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Is this ALL the Olds Enthusiasts?


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There's other sites that attract different types of Olds enthusiasts too, so we're out there, we're just scattered all over the Web. Like most DFs this one has its regulars and share of unregistereds. I'll take some of the blame for not getting word out about the site, but when the Olds Club website has a link to it and people still don't take advantage of it, well... all you can do is all you can do.

I don't think the decision to do away with the marque has affected too many of the collector Olds crowd. Where they were hurting was new car sales. I never saw why GM got so damn bent out of shape about that either as Olds was performing along its traditional lines of building 400,000 cars a year. What did 'em in was those few years when they sold a million or more, and raised their own bar. Then GM expected that kind of sales peformance even when Corporate was literally giving them junk to sell- junk that didn't fit in the traditional Oldsmobile sales lineup. Junk like the J-car Omega. Junk like the underpowered early-80s full-size cars powered by corporate V6s. Junk that Corporate was bound and determined to amortize the cost of by spreading it from Chevy to Cadillac (very nearly destroying Caddy, and then in the late 80s money that should have gone to B-O-P went to Cadillac in a last ditch effort to save it). And junk like Saturn Division that after 14 years still has not made a profit, while Olds, which was making <span style="font-style: italic">some</span> money, got axed.

I honestly think the bloodletting isn't over yet. I expect Buick or Pontiac to get the same thing in a few years, and for General Motors North America to eventually be Chevrolet, Cadillac and GM truck.

Hey, you asked.

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it seems that there isn't that many olds enthusiasts using this DF , I would have guessed that when it was linked to OCA site , there would be more oldsmobile topics, dont know who to ask to see if the NAOC also would link to this forum, and maybe some of us oldtimers ,new to this computer stuff would use it frown.gif when its too cold to go out to garage grin.gif

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Hi guys ! I still stop in from time to time. The Olds sites on the GM forums arnt that busy either at least the 88/98 RWD or FWD. Just a handfull of regulars that seem to check in about once a week. They have to many divisions over there on the GM forums. Its spreading everyone out to far.

I was hopeing this site would boom like the BCA of the same did but it hasnt happened. It seems like maybe there isnt as much interest in the full size Olds and post WWII Oldsmobiles that there is in the Buicks. I have seen some fine 50's 88's & 98's on ebay though so someones taking care of them. They just dont come here. Wheres all the Gen1&2 Toro owners ? Wheres the 60's & 70's 88 & 98 owners ? We know theres plenty of Cutlass & 442 people thats great but more interest in the big boys is needed.

Maybe most Oldsmobile owners are quite loners smile.gif

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Lets see I like the big body Olds and I guess the 41 Dynamic Cruiser 4dr is a big car with a wheelbase of 125" . I am not spying but I see about 9 or 10 people buying parts for these cars on ebay . grin.gif me is one of them - I just like to have a car with 4 DOORS , I too would like to see more older Oldsmobile car people come forward smirk.gif

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on the commment that GM is becoming too general, yes it is when the only difference between my 90 cutlass and most of the gm lineup for that year was the nose. in a world where the perfomance buyers [kids] all go for honda/toyota/nisson because they come from the factory with some impressive specs and an aftermarket from here to the moon, and about the only thing guys like me can do is tires/exhaust/chip [if i can afford it], maybe it is time we consolidated the marque. the plans to bring out a GTO in the shape of a holden monoro is another sign the mother ship is throwing in the towel. in the end, it is up to us, the car nuts, to work harder to present quality and pride so we dont become a joke to the real influences on the automotive scene...the 18 year old kid with his hat backwards and his stereo bass'en us out.

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First of all, the Holden car is a pretty impressive automobile! I do not think it will do deservice to the GTO nameplate and am willing to bet it will be a pretty good seller.

I also think that GM is far from "throwing in the towel" when it comes to performance. All of the internal documents, articles in Automotive News. etc. indicate there is a very strong effort to develop cars/trucks with some serious oomph to them. They certainly put a high-profile engineer in charge of that effort. Thin you need to stay tuned....

Now on the affordability part, there will be the serious "rub". I expect that most of the performance options, cars will carry a hefty price tag but that is the way of the world these days...

