By on May 6, 2013

The mantra before, during, and after the bailout was (and still is) that without the bailout, gadzillions of jobs would have vanished, the American car industry would have been wiped out, wheels would have come off the arsenal of democracy, and the sky would have fallen into Lake St. Clair.  Of course, that’s nonsense. There are more than enough other carmakers in America. They would have received the sales, and added the jobs.  They would have been mostly non-union jobs though.

The truth is, without the bailout, the UAW would have vanished, and with it millions of Democratic votes.  

Rutgers University professor Thomas Prusa says that the much maligned Japanese auto industry in the United States “has emerged as a major contributor to the U.S. economy.” In a new study, the professor says that the Japanese auto industry is “responsible for 1.2 million U.S. jobs based on the U.S. production and sales for Japanese-branded automakers,” and that these jobs generate over $76 billion in annual compensation.

Rather than posing risks to U.S. jobs, “the Japanese-branded automobile companies have increased the international competitiveness of all U.S. auto and auto parts workers,” the study says.

Declares the professor:

“While many parts of the U.S. automobile industry have struggled in recent years, the Japanese-branded auto segment has emerged as an important job creator and a leading contributor to the United States economy. The role of Japanese-branded automakers’ investment has grown significantly over the past two decades.  In the mid-1980s less than 15% of the Japanese-branded automakers’ U.S. automobile sales were produced in North America.  Today approximately two-thirds of the Japanese-branded automobiles sold in the United States are built in North America. Moreover, Japanese-branded automobile plants account for nearly 40% of all U.S. automobile production.”

The study was prepared for the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association. Spool-up the prayer mills!

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72 Comments on “Study: Japanese Auto Industry Major Contributor To U.S. Economy...”


  • avatar
    threeer

    I’m an American, and unabashed patriot (comes with the job)…but I’ve always struggled with this topic of “Foreign vs. American-made” vehicles. If I pull up to a Ford plant in my Ohio-based Accord, am I more in violation of this than if I brought a Made in Mexico Fusion? I’ll fully agree that Japanese auto manufacturers have had a major impact on the supply chain (just look at the American parts content of vehicles such as the Avalon and previously-mentioned Accord). But I slightly disagree that had GM and Chrysler truly failed, it would have impacted the remaining US-based company (Ford), as many of the same suppliers are used across brands. Slippery slope topic, for sure…

    • 0 avatar
      salhany

      I guess my wife’s Indiana-built Subaru Outback wouldn’t be welcomed there either.

      My Volvo S60 was actually built in Belgium, not Sweden. I wonder if the same issue of “foreign” vs. “domestic” exists in Europe like it apparently does here.

      • 0 avatar
        threeer

        I struggle with the concept as well…if I buy, say, a Fiat Abarth (one of my favorite vehicles on the road right now, regardless of “where” it comes from), knowing that the engine is produced in Michigan (my wife’s home state) and that if Fiat is profitable that it is most likely a good thing for Chrysler, does that count? Most likely not. I wonder how they would take a Belgian-made Saturn Astra or perhaps a Korean/Chinese made Buick Encore?
        There is no denying that foreign automotive facilities here in the States have helped the economy, especially the local economies where they have plants. And one can argue that they (foreign cars in general, mostly Japanese brands) have strengthened the competitive position of Ford/GM/Chrylser (because they had to improve and provide better product or be completely killed off by the competition). But the bailouts also had second order effects on the foreign transplants in the way of the supply chain being kept afloat. The black and white of auto manufacturing is surely more than just a touch of grey…

        • 0 avatar
          Hummer

          That’s a good point, since Fiat is now the majority owner of an American auto brand, does it make them American, or does it make Chrysler group European?

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      These kind of things are more about demonstrating tribal loyalty than about where the car is actually made.

      My Indiana-built Sienna was designed for the American market and is more American than that Mexican Fusion/Mondeo, but it’s not about that. Nobody checks your VIN number when sizing you up and deciding whether you’re one of the cool kids or not.

      It’s about appearances and enforcing cultural norms. It won’t make sense if you try to apply logic or analyze the supply chain, because it’s not about that.

