Saturday, August 06, 2005

Photos of Britain

And some strange cars:

Blurry Ford Ka, the smallest car Ford makes in Europe.

A blurry older Vauxhall Corsa.

A Peugeot 307. I'm kinda partial to this car. Peugeot and Renault make good popular products over here.

My dump. Bigger update in the next couple of days.

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Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Denouncing the Dealers

One of the blowbacks from employee pricing for the Big 3 has been further ostracization of dealers. It's probably the biggest reason why employee level discounts are not a good idea. According to Automotive News here (sub. required), dealers are ticked.

Why is this bad? Because many dealerships if not most dealerships are not one brand sellers anymore. They usually have a foreign competitor or two, as well as a Big 3 marque in their stable. Further ostracization means dealers leaving for greener pastures.

I think GM has done a lot for their dealerships in the recent past, and arguably too much. Giving every dealer who has a GM marque a minivan and SUV is stupid. Instead of giving dealers what they want shortsightedly, and then hurting their bottom line, GM should just concentrate on making great products.

Marketing gurus, and product gurus will always debate and debate over which is more important to the success of the company. Marketing execs will try to prove that even if the product is crap, if you have a clever enough ad campaign, the car will sell. I just don't believe that. For the time being GM's vehicles are selling well. But can GM keep this pricing up forever and turn a profit? Of course not. When you look at 4th quarter sales and profits in the next few months, they will still be disastrous for GM. Very, very few people buy a car on the basis of an ad alone. These aren't candy bars we're selling. These are enormous expenditures for most people, and a gimmick alone won't draw them in.

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Monday, August 01, 2005

Retraction on Honda Criticism

I previously said I was skeptical of the new Civic. No longer. It looks great, though this is the Euro version. I'm sure the American version will be similar, but there will be considerable de-contenting. I suppose I shouldn't care at this point since I'm living in Europe, but it's interesting to see the differences between European versions of cars and American versions.

I've found it exceedingly difficult to get a work visa, though I start an internship later this week (unpaid). However I think I will learn a lot from it. I am considering taking the bar back in the states, and then once I have done that, I can return to Britain and work as a solicitor, though it will take two years of working and another bar exam before I am fully qualified. On the other hand, I still don't know if I want to be a lawyer at all. I'd really rather work in the auto industry.

The good news in all of this is that I may qualify for Italian citizenship on my mother's side. We have to find out if anyone in my direct lineage ever renounced their citizenship once they came to the US and became US citizens. If no one did, and I get everyone's birth certificate, I will become a dual citizen of Italy and America.

From a legal perspective there are benefits and risks to being a dual citizen. Being a dual citizen of an EU country and America automatically qualifies you to the European welfare system, healthcare system, and pension system. Not bad huh? On the other hand, if you are a dual citizen of a foreign country, you lose the protections of your original country if you get in trouble. So if we hypotheticize that I get in a fistfight in Italy, the US Embassy won't be able to help me, or get me out of trouble in anyway. I am equally subject to Italian law.

Also getting dual citizenship is risky if the country you are getting it from has a draft. Italy does have conscription, and I will need to learn if I can dodge that one. As much as I love Italian culture, wearing a funny hat in the middle of Iraq is not one of my goals.

So I hope my parents and I can find out and qualify. One final myth that I should dispel is whether or not you lose your American citizenship if you get another citizenship. You can never lose your American citizenship by getting another citizenship unless you formally renounce your American citizenship. That's even if you swear to an oath that says you renounce your American citizenship. Pretty good deal.

The benefits to my family and I will be huge. We will be able to weather economic storms by moving from country to country legally and getting work. If we ever need expensive medical care, we can come to Europe. Now I understand the thought processes of poor immigrants coming from Latin America to the US. I don't know if that says things badly about me, or about the US. Time will tell.

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