Over the course of the last weekend, I read a bunch of articles online that talked about some of the different views on the current automaker crisis in America. Tom Baldwin from The Times of London wrote an op-ed entitled, “For too long the Big Three have produced the type of cars Americans do not want.” Baldwin concisely talks about some of the main points regarding the auto industry crisis, mainly that the “big three automakers” are making cars that nobody wants to buy! Or in his words:
This indicates that if the Big Three go bust it is their bosses, insular and stuck in their ways, who should be held most responsible. Put simply, for too long they had built bad cars, which were inefficient, unreliable and unattractive and Americans did not want to buy them.
The man makes a point. Everyone knows that foreign cars are much more fuel efficient, definitely more reliable, and usually more stylish than their American counterparts. Let’s put it this way, Ford didn’t earn the nickname of “Found On Road Dead” out of nowhere.
A few years ago (2002) I purchased a 1999 Chevy Blazer. The price was around $15,000 – give or take a few hundred bucks. First of all, the price was way too high for a three year old automobile. Second, since I purchased this machine, I’ve probably put an additional $15,000 into it in repairs. And of those repairs, about half of that expense was to pay for labor!
But the thing is, I’m one of many drivers who have had a financially negative experience with the American automakers. On the flip side, though, I’ve been borrowing my Mother’s spare 2000 Honda Civic for a few months now and not only does it get 31 – 33 miles to the gallon where the Blazer got 18 miles to the gallon, but I’ve not had one problem with it. I drive a lot for my job and since I borrowed the Civic I’ve put about 5,000 miles on it – no problems. With the Blazer, though, traveling that much almost certainly meant that I needed to stop at the shop one weekend for minor repairs.
American made cars are poor quality, energy inefficient, and cost way too much to manufacture. Unless these core problems change, they’ll never reclaim their former dominance in the market.