Arrogance had all to do with their failure. Countless times I witnessed
Oldsmobile reps denie the obvious that they built an inferior product. When
you replace hundreds of the same part year after year with no attempt to
improve because you are the leader in sales it eventually catches up with
you. Oldsmobile had been dying off since the mid 80's. There were and are
simply too many quality alternatives available.
Regardless of overlap, if you build a quality product it will continue to
sell. Look at Toyota and Lexus. Plenty of overlap there. Nisson and
Infinity, there too. VW and Audi, well they are still fooling some people.
Well that was a rather unfair response I gave you here. Basically the
American automobile builders had this arrogance that they felt that they
were world leaders in automobile production. They WERE. Then the Japanese
car builders began to really take hold and the American automobile builders
continued to build the same quality. They simply thought that their larger
percentage of sales in the US would dominate. To day we see what effect
that has had. Oldsmobile just happened to be the weak one at the time that
GM needed to drop a car line.
Until the late 80's GM was still adding divisions. Saturn was one, so
overlap was not so much a problem. Lack of sales from mediocre quality
eventually lead to the Japanese taking control.
As compared to what? They were essentially identical other GM product
lines--that was _the_ major problem, there was no longer anything to
differentiate them sufficiently, just as the parallel example w/
I don't believe the representation of product by factory reps was a bit
different in nature w/ Olds than any other GM line (nor Ford, Chrysler,
Toyota, Honda or any other manufacturer, for that matter). All make
decisions of that type based on their perception of what is the most
cost-effective solution for them. I had Olds' from mid-70s thru late
80s and they each lasted for at least 140 kmiles w/ no significant
maintenance problems other than one for which I blame myself for using
Quaker State, not GM/Olds. I had no more difficulty w/ what little
warranty work was required from them than any other distributor I've
Could they have done something different/better? Of course, very few
companies (or individuals, for that matter) can say otherwise. Was
their demise from "arrogance"? Not in my estimation.
You may disagree, that's your perogative.
No compariwon needed. Year after year, time and time again it became
routine to replace the same parts for the same reasons. 10 to 20 times a
week for the same part. Many of the replacement parts were stocked in
quantities equal to oil filters.
They were essentially identical other GM product
That is nothing new and duplication works for Toyota and Nissan Motor
company just fine. Seemed to work well for Apple computers also when they
offered different colors. Apple sells the same thing just different
variations of appearance. Time and time again factory reps would promice
that they were going to get it right this time as new models were being
Well Good for you. You were lucky. I too drove Oldsmobiles I worked for an
Oldsmobile dealer for about 10 years in upper management and had to deal
directly with the customers. I assure you the norm was a crappy product by
comparison to the Japanese products.
You were not there as the Olds reps would turn down warranty claims because
our delaership replaced too many of a certain item. Tell me that is not
arrogance. They basically said, we know that there is a problem and we are
paying you to make the repairs however you repair more than the Olds dealers
in your area so we are going to kick back the claims that put you over the
>Arrogance had all to do with their failure. Countless times I witnessed
>Oldsmobile reps denie the obvious that they built an inferior
IMHO, "arrogance" is a term that applied to the entire US auto industry.
Can think of no better example than GM's approach to providing a US
diesel engine for Oldsmobiles.
Rather than build a new diesel engine, a new engine program was about
$100-$150 million in those days, they chose a short cut.
Mill the head of a 10:1 combustion ratio gasoline engine to achieve a
20:1 ratio required for diesel.
Forget about a new crank, larger bearings, etc, required to handle a
higher compression ratio engine.
History has domumented that disaster.
As someone who spent much of my career around heavy industry, (auto,
steel, chemical, machine tool, etc) Detroit is heading down that same
slippery slope that the steel industry went down a generation earlier.
Those who fail to learn from historical mistakes are doomed to repeat
I too (currently) work at a multi-franchised auto dealer and have done so
for 30 years.
I watched GM's quality plummet in the 80's while Japan was introducing
products. As a dealer for both Honda and Mazda, believe me when I tell you
quality was not all that great. Honda's transmission's, brakes and head
gaskets were a constant source of our business. Mazda's engines, brakes and
transmission contributed as well. The difference between our GM customers
and import customers was profound and two-fold.
The typical GM owner rarely had their cars serviced (with us) and when they
did, it was just an oil change. OTOH, the import owners bordered on
religious about servicing their cars (at the dealership) with us. Secondly,
Honda and Mazda stepped up when it came time to fix the known problems, well
out of warranty. This became an interesting problem for them. The State
started to get complaints about the un-stated warranty. We had to stop
saying it was under warranty (past the regular warranty period) and were
required to call it dealer good-will.
*Today, the quality difference between the worst built cars Hummer, Jeep,
Mazda, VW, Mitsubishi, Land Rover, Saab, Isuzu (mostly imports) and the
best, Lexus is very small. With normal maintenance, most any car will
outlast your desire to drive it.
The real difference is going to be your relationship with your local dealer
and the dealer's relationship with the factory.
The dealer I worked for at various times owned Oldsmobile, Honda, GMC,
Buick, Mazda, and Isuzu.
