Letters to the Editor

Tuesday, June 9, 2009 at 12:00am

What happened?

I simply cannot believe GM is on the brink of losing its Saturn car brand.

I was born and raised in Detroit and distinctly remember all the hoopla and fanfare associated with GM launching the "visionary" car concept.

Outstanding engineering, superb craftsmanship, personalized customer service. The salespeople were all Dale Carniege graduates who reminded everyone they didn't "haggle" over the price, and buying a new Saturn would be downright joyful.

Poised to outsmart and outsell the Japanese, Saturn was GM's holy grail.

What happened?

Seems after the banners were taken down, ads and marketing programs haulted, GM went back to its old ways.

Shoddy workmanship, staid styling, exorbitant built in health care and pension costs, and the "mafia," I mean UAW, always at their doorstep asking for more, more, and more.

Now on the blocks to the highest bidder, it's a prime example why GM filed for bankruptcy.

In contrast, look at the 2009 lineup from Toyota, Honda, Nissan. The Camry and Accord and Altima rival BMW at half the price.

Building a better car was possible, just America couldn't do it.

Paul D'Argent, 37209

Who are they to judge?

I have watched these past few weeks as a majority of our state Legislators move to (quoting dissenting Justice Allison Humphries in his 1973 language) “sell our birthright, equality and freedom for a mess of pottage, a cheap easy way for [Appellate Court Judges] to be perpetuated in office.”

I'd like my Constitutional right to vote for an Appellate Judicial candidate of my choosing restored and resent state Legislators who are violating their Oath of Office by denying it.

Some of us won't miss this right until it's needed, but it's too late because it is already gone.

Tony Gottlieb, 37216


Filed under: City Voices

428 Comments on this post:

By: gdiafante on 6/9/09 at 11:41

Personally, I would have illustrated Kia and Hyundai's success against GM. They build affordable cars that are well-built. I had a Chevy and a Kia at the same time. They were comparable in size, price and bells and whistles. The only repairs I make on the Kia is the oil change. On the Chevy, after the first seven brake jobs, I got rid of the piece of junk, and that is exactly what GM makes.

Tony, I would refer to the always wise George Carlin...we don't have rights, we have privileges.

By: MamaG on 6/9/09 at 12:19

What on earth has happened to the CP today? I kept getting directed to TN Business or something like that and it is quite frustrating!!! Anyone else having problems or is it just me???

By: gdiafante on 6/9/09 at 12:22

Yeah, me too Mama. I thought for a second I might have crashed the site due to over-posting...lol

By: MamaG on 6/9/09 at 12:31

LOL darge! Good letter today, BTW.

By: MamaG on 6/9/09 at 12:36

Actually, I thought the CP had perhaps fallen (financially) to this other entity I was directed to and was our beloved City Paper no more! I hope that if something like that should happen, they would let their loyal posters know about it.

BTW, what type of car do you drive? I agree about the Saturn. A friend bought one several years ago and I was surprised at the "cheap"-ness of it. Even the sun visors were plastic. The whole interior seemed to be made cheaply with cheap materials.

By: slacker on 6/9/09 at 12:37

I thought that a wise moderator at the CP, had decided to ban my sorry, lame, posts.

By: slacker on 6/9/09 at 12:47

For sale:
Saturn, like new, low mileage, never been in the rain. Owned by rocket scientist, price negotiable.

By: gdiafante on 6/9/09 at 12:49

I have an Isuzu Rodeo and Kia Spectra. The wife drives the Kia, but it is one of the best cars I've ever had. Quiet, smooth ride, low maintenance, great mileage.

By: dargent7 on 6/9/09 at 12:57

You know, it just had to happen. As soon as one of my Pulitzer award winning LTE's was published, the whole server would cave in.
I thought the "crash" was because of the 550 posts, last Fri and Mon.
The net sum total of IQ had to be way below 70. Chief, himself, had to curb his entitlement to only 40 a day.
But, SidVicious came out of early retirement, to scold and admonish all who dared to refute her.
I did miss d"Pain's sarcasm today, though. I wanted his recent take on David Carradine's death. Since there are no "Doc. Johnson's" in Nashville.

By: Loner on 6/9/09 at 1:16

Good afternoon, Nashville!

I'm back home, typing this at the Java Junction. I've been up North of the Adirondacks, in Massena, NY. It's tough getting a signal up there.

Great Letter, Paul, congrats! I read where Penske might buy the Saturn brand, and some Chicom outfit will be building our Hummers.

IMO, Chrysler deserves to be out of business; they had hemis, hot rods and haulers, but no hybrids. Chrysler looked to the past for inspiration; sadly, nostalgia is romantic, but not conducive to long-range success in a highly competitive global marketplace..

Chrysler catered to the NASCAR and NHRA crowd- speed kills!

By: gdiafante on 6/9/09 at 1:25

Chrysler screwed up when they stopped offering soft Corinthian leather.

