Fuel economy no image

Published on November 29th, 2008 | by Susan Kraemer

Let’s Pay Detroit To Bring Their Gas Sipping Cars Home To The U.S.A.

November 29th, 2008 by  
 

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Who hasn’t been enraged to read about how Ford and G.M. can make perfectly good little gas sippers in Europe, but just can’t bring themselves to make a fuel efficient car for us back home?

Well, now that they need some funding from us, here’s an idea. Let’s fund Detroit just to set up their efficient European car factories — back here, where they are really needed. Let’s get some better gas mileage out of their money troubles.

Apparently, it only costs $75 million to completely retool a plant, to produce an efficient little car instead of the gas-guzzling behemoth they were fobbing off on us fools all these years.

Detroit needs money, and we need efficient vehicles. Let’s make a deal: We taxpayers will provide the funding to retool their factories to build just the specific models that are in the Common Good. We’ll fund retooling to build any models that help solve the climate crisis by getting better than 50 mpg, right now. It’s a win-win.

To make it super quick and easy, let’s forgo NHTSA crash tests on their current European models that already we would die for. After all, that EU is such a nanny state, right, and these gas sippers already passed fussy ECE rules to meet European requirements. Surely those sissy foreign crash-tests are good enough for us back here in the wild wild west: let’s accept their foreign rules. Some hardy soul here has demonstrated that small light fuel efficient cars are actually safe enough.

Our NHTSA crash-testing requirements have kept fuel efficient imports out for decades. And not just fuel efficient foreign cars. Even our own “foreign” cars.

It’s time to just tear down that wall. This would be a quick and easy way to reduce our heavy carbon footprint. Allowing ECE rules could be achieved with a quick stroke of the legislative pen once our first real working majority finally moves in next January. Then all we’d have to do, fellow-funders, is decide which models to fund first to finish fossil fuels fast.

Me? I’d go for any old Ka that gets 56 mpg.

Image: Wikimedia Commons





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About the Author

writes at CleanTechnica, CSP-Today, PV-Insider , SmartGridUpdate, and GreenProphet. She has also been published at Ecoseed, NRDC OnEarth, MatterNetwork, Celsius, EnergyNow, and Scientific American. As a former serial entrepreneur in product design, Susan brings an innovator's perspective on inventing a carbon-constrained civilization: If necessity is the mother of invention, solving climate change is the mother of all necessities! As a lover of history and sci-fi, she enjoys chronicling the strange future we are creating in these interesting times.    Follow Susan on Twitter @dotcommodity.



  • Substantial Development

    I say out with the old and in with the new. The Big 3 had their chance and for some reason they squandered it while others did not. Why should we pay for their mistakes with our taxes and no guarantees? The Big 3 are trying to get way with murder and we the taxpayer should not reward them for their misdeeds, misdirection, and mismanagement. I am all for supporting other companies in America that have new ideas, but not the old dilapidated, oversized, Big 3. It’s time the Big 3 pay their dues for their own actions–it’s the American way, why change it now? No need for America to become a corporate welfare nation as the the US Constitution was never written for such matters, nor would its founders approve of such shameful business matters. America loses it dignity should we bail out the Big 3. Either the the Big 3 stand on their own and reap what they have sewn or they do not stand at all. It’s American way. The Big 3 can use the bankruptcy laws as this is what they were written for and we should not allow favoritism to the Big 3 while the common man gets left by the wayside being forced to abide by our laws.

  • Substantial Development

    I say out with the old and in with the new. The Big 3 had their chance and for some reason they squandered it while others did not. Why should we pay for their mistakes with our taxes and no guarantees? The Big 3 are trying to get way with murder and we the taxpayer should not reward them for their misdeeds, misdirection, and mismanagement. I am all for supporting other companies in America that have new ideas, but not the old dilapidated, oversized, Big 3. It’s time the Big 3 pay their dues for their own actions–it’s the American way, why change it now? No need for America to become a corporate welfare nation as the the US Constitution was never written for such matters, nor would its founders approve of such shameful business matters. America loses it dignity should we bail out the Big 3. Either the the Big 3 stand on their own and reap what they have sewn or they do not stand at all. It’s American way. The Big 3 can use the bankruptcy laws as this is what they were written for and we should not allow favoritism to the Big 3 while the common man gets left by the wayside being forced to abide by our laws.

  • Substantial Development

    I say out with the old and in with the new. The Big 3 had their chance and for some reason they squandered it while others did not. Why should we pay for their mistakes with our taxes and no guarantees? The Big 3 are trying to get way with murder and we the taxpayer should not reward them for their misdeeds, misdirection, and mismanagement. I am all for supporting other companies in America that have new ideas, but not the old dilapidated, oversized, Big 3. It’s time the Big 3 pay their dues for their own actions–it’s the American way, why change it now? No need for America to become a corporate welfare nation as the the US Constitution was never written for such matters, nor would its founders approve of such shameful business matters. America loses it dignity should we bail out the Big 3. Either the the Big 3 stand on their own and reap what they have sewn or they do not stand at all. It’s American way. The Big 3 can use the bankruptcy laws as this is what they were written for and we should not allow favoritism to the Big 3 while the common man gets left by the wayside being forced to abide by our laws.

  • Substantial Development

    I say out with the old and in with the new. The Big 3 had their chance and for some reason they squandered it while others did not. Why should we pay for their mistakes with our taxes and no guarantees? The Big 3 are trying to get way with murder and we the taxpayer should not reward them for their misdeeds, misdirection, and mismanagement. I am all for supporting other companies in America that have new ideas, but not the old dilapidated, oversized, Big 3. It’s time the Big 3 pay their dues for their own actions–it’s the American way, why change it now? No need for America to become a corporate welfare nation as the the US Constitution was never written for such matters, nor would its founders approve of such shameful business matters. America loses it dignity should we bail out the Big 3. Either the the Big 3 stand on their own and reap what they have sewn or they do not stand at all. It’s American way. The Big 3 can use the bankruptcy laws as this is what they were written for and we should not allow favoritism to the Big 3 while the common man gets left by the wayside being forced to abide by our laws.

  • You have a point.

    But given that we are going to be paying, anyway, why don’t we get something for our money?

  • You have a point.

    But given that we are going to be paying, anyway, why don’t we get something for our money?

  • Substantial Development

    Why would we want to give-up safety laws that took so long to enact? I remember when the US auto industry was struggling to meet pollution laws with catalytic convertors, and Honda met the US laws without one! The Toyota IQ and the Smart cars are safe. You must remember we are still a country laden with oversized vehicles. What you think might be a bargain will be undermined by the insurance required to own a vehicle that is not safe by US standards. Insurance companies have no interest in helping out the average citizen and will charge according to what their data indicates will suffice to protect their interests.

    We should all be for reducing our carbon footprint, but not at the expense of safety and through a knee-jerk reaction that will foster more problems than it solves in the long-run. America should be using its braintrust resources to produce what we need, and produce an example to others in the world versus trying to shortcut its way with stopgap solution. America is better than that, much better.

  • Substantial Development

    Why would we want to give-up safety laws that took so long to enact? I remember when the US auto industry was struggling to meet pollution laws with catalytic convertors, and Honda met the US laws without one! The Toyota IQ and the Smart cars are safe. You must remember we are still a country laden with oversized vehicles. What you think might be a bargain will be undermined by the insurance required to own a vehicle that is not safe by US standards. Insurance companies have no interest in helping out the average citizen and will charge according to what their data indicates will suffice to protect their interests.

    We should all be for reducing our carbon footprint, but not at the expense of safety and through a knee-jerk reaction that will foster more problems than it solves in the long-run. America should be using its braintrust resources to produce what we need, and produce an example to others in the world versus trying to shortcut its way with stopgap solution. America is better than that, much better.

  • Substantial Development

    Why would we want to give-up safety laws that took so long to enact? I remember when the US auto industry was struggling to meet pollution laws with catalytic convertors, and Honda met the US laws without one! The Toyota IQ and the Smart cars are safe. You must remember we are still a country laden with oversized vehicles. What you think might be a bargain will be undermined by the insurance required to own a vehicle that is not safe by US standards. Insurance companies have no interest in helping out the average citizen and will charge according to what their data indicates will suffice to protect their interests.

    We should all be for reducing our carbon footprint, but not at the expense of safety and through a knee-jerk reaction that will foster more problems than it solves in the long-run. America should be using its braintrust resources to produce what we need, and produce an example to others in the world versus trying to shortcut its way with stopgap solution. America is better than that, much better.

  • Thanks for the post Susan…

    I would only add something to consider. The problem is not oil or the efficiency of the combustion engine, it’s the combustion engine itself. The engine as we know it is a manufacturing nightmare for all auto companies. It doesn’t scale (non modular) requires extensive supply chains, limits design of vehicles (loss 1/3rd of chassis) and does nothing to reduce the # of factories that can operate at maximum capacity.

