By now everyone has heard of the Cash For Clunkers program. Buying America's assets and scrapping them in order to spend money borrowed from our grandchildren to replace them will go down in the history books as one of the dumbest ideas ever, but so be it – the program is in place and running at a breakneck pace. So fast we are about to pour another $2 billion into it.
A simple look at the cars involved provides the best, pure market validation of true lean management and lean manufacturing we could have hoped for. The cars Americans are buying with the cash (in order):
Ford Focus, Toyota Corolla, Honda Civic, Toyota Prius, Toyota Camry, Hyundai Elantra, Honda Fit, Ford Escape, Dodge Caliber, Chevy Cobalt
7 out of 10 from a car maker managed somewhere other than Detroit – and the Detroit winner, Ford, the leanest of the three and the one that did not need a bailout
The top 10 clunkers they are trading in to buy this array of non-GM/Non-Detroit products?
Ford Explorer 2WD and 4WD, Ford F-150 2WD and 4WD, Jeep Grand Cherokee 2WD & 4WD, Dodge Caravan, Chevy Blazer 4WD, Chevy Silverado 1500 2WD and Ford Windstar
All from clunker ground zero – Detroit
Foreign versus American has nothing to do with it any more. As Kevin pointed out in his post a few weeks back, Toyotas and Hondas have as much or more overall American content as the Detroit based companies' products. This really boils down to Americans voting with the wallets in favor of Toyota and Honda (and increasingly Ford) style management; and voting against GM/Chrysler management – that is the significant difference between the two lists.
Is there any other way to look at it?