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boy, you sound like my father ABOUT 20 years ago, and I'll guess his father to him, TURN THE MUSIC DOWN!!! The love of the cars is there. I see youth getting in to the OLD cars. My son(21) has 79 TA, he pick it out and got with his money when he was 16, rebuilt the motor at age 17, and he just a close example. a kid I work with, 78 cutlass. The kid next door 68 camero, i go to cruise night at the local drive in and it an all ages event. it might be time to slide into(or back into) the mid-life criss, and enjoy the cars, admire all the work the it takes. even to thump down the highway

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Well I've been staring at this post for about 5 minutes thinking how I should just keep my big mouth shut , but you poor guys I just cant. These last two posts combined with one on the lesabre site about oh boy a new impala SS with V8 just got me boiling. I do understand everyones points and desires for this type of car but no one sees the hidious pitifulness of the whole thing. Everyone is holding so much hope that GM will produce something exciting with such great faith they dont care where it comes from. I'm am a Oldsmobile Buick fan. I was born in America , what do I care what GM has down in Austraila ? What do I care what GM's got in Sweden. That was bought with money that was earned by some of the Marques their killing. If Pontiac wants a new GTO let them build it. Maybe they could build their own engine for it too! That would be exciting. Sure Chevys got the V8 theyve had the truck division and the Corvette to do lots of devolopment on. I know where I'm going with this but just cant seem to get my point out. Buick and Olds have made lots of money for GM but Chevy and Pontiac always get to break the Champain so to speak. Remember the Bonneville that recently set some speed record at Bonneville with the Buick derived engine. That could just as well have been a LeSabre but better yet should have been the Riviera way back in 97.What has Pontiac contrubuted to the drivetrain scheem of things in the past 2 decades anyhow ? Monty Carlo and Impala with the Buick V6. Bonneville getting the once Riviera/Toronado/Eldorado platform ? How did the Bonneville wind up with that heritage ? How many cars ,trucks,vans, does Chevy need anyhow ? This is where the downsizing should take place but no they are talking about new models, so wheres the downsizing ?

No I really dont hate Pontiac and Chevy. They both have produced cars I love. Its the hidiousness of where what they have today in many of their cars came from. While the ones that devoloped much of it are faultering from image and styling castration.

So once again I say "Why does Pontiac and Chevy need all the Buick and Oldsmobile goodies ? "

I've got to stay away from this topic ! frown.gif good grief

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you wanna know something funny? 20 years ago i was the kid with the backwards hat, the big-assed house speakers, and ted nugent,led zeppelen, or AC/DC on the kraco. i though T buckets and kustoms were dumb. and we all thought the "new-tech" cars of the time were a pale comparison to the late 60's/early 70's cars we all drove. my-oh-my how the times, they just keep a change'in. so why are they so much the same?

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86..this reply will be rather short since i can only type with one hand due to shoulder surgery. the fact is the world has changed and the economics of the auto industry as well. you can lament all u want but we are in a global economy whether we like it or not. my 30 years in the business tells me if u keep looking back, somone will pass u by!

there really are a lot of home-grown programs on the perfomance side at gm but u will have to stay tuned. my arm is giving up so....

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The predicament that GM and the other US-based automakers find themselves in IS of their own making, due to miscalculating the markets direction, manufacturing poor quality and/or not fully developed products, and poor brand image management. It is going to take a long time to erase the negative images from consumers? minds of their products. But in all fairness, given the realities of the situation as it stands now their decisions make some sense.

A large number of consumers will not entertain the notion of purchasing an American car; an SUV, maybe, but not a car.

?Pony Cars? as a group have been suffering declining sales for years due to insurance costs and people purchasing SUVs instead as their ?reward cars? Killing the Camaro and Firebird while sad, made economic sense as re-styling them would at best only give them a couple of years of increased sales, and then the bottom would drop out of the market like has been happening for all sporty coupes for a number of years now.

The full size Rear drivers (Caprice, Roadmaster, Fleetwood) sales were flat to declining, and capacity was needed for high profit SUVs, and while sales to police departments and taxi fleets, while putting a large number of Caprices before your eyeballs, were a LOW profit margin deal. Chrysler had a disproportionate share of this market with its last full-size rear drivers and consciously abandoned it for the same reason.

The Europeans and Japanese home markets and the rest of the world for that matter are willing to drive manual transmission equipped cars. We are not. (Sales figures for manuals vs. automatics bear this out). The development costs for those foreign manufacturers has already been spent, but for American cars, why spend development money on an option that almost no-one will buy?

