"Detroit must DIE" - Mercedes-Benz Forum

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post #1 of 34 (permalink) Old 11-15-2008, 06:48 AM Thread Starter
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"Detroit must DIE"

Good article by Mark Morford, sfgate..

Full article: 11.14.2008

This is what I think whenever I see someone plodding along the freeway or struggling through the city streets in some older and terminally bland or even brand new and yet still terminally bland Malibu or Cobalt or Taurus, Sebring or Nitro or Mustang or Corvette or Neon or hell, almost any car from any American manufacturer whatsoever...

I think: Oh, you poor thing. I think: Do you not have any friends? Did no one tell you? Have you not yet heard of this crazy thing called the Interweb? Did you not even bother to do ten minutes of research and comparison shopping before you purchased that squeaky, ill-built lump of misfit steel and crude design, homework which would've instantly revealed to you what even the most amateur automotive buff knows the instant she becomes a fan of quality engineering and design refinement and, you know, basic drivability?

This is what you would've learned: that American cars are, to this very day, still uniformly awful. Or if they're not awful, they're just passably mediocre. And your money would be oh so much better spent on German or Japanese or even Korean. I'm so sorry about your urine-yellow Chevy Aveo. Here, have my parking space.

You might disagree. You might say, hey wait a minute, not all American cars are as dreadful and ill-equipped as Sarah Palin at a science fair. There are a few exceptions, a few gems among the dirt clods.

Like the new... um, the Ford, uh, what was it again? Right. The Flex (that's not a car, but whatever). And hey, the new Fiesta is supposed to be hot, because they brought it over from Europe -- aka "land of wonderful, efficient, well-designed little cars we almost never see." And wasn't that big pseudo-gangster slab, the Chrysler 300, sort of cool about five years ago? Sure it was.

And you're right. Those cars are exactly that, exceptions. Rarities. Flukes. The truth is, American cars haven't been interesting or exceptional in decades. When it comes to small and efficient, there isn't a single truly desirable American car on the road today. And innovation? Dear God. The last new idea a U.S. manufacturer had was sticking a mini fridge under the seat of the Caravan. Neato.

And now here's the other thing I think when I hear that the bloated American auto industry is on the verge of complete collapse, failure, bankruptcy, that the Big Three -- Ford, GM, Chrysler -- are losing billions hand over tailpipe, and that Obama and Nancy Pelosi are right now considering shoveling many billions into their voracious maws to try and keep them afloat for a while longer, just so they can keep producing crap no one really wants.

I think: Are you kidding me? We have a chance to let this fat, lazy, top-heavy, SUV-glutted industry implode like it so very much deserves, and we might not take it? I think: What an opportunity. We could begin to reinvent the American automobile starting next week, and we might instead keep the old ways alive simply because the Big Three were too stupid and greedy to see past their gross SUV sales figures for the past 25 years? Come on.

Look. You are free to reminisce all you like about some hazy, throbbing, "American Graffiti"-tinted golden era of American cars, all about Steve McQueen and 'Cudas and '67 Mustangs and peeling out in the high school parking lot. Knock yourself out. But the truth is, this economic crisis might be our best chance yet to wipe the flabby, useless U.S. transportation slate clean and begin anew, armed with a whole new set of tools American auto manufacturing has never used before: efficiency, ingenuity, agility. Can you imagine?

I realize I am no economist. I fully understand there might be reasons far larger and more fiscally complicated to justify keeping the Big Three alive for awhile longer, simply because, like AIG, so many billions are wrapped up in their operations and in the various supply chains that support them, to let them all fail nearly simultaneously could rip a hole in our sinking ship of state far larger and more dangerous than the one that results from letting them suffer and die slowly, bleeding billions all the way.

What's more, I'm also not so heartless to ignore the brutal job losses, the tens of thousands of collapsed pension plans and failed retirement accounts that would result from the end of American auto industry. It would be horrible indeed. But maybe that's where the government's billions would be far more useful, to ease the meltdown and provide retraining.

(I am also urged to note that the enormous, overstuffed UAW isn't exactly a saint, either, and that a large part of the responsibility for Big Auto's lack of innovation and change lo these past decades rests squarely on its petulant shoulders, too. You can't blame all the ills of American auto on the greedy CEOs and their shortsighted accountants. Just most of them.)

Here's the upshot: The American auto market is the biggest in the world. Our near-religious adoration of cars isn't vanishing anytime soon. There are hundreds of billions of dollars still to be made. Let prehistoric Big Auto die now, put the old, tired, sickly circus elephant out of its misery, and watch what happens.

Innovation would skyrocket. Entrepreneurs would flood in. New and pioneering car companies -- or better yet, radical new ideas for urban human transport -- would flourish. New jobs would be created almost instantly. Those supply chains wouldn't vanish, they'd adapt. The American auto industry would convulse, struggle, acclimate, reinvent itself anew.

Hell, even most Republicans agree on this: You don't bail out lousy, overweight companies who've been dumping bad ideas on us since the Carter administration. Let the free market pull the trigger, and move on.

Yes, it might take awhile -- ten or twenty years, even -- before we'd see anything resembling a tolerable American vehicle that could compete with Toyota's manufacturing genius, Honda's simple quality, or any of the Germans' astonishing refinement or cool sex appeal. So what? Meantime, we'd all have to suffer driving Minis and Audis and Honda Fits while America figures out how to be ingenious and competitive again? Gosh, how horrible.