By: MamaG on 6/9/09 at 1:36

gdia, I have wondered about those Kia's! I have a Honda Pilot and I like it but, it's a lot of vehicle. I did have a Plymouth Breeze because I wanted to keep it American, so to speak, and it was a good car for several years. Then things started going wrong, and well, you know how it goes. I would love to have a VW bug but it's so small, I don't know how safe I would feel in it. And lately, I've been seriously considering a scooter!

By: MamaG on 6/9/09 at 1:40

I haven't ever had luck with Chevy's but I remember the 67 Super Sport convertible my Mom used to drive and wish I had it now! It was hell on wheels!!! LOL
I heard Chevy is coming out with a new Camero next year that is supposed to look like the old ones from the mid-late 60's. It looked cool as heck!

By: MamaG on 6/9/09 at 1:41

Oops, forgot to add that it may not happen now, with the economy.

By: slacker on 6/9/09 at 2:03

MammaG, I bought a restored Cushman Eagle scooter, to ride around the neighborhood. I rode it two times and almost got hit by a car both times. I have parked it and intend to sell it. Or only ride it early on weekends. Not trying to frighten you, but people have problems seeing them.

By: gdiafante on 6/9/09 at 2:05

I'll never own another Chevy. I had a Ford that was great too, but they don't really have anything new that I like. Another problem of the industry.

I'd get a scooter, and don't forget a helmet. I'm thinking of running everywhere, that way I save money and lose weight.

By: dooley on 6/9/09 at 2:08

US auto makers sank into the profit over quality mode in the seventies and almost crashed . They finally got the message and started emphasizing quality and made a few good cars in the mid to late eighties but as greed would have it it sank right back into their losing ways again thinking that the buyers had been pacified and would remain loyal . Now we are seeing the results of it . They all need to be obliterated . At least we can still buy a good car but unfortunately not of our own making.

By: dooley on 6/9/09 at 2:08

Great letter Paul.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 6/9/09 at 2:09

Mama, stay away from the VW's! worst choice i ever made - everyone i know who bought one said it was a piece of junk. the repairs are very expensive and quite often.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 6/9/09 at 2:10

i'm a loyal nissan person, myself. i have one now and owned two previously. the two previous ones ran to about 250K miles with little problems.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 6/9/09 at 2:11

actually, i have TWO nissans now. i bought a little truck for Home Depot runs.

By: slacker on 6/9/09 at 2:13

nazi, midget wrestlers also drive those little trucks.

By: gdiafante on 6/9/09 at 2:14

Well my Rodeo's hood latch broke, so I've been using the cable...which snapped yesterday...this morning the oil light came on...

So...this afternoon I'm selling a kidney to get the repairs...

By: Loner on 6/9/09 at 2:14

The American carmaker's obsession with "retro" is a big part of the problem.

Chrysler's PT Cruiser started the nostalgia trend, of course Chrysler already wasted millions on the Viper and the Prowler limited-market muscle cars.

Ford brought back the Mustang and the baby T-bird, but fortunately they didn't bet the farm on retro.

GM squandered millions on that goofy, yet expensive, Hot Rod Pickup and the HHR mini panel truck venture. If GM brings back the defunct Camaro, it will prove that the re-invented company has not learned from their costly mistakes.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 6/9/09 at 2:16

i know. i bought it from one.

By: gdiafante on 6/9/09 at 2:19

Yeah but all new Camaro's come with Lynyrd Skynyrd's greatest hits...

By: Blanketnazi2 on 6/9/09 at 2:21

And a coupon for a free mullet hair cut.

By: slacker on 6/9/09 at 2:44

GM could probably arm twist Billy Ray Cyrus, into being spokesperson for the new Camaros.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 6/9/09 at 2:48

only if his daughter gets to sing and dance in the commercial.

By: slacker on 6/9/09 at 2:54

I'm thinking foam dice on my rear view mirror.

By: dnewton on 6/9/09 at 3:10

The reason GM and Crystler are in trouble is because there is too much car manufacturing capacity. American manufacturers are the least efficient at building a car and are thus destined to die. Manufacturing productivity in the US is high and that is why we still make more stuff than Japan, China ,Germany or anyone else. Those productivity improvements have come at the same time as increased life expectancy of autos. The median age of cars is about 9.5 years and the median age of trucks is about 7 years. The idea of planned obsolescence does not apply universally except for food and chewing gum.

The government buying the spare production capacity will not address the original cause of the problem. The excess production problem has always been addressed by the economy with failure of the weakest or survival of the strongest.

Maybe President Obama could make everyone make cars out of cardboard and put the manufacturing rate and the mean time before failure back in line with the need for jobs, jobs, jobs. I suggest that GM convert its manufacturing energy and expertise to providing devices to support the expanding medical industry. Perhaps a power assist exoskeleton that would let nurses move patients twice their size without additional help. Of course that would cause the medical personnel to shrink... nothing is perfect.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 6/9/09 at 3:16

here's a good quiz:


By: brrrrk on 6/9/09 at 3:21

Sorry D7, got to disagree with your position of blaming the UAW for GM's failure. GM had no problems making huge profits during the 90's and early 00's when people were buying bohemoths... in spite of what the union workers were making. The problem is that GM sacrificed preparing for the future for short sighted huge profits. If there's anyone to blame, it's the people at the top who set the direction of the company.