  • avatar
    carrya1911

    In before the accusations of being “right wing” materialize.

    I bought a 2013 Honda Accord. On facebook a friend of mine pointed out that the Accord is built in Ohio, where Honda has been building Accords for almost 25 years. Cars known for quality, durability, and a pleasant ownership experience. Made with more American content than any of the “domestic” competitors on the market in that range that are made in Canada or Mexico.

    All the major foreign manufacturers are investing significantly in US production, (moreso than the “domestic” makers, it seems) and not just for the US market. And they seem to be making money and turning out a desirable product that the public is buying.

    They also seem intent on avoiding three little letters: UAW.

    The American car industry today is as much about Toyota, Honda, BMW, Mercedes, and Hyundai as it is about GM, Ford, and Chrysler. The UAW just doesn’t like those other manufacturers because they don’t play ball with the UAW.

    • 0 avatar
      Brantta

      2013 Honda Accord – 65% domestic content
      2013 Dodge Avenger – 75% domestic content

      Accord is assembled in the US, but it is designed in Japan. Who engineered engine, transmission? Americans or Japanese?

      Hyundai Sonata is Made in U.S., but even fuel economy tests for the US are done by Korean engineers in Korea.

      The Toyota sells more than Chrysler in US, but a Chrysler has 100% more employees than Toyota in US.

      • 0 avatar
        MBella

        So your example of engineering prowess is a car built on a platform co-developed with Mitsubishi and an engine designed by Hyundai?

        Most of the engineering for the US market Accord was also done here.

        Also, how do you know how many employees Chrysler has vs Toyota in the US. Any sources that back up that statement.

  • avatar
    wstarvingteacher

    Well Bertel you are sure going to generate a lot of Hate Mail with this. Think I’ll just kick back and enjoy the show.

    • 0 avatar
      rpol35

      You know, I don’t think so, the domestic/foreign blender is an undeniable reality. It’s hard to define a foreign or non-foreign car any more because of where they are built or the percentage content of domestically made parts. You can create a government inspired definition but I don’t think it matters.

      I suppose that the UAW assumes that any auto company is a “domestic” if they represent the workers, specifically, GM, Ford & Chrysler and that is already old hat and has been for years with “domestic” production occurring in Mexico & Canada. And then you have Honda Accords being produced in the U.S. and they supposedly have the highest content of U.S. made parts of any car produced in the U.S.

      Now to add to the challenge (for the UAW) what happens when potential new UAW workers for a Chevrolet plant in Hamtramck decided not to join the UAW thanks to Michigan’s new right to work rules? So yeah, it’s a domestic auto company producing cars in the U.S. but with non -UAW workers; what will the UAW call that?

      It’s complicated now and not really meaningful anymore; actually the definition of a domestic car has become irrelevant, somewhat like the UAW in general.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    But those transplant workers are miserable, toiling in dangerous sweatshops for little pay and long hours. O the humanity! They need UAW representation!

  • avatar
    MPAVictoria

    No one is going to change their minds based on an argument over the internet. I would just like to point out that many economists disagree with Mr. Schmitt’s interpretation of what would have happened had the US government allowed the Big Three to go bankrupt in 2008.
    It is also worth mentioning that for all the union bashing that goes on around here, the middle class lifestyle enjoyed by many lucky people in the developed world is owed in no small part to the work done by unions. A big cause of the growing income inequality and wage stagnation seen in the US today can be linked to the decline in union power.

    • 0 avatar
      carrya1911

      Wage stagnation is a very big thing with lots of contributing causes. It’s specious to link it to a “decline in union power” unless someone really doesn’t grasp the difference between correlation and causation.

      • 0 avatar
        MPAVictoria

        “It’s specious to link it to a “decline in union power” unless someone really doesn’t grasp the difference between correlation and causation.”
        Agree that wage stagnation has a number of causes. A great deal of research points to the decline in Union membership has one of them. See for example:
        http://www.washington.edu/news/2011/08/10/decline-in-unions-accounts-for-one-third-of-the-growth-in-wage-inequality-among-male-private-sector-workers/
        and
        http://www.epi.org/publication/ib342-unions-inequality-faltering-middle-class/

        • 0 avatar
          CJinSD

          How many companies managed to shake off their union shackles and control wages? The vast majority of those lost union jobs were the result of the unions eating their hosts whole, resulting the loss of domestic employers and industries.