    I think the future ‘carrot’ should be – retire the combustion engine. End it’s era as the platform, don’t try to improve it or squeeze more out.

    I’ve written a number of pieces on ways to rethink this problem– and start to look at how auto makers can change their entire revenue stream by separating construction of the ‘top’ and ‘bottom’ of the vehicle using advanced electric motors using a combination of batteries, fuel cells and capacitors with drive by wire systems.

    http://www.theenergyroadmap.com/futureblogger/show/1272-the-future-of-the-us-auto-industry-

    Thanks for the post!! It’s important that new standards get set for Detroit…

    I’m just concerned that we’re going to try to make them build a better buggy whip… than enable a new platform. They don’t have a problem with CAFE standards, they have too many factories. So let’s cut out the mechanical heat engine- and grab a hold of more modular electric motor systems and new energy storage devices.

    Best

    Garry G

    Editor

    TheEnergyRoadmap.com

    http://www.theenergyroadmap.com

  • Thanks for the post Susan…

    I would only add something to consider. The problem is not oil or the efficiency of the combustion engine, it’s the combustion engine itself. The engine as we know it is a manufacturing nightmare for all auto companies. It doesn’t scale (non modular) requires extensive supply chains, limits design of vehicles (loss 1/3rd of chassis) and does nothing to reduce the # of factories that can operate at maximum capacity.

    I think the future ‘carrot’ should be – retire the combustion engine. End it’s era as the platform, don’t try to improve it or squeeze more out.

    I’ve written a number of pieces on ways to rethink this problem– and start to look at how auto makers can change their entire revenue stream by separating construction of the ‘top’ and ‘bottom’ of the vehicle using advanced electric motors using a combination of batteries, fuel cells and capacitors with drive by wire systems.

    http://www.theenergyroadmap.com/futureblogger/show/1272-the-future-of-the-us-auto-industry-

    Thanks for the post!! It’s important that new standards get set for Detroit…

    I’m just concerned that we’re going to try to make them build a better buggy whip… than enable a new platform. They don’t have a problem with CAFE standards, they have too many factories. So let’s cut out the mechanical heat engine- and grab a hold of more modular electric motor systems and new energy storage devices.

    Best

    Garry G

    Editor

    TheEnergyRoadmap.com

    http://www.theenergyroadmap.com

  • Thanks for the post Susan…

    I would only add something to consider. The problem is not oil or the efficiency of the combustion engine, it’s the combustion engine itself. The engine as we know it is a manufacturing nightmare for all auto companies. It doesn’t scale (non modular) requires extensive supply chains, limits design of vehicles (loss 1/3rd of chassis) and does nothing to reduce the # of factories that can operate at maximum capacity.

    I think the future ‘carrot’ should be – retire the combustion engine. End it’s era as the platform, don’t try to improve it or squeeze more out.

    I’ve written a number of pieces on ways to rethink this problem– and start to look at how auto makers can change their entire revenue stream by separating construction of the ‘top’ and ‘bottom’ of the vehicle using advanced electric motors using a combination of batteries, fuel cells and capacitors with drive by wire systems.

    http://www.theenergyroadmap.com/futureblogger/show/1272-the-future-of-the-us-auto-industry-

    Thanks for the post!! It’s important that new standards get set for Detroit…

    I’m just concerned that we’re going to try to make them build a better buggy whip… than enable a new platform. They don’t have a problem with CAFE standards, they have too many factories. So let’s cut out the mechanical heat engine- and grab a hold of more modular electric motor systems and new energy storage devices.

    Best

    Garry G

    Editor

    TheEnergyRoadmap.com

    http://www.theenergyroadmap.com

  • Oh, totally agreed re the better buggywhip: and you will never meet more of an EV-angelist than me from way back.

    But… real innovation will not come quickly from these behemoths. Adaptation is the best we can expect from such bureaucratic organizations, and in the meantime, all the EV start-ups (and Mitsubishi and Nissan and Mini E etc) will get us to the real future.

    But when I saw yesterday at autobloggreen that it only costs $75 million to retool, I thought, since we are paying them anyway…

  • Oh, totally agreed re the better buggywhip: and you will never meet more of an EV-angelist than me from way back.

    But… real innovation will not come quickly from these behemoths. Adaptation is the best we can expect from such bureaucratic organizations, and in the meantime, all the EV start-ups (and Mitsubishi and Nissan and Mini E etc) will get us to the real future.

    But when I saw yesterday at autobloggreen that it only costs $75 million to retool, I thought, since we are paying them anyway…

  • Oh, totally agreed re the better buggywhip: and you will never meet more of an EV-angelist than me from way back.

    But… real innovation will not come quickly from these behemoths. Adaptation is the best we can expect from such bureaucratic organizations, and in the meantime, all the EV start-ups (and Mitsubishi and Nissan and Mini E etc) will get us to the real future.

    But when I saw yesterday at autobloggreen that it only costs $75 million to retool, I thought, since we are paying them anyway…

  • Oh, totally agreed re the better buggywhip: and you will never meet more of an EV-angelist than me from way back.

    But… real innovation will not come quickly from these behemoths. Adaptation is the best we can expect from such bureaucratic organizations, and in the meantime, all the EV start-ups (and Mitsubishi and Nissan and Mini E etc) will get us to the real future.

    But when I saw yesterday at autobloggreen that it only costs $75 million to retool, I thought, since we are paying them anyway…

  • Michael Bryant

    We are county who unwilling to make machcanal improvement. We bend flood by expensive electrical alternatives and shortcuts. I see alot untapp portenail in combustion engine still. We should have cars that get 75 m.p.g. hower such teck is conversail and atuo enginers don’t understand it and Electrical enginers hate it.

  • Michael Bryant

    We are county who unwilling to make machcanal improvement. We bend flood by expensive electrical alternatives and shortcuts. I see alot untapp portenail in combustion engine still. We should have cars that get 75 m.p.g. hower such teck is conversail and atuo enginers don’t understand it and Electrical enginers hate it.

  • Michael Bryant

    We are county who unwilling to make machcanal improvement. We bend flood by expensive electrical alternatives and shortcuts. I see alot untapp portenail in combustion engine still. We should have cars that get 75 m.p.g. hower such teck is conversail and atuo enginers don’t understand it and Electrical enginers hate it.

  • Nano Nano

    We’re one technology break through away from leading a revolution in the auto industry. If GM can sell a few of its plants to Catepillar or John Deere or any company expected to fulfill the demand for the expected massive infrastructure re-built in the USA, and then invest everything into Nano research, maybe a portfolio of companies, to make the next generation of super-batteries — that will give a sizeable share of the market in electric cars, where battery life is the last great obstacle to mass market adoption.

  • Nano Nano

    We’re one technology break through away from leading a revolution in the auto industry. If GM can sell a few of its plants to Catepillar or John Deere or any company expected to fulfill the demand for the expected massive infrastructure re-built in the USA, and then invest everything into Nano research, maybe a portfolio of companies, to make the next generation of super-batteries — that will give a sizeable share of the market in electric cars, where battery life is the last great obstacle to mass market adoption.

  • Mark in Texas

    Here’s my question.

    Can the big 3 count foreign manufactured cars when calculating CAFE standards? If not, allowing them to count any of these high mileage foreign built cars that they sell in the US towards the CAFE requirement ought to have all three US automakers importing plenty of these cars. As the author points out, the crash test standard is one impediment. The EPA emission standards are another impediment.

    The fact that the US automakers don’t import these cars or make them here makes me suspect that they cannot pass the US safety and environmental regulations. I know that Europeans do not require safety glass in car windshields. I would not be that confident in the European nanny staters. Their legislators and bureaucrats seem even more susceptible to bribery and influence peddlers than our own, and that is saying something.

  • Mark in Texas

    Here’s my question.

    Can the big 3 count foreign manufactured cars when calculating CAFE standards? If not, allowing them to count any of these high mileage foreign built cars that they sell in the US towards the CAFE requirement ought to have all three US automakers importing plenty of these cars. As the author points out, the crash test standard is one impediment. The EPA emission standards are another impediment.

    The fact that the US automakers don’t import these cars or make them here makes me suspect that they cannot pass the US safety and environmental regulations. I know that Europeans do not require safety glass in car windshields. I would not be that confident in the European nanny staters. Their legislators and bureaucrats seem even more susceptible to bribery and influence peddlers than our own, and that is saying something.

