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The Automobile Business is Supposed to be About Selling Cars

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Rush: Automobile dealers fighting against closures. You may have heard earlier on the program today that the brilliance of Barack Obama and his auto czar -- try this -- we're going to close 3,000 Chrysler dealerships, which means it's going to be really hard to go find a Chrysler. Then we're going to cut the advertising budget in half, which means fewer people are going to know what kind of cars are available wherever you have to go to get 'em. And this is going to save the automobile industry. The auto dealers are fighting against closures. "While General Motors and Chrysler make plans to eliminate hundreds of auto dealers around the country, Mike Breyfogle --" wait just a second here. You can't say General Motors and Chrysler are making plans to eliminate hundreds of dealers. You have to say, either, while the United Auto Workers or President Obama "are making plans to eliminate hundreds of auto dealers around the country, Mike Breyfogle, general manager of Tempe Dodge Chrysler Jeep in Tempe, Ariz., considers himself one of the lucky ones."

Hey, Mike, Mr. Breyfogle? I guess that means his dealership's not closing, but you're still in trouble because the president of the United States was just out there and did a commencement speech and essentially told the graduates at ASU that they shouldn't even want to have a car! "'This is a terrible thing,' said Breyfogle, whose company runs a total of nine dealerships in Arizona and Chicago. 'I'm hearing through friends of friends that some of the smaller dealerships are expecting to get the ax. I think we will be fine, so I'm not really worried, but I'm sure there are a lot of dealers around the country that are losing a lot of sleep right now.' Chrysler's bankruptcy proceedings and GM's severe financial problems are sending a shudder of fear through the nation's approximately 20,700 dealers, and some of them are organizing to fight back. But so far it is unclear how much power they will have to save themselves, especially if GM follows Chrysler into bankruptcy court.

"On Thursday Chrysler is expected to issue a preliminary list of dealers that it will admit into the 'new' company after it emerges from bankruptcy." No, Obama or the United Auto Workers will issue the list, and I'll bet you Obama has been working on which dealerships survive based on campaign donations. This is how Democrats do this. "GM also is due to start notifying dealers this week if they will be allowed to continue to sell its remaining brands, including Buick, Cadillac and Chevrolet. All told, GM and Chrysler could notify roughly 3,300 dealers this week that they will lose their franchises." While all this is going on, GM says, hey, guess what, you know what? We're going to start importing cars from China. Yes siree, Bob. "As thousands of General Motors workers await word on more US plant closures, reports that the company plans to import Chinese-made vehicles have created a political problem for the automaker and the White House. The reports, which GM will neither confirm nor deny, could mean trouble because GM is supported by $15.4 billion in US government loans, largely due to the Obama administration's desire to preserve the company's 90,000 US [union] jobs."

The United Auto Workers is not happy about this. General Motors, Chrysler, too, it's an ongoing policy that you build and sell a car in the same country. But ChiCom labor is much cheaper than Ron Gettelfinger labor. And so General Motors, I'm sure they're throwing this out to see, some exec probably wants to get canned so he's throwing this idea out there. You know, wait 'til Obama's car czar people hear about this. Now, GM makes the cars. They're not ChiCom cars. They're General Motors cars. But they're made in China by ChiCom workers at much cheaper prices than Ron Gettelfinger workers. And so they're not confirming or denying this, but somebody's floated the idea. It would be more efficient, it would be efficient, but we're back to the old saw we're exporting American manufacturing jobs if we do that. Look, you want the companies to stay afloat or you don't, you have to take your choice. I want to go a different direction on this, though. We had the story yesterday about the Democrat member of Congress from Delaware who was all upset that a thousand jobs might be lost if GM closed a plant in Delaware. I read the story, and this guy said, "We can't have this, we can't lose these thousand jobs. I'm going to get General Motors maybe to transfer some other workers here. If they're going to close this plant and stop making certain cars here, I'm going to make something else because we can't stand to lose a thousand jobs."

What do people think the purpose of a company is? What is the purpose of a corporation? Don't you think it's a little late now? I mean everybody's been bashing General Motors, everybody in government -- local, national, state, they've been bashing General Motors and Chrysler; it's been the popular thing to do. Now all of a sudden when they're faced in Delaware with losing a thousand jobs, "Oh, we can't lose a thousand jobs." When was the last time any of you people were concerned with General Motors selling cars? You know, the fact of the matter is that the purpose of a company is not to set up shop and pay health care benefits and provide salaries for people in the neighborhood. That's not the purpose of a company. Nobody ever formed a company; nobody ever started a factory and said, "You know what? I'm doing this because I want people here to have a job. And I want them to have health benefits." They had a product that they wanted to sell and they were trying to earn a profit. Too many people on the left now simply look at these companies simply as a way to keep Democrat union members employed, and to hell with what the company does, and to hell with whether the company succeeds. It just better not fail. And if it fails we're gonna lose these Democrat jobs, these union people will be out work, we can't have that, with no concern whatsoever for the company, no concern for the product it makes.

The very people who come up with all these regulations on mileage and CAFE standards, adding costs galore to cars, now the dealers are in the same situation, thirty-three hundred dealers. And you'll note -- so far I haven't seen it yet; it may happen -- but I haven't seen any elected officials worried about dealerships closing, and the average number of employees at a dealership is 50, so 3,000 dealerships, 150,000 employees. I haven't seen a state official or a congressman or senator worry about a dealership closing. But a factory, with a thousand Ron Gettelfingers in there, can't have that. The focus of the automobile business has long ago been lost. By the way, again, I'm not exonerating GM or Chrysler. Please don't misunderstand. But I'm telling you, the people that have set themselves up as the saviors to fix it have less of a clue than the people who were originally in charge when all this downward spiraling began, because there's nobody in Obama's car czar place that has the slightest idea how to sell a car, how to design one, what the competitive factors are in the automobile business. They just look at this as a way to maintain Democrat jobs, pure and simple.

Well, I would go back to what Obama said in that silly, offensive speech he made to the graduates at Arizona State University. He essentially said, hey, if you get rich, fine, as long as that's not your purpose. If that's your purpose, if you're seeking money, then you're committing a sin. If you're seeking money, that's immoral. But if you do great work for people, you go to a great company and so forth, and you get rich, that's fine. Well, using that logic, the only way General Motors factories can stay open is if somebody is buying the products made in them, and that's the focus that seems to have been lost once everybody in government got their hands on all these companies. We got a list of can'ts and don'ts. You can't do that, you can't do this, and don't do this and don't do that. You have people like Barack Obama and Steve Rattner approving reorganization plans offered by automobile executives who were forced to drive into town to present their plans rather than fly in because it looked bad. There's nobody in charge of these companies who cares a whit about the purpose of them or who understands or knows what the purpose is. They just gotta keep the enterprise going because a lot of union Democrat voters work there.

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