Tuesday, December 9, 2008

WHY 'Bailout' the big 3 when we can invest in them and us?

By l.t. Dravis

DETROIT, MI – Tuesday, December 9, 2008 – WHY ‘bailout’ Detroit when we don’t have to?

Why not guarantee the success of the Big Three Detroit automakers – short-term and long-term – by utilizing taxpayer investments to develop a new 3-Part business model so Chrysler, Ford, and General Motors never again have to return to Washington D.C. for a handout?

We’ve all heard the propaganda – for and against – the so-called ‘Detroit bailout’ and to those who oppose the government rescue of any private enterprise, I understand and respect your opposition.

However, no matter which side of the so-called ‘bailout’ argument you’re on, it’s important to remember that Chrysler, Ford, and General Motors do not just build cars and trucks . . . they create, design, manufacture and deliver a broad range of vehicles for a variety of applications at various price points.

These capabilities, developed and delivered by thousands upon thousands of educated, experienced, skilled, talented people working with an incredible array of advanced mechanical and electronic tools and high-tech facilities, are too valuable for the nation to throw away.


1. Concept & Design . . . The Big 3 automakers are experts at creating and designing a variety of vehicles for a variety of applications; skills which can easily be transferred to the creation and design of ‘Green’ vehicles required to break our dependence on foreign oil

2. Prototyping parts, components, and completed assemblies . . . Chrysler, Ford, and General Motors have the experience, capabilities, and tools necessary to produce computerized models of 3-dimenstional prototype parts prior to dynamic elastic analysis in preparation for casting, forming, and/or machining

3. Fabrication . . . The Big 3 have the proven ability to produce parts, components, and assemblies utilizing a variety of specialty processes, including computerized press brake forming, computerized precision laser cutting and machining, Coordinate Measuring Machine (CMM) technologies, and computerized MIG and TIG precision welding processes

4. Assembly . . . Chrysler, Ford, and General Motors employ thousands of men and women who know everything there is to know about manual and automated precision assembly processes

5. Distribution . . . the Big 3 Detroit automakers have perfected the logistical infrastructure necessary to efficiently and consistently deliver millions of cars and trucks to every town, village, and city throughout the country

6. Parts and Service Support . . . The Big 3 have successfully provided parts and service support for tens of millions of vehicles in tens of thousands of configurations in thousands of locations for decades

7. Warranty, Repair, and Service . . . Chrysler, Ford, and General Motors have created, written, and distributed printed and electronic service and repair protocols for numerous varieties of millions of increasingly complex vehicles produced over decades


1. MULTIPLE-FUEL INTERNAL COMBUSTION ENGINE-POWERED VEHICLES – Each company would develop fuel-efficient internal-combustion engines which run on bio-fuels, natural gas, hydrogen, and blended fuels for their existing lines of hybrids and non-hybrid cars and light trucks.

a. Technical Goals: Reduce time to design, prototype, acquire or modify capital equipment, and manufacture new products from the current industry standard of 48 months to 24 months. This reduction in product development time would come from strengthening relationships with suppliers and partners. New efficiencies would be built-in to the manufacturing process by utilizing advanced technologies such as intelligent flexible assembly processes, virtual manufacturing, ceramic injection, metal injection, powder metal processing, precision forging, squeeze casting, and reactive molding, improved precision tooling, net-shape forming, and the expanded use of high-tech lightweight materials (ceramics, polymers and specialty metals)

b. Cost Reduction Goal (Build-to-Order Models): Each company would implement a ‘build-to-order’ matrix which would allow consumers to order certain models with specific options direct from the factory to eliminate dealer inventory costs, minimize dealer inventories, and reduce consumer acquisition costs. ‘Build-to-Order’ vehicles would ship from the factory along with dealer inventory units and would be prepared and delivered to each consumer by the nearest factory authorized dealer

2. ELECTRIC VEHICLES – Each of the three companies would cooperate to design, prototype, and produce new battery/charging technologies to power pure-electric vehicles (similar size and design as the hybrid Chevrolet Volt) with extended range (up to 250 miles) at reasonable delivered price points.

