What Does Made In America Mean?
Just the Facts
The 2012 Consumer Reports Reliability Survey For Automobiles was recently released, and the Top Eight Autos were as follows:
The Top Five Most Fuel Efficient Cars for 2013 are as follows:
1. TOYOTA PRIUS $24,000
2. HONDA CIVIC HYBRID $24,050
3. LEXUS CT 200h $29,120
4. HONDA INSIGHT $18,350
5. TOYOTA CAMRY HYBRID $25,900
Now, please, check my facts, because it is possible I’m not reading this information correctly, but it seems to me….and I realize my eyesight is not that reliable….but it seems to me that there are no United States car manufacturers in either list! Am I correct or am I correct?
A Little History If You Don’t Mind
There was a day, and it was not that long ago since I remember it, when cars built in the United States dominated the auto industry. In fact, I remember during the early 70’s, a good friend of mine bought a Toyota and received a fair amount of grief from people because he had not bought an American product.
Fast forward to 2012, and six of the top ten selling vehicles in the United States were manufactured in Japan, a rather remarkable statistic considering the continued economic problems in Japan due to last year’s tsunami. Of the four American vehicles in the top ten, three are pickup trucks, with the venerable Ford F-Series leading the way for what seems like forever.
The top selling passenger car in the United States? The Toyota Camry, and the only U.S. passenger car in the top ten is the Ford Fusion.
We have come a long way since those days in the 70’s when buying American stood for something.
I have written often about the economic problems in the United States. I have chastised corporations for shipping jobs overseas, and I have chastised corporations for hoarding profits and locking out workers who wanted higher wages. I have even chastised the U.S. buying public for not comprehending that every time we do not buy local we are hurting our economy. Corporations like WalMart, once built upon the slogan “Made In America” have piled up profits based on Chinese rip-off products that line their store shelves, and the American public rushes to those stores to buy cheap, despite the poor quality of those products.
Regarding American-made automobiles, however, I am about to do a reversal in my stance, for how can we blame the American people for buying Japanese autos when they are obviously superior products?
Year after year the Japanese auto manufacturers produce the most fuel-efficient cars on the road. Year after year they produce the most reliable cars on the road. If that is the case, and it is, then how in the world can we expect those buyers, who have limited incomes, to purchase anything but the best car for their dollar?
National pride only goes so far when disposable income is shrinking for the average American consumer. National pride, when compared to putting food on the table for your family, does not compare well at all.
Here Is an Idea
If you want the American consumer to buy American, then produce quality products that are competitive with foreign products! I really hate to be accused of oversimplifying a complex problem, but this seems rather logical and obvious to me. If Ford and GM cannot compete against the Japanese automakers, they only have themselves to blame for the situation.
Ford and GM have the technology and workforce to produce autos every bit as good as the Japanese lineup. They have the ability to produce a fuel-efficient car that can blow the Toyota Prius out of the water. They have the ability to produce vehicles that are every bit as reliable as those made in Japan.
Just do it!
Another company I have a problem with
- Social Issues: Caterpillar Freezes Wages For Six Years
A story of greed and irresponsibility in the corporate world. The rich get richer and the middle class continues to shrink!
Crying in Their Soup
In 2008, after auto sales had dropped 37% in the United States, the Big Three of American car manufacturers asked the United States Government for a $34 billion bailout to avoid bankruptcy. In 2009 Congress awarded $24.9 billion in support.
I have so many objections to that bailout that I don’t even know where to start. These were the same Big Three companies who ignored, for decades, the global movement towards fuel-efficient automobiles, and chose instead to continue making dinosaurs for a public that was totally disinterested in paleontology. These were the same Big Three companies who continually ordered recalls during the 2000’s because of shabby and inferior craftsmanship and design.
Then, when sales plummeted faster than a cow pie in the south forty, they cried for help and needed Uncle Sam to help them, using as their argument that if they filed for bankruptcy it would cost five million workers their jobs!
Can you say “gag me with a spoon?”
This writer is tired of being polite
- The United States Economy: Economic Slavery 2012
If you are in the bottom 99% of American society, this article might interest you.
Time for a Reality Check
I sat politely and respectfully while President Obama, at the Democratic National Convention, said that many of our former manufacturing jobs are gone forever, that they have been sent overseas and they are never coming back.
I sat politely and respectfully one evening while I watched on the news as bulldozers leveled neighborhoods in Detroit because manufacturing workers had left town, never to return.
I sat politely and respectfully as I read on the internet that my government had awarded the fat cats of the Big Three over twenty-four billion dollars of our tax money, in essence for not doing their damn job.
Well, I’m tired of being polite and I’m weary of being respectful.
Make a quality product and I guarantee you that the United States consumer will buy it, but that quality product better be competitive in both craftsmanship and price. If you can’t make a quality product, then pull up your big boy pants and don’t come running to the American consumer to finance your ineptitude through bailouts.
Here are a couple things to consider…..
Toyota last year opened their Blue Springs, Mississippi plant, and in the first year produced 100,000 Toyota Corollas and employed 2000 local workers.
Nissan has managed their Canton, Mississippi plant now for five years. During that time they have produced five different vehicles, including the Nissan Altima, for a total of 1.3 million vehicles, and employed 4000 local workers.
What kind of car do you own?
Businessmen love the bottom line, don’t they? So do politicians for that matter, although their bottom line seems to shift according to the spin they put on it and the campaign contributions they have received. Eww, did I just write that?
So here it is, as clearly as I can write it. I believe there is a mutual responsibility shared by the American consumer and the American corporations. I believe that we, the people, have a responsibility to our nation to buy locally whenever possible. I believe that corporations have a responsibility to produce quality products at affordable prices. If those products are not produced then all bets are off and the American public is no longer responsible to buy American.
I love this country; I love what we stand for and I love what we can be in the future. It is my duty, as a tax-paying, flag-waving member of this society, to speak out when I think this nation is headed down the wrong path, and I firmly believe we have strayed from the path we should be on.
Let’s hope we can once again find that path before it grows over with weeds and becomes forever hidden from view.
2012 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)