Tuesday, February 3, 2009

HOW The big 3 can help bailout the Bailout

Photo Credit: AP Graphics Bank


by l.t. Dravis


Hey, Senators . . . listen up!

Here’s a terrific way to help bailout the bailout.

We can stop throwing taxpayer money at bankers who pay themselves billions in bonuses and give elaborate super bowl parties by investing in products and services that not only provide income and dignity for families but also improve the quality of life for all Americans.

Why not invest taxpayer funds with the Big Three Detroit automakers to utilize their resources, capabilities, and potential to design, develop, and produce Multiple-Fuel internal combustion engine powered vehicles, Electric Vehicles, and Mass Transit systems?

Think about the possibilities here . . . we could help ensure the Big 3’s ability to pay back taxpayer supplied loans; we could save and add thousands upon thousands of good, long term jobs; we could generate millions of dollars in offsetting revenues to the treasury and to states from additional payroll and income taxes; and, we could invest in green, clean transportation systems to improve the environment while we reduce our dependence on foreign oil.

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, sell 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 ignore or reinvent.

BIG 3 CORE CAPABILITIES

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 quickly 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-dimensional 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

UTILIZING TAXPAYER INVESTMENTS TO DEVELOP A NEW, 3-PART BUSINESS MODEL

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 (Streetcar, Tram, or Trolley) 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 design, test, produce, and 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.

Why?

Because, contrary to ill-informed hype, Chrysler, Ford, and General Motors build high-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.

This message was sent to 48 Senators yesterday.

Only Senator Shelby even bothered to acknowledge having received the message and his was an automated response.

But if Senators are serious about using taxpayer dollars wisely, if they truly support the ‘greening’ of American industry and all forms of transportation produced in this country, if they trust millions of American workers, and if they believe in American technologies, and American production capabilities to keep the American Dream alive, they will amend the bailout bill to invest in our own Big Three automakers and clean up our environment while we finally turn the page on our dependence on foreign oil.

Won’t they?

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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