And Speaking Of Commies…

I see that the strike at GM has ended:

Negotiations between General Motors and the United Auto Workers reached a tentative contract deal on Wednesday that could end a month-long strike that brought the company’s US factories to a standstill.

Good.  Now they can go back to making mostly crappy cars* that few people want to buy.

Driven up by the longest economic expansion in American history, auto sales appear to have peaked and are now heading in the other direction.

I would be curious to see how the auto sales numbers break down between new and used cars.  Also, between cars and trucks/SUVs.  Anyone have any ideas or info on this?

But here’s an interesting statement as to perhaps a good reason why GM is tanking:

GM and other car makers are also struggling to make the transition to electric and autonomous vehicles.

…which very few people want to buy.  Nothing like a sinking company investing in products that people either don’t want, don’t need or hate the thought of.

Maybe they should trash all their current car designs and go into the retro/mod business:

Hell, they probably would;  except that, knowing GM, they’d make them electric-only and ergo  doomed.

*  Except for maybe some Cadillac models and the Corvette.  Note that I’m specifically excluding GM trucks, which are generally quite good, from the above comments.


  1. A friend is currently in the process of switching out their 70+ Ford trucks for Chevy’s, saying the Fords are spending more time in the repair shop than on the job sites (steel erectors business).

    I just can’t justify the cost of a new vehicle and probably never will. $40k for a reasonable truck? Please. The last new vehicle I bought, and still have, is a 1991 Chevy S10, currently with 174k miles, that I bought in Oct 1990 for $8,888. Cash. Hell, that kind of money today is the down payment – then a lifetime of monthly payments and the insurance. Plus, they load them up with so many safety and CAFE features they are maintenance nightmares. Who needs it?

  2. >>>
    But here’s an interesting statement as to perhaps a good reason why GM is tanking:

    GM and other car makers are also struggling to make the transition to electric and autonomous vehicles.

    …which very few people want to buy.

    Actually huge numbers of people want to buy electric vehicles, but not just yet; they’re just not quite fit to buy. Electric cars are the future, but not quite now. Currently the main issues are price, range, and recharging. They’re expensive, don’t have quite enough range for long journeys, and take an extended time to recharge. But electric cars have hugely lower running costs.

    Of course, I’m speaking of the UK which is much more densely populated than the US.

    1. Electric cars may have lower day to day running costs, but how do they compare on cost of ownership when they requite a battery replacement? (serious question, not trying to be snarky).

      Last I looked at the question some years ago, the (few, not statistically significant) folks with electric vehicles (including hybrids) I k new were planning to trade for a new one just prior to requiring a new battery pack, as the cost of the replacements was higher than they felt was economically feasible as opposed to just taking on a new car loan (with incremental payments vs a lump sum payable at time of replacement).

      Made me wonder if this wasn’t exactly the reason for the car maker’s to push electric vehicles to increase the number of folks buying new every few years.

      And not to get eco-weenie here, but what’s the cost of disposing of/recycling the fairly toxic materials that make up the battery packs?

      1. “…the cost of disposing of/recycling the fairly toxic materials that make up the battery packs?”

        Not to mention the cost of mining/manufacturing them?

        But if you really want to cause hate and discontent, refer to them as “coal-powered” cars.

    2. …and in Britishland, you only have to travel distances of single-figure miles, not hundreds thereof. Example: London to Edinburgh by car is considered a long trip Over There (and it is; I’ve done it). That distance (~400 miles) is the return trip from Dallas to Austin — which I’ve had to drive on the same day, many times. Hell, Plano to DFW Airport is 50 miles return — and I typically do that four times a day with Uber.
      Here’s what would make me consider an electric car: when it can get 400 miles at average 50 mph with the A/C and CD player running, at night with full beams on. Then a 20 minute recharge, and be full again to repeat as necessary.
      And electric cars minus the subsidies are not cheap to run, once you factor in the battery replacement (~$6,000 at 60,000 miles).
      Let’s not even talk about the fire risk.
      All this is fine in a densely-populated small location like the U.K. In the U.S.? Outside the major cities like New York or Chicago (which are already served by decent public transport, and which enforce cripplingly-high parking fees for cars), I don’t see it working.

      1. You could always have a job devising ways to keep a battery from catching fire or rupturing, as long as people keep demanding moar power in a smaller volume. Fun fact, a middling 2000 milliamp-hr 18650 battery, like in one of those convenient little ‘tactical’ flashlights, has about the same energy as an M80, aka cherry bomb. They just blow up a lot slower when things do go bad. I have a number of the little flashlights, but the minute I see any sign of battery damage, even just scuffing of the casing, that’s when I’ll replace the battery with one that has a pressure release vent panel incorporated. You may get excited, but you won’t get toasted. Fenix is one brand name; expect to spend 2-4X the cheap stuff. Don’t think I’m ever going to vape, those little babies have already killed a couple of guys by driving the sticks into their skulls when the batteries went all pear-shaped..

