With Obama elected, will the auto industry see any changes?

Interesting | November 5th, 2008 by 30

I have to tell you from the beginning that I am definitely not an expert in politics or economics, so everything  I will say next …

I have to tell you from the beginning that I am definitely not an expert in politics or economics, so everything  I will say next is based on my personal opinion and ideas. Now, with the disclaimer out of the way, I would like to congratulate our new president, Barack Obama.

The reason I started this topic is related to the multiple comments that I have seen on this blog for the past months, comments that somehow connected the auto industry crisis with the upcoming election and the uncertainty of what the future might bring, in terms of who will lead the country through one of its toughest times.

Many of you believe that the cut-backs, layoffs and earnings are related to the uncertainty that sets over the country in the months before every election. Many believed that the BMW’s future plans rely on who will run the country for the next four years and BMWNA’s CEO, Jim O’Donnell confirmed that in an interview back in September:

[the 4 cylinder turbo engine] will deliver stronger performance in terms of acceleration than the current 6-cylinder, it will deliver lower emissions and will give you better fuel economy; so it is a win, win, win situation. This will be a high tech 4-cylinder engine; obviously turbo charged. We can’t really confirm or deny when it is going to come into the US, or if it is going to come into the US, until after the election and the government makes it clear what is going to be the platform that manufacturers have got to work to.”

Before I will turn this over to you, I would like to expose my point of view. I do believe that up to a certain level, BMW and other car manufacturers were indeed waiting for the election to be over before committing to any future plans. I believe that the Europe car makers are hoping that a shift in the internal and external U.S politics will bring more prosperity and opportunities down the road.

I would love to see quickly if the new president will continue to support the fuel efficiency programs and U.S becoming less dependent on foreign oil.

P.S Sorry for the out of topic article, we’ll get back to our spy shots soon ;))

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  • Lee

    Generally speaking, I feel the President gets too much credit and too much blame for what happens in this country.

    Will he have an effect on the automotive industry? Eh, perhaps. Its not likely to be anything worth mentioning, though.

  • Gragop

    @Lee:

    The only likely effecet the President would have is helping to push through automotive industrty loans – which would only affect US markets and still probably wouldn’t do much to help GM, Chrysler or Ford.

  • Gragop

    Also – the fact that Jim O’Donnell used the line “it’s a win, win, win situation” makes me laugh – it reminds me of the Conflict Resolution episode of The Office…ahhh I need a beer.

  • Lawrence

    I agree, the president has nothing to do with the automotive industry. The automotive industry is soley in the hands of the men and women that run it. When BMW canceled the CS that had nothing to do with the president, BMW is just concentrating on things that we just dont need. It’s like these guys are scared to build the CS because they probably feel as though that the CS wont be as appealing as the Porche Panamera or the Aston Martin Rapide, or the beautiful Lamborghini Esteque. I have a couple of designs that I believe BMW can truly use around 2012-2015 production models that could really boost this company. BMW should also consider 4 cyl. turbo engines for future vehicles, lets say mayby a 2012 M3 GTR. Well only time will truly tell.

  • Brookside

    I see Obama setting a tone for the country rather than having a direct effect on the automobile industry.
    Culturally- that’s something different. Instead of seeing the referent of the new manifested in products I think we’ll see more experimentation in every sector…. ideas rather than ideology. And a more open mindset to explore those possibilities.

  • Clara

    “[the 4 cylinder turbo engine] will deliver stronger performance in terms of acceleration than the current 6-cylinder”. Which 6-cylinder engine was he referring to? Is he saying that the 2.0T will outperform the 3.0T due to weight savings and other differences?

    Oh… and the presidency. I don’t think it made much of a difference who was elected, as they were both well-qualified, centrist candidates (relatively speaking). The important thing is that they manage decision making responsibly and I *think* both would have made very similiar decisions in this area.

  • Mauro Corti

    Guys, I live in Italy so I can give you an european point of view, and trust me, we’re pissed off with you americans about the enviromental politic.