By: Loner on 6/9/09 at 3:34

Seems like the old Chevy truck jingle was quite prophetic - "like a rock", GM's stock price crashed through the floor. Now the "rock" has been tied around the necks of weary American taxpayers. With political considerations trumping economic exigencies, the re-invented Federal Motors (FM) will probably limp along for a few more years before the next administration puts the brain-dead zombie out of its misery.

There is one positive aspect to the bad news , the USA will eventually be forced to give up its role as world policeman, pre-emptive invader and bankroller-defender of militant colonialism in Palestine. The War Lobby is not happy about the future, peace is bad for business.

By: Loner on 6/10/09 at 5:32

Good morning, Nashville; looks like we have left-overs for breakfast. Yesterday's server glitch must have altered the NCP's priorities - no new LTE's to critique on this fine morning. Maybe a new thread is on its way - we shall see.

By: dargent7 on 6/10/09 at 5:38

Loner: When have the daily LTE's had any bearing on the posts? One could write a LTE on global warming, and by noon people are discussing Indian reservations in Tenn.

By: house_of_pain on 6/10/09 at 5:51

Looks like I gave up too early yesterday. I thought the NCP was gone forever.
It is too bad about Saturn. They were one of the better lines of American cars.

By: slacker on 6/10/09 at 6:18

Groundhog day?

By: CAH on 6/10/09 at 6:21

Not leftovers, Loner. By some manipulation in time, we were transported into the future yesterday. The LTE and all posts were for today.

Today is tomorrow's yesterday.

By: Loner on 6/10/09 at 6:28

D7, you are correct, sir. The LTE's do provide some sort of a fig leaf to conceal our real intentions. I always try to comment on the letters before joining the ongoing conversation. Hey, let the thread unwind....

House, I thought that the NCP was demanding that I install some new software in order to keep getting the product, I was going to balk on that. I'm glad that things are back to normal....

Just as in TN, the Empire State is now experiencing a ruckus in the state capital. Two renegade Democrats joined forces wth the GOP and now the state senate is in Republican hands - or so it seems at the moment. This is not good for Gov. Paterson.

Former Gov. Spitzer's carnal indiscretions have had a huge ripple effect, a little crumpet on the side for Gov. Spizer has resulted in a cluster f-ck for every New Yorker. That little strumpet was "pullin' a train".

By: Loner on 6/10/09 at 6:39

CAH, sounds good to me, the old time warp phenomenon - Cap'n Nemo knows all about such things, perhaps the veteran starship commander will brief us on what happened and what to expect.

Slacker, every day is groundhog day for me, I have a family of them living out near the barn; the babies are cute as hell. I suppose that I should shoot them before they undermine the barn; do woodchucks have a right to life and a right to exist?

By: slacker on 6/10/09 at 6:53

Loner, you could club 'em to death like baby seals, but that might piss off the neighbors. I suggest giving them to Blanketnazi.
She will put them in a cage, and do all that female nurturing, and make liberal groundhogs out of them.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 6/10/09 at 7:20

slacker, they're not liberal until they get food stamps, right? lol!

By: Blanketnazi2 on 6/10/09 at 7:21

besides, i wouldn't put them in a cage. i'd let them be free range before chief shoots them.

By: house_of_pain on 6/10/09 at 7:25

Loner, with that many living on your property, you should know the exact day winter will end every year.

By: house_of_pain on 6/10/09 at 7:29

BTW, Blanket, I once owned a '79 Z28 & a mullet. I put over 300K miles on the Camaro.
The mullet didn't fare as well.

By: slacker on 6/10/09 at 7:32

nazi, chief wouldn't shoot them, Catholics are forbidden to shoot groundhogs.
But he would make them watch John Wayne movies.

By: Citizen on 6/10/09 at 7:32

Just traded my 2000 Buick with 180K miles on it for a Chevy Quad Cab PU W/102K miles. Need the truck for mission trips to the gulf coast several times a year. Anyway, would have taken off for the left coast without a thought in the Buick. I've had great experience with GM cars/trucks; '70 Camaro - 180K miles, '73 Corvette - 30K miles, '83 GMC van - 105K miles, '81 Olds diesel - 125K miles. Last new car purchased was the '83 GMC van. I'd much rather let someone else take the hit for me!

My wife drives an '03 Hundai Santa Fe. It has been basically trouble free as were my GM vehicles.

Both the Europeans and the Japanese manufacturing facilities are more efficient and modern than ours because we destroyed theirs during WWII and then rebuilt them while being slow to upgrade our own.

Our auto manufacturers were short-sighted in agreeing to their various "deals with the devil" [UAW] while times were good, but neglected to seriously consider the inevitable ecocomic downturns.

By: gdiafante on 6/10/09 at 7:41

Chief would only shoot them if they dined out. That's the most dangerous place in the country now.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 6/10/09 at 7:41

mission trips? have you converted many heathens?