Back in November, in the midst of the auto bailout circus, Obama assured the public that “we are not in the business of running a car company. We’re not getting involved in day-to-day management.” But according to the Wall Street Journal today, it appears as though the Obama administration is involved in the day-to-day running of the car companies.
Starting Jan. 4, General Motors Co. plans to do something unprecedented in the U.S. car industry: It will run its assembly line here around the clock on a permanent basis.
While common in other industries, not even car-efficiency benchmark Toyota Motor Corp. operates its plants routinely with more than two shifts. Car-assembly lines need too much scheduled maintenance and restocking for such intensive production to make sense, many industry experts say. …
The Obama administration auto task force that oversaw GM’s reorganization last spring was startled to learn that the industry standard for plants to be considered at 100% capacity was two shifts working about 250 days a year. In recommending that the government invest about $50 billion in GM, the task force urged the company to strive toward operating at 120% capacity by traditional standards.
But industry manufacturing experts are skeptical, noting that the federal task force had limited automotive experience. “Do those guys understand the business?” asked Ron Harbour, whose Harbour Report is a widely followed analysis of auto-plant efficiency.
So, the Obama administration has pressured General Motors into what industry experts are viewing as an absurd level of operation. And make no mistake about it, this wasn’t an “urging.” The federal government now owns General Motors. GM is now Obama Motors, and Obama has decided he wants the company’s plants running at 120% capacity.
But rest assured that the government isn’t involved in day-to-day management.