    Here we do a lot to stop C02 emissions:

    - The government give a money bonus to everyone who wanna change his old car (Euro0, euro1 for car, euro0, euro1 and euro2 for motorcycle) for an Euro4/5;
    - Every industry MUST have a certificate about how much C02 it produces, and cannot exceed some strict limits;
    - Everyone who wanna put some solar panel on its house gets money from the government to support his effort;
    - On some sundays NO CAR OR TRUCK OR MOTORCYCLE can go in the streets, you have to use public buses or bike or your foot.

    Well I disagree with the traffic stops, because it’s just a palliative, but we care about the enviroment, and trust me we think we are doing 10% of what we should.

    The America has never signed a global agreement for c02 reduction because “if China does not sign it why we should”. Yeah, great mentality, see where we are going with that.

    You have cars with 333L engines, and I really can’t stand that. Why should you have ENORMOUS engine, delivering an incredible amount of c02 and weighing (is that right? :P) too much.

    You use HUGE cars even if you don’t need them!! Every american has an SUV, why? why? What’s the need of an SUV apart nothing? You can’t use it on the offroad because it’s not a jeep, try using an X5/3/6 or a Q7/5 on the offroad, and tell me how it is with that hard suspension and road tires.

    We are really pissed of, if half of the world still think that global pollution isn’t an everyone’s problem and continues not to sign global agreement or doing something REALLY effective… well we (Europe) could do what we want, the world will not change.

    I truly hope Obama administration will change something….

  • Mathis

    @ Mauro Corti

    truer words have rarely been spoke ;-)

    We all hope Obama will make the world a better place, but overall he will be the US president and still has to protect US interests!

    I do think he is less of a slave of the oil industry than McCain, Cheney or Bush. Mainly he is younger and that will be good, he will be open for newer concepts and ideas.

  • Mauro Corti

    I agree with you, infact I have a BIG hope, but just that…

  • Volan

    Mauro Corti- indeed- and thats why a USED e46 M3 costs around US$100,000 in your area, because of all the taxes and regulations for having a 3.2L engine, which is it not THAT big…

    I think it is ridiculous- You DONT fix a problem by prohibiting its use, rather finding alternative ways that serve the same functionality with better quality (in this case, less pollution).

    And, trust me, I KNOW Europe- thats where I came from….

    On the other hand, I think Obama will bring upon the US the European mentality when it comes to emissions and pollution. Folks down here can kiss away the American muscle and the cheap HP- you will have to pay (big) to play

  • Clara

    @Mauro Corti:
    Mauro,
    what you list as differences aren’t entirely true. We do get tax credits for solar panels, electric hybrid (and other) vehicles. Industries that handle environmental hazards are regulated and are required to test and report contaminants introduced to the air and environment. Unfortunately those regs were loosened (or completely undermined) during the Bush administration for short-sighted reasons—- however those regulatory programs do exist.

    I’m not sure what Euro0-5 represent, but I assume they are iteratively more stringent pollution standards. So, we may be debating the differences in approach and how aggressive the requirements are, not whether they exist.

    The rules regarding truck/moto/car restrictions is an interesting idea, but it sounds like that would simply squeeze the pollution-generating commerce into the remaining 6 days of the week, and effectively shut down 1 of every 7 days of business. Nonetheless, its a good idea to make that psychological impact to have the populace agree to make that deliberate sacrifice for the environment and benefit their quality of life for one day.

    There is definitely a stereotype of americans as people who don’t care about the rest of the world. There are lots of people here that are sheep to some degree and believe what they’re fed by those with influence. However, if this recent election said anything, it’s that there are enough intelligent, responsible people here to rise up and be accountable for the use or misuse of power by their country in the global community.

    As far as americans all driving enourmous gas-guzzling cars, that’s a bit silly. There are people like that but like all noisy people, they tend to draw the most attention. Most people I come across make reasonable choices about their cars. For example, I have a mid-sized car and would like a smaller one, but I’ve found that I really use the size and utility, so it’s hard to give up.

