Welcome to the Spring & Summer issue!
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So long Mopar...
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It started it all
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Hearts as big as Texas
Make a wish Charger Project
Historic Fan Photo
So long Mopar, the General,
and the American Way?
(cont) by Mark Neeley
Why are American companies such as Chrysler or GM at the mercy of their competition? There is no need for them to be. Take a look at Chrysler’s history for example. During WW II, they manufactured among other things a four wheel drive truck that created such an impression on the soldiers who had used it that they wrote Chrysler after the war asking for the very truck that they had won the war with. Chrysler soon manufactured an improved civilian version under the Dodge “Power Wagon” name. The truck became a legend with all that knew it.
Chrysler adopted and improved the Hemi Head (for hemispherical shaped combustion chambers) V-8 engine in some production vehicles starting in the early 1950s. In late 1950s and early 60s the 392 Hemi V-8 became the legend of local drag strips across the country, this design eventually led to the development of the legendary 426 Hemi V-8 that catapulted NASCAR’S Richard Petty to American hero cult status. The 426 Hemi design became the basis for engine design that nearly all top fuel or funny car teams in N.H.R.A. continue to use to this day, 45 years after its initial introduction. Couple this with other legendary engine designs, such as the slant-6 or the wedge V-8 and you have engineering at its finest.
One would be hard pressed to find a more durable motor than either the Slant 6 or 318 V-8 that Chrysler used from the late 60s through the 2001 model year. Chrysler is also the company that gave us the Road Runner, Cuda, Challenger, Super Bee and Viper. They reinvented the Dodge truck while landing the Cummins Diesel and reintroducing the Hemi V-8 Engine. One can go on and on as you could with many of our great manufacturing giants, but now the news that day suggested that the once proud Chrysler may be forced into liquidation.
Now the big three could mean the Japanese auto manufacturers? I’ll admit it, the Japanese build great vehicles, but so can we. Remember who taught the students. Chrysler, GM, Ford and other manufacturers literally produced the machines that not only won the wars; they were there in case we needed to defend freedom once again.
Working on some of our nation’s greatest manufactured goods gives you great insight into what our country use to build and how dominate we were at it. It also tends to leave you in great disgust for the way things are today and over the last few months, there is plenty to be disgusted about. American auto manufacturers have to take personal responsibility for their actions and the road that led them to beg the mercy of big brother. What did they think that would get them?
The truth of the matter is that big government yearns for opportunities such as this. Control is what it’s all about with big Government. They need your tax dollars to fund the machine that will tell you how to successfully run your business, redistribute your wealth and control your life. Don’t question it; just be a good little serf. See, they are the experts. They’re the elites. If you don’t believe it, look at their example of how efficiently they run the government. Look at their balance sheet. What’s that you say…Debt? No problem. They can borrow it from China or better yet, print more money. If they need more revenue, it’s OK you can pay more tribute for the cause, can’t you? Well… can’t you?
The day the news media announced that Chrysler was shutting down 800 of its dealers to loose weight and work toward a rebound was probably the most ridiculous headline I have ever heard. Since when does closing opportunities to sell cars encourage profits and growth?How about loosing parts sales and service sales? That is a ton of lost revenue. I personally asked a dealer this question and their answer sounded like something the media would have told them to say. In the logical world, the first thing a manufacturer does when they open their doors is to try and sell dealerships. This was the complete opposite of logic. Most of these dealerships are independent franchises, privately held independent franchises. Thousands of jobs have been lost and many lives were affected. Many of the dealerships that closed were 50 and 60 year old successful operations. Neither Chrysler, nor GM for that matter is calling the shots in the forced closings. They are being told what they are going to do. They took the carrot and now they are going to pay the farmer.
If Chrysler or GM is to ever rebound, the playing field will have to be leveled. By that, I mean labor will have to get in line with the current market levels that Toyota, Nissan, Honda, BMW, Mercedes and the rest of the competition pay their employees. They build automobiles here too, remember. For years they have had plants in the American South where they have thrived. If the labor unions refuse, then Chrysler and General Motors should reorganize, move operations to the South and start training. More than likely Ford would not be far behind should that take place. I would imagine Mississippi would love to have an opportunity to bring jobs to that state on the level of a major U.S. Automaker. Without that reality, it’s only a matter of time for them. There is no way they can truly be a viable player in a market where their labor cost is higher than the majority of the competition. Since our current administration has been so adamant in directing the auto manufacturer’s recovery efforts, it would seem they would propose a task force to also direct labor concessions to the total real world market value paid for their services. Since this is not likely going to happen, (I wonder why) the only eventual solution is bankruptcy and liquidation, or reorganization with government ownership. But that is fine with our current administration. Taking control of large corporations will allow them to dictate change as they see fit. The labor rate is not a problem for the government because they will just subsidize the continuous losses with tax dollars.
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