Wednesday, December 17, 2008

How much does an average GM worker make?

Is it "$78 per hour"? Is it "$52 per hour"? Hmm?

Well, here's the truth: Toyota assembly line workers earn about $31 per hour on average, and GM assembly line workers earn about $29 per hour on average.

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


  1. Any thoughts on Ford? I'm going to need a new car for when little Cassidy or Caleb arrives and I'd already determined that the environmental debt of the Prius's battery manufacturing process nixed that one. I must confess, I'm not terribly knowledgeable about cars.

  2. I'm somewhat underwhelmed by Ford's current product offerings. They're all perfectly competent cars, just nothing that excites me. They have some better cars coming soon -- they're building a new factory in Mexico to build some of their small European cars, including a U.S. version of their popular Ford Fiesta (last seen here in the U.S. during the 1980's, when it was given U.S. spec bumpers and headlamps and imported from their Spanish factory for a time, but it went away when U.S. crash standards were increased and the Spanish version of the Fiesta could not pass the new crash tests).

    I suppose it all depends what you're looking for, in the end. But my next car is likely to be a Honda, because a) they get good gas mileage, b) they have good performance and handling, c) they're very roomy for their size, d) they have a "quality" feel to them, rather than the cheap feel of many other makes, because Honda doesn't send low-end "stripper" cars here, even their low-end Honda Fit comes with ABS brakes for example.

    So I'm a bad penguin there. On the other hand, I drive a US-made Jeep Wrangler (albeit one with a German transmission, sigh!). So take that as you will.

    - Badtux the Car Penguin

  3. Hey Tux -- quit slagging off the Prius! I've driven some shit-hot cars -- had a 1963 split-window Vette for 22 1/2 years and two major rehabs, our main ride in S.F. was a screaming yellow Mustang GT and I wound up giving my 1987 Fiero GT (bought new, went through one frame-off rehab) away for free to a Fiero club down near where you live. You can sneer that it's just dumb Dee-troit iron (and plastic, and fibreglass) but it was our mania like motorcycles are yours.

    Now we drive a Prius. (Steering wheel on the right and all!) We knew all that trash you talk. We know it doesn't pay for itself via mileage, especially with petrol at these prices. (For how many more months? Single digits or double? Place yer bets, Penguin!)

    You know what makes it all worth it to us? Sitting at a stop light, totally silent. No greenhouse gases out the tailpipe at all. A small thing, since we are but one drop of oil in the pirate-seized tanker that is the world. But it's one of the things we can do something about, so we did. (In an insufferable S.F. PC kinda way.)

    You can sneer all you want to about the toxic waste. But at least it's in one concentrated place, and I'm confident that technology will find a way to re-use our batteries. I'm proud to be a middle (not early) adopter. (If we were "early," we woulda got one of those queer-looking Insights.)

    One of our enviro friends here takes the Mick at us for the Prius. He doesn't own a car; takes the trains and trams. He's jealous, though. He couldn't afford a car. And you, Mr. Moto -- are you feeling a bit guilty? Do you secretly feel bad about how much dino-juice you're burning? Does it make you feel better to bag us yups who have made a different choice?

    We are the people who Cartman hates, and we're proud. Which side are you on, Tux, which side are you on?

  4. My motorcycle gets better real-life MPG than your Prius (the way I drive), and doesn't have the toxic waste stream problem. The Honda Fit is $10K cheaper here in the USA than the Prius, handles like a little sports car rather than like a Volkswagen Beetle with palsy, and handles our mountain roads *much* better than the Prius (trying to go over the hump to Santa Cruz is a nightmare in the Prius because its batteries are drained about halfway up the hump and then you're stuck at 45mph for the remainder of the trip, all that the wheezy little gasoline engine in the Prius can manage). If what you drive is primarily city surface streets the Prius makes a lot of sense. If you live in the flatlands the Prius still make some sense. If you have to go over mountains regularly, though, it ain't there yet...

    -Badtux the Car Penguin

  5. You have listed why the anaemic (as it's spelled here) Preezy-wheezer works for us. We mostly drive in town, and damn little of that. I think we've driven more kilometres through Europe during the past three years than we have Down Under. (Only 18,000 km on the odometer of the pregnant guppy-looking car we bought in April 2006.) And Oz is a flat place, all right. Not enough tectonic plates or volcanoes in the past 100 million years. The mountains between Santa Cruz and San Jose would put Australia's Great Dividing Range to shame. That's why we can live with the pokiness.


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