Wednesday, 31 July 2013
Tuesday, 30 July 2013
E se fosse uma faixa de pedestres defronte a um motel, qual seria o ideograma? O de um casal copulando?
|O nosso Maverick num dos raros momentos sem chuva, Paulão ao volante (foto acervo pessoal de Paulo Scali)|
Monday, 29 July 2013
|Repe-Alfa Romeo (foto nerddecarro.wordpress.com)|
Sunday, 28 July 2013
|Butzi Porsche, designer do 911|
Saturday, 27 July 2013
Mas quando a funcionária da locadora me perguntou se eu não preferia um Tahoe pelo mesmo preço da Caravan, meus desejos se realizaram. Não por não gostar das vans, mas pela vontade de utilizar algo mais americano ainda, e com um V-8 GM, melhor ainda.
|Só com um banco da terceira fileira escamoteado|
|Com os dois bancos da terceira fileira escamoteados|
|Tampa traseira aberta ou...|
|...apenas o vidro traseiro|
Em Fortaleza disputa-se esta semana a segunda e última fase do Campeonato Brasileiro de Kart em meio a condições que, além de precárias, mostram o descaso dos dirigentes esportivos nacionais, estaduais e políticos locais com a modalidade. Quando o asfalto da pista desintegrou-se após umas poucas voltas, cancelaram-se dois dias de treinos e o remendou-se o piso mal e "porcamente", com utilização de concreto. A foto abaixo ilustra bem a situação do piso da pista cearense.
|Concreto sobre o asfalto, exemplo de solução porca (foto Erno Drehmer/kartmotor.com.br)|
Friday, 26 July 2013
Demorou um pouco mas chegou ao Brasil o novo Audi A3 Sportback, surgido no Salão de Genebra do ano passado. É a terceira geração do modelo – a primeira é de 1996 e foi produzida aqui de 1999 a 2006, a segunda é de 2003 – sendo que a versão Sportback (hatchback de 4 portas) apareceu em 2004 e esse que agora desembarca aqui, de quatro portas, foi lançado há exatamente um ano na Europa.
Thursday, 25 July 2013
... calculate what it would have cost to NOT rescue the auto industry...
Below are comments on the following article.
GM Share Price Needs to Triple for Taxpayers to Beak Even by Paul Eisenstein
The good news for shareholders is that General Motors shares are on a rise, gaining more than 25% in value so far this year – and reaching a $37.45 high during Wednesday trading before settling back a bit.
Good news, perhaps, but not good enough for U.S. taxpayers who received 61% of GM’s equity in exchange for a $50 billion bailout linked to the maker’s 2009 bankruptcy. While the increase is likely to benefit the U.S. Treasury as it continues selling down its stake in the Detroit maker, the latest report by a special federal watchdog cautions that GM shares would have to nearly triple – to $95.51 a share – for the government to break even. “There’s no question that Treasury, the taxpayers, are going to lose money on the GM investment,” Special Inspector General Christy Romero told the Associated Press.
GM received $49.5 billion to complete its restructuring, a bailout initiated by former President George W. Bush in 2008 and completed by his successor, Barack Obama, in 2009 as the maker exited a managed bankruptcy. The White House also approved a bailout for GM’s crosstown rival, Chrysler, but only after Italian automaker Fiat stepped in and effectively assumed control.
The White House has said repeatedly that it has no interest in being in the car business. And it began selling down its stake in November 2010 when GM staged its initial public offering. Priced at $33 a share, it reduced the Treasury’s stake to 33%.
Late last year, the government announced plans to sell off the remaining stock by April of 2014. That followed heavy pressure on the Obama Administration during the 2012 presidential campaign during which Republican candidate Mitt Romney said he would sell off the remaining stock immediately. Ironically, that would have been at a low point when GM was trading at barely $18 a share and such a move might have pushed losses on the sale to nearly $20 billion. In recent months, as GM stock has rebounded, pushing part the November 2010 IPO price, the Treasury has accelerated its sell-off.
While some observers had worried that could actually hurt the stock price GM has been benefiting from other positive factors, such as the rebounding U.S. automotive market – which is now approaching sales levels not seen since 2007. GM also got a psychological boost with its recent return to the closely followed S&P 500 stock index. Because many funds are required to buy shares covered by the index, analysts believe that has boosted demand for the automaker’s stock, driving up its price.
As of June 6, the latest date covered by the Special Inspector General’s report, Washington still held 189 million shares of GM, or 14% of the outstanding stock. To cover the outstanding balance as of that date – a total of $18.1 billion, the government would need a $95.51 share price, the report noted. Were the stock to be sold at the stock price at that point of $36.61 a share, it would still lose about $11.2 billion on the bailout. The escalating price of GM stock could further reduce the loss but there are no indications that GM stock could come close to the point of a break-even, industry analysts warn.
