October 29, 2004

The Great Circle: Wisconsin Manufacturing Jobs, Leadership (or not) and Competition

Yesterday's news that GM would temporarily idle five SUV and pickup plants in early 2005, including Janesville amplifies the importance of:

  • People that run large organizations thinking and planning ahead. The era of large pickup truck based SUV sales & profits is apparently drawing to a close (not a big surprise with high gas prices and a recent change in the absurd large vehicle tax deduction).
  • The Japanese have a years ahead leadership position in the emerging hybrid vehicle market (gas/electric powered vehicles such as the Prius, Accord and the Toyota based Ford Escape (!) Hybrid components will likely not be coming from Wisconsin companies....
  • Peter DeLorenzo reports that Porsche has approached Toyota to purchase/license hybrid components for their 5,000lb SUV.
    From the "Hell Freezes Over" File, Automotive News Europe reported that Porsche is considering building a hybrid version of the Cayenne - using a Toyota powertrain. Readers of this site know exactly what we think about the Cayenne, but it's clear that this is a new low in Porsche history. The company that was founded on building lithe little sports cars that bristled with innovation and the visionary thinking of its founder has now openly admitted that they have given up on the innovation game altogether.
  • Wisconsin subsidizing some of these large businesses may not pay off at all.... Jim Doyle supported $5M in state training dollars for GM Janesville recently.
Once again, the big three are behind the curve, with broad implications for Wisconsin jobs..... (it should be noted that the big three have all invested in hydrogen power, which still seems to be a long way away).

Posted by James Zellmer at October 29, 2004 7:29 AM | Subscribe to this site via RSS:
Posted to Business | Politics | Technology