  • Lee

    @Mauro Corti:
    Way to stereotype us, Mauro.

    I’ll agree that we have some idiots driving cars that are massively larger than what they need. I live in Texas. It’s pretty common, and I would love NOTHING more than to see that gone (although for different reasons, I’m sure).

    We do have a lot of self-centered asswipes, but not everyone is a pickup-truck-driving, big-mac-slurping, trash-out-the-window redneck.

    (Oh, and I was just giving you hell about the stereotyping thing. I really couldn’t care less.)

  • http://www.bmwblog.com Horatiu B.

    I knew this will be a good topic :) And yes, we do get a lot of tax credits. Euro5 is the highest standards when it comes to polution, they seem to be more strict than us in that department.

  • Lee

    @Clara:
    I actually replaced my Corvette with a scooter (Piaggio Fly 150) last year. I know the ‘Vette isn’t exactly a cargo-carrying monster by any means, but it really wasn’t that difficult to give up the cargo space. You just learn to be more picky about what you carry around with you.

    In fact, I would still have (and daily drive) the Piaggio if some douchebag hadn’t decide to steal it last month.

  • Mauro Corti

    Euro X is a class of car based on its emission of c02 and NOx and other gases, the lower is the Euro0, the higher of course the 5.

    As for the traffic restrictions I agree with you, it’s a stupid idea and infact I don’t like it…

    Let me just say this. In italy only 3% of the c02 pollution is caused by cars’ emissions, so I’m not a fan of “day without traffic” or “we have to kill euro0 cars”, because it’s a nonsense and non-effective measure in my opinion.

    But I think that EU could try every measure, but without the help and support of the US in cutting c02 emissions and more generally pollution all the efforts will have a little impact on the enviroment, and that because US, India and China are the biggest co2 “producers”. Now you are supposed to say “Well, what about China and India, they do nothing. Why should we?”

    Right, they do nothing, infact I hope US will change the situation just because I’m sure India and China will not… I have no hope for them :)

    I’m sure we have, I have, a lot of stereotypes about americans driving huge cars etc etc.. but that’s a reason why we think that I guess.. :)

  • Mauro Corti

    I went on wikipedia to get some informations. US in 2001 were producing the 36.2% of co2 emissions of the world, and New England alone was producing the same co2 of ALL Germany.

    China and India signe the kyoto protocol just because the protocol didn’t force them to cut co2 emissions, because they were not considered as the responsibles of the emissions during the industrialization period that is causing the pollution of our days (that’s what they thought… easy to sign with no consequence)

  • Mauro Corti

    Got to go to bed, it’s 1 am here in Italy :P Good morning/afternoon/evening/night to everyone…

  • Clara

    Maurio, that figure sounds about right. Question though— what portion of that 36.2% was due to personal automotive use? I’m guessing around 30%, the remainder coming from commercial/diesel, jets, electric plants and especially the US military (in its altruistic endeavors).

    The most embarrassing thing that’s going on is the continued denial about the environmental impact by some anti-science groups here in the US. That’s the result of propoganda for political and economic motives and very well documented in the seminar “the american denial of global warming” which you can watch on youtube.com.

    It’s possible that this issue has become inseparable from other trade issues with these countries – it’s just another negotiating point or mutual device for leverage. China has bought a huge amount of our debt and exerts that to great effect on washington. They have openly threatened repercussions if washington took positions disadvantageous to them, including trade policy, currency valuations, etc. Right now they are seizing opportunity with surging growth and that will be hindered if they are hit with a cost significantly proportionate to their energy consumption– in addition to a less competitive position for exports. That’s just an unacceptable risk to them.

