Is the United States running out of gas?

When a country is on the decline, its citizens tend to look to the past. A rising country, on the contrary, has a populous looking to its future.

The Wall Street Journal’s Neal E. Boudette reports that U.S. automakers are “reaching back to the legendary cars of their past in hopes of brightening their future” and therefore recalling “the glory days.” GM plans on relaunching the Camaro, Chrysler plans on reproducing the Dodge Challenger, and Ford continues releasing redesigned Mustangs. Meanwhile, Asian car manufacturers are full speed ahead with improvements in technology and something else that first set the Big Three ahead: innovation.

Delphi, a major product supplier for automakers, is bankrupt. Ford and General Motors are bleeding thousands of jobs. Chrysler is losing jobs. Oldsmobile, the oldest surviving American automobile brand – including one of the oldest in the world, is gone. The "damaged brands" of Buick and Pontiac may be extinct soon.

Detroit appears to be in reverse; however, Asian car manufacturers are in fifth gear.

Toyota will soon eclipse GM – it is only a matter of time before the Japanese automaker overtakes the struggling U.S. rival General Motors as the world's top automaker. Ambitious Chinese automaker Geely – the first Chinese automobile to participate in the Detroit Auto Show - has the United States in its crosshairs for a 2008 launch date. Another Chinese automaker, Chery, plans on making a debut in 2007. Japanese automakers Nissan, Subaru, and Mitsubishi are experimenting with an approach abandoned by the Big Three: electric cars, using lithium battery technology.

The Big Three are experimenting and implementing alternative fuel sources, but they are minor in comparison with Asian advances. The Wall Street Journal’s MARKETPLACE featured on January 26 the "hype vs. reality" with Detroit automaker’s plans for alternative fuel vehicles. The article featured the Dodge Caliber, Chevrolet Hybrid Tahoe, and Ford Escape Hybrid E85. The hype with each automobile centered on the increased price for the car with the reality stating that the vehicle would not be available anytime soon. Meanwhile, Toyota dominates the hybrid vehicle car market since its launch of the Prius. Even though it was Honda who launched the Insight – the first commercially mass-produced hybrid car in the United States. And to top it off, China will leapfrog the United States in pollution restrictions for cars. It has already announced plans to impose more stringent fuel economy standards than those in the United States.

The first mass produced automobile, the first powered and controlled airplane, the first electronic computer, the first spacecraft sent to the moon, all created in America. In order for Ford and General Motors to survive these ravages of times, they "must liberate their engineering and scientific talent" as Ralph Nader prophetically asserts. But, the innovation and creativity that set U.S. automakers apart, making them the vanguard of the industry, seems to be faltering and evaporating.

Posted by Mike Tate at January 30, 2006 6:48 AM
Comments
Comment #118424

Ford and the rest gutted their R&D Divisions to maximize their profit margin. Only GM bothered to retain a reduced R&D Staff. This is what happens when greed and conservative values are put into the industry.

Posted by: Aldous at January 30, 2006 7:20 AM
Comment #118425

When corporations, or people, or governments, put short term gains over long term viability, this is what happens. The immediate bottom line takes precedence over the future.

For too long, American car makers have ignored economic realities and put out vehicles that are arguably second rate. Oversized, overpowered ego boosters at inflated prices became the norm. Now they are paying the price.

I foresee that in 3-5 years Ford, GM, and Chrysler will no longer exist, at least not as we know them today. The cost in dollars will be tremendous due to pensions, healthcare guarantees, and unemployment and retraining costs.

However, going back a hundred years or so, we have come through the same thing when the auto took over from wagons and buggies.

We will survive, but will we learn?

Posted by: John Back at January 30, 2006 7:31 AM
Comment #118426

Aldous,

Your comments could have stopped with greed. What is happening now has nothing to do with conservative values. True conservatism takes the best of the past and builds for the future. What Detroit has done is take the past and make that the plan for the future. A tactic bound to fail in the long run.

Posted by: John Back at January 30, 2006 7:35 AM
Comment #118428

What happens is that people are confusing the attainment of profits in abstract with the attainment of it in reality. In abstract, you can cut almost anything, mistreat the customer, raise prices to the top of what the market can bear, and still make profits.

