Saturday, March 14, 2009

The Big 3 Aren't So Big Anymore

As a car enthusiast I daily follow the ongoing melee taking place in the auto sector. Much like the demise of shipbuilding in Collingwood, the dependancy on the automotive industry to drive the local economy is unfortunately yet thankfully behind us. Goodyear (a former employer) Bendix, Alcoa are gone and had they not already left, the doors would certainly be in jeopardy of closing now given the state of Ford, GM and Chrysler.
In reading various letters to newspaper editors and blogs, consumers are showing little support for the Big 3, their management or their unionized workers. As per today's article in the Globe and Mail entitled "Tax fight imperils Chrysler's survial" the spat bteween Chrysler and Revenue Canada over unpaid taxes is just another festering sore that consumers in general have with the North American auto companies.
I give credit to Ford. They seem to have an ever-increasing array of product that is consistent with the demands of today's buyers and they are not asking for a bail-out, at least for now. The management at Chrysler and particularly GM just don't get it and neither does Ken Lewenza and his CAW followers. The only blame for their current predicament that seems to exist within these factions is the current "credit crunch." There is no acknowedgement on the part of management that for years, they have and continue to produce vehicles that do not meet the quality or fuel efficiency demands of the consumer. I am a car enthusiast more than most but come on, for GM and Chrysler to be spending money they don't have on bringing to market a 6.2 litre Camaro and a 6.1 litre Hemi Challenger at a time when oil prices hit an all time high is just plain stupid!
As for Ken Lewenza and the CAW. They provide no acknowledgement whatsover that maybe, just maybe their ludricous demands for wage and benefit packages over the years via their practice of "pattern bargaining" are no longer sustainable in the global economy. Rather than bailing out these floundering auto companies that have yet to deliver believable and viable resturcting plans, it is perhaps time that governments on both sides of the border invested money developing knowledge and technology based industries that will get us off the cyclical, feast or famine auto manufacturing treadmill.

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Rick relocated to Collingwood from Toronto in 1985 through a transfer with Goodyear Canada. In 1987 Rick was recruited by a major client of Goodyear’s, managing their Canadian business based in Barrie before moving to Chicago in 1992 as Vice President of Sales & Marketing. Upon returning to Canada in 1996, Rick ran an industrial products manufacturing company in Stratford, Ontario. In 1998 Rick returned to Collingwood with his two children. Rick is a licensed real estate Broker with Royal LePAGE Locations North in Collingwood and holds his MVA designation (Market Value Appraiser-Residential). He is an active volunteer in the community serving several years on the Board of Directors with the Collingwood Chamber of Commerce as Treasurer, 6 years on the Board of Directors for the Southern Georgian Bay Association of REALTORS® of which he is the Past President (2008) and currently serves on a committee with the Ontario Real Estate Association. Rick is a diverse executive manager with extensive experience in strategic planning, manufacturing, finance, human resources and quality assurance management.