American Car Manufacturers Cry Foul… Again

By | Nov 21, 2008

Is there a year that goes by without North American car companies crying wolf? The newest excuse is the economic downturn is causing the companies to go belly-up. Give me a break, please! The automotive industry has been suffering for a long time and will continue to do so whether or not they are “bailed out” by the American and Canadian government.

Photo by Ford Motor Company

Photo by Ford Motor Company

1. Compete with Foreigners
There is a lot of talk about Japanese makers importing their cars to North America while their American rivals are unable to export into those foreign markets. In what world does this make sense? Given the enormous size and wealth of auto makers one would expect them to have equally enormous government lobbying interests. If one-way trade was such a big problem it should have been made into such a large issue that public outcry would force their governments to take action with a “Fairness is a Two-way Street” style of campaign.

2. Build Better Cars
Small imports are known as being fun to drive, sleek and fuel-efficient. North American vehicles have a reputation as large lumbering behemoths. Many new car-buyers are socially-conscious young adults who have grown up in a world where products they buy are considered an extension of their person. Foreign marketers know this and cater to that egotism.

3. Stop Building Crappy Cars
No, really. Ford and GM switched so much of their production to the expensive (at the time lucrative) SUV gas-guzzling market that they were unable to respond to the market shift toward “greener” vehicles. In fact in 2005 GM’s chairman Bob Lutz wrote:

“It seems that ever since we announced we were bringing out our next generation of full-size trucks and utilities, people seem to think it’s unwise”, he wrote.

“I’ll admit that on the surface it may seem incongruous to introduce vehicles like this, given today’s fuel prices. But, I have to tell you, these products still make a lot of sense.”

Source: BBC News

So they knew their marketing plan was out of sync with reality! It takes time to change the direction of a company as massive as GM, but someone should have seriously taken control and done that. Perhaps they would be unpopular with the shareholders, but maybe if sense had trumped greed just this once then thousands of workers might still have their jobs today.

1 Comment so far
  1. Culture of Mediocrity | Ignorant Mouth August 2, 2010 12:55 pm

    […] Three improve their products they will continue to be disappointed in sales. That has nothing at all to do with competition, recession, or the customers themselves; it has everything to do with providing value through responsible […]

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