Reality, though, always exacts a price on the short-sighted. Without R+D, the automakers have fallen behind as public opinion has shifted away from gas guzzlers. You think they would have learned their lessons from three or four decades ago, but then again modern businessmen in the new economy long ago decided they would teach everybody else what good business is, rather than be taught themselves by history and their predecessors.

Politically, American business has people in washington willing to do all they can to ensure profits without effort. They pass legislation to relax accounting laws. They turn a blind eye to consolidation, the raising of prices, and the lucrative bond market it feeds. They let people engage in harmful practices for both workers and others around, encouraging it in the name of growing the economy.

This, instead of demanding that the companies earn their keep the old-fashioned way: they earn it. Companies need to do good for the money they get paid.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at January 30, 2006 7:50 AM
Comment #118429

True conservatism takes the best of the past and builds for the future.

====

That sounds like the defintion of liberal as well. Take the best of the past, but dont’ hesitate to throw away the junk that doesn’t work and be able to concede that improvements have to be made —- life is / was not always rosey, even in the past.

Posted by: tree hugger at January 30, 2006 7:58 AM
Comment #118430

Death to the auto and it’s entire industry. I hate what GM did to the country back in the 30s and 40s, they purchase cities light rail systems, made them ineffective by reducing service, then sold busses to all municipalities and ripped up all the lines.

Now we have sprawl, oceans of parking lots, run off pollution and smog so thick you can cut it with a knife. I hope those corporations rot…

Posted by: utopia at January 30, 2006 8:02 AM
Comment #118433

Our resources and best minds are tied up defending against every imaginable terrorist threat (Last nights 60 minutes an example). The Asians have the time to play with cars. The people have spoken.

Posted by: Schwamp at January 30, 2006 8:09 AM
Comment #118440

Our resources and best minds are tied up defending against every imaginable terrorist threat (Last nights 60 minutes an example). The Asians have the time to play with cars. The people have spoken.

===

I don’t know where to start with this one…

I think many of us disagree that our BEST minds are involved in the crusade on terror, i would say that is quite the opposite, as a matter of fact it is so far the opposite i find it amusing that i am responding to this post.

asians have time to play with cars? that is the winner of the ignorant statement of the day… though something tells me that when i check this post later something will have trumped that one…

Posted by: tree hugger at January 30, 2006 8:34 AM
Comment #118443

It’s the free market at work, baby! It’s a beautiful thing. All of Ford’s, GM’s, and Chrysler’s Republican employees should be celebrating.

Now they have all day free to sit around and tell each other how well the economy is doing. Don’t worry, be happy/optimistic! :)

Posted by: American Pundit at January 30, 2006 8:49 AM
Comment #118466

I think that everyone is being too harsh on the US automakers and forgetting the basics (so common for many Americans with their short attention spans). Foreign governments subsidize automakers and many other industries when it comes to health care and pensions. This fact alone puts them at a competitive advantage over the Big Three somewhere close to $1100 to $1400 a unit.

Also remember that just a couple of years back that Americans couldn’t buy big gas guzzling SUV’s fast enough. This in part was aided by a tax loophole created by the “Conservative” Congress that’s been in power too long, which gave a $25000 tax credit for these heavy (over 6000 lbs.) vehicles while eliminating the measly $2000 credit that was in place for hybrids. Any mother that sold Tupperware part-time could qualify for this tax benefit as a “business vehicle” so those that were crafty enough did. Shouldn’t the tax credits have went the other way and been expanded for hybrids and enlarged to include gas efficient American vehicles? Thus making it more profitable for American automakers to build small cars (that have a minimum profit margin) that would be caused by a significant increase in volume. A sensible Congress would have urged people to buy fuel-efficient automobiles to lessen our dependence on foreign oil. If that had been the case more people in the lower middleclass and lower classes (who are more likely to buy used autos anyway) would have benefited from this tax break and could have used these credits to upgrade to new automobiles.