The average consumer has NO IDEA and CARES NOT if the drivetrain or other parts of their car are exclusive to their car model or not. Putting the super-reliable and reasonably efficient 3800 V6 in a lot of models was the right decision. Besides, no one cries ?foul? when Lexus shares engines and platforms with Toyota, Honda with Acura, Nissan with Infiniti, Volkswagen with Audi etc. The truth is that the economics of today just don?t support separate development of items that can be shared between car-lines.

I know this won?t be a popular statement on this board, but just how many of you actually own or know someone who owns a late model Oldsmobile? GM created a good revamped line-up of Oldsmobiles (I have driven a number of them and was impressed), but the existing Olds customer base was alienated by the euro-feel and look of the new cars and the ?import intenders? were not willing to look at them at all. The demise of Oldsmobile was inevitable at this point.

There is light at the end of this tunnel, however. Both GM and Chrysler are signaling that they intend to return to producing rear wheel drive vehicles, thanks to the widespread availability of inexpensive traction control, so the average consumer will be able to drive them in inclement weather without causing widespread destruction, although whether they can overcome 20 some-odd years of "education" on the superiority of front-wheel drive remains to be seen. Lutz is revamping the entire GM line-up to make their cars desirable again, and Quality is reaching par with the imports. But make no mistake, it?s going to be a long, long time before serious changes in GMs market share occur, and we will never again see anything like the ?good old days? when GM ?owned? the US car market.

Just my 2 cents.

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OK Rawja Oldscarnut I know and am well aware of what you are talking about. I also know all about GM powertrain and it doesnt really matter anymore because its all GM. I also agree with Zaban(spelling?) their just not keeping up but then they never have since the gas shortage? of the 70's. And similar to what Rawja stated about standard trans. Thats because Americans were so slow to let go of that big car V8 automatic and so on. Little by little Americans started buying the Japanesse cars because they were seeing how long they lasted us poor used car&truck buying guys with little maintainece . They were always more advanced with OHC engines 5 speed transmissions . I am very aware of all of this stuff and how it has lead us to this point I even most likely said it would happen way back in the late 70's when our styling went awfull flat and square and they were still making big cars and pushrod V8's with gas consuming automatic trannys. Finally by 85/86 they had great lookin cars again with OD trannys and some pretty good performance and milage out of the various V6's. But still many Americans still woulnt let go of RWD and V8's. Others by that time were allready tuned into the Toyota,Nissan,Mazda advantages. Yes I know and see to well what brought us to this point. No doubt this late big four wheel drive craze is whats hurt the speciallity car market and its something that needs to be looked into. We have fleet milage considerations and safty issues and these non areodynamic topheavy things are not really fitting into the economic and environmental issues we are confronted with today. But thats another issue. On the Acura Honad and Lexus Toyota thing those were luxury divisions started because of huge profits and expansion into that market. Which also hurt divisions like Olds and Buick. But Honda and Toyota dont share drivetrains and no ones killing Mazda because Toyota outsold it.I know their not related. Should all the Japanese manufactures combine and downsize and build just one brand ? How boring ! Good for US though right? Maybe this faultering of GM is good for them ,right ? The only reason we're in a "Global" economy is because our Government and Corporate officers say so! My economy exsists right here and is damn limited its the rest of the world thats growing thanks to our dying local economy. Wake up Americans , rise up and keep the American dream for the American children.

My complaint and point of that previous post of mine is. They said their downsizing and chopping here and there but then their adding new models for Chevy and Pontiac. Wait a second! If they put the SC L67 in the Monty Carlo and Impalla they will never sell another Buick ! Why should one buy a "boring Buick" (which is true) when they can have the engine now in everyones little sweethart - the Chevy. The Monty was brought back in 95-96? Why ? Because their killing of the Riv & Toro ? I dont know ? Then dont tell me that Monty is selling in leaps and bounds either because I'm not seeing them . Now how about the Camaro ? It sold like crazy during the 80's with that bodystyle then dropped off. They were a rare car during the 60's-70's but went a little crazy in the 80's so what if sales slacked off thats what specialty & sports cars are all about.

I'm a simple man and dont have all the statistics like some others but I know what I see and Oldsmobiles are still all over the highway many still from the 80's so dont tell me they lost money. It was a scam to build up Chevy (I know I sound crazy) but lets look at the advertising slogans.

Chevy : we'll be there until the end

Olds : nothing for nothing leaves nothing ?