  • Mark; an eyeopening read that might change your mind about this – the classic on relative auto safety used the text for graduate courses by a former GM safety researcher – Leonard Evans: “Traffic Safety and the Driver”

    http://www.amazon.com/Traffic-Safety-Driver-Leonard-Evans/dp/0442001630

    includes interesting background on how we came to have the NHTSA rules;

    “US vehicle equipment and construction regulations are based almost entirely on SAE standards, which were written almost entirely by US automakers.

    Some question whether the results of this regulatory philosophy and practice support a safety-related basis for the prohibition on ECE vehicles.

    The sizable auto safety lead enjoyed by the USA since the 1960s had slowed by 2002, with the US improvement percentages at 16th place (behind Australia, Austria, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Great Britain, Iceland, Japan, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, and Switzerland) in terms of deaths per thousand vehicles.

    In terms of deaths per 100 million miles, the USA had dropped from first place to tenth place.

    With the partial exception of Canada, all of the countries achieving better safety results either require or permit vehicles built to comply with the ECE regulations, not the US regulations.

    from his book via Wikipedia

  • Mark; an eyeopening read that might change your mind about this – the classic on relative auto safety used the text for graduate courses by a former GM safety researcher – Leonard Evans: “Traffic Safety and the Driver”

    http://www.amazon.com/Traffic-Safety-Driver-Leonard-Evans/dp/0442001630

    includes interesting background on how we came to have the NHTSA rules;

    “US vehicle equipment and construction regulations are based almost entirely on SAE standards, which were written almost entirely by US automakers.

    Some question whether the results of this regulatory philosophy and practice support a safety-related basis for the prohibition on ECE vehicles.

    The sizable auto safety lead enjoyed by the USA since the 1960s had slowed by 2002, with the US improvement percentages at 16th place (behind Australia, Austria, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Great Britain, Iceland, Japan, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, and Switzerland) in terms of deaths per thousand vehicles.

    In terms of deaths per 100 million miles, the USA had dropped from first place to tenth place.

    With the partial exception of Canada, all of the countries achieving better safety results either require or permit vehicles built to comply with the ECE regulations, not the US regulations.

    from his book via Wikipedia

  • ChuckL

    Susan, It is really nice to see that someone with a wider distribution than I have has read my posts and is spreading the word.

    The biggest problem that I see is that the Senior Senator from my state, Harry Reid will most likely join with Nancy Pelosi and they will do their best to prevent this idea from coming to pass or at the minimum place so many controls on it that it will be completely unprofitable.

    Don’t forget, they are socialists and this is a capitalistic idea.

  • ChuckL

    Susan, It is really nice to see that someone with a wider distribution than I have has read my posts and is spreading the word.

    The biggest problem that I see is that the Senior Senator from my state, Harry Reid will most likely join with Nancy Pelosi and they will do their best to prevent this idea from coming to pass or at the minimum place so many controls on it that it will be completely unprofitable.

    Don’t forget, they are socialists and this is a capitalistic idea.

  • ChuckL

    Susan, It is really nice to see that someone with a wider distribution than I have has read my posts and is spreading the word.

    The biggest problem that I see is that the Senior Senator from my state, Harry Reid will most likely join with Nancy Pelosi and they will do their best to prevent this idea from coming to pass or at the minimum place so many controls on it that it will be completely unprofitable.

    Don’t forget, they are socialists and this is a capitalistic idea.

  • ChuckL

    Susan, It is really nice to see that someone with a wider distribution than I have has read my posts and is spreading the word.

    The biggest problem that I see is that the Senior Senator from my state, Harry Reid will most likely join with Nancy Pelosi and they will do their best to prevent this idea from coming to pass or at the minimum place so many controls on it that it will be completely unprofitable.

    Don’t forget, they are socialists and this is a capitalistic idea.

  • Back when Ford said the festiva diesel was not cost effcient, I asked why don’t we (US GOVT) build a small engine diesel plant that all 3 could get thier engies from. They could make good profit since the engines could be sold to them at cost or with very little profit. If they can build thier own plant faster better cheaper, let em. This idea that America will not pay for fuel effcient cars is old thinking. I would pay upmore for a car that got in the high 30s to low 40s vs low 30 mid 30 mpg. The payback in savings over sevveral years will make up the difference and it si betterfor the environment.

  • Back when Ford said the festiva diesel was not cost effcient, I asked why don’t we (US GOVT) build a small engine diesel plant that all 3 could get thier engies from. They could make good profit since the engines could be sold to them at cost or with very little profit. If they can build thier own plant faster better cheaper, let em. This idea that America will not pay for fuel effcient cars is old thinking. I would pay upmore for a car that got in the high 30s to low 40s vs low 30 mid 30 mpg. The payback in savings over sevveral years will make up the difference and it si betterfor the environment.

  • Back when Ford said the festiva diesel was not cost effcient, I asked why don’t we (US GOVT) build a small engine diesel plant that all 3 could get thier engies from. They could make good profit since the engines could be sold to them at cost or with very little profit. If they can build thier own plant faster better cheaper, let em. This idea that America will not pay for fuel effcient cars is old thinking. I would pay upmore for a car that got in the high 30s to low 40s vs low 30 mid 30 mpg. The payback in savings over sevveral years will make up the difference and it si betterfor the environment.

  • Rignerd

    Why would anybody believe that the congress that can’t run it’s own lunch room can run an industry? Especially a complex and danger fraught industry like automobile manufacturing is beyond me.

    Drop the protectionist rules like the NHTSA, EPA, CARB, and DOT. Publish the independent crash test results, independent pollution production tests results and the independent MPG test results and let the FREE people decide what they are willing to pay for.

    The “finally working majority” is so beholden to the unions and the environmentalists that they are never going to be able to implement a working solution with out imposition of a police state, and we have great examples of how they work in Cuba, Russia, and China.

  • Rignerd

    Why would anybody believe that the congress that can’t run it’s own lunch room can run an industry? Especially a complex and danger fraught industry like automobile manufacturing is beyond me.

    Drop the protectionist rules like the NHTSA, EPA, CARB, and DOT. Publish the independent crash test results, independent pollution production tests results and the independent MPG test results and let the FREE people decide what they are willing to pay for.

    The “finally working majority” is so beholden to the unions and the environmentalists that they are never going to be able to implement a working solution with out imposition of a police state, and we have great examples of how they work in Cuba, Russia, and China.

  • Rignerd

    Why would anybody believe that the congress that can’t run it’s own lunch room can run an industry? Especially a complex and danger fraught industry like automobile manufacturing is beyond me.

    Drop the protectionist rules like the NHTSA, EPA, CARB, and DOT. Publish the independent crash test results, independent pollution production tests results and the independent MPG test results and let the FREE people decide what they are willing to pay for.

    The “finally working majority” is so beholden to the unions and the environmentalists that they are never going to be able to implement a working solution with out imposition of a police state, and we have great examples of how they work in Cuba, Russia, and China.

  • Rignerd

    Why would anybody believe that the congress that can’t run it’s own lunch room can run an industry? Especially a complex and danger fraught industry like automobile manufacturing is beyond me.

    Drop the protectionist rules like the NHTSA, EPA, CARB, and DOT. Publish the independent crash test results, independent pollution production tests results and the independent MPG test results and let the FREE people decide what they are willing to pay for.

    The “finally working majority” is so beholden to the unions and the environmentalists that they are never going to be able to implement a working solution with out imposition of a police state, and we have great examples of how they work in Cuba, Russia, and China.

  • Joe B.

    How did socialism get such a bad name? Do you not realize that most of northern Europe is socialists? They seem to live pretty good lives. When was the last time you heard about poverty in northern Europe. Norway and many European countries are socialists and they are far more environmentally friendly than us.

  • Joe B.

    How did socialism get such a bad name? Do you not realize that most of northern Europe is socialists? They seem to live pretty good lives. When was the last time you heard about poverty in northern Europe. Norway and many European countries are socialists and they are far more environmentally friendly than us.

  • fitz

    I am a transplant from Europe. it has amazed me that these automakers have been producing very efficient cars for years. When the price of gas in the UK topped $12 a gallon this summer it seemed incredible that the general US market was not aware of these cars. If you are worried about safety watch the Top Gear show excerpt where they run a smart car into solid concrete at 70 mph. then compare it to a Toyota Corolla same speed same concrete. Both survivable and amazing for the size of the cars. Also look for the Audi A2 Diesel 124mpg no available in the US. why?

  • fitz

    I am a transplant from Europe. it has amazed me that these automakers have been producing very efficient cars for years. When the price of gas in the UK topped $12 a gallon this summer it seemed incredible that the general US market was not aware of these cars. If you are worried about safety watch the Top Gear show excerpt where they run a smart car into solid concrete at 70 mph. then compare it to a Toyota Corolla same speed same concrete. Both survivable and amazing for the size of the cars. Also look for the Audi A2 Diesel 124mpg no available in the US. why?