Why didn’t that happen? Could it be that both our “beloved” president and vice president are profiting from the increase in oil prices? They along with their totally corrupt lackeys in Congress were too busy promoting tax cuts for the wealthy, letting their aide’s comment how the outsourcing of American jobs was good for our economy, taking money from Jack Abramoff and starting the expensive and senseless war with Iraq looking for those “elusive” WMD’s. But on a “positive note” they kept “important issues” like gay marriage and abortion right’s on the front page, while ignoring “less important” issues such as a crumbling infrastructure, loss of American manufacturing jobs, Social Security problems, pension defaults, unfair “free trade” practices that have hurt American companies, but to name a few.

So go ahead, buy that ugly looking Toyota, Kia or Chery (when it come out) and continue to bash American industries. Forget that when these industries suffer a whole host of satellite American companies are hurt also. Sooner or latter, this will have an effect on your occupation, and you might have to join the ranks of the unemployed. I happen to believe in American automakers, I also think that the well-paying jobs they provide assist our tax base (auto workers certainly contribute more in Social Security taxes, than Wal-Mart employees do, but that’s another issue).

Personally, I like the fact that American automakers are reaching back to the legendary cars of the past for styling cues, they look good. My first car was a 1967 Mustang, and it was a beautiful car.

Posted by: earjoy at January 30, 2006 10:08 AM
Comment #118468

I think that everyone is being too harsh on the US automakers and forgetting the basics (so common for many Americans with their short attention spans). Foreign governments subsidize automakers and many other industries when it comes to health care and pensions. This fact alone puts them at a competitive advantage over the Big Three somewhere close to $1100 to $1400 a unit.

Also remember that just a couple of years back that Americans couldn’t buy big gas guzzling SUV’s fast enough. This in part was aided by a tax loophole created by the “Conservative” Congress that’s been in power too long, which gave a $25000 tax credit for these heavy (over 6000 lbs.) vehicles while eliminating the measly $2000 credit that was in place for hybrids. Any mother that sold Tupperware part-time could qualify for this tax benefit as a “business vehicle” so those that were crafty enough did. Shouldn’t the tax credits have went the other way and been expanded for hybrids and enlarged to include gas efficient American vehicles? Thus making it more profitable for American automakers to build small cars (that have a minimum profit margin) that would be caused by a significant increase in volume. A sensible Congress would have urged people to buy fuel-efficient automobiles to lessen our dependence on foreign oil. If that had been the case more people in the lower middleclass and lower classes (who are more likely to buy used autos anyway) would have benefited from this tax break and could have used these credits to upgrade to new automobiles.

Why didn’t that happen? Could it be that both our “beloved” president and vice president are profiting from the increase in oil prices? They along with their totally corrupt lackeys in Congress were too busy promoting tax cuts for the wealthy, letting their aide’s comment how the outsourcing of American jobs was good for our economy, taking money from Jack Abramoff and starting the expensive and senseless war with Iraq looking for those “elusive” WMD’s. But on a “positive note” they kept “important issues” like gay marriage and abortion right’s on the front page, while ignoring “less important” issues such as a crumbling infrastructure, loss of American manufacturing jobs, Social Security problems, pension defaults, unfair “free trade” practices that have hurt American companies, but to name a few.

So go ahead, buy that ugly looking Toyota, Kia or Chery (when it come out) and continue to bash American industries. Forget that when these industries suffer a whole host of satellite American companies are hurt also. Sooner or latter, this will have an effect on your occupation, and you might have to join the ranks of the unemployed. I happen to believe in American automakers, I also think that the well-paying jobs they provide assist our tax base (auto workers certainly contribute more in Social Security taxes, than Wal-Mart employees do, but that’s another issue).

Personally, I like the fact that American automakers are reaching back to the legendary cars of the past for styling cues, they look good. My first car was a 1967 Mustang, and it was a beautiful car.

Posted by: earjoy at January 30, 2006 10:10 AM
Comment #118488

earjoy,

“Personally, I like the fact that American automakers are reaching back to the legendary cars of the past for styling cues, they look good. My first car was a 1967 Mustang, and it was a beautiful car.”

Now if they could only reach back to those legendary cars for the quality and realiability as well they wouldn’t be in the fix they are in.
I drive a Toyota, I don’t drive it because it is stylish, I drive it because I know that by being reliable it will save me money in the long run.

