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Monday, April 27, 2009

82 year old Franchise Declared Dead at Scene

General Motors announced that they will be phasing out the Pontiac franchise in 2010. The announcement came as part of a restructuring plan made by the automaker that will cut more jobs as the company attempts to stave off bankruptcy.

GM plans to cut back on their hourly workers as well planning to cut 20 000 jobs between now till 2010. Among other losses is the closure of 42% of all dealerships in Canada, which is dropping from 705 dealerships to 425 dealerships. The U.S market is going to lose 2641 dealerships by the end of 210. That is a loss of nearly 44% of the dealerships in the American market.

The GM president and CEO had this to say: "We need to have a more stable, sustainable business model." I believe this was a well planned out business moved, because Pontiac is not making the necessary profits needed to stay over the red line of bankruptcy. One of the top auto industry analysts,Dennis DesRosiers, agree, "Fritz Henderson (president of GM) said it right: brands don't do well in a defensive role, they only do well in an offensive role, and GM doesn't have the money to be offensive with Pontiac. So something had to go."

This is really the best thing to do in my opinion, because as the analyst says if you can't make a profit on something you own then you get rid of it. GM is doing this with Pontiac, and possibly with more franchises in the future. If this is to happen GM should still fare well as long as the maintain the services on these brands until they are finally removed from the market. This will ensure that they will maintain those customers, but at the same time, maybe begin to cut back on their expenses.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Locked Out

A group of union workers have taken over a closed auto parts shop after being denied severance pay. This, and another plant had shut down after disputes between the owner and Chrysler. Chrysler had publicly stated that they were debating pulling out of Canadian operations unless union workers would make "substantial concessions." The workers, fearing that they would lose all negotiating power, have welded the doors shut from the inside and refuse to come out until their demands are met. Since the company had made parts for Chrysler, the industrial giant had attempted to retrieve some of it's tools; this was met with the workers blockading the trucks and refusing entry to the complex.

This is the latest sign of the weakening economy, as the working man is the casualty while the company cut their losses, and leave. This may have been to extreme for most but desperate times call for desperate measures. Is this the right thing to do, or is it only hurting their cause? Is this actually a sign of desperation or evidence of unions coddling their members? Either way it will be interesting to see where this goes. My opinion is that this kind of thing was bound to happen and is a sure sign of the tough times. Nobody is really at fault here, as the companies are bankrupt and the workers are broke and jobless; just another sign of tough times.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

An American in Canada

On February 20th the 44th US president visited Ottawa. The main message of the visit was to promote cooperation and friendly relations between allies. Some of the major issues that came up during discussions was the mission in Afghanistan, the economy, and clean energy. Though the some party officials say that this meeting had many positive answers and a good relationship between the two leaders, how many questions were answered for the Canadian people still remains to be seen.

Any awkward and tough questions were dodged by either leader. When it came to the mission in Afghanistan Obama stepped in and said “I certainly did not press the Prime Minister on any additional commitments beyond the ones that have already been made,” he said, adding he only complimented Canada on its troops there, and the 108 who have fallen." Harper has stated that the main goal is now training the Afghan army to assume the mission. It seems the Obama does want the army to remain a bit longer however does not want to push one of the few countries that maintains friendly relations with the US.

The second issue, the economy, was met with Obama pleading Canadians not to enter protectionism but instead encouraged global stimulation, as well as playing down his desire to revamp the NAFTA agreement.

The environment was the final issue and was largely ignored by the president as Harper was calling for a joint- pact on Greenhouse- gas emissions and energy. Obama said that the US must first work out it's own system before joining in any North American system. “We'll be looking ourselves for our own sake at opportunities for harmonization to make our policies as effective as they can [be],” he said. This seems to portray, in my opinion, this is a lack of effort on the American President. The Canadian PM is showing honest effort but continues to be ignored.

In all I believe this visit needed to be done however it did not answer enough questions to qualify as a successful trip. These two leaders need to be a little more honest with those who put them into office and stop dodging any questions that might bring up controversy. If democracy is about the people then the people need to remain informed and this meeting, I believe, showed that in full.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

In Times of Crisis...

Feb. 5 2009

Hello this is Smoke starting his posting on Feb.5 2009. The base of these post will to examine events and situations in political events at this time, and compare it to what past politicians did in the same or similar ones. Today it will be on the economic crisis that has struck the world much like the Great Depression in the 1930's. Today's US president Obama has a huge job in front of him which he started on the day he was sworn in, however this recession pales in comparison to what Franklin D. Roosevelt had in front of him when he was elected. Roosevelt acted quickly, closing most banks and worked on emergency legislation to solve this problem.
His plan revolved around Keynesian economics which is running a deficit in order to spend enough on programs then repay it with a surplus. Many politicians opposed this type of spending so Roosevelt had to fight to get many of his fiscal policies through. However in a few years his policies were showing some positive return as some jobs were created and the economy was showing a slow steady growth. Whether this would have been enough to pull America out of the Depression will never be known because in 1939 World War II began which stimulated the American war machine and economy by creating thousands of jobs in industry, and as soldiers. The New Deal defined Roosevelt's political career and has become his legacy since then.
Obama now has his own economic crisis to deal with and his own legacy to define the question remains will it make or break him? As president of one of the most powerful nations in the world how will he deal with his own country's crisis and how will he work with other country's plan to stimulate their economies only time will tell, however between the two candidates that America could have chosen I believe he is better suited to the job.