  • fitz

    I am a transplant from Europe. it has amazed me that these automakers have been producing very efficient cars for years. When the price of gas in the UK topped $12 a gallon this summer it seemed incredible that the general US market was not aware of these cars. If you are worried about safety watch the Top Gear show excerpt where they run a smart car into solid concrete at 70 mph. then compare it to a Toyota Corolla same speed same concrete. Both survivable and amazing for the size of the cars. Also look for the Audi A2 Diesel 124mpg no available in the US. why?

  • fitz

    I am a transplant from Europe. it has amazed me that these automakers have been producing very efficient cars for years. When the price of gas in the UK topped $12 a gallon this summer it seemed incredible that the general US market was not aware of these cars. If you are worried about safety watch the Top Gear show excerpt where they run a smart car into solid concrete at 70 mph. then compare it to a Toyota Corolla same speed same concrete. Both survivable and amazing for the size of the cars. Also look for the Audi A2 Diesel 124mpg no available in the US. why?

  • Doug

    to Joe B.,

    Socialism has a bad name in the US because it is not feasible on such a large scale. All the Euro countries that are socialists have relatively small populations. Also have to look at the historic makeup of the US and it is plain to see we are a country of capitalists and I for one am glad. The US leads the world in most scientific studies, with some Japanese(also ultra capitalists) exceptions. This is because we allow people to work towards their own ends and not state first. I for one do not want socialized medicine because it would seriously degrade the quality of care we receive. If you don’t believe that go to a VA hospital some time.

  • Doug

    to Joe B.,

    Socialism has a bad name in the US because it is not feasible on such a large scale. All the Euro countries that are socialists have relatively small populations. Also have to look at the historic makeup of the US and it is plain to see we are a country of capitalists and I for one am glad. The US leads the world in most scientific studies, with some Japanese(also ultra capitalists) exceptions. This is because we allow people to work towards their own ends and not state first. I for one do not want socialized medicine because it would seriously degrade the quality of care we receive. If you don’t believe that go to a VA hospital some time.

  • Doug

    to Joe B.,

    Socialism has a bad name in the US because it is not feasible on such a large scale. All the Euro countries that are socialists have relatively small populations. Also have to look at the historic makeup of the US and it is plain to see we are a country of capitalists and I for one am glad. The US leads the world in most scientific studies, with some Japanese(also ultra capitalists) exceptions. This is because we allow people to work towards their own ends and not state first. I for one do not want socialized medicine because it would seriously degrade the quality of care we receive. If you don’t believe that go to a VA hospital some time.

  • asdf

    Better to tell the American car companies to go to hell where they belong, then to fund them to do what was right all along.

    It’s time these greedy bastards got kicked in the teeth, it deserves them right. And the arguments that this will “hurt America” are total bullshit, we’re already in trouble, jobs being lost and so on. No point in making it worse by bailing out what doesn’t work.

  • asdf

    Better to tell the American car companies to go to hell where they belong, then to fund them to do what was right all along.

    It’s time these greedy bastards got kicked in the teeth, it deserves them right. And the arguments that this will “hurt America” are total bullshit, we’re already in trouble, jobs being lost and so on. No point in making it worse by bailing out what doesn’t work.

  • asdf

    Better to tell the American car companies to go to hell where they belong, then to fund them to do what was right all along.

    It’s time these greedy bastards got kicked in the teeth, it deserves them right. And the arguments that this will “hurt America” are total bullshit, we’re already in trouble, jobs being lost and so on. No point in making it worse by bailing out what doesn’t work.

  • DJ

    I drove a used 1968 VW Beetle from 1977 to 1980. It got better than 30 MPG on the freeway. The car was cheap to buy and easy to maintain. But you cannot buy a car like that anymore. It wouldn’t pass all the regulations required for safety and emissions monitoring and so on. If you get run over by an idiot arguing on her cell phone while she drives her Canyonero with one hand, it’s game over man. Game over.

    Besides, when Congress bails out the Big 3 they don’t care about consumers or automakers. All they’re really doing is bailing out the big unions. The ones where a forklift driver makes twice what a teacher does.

  • DJ

    I drove a used 1968 VW Beetle from 1977 to 1980. It got better than 30 MPG on the freeway. The car was cheap to buy and easy to maintain. But you cannot buy a car like that anymore. It wouldn’t pass all the regulations required for safety and emissions monitoring and so on. If you get run over by an idiot arguing on her cell phone while she drives her Canyonero with one hand, it’s game over man. Game over.

    Besides, when Congress bails out the Big 3 they don’t care about consumers or automakers. All they’re really doing is bailing out the big unions. The ones where a forklift driver makes twice what a teacher does.

  • DJ

    I drove a used 1968 VW Beetle from 1977 to 1980. It got better than 30 MPG on the freeway. The car was cheap to buy and easy to maintain. But you cannot buy a car like that anymore. It wouldn’t pass all the regulations required for safety and emissions monitoring and so on. If you get run over by an idiot arguing on her cell phone while she drives her Canyonero with one hand, it’s game over man. Game over.

    Besides, when Congress bails out the Big 3 they don’t care about consumers or automakers. All they’re really doing is bailing out the big unions. The ones where a forklift driver makes twice what a teacher does.

  • Mr_Fastbucks

    I for one will never purchase a car with gas mileage as my primary concern. We have the energy and the means to use it cleanly. We simply refuse to do it. I will happily drive my safe, reliable, OnStar equipped, 19mpg GM SUV for the forseeable future.

    The Ford Ka is built for smaller European roads where everyone drives tiny cars. It would be a death trap to drive in the U.S. And don’t get me started about clean diesels. Our government taxes the fuel so it makes no economic sense to sell them here.

  • Mr_Fastbucks

    I for one will never purchase a car with gas mileage as my primary concern. We have the energy and the means to use it cleanly. We simply refuse to do it. I will happily drive my safe, reliable, OnStar equipped, 19mpg GM SUV for the forseeable future.

    The Ford Ka is built for smaller European roads where everyone drives tiny cars. It would be a death trap to drive in the U.S. And don’t get me started about clean diesels. Our government taxes the fuel so it makes no economic sense to sell them here.

  • RM

    Personally? I think both union forklift drivers and union teachers are overpaid, given the shitty products they produce – i.e., crappy cars, and the posters and most of the commenters on this blog.

  • RM

    Personally? I think both union forklift drivers and union teachers are overpaid, given the shitty products they produce – i.e., crappy cars, and the posters and most of the commenters on this blog.

  • RM

    Personally? I think both union forklift drivers and union teachers are overpaid, given the shitty products they produce – i.e., crappy cars, and the posters and most of the commenters on this blog.

  • RM

    Personally? I think both union forklift drivers and union teachers are overpaid, given the shitty products they produce – i.e., crappy cars, and the posters and most of the commenters on this blog.

  • Bill Eichinger

    While we all would like more fuel efficient vehicles, just saying “give us the same cars you build for Europe” isn’t going to make Detroit profitable. The US is very different than Europe. We drive much more, and farther. Our population density is far lower.

    I have to suggest that there is a huge disconnect between what Americans say they want and what they buy. My wife drives 50 miles each day to work. I worry about her safety in the winter especially. So she has an SUV. She is far safer than she would be in the typical European high gas mileage sedan.

    You can neither dictate nor legislate what will be popular to buy.

    I also note that whatever you make to sell, the costs of labor must be addressed.

  • Bill Eichinger

    While we all would like more fuel efficient vehicles, just saying “give us the same cars you build for Europe” isn’t going to make Detroit profitable. The US is very different than Europe. We drive much more, and farther. Our population density is far lower.

    I have to suggest that there is a huge disconnect between what Americans say they want and what they buy. My wife drives 50 miles each day to work. I worry about her safety in the winter especially. So she has an SUV. She is far safer than she would be in the typical European high gas mileage sedan.

    You can neither dictate nor legislate what will be popular to buy.

    I also note that whatever you make to sell, the costs of labor must be addressed.

  • Bill Eichinger

    While we all would like more fuel efficient vehicles, just saying “give us the same cars you build for Europe” isn’t going to make Detroit profitable. The US is very different than Europe. We drive much more, and farther. Our population density is far lower.

    I have to suggest that there is a huge disconnect between what Americans say they want and what they buy. My wife drives 50 miles each day to work. I worry about her safety in the winter especially. So she has an SUV. She is far safer than she would be in the typical European high gas mileage sedan.

    You can neither dictate nor legislate what will be popular to buy.

    I also note that whatever you make to sell, the costs of labor must be addressed.

  • Bill Eichinger

    While we all would like more fuel efficient vehicles, just saying “give us the same cars you build for Europe” isn’t going to make Detroit profitable. The US is very different than Europe. We drive much more, and farther. Our population density is far lower.

