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President Obama And The Pontiac Vibe Denver

Hi there. I’m Saul Reisman, and I’m standing in the parking lot of Saul’s Autotek right now. Now the reason that I’m out in the parking lot is that we’re going to talk about a vehicle that’s actually ready to go. We’re not in the facility, because it doesn’t need any work.

This 2003 Pontiac Vibe might seem like kind of an odd duck. Why would we make a video about this car?

Several years ago, former US president, Barack Obama, met with CAFE officials to change fuel economy standards. Now, the goal of this was very simple. Let’s save the planet. Let’s make cars more fuel-efficient. Let’s save oil. This saves money. This saves cars. This saves the environmental effect. This makes sense. However, car companies didn’t really think so. When car companies were told about this, they went, “Whoa. Now we have a very short period of time to make a car a lot different. How do we do this?” The answer is through partnerships. Now, community truly is the answer to everything. One thing that I tell the technicians in my facility is we all have different tools in our toolbox, and they look at me and they go, “Well yeah, we all got different toolboxes. We all got different tools.” I’m not talking about the tools in their toolboxes. I’m talking about the tools right here. Every technician has a different skillset, different capability, different experience.

When you put them all together in one toolbox that we call an auto repair shop, we’ve got all the tools. We can fix anything. That is valuable. Well, the same thing applies to your vehicle, even when it’s not here. Now, something you may not know is that Hyundai Kia, a Korean company, is actually a major producer of machining equipment for several other motor vehicles, and heavy equipment manufacturers. Most people might think of Hyundai Kia and think like, oh, that’s an import car or a foreign car. Maybe that’s not a quality car. Or maybe they just don’t know. Well, the reality is General Motors partnered with Hyundai Kia to save you time and money. How did they do that? Well, General Motors was smart and they knew when those fuel economy standards came down on them, that’d be very, very difficult to meet those standards. So they bought Saab completely.

They bought the company because Saab made small four-cylinder turbocharged engines. Those engines can be utilized to make more power in less space, with less fuel. That’s a tremendous benefit to you as the owner of the vehicle. That also benefits the fuel economy standard that they’re trying to meet for the federal government. So they bought Saab, they used all of Saab’s engines and parts, but then they realized that they couldn’t build Saab engines. Well, Saab engines were actually designed, and manufactured in a Hyundai Kia facility. Hyundai Kia actually makes the machines that cut the engine blocks for Saab. So now General Motors went to Hyundai Kia and said, “We want to partner with you. Just like we’ve partnered with Toyota,” which is how they built this car. “We want to partner with Hyundai Kia so that we can make more efficient cars.”.

Now federal law in the United States dictates that when you go to a dealership, and you see that sticker in the window, it must tell you a percentage, by weight, of how the car was made, and where. It might say it’s 18% made in Canada. What does that mean? Well, it means 18% of the weight of the car, those parts came from Canada. It might’ve been assembled in the US, or in Mexico, we don’t know. But that’s where the parts came from. As a result, now that General Motors is partnered with Hyundai Kia, most small General Motors vehicles, small sedans, are actually produced in Korea.

If you look at the window sticker, the most recent one we saw had a number of 83%. 83% of the vehicle was made in Korea. Now it’s still a General Motors vehicle. It still says made in America right on the driver’s door. Still says proudly assembled at whatever US plant it was assembled that, even though 83% of the parts came from Korea. Why is this important? Why am I talking about this? Well, these partnerships actually help you. Now most consumers don’t know how much the car companies actually sleep together, for lack of any other better term. But the reality is, just like General Motors, as their division Pontiac, partnered with Toyota to build this Vibe, and make an all-wheel-drive vehicle that gets 32 miles a gallon, yet it’s still cost-effective to purchase, most car manufacturers have partnered with more other car manufacturers than you’ll ever know about.

Now I could talk to you about luxury, and exotics, like Volkswagen, who also owns Lamborghini, Bentley, Bugatti, Porsche, and you’d go, “Whoa, my Porsche is made by the same people that make Jettas?” You’d be correct. And there’s nothing wrong with that. The reality is they make different tiers of products, to make sure you get exactly what you asked for, and more importantly, what you wanted to pay for. So, if you’re ever concerned, because you’re looking up a part for your car, and it says it fits six different cars, well why does this fit a Pontiac and a GM? Why does this fit a Toyota and a GM? Well, some of those, you might say, come from the same company. Some of those, you might have no idea where they come from. The reality is all the car companies are actually in the same boat as you are. As I am.

We want you to have reliable transportation. The best way to do that sometimes means asking your friends for help. So in the case of car manufacturers, they might another manufacturer. “You make a better product for this. We need to partner and produce this.” That’s the definition of good trade agreements. Good trade agreements worldwide help build better cars. By supporting global trade economy, your local dealerships can produce literally the best vehicles on the planet, and deliver them to you right here in the United States.

So if you’re thinking about what Obama, Hyundai and General Motors have in common, the answer is they all had to be together to make the best possible product, to meet those fuel efficiency standards. So when you hear that your Lexis actually uses a part from a Camry, you don’t need to be afraid. You just need to know that that was the best part for the job, every time. If you’ve got concerns about your vehicle, if you’re worried about buying a vehicle that was produced somewhere else, and you don’t know where the parts came from, and you really just want to know more, call us, stop in and see us. We’d be happy to answer any questions you have, and show you in person why these partnerships help give you, the consumer, the most reliable product on earth.

We’re here at Saul’s Autotek seven days a week, so we can keep you running. Come and see us.

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About the Author

Picture of Saul Reisman

Saul Reisman

Saul Reisman has been helping the residents of the Centennial State with their automotive needs for over ten years now. He finished his Associate Degree in Physics at the Community College of Denver. Saul is an active member of the Specialty Equipment Market Association and a board member of the Young Executives Network. He undergoes constant educational training through GMC, MOPAR, Ford, Snap-On, Borg-Warner, and Ozark Automotive, with an emphasis on diagnosis, repair, and improvement.

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