Is it "$78 per hour"? Is it "$52 per hour"? Hmm?
Reality is that right now Toyota's Georgetown KY plant has a labor cost advantage over GM of about $606 per car. By 2011, with already-negotiated agreements with the UAW that will take retiree health costs off of GM's books, that goes down to $96. In other words, the UAW and labor costs are not GM's problem. Neither is a lack of small cars to sell -- GM's small car lineup is pretty comparable to Toyota's with the exception that their smallest car is somewhere between the Toyota Corolla and the Toyota Yaris in size, and of course they don't have a Prius competitor but the Prius is a pretty aweful car that sells only because Toyota has somehow sold folks that this rolling toxic waste dump is somehow "green" (the toxic heavy metals in a Toyota Prius are sufficient to make every pregnant woman in America bear children with two heads).
So what's the problem? Well, first, a dealer network incapable of selling those small cars (GM's dealers are "good ole' boys" more comfortable selling pickup trucks to folks with shit on their boots than small cars to urbanites), and, more importantly, the utter collapse of GMAC (which cannot finance cars because of their losses on sub-prime mortgages) meaning that they can no longer give those 0% financing deals that the Japanese makes can still give, have a far bigger share of blame here than product mix. GM's product mix certainly isn't compelling, there's nothing to make you buy a Chevy over a Toyota, but it is good enough to keep them in business for many years to come assuming they can continue to develop new cars and, most importantly, can stay in business for the next year (!).
As for all those morons continuing to claim that GM's problems are labor costs, all I got for you:
I got nothin' but that for dishonest liars. Got it? And blaming GM's line workers for its problems is just class warfare by the "entitled" class, who are upset that some folks are able to make a good living putting cars together. That upsets their stomach because their vision of America is Mexico North -- a small horrifically wealthy upper class, with everybody else being horrifically poor. That way they can have cheap servants again. Which is all they care about. If that's your vision of America, fine, watch GM go down the drain and we're another step there. If you think America needs a functioning middle class to be a nation worth existing, though, dumping GM down the drain is the wrong step to take.
-- Badtux the Numbers Penguin