Buick : Harvey Earls back from the dead ? If I was not a recent Buick fan I would have no idea who Harvey Earl was. Where the hell are they going with this ?

Pontiac : Do they have one ?

Are the main stockholders of GM Japanese ? These people are throwing grenades in their own camp !

Once again if Chevys and Pontiacs were so good in the first place why do they need all the Buick and Oldsmobile goodies to be happy ?

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the engines are "corporate" as are the goodies that go along with them. the average buyer of any car is so jaded by everything from the evening news to music videos that it is hard to get his or her attention. and i agree that most people dont know much about any car other than "can i afford it" and "will it break down before i trade it in in a few years"? most of it is based on hype. if GM wanted to hype a car shaped like a turnip and powered by a hamster, i am sure they could hype it up. and three years from now the japannese will come out with a version of the same turnip with a dvd and gps built in. AND SOMEBODY WOULD BUY IT. i believe it was james thurber who said " you can fool too many of the people too much of the time". i would buy the new GTO [if i could afford it] in a heart beat. but i dont like the 'pontiac average look'. i do like the olds look[loved the aurora] but really cant think of any new car that really gets me. maybe that is the problem. most people cant tell the difference of one car to another. i used to be able to tell the make and model of a car at night just by the headlight and turn signal configuration. everybody could spot a 57 chevy or a 68 mustang and know what it was just by glanceing at it. cant do THAT any more.

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<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">i used to be able to tell the make and model of a car at night just by the headlight and turn signal configuration. everybody could spot a 57 chevy or a 68 mustang and know what it was just by glanceing at it. cant do THAT any more. </div></div>

Tabish has hit the nail right square on the head! Everything looks alike! On the highway I can't tell a new Aurora from a Toyota Avalon or a Volvo S80. And most other stuff is worse! Bug-eye taillights or not, the Alero is one of the few new cars I can tell what it is with a cursory glance.

Some years back, when I was still driving the Toronado to work every day, a co-worker who had just bought a Cadillac Cimarron asked me "why do you keep driving that old dinosaur? We make enough money that you ought to be able to buy any new car you want." My reply was that I could look at my dinosaur coming down the road and tell what breed of dinosaur it was, whereas I couldn't tell his new Cimarron from a Chevy Cavalier <img src="http://www.aaca.org/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/shocked.gif" alt="" /> <img src="http://www.aaca.org/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/blush.gif" alt="" /> ouch!

Maybe GM and the other carmakers would do well to realise people want some individuality in their automobiles. I don't want a car that looks like every other jellybean with a bland color and nondescript interior and details. And I sure as hell am not about to shell out the cash for one knowing I couldn't stand the sight of the thing past the first payment. Build something distinctive, I might turn loose of me green.

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Just to address the notion of the ?Big Bad Japanese? coming to get us?.. It?s a really antiquated notion left over from a different era. Japan <span style="font-weight: bold">LOST</span> the economic war of the seventies and eighties. Mazda is controlled by Ford, GM controls Subaru, Isuzu and Suzuki, DaimlerChrysler controls Mitsubishi, and Renault controls Nissan. What does that leave Japan Inc.? Toyota which by all means is an incredibly large and powerful company, but is set to flounder with an aging buyer demographic (hence the roll-out of the ?Scion? brand to lure younger buyers into showrooms) and Honda which is a mid-size to small player in the global market. Japanese manufacturers have built many auto plants here in the states, are employing a great number of Americans, and practice ?good corporate citizenship? here.

I only purchase ?American? cars myself, but to be truthful, is an artificial and arbitrary classification at best. Is a Honda built in Ohio with a majority of its parts sourced from the US a Japanese car? A Chrysler assembled in Mexico? A Pontiac assembled in California with mostly Japanese parts? How about the Pontiac GTO, which will be shipped over here from Australia?

Globalization, while sometimes painful for the individual workers who get displaced, is on the whole a good thing for us all. It has resulted in a greater selection of much cheaper products, which benefits us, the consumers. I know this is a ?hot button issue? for some, but protectionism is a largely discredited economic policy that actually results in a reduction in the standard of living for the very workers it is designed to protect.


Oldsmobile sold 1,068,000 cars in 1979 and was the 3rd most popular brand in the US , with around 8% of the US car market.

By 1989 they only managed to move 650,000.

GM invested BILLIONS completely revamping the product lines multiple times, tried untraditional pricing strategies, shuffled their ?best and brightest? execs through the division, remodeled dealerships, tried massive ad campaigns, and even changed the logo. Sales continued to decline.