The big three sold out the American public long ago. American corporations have shown us that America doesn’t mean much to them.
You can only try to sell ice cream made from horse shit for so long before the customer gets a whiff of what your trying to sell them.

Quality hasn’t had a job in Detroit since the fifties and sixties.


Posted by: Rocky at January 30, 2006 11:33 AM
Comment #118494

I work in the auto repair industry, and I can say that American cars are built just as well as any. Its unforunate that the decline of quality that started in the 70’s and ended in the 80’s is still prominently remembered by the public. If you look at the car lines owned by Ford and GM you may be surprised to find, Jaguar, Volvo, Saab, Rover, and even most of Mazda.
The Chevy Malibu is a great car, just as good as a Toyota Camry and can be had for about $1500 less, its the stigma of poor quality that is hurting the American manufacturers. They should have aggressively marketed what they have done to increase quality. Im afraid that its just too late for the turn around.
Think about how many people bash American cars in general, perhaps they drive a Honda or Toyota, however next to that in the garage is a Suburban or Expedition quietly getting the job done. Too bad people havn’t looked beyond the SUV’s to the othery fine cars produced by the big 2.

Posted by: JT at January 30, 2006 11:49 AM
Comment #118495

earjoy,

“Personally, I like the fact that American automakers are reaching back to the legendary cars of the past for styling cues, they look good. My first car was a 1967 Mustang, and it was a beautiful car.”

Now if they could only reach back to those legendary cars for the quality and realiability as well they wouldn’t be in the fix they are in.
I drive a Toyota, I don’t drive it because it is stylish, I drive it because I know that by being reliable it will save me money in the long run.

The big three sold out the American public long ago. American corporations have shown us that America doesn’t mean much to them.
You can only try to sell ice cream made from horse shit for so long before the customer gets a whiff of what your trying to sell them.

Quality hasn’t had a job in Detroit since the fifties and sixties.

Posted by: Rocky at January 30, 2006 11:49 AM
Comment #118496

JT,

” work in the auto repair industry, and I can say that American cars are built just as well as any. Its unforunate that the decline of quality that started in the 70’s and ended in the 80’s is still prominently remembered by the public.”

So what you’re saying is that the problems that came with rear-ending a Pinto, and re-emerged with the late model Crown Victoria are just an anomoly?

Posted by: Rocky at January 30, 2006 11:52 AM
Comment #118520

I don’t know where to start with this one…

I think many of us disagree that our BEST minds are involved in the crusade on terror, i would say that is quite the opposite, as a matter of fact it is so far the opposite i find it amusing that i am responding to this post.

asians have time to play with cars? that is the winner of the ignorant statement of the day…

So Tree Hugger,
My suggestion that a national emphasis of resources on terrorism by the U.S., versus support and subsidies for industries by Asian governments is laughable as a reason why their auto industries are thriving and ours are struggling????

Then what is the reason Tree Hugger? Are you saying Asians are just smarter?? Come out and say what you think.

Posted by: Schwamp at January 30, 2006 2:02 PM
Comment #118547

JT,

I really, really want to believe you when you state:

“The Chevy Malibu is a great car, just as good as a Toyota Camry and can be had for about $1500 less…”

If that’s true, where is the proof? My sister-in-law has a Toyota Camry with 198,000 mileson it, and it’s still going strong. Meanwhile, my Honda Accord has 212,000 miles on it, and shows no signs of slowing down or malfunctioning. Can any Malibu owner anywhere state something similar? If so, please let me know! I’d buy American in a heartbeat if I knew it would last.

Posted by: Mister Magoo at January 30, 2006 2:54 PM
Comment #118549

I think too much of the American economic system is devoted to the automobile. Our economy is too expensive for much of the world. We have too much of everything, including vehicles. The oil companies charge more for fuel, the American auto companies charge more for their gas guzzlers. The federal government refuses to allow fuel companies to drill for new oil and to develop much needed refineries. There is plenty of crude oil and gas in the world. Getting to it without government intervention is the key to the problem. The American automobile consumer still buys what is wanted and mostly not what is needed in vehicle descretion. Our rail transportation system is lacking as well. The American consumer is oriented toward the privately owned automobile and as long as we have the area in which to drive those POV’s the same problems will exist. Whoever can afford the biggest and latest will continue to flurish. Perhaps when fuel costs are larger than mortgage costs things will change.