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post #2 of 34 (permalink) Old 11-15-2008, 06:54 AM
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post #3 of 34 (permalink) Old 11-15-2008, 06:56 AM
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Cascade, beautifully written.
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post #4 of 34 (permalink) Old 11-15-2008, 07:03 AM
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heh heh heh
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post #5 of 34 (permalink) Old 11-15-2008, 07:15 AM
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post #6 of 34 (permalink) Old 11-15-2008, 08:28 AM
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Did any auto maker really think there would be enough people to buy new cars every year?

I mean for one thing, you pay 56,000 dollars for a 40,000 dollar car thats worth 18,000 at the end of the financing term. 15,000 dollars in value is lost in the first year and then about 15% every year after. Look at how many 2003-2007 there are with low miles in perfect shape for very little money. I mean why would you buy a 2009 E63 for 100k dollars when you can buy a 2005 E55 for around 30? 70k premium to drive a new car, is it really worth it to anyone?

Im a bad consumer, oh no wait, im a smart consumer. I have never bought any car new and the one time Mercedes almost had me in a new CLS550 but realized i was buying the same car for 7 times the money. My advice to everyone is wait not 1 but 2 years. Its likely nothing will change in 2 years. For instance I have a friend bent on buying a new Mustang GT...Yeah, I know. I told him get an 05 for half the price but he is hell bent on a brand new one. I think most people are finally wising up to all the money they lose on cars and that repairs on a car of reasonable age are way less expensive than the instant depreciation of a new car.

Detroit has been improving but Detroit deserves no credit. The Pontiac series is 2 Holden and an Opel. The Saturn line is recycled Opels. Chysler is still redesining Mercedes poorly. Ford is beginning to make original cars someone may want to drive. The lincoln Series is finally looking fresh an inovative. The Fusion is a Mondeo and the Edge is a Maverick so those are Euro-Fords. The mustang is getting old, I mean you can only have so many SVT, Shelby, Roush special editions. The Corvette may be the only gem in the failed american auto market. There is only so much you can do to a minivan or a SUV or a truck to style it and detroit has gone the wrong way with truck and suv styling. Detroits refusal to bring RWD cars to the market killed them bad. They gave them weak engines with no thought, bland interior styling, no soul, no options and charged just as much or more than foreign competitors.

Fuck detroit they deserve it.

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post #7 of 34 (permalink) Old 11-15-2008, 08:45 AM
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post #8 of 34 (permalink) Old 11-15-2008, 08:56 AM
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I couldn't agree more. No bailout's for the Big 3.....Either fix your issues or move over for the companies who have been fighting for the chance to inaugurate their design into the 21st century. It's ridiculous that the Big 3 because they employ so many people that they have not been able to figure out how to make money....Greed! I'd rather buy a truck that's been around 20-40 years than buy a new truck off the lot. Pickup's....My 93 is still a strong K1500runner. Yeah-it's bland but it runs, it's paid for. Parts are cheap and easy to fix. Straight pipe, no Energy efficient heater to burn the supposed pollutants...just live in an area where getting to and fro is the most important. Now my Unimog.....What an evoloution of change. Put my 67 Unimog 404 up to any truck today and hands down it beats them all. No it doesn't do 70mph on the freeway or even 62 unless your going down hill. It won't climb hills at 55mph but it will pull you out of a ditch, go places the others could only dream, fix for cheap but easy enough your kid could drive. It can be a snowblower if you want, a plow, have a crane, haul supplies up to 2-tons in the bed. Haul up to 8 tons And at the end of the day...be proud to own a beautiful piece of history. Give it a little love, keep the joints greased---(yeah it even has zirc fittings-about 40 of them), give a regular oil change and yeah a bit of gas. But in the end all the trucks will sleep at night waiting to be driven yet again. I'm just the only one with a big smile across my face reminiscing of the "Did you see that?, What is that? comments all day. Love the old iron, whether its sitting, being carressed, it's still amazing that it starts and drives and runs consistently 41 years after it was made.

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post #9 of 34 (permalink) Old 11-15-2008, 11:32 AM
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Originally Posted by cascade View Post
Good article by Mark Morford, sfgate..

Full article: 11.14.2008

This is what I think whenever I see someone plodding along the freeway or struggling through the city streets in some older and terminally bland or even brand new and yet still terminally bland Malibu or Cobalt or Taurus, Sebring or Nitro or Mustang or Corvette or Neon or hell, almost any car from any American manufacturer whatsoever...

I think: Oh, you poor thing. I think: Do you not have any friends? Did no one tell you? Have you not yet heard of this crazy thing called the Interweb? ...
I've read enough.
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post #10 of 34 (permalink) Old 11-15-2008, 12:05 PM
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I have owned alot of AMERICAN cars and have enjoyed them as they were something to have that was not mainstream here in the U.K.and some have always drawn crowds asking questions and showing admiration.Lets remember that America has had made some iconic vehicles such as Mustang, Hummer, Corvette and more.
LONG LIVE DETROIT AND ALL THE AMERICAN CAR DREAM STANDS FOR.....I believe the 4x4 Merc was manufactured in the USA wasn`t it??????????
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