In 1999 Olds sold about 352,000 cars and trucks and was in 15th place in sales (with a large percentage being tremendously discounted fleet sales) and a 2% share of the market.

2000 saw an additional 18% drop in sales before GM finally announced that they were going to pull the plug.

While there is certainly plenty of opportunity here to criticize the individual moves and strategies that GM employed in their decade long battle to resuscitate Oldsmobile, they certainly devoted plenty of money and resources to that end.

Eventually the only rational decision was to pull the plug, and concentrate on their other ailing divisions that had a chance of survival.

I know 352,000 vehicles sounds like a lot, but it needs to be put in perspective:

Some data points for reference (the following are calendar year sales data and are rounded for clarity):

The Honda Accord sold 404,000 units in ?99 and again in 2000

The Ford Taurus sold 368,000 units in ?99 and 382,000 in 2000

The Toyota Camry sold 448,000 units in ?99 and 422,000 in 2000

The Chevy Malibu sold 218,000 units in ?99 and 207,000 in 2000

The Chevy Monte Carlo sold 68,000 units in ?99 and 66,000 in 2000

Buick (which some have said should have been the division to go) sold 446,000 cars in ?99 and 405,000 in 2000 It should be noted they sold that many CARS. Buick had no minivan or sport utility vehicle.

Chevrolet and Pontiac while certainly not better vehicles than Oldsmobiles, arguably resonated better with the buying public. In calendar year 2000 (the last year Olds was not stigmatized with impending cancellation):

Olds sold 217,000 cars and 72,000 trucks for a total of 289,000 vehicles

Pontiac sold 542,000 cars and 64,000 trucks for a total of 606,000 vehicles

Chevrolet sold 891,000 cars and 1,716,000 trucks for a total of 2,607,000 vehicles

As far as GM being able ?Hype? sales, Ron Zarrella and his band of ?marketing specialists? tried to do just that in the nineties. They maintained that with the proper use of marketing, they could sell a car that was unobjectionable and unexceptional in all categories, but give it a clever marketing campaign and ?brand management? and then you?d really move some metal. The result? 10 points in market share simply evaporated, and they had to bring in ?Maximum Bob? Lutz, and give him almost complete autonomy to tear-up and fix the product line. Indications are that he is kicking a** and getting GM back to focusing on making cars people actually WANT to own. Personally I can?t wait to see what they are going to do with this new-found enthusiasm for building great cars.

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Thanks for the hard #'s. That does look grim comparatively. I'm surprised Pontiac outsold by double. Especially with Olds lineup which I thought and still do think was somewhat more exciting than others. The GP has always been an exciting car.Chevy , well they have more models and the economy car to increase figures plus they are Americas sweethart and sell for much less so no big surprise but that is still alot of cars. Maybe the money spent on changing the image and logo and other stuff was a wasted money that could have been saved the product was what matters so all that other stuff was wasted money that could have easily been spent on say a strong FWD 5speed tranny. The 79 figure was impressive but remember there was still not that much competition from the "Imports". So with more cars on the market today percentages are going to come down. I didnt know the Japanese manufactures were controled elsewhere I though the Domestics were going to them for better small cars. Example - I had a Ford Courier which I knew was a Mazda. A Dodge D50 which I knew was a Mitzu. Well I am a simlple man that works hard for my pennys and has always had little time to keep up on worldly affairs because of other more simple pressing matters so please forgive my ignorance.