    I have to suggest that there is a huge disconnect between what Americans say they want and what they buy. My wife drives 50 miles each day to work. I worry about her safety in the winter especially. So she has an SUV. She is far safer than she would be in the typical European high gas mileage sedan.

    You can neither dictate nor legislate what will be popular to buy.

    I also note that whatever you make to sell, the costs of labor must be addressed.

  • Cosmop

    Maybe the car companies have done the research and found out Americans won’t buy the smaller European cars. Whats the point of selling them here if there is no one to buy them. Gas is back at $1.50, people can continue to drive their full size cars they like and enjoy.

  • Cosmop

    Maybe the car companies have done the research and found out Americans won’t buy the smaller European cars. Whats the point of selling them here if there is no one to buy them. Gas is back at $1.50, people can continue to drive their full size cars they like and enjoy.

  • Cosmop

    Maybe the car companies have done the research and found out Americans won’t buy the smaller European cars. Whats the point of selling them here if there is no one to buy them. Gas is back at $1.50, people can continue to drive their full size cars they like and enjoy.

  • Cosmop

    Maybe the car companies have done the research and found out Americans won’t buy the smaller European cars. Whats the point of selling them here if there is no one to buy them. Gas is back at $1.50, people can continue to drive their full size cars they like and enjoy.

  • Nick Chambers

    Cosmop,

    That seems like a short-sighted view… and the same one that got the car companies into the mess they’re in today.

    Demand for oil is only at a down point right now, and, unless the world explodes, that will be over eventually. When the world economy comes back, demand for oil will skyrocket again (due to a need in a growing China and India mostly) and prices will shoot right back up. I say we see $7 per gallon gas within 4 years.

  • DonM

    If the federal government would allow Ford to sell the European Fiesta “as-is” they could very quickly tool up and have the car in showrooms. However, the euro-car does not meet American bumper standards (created to protect smaller cars from SUV collisions), and the diesel engine sold in Europe(69mpg!) does not meet US diesel emission standards.

    I would propose:

    1) If a car meets EEU standards, it should be given a waiver until 2012 to meet US standards and be immediately available as-is in the US market.

    2) Grant immunity for tort cases brought about by accidents (esp from the bumber standard) and emissions (that diesel thing).

    3) Immediately end the UAW “jobs-bank” baloney and grant them unemployment compensation, like everyone else.

    4) Raise fuel taxes to keep gasoline to at least $2.50 a gallon, adjusted for inflation to keep it at that level.

    5) Eliminate the CAFE standards. Expensive gasoline will accomplish the same goal.

  • DonM

    If the federal government would allow Ford to sell the European Fiesta “as-is” they could very quickly tool up and have the car in showrooms. However, the euro-car does not meet American bumper standards (created to protect smaller cars from SUV collisions), and the diesel engine sold in Europe(69mpg!) does not meet US diesel emission standards.

    I would propose:

    1) If a car meets EEU standards, it should be given a waiver until 2012 to meet US standards and be immediately available as-is in the US market.

    2) Grant immunity for tort cases brought about by accidents (esp from the bumber standard) and emissions (that diesel thing).

    3) Immediately end the UAW “jobs-bank” baloney and grant them unemployment compensation, like everyone else.

    4) Raise fuel taxes to keep gasoline to at least $2.50 a gallon, adjusted for inflation to keep it at that level.

    5) Eliminate the CAFE standards. Expensive gasoline will accomplish the same goal.

  • Brian

    I am suppose to drive that thing pictured on a highway traveling at 60 miles an hour sharing the road with tractor trailers with my son in the back. I already owned a vehicle with a 2.0 liter 4 cylinder engine.

    To accelerate I needed to turn off the air conditioner. Never again. Keep the golf carts in Europe.

  • Brian

    I am suppose to drive that thing pictured on a highway traveling at 60 miles an hour sharing the road with tractor trailers with my son in the back. I already owned a vehicle with a 2.0 liter 4 cylinder engine.

    To accelerate I needed to turn off the air conditioner. Never again. Keep the golf carts in Europe.

  • Brian

    I am suppose to drive that thing pictured on a highway traveling at 60 miles an hour sharing the road with tractor trailers with my son in the back. I already owned a vehicle with a 2.0 liter 4 cylinder engine.

    To accelerate I needed to turn off the air conditioner. Never again. Keep the golf carts in Europe.

  • Abdul Abulbul Amir

    Safety standards are not an issue. The CAFE standards are what hurt Detroit. If you want a 50mpg vehicle you can buy one. However, if more consumers want to buy bigger, more comfortable, and crashworthy vehicles that is no reason to penalize the auto makers.

    How about this, in exchange for scrapping CAFE each of the big three must offer at least one vehicle that gets 75mpg?

  • Abdul Abulbul Amir

    Safety standards are not an issue. The CAFE standards are what hurt Detroit. If you want a 50mpg vehicle you can buy one. However, if more consumers want to buy bigger, more comfortable, and crashworthy vehicles that is no reason to penalize the auto makers.

    How about this, in exchange for scrapping CAFE each of the big three must offer at least one vehicle that gets 75mpg?

  • swift boater

    Haven’t you hard? Global Warming has now been proven to be the biggest hoax on the planet, except maybe for the Oil-for-Food program run by the UN.

    But wait, isn’t it the UN that is so aggressively pushing the Global Warming scam…? Maybe cuz more money in more bureaucrats pockets.

    I think it’s a great idea to help our Big 3 by forcing them to give up their best selling vehicles, #1 in USA Ford F-150 and the #2 Chevy Silverado to start. Perhaps we can then insist that they stop making their fastest growth vehicle, the “crossover”. And to hit the trifecta, force them to make little no no profit death boxes that are not selling here.

    Thats the ticket–to oblivion.

  • swift boater

    Haven’t you hard? Global Warming has now been proven to be the biggest hoax on the planet, except maybe for the Oil-for-Food program run by the UN.

    But wait, isn’t it the UN that is so aggressively pushing the Global Warming scam…? Maybe cuz more money in more bureaucrats pockets.

    I think it’s a great idea to help our Big 3 by forcing them to give up their best selling vehicles, #1 in USA Ford F-150 and the #2 Chevy Silverado to start. Perhaps we can then insist that they stop making their fastest growth vehicle, the “crossover”. And to hit the trifecta, force them to make little no no profit death boxes that are not selling here.

    Thats the ticket–to oblivion.

  • swift boater

    Haven’t you hard? Global Warming has now been proven to be the biggest hoax on the planet, except maybe for the Oil-for-Food program run by the UN.

    But wait, isn’t it the UN that is so aggressively pushing the Global Warming scam…? Maybe cuz more money in more bureaucrats pockets.

    I think it’s a great idea to help our Big 3 by forcing them to give up their best selling vehicles, #1 in USA Ford F-150 and the #2 Chevy Silverado to start. Perhaps we can then insist that they stop making their fastest growth vehicle, the “crossover”. And to hit the trifecta, force them to make little no no profit death boxes that are not selling here.

    Thats the ticket–to oblivion.

  • swift boater

    Haven’t you hard? Global Warming has now been proven to be the biggest hoax on the planet, except maybe for the Oil-for-Food program run by the UN.

    But wait, isn’t it the UN that is so aggressively pushing the Global Warming scam…? Maybe cuz more money in more bureaucrats pockets.

    I think it’s a great idea to help our Big 3 by forcing them to give up their best selling vehicles, #1 in USA Ford F-150 and the #2 Chevy Silverado to start. Perhaps we can then insist that they stop making their fastest growth vehicle, the “crossover”. And to hit the trifecta, force them to make little no no profit death boxes that are not selling here.

    Thats the ticket–to oblivion.

  • Nick Chambers

    swift boater,

    Actually I haven’t “hard.” Recently I’ve been rather flacid. Can I ask some straightforward questions:

    1) Global Warming as a hoax has been proven by whom, exactly?

    2) In terms of sales figures for cars, are you using 2005 data? If you talk to the Big Three (which I have), they’ll tell you that the sales numbers for these types of vehicles are off by about 60% year over year. If you think that the F-150s and the Silverados are still the number one sellers, you should take a look at the hundreds of thousands of these types vehicles that are just sitting in the stock lots.

  • Jeff

    wow …

    How obtuse can you people be …

    They ARE NOT ALLOWED to sell those cars here due to Government regulations …

    wow, clueless …

  • Jeff

    wow …

    How obtuse can you people be …

    They ARE NOT ALLOWED to sell those cars here due to Government regulations …

    wow, clueless …

  • Jeff

    wow …

    How obtuse can you people be …

    They ARE NOT ALLOWED to sell those cars here due to Government regulations …

    wow, clueless …

  • Nick Chambers

    Jeff,

    The whole point is that perhaps they should be allowed to sell them here.