The other maker to receive a bailout, Chrysler, has repeatedly said that it paid off the government in full for its rescue. That is partially true. The “new” Chrysler that emerged from Chapter 11 has paid off the loan it received after bankruptcy. But about $2.9 billion that was loaned to Chrysler before its bankruptcy filing was assigned to the “old” Chrysler and written off as a loss.
Ruggles writes: In terms of the actual funds advanced, there is no way taxpayers break even on the GM investment.... at least on the surface. Now if we could calculate what it would have cost to NOT rescue the auto industry we could compare that number with what will be lost when taxpayers sell their last share of GM stock. A paragraph from WIKI follows:
"In microeconomic theory, the opportunity cost of a choice is the value of the best alternative forgone, in a situation in which a choice needs to be made between several mutually exclusive alternatives given limited resources. Assuming the best choice is made, it is the "cost" incurred by not enjoying the benefit that would be had by taking the second best choice available. "The New Oxford American Dictionary defines it as "the loss of potential gain from other alternatives when one alternative is chosen". Opportunity cost is a key concept in economics, and has been described as expressing "the basic relationship between scarcity and choice."
Another way to look at it? The choice between "moral hazard" and Depression. Which do you choose? GM CEO Dan Ackerson has been pushing the government to sell its stock more quickly. Why? While the government still owns stock GM has a cap on executive compensation. Danny wants a raise.
|Uma obra-prima nacional|
Esse foi o e-mail que o leitor nos enviou:
"Caro Bob: Recebi de um amigo portugues, esse email sobre o Alba, não conhecia, espero sua análise sobre o assunto, no autoentusiastas, se você quiser publicá-lo.
Curioso e praticamente desconhecido! É pena que projectos como este morram na praia. Só nós portugueses para desperdiçar o que temos de bom."
A ALBA foi o melhor e mais bem sucedido paradigma da incipiente indústria automóvel portuguesa, na década de 50. Apenas foram construídos 3 exemplares do ALBA, entre 1952 e 1954. Mas, ao longo dos anos seguintes, da metalúrgica de Albergaria saíram diversas soluções mecânicas entre elas, um espantoso e inédito motor de quatro cilindros e 1500 cc.
Empresa nascida em 1921, sob o nome de Fundição Lisbonense, mais tarde mudou para Fundição Albergariense, antes de, em 1923, assumir o nome do seu fundador, Augusto Martins Pereira, um homem modesto, nascido em 1885, em Sever do Vouga e falecido em Maio de 1960. Na vila de Albergaria é então já dono de uma considerável fortuna e reconhecido internacionalmente na indústria metalúrgica. E, além disso, é nomeado comendador.
Wednesday, 24 July 2013
...[Mack] was a six-story structure [from] 1916...
Detroit is in bankruptcy for three reasons. One is that a city is a fixed cost enterprise, and so adjusting to a sharp drop in revenue is hard to impossible. The second is that Detroit really was the Motor City, but by the 1950s was suffering from the common fate of manufacturing, where as a general rule productivity increases outstrip the growth of demand. The third is that Detroit suffered from the disadvantage of being a first mover: the layout and location of factories reflected the environment of the 1910s and 1920s. Ford Motor Company literally outgrew Detroit, as it moved first from the Piquette Plant to Highland Park in 1910. It began work on its Dearborn Rouge complex in 1917. By the late 1920s it no longer operated inside the city [though in fact Highland Park was itself a separate city, albeit entirely contained within the boundaries of Detroit].
Chrysler's Mack Avenue stamping plant, where I worked during the summers of 1972 and 1973, is a good example of this process. The plant itself was a six-story structure that began as the Michigan Stamping in 1916, making metal and welded assemblies for multiple customers. The facility was bought by Briggs Manufacturing in 1920, in time to catch the rise of enclosed steel bodies. It became a major supplier to Chrysler, which didn't make its first car until 1925. Eventually – in 1953 – Chrysler purchased the facility. (In this Chrysler was fairly late to the game, as GM first purchased a stake in Fisher Body in 1916, and became a full-fledged internal division in 1926.) In other words, by the time I worked there, the plant was already 50+ years old. In my recollection, production only took place on the bottom two floors, while the top two floors couldn't be used; the floors in between were used to store inventory. Production required hauling material up and down freight elevators. Meanwhile, the plant was surrounded by residences and other factories; there was no open land.
