No free lunch for US automakers!!!!

Even though they traveled to the Capitol in hybrid cars… Did they carpool! Here I go again…. if you’ve read my other blog, you know that I have a problem with visionless corporate leadership.  These guys need to really re-evaluate their strategy for innovation.

I sent the following letter to my senator & representative. I would have sent it to Mr. Smith (exiting) but his site didn’t have a contact link/email address. I guess I need to send it to Jeff Merkeley.

If you’re just as pissed about the bailout I suggest you write to your congress people as well. Sending a note to the president-elect  wouldn’t be out of order either.


Dear Senator Wyden/Representative Blumenauer,

I am writing to ask you not to support bailouts to the auto industry companies without setting forth and later enforcing conditions requiring the auto companies to establish new leadership, a draft well-defined plan for recovery, and a set terms for repayment program for the bailout funds. Make it a loan instead of a bailout.

It’s my firm belief that the lack of foresight, poor planning, and deficit of vision of the corporate leaders from US automakers led them to the dire situation they face today. Japanese automakers such as Toyota saw the need for petroleum alternative technology and foresaw the long term benefits and profitability of hybrid vehicles. They set forth a plan for researching and implementing this technology and have successfully eclipsed US auto companies sales in hybrid cars. Chrysler, Ford, and General Motors should have made the same investments but they did not. Instead they spent their efforts developing and marketing gas guzzling cars such as the Hummer and other SUV units despite the warnings of climate change and the escalating price of fuel. United States auto companies’ inability to quickly adapt to the new needs of consumers and travelers has contributed to the dramatic drop in their profits.

Poor leadership and the resistance to take risks by investing in research and development of new fuel technologies demonstrate that the US auto industry as it stands is not fit enough to move forward. I have very little faith that they will use tax payer’s money wisely or effectively and I am thoroughly disgusted by their gall at requesting such an exorbitant handout from the government without providing a detailed and sound plan for change.

Why should the sweat off my back (and off of millions of honest American working people) pay for the Auto Industry’s mistakes? Why should we trust incompetent corporate leaders with bailout money they hardly deserve? My sophomore year in college I maxed out two credit cards. Instead of bailing me out, my parents taught me the most important lesson of fiscal responsibility by refusing to pay off my debts. I had to pay every cent myself. I learned from my folly. Can we say the same capacity to learn is possible from the car company CEO’s? What kind of message would the government be sending by bailing out irresponsible companies without set conditions for change and repayment?

If companies such as GM, Chrysler and Ford are to be given a bailout it should be with firm conditions. This industry must re-evaluate it’s direction and find new leaders before I will have faith in their ability to pull themselves out of the dire straits they’re now in. And they’ll have to demonstrate their commitment and efforts to curtailing carbon emissions before I even consider buying an American car again. I’m sure millions of American tax-payers feel the same indignation and horror.


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3 responses to “No free lunch for US automakers!!!!

  1. nice letter. I feel like I’m a pretty far-left leaning tree-hugging organic liberal, but this bailout stinks of week-old pig poop.

  2. Julie S.

    I’m late to your post of December 4 because I was writing to my congressman because my husband is an engineer with GM. I understand your anger and frustration. I agree with so much of what you’ve said; in fact, I was saying the same words this summer when it looked like the banks may be bailed out.

    Please, as a fellow knitter and writer, consider the following. First, GM is set to build a VOLT engine plant in Flint. It will be the first all-electric with gas back up engine. It is truly cutting edge and exciting. Second, because you like the trees, please note that at the same time so many Americans were buying trucks, the big 3 also had fuel efficient models on their showroom floors. My HHR, the best car I’ve ever owned, gets 32 miles to the gallon and holds so much stuff in the payload, I couldn’t knit the amount of yarn that fits back there in a lifetime. The market drove decisions your fellow Americans made and the decisions about what needed to be stocked on showroom floors. The companies you hold dear, the Toyotas, Hondas and Kias have been given huge tax incentives and actual payouts from the Senators you’ve been writing to with YOUR tax dollars. The numbers are staggering if you would only look them up. Those companies have also been taken by surprise by the current situation–proof is the plant in Texas that was scrapped at the beginning of the year by Toyota to build trucks. Additionally, the countries of origin for these companies have also given huge sums of money to “bridge” the current worldwide economic crisis because those companies have been hit as hard as our domestic auto companies.

    Did you know that of the million Prius cars sold in the US that not ONE of them has created a profit for the company that sells it? Not. One. Dollar. I’m thinking that’s not the sort of market plan most Americans think of when they hold Honda up as an example of forward thinking in the auto industry. It’s the type of market plan where the home government takes out the trash.

    Speaking of Fat Cats. We all cringed when those jets hit the runway. Here, we cringed because we knew that 3 men were being held up by an uninformed national media to represent 3 million. We knew that their insurance companies require them not to fly coach but that Diane Sawyer would help slam the door of open minds and lock tightly those minds whose ideas of the domestic auto industries were established in the 1970s. We knew those execs had already pledged to take $1 in pay per year, but that the congress that judged them are sitting on trillions in debt and haven’t made the same pledge.

    Believe me when I say I understand your anger. I’ve moved from scared to angry to breathing deeply in yoga poses. Please know that most of us are grateful at the president’s message yesterday. Please know that those of us who’ve asked for our government’s help are really aware of our responsibility to pay back the loans and make even better decisions in the future. Millions of us are not fat cats. We’ve paid taxes, made responsible decisions and check daily for the smell of pig poop. The next time you choose a car, please look at what is out there that fellow tax payers build. We aren’t idiots or in love with gas guzzlers. We love trees, knit, make gingerbread men and car pool, too.

  3. I do believe that the auto industry does need a helping hand, I do not believe that this assistance should be given without conditions, including repayment. Too bad they didn’t consider this when handing out our hard earned money to the banks. I also believe that all industry not just the automakers need to look at retooling their management. I understand that US automakers are key to our country. We need industries that actually make product not just sell ‘ideas’ and ‘possibilities.’ But I don’t like or admire the current leadership. They need new blood, new ideas, a new direction… not more of the same.

    In regards to the Prius, it may not be making a profit initially, but the Japanese automakers have made more than just headway by being the visible pioneers. They have begun to develop a brand and a name for themselves.

    I’ve really considered lately that as you say…I can make a difference in what I purchase. I think it’s the last real power any of us has in this society… to speak with our wallets. My last and current cars were/are American cars. I made my last purchase because I liked how the company treated it’s employees and I was looking for a safe car. I’ll buy another one if they can prove that it’s a good hybrid.

    I find that more and more, I choose to buy and purchase things from companies not because of their glitz or advertising, but the company’s track record on both employee treatment and their policies and treatment of environmental issues.

    If GM can “truly” demonstrate that they are ‘doing right thing’ by their employees and the environment. I’d gladly consider purchasing one of their cars.

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