Over the past week or two I’ve written a couple of posts
on the bailout (ok, "loan") that the Detroit Three automakers are
asking from Congress. The D-3 claim it will help them invest in
efficient and green technologies, but I have a slightly different take:
- The "loans" are in effect a bailout of pathetic leadership that
didn’t have the vision to invest in such technologies when the likes of
Toyota, Honda, and even Nissan were doing so.
- U.S. companies often complain about their foreign competitors being
directly or indirectly subsidized by their governments… but how is
that different from what is being considered here?
The "loans" will probably pass, and the Detroit Three will get to
access $25 billion to supposedly fund the retooling of factories and
the investment into new efficient technologies. Something they should
have been doing all along, but were too busy trying to figure out how
to shed knowledge workers and develop new RAM trucks. I guess that’s what got my gall up this time. Here’s Jim Press of Chrysler:
“It’s a way for us to accelerate technology so you can get it in the
hands of people faster and so they can afford it,” Chrysler’s vice
chairman, James E. Press, said at an industry event.
And in a different article the same day:
with the auto maker’s sales in a deep slump, Cerberus’s best
chance for salvaging the bet is riding on a single vehicle: the new
Dodge Ram pickup. Chrysler Vice Chairman Jim Press acknowledged the
new pickup is a key product and its most important launch this year.
on, Jim, isn’t that just a bit disingenuous? I have tremendous respect
for you from your Toyota days, so this is disappointing. What type of
vehicle typifies the disaster of the Detroit Three? The truck. What
do you want your "loans" for? To develop new efficient small cars and
technology. What are you betting your future on? A truck.
Yes, Jim inherited the Ram program. But in this case a loan is
still a bailout of pathetic leadership. Putting lipstick on a pig
doesn’t change the fact that it’s a pig. Oops… I guess that metaphor
has been a bit over-used in the past
week. Sorry. Not that I’m comparing Chrysler’s Jim Press to a pig.
But perhaps GM’s Wagoner is.