    And that’s the problem, that the cost of these things are directly related to energy costs. For the US, which uses a disproportionate amount of energy, the expense in controlling the by-products will be equally dispropotionate. Considering our weak position with respect to trade partners/competitors in China and India, we cannot sustain more disadvantage via this magnitude of expense. We cannot sustain much of anything right now, it’s all very precarious.

  • Clara

    @Lee:
    Kudos to you, man! Sacrificing your vette for the good of mother earth! :) Too bad about your scooter though.

    To your point, yes, i could travel with less stuff. The “killer app”though for my car though is carrying all my sports junk. I can fit my entire mountain bike in my car with the seats down. Since I live in a city and only drive on the weekend, I don’t want my only driving fun to be hindered by a roof rack.

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  • Lee

    @Clara:
    Psssh. I wasn’t sacrificing the ‘Vette for the good of “Mother Earth”. I was sacrificing the ‘Vette for the good of my wallet. $540/month car payments and $300/month insurance bills get a little old after a while.

    Besides, the scooter was damn fun (even if I looked like a fat, bald idiot on it). And you can’t beat $50 monthly payments and $81/year insurance.

  • Artmic

    I think the whole emission bullshit about cars is idiotic.

    so what if the USA dumps 36% of the worlds CO2…
    let me ask all of you what is that 36% overall compared to other sources of CO2 that are released each year into the atmosphere? 1% ? and over that the environmentalist assholes are pinning at the mouth to give us electric cars?

    WTF? Is the entire planet gone off the deep end?
    The establishment is pursuing this draconian bullshit carbon tax without taking prisoners, and they give us our “Carbon” footprint to think about? WTF!!! people wake up, before you get taxed for fucking breathing CO2 out of your mouths!

    As for Obama, fuck him and McCain, they are both the same slime that infests government… fake ass Obama’s first move is to get that slime Rahm Emanuel as his chief of staff, what does that tell you about bringing the nation together? Obama is paying off his debt to his handlers, contributors , and corporate whores…

    So far the only change Obama brought with him is that he is “Half White”… fake ass liar Obama, and the poor people that follow this dirty politician like he was “GOD”.

  • Clara

    @Artmic:
    No, Artmic, they compared the yearly the levels of CO2 by pulling it out of layers of ice in the arctic going back 100,000 years. During the industrial era we put several orders of magnitude more into the atmosphere than the net emissions from exhalations. Moreover, we undermined nature’s ability to balance CO2 and other greenhouse gases.

    Go do your homework and quit passing judgement on the highly qualified people that have executed these massive data-gathering and analysis projects and offered it for criticism. The scientific world has for decades been in agreement about the facts and the prognosis.

    If you don’t believe “An inconvenient truth”, go and watch the hour-long analysis of the anti-global warming campaign in “the american denial of global warming”.

    Then come back and continue to make all americans look like uneducated, obstinant pawns. Where are you from, anyway? Do you have all your teeth? Do you think Obama is full of sh*t because he’s black, or because he’s a threat to jesus, or his middle name is Hussein?

  • Artmic

    @ Clara,

    All you can talk about is some fake ass consensus by scientists that are paid off and get funds to push this idiotic global warming agenda( er, i mean Climate change[they had to change that one, since it is getting colder..])..

    All you have are idiotic computer model simulations, that prove what if scenarios, and i doubt you’d want to play video games with everyone’s lives, or would you?

    I don’t see you as a European, Canadian, Australian, or American, i see you as another person that swallowed the bullshit about global warming, climate change, and the evil that people cause “Mother Earth”, ohhh those poor polar bears, they are drowning, …*HAHAHA* meanwhile their population is increasing in numbers…….

    As for Obama, i don’t see him as black, or white, i see him as the piece of shit politician he is… just like McCain… just pure shit.
    But i guess your brain won’t register it when a used car salesman pulls a fast one on you and sells you the same piece of shit car again,… but hey, he did say “yes we can” and also “Change” so it must be true… **ROLLS EYES****

    Look me up in 12 months, and we can compare notes about this Obama Change and “yes we can” party slogan, (Perhaps Obama meant: “yes we can…bullshit the people once again”).

