TTAC - In Defense of American Automakers

Discussion in 'OT Driven' started by TriShield, Oct 1, 2007.

  1. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2001
    Messages:
    132,732
    Likes Received:
    1,594
    Location:
    PRESIDENTIAL TOWER, GREAT AGAIN, NY
    I love the style; I really admire it. But no one would understand if I bought a Cadillac. You have more guts than me.

    [​IMG]
    Why NOT a Caddy?

    By Phil Ressler
    October 1, 2007

    I’d just slipped the nozzle into my Cadillac XLR-V. A dark Merc SL550 rolled up, its driver eyeing my Bowling Green Batmobile. As he busied himself with the credit card ritual, every few seconds his eyes darted sideways to the Caddy. “Mind if I look inside?” He sat behind the wheel, running his fingers across the interior surfaces. “Nice,” he pronounced. “Comfortable. And it’s easy to see out. There isn’t as much storage as my SL, but I’d be OK with that.” As he exited the XLR-V, he issued his verdict: “I wish I had the courage.”

    “It’s been completely reliable,” I assured the SL guy, figuring he was wary of GM’s reputation for mechanical “mishaps.” “I’ve had it for over 23,000 miles without any problems.”

    “That’s not what I meant,” he said. “I wish I had the courage to buy a car I’d have to explain to my friends. I love the style; I really admire it. But no one would understand if I bought a Cadillac. You have more guts than me.”

    Americans scraped their way through the Depression, prevailed in two global wars, hung tough for 45 years of Cold War, went to the moon and opened our markets to help lift the world to prosperity. And now it comes to this: a man who likes a car designed and made by Americans in the United States– which he can clearly afford– is squeamish at the prospect of explaining an American-made automotive choice to his peers.

    It may be unpopular to say it, but the existential threat to Detroit’s Big Three has a consumer component. There are 360 degrees of blame. Consumers must step up too.

    Detroit’s products have changed.
    Whether you credit government intervention, consumer activism or foreign competition, there are no more rusting Vegas, exploding Pintos and 8-6-4 Cadillacs that can’t do math on the fly. As this website has pointed out on numerous occasions, product quality data says pretty much everything offered to American car buyers is mechanically reliable. Even if that salient fact hasn’t yet reached American consumer’s ears, reliability is not as important as it once was. Car choice often descends into pointless arguments over interior plastics, comparative depreciation and social acceptability.

    This is why American manufacturers haven’t enjoyed the sales resurgence their new, improved products deserve: prejudice.
    American consumers share an irrational belief that American-made goods are inherently inferior to those produced by Japanese, German and even Korean manufacturers. A VW may find its way into the repair shop twice as often as a Chevrolet, but the German-branded car is still perceived as a higher quality product simply because it’s German.

    A recent study by J.D. Power revealed that 80 percent of America's new car intenders won’t actively cross-shop either domestic or foreign, depending on their preference. While you can blame this horrific statistic on Detroit’s previous sins, it’s still a blanket condemnation of the Americans consumer’s idea of fair play. “You gotta put Mercury on your list,” the ad practically begs. And so it should be. Again, it may be unfashionable to suggest, but there is a penalty to pay for this blind bias against home-grown (or at least sold) products.

    The United States is the only First World country projected to be substantially larger in population at the end of this century than it is today. The theory of comparative advantage says we should let our uncompetitive industries die. But of course, economists always neglect the human factor of politics. We have global responsibilities. We will continue to be a magnet for those with hope, and must accommodate an expanding, diverse population. We need a full-spectrum economy, not one divided between wealthy and struggling.

    Manufacturing jobs are the bridge. As the US Department of Commerce reported in March, 2007:“Auto manufacturing remains one of the economy’s best paying industries. Production workers’ average hourly earnings were projected to reach $30.02 (excluding benefits) in 2006. Wages were 79 percent greater than the national average for all manufacturing industries.”

    They also note that reductions in employment by GM, Ford and Chrysler will not be made up by transplant hiring. Beyond that, transplant sales do not support the tens of thousands of domestic high-salary headquarters jobs that a Detroit 3 purchase does today.

    A holistic understanding of our mutual social contract suggests that we should at least give Detroit a fair shot at our patronage. In a 16 million units annual new vehicle market, can we find one million more buyers for the best, most competitive domestic iron?

    Having driven the primary competitors in the volume car biz, I’m convinced that if a million import bigots dropped their bias against domestic iron and truly reconsidered what constitutes meaningful difference in a car comparison, they’d make the right choice– and not regret it. And we’d all be stronger for it.

    http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=5555
     
  2. Josepi

    Josepi HA HA, I CHANGED MY AV

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2001
    Messages:
    117,441
    Likes Received:
    1
    It's hard to be prejudice over ugly.
     
  3. thewise1

    thewise1 Guest

    I just wanted to come in this thread and say that it's badass when I'm gassing up and old codgers come up and say "damn, I really miss my GTO - you don't ever sell that thing, son, you'll regret it the rest of your life"
     
  4. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2001
    Messages:
    132,732
    Likes Received:
    1,594
    Location:
    PRESIDENTIAL TOWER, GREAT AGAIN, NY
    Yeah, I get that too. :hs:
     
  5. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2001
    Messages:
    132,732
    Likes Received:
    1,594
    Location:
    PRESIDENTIAL TOWER, GREAT AGAIN, NY
  6. CJPA

    CJPA New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2002
    Messages:
    114,304
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    AZ, USA
    fucking DOT.
     
  7. art_VW_shark

    art_VW_shark OT Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2005
    Messages:
    156,666
    Likes Received:
    174
    Location:
    Bosstown
    Perceivable quality=/=reliable
     
  8. VW proves that every day.
     
  9. deusexaethera

    deusexaethera OT Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2005
    Messages:
    19,712
    Likes Received:
    0
    I want to start by saying I agree with the ethics in the article.

    I'm sure the Big Three's newest offerings are as reliable as the import brands, setting aside issues of preference and prestige and "feel", but I for one felt betrayed when I was younger that American car companies didn't give a damn about doing a good job, and I'm sure there are plenty of other people who feel the same way.

    For me (and for quite a lot of people in the world), it's not an issue of being fair, it's an issue of knowing who your friends are. Honda wanted to sell me the best car they could build, even if it wasn't the coolest car on Earth. Ford wanted to pawn off a crappy car that would wear out fast enough to guarantee them a second sale in less than ten years. What kind of company would want to pawn off a crappy product on me, and why should I have any interest in helping them out?

    - - -

    For the record, the comment by that guy in charge of the Volt project, that he wanted people to buy the Volt even if gasoline were free...that helped a lot. I want to hear more of that.
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2007
  10. art_VW_shark

    art_VW_shark OT Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2005
    Messages:
    156,666
    Likes Received:
    174
    Location:
    Bosstown
    heh. yeah.
     

Share This Page