Posted by: Larry at January 30, 2006 3:13 PM
Comment #118550

I think too much of the American economic system is devoted to the automobile. Our economy is too expensive for much of the world. We have too much of everything, including vehicles. The oil companies charge more for fuel, the American auto companies charge more for their gas guzzlers. The federal government refuses to allow fuel companies to drill for new oil and to develop much needed refineries. There is plenty of crude oil and gas in the world. Getting to it without government intervention is the key to the problem. The American automobile consumer still buys what is wanted and mostly not what is needed in vehicle descretion. Our rail transportation system is lacking as well. The American consumer is oriented toward the privately owned automobile and as long as we have the area in which to drive those POV’s the same problems will exist. Whoever can afford the biggest and latest will continue to flurish. Perhaps when fuel costs are larger than mortgage costs things will change.

Posted by: Larry at January 30, 2006 3:13 PM
Comment #118565

it seems that in school history the teachers told us that we knocked the pants off of the japenese in WW11. memory also says that we were taught that the japanese said they would take the USA down in the future with out raising a gun but, to take over the economy by taking over the production and the market. with the auto industry falling apart in detroit i am starting to believe this is happening. if we no not stop the imports coming into this counrty with out demanding dollar for dollar than we will get stomped into the ground. we have allowed the unions to demand companies of such high payrolls and benifits that they are going broke or having to move to other countries to stay in business. it is bad when one can make something in another country and ship it here for less that we can make it for here.

Posted by: Roger at January 30, 2006 3:54 PM
Comment #118594

Point 1: When able to fully compete, American companies generally do well — especially US automakers in Japan, who so totally dominated the Japanese market that they were kicked out of Japan 2-3 times by Japanese gov’t to help the Japanese auto industry.

If the Japanese can protect their companies from ours when ours happen to be strong and theirs weak, why shouldn’t we do the same? The Europeans basically refused to accept so many Japanese cars (often allowing only the (exact!) small # of imports the Japanese allowed when they were very protectionist). ‘Protectionism’ has a bad connotation in the US – but if it protects US jobs, industries and companies AND is what our competitor/friend nations have been doing, AND may be temporary, maybe we should consider this as part of an ‘America First’ strategy…

For decades Japan refused to buy rice from America (which did very well in *blind* taste tests), claiming rice farmers are culturally important to Japan (they changed after Japanese bought/owned American rice farms). Are US auto/steel jobs any less culturally important to us??

Americans & American corporations are not allowed to own land in Korea or China (and have many other restrictions). Europe is very protectionist in many ways. More examples abound, but you get my drift.

Posted by: Brian at January 31, 2006 7:12 AM
Comment #118610

Brian,

“When able to fully compete, American companies generally do well — especially US automakers in Japan, who so totally dominated the Japanese market that they were kicked out of Japan 2-3 times by Japanese gov’t to help the Japanese auto industry”

If you have been to Asia you know that everything is about style, not substance.
These cars and trucks were bought because they were American, not because of their quality.
Asian streets are very narrow, they have few broad boulevards.

The strangest thing I saw in all of Asia was a full dress Harley/Davidson parked in front of a shrine in Seoul, Korea.

Posted by: Rocky at January 31, 2006 9:11 AM
Comment #118617
They should have aggressively marketed what they have done to increase quality.

JT, they did that with the Saturn. Everybody agreed that the Saturn was a well-made car. My wife even drove one for years. Then GM brought the Saturn back into the corporate fold and the quality slipped.

BTW, the SUV parked next to the Honda Civic Hybrid in my driveway is an Isuzu Trooper. 150,000 miles and still going strong. That thing’ll keep going long past the point where I can’t afford to fill it up with gas anymore.

Posted by: American Pundit at January 31, 2006 9:57 AM
Comment #118620
When able to fully compete, American companies generally do well — especially US automakers in Japan, who so totally dominated the Japanese market that they were kicked out of Japan 2-3 times by Japanese gov’t to help the Japanese auto industry.