    Also, don’t assume I’m some red neck, KKK member, or some Republican ass licker… I’m past the idiotic mentally deranged bullshit of believing anything Republicans/Democrats spew from their bullshiting mouths.

    Now be a good person and pay your stinking carbon tax to the bankers, and live in squalor so they can enrich their coffers while you explain to your kid why it is cold inside during winter, since you can’t afford the “Carbon Footprint” anymore… but hey, you saved the Polar bears LOL,

  • Clara

    Listen to me, Artmic. Go watch “american denial of gobal warming” and then present a credible argument against that.

    It describes how the only scientists not in agreement are NOT CLIMATOLOGISTS and were instead the same scientists hired by the same PR firm using the same strategies that kept the so-called debate going about the link between cancer and cigarettes. This was good for tobacco companies because it allowed them to sell cigarettes for an extra couple of decades after the cancer relationship was discovered, during which time quite a few people got cancer and died. Do you see the parallel here?

    THERE IS NO DEBATE. The PR efforts mentioned above intended to SEED the notion that there was still doubt in the minds of people who would not recognize the difference between true science and propoganda, thus making them pawns thus making them pawns in the struggle to determine america’s policies.

    The computer models developed by an international community of scientists are not video games, and I’d challenge you to come up with some credible reasons as to why they should be considered “pseudo-science”. What background do you have that makes you qualified to make such a statement?

    With respect to politics, what argument are you actually making about Obama, his intentions, his strategies, and his likely effectiveness? What you are tossing about here are wild, unsupported assertions about his integrity and capability as a leader.

    Moreover, such statements as “So far the only change Obama brought with him is that he is ‘Half White’” indicates that you have a cynical resent about satisfaction and pride of those who desperately wanted to see the change that a non-white, culture-spanning president would represent. Can you not understand what that means to people?

    I can’t help but notice that everything you say bursts at the seams with a sarcastic, cynical bitterness. Why do you seek out things you don’t agree with and punctuate all your meandering points with such profanity?

  • Artmic

    Dear Clara,

    I’m qualified to tell you, they don’t have enough data about climate to predict shit 1 month into the future, never mind 50 or 100 years into the future. (The fact that you want to challenge me to prove it speaks volume of your lack of understand of software models ) I work for the government, one of those alphabet soup type places, we do modeling also, amongst other things.

    A software model is as good as the data it receives, not “Selective” data that these scientists feed it… and certainly not all the data that could and potentially is missing still. I will give you a tip, at parties that you attend, don’t defend the models these charlatan scientists employ, in fact that is their weakest link. It is just that they think the average joe six pack thinks anything with computers/software must be “The Truth”, but in fact, it means nothing.

    Incomplete models are not real models, and since it is hard as hell to predict local weather 3 weeks in advance, why do you want to cause drastic changes to people’s lives because of idiotic software models that predict what if scenarios 50 or 100 years into the future :)

    I am bitter, and i am cynical, why? Because people don’t change, they repeat the same mistakes over and over again. Voting Republican or Democrat in the hope of having a better tomorrow is IDIOTIC. The only thing on their agenda is rewarding their friends, corporations, lobbies, and special interest groups, while stripping the average persons wealth, and liberties. (and if you can’t see that, then it is too bad, because the sooner you wake up from your prison, the better.)

    I’m being cynical about Obama’s win, a giant toad could have won against McCain(the walking corpse)…

    As for Obama being half black, so what? Are blacks supposed to feel happy because someone of dark persuasion is president? SO WHAT? Obama is more white than I am. (and I’m totally white, but I don’t lick white corporate America’s ass)
    Clara, think outside the box, just because they slap a new wrapping around their candidate (this time he is black… maybe next time someone will be gay, so they can have a Hollywood spectacle, and people will vote for the “novelty” of it.)