I primarily was over Oldsmobile, Honda, and Isuzu. We had the Olds
franchise since 1965, Honda from the start with the 600 sedans in the early
70's and added the Buick GMC, and Mazda in th eearly 80's. Isuzu came in
1986. I really do not recall a real problem with the Honda compared to
Oldsmobile. We typically serviced 400 to 500 Oldsmobiles per week during
the summer and 80% were owned by oil companies and banks in the Houston
Anyone with any sense knows that without a significant breakthrough in
battery technology, electric cars are only a sick dream. As a Saturn
Dealer, we were dealing with EV1's and they were a pain. It was a very
happy day when that program ended. (Anybody want an EV1 charging station?)
The current crop of hybrid cars - (another cruel joke played on the
unsuspecting public) are really only out there to appease the "green"
people. They too will go the way of the EV1 and dodo bird.
If people were serious about fuel emissions from cars, they would require
any car/truck made before 1995 to be scrapped. They would also change the
license fees to be 0 on a new car/truck and increase year by year. Finally,
require all gasoline vehicles to use 30% ethanol and all diesel's to use 30%
biodiesel by 2010.
I don't know a single person with a Prius who isn't happy with it. Maybe you're
referring to the American excuses for hybrid technology.
Hybrid technology isn't likely to go away any time soon. Even if fuel cells
come on line (hopefully DAFC and not hydrogen BS) it is easier and cheaper to
create a fuel cell hybrid than a vehicle fully powered by a fuel cell.
No, but you can still charge a battery. You want a 200 hp fuel cell? That's
going to be a big fuel cell. How often do you use 200hp? Rarely (probably
never, but most drivers think and buy with their penis). Instead, install a
fuel cell for the power you need on a regular basis and store extra energy in a
battery for acceleration - just like a Prius with an Atkinson cycle engine -
turns an engine that is something like 80hp into a power plant that accelerates
like it was 40% more powerful.
Reducing the size of the real power supply (engine, fuel cell) reduces weight
and cost. In the case of an internal combustion engine, you get a real increase
in efficiency too. Adding the battery is a small price compared to the
So now you're going to have a gasoline engine, a battery, _and_ a fuel cell?
What is the fuel cell supposed to do?
It is? Why?
This kind of remark is one of the reasons that environmentalists get branded
as whackos. Leave personalities out of it. If you have a statistic to
present present it without commenting on the character of others.
So you're saying to use a hybrid with a battery and a fuel cell but no
Do you have numbers to present to support this view or are you just in love
with your own notion?
Have you seen the size of fuel cells? 150+kW is big. The 1kW solid oxide fuel
cells proposed for extra electric power in cars in the next couple of years is
about the size of a briefcase IIRC.
Well, if I get the time, I'll dig out the stats from the transportation
engineering courses I took over thirty years ago. Basic conclusion: the info
any car buyer gives you is bogus. They don't buy on logic, they buy on ego,
image, jonesing and just about anything other than common sense. Lots of
studies have been done and the results are depressing - they point to the
difficulty in getting people to accept common sense solutions to transportation
problems. Worse in the US than in Europe, for example, since the Europeans take
to mass transit much more readily.
Ummm, hybrids _do_ get better fuel economy, don't they? I first studied hybrid
technology over thirty years ago and the numbers that worked for prototypes back
then still work today. Costs are better today because of major improvements in
battery technology. Hybrids aren't rocket science.
Using a small power plant to provide average capacity and setting some aside for
peak demand is a common solution in a number of areas other than cars. Water
systems for example - you can lay pipe and build _huge_ pumps to provide peak
demand or build a water tower and run a smaller pump at average demand to keep
the tank full. The tank + gravity can provide for peak demand.
The only time this doesn't buy you anything is when demand is fairly constant.
Hence there is little need for a hybrid locomotive outside of a switching yard.
If the train is running on a steady grade at a fairly constant speed, power
requirements don't fluctuate much. Ditto a car on a long stretch of highway -
that's where the hybrids can barely do better than conventional. My 14 yr old
Civic VX gets almost the same highway fuel economy as the new Civic Hybrid (4.5
l/100km vs 4.3). In the city, the Hybrid is way better.
A 85 KW Ballard 902 is about the size of a full-tower PC.
Well, now, rather than whining about it you should figure out a way to
actually use that information to sell your solution.
Fuel economy is not the only cost driver.
All of this comes under the heading of "if you can't dazzle 'em with
brilliance bury 'em in something else". Try presenting some life cycle
cost numbers and some numbers for lifecycle environmental impact.
The story so far.
Dubya admits that it's time for the US to stop being so dependent on foreign oil.
A technology, developed in large part in US universities in the '60s and '70s,
referred to as hybrid gas-electric, has been available for a number of years as
a commercial product from a number of companies. This technology provides
significant fuel savings while providing adequate power for modern autos and
The nay sayers claim it won't work in spite of the obvious evidence that there
are real products on the market that use the technology. The nay sayers claim
that it is an evil conspiracy on the part of nasty environmentalists to destroy
American life. The nay sayers claim that it is the environmentalists who are
out of touch with reality.
I wonder if these nay sayers are all descended from buggy whip salesmen.
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