Condemnation directed at the Detroit Three is running rampant. “They build the wrong vehicles”, says America. “New leadership is required,” say the analysts. “Why not sell us their better Euro-market cars?” inquires the umm…. auto bloggers.
Valid points; these are, with a few problems. General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler may build the “wrong” vehicles, but Americans still buys plenty of them. In fact, only in recent years has the Detroit Three’s hold on the majority of their domestic market fallen away. No, that’s not good news, but perhaps we should all stop acting like General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler don’t sell any cars whatsoever.
And while we accuse the Detroit Three – especially Chrysler – of being too truck-heavy in their offering list, let us remember that selling a bunch of $13,487 Calibers in Canada isn’t likely as lucrative as selling a handful of Rams at a $10,000 discount. Sure, that’s not an appropriate long-term view, and it is in long-term perspectives that the Detroit Three has been found wanting, but still…. GM, Ford, and Chrysler were manufacturing the vehicles Americans wanted and making serious coin doing so. For a while.
As one-shot contrarian examples show, what analysts called for wasn’t always the answer. Everybody was excited to see the Opel Astra heading across the Atlantic to become the Saturn Astra until we saw the price that GM needed to set in order not to lose money. Of course, furthering that argument is a third point that says Honda can build a better car and sell it at a better price soooo; why can’t GM?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not defending the Detroit Three’s short-sighted views on trucks and SUVs. I just can’t cease to wonder at America’s collective hatred for Detroit’s business methods when America collectively supported those business methods. Judging by polls that suggest American citizens don’t want to throw good money after bad in Detroit’s direction, I also wonder why so many Americans are willing to see large chunks of their friends and family lose their jobs.
Acknowledging that GM’s business models were – and perhaps continue to be – terribly reactionary and overwhelmingly astigmatic, one must also wonder if any federal rejection of aid is the complete opposite in a negative praxis. It’s wonderful to act wise and suggest that throwing billions more dollars Detroit’s way wouldn’t be good for future generations and likely wouldn’t help for long anyway, but that wisdom comes at a cost: jobs, jobs, jobs, and more jobs.