    I am not tossing unsupported statements, I think Obama is a used car salesman… and I’m going with the previous history of anyone that got elected to be president, none of them changed anything meaningful in the long run.

    All his promises are useless fodder for 5 year old children to swallow and believe in.

    Do any of you believe Mr. Obama will remove the Patriot Act ? Do you think he has your best interest, and he will not spy and take more liberties away from average Americans? :)

    Didn’t he promise to restore the constitution to its rightful place? Destroy the Patriot Act? Remove the troops quickly from Iraq? :)

    Right…………………………………. Well with the Iraq war his excuse will be that the “Generals” advised him against it, that it would have cost too many lives… so why was he attacking mcCain over his comments that they will stay for as long as it takes,.. Obama has the same mentality.

    And what will his excuse be for the Patriot Act? That he likes the power the government has with this bullshit act? And he won’t relinquish such power over the sheeples.

    A lot of people treat this guy as some type of saint or jesus, you guys should have your eyes checked, his half-whiteness has affected your brains. This is my point, I wish he was totally BLACK, and not some stooge that works for the white establishment, because a real black brother would know what to do to make the average person’s life a bit easier, they certainly would get rid of the patriot act(Completely without leaving bits of it alive) …

  • Clara

    This is getting very old [from lack of progress] and very long [from lack of focus]. I also think this isn’t the kind of conversation Horatiu was hoping for on the forum, and I’m at least partly at fault here. This has become the typical internet flame war. I’ll respond, but we need to try and wind this down, and I’m sure it will be difficult for both of us.

    With regard to your claimed expertise in modeling, we all work with models of some kind and are aware of their characteristics. I am not qualified to analyze data, and I say that because I’m familliar with what’s involved and can recognize a good analysis from a bad one — your statements that it “means nothing” denotes that you do not analyze or work directly with the statistical/predictive models used by your alphabet soup organization. You also haven’t identified what data is lacking or what your own knowledge is of the data is, or what data credibly contradicts the findings.

    You did say it’s “getting colder” but it’s not clear where that’s coming from, aside from the onset of winter.

    The data sources have a pretty amazing breadth and depth and consistency. They have found ways to sample levels of indicators in specific points in time going back decades to 100′s of centuries. That’s pretty good for establishing trends. They have found statistically consistent relationships among these different sources (eg, factors in ice layers, seabed layers, tree rings, the estimated mass of emitted gasses over the last 100 years, samplings by scientists over that time, etc)… enough to indicate systems of change. This doesn’t predict the *weather* 100 years from now, it indicates a direction/trend via a system of change and the cost of attempting to correct it. The confidence is justifiably high for these general predictions, because some of the factors are changing in orders of magnitude, and the measured results confirm the model in terms of orders of magnitude. We are not predicting weather, but trends. The unusual shrinking of ice caps is a good example of a massive and irregular change.

    You also said that it’s “getting colder” but it’s not clear what that’s based on. Considering that the polar ice caps are in fact melting at a substantial rate, it’s not clear what metric you’re referring to besides the onset of winter.

    I’m going to skip over the political stuff because that’s just a sarcastic mess and contains no arguments. For example, “I am not tossing unsupported statements, I think Obama is a used car salesman” justifies your statements of facts as the fact of your opinions. It’s perfectly logical, but completely undermines your overall points.

    I guess you won’t respond to any of my arguments, including the fact that a propaganda campaign against global warming (which is seperate from the actual “debate”) has been proven to exist and desires to create the perspectives that you are expressing here. You have no statement on this? Here:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2T4UF_Rmlio

    And…. what else haven’t I responded to. Obama. I don’t think most people regard him as political “Jesus”. He’s demonstrated his administration and leadership skills, he represents the changes that a majority of people want, he’s an inspiring, credible speaker and conducts himself with very high integrity. Aside from that, he’s still human and happens to be a politician. Nothing more — but that’s far better than any other option.

  • Clara

    Yay… I win by forfeit! hooraaay

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