  • KevinH

    Ford makes a car that can go 60+mpg on diesel. Currently you cannot register a new diesel car in either the State of California or New York. We need to look at our laws as well as our technology. No one is going to build a car they cant sell.

  • KevinH

    Ford makes a car that can go 60+mpg on diesel. Currently you cannot register a new diesel car in either the State of California or New York. We need to look at our laws as well as our technology. No one is going to build a car they cant sell.

  • KevinH

    Ford makes a car that can go 60+mpg on diesel. Currently you cannot register a new diesel car in either the State of California or New York. We need to look at our laws as well as our technology. No one is going to build a car they cant sell.

  • rick

    So, Detroit re-tools plants for 75 mil and builds these little midget racers in the USA.

    The salaries/bennies of the union workers in these new plants will still average $70-some-odd bucks an hour, resistance to robotics will still cause strikes and over-employment; the benefits to the retired/laid-off/executives will still have to be paid. How does building tiny cars for $2000 or $3000 more in the US than they can in Europe or Asia solve any of that?

    The American public will snort with derision at this new offering, because they’ll have to pay too much money for these teeny cars for Detroit to make a profit AND pay for the union labor and ridiculous distribution setup now in place.

    And Detroit will be faced with yet another failed product line. What if…gas prices continue to fall? Or even stabilize? Do you think Americans are going to go “green” and stop buying Escalades? Ask Al Gore. He’s an American.

  • rick

    So, Detroit re-tools plants for 75 mil and builds these little midget racers in the USA.

    The salaries/bennies of the union workers in these new plants will still average $70-some-odd bucks an hour, resistance to robotics will still cause strikes and over-employment; the benefits to the retired/laid-off/executives will still have to be paid. How does building tiny cars for $2000 or $3000 more in the US than they can in Europe or Asia solve any of that?

    The American public will snort with derision at this new offering, because they’ll have to pay too much money for these teeny cars for Detroit to make a profit AND pay for the union labor and ridiculous distribution setup now in place.

    And Detroit will be faced with yet another failed product line. What if…gas prices continue to fall? Or even stabilize? Do you think Americans are going to go “green” and stop buying Escalades? Ask Al Gore. He’s an American.

  • rick

    So, Detroit re-tools plants for 75 mil and builds these little midget racers in the USA.

    The salaries/bennies of the union workers in these new plants will still average $70-some-odd bucks an hour, resistance to robotics will still cause strikes and over-employment; the benefits to the retired/laid-off/executives will still have to be paid. How does building tiny cars for $2000 or $3000 more in the US than they can in Europe or Asia solve any of that?

    The American public will snort with derision at this new offering, because they’ll have to pay too much money for these teeny cars for Detroit to make a profit AND pay for the union labor and ridiculous distribution setup now in place.

    And Detroit will be faced with yet another failed product line. What if…gas prices continue to fall? Or even stabilize? Do you think Americans are going to go “green” and stop buying Escalades? Ask Al Gore. He’s an American.

  • John

    It doesnt matter who operates the plants or what they make, the workers and low level managers will be paid about the same. The bailout is for the investor that own the companies. Its for the big fat cats at the top. They get to stay rich. Its croniesm. Letting the investors lose their money for operating this way is the best way to fix the auto industry. Giving the auto industry money at the expense of the taxpayer who was going to use it for their own purpose is not fair…its just the taxpayer or company y have no senators for friends.

    It is fair to say that regulation had something to do with this. Why can’t I buy a car that has an enigne that hasn’t been through xyz crash test or is certified by a foriegn country or gets xyz gas mileage? I can make that decision fine myself. Why wouldn’t making the cars so expensive with debateable and not optional safety and pollution controls have some effect?

    The biggest regulation was the accounting rule change that caused non-liquid assests to suddenly have to me acocunted for on the spot market. The mark to market rule. This was the major cause of the crash of the credit markets and the resulting dip in car sales. The dip comes from the fact cars are bought on credit which is expensive or gone right now. Car companies can’t borrow money to deal with cash flow like they used to. Then as the credit squeeze started killing companies off we get a recession. The death blow to the car companies. So you can say for sure the government is entierly to blame for their state and should pay.

    But guess what? Every company is suffering equally. Individuals are suffering too. Everyone needs a bailout. If the car companies get bailed…is it just cronyism?

    Is it a security threat? Could a forieng company take over our businesses because we have artificially devalued them?

    So now everyone is an arm chair car company exec. Or arm chair bank exec. Everyone is now expert at what should be done to keep xyz company in shape. The fact of the matter is. No one is more expert than the people running them. If they can’t do it, then the company they are running is probably a dinosaur that would be best served by letting it die off as fast as possible. I don’t care how smart you are. Actually chaning a company to make it run more efficient is an extremely difficult thing to do. Everyone who thinks so should invest their own money starting a company. The worst possible thing is to let everyone run companies with everyone elses money, which is what we are talking about here. There is no possible way it can be better than letting the people who invested their own time and money alone.

    On top of all of this, we are talking about letting the worlds worst money handlers be in charge. I am talking about a group who have consistently spent more money than they have forever…our friends the congressmen and senators of the united states of america. I can’t imagine a group of people less inclined to make a good business decision and more inclined to line their friends pockets with money than them.

    Anyone who is for any sort of government bailout other than simply eliminating the mark to market rule and lowering capital gains taxes is nuts.

  • John

    It doesnt matter who operates the plants or what they make, the workers and low level managers will be paid about the same. The bailout is for the investor that own the companies. Its for the big fat cats at the top. They get to stay rich. Its croniesm. Letting the investors lose their money for operating this way is the best way to fix the auto industry. Giving the auto industry money at the expense of the taxpayer who was going to use it for their own purpose is not fair…its just the taxpayer or company y have no senators for friends.

    It is fair to say that regulation had something to do with this. Why can’t I buy a car that has an enigne that hasn’t been through xyz crash test or is certified by a foriegn country or gets xyz gas mileage? I can make that decision fine myself. Why wouldn’t making the cars so expensive with debateable and not optional safety and pollution controls have some effect?

    The biggest regulation was the accounting rule change that caused non-liquid assests to suddenly have to me acocunted for on the spot market. The mark to market rule. This was the major cause of the crash of the credit markets and the resulting dip in car sales. The dip comes from the fact cars are bought on credit which is expensive or gone right now. Car companies can’t borrow money to deal with cash flow like they used to. Then as the credit squeeze started killing companies off we get a recession. The death blow to the car companies. So you can say for sure the government is entierly to blame for their state and should pay.

    But guess what? Every company is suffering equally. Individuals are suffering too. Everyone needs a bailout. If the car companies get bailed…is it just cronyism?

    Is it a security threat? Could a forieng company take over our businesses because we have artificially devalued them?

    So now everyone is an arm chair car company exec. Or arm chair bank exec. Everyone is now expert at what should be done to keep xyz company in shape. The fact of the matter is. No one is more expert than the people running them. If they can’t do it, then the company they are running is probably a dinosaur that would be best served by letting it die off as fast as possible. I don’t care how smart you are. Actually chaning a company to make it run more efficient is an extremely difficult thing to do. Everyone who thinks so should invest their own money starting a company. The worst possible thing is to let everyone run companies with everyone elses money, which is what we are talking about here. There is no possible way it can be better than letting the people who invested their own time and money alone.

    On top of all of this, we are talking about letting the worlds worst money handlers be in charge. I am talking about a group who have consistently spent more money than they have forever…our friends the congressmen and senators of the united states of america. I can’t imagine a group of people less inclined to make a good business decision and more inclined to line their friends pockets with money than them.

    Anyone who is for any sort of government bailout other than simply eliminating the mark to market rule and lowering capital gains taxes is nuts.

  • John

    It doesnt matter who operates the plants or what they make, the workers and low level managers will be paid about the same. The bailout is for the investor that own the companies. Its for the big fat cats at the top. They get to stay rich. Its croniesm. Letting the investors lose their money for operating this way is the best way to fix the auto industry. Giving the auto industry money at the expense of the taxpayer who was going to use it for their own purpose is not fair…its just the taxpayer or company y have no senators for friends.

    It is fair to say that regulation had something to do with this. Why can’t I buy a car that has an enigne that hasn’t been through xyz crash test or is certified by a foriegn country or gets xyz gas mileage? I can make that decision fine myself. Why wouldn’t making the cars so expensive with debateable and not optional safety and pollution controls have some effect?

    The biggest regulation was the accounting rule change that caused non-liquid assests to suddenly have to me acocunted for on the spot market. The mark to market rule. This was the major cause of the crash of the credit markets and the resulting dip in car sales. The dip comes from the fact cars are bought on credit which is expensive or gone right now. Car companies can’t borrow money to deal with cash flow like they used to. Then as the credit squeeze started killing companies off we get a recession. The death blow to the car companies. So you can say for sure the government is entierly to blame for their state and should pay.