          • 0 avatar
            golden2husky

            Sometimes management also takes part if the feast. The steel industry in the US was gutted by management as well as the unions. For a variety of reasons, the standard of living in the US is in decline. The middle class is evaporating. The idea of bettering your parents is getting much more difficult. The house that was my childhood home and in my family for thirty years recently sold for 2.5 million. No way I could ever do better, or even equal that.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            If you want to return to the economic conditions that saw wage growth until 1971, then we need to dismantle the progressive institutions created around the time that turned around our nation’s prosperity. Is anyone surprised that putting the government in charge of our resources and private property led to a concentration of wealth? Is anyone surprised that government directed hiring crippled our competitiveness? Is anyone surprised that adding layers of management to our education system reduced its efficiency and effectiveness? I guess some people are. Let those people reap what they’ve sewn.

    • 0 avatar
      jpolicke

      If the unions had the same power as they used to, the jobs would be overseas and there would be no wages at all.

      Let’s all agree that the unions performed a valuable function once upon a time. It does not follow that therefore they are owed a dues paying membership in perpetuity.

      • 0 avatar
        schmitt trigger

        “Let’s all agree that the unions performed a valuable function once upon a time. It does not follow that therefore they are owed a dues paying membership in perpetuity.”

        Wise words.

        Unions reshaped for the better the work environment, as the conditions of the early factory jobs were terrible. This happens to ANY country that becomes industrialized….. for the latest chapter, see the garment workers in Bangladesh.

        However….Globalization has been a game changer, and the unions have been slow to adapt. There are impoverished workers everywhere willing to do your job for a fraction of your salary, under terrible conditions and without any benefits….. Again, see the garment workers in Bangladesh.

    • 0 avatar
      TW4

      Falling wages and plummeting union membership are attributable to the same paradigm: the financial expansion of the US Federal Government.

      Why does anyone need a union? Every citizen has a retirement pension, disability insurance, unemployment insurance, poverty insurance, and health insurance assistance through the federal government. Everyone has job safety thanks to OSHA, employment law, and federal/state liability statutes. Union membership is declining b/c no one needs a private union.

      The primary difference between the federal government and private unions is that the federal government focuses on maximizing employment, while private unions generally focus on maximizing compensation. Private unions are for capitalist extortionists who don’t appreciate the lack of bargaining power the market affords them. They are not socialists by any stretch, nor are they concerned with the well-being of our nation or our middle class. This can change, but I’m not holding my breath while people like Bob King run America’s unions.

      Unfortunately, the federal government is an equally bad institution, at the moment, b/c it is unresponsive. The CBO has demanded Social Security and Medicare reform since the late-1990s, but no one wanted to fiddle with demand-side economics during the dotcom boom. After 9-11, Social Security and Medicare reforms were put on the back burner. Long story short, the middle class is suffering from excessive FICA taxation which reduces disposable income and increases the competitiveness of foreign labor. By refusing to put income controls (possibly wealth controls, as well) on Social Security and Medicare, Uncle Sam is gutting the middle class and eliminating the raison d’etre of America’s unions.

      The real question is why do unions support the Democratic Party, who generally lobby for higher employment taxes and more middle-class entitlements. Look into Bob King’s eyes and you will get your answer. Many union bosses are the dumbest capitalists to ever steal oxygen from the rest of us.

  • avatar
    Dawnrazor

    I fully acknowledge that I’m fairly ignorant with regards to the nuts and bolts of labor issues in the auto industry, but is the sign featured in the pic at the top of the article for real? How can they legally have someone impounded simply because the UAW brass considers it offensive to park a “foreign-made” (whatever that means in this day and age) auto on UAW property? If the car is not parked illegally (not in a disabled spot, in a fire lane, or blocking something), then I don’t see how that’s enforcable.

    • 0 avatar
      jz78817

      why not? it’s private property.