This new economy is only superficially looking good. Its all on credit and is only helping those at the top.There is no(few) good retirements, 30-40 year morgages. Land and School taxes more per month now than mortages or rent was 15 years ago. 10-12 dollars a hour is still considered a competitive wage (if you can get that much) - same as it was 15 years ago. So what! we have some displaced workers? The only ones that say that is people that arent living week to week. Sorry I'm a Anglo and didnt come from a Nomadic tribe. It is hard to teach old dogs new tricks and we want to try but whats with the games ? Familys have both adults working, most likely over 10hr days + Saturdays and even if you dont need the extra money you have no say you must work to heck with your family and things you have to do at home. Sorry our parents and grandparents didnt live like that. Busy yes, commited to someone elses demands NO! The kids are outa control no adult supervision just lots of toys bought with the credit card. If you have a accident or health problems its going to cost more to fix you than you'll ever make in your lifetime ? So how is this global thing better for me and others in my catagory which is many, still a majority I'd say in the under $30,000 thats $20,000 through the door with a retirement that wont pay the property taxes and insurances. Cheaper products ? My father bought one TV , one vacume, one refrigerator , one lawn mower, were on our third of each the first frig was the one dad bought which I only got rid of because I bought into the save energy promo and it had a small freezer. Guess what the new ones never shut off & used more electric. I've been displaced for 5 years now and still have not found a new nitch and am getting to the age where most dont want to hire me and really want a youngster they can mold and get over on cheap. I'm not concerned about the incomes of the peoples in the other parts of the world we need jobs here, dependable jobs. Why are we punished for the lack of industrial development and ingenuity of the "3rd world". Because their cheap help thats why! I'll stop now, sorry way off topic but you'd have to live it and be wholely affected by it to feel it. Global economy only benefits those who have their hands wraped around it or those benefiting outside of America or those Emigrating into America. To be born here has a questionable future. So now we must forget the American dream and go for the Global dream? Wow reprogram that !

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While its tempting to attribute Oldsmobile?s demise on the imports, their fall from the #3 position in 1979 (Behind Chevrolet and Ford) to the #15 position in 2000 included them betting passed up by pretty much EVERY other domestic make including Dodge, Pontiac, GMC, Jeep, Chrysler, Buick and Mercury. In fact, the only domestic brands that Oldsmobile managed to beat were Plymouth (cancellation announced fall of ?99) and Saturn, and a closer look at the numbers reveals that when the light trucks are removed from the figures (Bravada & Silhouette), Saturn sold more Cars (272,000 for Saturn vs. 217,000 for Olds).

Note: I purposely excluded Cadillac& Lincoln (which Oldsmobile did surpass in sales) as those makes are not as dependent on doing huge sales volumes, as profit margins on those lines are significantly higher than on ?regular? cars.

I would also suggest that GM spent a fortune on redesigning the products in Oldsmobiles? line-up, but it was the lack of a strong marketing ?image? that torpedoed the brand. They tried going with high-tech in the late eighties and early nineties, (which I heartily approved of, I was ga-ga for the ?89 Trofeo with the color touch-screen) but it failed in the marketplace. After tech for techs sake failed to take off, they retrenched and tried to do the Americanized-Eurostyle thing which also failed. They tried to do Saturn-style no-dicker sticker pricing (which was touted as the ?next big thing? back then) and still no signs of vitality. Next up was Oldsmobile was going to be the GM brand for people who didn?t normally look at American cars. They then re-vamped the entire line-up giving us the Alero, Intrigue, new Cutlass, new Aurora, and the new Bravada. And while the enthusiast press seemed to like the Olds versions of the various vehicles better than their platform-mates, the consumers just didn?t buy it. There was simply no compelling vision for the brand. For better or worse, each of GM?s divisions have an established identity in consumers? minds.

Cadillac = Luxury

Buick = ?Premium Motorcars?

Pontiac = Sporty or ?Excitement?

Chevrolet = Affordable and (hopefully) Dependable

Saturn = Friendly and Inexpensive

Oldsmobile = ??

The fact is, people don?t really buy cars solely based on hard empirical data. Cars are fashion, bought for what the consumer believes the choice will say about them. Mercedes-Benz?s current line-up is plagued with quality control problems, represents a significant reduction in the solidity of engineering, and is subjectively still extremely overpriced. However that doesn?t much matter to people who are hankering for a 3-pointed star on the hood. Jaguar is selling a Re-bodied Ford Contour (X-Type) for a starting price of $30,000.00 and some people perceive it as a value. At the same time, Cadillac is putting out some solid (not stellar, but definitely solid) luxury cars and is suffering, while Toyota slaps a ES300 badge on a Camry and it sells like hot cakes because Mercedes, Jaguar and Lexus all have a strong identity representing the corporate image. Mercedes is ?solidly engineered and built? Jaguar is ?sexy and speedy? and Lexus is a ?Japanese Mercedes? While Cadillac is I dunno, ?big grilles, white-walls, carriage-tops and for seniors only?. Perception is where it?s at and it takes a long, long time for ?Joe Consumer? to change his mind about a product both for the good and bad.