    But guess what? Every company is suffering equally. Individuals are suffering too. Everyone needs a bailout. If the car companies get bailed…is it just cronyism?

    Is it a security threat? Could a forieng company take over our businesses because we have artificially devalued them?

    So now everyone is an arm chair car company exec. Or arm chair bank exec. Everyone is now expert at what should be done to keep xyz company in shape. The fact of the matter is. No one is more expert than the people running them. If they can’t do it, then the company they are running is probably a dinosaur that would be best served by letting it die off as fast as possible. I don’t care how smart you are. Actually chaning a company to make it run more efficient is an extremely difficult thing to do. Everyone who thinks so should invest their own money starting a company. The worst possible thing is to let everyone run companies with everyone elses money, which is what we are talking about here. There is no possible way it can be better than letting the people who invested their own time and money alone.

    On top of all of this, we are talking about letting the worlds worst money handlers be in charge. I am talking about a group who have consistently spent more money than they have forever…our friends the congressmen and senators of the united states of america. I can’t imagine a group of people less inclined to make a good business decision and more inclined to line their friends pockets with money than them.

    Anyone who is for any sort of government bailout other than simply eliminating the mark to market rule and lowering capital gains taxes is nuts.

  • CJ

    You’re concentrating on the technical details, but this bailout will be an act of politics. Obama and the democrats are not going to bail out the auto companies, they’re going to bail out the UAW, one of their big contributors of cash and campaign volunteers. UAW contracts give members election day off work so they can go help Democrats get out the vote. Secondarily, Obama and the Democrats are going to bail out the state of Michigan, presently under Democratic management with two D Senators. This, unfortunately, is what it’s all about for politicians, not CAFE standards or NHTSA standards or any other such irrelevancies.

  • CJ

    You’re concentrating on the technical details, but this bailout will be an act of politics. Obama and the democrats are not going to bail out the auto companies, they’re going to bail out the UAW, one of their big contributors of cash and campaign volunteers. UAW contracts give members election day off work so they can go help Democrats get out the vote. Secondarily, Obama and the Democrats are going to bail out the state of Michigan, presently under Democratic management with two D Senators. This, unfortunately, is what it’s all about for politicians, not CAFE standards or NHTSA standards or any other such irrelevancies.

  • MarkD

    I wouldn’t read too much into the safety standards here vis a vis Europe based on deaths per million miles. Our standards for a driver’s license are quite lax. The safety of the roads themselves is also a large part of the equation.

  • MarkD

    I wouldn’t read too much into the safety standards here vis a vis Europe based on deaths per million miles. Our standards for a driver’s license are quite lax. The safety of the roads themselves is also a large part of the equation.

  • MarkD

    I wouldn’t read too much into the safety standards here vis a vis Europe based on deaths per million miles. Our standards for a driver’s license are quite lax. The safety of the roads themselves is also a large part of the equation.

  • jtb-in-texas

    There’s probably more to it; but I think you’ll find that EU and US laws regarding Auto Safety are quite different… And the big three cannot legally sell the gas-sippers here because they don’t meet “our” requirements…

  • jtb-in-texas

    There’s probably more to it; but I think you’ll find that EU and US laws regarding Auto Safety are quite different… And the big three cannot legally sell the gas-sippers here because they don’t meet “our” requirements…

  • D Palmer

    I have owned and driven 3 very small cars over my 27 years of driving: a Ford Fiesta, a 1st gen Honda Civic hatchback, and a Honda CRX (plus 2 VW Beetles).

    All worked perfectly well in urban (Chicago area) traffic and were adequate on the highways (the Fiesta took me and 3 friends from central IL to Florida and back for spring break in 1987 with no problem).

    Micro cars like the Ka and Smart aren’t really designed for a country as large as the US. Read the Inside Line folks comments about their long-term Smart. None of them are comfortable driving it on the LA freeways.

    I support the idea of issuing waivers so that Ford and GM can import some of their excellent medium small cars. But those cars aren’t cheap. In the UK a Focus (which is not the same as a US Focus) costs more than a Fusion in the US. One of the other reasons GM and Ford build better small cars in Europe is because Europeans will pay a reasonable price for them. How many in the US would pay $26-$27k for a Focus? Nobody I’m willing to bet, but that’s what a mid level diesel goes for there.

    As another commenter pointed out, the way to encourage people to buy fuel efficient cars, which in turn will result in the big three making more of such cars, is to raise the price of gas. Why are there millions of SUV’s and pickups on dealer lots? because gas went to $4+. CAFE was never the way to get the Big 3 to build more fuel efficient cars. They built what people wanted. Only when prices sky rocketed did people decide they wanted efficient cars. The Chevy Malibu is a runaway success because it mixes good economy with size, comfort, and quality for a fair price (gee, sounds like the way the Accord became one of the best selling cars doesn’t it).

    Tax gas so that it’s price is higher than diesel (in Chicago diesel is still over $3 while gas can be found under $2, what’s that about). This is what they do in Europe, which is part of why diesels became so popular there.

  • D Palmer

    I have owned and driven 3 very small cars over my 27 years of driving: a Ford Fiesta, a 1st gen Honda Civic hatchback, and a Honda CRX (plus 2 VW Beetles).

    All worked perfectly well in urban (Chicago area) traffic and were adequate on the highways (the Fiesta took me and 3 friends from central IL to Florida and back for spring break in 1987 with no problem).

    Micro cars like the Ka and Smart aren’t really designed for a country as large as the US. Read the Inside Line folks comments about their long-term Smart. None of them are comfortable driving it on the LA freeways.

    I support the idea of issuing waivers so that Ford and GM can import some of their excellent medium small cars. But those cars aren’t cheap. In the UK a Focus (which is not the same as a US Focus) costs more than a Fusion in the US. One of the other reasons GM and Ford build better small cars in Europe is because Europeans will pay a reasonable price for them. How many in the US would pay $26-$27k for a Focus? Nobody I’m willing to bet, but that’s what a mid level diesel goes for there.

    As another commenter pointed out, the way to encourage people to buy fuel efficient cars, which in turn will result in the big three making more of such cars, is to raise the price of gas. Why are there millions of SUV’s and pickups on dealer lots? because gas went to $4+. CAFE was never the way to get the Big 3 to build more fuel efficient cars. They built what people wanted. Only when prices sky rocketed did people decide they wanted efficient cars. The Chevy Malibu is a runaway success because it mixes good economy with size, comfort, and quality for a fair price (gee, sounds like the way the Accord became one of the best selling cars doesn’t it).

    Tax gas so that it’s price is higher than diesel (in Chicago diesel is still over $3 while gas can be found under $2, what’s that about). This is what they do in Europe, which is part of why diesels became so popular there.

  • John D

    I’m not too worried about the safety standard between here and Europe. I lived for several years in Europe and had several different cars both German and American.

    In the early 1980’s I rolled my car. I wasn’t wearing a seat belt and was ejected through the windshield and over two traffic lanes to land in a flowerbed that had just been turned the day before.

    I was driving a Mercedes-Benz and the windshield was made of tempered, not safety, glass. If it had been an American car with the safety glass I would have hit the windshield and probably taken some trauma and cuts. As it was I woke up in the hospital the next day with a stiff neck and some minor cuts and bruises.

    I am still convinced that having tempered glass instead of safety glass contributed a lot to my lack of significant injuries.

    Even so, I have not forgotten to wear my seat belt since. Better no trip through a windshield at all than taking one with either type of glass.

  • John D

    I’m not too worried about the safety standard between here and Europe. I lived for several years in Europe and had several different cars both German and American.

    In the early 1980’s I rolled my car. I wasn’t wearing a seat belt and was ejected through the windshield and over two traffic lanes to land in a flowerbed that had just been turned the day before.

    I was driving a Mercedes-Benz and the windshield was made of tempered, not safety, glass. If it had been an American car with the safety glass I would have hit the windshield and probably taken some trauma and cuts. As it was I woke up in the hospital the next day with a stiff neck and some minor cuts and bruises.

    I am still convinced that having tempered glass instead of safety glass contributed a lot to my lack of significant injuries.

    Even so, I have not forgotten to wear my seat belt since. Better no trip through a windshield at all than taking one with either type of glass.

  • John D

    I’m not too worried about the safety standard between here and Europe. I lived for several years in Europe and had several different cars both German and American.

    In the early 1980’s I rolled my car. I wasn’t wearing a seat belt and was ejected through the windshield and over two traffic lanes to land in a flowerbed that had just been turned the day before.