        1. 1. Thank you for the info on Li-ion torch batteries.
          2. One of my shooting troupe is also a fire-fighter. Current advice to his brigade is that if an electric/hybrid vehicle is engulfed, stand well back and wait for it to burn itself out. No more dashing in to retrieve the humans!

    3. Oh, and the UK is not only more densely populated than the US, but it’s also much smaller.

      Trying to travel from Ohio to visit family in Iowa or Arizona is just not a starter with the limited ranges and extended recharge periods of EVs. That is likely to be so until after I reach the point of not being able to drive.

  3. WRT car sales numbers, modern cars are so well made compared to the way they were in the past that trading in for a new vehicle is a luxury, not a necessity. As I’ve said before, in the “good old days”, cars had 5 digit odometers for a reason: Once they hit 100k, they needed major work. Modern cars can hit 150k without any issues and 300+k is not out of the ordinary.

    I FINALLY stopped using my 2004 Suburban as my daily driver and tow pig (for a travel trailer.) 15 years old and over 187,000 miles on it (I did have to put in a new transmission – at 175,000 miles – but that was a known weakness in that era of 1/2 ton truck.)

    For modern cars and trucks there’s no functional difference between buying new and buying slightly used (1-2 model years old) except that if you buy used, you let the other sucker take the initial depreciation.

    Since the manufacturers only make $$ when the vehicle is sold new, used sales actually cut into their bottom line.

    1. There is very little “depreciation” savings in 1-2 year old vehicles and it has been this way for at least the past 10 years.

  4. As far as electric vehicles go, there is a reckoning that is going to come when adoption of electric vehicles increases. Right now, our power grid is adequate for the probably less than 2% of households that have to recharge their EV’s overnight. EVs require a lot of power to recharge.

    But once adoption of EV’s gets to 10% or even 20%, my guess is that the power companies are going to demand a major upgrade to the power grid to accommodate them. We could also see things like rolling “brownouts” but instead of occurring during the middle of a hot day (when most people are running their AC units at full blast) these brownouts will happen in the middle of the night when everybody is trying to recharge their EVs at the same time.

  5. Joe Sherlock does a monthly analyses of new car sales.

    I’m looking at switching to a Plug in electric/ Hybrid. My current Lexus hybrid is very disappointing. BUT I’m also looking at installing Solar and a Powerwall witch is needed if I’m going use the solar to Charge the car as well as the powerwall . All of this will really impact the power grid and the utilities will need to develop a whole new set of ways to deal with it. Just to start , they now have all these other sources adding power to the grid. It’s no longer easy to disconnect a segment from the grid and assure the linemen that the line is not “Live” .

    here’s what Joe reported about GM

    Compared with last year, General Motors’ sales declined just under 1% during the first nine months of 2019. GM reported third-quarter sales of 738,638 vehicles, an increase of 6% year over year. Sales through September totaled 2.15 million, a decline of 1% compared to the first nine months of 2018. Third-quarter Silverado sales were up 18% year over year for the company’s LD models and up 7% for the HD models. For the year to date, HD sales are down 12% and LD sales are down 1%. GMC Sierra HD sales were up 10% for the quarter and down 5% for the year. Sierra LD sales jumped 38.2% in the quarter and rose 13% for the year to date.
    Year-to-date sales of GM’s brands were as follows: Buick rose 2% over last year, Cadillac increased 3%, Chevrolet declined 3%, and GMC increased 6%.

  6. I drive a 2006 Trailblazer that I got from a family member with just under 30,000 miles on it. It is just getting to 93,000 miles with no issues in sight (knock on wood).

    It’s performed well with no major issues on trips from Ohio to Mt. Rushmore, Idaho/ Yellowstone, and a grand tour out through to Nevada, to Arizona, Texas and back home, as well a daily driver when I was working and driving daily.

    I have no current plans on replacing it (barring catastrophic accident or mechanical failure). When I can get a vehicle that gives me the same engine performance, carrying (people and cargo) capacity, performance off-road and in bad weather, at a price less than what my house would sell for, I’ll consider it.

    I don’t expect that to happen until after I am no longer physically capable of driving (hopefully 20+ years).

  7. Strikes over but don’t excite. It’s nothing more than the head commissar passing the word to company/union apparatchiks.

    Meanwhile, a blurb the other day detailed windfall sales experienced by Dodge trucks during the strike.

    Fuhgeddaboud a new vehicle, I’ll keep put-putting along in my ’96 Ford Ranger with 190K miles. View it as my Ford 3-window coupe.

  8. Brand new issue with some tesla is starting to show up. It seems that over time one or more of the Firmware chips is burning out. The result is that it “Bricks” the car. The car wont charge and it won’t boot up. It just sits there until some boards deep inside are replaced. So instead of a transmission failure , now with EV it’s going to be computer Failures that cause the expensive repairs. Same old problems just the names change.

  9. The best thing about the strike settlement is that the “late adopters” will be able to get those C7 ‘Vettes they ordered when GM announced the C8, mid-engined ‘Vette; allowing the Bowling Green line to switch over and satisfy the lust for that new – and long awaited – beauty.

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