Wow! Nancy Pelosi Cuts Auto Development Cycle From 6 Years to 6 Months

It used to be that it took something like 5-6 years to develop a new vehicle from scratch.  Apparently, though, GM has accelerated this to 6 months, as Nancy Pelosi is taking personal credit for the recently released GM vehicles.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and top Obama administration officials defended last year's federal bailout of automakers on Monday, pointing to new vehicles at the Detroit auto show as a sign of the industry's rebirth. ...

"We've seen ideas turned into policy turned into product," Pelosi said.

Pelosi and company fawned over cars like the Volt, expected to be a money-loser from the get-go, while ignoring the trucks and larger family cars where GM actually makes money.  Bob Lutz steps up to take on the Orren Boyle mantle:

GM vice chairman Bob Lutz said Sunday that Washington's interest in the auto industry was welcome after being ignored by U.S. lawmakers for decades while other nation's backed their carmakers.

He said he had always thought the U.S. "was the only car-producing nation in the world where the administration and the politicians ... didn't know about American car companies, didn't care about American car companies - none of the politicians drove American cars."

"It's like we were the stepchild of the American industry and the American economy," Lutz said.

This is hilarious - few other industries have been the subject of more government bailouts and protection and subsidies than the auto companies.  Remember all those DOE and DOT grants?  Remember Chrysler bailout #1?  Remember the tariffs and import quotas?  But wait, it gets even more barf-inducing:

"Unfortunately it took the financial failure of the American automobile industry to make the whole country aware of the importance of the American automobile industry," Lutz said at a Society of Automotive

Analysts event.

See, its all of our fault they went bankrupt, not their crappy management, crappy designs, and crappy labor agreements.  All our fault.  I feel so terrible.

  • anon

    That's OK, Warren, let her take credit for stinking up the Detroit Auto show:

    "Ford sweeps Detroit Auto Show awards"

    http://money.cnn.com/2010/01/11/autos/ford_car_truck_of_year/index.htm

  • TakeFive

    If Nancy gave me $50B, I'd praise her genius too.

    What would be interesting to know is if Bob Lutz believes this (further) trysting with the government will benefit the company, or merely lead to massive interference from incompetent meddlers.

    My guess is he's going along with this charade just long enough to gaurantee his golden parachute (which in my opinion should be paid entirely in GM stock).

  • Judge Fredd

    Damn myself for not helping out the substandard American car companies.

    Where do I sign up to punch myself in the nuts? Or am I taking a job from the American Ball Busters Union?

  • O Bloody Hell

    > I feel so terrible.

    Well, by all means, take an Obama® brand "Hopenchange" rectal suppository, and you'll have a new outlook in the morning. It works for liberals everywhere, with millions of satisfied customers.

  • O Bloody Hell

    P.S. I am STILL not buying an American car (yeah, I'm apparently going to wind up paying for an American car -- just not my own).

    I will buy an American car when I believe it is a better quality and more sensible purchase than a foreign car, and not a moment before.

  • Ron H.

    O Bloody Hell

    Based on your criteria for buying am American car, may I recommend a Toyota Camry. An excellent car with good gas mileage, quiet, comfortable, all desired amenities and last but not least, a reasonable price. They are built in Georgetown, Kentucky by American workers who consistently vote no on union.

  • Ron H.

    By the way, I think I'll pass on the Hopenchange rectal suppository. I've seen the brain cell killing affect it has on liberals, and I want no part of it.

  • roger the shrubber

    interesting, isn't it, that hyundai - maker of the world's most reliable cars - are built by unionized autoworkers.

    probably just a cultural or racial thing, huh? bad management **couldn't** have anything to do with GM and chrysler circling the toilet bowl. gotta be the *hourly employees* fault.

    then too, nissan built a non-union plant in canton MS, staffed by non-union workers, and the QC there was *legendarily* bad. the plant built altimas, armadas, titans, and the flagship infiniti QX56. only the altimas (barely) passed muster with consumer reports, and the QX56 problems got to be so notorious, nissan changed the product name in a sad attempt at bait-and-switch. 9there were reports that the non-union workers in canton were so....uh....not-well-read, that nissan had to remove written instructions from the computers and machinery, and replace them with little pictographs so the non-union workforce could operate them. like mcdonalds cash registers: where the mindless halfwit teenager behind the counter pushes the button with the *picture of french fries* on it when you order them.

    hmmm. maybe, if mcdonalds were *truly* interested in quality, they'd unionize their workforce and pay them better.

  • http://www.pugsofwar.blogspot.com BlogDog

    "hyundai ... are built by unionized workers." You did mean to have "cars" in there, right?

    I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that that the Korean carmakers' unions work *with* management and not against it as American unions do. Might make a difference in quality and costs. Of course I don't see the argument that fully-unionized US carmakers are producing the world's highest quality output so your pro-union logic does seem to have flaws.
    Also the "there were reports" line of attack is pretty weak.

  • Jess

    "interesting, isn’t it, that hyundai – maker of the world’s most reliable cars – are built by unionized autoworkers"

    Not quite.

    All S.Korean heavy industry is "union" by law, but do not assume that the title "Union" means the same there & here, and the US factories aren't.

