"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.
<--- superschnelle 300 hp 10:1 ECE euro HV, Hochverdichtung = high compression (11/2011) ... Wie im Freien Fall. Nur horizontal.
"I swear to god, it's like I live in a trailer of common sense, and stare out the window at a tornado of stupidity." >'='<