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        Because it’s creating a financial hardship for the towee, as a result of an arbitrary and asenine policy. There’s lots of room to argue about that – just like any other common law claim for financial damage.

        If they want to remove your property for their property free of charge, then I think it would be much easier to defend.

        Unless the judge is from Detroit, prolly…

    • 0 avatar
      SC5door

      It’s not UAW property.

      The property is owned by the manufacturer and they can choose who parks where and why they park there. Hell if anything they can choose to park all light color cars in one area and dark colors in another.

      • 0 avatar
        jz78817

        Say what? The sign says “Local 659″ which is a UAW hall in Flint.

        • 0 avatar
          thelaine

          Thugs.

          • 0 avatar
            mikey

            Thugs…? The parking lot belongs to the UAW. The UAW has every right to pick and choose, what parks or doesn’t park in thier parking lot.

          • 0 avatar
            thelaine

            Never said they didn’t have the right. Just believe this is thug-like behavior. My friend went to Detroit for a conference last year and rented a car at the airport. He parked it in the lot and went in to the conference, where he was a speaker. UAW members came into the hall, interrupted the conference, and told everyone they better move their foriegn cars or they would be towed. When I saw the photo of the sign, it reminded me of this story. Pretty thug-like behavior, if you ask me. Again, this was just last year. It’s not about rights, it’s about civilized behavior toward guests. Self-destructive behavior on the part of the UAW should not come as a news bulletin to anyone who has looked at the collapse of GM. Management was just as bad.

  • avatar
    OneAlpha

    The sign in that picture is indicative of the imperious mindset that caused the unions to implode.

    “You have no choice. You’ll do it OUR way. Or else.”

    Good riddance.

    Oh, and just for the record, income inequality is a GOOD thing because it’s the biggest part of the engine of technological advancement.

    Just about every technology we have came into existence because somebody wanted to get rich. That’s the profit motive, and that’s a good thing.

    Would you bust your ass and mind to develop a revolutionary machine that everybody declared an impossibility, like a warp engine, if you’d reap no financial rewards and be stuck living like some blue-collar schlunk?

    • 0 avatar
      MPAVictoria

      “Oh, and just for the record, income inequality is a GOOD thing because it’s the biggest part of the engine of technological advancement.”

      Which is why the Dark Ages are famous for being a time of technological progress and enlightenment….

      And while I doubt having an argument over the internet will change your mind you might want to read this book:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Spirit_Level:_Why_More_Equal_Societies_Almost_Always_Do_Better

      • 0 avatar
        TW4

        You mean, if we tax money away from the wealthy so they can’t invest in foreign economies, the US will be better off? No way!

        The United States does not embrace Old World economics. We use programs like the Marshall Plan to rebuild war torn societies. We travel the globe establishing trade pacts b/c countries at trade cannot be countries at war. This is the sole reason the United States allows China to bleed this country dry with predatory dumping and currency manipulation. It’s the sole reason we continue to do business with OPEC. It’s the real reason we wanted to take Iraq out UN guardianship, including international sanctions, and put it back in the global marketplace. History has taught us that trade protectionism, rather than diplomacy and open trade, will put the world on a path to violent conflict. Trade protectionism includes income tax and wealth redistribution schemes that discourage foreign direct investment into other economies.

        The Spirit Level is for people with child-like intellect who are anxious to be duped by simplistic schemes to improve one’s locality, not the economic well-being of all people.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      Wealth inequality is as natural as the idea that all men are not created equal. If we took every person’s wealth today and redistributed evenly among every single person tomorrow, within a few years the money would be right back where it started.

      • 0 avatar

        Not really danio3834. Within a few years massive differences would indeed emerge, but I seriously doubt it would be right back where it started. Lots of scions of wealthy families would be in very deep water, for example, while others who don’t have any access to credit or connections could so very well for themselves. They would be few and far between but they exist.

        • 0 avatar
          golden2husky

          The idea is not to take money away from some to give it to others, but to create a fair and level starting point for everybody to do their best, and to not stack the deck in favor of those who have more, which is just punishing those who have less.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      “Oh, and just for the record, income inequality is a GOOD thing because it’s the biggest part of the engine of technological advancement.”

