I've long been interested in the US auto industry and how they have so consistently been underperforming the Asian car makers. I just read a stat, direct from GM, that totally floored me. According to GM, in 2004, health care and pension costs were a staggering $2223 per car. PER CAR!! Can you freakin' believe that??!! Even worse, because of design, quality and resale issues, GM must undercut foreign builders (mainly Toyota) by an average of $1500 per comparable vehicle. Is it any wonder the domestic auto industry is in deep, deep trouble? And that's not all. Interested in Toyota's per vehicle cost for health care and pension?--$201.
Now I'm not a genius, but I'm here to tell you that unless the big 3 get huge union concessions on their legacy pension and health care costs, they simply won't be big much longer. Once the pride of US manufacturing, it's been more than 40 years since the wine and roses days for the domestic makers. Toyota, Nissan and more recently, Hyundai and Kia have taken leadership positions in the auto market and when the first Chinese-made cars start hitting the market in 2007-2008, you'll have to go through bankruptcy court to get your Ford or GM tuned up.