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January 18, 2008

KC builds hybrids, too

A letter writer encouraged Lewis Diuguid to purchase a Toyota Prius hybrid. Here is a better suggestion. Let’s encourage him to purchase a Kansas City-built hybrid. He has his choice of three: Chevy Malibu, Saturn Aura or a Ford Escape. This will help support the livelihood of many Kansas City Star readers who are local Ford and GM employees.

Needless to say, purchasing a Toyota, built here in the U.S. or overseas, does little to support the area auto workers. Many of these employees, including myself, subscribe to or purchase The Star daily. The loss of my job at the GM plant would surely force me to tighten my budget, with my subscription to The Star probably being one of the first cuts.

Mike Thomas
Lawson, Mo.


red rover

Sammy, like most you missed the whole jist of the original letter. We all need to support each other here in the KC area. So what you do sell is very relevant, as if I were to see you about in an American badge car, I would wonder what I could do to perhaps aid your livelihood.
I wish you could read my UAW Solidarity magazines with interviews of employees of Honda and Toyota and understand how they are really treated, don't know what you've read or where.
I do not feel I'm bullying anybody into buying our locally produced products, I just want them to know it is an option. Personally, hybirds are a joke and I have no use for them either, but I'm sure Diuguid will tell us that they are the best thing since sliced bread if he gets one.
Sounds like you like the Star as much as I do, but alas, we have no options.
When I say these workers disappear, it doesn't refer to concrete overshoes, they just don't have a job anymore.


Mike Thomas,

What I sell isn't relevant. I'm not writing the paper threatening my business (the Star doesn't deserve mine or your business) for printing a letter that plugged a competitor's product.

Had your letter stopped before the last sentence of your first paragraph, I would've thought it was a great letter. I didn't realize these hybrids were available. If I were in the market for hybrids (I'm not) I might've looked further into these models.

But, the bullying that followed turned me off. You would've made more headway by completing your letter with the info about your 30 years of problem free driving and the Aura/Malibu cars of year and a simple soft sell - "give it a try".

Then, I find it strange that the following two sentences appeared so close together in your post:

"but it's still better than working in non-union plants, such as many of the foreign badge cars have here in the states. Their workers are treated like UAW employees were treated 50-60 years ago."

"If you submit to being treated like dirt at a dealership, you must like it."

If non-union workers submit to being treated like UAW workers 50-60 years ago, they must like it. But, I've read that it's not like that at all. I've read good things about conditions from workers in these plants. Something must be good, since they voluntarily go to work every day.

And, regarding your comment about getting in trouble and "disappearing", if you mean being fired rather than being fitted with concrete slippers, then welcome to the real world where we are held accountable for our actions. If you mean concrete slippers, then you should probably report that.

MK - I'm seriously not trying to be contentious. I'm glad that you take pride in your product. It sounds like it's something you should be proud of. But, tell us that. Sell us on the value of your product, not the value of maintaining your lifestyle. Tell us what makes these cars better than a Prius. Get us on your side.


Sure Solomon CRAs are accurate, you might want to check the revised legislation that was passed recently allwoing them to NOT be held accountable for erroneous data they report.
My point being that if someone can not afford basic living expenses, they have no business having credit cards to buy things that are not basic living expenses. Mean or not, it is very unfair that some welfare freak can mooch off the system and have credit cards. Pay their bills on time? Sure, when you nhave the middle class subsidizing your housing, meals, healthcare, Air Jordans, rims, big screen and nails salon visits, it's easy to make budget.
Besides there is more to credit scoring than that one factor. I would imagine you can explain the proprietary algorithms of the Fair Issac application?
All it takes is one errnoeus piece of data and your credit score can half, that my friend is a fact.



Whether you are on public assistance or not, if you pay your bills on time you'll have a good score and will qualify for credit. If you have not paid your bills on time and you are a high paid, works everyday taxpayer who scoffs at people who are on the public dole you will have a bad score and will not qualify for credit. I see nothing unfair about that.

As far as your being raped by a car dealer, I used the word "stupid" and you used the word "sucker". When Engineer wakes up maybe he'll explain the difference for us, as I don't see any.


Unions HURT enterprise. I have worked in both environment and with the exception of skill trades, all you get with union labor is people trying to get away with as much as they can. I am not pro-union nor anti-union, I simply think UAW workers are ungracious and overpaid. They support many foreign workers in their purchasing habits, they do not buy from their local small businesses now do they. They run to best Buy, Wal-Mart, go online and buy from Dell instead of buying from the local computer shop, etc.