      Both extremes (one person having all of.the money, and everyone having exactly the same amount) are unworkable.

      We clearly do need some income inequality – but how much is optimal? And how does the US stack up?

      This is a start:
      http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gini_coefficient
      http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_income_equality

      I won’t claim it’s a perfect answer, but its one of better simple answers we have – and I’m pretty sure you’re not going to like what it says about the USA.

  • avatar
    jz78817

    “The study was prepared for the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association.”

    You don’t say

  • avatar
    dtremit

    “The truth is, without the bailout, the UAW would have vanished, and with it millions of Democratic votes.”

    Yes, I’m certain George W Bush was looking to preserve those Democratic votes when he signed the auto bailout into law.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      +100

    • 0 avatar
      missinginvlissingen

      Glad someone pointed this out, and I hope your comment reminds Mr. Schmitt and his readers that opinions on the auto industry bailout did not separate neatly by political parties or by ideology. It was more complicated and controversial than that, though both Presidents Bush and Obama were clearly in favor.

      Also: those Democratic votes wouldn’t have “vanished” just because their union jobs do. Last time I checked, people without jobs are still allowed to vote.

    • 0 avatar
      Dan

      W’s bailout made money available to keep the doors open until they got to restructuring. The shape that restructuring would take was left to the next administration.

      The next administration, exactly as we all knew they would, chose to shape it into the greatest possible benefit for their friends in the UAW and the hell with everyone and everything else. Such that GM will in all likelihood need to be bailed out again as soon as helicopter Ben runs out of ink to print more money.

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      Just because Bush approved the use of TARP funds to keep GM and Chrysler from filing for bankruptcy doesn’t mean that he was in “favor” of the bailout in its final form. He just didn’t want his successor to be faced with the simultaneous collapse of GM and Chrysler even before he took office. Big difference…

      • 0 avatar
        thelaine

        Correct. He never approved the UAW bailout.

        • 0 avatar
          mikey

          @ thelaine….The UAW bailout? General Motors and Chrysler were bailed out. Thousands of salary workers were either bought off or kept thier job.

          A lot of non union dealers, and suppliers, stayed in buisness.

          I understand,your Union hate,or is it envy blinds your common sense.

          • 0 avatar
            thelaine

            There is no hate Mikey. The UAW bailout component was the full-ride pension aspect, which Delco workers did not enjoy. This was a political pay-off at taxpayer expense. I get your passion on the subject and I am honestly glad you benefited. I have nothing against unions. I never had any interest in GM or the UAW until I was told to pay for their joint folly.

          • 0 avatar
            mikey

            @ thelaine…Sorry I got carried away. This subject has debated,and rehased over, and over, again.

            No one knows how a “no bailout” would have gone down. Even with the bailout, a lot of people got hurt,and hurt bad.

            Yes I was one of the fortunate ones. I make no apologies.
            Sometimes your the bug… Sometimes your the windshield.

            Everyone knows where I stand. Dec 19 2008 was my last day at GM. George W wrote the first check,that same day
            Yup….I’d be on the pro bailout side of this debate. And that’s where I will end,any further contributions to this thread.

            Knock yourself out guys.

          • 0 avatar
            thelaine

            Not at all Mikey. I appreciate your honesty and have no difficulty understanding your point of view. I laughed out loud at your comment in a similar thread last week (the one the Summicron gave you props for). I am sincerely glad for you and yours.

            I stumbled on TTAC a couple of years ago during one of these wars and have learned an incredible amount about this issue and many others since. It is possible that I have lost my temper a time or two as well, but never with as much justification as you.

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    Driving around in my made-in-South Carolina BMW, I don’t take any shit from people driving around in their made in Mexico Ford Fusions.

    One of the things not discussed in the hagiography of Franklin Roosevelt and his New Deal is that one of the core economic precepts underlying his program was that there was too much stuff and it cost too little (reflecting the deflation of the great depression). So the remedy prescribed was the cartelization of major US industries, including autos and steel under federal government aegis. This structure persisted after World War 2 and was politically tolerated because both the unions and the industry realized that it was a sweet deal and pressured the politicians to go along. From time to time, the unions would think that industry was keeping too much of the spoils for itself, and they would strike for higher wages.