  • tomw

    You know what? It doesn't matter. Obambi has his hands so far up the ass of the auto manufacturers he's pulling the strings and pushing the levers that move their eyes, lips and hands. They will bow and scrape to him as long has he's got them by the short hairs.
    The history of GM, Ford and ChryCo is what it is. The unions picked a victim every three years, put them on the cross with threats of strike, leaving the other two to take up the market slack. The unions had more power than they needed, and used it mercilessly. Management caved, to their detriment, and also made some bad product design choices [Cadillac Cimmaron??? Pontica Aztec??? ], but the union did force them to pay workers in 'job banks', where they didn't have to get out of bed to get full pay. The unions did not cooperate, and, in my opinion, had their hands so far up the butt of the golden goose, that they killed it.

    Notice one thing: The UAW was to receive GM stock after Obambi's bailouts. They stated they'd sell it as soon as they could. Show's from the get-go that they had NO interest in the company other than what they could steal from the rotting corpse. No good faith attempt to even make it work, after getting more than 50% ownership when they were due nothing.
    I am tired of unions that have outlived their original usefulness. They get better pay and benefits at the expense of other people, as long as they can extract it. They are unwilling to increase productivity. They are a millstone on America.
    I paid the dues, but they didn't get me to join. My opinion is that they increased animosity at the workplace. The CWA local paid for trips to Hawaii in February for the Cleveland head and his girlfriend... for Union business. [sure.]
    tomw

  • O Bloody Hell

    > Based on your criteria for buying am American car, may I recommend a Toyota Camry. An excellent car with good gas mileage, quiet, comfortable, all desired amenities and last but not least, a reasonable price. They are built in Georgetown, Kentucky by American workers who consistently vote no on union.

    At the moment I own a 20yo 300zx I've had for 9 years, so my first replacement car of choice would probably be a 350zx, an MR1, or an RX7 (without any investigation, mind you, not being in the market -- the 300z is purring along fine despite its age, though it needs paint), but, if I were in the market for a non-sports car, Toyota, Nissan, or other would be a primary choice. About the only American makes I'd even think of (as in, "investigate for consideration") would be Saturn or Buick, whom I've heard consistently good things about.

    I confess, also, I'm not likely to buy a "new" car, it's never struck me as a sensible purchase in general. A two to three year old vehicle can usually be had for a lot less, and, as my own experience shows, has plenty of life left in it.

  • O Bloody Hell

    > interesting, isn’t it, that hyundai – maker of the world’s most reliable cars – are built by unionized autoworkers.

    1) cite your source (i.e., "most reliable"), please, when making such a bald-faced claim. Not taking your word for it.
    2) It's not "rational" unions, per-se, which are the problem, it's self-serving unions like the UAW which are the Al-Queda of the bunch -- "giving everyone else a bad name".

    The problems with the American car lines ARE tied to insane UAW contracts, however, so your choice of Hyundai as though it were representative of union-made cars, is hardly valid. Even more so since it's Korean unions and not American unions, and, as BlogDog points out, perhaps the SoKo unions aren't quite the adversaries of their own employer-benefactors that the UAW is.

    > hmmm. maybe, if mcdonalds were *truly* interested in quality, they’d unionize their workforce and pay them better.

    Yeah, right. Why don't you open a McD clone of your own and try hiring a union staff to do the work, eh?
    Methinks you've never actually run a business and had to negotiate crap with union admin.

    P.S., I haven't checked into Hyundai in many years, but I did note some years back (enough that it may well have changed) the quality of workmanship of an actual new Hyundai which I looked at did not impress in the least -- the paint had visible ripples when you sighted down the length of the car, there were a ton of fit and finish errors all around, and plastic parts where metal belonged just for longevity reasons. Again, that may have changed, but it hasn't been so for that long.

    I'm curious if the highest-end Hyundais from 15+ years ago are still as functional as my Z is. I'll lay odds that 10, 15, and 20 year reviews (well beyond that usually done for/by Consumer Reports, say) of "quality" show up more problems with Hyundai than with Nissan or Toyota. I WILL guarantee you that there aren't likely to be too many 19yo Hyundais that are still on the road operating like my Z is.

  • O Bloody Hell

    > By the way, I think I’ll pass on the Hopenchange rectal suppository. I’ve seen the brain cell killing affect it has on liberals, and I want no part of it.

    Oh, but that's its appeal. What, you don't want to be a mindless parrot-zombie like all wingnuts are supposed to be?

  • Ron H.

    OBH

    We seem to agree on cars. I have always felt that if one has a car they are happy with, and it is reliable, there is no reason to replace it.

    I have only twice in my life bought new cars, believing as you do that a used car is an excellent choice. Most recently I bought a new Camry to replace the 14 year old car I was driving until someone with few driving skills turned left directly into my path. I considered a used one, but a 3 year old Camry costs about 85% as much as a new one. What is a person to do?

    I also considered a Buick, but at my advanced age I don't think I should drive such an incredible chick-magnet. Just look at what happened to poor Tiger!

  • Nick S.

    After reading this documentation of management blindly trusting their "corporate weld engineer" and single supplier and ignoring all evidence of any issues with welding processes costing them $800,000 PER MONTH in rework on crossmembers (60-100% rejection rate of robotically-welded parts!?), I'm comfortable with Chrysler dying.

    http://www.weldreality.com/chrysler%20self%20shielded%20wires.htm

    Until yesterday, I'd never bought a vehicle that wasn't built by Chrysler, but they have very few compelling products now.

  • perlhaqr

    Ron H, OBH: I was just at that plant in Georgetown, KY on Monday, taking the tour. It's... damned impressive.

    If Toyota made a diesel, manual, all-wheel-drive station wagon, I'd buy one that came out of there with no hesitation. They were well put together, and everything I saw indicated they actually cared about making a quality product.