Manual transmissions wouldn?t have saved Oldsmobile as no one buys them anyway. Oldsmobile could very well have been a victim of its own success, after spending a decade in the number three slot, and holding the number one selling model slot with the Cutlass for so many years, the public had a very strong opinion of what Oldsmobile was and it wasn?t what they wanted to buy, Protestations of ?Not being your father?s Oldsmobile? fell on deaf ears.

There is no more dynamic a capitalist culture than the United States, and as a result, we have managed to come out on top on almost every endeavor that we have chosen to take on. The Japanese are culturally a cautious group, not inclined to risk-taking, and have a cultural aversion to debt. The Japanese economy is and has been in an extreme depression for almost a decade now with their national economy at times actually SHRINKING. Japanese consumers save their money rather than investing it or more importantly SPENDING it, and do not have a tradition of individual entrepreneurship. The Bank of Japan even tried lowering the prime rate to ZERO and it failed to spark a recovery. As a group, the Japanese just don?t have the individualistic spark that makes them want to go out there and risk it all starting up a business and the economy over there was put under tremendous pressure by lower cost producers in developing nations. When their car companies started to falter, foreign corporations came in and took them over.

Off topic, but you brought it up?.

I really don?t want to come across as callous here, so please take what I say now in the spirit in which it is intended and I?m primarily addressing it because you seem to be despairing over your place in the ?new economy?.

I read an article a couple of years ago that talked about the whole phenomenon that it appears we are working harder and harder to maintain a decent standard of living. It raised a few valid points that I feel bear repeating. I had a stay at home mom back when I was a child (although she worked within the house typing court transcripts) and my dad was an electrician (in the 70s recession he spent 3 years without work available). Anyhoo? The article pointed out that we have traded time home with the family for material possessions, and provided data that showed pretty clearly that the ?good old days? weren?t really better than today. Think back to your childhood and run through the following questions?. The answers will vary based upon you age and your parent?s income, but I think it will help illustrate some valid points?..

How many televisions did your parents have? Were they color? Stereo? How big were they?

How many cars did they have and how were they equipped?

How many Air Conditioners?

Did they have an answering machine?

How many telephones did they have?

Did they have a microwave?

How much did they spend monthly for television (cable or satellite)?

How much did they spend on cell phones?

Did they have a dishwasher?

Did they have a clothes washer and dryer?

How many stereo systems?

Various portable electronics?

How many VCRs?

How many times a month did they rent videos?

DVD Players?

How big a ?library? of media did they keep? (Records, CDs, DVDs, Laserdiscs, Videotapes, etc,etc)

How much was spent on computers/ internet access?

Exercise equipment?

How heavily did Mom rely on pre-packaged foods?

How often did they ?eat-out??

It is amazing how much ?stuff? is considered a necessity today that my parents at least didn?t feel the need to buy, of it simply didn?t exist. My Brother is currently bemoaning the fact that our parents were able to buy a starter house in their mid-twenties (both of them working at the time), and here he is (poor him) in his 30?s and still no house, he got married 2 years ago, while my parents got married in their late teens. To hear them tell the story, they were saving every penny for a long time in order to get in, subsisting on pasta primarily, and lived very cheap for a long time to keep the household running.

When I was a child (early 70s)?..

We had 1 car, a ?63 (I think) Ford Galaxie (AM radio, no A/C or at least it didn?t work)

1 Black and white TV and a 19? Color TV

My Parents had an air conditioner in their bedroom.

We had a dishwasher

We had a clothes washer and dryer, but mom hung the wash out to dry to save money.

Pre-packaged foods were not allowed in the house.. frozen vegetables were as far as it went.

Meanwhile, back in the 21st Century, if families were willing to forgo some or all of the above expenses (where practical) the article maintained that you could easily support a family with a single income. Most people when faced with that choice, choose the version with VCRs serving as the babysitter. I?m not sure what that says about us as a people, other than we like nice things?

Medical costs are way up, but that money is SAVING LIVES. A great deal of illness that were untreatable ?back then? are curable or manageable with the new ?expensive? medicines and procedures.

I gather you live Upstate, which is a depressed area economically, which is certainly exacerbating the situation you are in, but with all due respect, pulling up stakes and moving to places that afford better opportunities IS part and parcel of the American dream. That?s what brought our forebears here in the first place. We are a nation forever on the move, whether it?s in our cars daily or moving on to someplace where there are better opportunities for providing the ?good life? for our families. My great-grandparents left various ?old countries? in search of a better life, my grandparents were the first generation in my family to have the benefit of an ?American? up bringing, my father was the first person in my family to attend college. From that original group that came to the lower-east side of Manhattan at the turn of the century, Only my brother and I remain in NY. I have family in WA, VA, FL, AZ, NV, CA, OR, AL and IL? and that?s just the ones I?ve kept track of. Everyone just keeps pursuing their personal American dream?.I have friends and family that have moved down south and out west who are enjoying a standard of living I cannot hope to match here, with less stress and better weather?. Kinda makes me restless?.

