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View Diary: Tesla Repaying Gov't Loan 5 Years Early (101 comments)

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  •  Amazing given that not so many ... (16+ / 0-)

    ...years ago, we had a top GM executive saying hybrids would never take off in the U.S. market. That's one reason Toyota has managed to sell 1.3 million Priuses in the States.

    Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

    by Meteor Blades on Tue Mar 12, 2013 at 10:39:21 AM PDT

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    •  If we had a dollar for every GM exec who said... (15+ / 0-)

      ...something ridiculously short sited...

      I once talked to a guy who was a high ranking engineer at GM in 70s and early 80s.  He once made a presentation to the board that was meant to put the fear of God in them, and get them to change their ways.  It was about how the Japanese were going to kill the Big 3 unless they changed, and did it fast.  The Japanese were building better quality cars at a lower price that offered similar performance and were far more efficient.  And the Big 3 had the capability to do the same, but they were refusing to do it.  

      The justification?  "The Japanese make small cars.  Americans like big cars, like the ones we sell."  They were essentially ceding the small car market to the Japanese based on a current market trend.  None of them looked any further into the future than the next fiscal quarter.  This engineer asked "Do you really believe the Japanese are too stupid to figure out how to make a car longer, wider, and add two more cylinders to the engine?"  

      They dismissed him.   Didn't want to hear it.  

      A few years later, that guy was hired by Toyota and moved to their US Headquarters in Torrance, California.  His new job at Toyota?  To be a part of a new brand Toyota was establishing.  It was to be called "Lexus."   ;)  

      •  Great story. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Cinnamon, Eyesbright, Nowhere Man

        In the 70s and early 80s, American manufacturers had lousy quality control. When you bought a new car, you bought a partially assembled kit. If you were lucky, after enough trips back to the dealer, it would finally work right. The U.S auto execs spent lots of money on marketing, not quality control. When Consumer Reports reviewed cars, they used to list all the assembly defects they found. It was a long list for the U.S. cars.

        •  That's exactly why I bought (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          journeyman, offgrid, cocinero

          my first (two) Japanese cars in 1980.  I was so disgusted with the poor quality of American cars that it finally became something I couldn't support.  They obviously didn't care about quality/reliability so they didn't deserve my business.

          In 1980, Hondas were not plentiful (they were selling so fast that they didn't sit in the lots for long) and there were only two on the lot in the small-ish town where I lived.  Still, horse-trader that I am, I planned ahead of time that I would announce we were expecting to buy two new Hondas that day but were shopping for the best dealer, get some discount for that (even if small), then back off to one car and get half of that discount off one.  Funny thing is, payments for the two brand new Hondas were still less than we'd been spending on gas for my husband's long commute to his new job.  So we bought both cars (and I did get a small discount).  It qualifies as one of the smartest purchases I ever made.  Both lasted over 200,000 miles.

          I've bought nothing but Japanese cars since then and I've been happy with every one of them.

          To stand in silence when they should be protesting makes cowards out of men. -Abraham Lincoln

          by Eyesbright on Tue Mar 12, 2013 at 03:27:48 PM PDT

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