    I was driving a Mercedes-Benz and the windshield was made of tempered, not safety, glass. If it had been an American car with the safety glass I would have hit the windshield and probably taken some trauma and cuts. As it was I woke up in the hospital the next day with a stiff neck and some minor cuts and bruises.

    I am still convinced that having tempered glass instead of safety glass contributed a lot to my lack of significant injuries.

    Even so, I have not forgotten to wear my seat belt since. Better no trip through a windshield at all than taking one with either type of glass.

  • John D

    I’m not too worried about the safety standard between here and Europe. I lived for several years in Europe and had several different cars both German and American.

    In the early 1980’s I rolled my car. I wasn’t wearing a seat belt and was ejected through the windshield and over two traffic lanes to land in a flowerbed that had just been turned the day before.

    I was driving a Mercedes-Benz and the windshield was made of tempered, not safety, glass. If it had been an American car with the safety glass I would have hit the windshield and probably taken some trauma and cuts. As it was I woke up in the hospital the next day with a stiff neck and some minor cuts and bruises.

    I am still convinced that having tempered glass instead of safety glass contributed a lot to my lack of significant injuries.

    Even so, I have not forgotten to wear my seat belt since. Better no trip through a windshield at all than taking one with either type of glass.

  • Heh. I wish I had learned as you have – I too took a trip through a windshield in college….but I still have to be reminded to put on my seatbelt…

  • Heh. I wish I had learned as you have – I too took a trip through a windshield in college….but I still have to be reminded to put on my seatbelt…

  • Heh. I wish I had learned as you have – I too took a trip through a windshield in college….but I still have to be reminded to put on my seatbelt…

  • Heh. I wish I had learned as you have – I too took a trip through a windshield in college….but I still have to be reminded to put on my seatbelt…

  • Tony B

    I think a lot of your prejudices about European cars are well out of date. A 5 Star Euro NCAP rated car is one of the safest vehicles on the planet. You also don’t need a tiny euro box as there are many larger cars that have fantastic economy and incredible performance. Take for example the BMW 530 diesel (top speed limited to 155 mph!) which is actually quicker than the 530 petrol, does 50 mpg is incredibly clean with a new generation engine and special filters.

    I own a 1.9L Diesel Renault Scenic it has a 5 star crash rating, does 60 mpg, 0-60 mph in 9 secs and cruises happily at 125 mph on a German autobahn, easily seats 5 adults and two children, has all the electric gadgets you would ever want and is supremely reliable only needing servicing every 18,000 miles.

    I simply don’t understand the performance issue in the US where you can barely go over 65mph. I’ve also driven many modern American hire cars on trips to the US and I’ve always been suprised at how crude the engineering is – lots of noise but not much acceleration, dreadful handling (unsafe in my opinion, especially at speed), stone age suspension and terrible mpg.

    What’s the point?

    Time for the US to wake up and realise that you are no longer the best at everything you do. The Europeans (shock horror!) overtook you in car design years ago – check out where all Formula 1 cars (the most scientifically advanced cars in the world – FACT) are made and designed….

    (I’ll give you a clue – some of the top teams are Renault, BMW and Mercedes)

  • Tony B

    I think a lot of your prejudices about European cars are well out of date. A 5 Star Euro NCAP rated car is one of the safest vehicles on the planet. You also don’t need a tiny euro box as there are many larger cars that have fantastic economy and incredible performance. Take for example the BMW 530 diesel (top speed limited to 155 mph!) which is actually quicker than the 530 petrol, does 50 mpg is incredibly clean with a new generation engine and special filters.

    I own a 1.9L Diesel Renault Scenic it has a 5 star crash rating, does 60 mpg, 0-60 mph in 9 secs and cruises happily at 125 mph on a German autobahn, easily seats 5 adults and two children, has all the electric gadgets you would ever want and is supremely reliable only needing servicing every 18,000 miles.

    I simply don’t understand the performance issue in the US where you can barely go over 65mph. I’ve also driven many modern American hire cars on trips to the US and I’ve always been suprised at how crude the engineering is – lots of noise but not much acceleration, dreadful handling (unsafe in my opinion, especially at speed), stone age suspension and terrible mpg.

    What’s the point?

    Time for the US to wake up and realise that you are no longer the best at everything you do. The Europeans (shock horror!) overtook you in car design years ago – check out where all Formula 1 cars (the most scientifically advanced cars in the world – FACT) are made and designed….

    (I’ll give you a clue – some of the top teams are Renault, BMW and Mercedes)

  • Tony B

    I think a lot of your prejudices about European cars are well out of date. A 5 Star Euro NCAP rated car is one of the safest vehicles on the planet. You also don’t need a tiny euro box as there are many larger cars that have fantastic economy and incredible performance. Take for example the BMW 530 diesel (top speed limited to 155 mph!) which is actually quicker than the 530 petrol, does 50 mpg is incredibly clean with a new generation engine and special filters.

    I own a 1.9L Diesel Renault Scenic it has a 5 star crash rating, does 60 mpg, 0-60 mph in 9 secs and cruises happily at 125 mph on a German autobahn, easily seats 5 adults and two children, has all the electric gadgets you would ever want and is supremely reliable only needing servicing every 18,000 miles.

    I simply don’t understand the performance issue in the US where you can barely go over 65mph. I’ve also driven many modern American hire cars on trips to the US and I’ve always been suprised at how crude the engineering is – lots of noise but not much acceleration, dreadful handling (unsafe in my opinion, especially at speed), stone age suspension and terrible mpg.

    What’s the point?

    Time for the US to wake up and realise that you are no longer the best at everything you do. The Europeans (shock horror!) overtook you in car design years ago – check out where all Formula 1 cars (the most scientifically advanced cars in the world – FACT) are made and designed….

    (I’ll give you a clue – some of the top teams are Renault, BMW and Mercedes)

  • Tony B

    I think a lot of your prejudices about European cars are well out of date. A 5 Star Euro NCAP rated car is one of the safest vehicles on the planet. You also don’t need a tiny euro box as there are many larger cars that have fantastic economy and incredible performance. Take for example the BMW 530 diesel (top speed limited to 155 mph!) which is actually quicker than the 530 petrol, does 50 mpg is incredibly clean with a new generation engine and special filters.

    I own a 1.9L Diesel Renault Scenic it has a 5 star crash rating, does 60 mpg, 0-60 mph in 9 secs and cruises happily at 125 mph on a German autobahn, easily seats 5 adults and two children, has all the electric gadgets you would ever want and is supremely reliable only needing servicing every 18,000 miles.

    I simply don’t understand the performance issue in the US where you can barely go over 65mph. I’ve also driven many modern American hire cars on trips to the US and I’ve always been suprised at how crude the engineering is – lots of noise but not much acceleration, dreadful handling (unsafe in my opinion, especially at speed), stone age suspension and terrible mpg.

    What’s the point?

    Time for the US to wake up and realise that you are no longer the best at everything you do. The Europeans (shock horror!) overtook you in car design years ago – check out where all Formula 1 cars (the most scientifically advanced cars in the world – FACT) are made and designed….

    (I’ll give you a clue – some of the top teams are Renault, BMW and Mercedes)

  • cjop

    If we want the automakers to produce “gas sipping” cars here all we have to do is demand them with our pocket books. While not entirely defending the so called “free market” it is like virtually anything else in the US. You can control the behavior of corporations by your spending. In other words don’t look to Washington. Look in the mirror.

  • cjop

    If we want the automakers to produce “gas sipping” cars here all we have to do is demand them with our pocket books. While not entirely defending the so called “free market” it is like virtually anything else in the US. You can control the behavior of corporations by your spending. In other words don’t look to Washington. Look in the mirror.

  • Jim Boles

    “I know that Europeans do not require safety glass in car windshields.”

    Well you’re wrong there… completely wrong. A swift glance at any car collision site in the EU will show the road littered with those little crunchy safety glass chunks!

    But that said, I do like to drive US cars in the US where your gas is so cheap and the mpg so low. I can afford it there!

    But back here in the EU, it’s close on $1 per litre so efficient cars are a must.

  • Jim Boles

    “I know that Europeans do not require safety glass in car windshields.”

    Well you’re wrong there… completely wrong. A swift glance at any car collision site in the EU will show the road littered with those little crunchy safety glass chunks!

    But that said, I do like to drive US cars in the US where your gas is so cheap and the mpg so low. I can afford it there!

    But back here in the EU, it’s close on $1 per litre so efficient cars are a must.

  • Jim Boles

    “I know that Europeans do not require safety glass in car windshields.”

    Well you’re wrong there… completely wrong. A swift glance at any car collision site in the EU will show the road littered with those little crunchy safety glass chunks!

    But that said, I do like to drive US cars in the US where your gas is so cheap and the mpg so low. I can afford it there!

    But back here in the EU, it’s close on $1 per litre so efficient cars are a must.

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