Credit scoring industry....what a joke. Fair Issac is nothing but fantasy land. Explain how people on one end qualify for welfare becuase they are so poor and can not cover basic living expenditures but many of those people can qualify for high limit credit cards, in fact Federal law PROHIBITS dinging them becuase they are on public assistance. How lame. As for the interest rate, I was a sucker and trying to "Buy American", my beef what the fact that GM would not honor it's warranty. I traded that POS in for a Toyota, got 150k with no problems and a low interest rate.
Hanson you are incorrect, "shopping" around can ding your credit, too many inquiries is not a good thing to have. They supposedly have changed that law as of recenetly but back in 98 it was detrimental to apply for loans with 12 different lenders. I agree all dealerships are out to make a profit, no s**t, as are all for profit businesses.
I ahve simply stated my experiences with GM, yours may be different. I even gave GM another try 2 years ago and the dealership tried to bait and switch me. I walked away but had to really struggle with them. Literally they tried hiding my trade in and saying they sold it already (without my permission). We test drove a vehcile over the weekend and decided we did not like it and it was typical cheaply put together GM junk.


I don't buy cars less than about five years old, so maybe in a few years some of those recent well-built cars will be available to me. I'm a big fan of buying local and supporting local economies, which is something I'm sure I've mentioned on these boards before. However, decades of experience by numerous family members and friends have left me the impression that GM & Ford cars just aren't as reliable as certain import models. Maybe in time that will change. I sure hope so.

Of course, I'd rather GM & Ford get into the mass transit business as ultimately (and I'm talking decades down the road) I just don't think there's much future for private automobiles in an economically and energy efficient society ;-)

red rover

Nice to see same old posts from same old posters. Opions are like Mustangs and Camaros, everybody has one, and checking the other letters today, I see many of you have one on EVERY letter.
Devin: Saturn Aura, Car of the Year 2007
Chevy Malibu, Car of the Year 2008
I think our plant and GM are bringing the quality about face.
Sammy, what are you selling and where is it made?
MNMNG, the statenent about your interest rate speaks volumes about you and as stated above, notice the cars declared car of the years in North America the last two years
I've driven GM for thirty years with no problems, you could sell the same car to two different people and have two different ownership outcomes.
Yes, the UAW has it problems, I see it everyday, but it's still better than working in non-union plants, such as many of the foreign badge cars have here in the states. Their workers are treated like UAW employees were treated 50-60 years ago. Get in trouble and you just disappear. Kind of like working for Walmart.
If you submit to being treated like dirt at a dealership, you must like it. There are plenty of GM dealerships around.
Support your local auto plants, and yes you are free to buy what you want, just make a logical decision, it could eventually affect your livelihod, which is the whole point of the original letter that few seem to grasp.


Yeah, it seems the American car companies have been turning into charities. "Give us your money because it's the right thing to do." Sad.

I saw an interesting link from the guys at Car Talk recently about a high-school drop-out in Wichita who's apparently light-years ahead of the engineers in Detroit. Maybe if the companies spent less time lobbying and more time trying to develop better cars...



Toyota and Honda have pantsed Detroit.

You know a company is done when guilt trips become the primary selling point. Something about that seems anti-American.

I'd much rather customer buy my products because they're the best, not because of where I live or what paper I subscribe to.


As for much of the past 20 years I've been involved in credit score driven industries....the only people who get "raped" on a finance charge are stupid or they have proven to be credit risks.

T. Hanson

"I had a Malibu when they first came out in 98, GM raped me on interest then would not hold true to the warranty when the POS started falling apart."

Why did you buy a model year? Also how is it GM fault on interest? There was nothing stopping you from shopping around other banks.

Now I been to toyota and they did the little "Gee another guy was looking at the same car" routine even though I had been in the show room for the last 2 hours. All auto dealerships are in the business to make money and you are just a number.


Must have been because you are male.


Better yet, how about we live in a country where we are free to choose what we want to buy. Self serving UAW whiners get little sympathy from me.
Unions have become part of the problem, while at one point in time they were viable, not today. Secondly, hybrids are not really much of a savings, pay more get marginally better gas mileage. The fact is Toyota and Honda build a BETTER product, GM and Ford have become better than they were but still not up to snuff. I had a Malibu when they first came out in 98, GM raped me on interest then would not hold true to the warranty when the POS started falling apart.
I have never had that problem with Toyota, they have always treated us well and their service dept has always been top notch. If you want to get treated like dirt and talked down to, go to Dave Cross Buick/GMC in Lee's Summit sometime, they will bend you right over.

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