Productivity was low not because of unions (though jurisdictional fights were a pain, foreman weren't supposed to turn on and off machines, that was reserved for millwrights). It was simply ancient technology in an ancient building. Presses for large pieces required four men; two would manhandle sheet metal into the die and get it seated properly, two more would pry it loose and put it on a table or conveyor for the next press. For a piece with a lot of curves such as a station wagon roof, my recollection is that there could be as many as 7 presses. Only in 1974 did the company begin trying to use mechanical handlers, suction cups on arms that would slide in, grab a part, and pull it out; by the end of the summer and my return to school, none of them worked reliably. In contrast, today such body panels are made in a single automatic transfer press turning out many, many more parts per hour, attended by only one or two people instead of 29 (28 on the presses, plus a foreman). Higher quality sheet metal for stampings, decades of learning how to pick up and move parts without scratching surfaces, and improvements in press design and die design all contributed. To make matters worse, the layout meant the giant machines were in the middle of the plant, whereas the road access – the shipping docks – were at the end, hundreds of feet away. (The middle of the plant had rail access, but while in the 1970s steel still came in by rail, parts were shipped out by truck.)
For more on stamping plants, go HERE thanks to Sam Ronald
Over time the industry shed thousands of jobs – though some were added back as the market grew and as first emissions and safety requirements, and then consumer demand, led to far more complicated vehicles: air conditioning, power windows, catalytic converters, automatic transmissions, airbags and more. However, that didn't benefit Detroit. Already by the 1970s most of the output of Mack Stamping was sent outside the city – the only assembly plant was Jefferson Avenue. But Chrysler's assembly plants themselves were old. When capacity was added in the US and Canada, new plants reflected different design and manufacturing principles. First, plants were on one level – that transition was already underway by the 1920s as machines with individual electric motors displaced belts pulling power off of overhead shafts. With that the efficiency of a multi-story buidling vanished. In addition, new plants had truck access along their length, and ready access to one of the major interstates. Now Mack Stamping's location wasn't bad as it was only a mile from an entrance to I-94. But many other of Detroit's plants reflected not only the location of rail lines but also the old trolley system – and of course therefore lacked parking.
So as the demand for cars expanded following World War II, and as Studebaker, Packard and other firms shut their doors, the Big Three had to add assembly plants. For that however they needed 1,000-acre sites, for one-floor buildings with more elaborate foundations to take heavier machines, and with room for trucks to maneuver along the full length of the plant, a plant made larger with an integrated stamping plant. Existing plants couldn't be torn down, their footprint was too small and they were often locked in urban streets. Vacant land in such quantity simply didn't exist inside the city. Jobs (and the tax base) moved to the suburbs and further afield.
By 1960, the population was already falling. (The graph is from a blog by Thomas Sugrue.) But people didn't leave in a convenient fashion; while some black neighborhoods had been severed to make way for expressways in the 1950s, Detroit remained a city of multiple small communities. The city simply became less dense. That meant that the per person cost of providing schools, police and fire protection rose rather than fell, because nighborhood schools, fire stations and police precincts couldn't be closed. Fewer jobs meant lower revenue per person. And neither the state nor the Federal government were willing to provide subsidies from stopping the scissors from eventually cutting the city's jugular.
Yes, there was corruption. Is there a big city for which that was not the case? Yes, politicians were short-sighted. No surprise there, either. Yes, the Big Three were poorly managed, and stuck in a strategic position thanks to the direct and indirect subsidies to energy that meant these companies had no small cars when the first and second oil crises hit. Yes, quality was abyssmal (though in the midwest Japanese cars rusted out instantly, one reason market share in the region remained low). That however was an issue of management – at Mack Stamping I was required to hit volume targets, even if every single part was scrap because of flaws in design and machine maintenance. That wasn't the UAW's fault, and until the 1970s the premium over other areas of manufacturing was minimal. Nor was it their fault that they didn't die according to the 1950s pension schedule, but the Detroit Three funded pensions as though they would. Then there's healthcare, and while their benefits were gold-plated, the cost was driven by defects in the US healthcare system, not union contracts.
New entry – first Japanese firms, and subsequently German and Korean – accentuated the pace of exit from Detroit. That wasn't the union's fault, though politicians – in this case Ronald Reagan with his Voluntary Export Restraint – did encourage the Japanese to set up shop here, and adhered to a strong dollar policy that made imports attractive. Race was a contributing factor, as Thomas Sugrue argues – see this interview in Historically Speaking drawn from his fine book, The Origins of the Urban Crisis. But these were not what led to Detroit's downfall, nor was it anything recent – not post-1990, much less post-2007. Instead it was the scissor of fixed costs and falling revenue due to long-run industrial change.