a. Technical Goals: Improve pulse battery chargers to decrease time required to recharge electric vehicle batteries to 15 minutes or less with a full-charge battery range of 200 miles; establish a network of electric charging stations to facilitate long-distance trips in all regions of the nation

b. Cost Reduction Goal (Build-to-Order Models): The same ‘build-to-order’ matrix would apply to Electric Vehicles as would apply to Internal Combustion Engine Vehicles

3. MASS TRANSIT – Chrysler, Ford, and General Motors have the people, tools, and design and manufacturing facilities necessary to create, design, prototype, manufacture and deliver Hybrid buses, GLT buses, light rail ‘Trolley’ cars, commuter rail engines & cars, and high-speed rail conventional and Maglev train cars

a. Conventional (Green-Power) Buses: Chrysler, Ford, and General Motors would design, prototype, produce, and deliver Hybrid buses which operate on bio-diesel, fuel cells (a reactant fuel is converted to electrical power), fuel generated from renewable energy sources, or electric motors charged by wind-driven generators

b. GLT (Guided-Light-Transport) Buses: The Big Three would design, prototype, build and deliver GLT buses in two modes: In ‘Bus Mode’, the GLT operates like any other bus, powered by a CNG or Natural Gas burning internal combustion engine or by electric motors. In ‘Guided Bus’ mode, the GLT tracks a central rail (guide) imbedded in the roadway to allow it to function as a ‘ground-bound monorail’

c. Light Rail (also known as Streetcars, Trams, or Trolleys) Cars: Chrysler, Ford, and General Motors would collaborate on the design and manufacture of Light Rail cars (Powered by overhead electric line via a ‘trolley’)

d. Commuter Rail Engines & Cars: The Detroit 3 would design, build, and deliver multi-level, light weight, computerized, energy-efficient engines and cars for urban passenger train service

e. High-Speed Rail (Conventional & Maglev) trains: The Big 3 would design, build, and deliver self-propelled, electric cars which draw power from a GPS-controlled remote ‘3rd’ rail. Maglev trains use electromagnetic power to literally ‘float’ over rails. Maglev trains rely on electrified coils in rails and guide way walls for ‘magnetic’ propulsion at speeds in excess of 300 miles per hour

EPILOGUE – If we take an objective, non-partisan look at the Big Three Detroit car companies, we have to admit that they sell lots of vehicles . . . even in tough economic times.

In 2007, the Big 3 Detroit automakers sold 8½ million cars and trucks in the United States and millions more in countries around the world.

General Motors outsold Toyota by 1¼ million vehicles last year and even in 2008, when the entire free world seems to be decrying General Motors’ ability to give the buying public what it wants or needs, GM managed to outsell Toyota by nearly 600,000 units.

Worldwide, General Motors sold nearly 9.4 million vehicles in 2007 – more than any other manufacturer, including Toyota.

In the U.S., Ford outsold Honda and Nissan, combined, by about a million vehicles in 2007.

And, Chrysler outsold Hyundai and Nissan, combined, in the U.S. in 2007.


Because Chrysler, Ford, and General Motors build quality, market-priced vehicles that offer exceptional fuel economy.

The Chevrolet Malibu is 2 miles-to-the-gallon better than the Honda Accord; the Ford Focus matches the fuel economy of the Toyota Corolla; and, the Chevy Cobalt offers better overall fuel economy than the Honda Civic.

So, if the Big Three Detroit car companies fall by the bankruptcy wayside, who will produce and sell all the cars and trucks that would have otherwise been produced and sold by Chrysler, Ford, and General Motors?

Would it be in the best interests of the United States to hand over the production, sales, and profits of multiple millions of cars and trucks to Toyota? Or Nissan? Or Honda? Hyundai? Kia? Volkswagen? Renault? Chery Automobile Company (a Chinese automaker)?

Or any combination thereof?

Of course not.

If we are serious about the ‘greening’ of American industry and all forms of transportation, if we believe in millions of American workers, American technology, and American production capacity to keep the American Dream alive, we should invest in our own industries and keep the profits – and the jobs – here in the United States and finally rebuild this economy and, at the same time, finally the page on our dependence on foreign oil.

Shouldn’t we?

Copyright © 2008 by LTD Associates West, Ltd. All rights reserved.

If you have questions, comments, or concerns, Email me at ltdassociates@msn.com (goes right to my desk) and since I personally answer every Email, I look forward to hearing from you soon.

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