Consumer Reports drinks too much of it’s own Kool-Aid

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For those three of you who haven’t heard, Toyota has issued a massive recall over a possible sudden acceleration issue that infects the top eight selling models in their lineup. This has started the tongue and keyboards wagging in the automotive press with some rather interesting commentary.

Jake Fisher, and automotive engineer at Consumer Reports stated in an interview to Automotive News that “”Toyota is trying very hard to do the right thing and being bold and having large recalls to portray the fact that they are willing to stop at nothing and spare no expense so nobody gets hurt in their vehicles.” and “Toyota has built this reputation on quality and reliability and safety and being a practical choice.”

Jake, Toyota “trying very hard to do the right thing” would have been addressing the issue when they allegedly knew about it as early as 2004. Having massive recalled 6 years after the problem began surfacing and after multiple people have lost their lives isn’t “trying very hard to do the right thing”

Also, doing a recall and stopping production when you know you are legally required to do so is not the same as doing so voluntarily.

One last thing Consumer Reports, Toyota didn’t build their reputation for quality, you built Toyota’s reputation for quality. Toyota has been having quality issues for years with sludging engines, failing transmissions, exploding camshafts, premature rusting, wheels falling off, and cracking frames, all the while resisting responsibility and blaming consumers. All this time you’ve given them passes for these issues and only jump on the reality train once Toyotas started killing people.

Toyota doesn’t have the reputation for quality you proclaim with anyone who reads just about any publication other than Consumer Reports.

GM posts huge jump in China sales. Up 66.9% for 2009

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General Motors posted a huge jump in it’s sales in China, up 66.9%, increasing it’s China market share to 13.4%.

Domestic sales by Shanghai GM rose 63.3 percent to 727,620 units in 2009.  The passenger car joint venture was once again led by its original brand, Buick, which experienced sales growth of 59.6 percent year on year to 447,011 units.  The Excelle, which sold 241,109 units, remained the brand’s bestseller for the sixth consecutive year.  Further contributing to the resurgence of Buick in China were the New Regal, which generated sales of 79,930 units, and the new LaCROSSE, which generated sales of 43,429 units in just six months on the market.

Chevrolet sales in China likewise experienced strong growth, with 332,774 units sold – an increase of 67.1 percent from 2008.  The Cruze, GM’s new global compact car, enjoyed great success in China, with sales of 92,190 units despite being on the market only nine months.  In addition, the Lova had sales of 118,935 units.

In 2009, SAIC-GM-Wuling became the first automaker in China to sell more than 1 million vehicles in a year, increasing its domestic sales by 63.9 percent to 1,061,213 units.  With sales of 596,630 units, the Wuling Sunshine set a Chinese industry record for annual sales by a single model.

FAW-GM sold 34,510 light commercial vehicles in the four months after its establishment in August 2009 and began construction of a new assembly plant in Ha’erbin.

GM China Sales jump to all time high


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We’re in this mess because for the past 30 years we’ve gone to China to finance loans on our Japanese cars used to haul home Korean made products that you have to call India to get tech support for. – Me

McCain sends healthcare reform protester to “time out”

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Senator John McCain kicked out a healthcare reform protester from his Townhall meeting today.

The anger being thrown at the health care debat baffles me. From my observations, the people protesting the loudest against the public/government option are the ones without health care. Talk about fighting against your own best interest!!  What I don’t understand is this idea that if the government offers a low cost health care plan, suddenly we’re all going to be in a socialist health care system like the one Great Britain has. This is not socialized medicine, it’s socialized insurance.

The big insurance companies have gotten so greedy, they have brought this on themselves. By colluding to charge higher rates to their subscribers and lower payouts to the medical centers they’ve taken a “5 for me, 1 for you” attitude. The government option would force insurance companies to compete on cost and payouts again.

Government insurance should be thought of like Amtrak. It’s government funded, and I make no illusion that it will break even. Still, for people who can’t afford to fly and don’t own a car, it’s the next best option.  Amtrak will get you from Pittsburgh to DC in relative comfort for an inexpensive price.

I’m in favor of a government option because it means that someday if I decide to become solely self employed, I’ll have an easier time getting health care. When I lost my job a few years back, my Cobra benefits were nearly $400 a month for a 25 year old, non-smoking male in good health. I ended up dropping the Cobra and got catastrophic insurance coverage but it still cost me $175 a month.

Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) said yesterday  “the people are speaking and we should listen”. Let see. House – 256 dems to 178 reps, Senate – 57 dems to 40 reps, Whitehouse – Dem 1, Reps 0.

I agree Congressman. I agree.

GM bringing 1,350 back to work.

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Part of the point of the Cash for Clunkers program is that it would help the ailing automakers and thus their employees.

Yesterday, General Motors announced that it would be bringing 1,350 laid off employees back to work, 1,050 of them located at the Lordstown Assembly plant in Lordstown, Ohio.

Lordstown Assembly produces the Chevy Cobalt and HHR and will soon start production on the Chevy Cruze. The Chevy Cruze is a slight step up in size from the Cobalt, but reportedly can achieve 40mpg highway with a conventional engine. Initial reviews of the Cruze in foreign markets where the car is already being sold have been positive.

While I hate the way the Cash for Clunkers program works, at least it’s doing some good by bringing these people back to work.