Auto industry must make some sacrifices too

The Senator from the State of Maryland, Barbara Mikulski, a Democrat who sponsored legislation within the Stimulus Bill to bail out General Motors and Chrysler, recently advised, “No matter how much government aid we give to the Big Three auto makers, they can’t survive if consumers don’t start buying cars.” It would be hard to disagree with her statement, but she demonstrates in those remarks, a basic misunderstanding of the issue at its core.

The condition the U.S. car manufacturers find themselves in today is not the fault of consumers. That’s a convenient excuse, but it is totally false and politicians need to realize it and stop saying it.

Until U.S. automobile manufacturers start producing cars that consumers want, need and can afford, Senator Mikulski is right, no amount of the taxpayer’s money will change anything, but to make the less than competent big shots running these companies wealthier through big salaries and unearned bonuses.

Ultimately, the “Big Three” will go ahead and file bankruptcy and we will finally get reorganization to provide appropriate management and creativity to allow these American companies to compete in a tough business. A management group who will recognize that their local dealers throughout this country cannot sell what the consumer doesn’t want and/or can’t afford. At the same time, also recognize that the local dealer and auto salesmen, given the right product can sell their automobiles without question. Consider what the dealers and their sales people have done in the past with the great cars we still collect and covet.

At the same time, all government entities from federal down to state, county and city, and including school systems, colleges and universities, should be required to buy U.S. made automobiles from their local dealers, who should offer reasonable prices for them to do so. Police cars, utility trucks, buses and any type of vehicle manufactured in the U. S. should be purchased locally to add support to the local economy. Actually, within reason, this should be the policy already, but will only work if the automobile manufacturers offer the quality and pricing that appeals to not only the private, but the governmental consumer as well.

The auto industry must help us, help them survive and realize that they must make at least as many sacrifices as the taxpayer to earn the privilege of using our money to give them a leg up to climb back into business again.