QOTW: Post Apocalyptic Prognostications Please

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago
qotw post apocalyptic prognostications please

Crunch time is coming. Whether or not GM can hobble through the third quarter intact, whether or not Ford can find a way forward, whether or not DCX will end up RIP, it’s clear that old Detroit is dead. Big unions, big plants, big markets, big dealers– 50’s-style automaking is headed for extinction. While TTAC will continue to chronicle this slow motion pile-up, I’d like you to cast your collective eyes to the future. What will the American automotive market look like after the reverse Big Bang? Will a range of boutique brands offer a limited lineup (e.g. Corvette, Saab, Cadillac)? Will cars be sold via Internet, creating mass customization? You tell me and then we’ll all know.

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  • ZoomZoom ZoomZoom on Aug 14, 2006

    Hi, Jerry: Isn't Canada on the brink of bankruptcy from the sheer weight of their government-paid universal health care? I could swear I just recently read that, but cannot remember where. Sigh. I read too much! What makes a government any different from an auto manufacturer in this respect (except for size)? Neither of them can afford the pension and health-care costs of generation upon generation of new inductees who are living longer and costing more to sustain. More than they put into the system, and ever more each year due to rising costs and normal inflationary pressures. The US's own Social Security system is going to collapse in just a couple short decades. More recipients, fewer donors. Congress won't do anything about it because the electorate isn't willing to vote accordingly. This is all just a math problem at its core. But hardly anybody can read their diplomas, let alone do actual mathematics!

  • Humourless Humourless on Aug 14, 2006

    Actually, Canada has had several years of budget surpluses. Given that the oil revenues from the Alberta oil sands and Newfoundland offshore wells are now contributing even more to government coffers in the current $70.00/barrel environment, there's precious little likelihood of an impending cash crunch. Add to that the fact that we import roughly 1% of our population every year. Many come over on family-class terms, but a large proportion do for economic reasons as well. It's less fun than reproduction, but it keeps the numbers of younger, employable workers up while making someone else pay for their education and training.

  • Chanman Chanman on Aug 14, 2006

    although medicare could use a shot of money, part of that is reallocation of where funding comes from. Some of the federal budget surplus has come by pushing responsibilities like health care on the provinces, who now want more money to better fund their new additional responsibilities

  • Horto008 Horto008 on Aug 14, 2006

    The industry is doomed to repeat itself. It' not so much the incompetence, but the nature of business. Large, broad companies eventually fold into themselves when confronted with dynamic, focused competitors. Ford, GM, and to some extent Chrysler have become the automotive Microsofts. Bureaucracy rarely votes itself into efficiency, and lobyists are cheaper than change. As for the future, I think several focused competitors will use a web-based mass customized model. Fifty years later, there will be a few large conglomerates. Fifty years later, there will be a website asking what will happen after those conglomerates lose focus and fall apart. Maybe it'll even be TTAC.