    Eventually the tariff and non-tariff barriers to foreign steel and foreign autos were whittled down, and the party was over.

    But it was good while it lasted.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Prescription for a slow day? Troll for flame posts with the “bailouts suck / bailouts were good” non-argument.

    Schmitt’s argument is based on a bunk assumption: that foreign car makers would have been able to IMMEDIATELY pick up the slack in auto production after the Detroit automakers failed. Good luck proving that one. It would have taken years for these automakers to either a) absorb the existing production facilities, or 2) build their own. Or would Honda or Toyota have been able to magically start building their cars in GM or Chrysler plants?

    In the meantime, all those millions of workers (and “millions” is Schmitt’s own figure – “The truth is, without the bailout, the UAW would have vanished, and with it millions of Democratic votes.”) would have still been tossed out of work, suddenly, in 2008 and 2009. How would this have been a good thing for the economy? Good luck explaining that. That’s like saying that a heart attack would be just the ticket to keep a cancer patient on his toes.

    And let’s also ignore that if the Big Three and UAW went down, hundred of billions’ of dollars worth of pensions and health care plans would have also been put at risk. So, not only do we have to contend with out-of-work auto workers, we have to deal with retirees who either stop getting their checks, or start getting smaller ones. That, or the government can take over the pension plans.

    Just the thing for an economy in crisis, right?

    No, what we have is the somewhat Freudian ideological quote above (“…the UAW would have vanished, and with it millions of Democratic votes.”) to explain how this would have been good for the country. Presumably Schmitt thinks this is a good thing, since he didn’t say it wasn’t.

    Make of that what you will. I know exactly what to make of it.

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      There is no proof that GM or Chrysler would have been immediately liquidated if they had filed for bankruptcy in late 2008…some of their brands and facilities would have picked up by other companies. They simply would not have immediately vanished from the face of the earth.

      There is a strong argument to be made that it would have been more painful in the short run, but more likely led to a more efficient, stronger industry in the long run.

      At any rate, the bailouts may have just kicked the can down the road. GM’s lackluster financial results are puzzling, given that its balance sheet was washed clean of debt. And its new products have been uneven, at best. It will be interesting to see how the new full-size pickups fare when they debut.

      The strange part is that the Chrysler-Fiat union seems to be the more successful one of the two rescue efforts.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Agreed, an unexpected turn of events. Perhaps the experience they garnered dealing with another multinational, Daimler, gave them a leg up in partnering with Fiat?

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          “There is no proof that GM or Chrysler would have been immediately liquidated if they had filed for bankruptcy in late 2008…some of their brands and facilities would have picked up by other companies. They simply would not have immediately vanished from the face of the earth.”

          Well, there’s no proof for that thesis either, but given that GM was $90 billion in debt, I’d say no one was going to be crazy enough to pony up debtor-in-possession financing, and even if they wanted to, there wasn’t sufficient liquidity in the credit markets to do so.

          Liquidation was the most likely outcome for both companies. The other arguments just don’t make much sense in the long run.

      • 0 avatar
        sunridge place

        Out of curiosity, what kind of things make you think the Chrysler-Fiat union was more successful? Or is it just a feeling you get?

      • 0 avatar
        Truckducken

        Thank you, Geeber. The worthier parts would have been in demand, the living dead brands (e.g. Saturn) not so much. It certainly was not an all-or-nothing situation as portrayed by Biden and the gang at the time, and it certainly was a huge gift to the UAW and a bunch of really undeserving managers. Just hoping it doesn’t wind up being a 100% loss.

  • avatar
    marc

    When did this sit stop being The Truth About Cars, and become The Right Wing’s Opinions About Cars?