Brian, when I was in Tokyo, I saw far more Mercedes and BMWs than Fords. Is it just their blind hatred of everything American that makes them kick out only the American car manufacturers?

Posted by: American Pundit at January 31, 2006 10:01 AM
Comment #118646

The quality stigma still abounds with the big three. I agree with a previous poster that this is a thing of the past. I recently got rid of a Ford Ranger with 248,000 mile on it. Sure, it had an oil leak but it was still operating just fine. Unfortunately, in the 70’s Detroit screwed up so badly it has carried over into the here and now.

We taught the Japanese the quality they practice and then we let it go by the wayside in our own backyard. Detroit has realized their mistake and have begun to better their quality.

When the Big Three started dipping into their pension funds they really started screwing up. Just like our political leaders they financed current problems by taking from their folks’ retirement. Now they find themselves in trouble with funding their pensions….imagine that.

Posted by: Tom L at January 31, 2006 11:40 AM
Comment #118662

It wasn’t the toyota that killed the automakers; it was there marrage to big oil that killed them. The marrage also killed mass transit.

Posted by: jlw at January 31, 2006 12:38 PM
Comment #118665

I’ve just recently been in the market for a new car. I looked at every thing available within a 100 mile radius of my home.
I have to say that I have never seen a dimes difference between the foreign cars and US cars in quailty or reliabilty. I have noticed that it cost more to repair foreign cars than the US cars. And this time around was the same. The only difference is the foreign cars claimed to give better gas milage. Horsehocky. Of the folks I know that have foreign cars and simular US cars the only differance in gas miliage has to do with the way they’re driven.
The Japanese cars have been hyped over the US cars by the car magazines for so long that the general public has come to beleive that they’re better. The fact is they aint. And they aint cheaper to buy or maintain either.
The feild in the type cars that I want is very limited. The US makers have more available than the foreign makers. To get a rear wheel drive V8 in a foreign car under $60,000 you have buy either a small Mercedes, Jaguar, or BMW. To get one of any size (116” wheel base or longer) you have to pay upwards of $60,000. This includes Europen and Japanese cars. The US manufacturers seven big rear wheel drive V8 cars under $60,000. The Lincoln Town Car, the Ford Crown Victoria, the Mercury Grand Marquis, the Dodge Magnum and Charger and the Chrysler 300. I ended up buying a 300C.

Posted by: Ron Brown at January 31, 2006 12:44 PM
Comment #118668

Ron,

“The US manufacturers seven big rear wheel drive V8 cars under $60,000. The Lincoln Town Car, the Ford Crown Victoria, the Mercury Grand Marquis, the Dodge Magnum and Charger and the Chrysler 300.”

All of which require a tugboat and a dock to park. ;)

Posted by: Rocky at January 31, 2006 12:53 PM
Comment #118681

Of course we are running out of gas. The U.S. auto industry is not competative and they will lose more market share - except outside the U.S.

The refining industry will continue to do well in the gulf coast area (where they havent been shut down).

Drilling and shipping oil will be done by others.

China may buy exxon (and others) and relocate the head quarters to China - Oil profits will be used to grow their non materialistic economy.

China is very competative in a world market.

Posted by: Reporting for Doody at January 31, 2006 2:14 PM
Comment #118706

America has the talent to build the best aircraft in the world yet we can’t seem to build a car that compeats on the level of the europeans or the Japanese. I believe that one of the major inhibitors is the UAW. When there is animosity between labor and management, quality seems to drop way down the list. With all the government regulations today, I don’t see a need for unions anymore. The companies that are top of the list are “employee owned”. When an un-educated entry level UAW worker makes nearly $30.00/hr plus great benifits, that is a problem that the public market can’t live with for long. In the case of aircraft and unions, the government economy seems to spend money freely no matter the cost.

Posted by: Davellis at January 31, 2006 3:31 PM
Comment #118740

The world is not really running out of oil.
There are a few trillion barrels of oil left to last another few decades.

But, the U.S. is running out of gas (figuratively speaking).

The federal government is doing just about everything it can to run this country into the ground, and voters are allowing it.

