The Big Three

I really haven't made up my mind whether or not a bailout of the American auto industry is a good idea. My gut tells me that it is not a good thing to do because the Big Three are just beginning to get their act together but they have a long way to go. They put all of their eggs in one basket (SUV's and trucks)while Asian car makers stormed the car market and Europeans cornered the luxury car market.

Living in Chicago, I don't have a need for a car so the only time I drive is when I rent. I have to admit that I like most of the GM cars that I've rented this past year. My favorite was the Saturn Aura. I also drove a Ford Envoy Hybrid to Kentucky and was happy with the gas mileage. American car companies are better in my estimation but $25 billion is a lot of money.

With enough strings attached, I would go along with a bailout. After giving AIG over $150 billion to cover bad paper, I see no reason why we shouldn't spend $25 billion to support 3 million American jobs. But the auto industry has some structural problems that it will have to address. It also needs to move faster with hybrids and electric cars.

As innovative as American companies are, it amazes me that we are so slow to adapt new technology. HDTV is just not catching on in America. I recall seeing HDTV in Japan when I was in the Navy and that was over 18 years ago. With cars, we somehow believe that getting 30 mpg is a big deal. We have the technology to have Hummer get 30 mpg so our cars should be getting 40 mpg at least.

2009 Saturn Aura

If I purchase a new car, it will be a hybrid and more than likely it will be a GM or Ford. But until then, I'm happy spending $20 a week for a bus pass. Owning a car would cost me an additional $500 a month. But I digress.

I am hopeful the Big Three can make a comeback and maybe it's time to think about bringing more manufacturing jobs back to America.

1. Do you support a bailout for the Big Three?
2. Is there an American made car that appeals to you?
3. Do you believe American made cars are on par with Toyota and Honda when it comes to quality?


8 Responses to The Big Three

  1. Patrick M Says:
    Let's make this short and sweet (like me).

    1. Do you support a bailout for the Big Three?

    No. let them burn. Not because I don't like them (I do, owned car from each). But because the idea of continuing to prop up any failing company is wrong on principle, and we've been doing too much of it.

    2. Is there an American made car that appeals to you?

    Honda, Toyota. Note that the names of the cars are Japanese, but the cars are made here (briefly worked at a Honda plant myself). Fyi, I typed these before I read question 3.

    3. Do you believe American made cars are on par with Toyota and Honda.

    In some cases, yes. Although you notice who I happen to want to buy cars from.
  2. Bullfrog Says:
    1. No, bad decisions make for bad consequences. This applies to my kids so it should also apply to adults and car companies.

    2. I like the new Chevy Tahoe. I have driven a Chevy Blazer for 7 years now and it runs great! The value has depreciated fairly rapidly compared to Japanese makes/models seem to.

    3. Yes. I believe the perceived value and longevity of Japanese makes is what keeps their value. I have driven American and Japanese cars and have been served well by both, and AMerican cars are less expensive to purchase.
  3. James Manning Says:
    I'm with you guys. I don't think a bailout is in order but considering the week economy, something needs to happen to save those jobs. However, Detroit needs to show they are up to the task of competing in the 21st century.

    American cars are cheaper which is why I plan on purchasing one when it comes time to buy.
  4. Patrick M Says:
    It's called bankruptcy, James. And it may mean one of the Big Three will go away.

    And it would be better to lose some jobs now than most of them in the future. Unless they are forced to compete, that's the end result.

    I think I just found fodder for a new post.
  5. Rashid Z. Muhammad Says:
    1. No. I don't like the idea that bailout means a loss of 3 million jobs. That assumes that all three companies will completely go under and that's not a reasonable assumption.

    More likely, they will do what any other business does in that situation, which is to cut back and refocus. That will result in a non-trivial amount of jobs loss but I don't think that it would be anywhere near 3 million.

    If they file for bankruptcy and the whole "warranty factor" that people keep citing comes up, then perhaps something can be done but I honestly feel like it's on the companies to project the signals necessary to overcome such a thing.

    2. Like you, I don't drive a car (all I have is a Japanese-made motorcycle) but I like the current Mustang and Shelby designs. I also like the Focus simply because everyone that I know who owns one speaks the world of them.

    I used to be really into the Chrysler Sebring design but it looks too European now. I also like the Dodge resurrection of the old school American designs in the Charger and Challenger.

    To note, outside of the Focus, none of these are particularly fuel efficient.

    3. Ford is empiracally on par quality-wise with the Japanese ( and - surprise surprise - happens to be the one member of the big three that doesn't really need a bailout. Viva la bankruptcy!
  6. Dave Miller Says:
    Have a great Thanksgiving James. I hope you enjoy the mac & cheese and sweet potato pie!
  7. Donald Douglas Says:
    Enough bailouts and politics. Have a great Thanksgiving!
  8. Anonymous Says:
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    Congrats, you won the Boobie prize