Michael sez: Jim Haddix found this guy and this guy is a scream! He is hilarious! And he is right on. He's at http://mikefolkerth.com/2008/11/19/the-big-3-and-you-and-me/ and I suggest you go there and get this and return often and get some more.
“The Big-3 and You and Me”
Posted by Mike Folkerth on Wednesday, November 19th, 2008·
Good Morning Middle America, your King of Simple News is on the air.
The automakers remain in the news as GM has announced that it will sell its ownership in Suzuki to try raise more cash to lose. GM would prefer to sell their interest in Hummer, but have failed to find a buyer who hasn’t watched the news in five years.
GM selling Suzuki is similar to a farmer selling off his best land this year to pay last years bills. Since the land represents his income, one might suspicion that having less land to farm could have a negative effect on the income needed to pay next years bills. But American corporations don’t think that far ahead.
When the first fuel crisis appeared with the OPEC oil embargo of 1973, the handwriting was on the wall, that just maybe, the U.S. should look into not only energy dependence, but the idea of building some energy efficient autos here on the homeland. While the Big-3 may not have taken the cue, the idea certainly didn’t avert the Japanese automakers attention.
The Japanese had actually made their first auto assaults on the U.S. in the late 60s and regardless of the tariffs and negative advertising efforts of the Big-3, were finding favor with the American people. Things like disc brakes, independent suspension, radial tires, fuel injection, rack and pinion steering, and other ridiculous ideas came standard on $2800 Japanese autos by the early 70s.
GM and Ford, not to be outdone by a bunch of foreigners whose entire resource dependent country was smaller than California, responded with their own small fuel efficient vehicles. In 1971, the American auto makers proudly trotted out the Vega and the Pinto; soon to be known as America’s first disposable automobiles.
Here is a typical telephone call to a Chevy dealer in 1971: “The cigarette lighter in my Vega has quit working, can I bring it in under warranty?” “I’m sorry ma’am, that isn’t covered under your warranty and you will have to buy a new one.” “An entire new cigarette lighter?” No ma’am, an entire new Vega. Once the cigarette lighter goes, the engine can’t be far behind.”
The early 70s were also the heyday for the Class “A” motorhomes, which were the size of a two bedroom house and had the aero-dynamics of a bill board. These mammoths were powered by BIG V-8 Detroit engines capable of up to 2 gallons to the mile. The common phase was, “If you can’t afford the gas, you probably can’t afford the motorhome to begin with.” Hardy, har, har har.
The dumb Japanese and Germans, being a little slow on the uptake, continued plodding along with their dead-end smaller fuel efficient imports such as the Toyota and the Volkswagen. What were they thinking?
Detroit realized that Americans didn’t want small cars and while they felt sorry for their competitors’ futile efforts, the Big-3 continued along the path of making vehicles that Americans wanted. After all, what if you were in an accident with one of those little imports?
In 1977, the Department of Energy was formed to deal with America’s growing dependence on foreign oil. The question was, “Should we use less oil or produce more?”
M. King Hubbert, the American Geophysicist, had predicted in 1956 that the U.S. could not produce more oil and would hit peak in 1970; M. King Hubbert was correct. Note that the Department of Energy was formed 21 years after Hubbert’s dire and life changing prediction! No need to rush into these things.
Detroit answered the question of oil consumption by producing the cars that American’s really wanted; big old bodacious gas guzzlers. In the meantime, the dumb Germans and Japanese kept producing those ridiculous little cars that were bound to fail. American’s just don’t want em’.
Today, we have a terrible emergency in Detroit. The American people need to bail out the auto industry for the good of country and also too subsidize their research into the cars that American’s didn’t want. After all, this whole fuel efficient small car thing was unseen and just jumped up overnight and caught the Big-3 off guard. Thirty-eight years is precious little time to prepare for such an event.