A tongue-in-cheek blog post on air conditioning as history's most important invention did suggest one more factor: in the early 20th century living in the South was most unpleasant for many months of the year. (The Alleghanies are sprinkled with ghost towns that functioned as resorts well into the 20th century. A few, such as the Greenbrier, survived the transition.) Improved transportation made possible "snowbirds," and air conditioning made it possible for northerners to conceive of living in the South year-round. Surely without air conditioning BMW would not have located in South Carolina or Mercedes in Alabama, while many more Detroiters would have retired in situ. Ironically, the first use of air conditioning outside of industry was at the Hudson Department Store in downtown Detroit in 1924.
|Muitos acreditam que o errado está certo e o certo está errado quando o assunto é segurança|
|Vettel e Ricciardo (foto Red Bull Media)|
Tuesday, 23 July 2013
|Os primeiros táxis híbridos de São Paulo: boa idéia?|
|Nissan Leaf táxi: somente dois rodando e destinos não podem ser distantes|
Monday, 22 July 2013
|Painel e volante reestilizados|
|Mostradores do Fox? Não, do J3|
Sunday, 21 July 2013
|Os primeiros modelos são os mais harmoniosos, com lanternas pequenas, pintura em duas cores e pára-choques finos|
Saturday, 20 July 2013
|Moedores e pimenteiros Peugeot: desde 1810|
|SpeedFight: um cinqüentinha brigador e sofisticado|
|Escape dimensionado e peças em compósito de fibra de carbono|
Friday, 19 July 2013
A tecnologia MultiAir, como já falamos algumas vezes no AE, inclusive num amplo post a respeito, utiliza a válvula de admissão – ou as válvulas, pois são quatro por cilindro – para total controle da admissão de ar aos cilindros, no lugar da tradicional borboleta de aceleração. Essa função é controlada eletroidraulicamente pelo módulo de comando do motor e permite total otimização do processo de admissão e, por conseguinte, do funcionamento do motor quanto a potência, torque, consumo de combustível e emissões de CO2.
|A tampa vermelha é do reservatório de gasolina do sistema de partida a frio com álcool|
Thursday, 18 July 2013
|Range Rover Sport, luxo e capacidades|
Wednesday, 17 July 2013
Tuesday, 16 July 2013
Portanto, mais um caso de vivaldinos quererem fazer dinheiro fácil às custas de um fabricante. Um acidente dessa violência, com mais de 300 pessoas a bordo, só duas fatalidades, um feito para a Boeing, e ainda querem arrancar dinheiro da empresa. Lamentável e revoltante.
|O mistério do Uno que bebia demais|
|(foto e arte Wales Circuit)|
|Antigos carros de corrida voltam à ação (foto: autor)|
Monday, 15 July 2013
Guest Blogger Blake Grady, edited from April 30, 2013 post on the Econ 244 site
For those of us who do not have much of a business or even economics background, it is difficult to truly understand how large corporations work. One may not truly know the answer to basic questions such as: what does a CEO actually do on a day to day basis? Or: how do meetings of the board of directors work? These questions become even more difficult to answer when dealing with massive - and thus complicated - corporations such as Ford or General Motors.
An interesting side-story, which occurs towards the end of the book, revolves around Sergio Marchionne. Marchionne clearly has a very different style from Mulally, however he also seems to be effective as CEO. Perhaps it is a relentless drive towards accomplishing a concrete goal, and an ability to convince other people to also want to accomplish that goal, that links the two men.
The Prof poses additional questions:
- is the CEO in a turnaround situation is the best person for normal times?
- would Mullaly have been able to do anything at GM? he had absolute support from the board of directors (Bill Ford) and a coterie of exceptional senior managers (Lewis Booth as CFO, Mark Fields in several roles) plus there was a sense of crisis and a restructuring in already progress (the “Way Forward”) when he become CEO. At GM the Board was not united, there was no corporate-wide sense of crisis, and at least one key individual (the CFO) could provide neither a clear and timely financial overview of the company, nor a baseline against which to construct business plans.
- the decision to mortgage the company was made before Mullaly arrived; absent that, Vlasic suggests Ford would not have been able to stave off bankruptcy
Let’s rephrase this with the jargon of formal logic: something can be necessary but not sufficient. We’re attracted to personalities, we’ve been imbued with the idea that leadership matters. I’ll accept the premise that Mullaly (or someone similar) was necessary. (If I wanted to be a devil’s advocate I’d argue that what really mattered was splitting the CEO and the Chairman function in two, but I personally believe that was necessary but not sufficient.)
However, I do argue that Ford was ready for someone like him. GM wasn’t. And because it was bereft of new product, Chrysler was beyond saving – indeed people were jumping ship long before bankruptcy. Except ... Chrysler survived post-bankruptcy long enough to see decent RAM sales and the arrival of new product, and while today at GM the top couple people may be clueless, they're at least forcing lower-level people to make decisions. A standard quip in Detroit is that GM had the stupidest group of bright people you'll ever find – individually brilliant, collectively dysfunctional. Perhaps that's no longer the case.