    • 0 avatar
      carsinamerica

      I’m wondering the same thing. It feels as though the site is increasingly being driven by partisan rants. I understand that the automotive industry touches on many political issues, but more and more, it seems like the editorial bent focuses on a libertarian, laissez faire political philosophy. Complaints about bailouts and alternative-energy subsidies are becoming de rigeur, and it’s starting to grate just a tad grating. Even when this site was very hard on GM in the pre-TARP era, much of the focus was still on the *cars* that GM produced, and how they were marketed and sold — in other words, a focus on the industry itself. I love cars, and I’m fascinated by the car industry. I’m also a Democrat. I don’t think we need to turn every topic, every field of interest, into another battlefield for partisan political debate. Even when it’s relevant, the political aspects could be discussed in a more neutral tone that doesn’t alienate parts of the readership on ideological grounds.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        I sense quite the opposite in that ttac is increasingly catering to left wing liberal democrat greenweenies and treehuggers by presenting articles that are eco-centric as if catering to the EV-philosophy of the current administration, and pandering to the unions.

        But it is a Canadian site and I respect that it offers overwhelming Canadian views and opinions which can be drastically different from their American counterparts.

        I read many other sites, including Automotive News, the WSJ, the Detroit Free Press and the Detroit News, in addition to PUTC, autoblog, autoweek and kicking tires, and each site has its own biases, favorites and plugs. Not all truthful either, depending on which site you believe.

        • 0 avatar
          sunridge place

          HDC, you think this site is catering to ‘greenweenies and treehuggers’? Really??

          I enjoy this site as do you…but come on now.

          • 0 avatar
            Luke42

            Definitely not catering to the left.

            But it is true that there is a lot of new and interesting things happening in the green car space.

            Whether you want to drive one or not, there’s some new and interesting stuff under the hood!

  • avatar
    danio3834

    For me, it’s fairly simple. There are plenty of great vehicles built nearby, by people who are my friends and neighbors. When I make new vehicle purchase decisions, I choose from this pool of vehicles. I haven’t had to make any sacrifices by choosing any of these vehicles, so this is pretty much a non-issue for me.

    Just to be clear, I don’t have a particular aversion to vehicles made by foreign companies. When I worked for a Japanese automaker, I drove their company vehicles and found them to be satisfactory.

    For others who must have vehicle X from brand X which is made outside of NAFTA, fine, it’s a free country.

  • avatar
    walleyeman57

    I have several high school friends who work in UAW hourly positions at GM and Chrysler. We had some heated discussions over the bailouts, my own vehicle choices (Honda and Toyota) and the UAW in general. I was against the bailouts for philosophical reasons although being a homeowner in SE MI assured that the loss of any auto related business would hurt me also.

    Now I am asked-5 years since- if I am still opposed to the bailouts. I am, but only from the point that the bond holders got the shaft ( well, and white collar retirees) to reward the UAW. The bankruptcy should have been handled like all others, with a judge making decisions.

    My UAW friends all claim that they too hits also. No more Jobs Bank. $1/hour pay cuts. Some minor trims in job classifications.

    So my home price is climbing back, people still have their high paying jobs, and the taxpayers get the pleasure of paying for it all. But in the back of my mind I know that should my industry (food packaging) need a bailout we would be SOL.

  • avatar
    carguy

    Bertel – any nation is always grateful for manufacturing jobs no matter where they come from and the growth in Japanese automakers local employment is great news. However, it should be noted that this was helped along considerably by government intervention that encouraged this trend. It also doesn’t really alter the fundamental bailout math. Growth or no growth, the failure of the domestics and subsequent job losses would have driven the recession a lot deeper than it did.

  • avatar
    Junebug

    It’s a shame that the idea of individual responsiblity is now considered questionable. I guess growing up with parents and relatives that all lived through the Great Depression and WWII and made do without any guv-ment help kind of shapes your view and I try to keep that idea alive with my kids. There are far too many people that believe that the feds should take care of you from birth. That nonsense was started by FDR and exploded under LBJ’s “Great Society”. So how well did that work? Check out the rise in unwed mothers, more people on welfare and social workers and and overal blame someone else mentality that kids are picking up on. The few bright spots are the decline of unions, which in my opinion are a step away from socialism. Get the feds out of health care, retirement, and schools and let the people that are paying for said services decide. H L Mencken was right.

    And BTW – if you don’t like “right wing veiws” stick with CNN, MSNBC and Huffnpost, they could use the viewers!

