Singing the blues in the Motor City
Michigan poll shows residents have doubts about the Big Three automakers, their products, and chances for a turnaround.

NEW YORK ( -- A majority of Michigan residents have doubts about the products made by their state's Big Three automakers and the companies' chances for a turnaround, according to a published report.

The Detroit News, reporting a poll of Michigan residents conducted for it and WXYZ-TV in Detroit, found that 51 percent of those polled believe that General Motors (Charts), Ford Motor Co. (Charts) and Chrysler Group are doing an "only fair" or "poor" job building vehicles that consumers want.

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By comparison, only 9 percent said that the companies are doing an excellent job building the vehicles consumers want, while 39 percent said they are doing a "pretty good" job.

The poll also found that 30 percent of those polled are "very concerned" about whether the automakers will be able to improve their financial and employment picture, and another 30 percent are "somewhat concerned." The paper reports that 27 percent are "somewhat confident" the companies will be able to improve their outlook, and only 10 percent are "very confident."

GM and Ford continue to report losses from their core North American auto operations, along with declining U.S. market share. While Chrysler Group, the North American unit of DaimlerChrysler, has reported better financial results, it too has seen slightly lower U.S. sales this year.

A large fraction of those polled say the unions are part of the problem, although the unions still have a great deal of support among those surveyed. The newspaper reports that 33 percent either somewhat or strongly disapprove of unions, while 32 percent somewhat approve of unions and 30 percent strongly approve.

The paper also reports that 49 percent of those surveyed believe that unions "mostly help" employer-employee relations, while 35 percent believe they "mostly hurt."

But even some of the union supporters see tougher times ahead for the unions, as the paper reports that 48 percent expect unions to be somewhat or much weaker in the future, compared to 15 percent who believe they will be somewhat or much stronger.

The paper says the poll of 600 Michigan residents was conducted June 13-20 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percent.

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