It may be true that you can?t teach an old dog new tricks, but I would submit that you are not a dog, and you have the capacity to achieve great things if you are willing to take risks to achieve your goals... <img src="http://www.aaca.org/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />

....But that's just my opinion, I could be wrong.

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RawjaNYC, Very interesting read, I grew up at an earlier time, but relate very well with your insight. I like the part about moving to a different locale. There are many jobs available here in my part of Virginia. $25-35,000 annual....not a big salary, but you can live a lot cheaper down here. I've about given up looking for truckdrivers for my company, using contractors instead. My drivers were making 30-35,000 a year working 5 days a week, on the road most of the week, but now everybody wants to be home every night, so they look for the easy/close job and complain about their income. Go Figure. You pointed out some interesting points. Keep up the good work. You sure you live in New York? <img src="http://www.aaca.org/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" /> Wayne

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Rawja , I just wanted to point out you misunderstood a few things I said. " Are the main stockholders of GM Japanese ? These people are throwing grenades in their own camp !" was a joke made against GM's advertising stratagy. " wasted money that could have easily been spent on say a strong FWD 5speed tranny." I didnt mean this would have saved Oldsmobile, simply better spent money and it would have been used across the board on all GM V6 engines as most trannys always were and it would have paid for itself eventually and still now and would have helped attract some other buyers. Would also help some with that image thing your talking about.

I'm a 40 minute drive from Albany and this area has been growing rapidly housing wise and many many of them are the 350,000 - 750,000 ones. So someones got some money. However if you get a 21,000 job its considered "competitive" If you get a higher paying one it somehow gives your employer a right of ownership and you'll need to ask permission for a Saturday and most likely will never see your home during "light of day."

My mothers father retired from GE in Schenectady

My fathers father retired as a linecrew supervisor for Orange and Rockland power company started as a lineman

My father started as a phys-ed and coach then did the night & summer schooling and got his masters and became the elem.principle then eventually Superintendent of the SAME school system that he dedicated his entire life to. Something thats not done anymore.

I did not meet up to their standards and have had a lower quality of life. I dedicated 18 years to my very own grass roots logging business. I worked in NY States softwood plantations that Roosevelt & the CCC planted on barren farmland during the depression. A very good long term investment for Americans I might add. I supplied a miniscule amount of pulpwood for Champion International and International Paper companys. The good stuff (large and straight) went up to Quebec and we are building houses from those very same plantations today. However because the paper industries invested their huge profits from those years (in which they claimed we poor overworked suppliers were killing them) south of the border now the pulpwood lays and rots, and many of the unmarketable poor quality plantations are unmarketable. I was in this scrappy clean up and cut just about anything catagory and the loss of the paper market killed me. I was not big enough to play with the big boys and did not have enough money behind me to get involved in the big jobs that were primarily framing lumber quality. Many of the "big boys" are droping like flys aswell due to profitability problems that we brought on ourselves by working cheaper and cheaper and producing more and more. When I got involved initially in the business I felt it was great "weeding the gardens" earning my money honest and haveing a dream and goals to strive for .The real kicker was in my mind was America will always need paper I can work these hills my whole life what a great ongoing resource. I never for even one second thought I would be in competition with the South American rain forests.

I know if only I had more time and read more economic reports and forcasts instead of fixing or upgrading that piece of equipment or just plan getting my job done I would have seen it coming way back. But you know I was really flat out and tired and just didnt need the extra work. Even so I would have still said no way it wont come to that ! Because I grew up believing in the American dream and damnit I gave all ! So how is this better for me ? And hundreds of thousands of other common folk ? Just what are we exporting anyhow ?

I could teach a old dog a new trick much easier than I can accept this Global crap! Do you really realize the massive volumn of people in the inner cities and small towns that do not and never will actually work ? Never make a single contrubition to society and we are shipping more jobs out and letting even more people in. And all the above mentioned are big time "breeders" to boot. We are going backwards I do not care how much makeup they put on it I can see through it.

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