Ever noticed the shirts the UAW are wearing when they leave work? UAW shirts. Not FORD or GM. Some of those UAW jobs are awfully cu$hy. No wonder FORD and GM are going bankrupt. This time, it is not a matter of corporate greed. It is a matter of promising too much to the unions.

Regarding our real energy needs, the Department of Energy is a complete farce. This is the one instance when government could have done something worthwhile, and didn’t.

The signs are growing. The potential for an economic downturn are growing every day, as rampant government spending and borrowing continues (the debt growing by $2 billion per day; $1 billion per day borrowed, and $1 billion per day for interest alone!).

Voters had better force (peacefully) incumbents in congress to get a handle on the rampant, out-of-control spending, or we will all be running on empty soon.

The newcomers to Congress need the voters help, because the incumbents outnumber the newcomers, and the incumbents will not let the newcomers pass any badly-needed, common-sense reforms, because it would reduce the incumbents power and reduce the opportunities for self-gain.

Posted by: d.a.n at January 31, 2006 6:20 PM
Comment #118791

Ron,

I couldn’t agree with your assessment more. How do you like your 300? I here they are really nice vehicles.

Posted by: Tom L at January 31, 2006 11:16 PM
Comment #118803

All of which require a tugboat and a dock to park. ;)

Posted by: Rocky at January 31, 2006 12:53 PM

Not if you know how to drive to start with.


Tom L
So far I love it. It rides just like a Mercedes. Infact it has a Mercedes suspension under it. It’ll get out from under you in a heartbeat with the Hemi, which I have.
But I’m afraid I’m going to lose it to my wife. She seems to like it better than her Town Car.

Posted by: Ron Brown at January 31, 2006 11:59 PM
Comment #118838

Ron,

I drive a Highlander because it was the smallest SUV I could get and still fit a 6’ ladder in for work.
I’ve owned 3 Fords, 3 Chevey’s, 3 Toyotas and 2 Chrysler products.
Give me the Toyotas for their nimble suspension, get up and go, and reliability.

Don’t even ask about the Wagoneer or the Dodge Dakota.

Posted by: Rocky at February 1, 2006 1:28 AM
Comment #119186

Since this blog is near the end, a few remarks. The old song and dance about Japanese and European cars being so superior is passe. Yes there were quality problems in the 70s and 80s but remember that there had to be massive design changes to meet the newly imposed crash test rule, remember the 75-78 Camaro with the tank bumper, and that gas mileage and pollution standards had to be improved so engines had to be reworked. This was a great expense to American Automakers who couldn’t pass the cost on completely to the consumer. So they did something stupid and tried to save money by lowering quality control. Well times have changed and America builds good quality cars. If you don’t believe Japanese cars have problems, go to an auto recall site and punch in your favorite ricemobile and look at the long lists. Plus as has already been pointed out you get screwed when it comes to replacement parts. Plus as I said in an earlier post, American cars just look better. Give me products made by Americans for Americans who earn good wages. We don’t have to lower our standard of living to compete with the world. Companies that outsource Americans should be boycotted, Walmarts should be burned to the ground and we should raise our tariffs to compensate for foreign countries that are funding their industries to gain market share.

Posted by: earjoy at February 1, 2006 5:12 PM
Comment #119374

Don’t even ask about the Wagoneer or the Dodge Dakota.

Posted by: Rocky at February 1, 2006 01:28 AM

Had a Wagoneer, so I won’t. Never had a Dakota. My currant truck is a F350 Supercrew Duely.
I like the big cars for their ride. I’ve had small cars , I just replace a 65 Falcon with 340,000 miles on it, and they just don’t ride as good.

Posted by: Ron Brown at February 1, 2006 11:58 PM
Comment #119797

It’s their own fault. If they’d just invest in new technologies that both help the environment and reduce america’s oil dependence there wouldn’t be so much of a problem. With research they could produce cars with MPGs several times higher than now. But like our current politicians, they sacrifice innovation and responsibility for greed.

Any group,company, government, etc. that forsakes long-term planning for short-term gain is on the decline. These companies need to wake up and aggressively research and promote new products. If they don’t and fail, then good for them, it’s what they deserve.

Posted by: mark at February 2, 2006 7:39 PM
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