it with those same little screws holding that part down. Those little tiny machined screws have paid all the wages and healthcare benefits for the five or six people running the actual machines that made them for decades. Not to mention mom and pop put a couple of kids through good schools, then good colleges, and then had those kids buy homes in the local area. Those five or six machine operators buy groceries locally, buy homes or renovate existing homes at the local hardware or home improvement center. They pay local and state taxes that pay for schools, roads, police and fire. They spend their hard earned paychecks where they live and other people benefit from their hard earned wages making little tiny screws that ship to Detroit.

Mom and pop have to close up shop for a while because Detroit is shutting down for a spell. Pick an industry and expand the scenario however you like. There is that old saying about a butterfly beating its wings in China and it gives birth to a hurricane thousands of miles away. Bingo!

There was a reason why the government of long ago would never let Chrysler go bankrupt. It reached to far and wide into the capillaries of the American economy. Lee Iacocca rebuilt Chrysler from the ground up because he had the means to do so courtesy of an American government backed loan. He didn’t do it alone and yet they all made it work out in the end. But now it is okay to let ALL THREE automakers fail? This lack of interest by or government is totally on the Republican Party and they are more than welcome to own it. I can literally see the history books thirty years from now on the new generation of Hoover that started the second economic collapse of America and the world.

This is the never ending ripple effect and when the small business manufacturing owners start closing the doors because Detroit is no longer in business then it is in fact a DEPRESSION! Somebody please call your Congressional representative and give them an earful!


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Blogger B.J. said...

Well said, Papamoka. I will send the link to a good friend whose job is hinging on General Motors.

By the way, Toyota announced a couple of days ago it's suspending construction on its new plant in Mississippi. And, I heard a TV pundit today say his brother sells foreign cars, that he usually has sold about 20 by this time of the month, but has sold only three so far. Cash flow is hurting everyone! BJ

1:30 AM  

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