Saturday, October 25, 2008

Detroit Automaker Dilemma

For more detailed information than what I posted on my recent blog about Detroit automakers, read "How Detroit Drove Itself Into a Ditch" in today's Weekend Wall Street Journal, an article written by former Detroit bureau chief for the WSJ and currently writing a book about America's car culture. "Detroit failed to grasp--or at least address--the fundamental nature of its Japanese competition. Japans car companies, and more recently the Germans and Koreans, gained a competitive advantage largely by forging an alliance with American workers".

Also, read, "Labor Riddle, How Many (Detroit) Autoworkers Does it Take to Change a Drill Bit?", by Joann Muller in Forbes Magazine, 4/9/07.

Detroit, meanwhile has remained mired in mutual distrust with the United Auto Worker union.

To illustrate a major point I quote an incident at a Honda factory in Marysville, Ohio, "some automation equipment broke down. Employees rushed to the scene and devised a temporary solution. There were no negotiations with shop steward, no parsing of job descriptions. Instead of losing an entire shift of production, Honda lost just 150 cars". The person overseeing Marysville assembly operations has been with the company for thirty years and drives a Honda Pilot--made at a Honda plant in Alabama.

Detroit big three will soon be history, Maybe one will survive.

I don't want Boeing to loss their current battle with the Machinist union. I hope our local industrial giant is taking copious notes. There stock is down 55% for the year.

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