Force the Change in the Automotive

It is time for you, the average consumer, to take a stand!

Fellow consumer, for years we have been taken to the cleaners from the automotive industry: It is time for us to demand change in product quality and how the automotive industry conducts business! As consumers, we need to pressure the industry to change course and give us the best product and service they can or let them die – let them go bankrupt! If a few American companies survive they might just get it – they might finally understand that Americans deserve and expect more.

Do not be fooled by the stories of bad economy and poor sales! The U.S. automotive industry has done this to themselves!

I am not saying that a bad economy does not exist but they have been on this road to destruction for a long time. I used to work in an Oldsmobile, Subaru dealership: in 1986 we sold all models from both manufacturers’, please allow me to cite two models from the 80’s to make my point.

1) The Oldsmobile Cutlass Sierra wagon came with a 4-cylinder motor, air conditioning, A.M. radio, power steering, power brakes, the approximate retail price was 10k to 11k.

2) The Subaru GL wagon came with 4-cylinder motor, air conditioning, F.M. stereo, power steering, power brakes, 4-wheel drive, power windows, power locks, split rear seats, rear defrost, multi position front seats with tilt, roof rack and more: the approximate retail price was 10k to 11k.

The Olds had a reputation for having major motor problems and often would not survive past 100,000. By contrast, the Subaru was well known for surviving 200,000 miles plus with little motor troubles. In addition, there was a massive difference in standard comfort features for the same price – we sold Subaru’s at a rate of 40 to 1 compared to the Olds.

The U.S automotive industry continued down that path for several years, as the price of vehicles rose dramatically they started to use financing tactics to sell their inferior products. The inevitable happened and many of the vehicles sold failed to last the term of the loans without major repairs and the resale value of a U.S. vehicle was poor so you could not trade them in without going financially backwards.

Around 1990 U.S. automotive manufactures started to take heed, they produced some better quality vehicles and kept the prices more stable. Unfortunately, along with the better quality product came a substantial rise in part costs. Thus, repair bills began to skyrocket and continued to stay behind foreign competitors’ and their technology. Around 2000 it seemed we went downward again in the Quality department, around 2005 we started to rise some but I think it was far too little and a little too late.

In 2008 Ford Motor Company had an ad campaign on stating they now had cars that with equivalent quality of Toyota. I don’t know about you, but if I owned a Ford I would feel like “Oh great, so the Ford I bought prior to 2008 was admittedly inferior!”

U.S. automakers sponsor racing teams at a cost of millions of dollars per year: they continue to grossly overpay their executives: they have wildly exaggerated union worker compensation: and still, after at least 2 decades of foreign competitors nipping at their heels, they still stay so far behind in technology and quality. Quite frankly, I don’t understand why!

Now, after years of inferior products, higher repair bills, exuberant executive payouts, must have unions in order to work in the plants, they put their hands out for the taxpayer to bail them out? There should be no question about the answer: a resounding NO!

Thank you Mr. Ford for making the model T and further ushering in the industrial age, thank you U.S. auto manufacturing for providing good jobs for so many years: But you are a business after all and must hold to do or die like the rest of the business world!

I am not advocating Americans should buy foreign products – especially in our current economic crisis! However, the majority of the working U.S. public has a limited amount of money for automobile purchases necessitating we use that limited amount wisely. With past and current conditions in the automotive industry higher quality, better comfort, more options for the same price suggests the foreign automotive makers provide “more bang for the buck”.