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American won WW II in 3 years and 8 months. GM was part of that largest industrial gearing up in history that ended up as the key to winning the war. Their archives contain all of the information on how they did it.

Now we are faced with a different kind of war, something I will call the energy war. Gas, diesel and home heating cost are rocketing. According to the Texas oil man T. Boone Pickens, at todays oil cost we are sending $700 billion dollars each year to pay for our imported oil which is the greatest exporting of wealth in the history of mankind. Converting to alternative fuels is not only a matter for our national security, our economic future but if it keeps going like this will jepordize our way of life. Waiting 3 years for alternatives like the Volt and then getting limited production is not the right way to look at the problem and signals the doom for great countries like the United States and companies like GM. During WW II, if we had the same problem solving and sence of urgency that we have today we would all be speaking German and Japanese today. Great companies like GM need to think much bigger (more Volts faster, CNG cars, hybrid, etc.) and much faster or we will end up loosing our energy war.
 

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The problem is the main customer of GM during WWII had a pocket book that could pay for as many units as GM could possibly produce. GM also knew exactly what their customer wanted, because they handed them the plans.

GM has to focus on making fuel efficient cars NOW if they want to survive (same applies to Ford and Chry... well forget about Chrysler they are dead regardless). This is what people want. This is the only thing people can afford.

Forget about the Volt, that's a dream that won't be a reality any time soon. Most of us will end up buying a new car and driving the wheels off that new car before they could get a Volt. GM needs a solution (a car they can actually produce in volume and make money from) between now and 2016+.
 

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Production is only 10k the first year and 60k the next, that's nothing. If that's the fastest GM can crank these things out they need to increase their manufacturing power. Demand would easily consume over 200k per year. If GM doesn't ramp up production they'll lose out big on sales to the Prius or whaterver else emerges in the US market. Not to mention the few they do put out are going to be fought over and will be sold for twice what they're worth. The average upper middle income guy won't be able to get a volt till 2015 at the earliest if GM keeps dragging their feet...
 

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Production is only 10k the first year and 60k the next, that's nothing. If that's the fastest GM can crank these things out they need to increase their manufacturing power. Demand would easily consume over 200k per year. If GM doesn't ramp up production they'll lose out big on sales to the Prius ...
Think of how many plants GM has closed is the past year or so. Didn't they just announce 4 plants closing? They have a trained work force, huge infrastructure already invested and built, equipment that can be re-purposed and a huge distribution and service network. So, they are going to sit back a let Toyota finish their plant in Mississippi, build up their workforce and infrastructure and over double their production of Prius's to 1,000,000 per year by 2010/2011. And all the bigger GM can think is building 60,000 by 2011? GM need to think how can they build a 1,000,000 Volts per year and lower the cost to $25k per unit. I believe they would sell every one .....
 

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I don't think it is a case of GM not being able to produce more, but worrying about how many they can sell profitably. If demand is high for the price, then GM will certainly add 2nd and 3rd shifts to the plant to produce more, but the ripple effect of increase demand through their supply chain will not be trivial. I suspect it is the ramping of battery pack production that is the pacing item.
 

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Vision is Missing

Great companies like GM need to think much bigger (more Volts faster, CNG cars, hybrid, etc.) and much faster or we will end up loosing our energy war.
Excellent point. Great companies often have great vision and are led by great visionaries. GM management is hoping to return to building Envoys and Escalades with gas at $2.50/gallon!

Do you really think that a company that has lost market share consistently over the last 30 years can change to a successful company using the same management that has destroyed the company?

I'm no T. Boone Pickens fan but he clearly has a vision and will make it happen. GM will continue to falter and fail.
 

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Excuse me, we are suppose to start building the Volt tools in August. So GM does have intentions of building the Volt. I agree that GM needs to build massive numbers of this car the first year and on. GM should take preorders with a cash deposit such as $2000 to show intent to buy such as the Toyota Prius. You need a $1000 deposit to order a Prius. I would put $4000 down for 2 Volts now. I would like to see plug ins at all the GM plants so we can plug the Volts in while we are at work. Listen General Motors, if you want to survive, you need to get this car out now. Take orders now with a deposit and I bet you will have 100,000 orders the first year.
 

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So true! America had a great mandate in 1942, and we need great inspirational
leadership today to rally the nation. Big Oil served a purpose, and everything
changes. We will need a national power grid that moves off it's dependence
on coal and natural gas. Step by step!
 

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As much as it sounds cool, the WWII analogy is pretty lame and over played.

In 1942 everything consumers purchased in the USA was made in the USA. Now we are pretty much a retail outlet for China and the rest of Asia. We no longer have the manufacturing capability and can not turn things around that fast or in great quantities.

In 1942 GM manufactured it's components itself through it's subdivisions. Now it contracts out to other companies for not only parts but engineering as well, so even if they want to make a big push and run at a loss, their component suppliers won't.

In 1942 the government took out loans and forked loads of that money over to GM to build whatever they asked for. Today there isn't anybody sending money to GM. I gotta ask, how big of a check did Mr. Pickens send GM to aid in our "war effort"?

In 1942 GM didn't have to do any R & D, as was pointed out already, they were handed the plans and told build this. Now they have to make the plans.

In 1942 GM didn't have to worry about product liability suits, it wasn't their product and nobody dared to sue a defense contractor in a time of war. Today if one little thing goes wrong, there will be a class action suit.

In 1942 GM was respected and a valued part of our economy. Today the President will hardly give them the time of day, people love to dismiss them as purveyors of cheap faulty crap, they are blamed for global warming and our dependence on foreign oil (because God forbid we have to take any responsibility ourselves) and Wall Street helps their demise and can't wait to see who gets the carcass, just like greedy heirs at the death bed of an ailing benefactor.

WWII can do spirit? PLEASE! When I start to see average Americans turning in their working cars and scrounging for scrap metal for GM, buying bonds for GM and news reels being produced touting all the great things going on at GM for America, maybe then we can apply this bogus analogy.
 
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