This section of an op-ed by Dennis DesRosiers was funny:
“[T]he Detroit three’s problems are not because they are lousy companies, produce shoddy product or the wrong product for the market, have dumb executives or a failed business model. That may have been the case many years ago but these companies have been aggressively addressing these issues for quite a long time with some success.”
Ha. I bought a car last year. I was looking for a compact with good gas mileage and decent room. In other words, I’d have to say that I was a very average car buyer. Since I did want to get a good deal, I was prepared to consider all the choices out there. The thing I found very quickly was that the smaller cars offered up by GM, Ford, and Chrysler (against whom I admit I was prejudiced given the propensity of my father’s Intrepid to eat water pumps) were not very good. It was no contest, I quickly narrowed my search to Civics and Corollas because, well, they are better cars.
Elsewhere, DesRosiers pushes the notion that this is all about expensive unionized labour, which I find hard to believe given that American-branded cars tend to sell for lower prices than comparable imports. Why can’t American companies charger more? Because they are making inferior products that I as a consumer did not want to buy. They may not be out-and-out garbage, but they are still inferior and given the expense of purchasing an automobile, no sane consumer would want to be getting anything less than the best product. So even if, say, GM is at 95% of Toyota’s level, GM still loses.
I don’t pretend to know what sort of bailout – if any – the Detroit Three should receive. But they need to work on improving their products if they ever want to be competitive in the global market.