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Monday, November 17, 2008

Saving the Auto Industry - from the Inside out

Amidst worried governmental approaches to industry "bailouts", an inclusive, revolutionary change must occur within the auto industry which, essentially - at least for the time being - sets in place the means by which a kind of inclusive nationalization takes place.

Why? In the midst of near chapter status, involvement needs to be on ALL levels, and the seriousness, and the speed, with which these changes occur, need to be immediate, if we are to actually HAVE an industry at all. Thus far, despite the fact that the fallout will touch virtually every single community in both the United States and Canada, if it implodes, and in every place where there is a car dealership, a car service depot, a plant which feeds into the industry, and gas stations which depend upon vehicular appetite to sustain travel poosibility throughout the nation. Thus far, again, no one seems to be taking this seriously enough. If they go, the country will slide into immediate depression - in many, many ways.

Not one to dwell on the problem, but only the answers required for immediate action, I radically propose the following:

1. Immediate involvement of all employees, in the form of a REDIRECTED 20 percent pay cut, which immediately goes into available cash flow, and SHARES PURCHASE FOR EMPLOYEES. The Lee Iacocca model works, but it only does so if there is a recognized change in attitude, and a shared desire to keep both jobs and industry viable. "Cents an hour increase", for the next three years, at least (or as long as it takes to make immediate retool adjustments to assembly lilnes to restart all current products on the assembly lines. This must immediately reflect what has sold in the last six months to a year, with realistic, projected growth for brands that wil sell, are affordable for a populace whose income has shrunk, and whose fuel consumption will reflect the shift to alternative, and fossil-augmented fuel sources, in the coming years. This must be approved by all board member participants - which will include employee shareholder representatives, whose holdings will always be required, before the industry is shut down as a whole.

2. An immediate "huddle" with the petro chemical industry, to explore what fuel alternatives are being implemented over the next five years. The industry, itself, as well as oil sands refining and drilling efforts, needs to be the pioneer within its OWN INDUSTRY, to explore and develop alternative measures with which it will sustain itself, in generations to come. This is revolutionary, and will require what other businesses call "branch out activities." The time to do this is NOW. Shareholders within the petrochemical industries will begin to demand, and expect this, as part of shareholder securities. Simply put, what measures are being put in place to ensure that my investments are in an industry that is sustaining itself, by "diversifying"? In any other area, this would be considered "intelligent investment continuance", with as low a MER as possible. This is doable, ladies and gentlemen. You have been avoiding it.

3. In addition to guaranteed industry loans which will require, again, corporate decisionmaking inclusion at every level, as part of its guarantee (for when public moneys are uses, safeguards WILL BE IN PLACE), immediate action needs to occur by governments in the following areas:

a)tax cuts which encourage use of, location of, and CONTINUANCE of, operations in North America.

b)tax cuts to auto industry, and offshoot industry operations which seriously demonstrate a committed approach to saving themselves, with creative scheduling, job sharing, employee reinvestment, early retirements - but not necessarily, since this involves capital outlay, and a loss of some its most experienced, and "stick to it" coaching skills, for the teams that will need it, to get through this difficult period, "on call" stipends, for those who may be required for a shift on overtime, if needed, but will remain "on page" for three hour call in periods, rather than full shifts, as a minimum. This will only be for overtime, to begin with, and will hopefully not be required to augment regular shifts - but for those who can afford it, if it is noted that the line can be thinned, during an eveing, the ability to "volunteer an early night", to cut shift expenses, when the line is thin, may do so, without penalty or recrimination. We will all do more, with less - including living on our salary, with overtime a welcome, and carefully used, extra.

Where possible, overtime might be banked as time, or optioned as reinvestment in company shares, to boost the available liquid capital.

These measures should be investigated, and considered, by any governments considering investing public funds into a faltering company. Just how serious are these people about saving their industry, before the public bails them out? Remember: we all make far less than you, and have been doing so for quite some time, and yet, our purchases ensure your viability. This relationship needs to be recognized. How are you continuing to make it possible for us to support you, in terms of "purchasable vehicles for all?"

c)Small business loans which encourage, or support, diversification or improvement to upgrade technologies supporting the auto industry "shift":


4. The serious recognition by the public that if we do not support our own industry, we will not have one. The result of dependency is obvious, geopolitically. Can you imagine your transportation in the hands of someone who may wish you dead, as an entity? The next time you make a purchase, think long and hard about this. It is not xenophobia. It is reality. Charity begins at home. The reason international sales shifts occur is by lowballing local industry. We have seen this in other areas, and farmers have been dealilng with it for years, as part of GATT and other "low import" gluts, which effectively destroy domestic markets.

What measures has the government put into place, notwithstanding the speed with which they tried to implement NAFTA, to ensure that trade gluts are not designed to destroy the competition? Sun Tzu says one must examine these movements with considered thoughtfulness. Have you done this - with ultimate goals in perspective, erasing the sales naivite which suggests "friendly competition" against the backdrop of a heretofore "dying" industry? Who says its If you had any brains, we would be sustaining ourselves by agricultural production which augments transportation - field crops grown to feed the engines, as well as the mouths who drive them. But then, you scoffed at LIVE OIL, as opposed to DEAD OIL, as a concept, when I brought it up ten years ago. Are you doing that, now? I think not.

Stay tuned tomorrow for the second of several parts of "internal rebirth." I have only just begun. Our transformation will be a shared and satisfying thing, methinks.