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      I tend to lean more towards your version of freedom, but I always try and keep in mind what other people’s definition of “freedom” is. Some people think they’re entitled to your freedom. And I’m not talking about the terrorists.

  • avatar
    canddmeyer

    Interesting. At my union local Acura’s and Prius’s filled the lot. So much for union brotherhood, LOL.

  • avatar
    skor

    GM was allowed to cook their books for decades. The only thing keeping it afloat was the finance arm of the company. As someone said, “GM is a bank that makes cars out of habit.” The GM mess should not have been allowed to fester as long as it it. Unfortunately, it was allowed to continued until it was about to poison the entire economy with sepsis.

    Once GM reached it’s final stage of rot, the Feds had no choice than to do what they did. If GM and Chrysler were allowed to collapse simultaneously it would have dragged down hundreds of OEM suppliers. This in turn would have killed off Ford and driven the transplants back to their home shores. The effect on the US economy would have been like catching both barrels of a 12 gauge in the face.

    It’s time to stop worshiping at the alter of “free” markets. Too big to fail means you’re too big to exist. US citizens should no longer tolerate being held hostage by people elected by no one and accountable to no one. We can start by dismantling the mega banks and Wall St firms.

    • 0 avatar
      corntrollio

      “This in turn would have killed off Ford and driven the transplants back to their home shores.”

      Exactly — TTAC has written about how different car companies can share the same parts bin in the past:

      http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/04/read-between-the-lines-volvos-8-speed-automatic/

      The same contractors that supply GM and Chrysler supply the foreign marques building in the US too. We can argue about how exactly the bailout funds were distributed (it seemed clumsy at the time), but I’m pretty sure not bailing out GM and Chrysler would have been catastrophic on the US economy and would have cost a lot of non-GM and non-Chrysler jobs.

      Breaking up the big banks would not have been nearly as catastrophic as we were led to believe. Those guys were liars and incompetent businessmen, and they got rewarded for it. Yes, we may have gotten some short-term pain if the big banks went under, but we would have figured it out, and the long-term would have been much better with finance taking a much smaller part of the economy. We need to destroy many of the elements of finance that don’t involve lubricating day-to-day transactions, and breaking up big banks would have helped. We’ve given banksters too long a leash in the name of liquidity. Furthermore, banking systems are quite robust, and many of the transactions that people worried about were off-setting in some cases.

  • avatar
    kjb911

    “…mexican built fusion”

    No wonder my Focus has had some iffy quality moments it was assembled in Michigan ;-) Sorry couldn’t help myself

  • avatar
    Sttocs

    “The truth is, without the bailout, the UAW would have vanished, and with it millions of Democratic votes.”

    What, if the American marques went under, the unions would immediate dissolve and their constituents would be fired into the sun?
    1. Not every union member votes Democrat. Some are self-defeating Republicans for reasons I will never understand.
    2. Just by being out of a job, those who do vote Democrat don’t suddenly lose their vote as well.

    How fucking stupid are you? Where do you get these ideas? I was directed toward this site on the premise that it was a more mature version of Jalopnick. Instead of hearing unbiased reviews of cars, all I ever see in my RSS feed is economic and political horseshit by obvious college drop-outs, or even worse, sad-sack hacks who jerk off the Wealth Of Nations and think us sheeple are stupid for not voting for Ron Paul.

    If you really want to play amateur economist on an automotive site, why not talk about the rise in sub-prime auto financing, pay-here-buy-here scam dealers, the increase in warranty denial by subtle modifications or imagined modifications?

    But no, you’d rather interview to fill Brock Yates’ and David E. Davis’ shoes as an industry shill. What a crock.

    • 0 avatar
      thelaine

      Since you are new, perhaps you would like to take a moment to review TTAC rules before you post again. Just a suggestion.

    • 0 avatar
      corntrollio

      “why not talk about the rise in sub-prime auto financing”

      Ummm, they have been writing about that lately.

      There is also a BHPH dealer who writes columns here, although he’s more benevolent than the scam artists you’re talking about.

  • avatar
    wmba

    Apparently these days, we need studies to confirm the obvious.


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