Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Bailout, Shmailout

Damn. Everyone has a hand out. The big three want big cash. Where have you guys been for the last thirty years? The first spike in oil was in 1973. That's 35 years ago. Where were the visionaries from Detroit then? Why did you keep making cars that
a) sucked and
b) sucked
if the car makers would have thought ahead, there would have been no oil problem because we would be using far less. Lazy, sloppy, inefficient and now it's finally caught up with them. As a former shop steward, I hate to cast aspersions on my brethren, but I wish all would have gotten along through the years.
Every commercial I see for the F150 pickup with 16 miles per gallon, I wonder why. Where's the beef? The hybrids? Electrics? Hydrogen? Propane? Natural Gas? Solar? and wind? cars? My 2004 Mazda 3 with 130,000 miles on it still gets 36 mpg. It's one of the very few foriegn cars I have owned and I wouldn't trade it for anything. $10,000 and still rockin'. Hey Detroit, where ya been? Why haven't you been making cars that Americans need?

1 comment:

bryan said...

Up till a year or so ago (really, until April of this year), Detroit was muddling along, sort of in trouble, but Ford and GM were actually kind of getting it figured out (see the Ford Fiesta being brought over from Europe and the Chevy Volt slated for the '10 model year).

The reality is, Detroit was just giving the people what they wanted, which was Tahoes, Suburbans and F150s.

The tipping point came with $4 per gallon gas. Honda was best positioned for the drastic change because they had no trucks and only one true SUV in their lineup.

Toyota and Nissan both got caught with their pants down as Ford, GM and Chrysler did (with the truck market), but because Toyota and Nissan are not encumbered by the labor costs that the Big 3 are, they have less exposure.

It's hard for me to gin up much sympathy for Ford, GM and Chrysler, but they ARE working with one arm behind their back when it comes to regulations that apply to domestic manufacturers versus "imports".

Unfortunately, the bailout will happen once President-elect Obama takes office. The reason it's unfortunate is that it addresses the symptoms, not the cause of the distress.

The reason it has to happen is the ripple effect of vendors down the line, and the lack of confidence consumers may have in purchasing a product produced by a company in bankruptcy.

GM is an investor in a technology using cellulosic ethanol, which has basically the same properties as the ethanol being used today; but doesn't require no artificially inflated commodity prices, and no cattle farmers having to feed $5 corn.

That's a bridge to the next technology. Hybrids are rolling nuclear waste dumps. When the battery goes, it will cost more to replace it than the car is worth. There go your Toyotas lasting 15 years and 250,000 miles.

Hydrogen and propane offer the thrill of not knowing if you'll be in 1, 3 or 300,000 pieces after a rear end collision.

Plug and play cars (like the Volt) seem to make the most sense.

Here's hoping GM can make it till then, and that it's a volume sales car.

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