Forbes' Flint: Detroit's "Bad Luck" is the Feds' Responsibility

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago
forbes flint detroit s bad luck is the feds responsibility

Forbes' Jerry Flint has some strong words for Detroit. But first… "Yes, Asian car companies cheated. They kept us out of their countries and kept their currencies weak. Yes, our government changed the rules so foreign brands could sell in domestic dealer showrooms, making it cheap for them to attack this market. Yes, our unions helped by ignoring the destruction they were causing until it was almost too late. State governments helped by giving foreign carmakers huge tax breaks when they build plants. Then there was bad luck, or whatever it is that has pushed gasoline prices to $4 a gallon." BUT "the blame has to fall on Detroit's executives. They didn't know enough about their own business to build better cars than the foreigners did, and they were unprepared for a change that was sure to come, sooner or later." BUT "That's not the issue. If we want a home-owned industry, our government will have to help for a change instead of piling on, treating the automobile and the industry like devils." OK, so, how much is this boondoggle going to cost me? Nothing! All we have to do is "halt immediately all new regulations–safety regulations, emission regulations, bumper regulations, mileage regulations." Where do I sign?

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  • Landcrusher Landcrusher on Jun 19, 2008

    John H, I have to disagree with your assessment of Lutz's eduacation. Whatever his faults, this is not his problem. Wasn't he a military pilot? The majority of military officer jobs are engineering jobs, and certainly military aviatiors work as engineers (Even if they don't have engineer degrees). It may not be the same as working at a desk doing design and testing all the time for a decade or so, but it is very similar to working in production or construction as an engineer. The mindset coming out of the military is very much an engineer approach to most things. Military retirees without engineering degrees are often recruited to work in jobs that would not go to a civilian that did not have a hard science or engineering job. I would say that MB's real problem is he has fallen in love with his job and all it's trappings. He seems to be a risk taker who is not offering up his resignation often enough to get things changed. He likely feels he is fulfilling his role, but when you paid what he does, you owe more to the company than to simply do your own job. Instead, he is running around acting confused because no one can understand the ridiculous talking points coming out of GM.

  • Bunter1 Bunter1 on Jun 19, 2008

    PCH101-Thanks! I got curious last year and checked the yen/dollar history and discovered the manipulation theory it was what Lutz might call a "crock..". Anyway, this urban ledgend needs to end. It demonstrates the kind of mentality that has killed Detroit, every problem is behind an SEP (somebody else's problem) field. Another part of the Japanese market problem is simply the dominant type of vehicles. "Kei-class" is important and IIRC there are graduated taxes on engine/vehicle size. Do the Debt 3 offer an engine under 2.0 L? A competitive (any?) B-class or smaller? And it is a saturated shrinking market like some others I could mention. BTW, I nominate Flint for next years "Lutzie". Bunter

  • Landcrusher Landcrusher on Jun 19, 2008

    ra-pro, What we have in the US is a case of the green side of the left making a set of regulations that caused the labor side of the left nothing but headaches. Between the two, they squeezed all the life out of our domestic players. The free market guys should stay out of this argument because they will NEVER win in this industry. This guy wants to chunk the green (and safety) desires in the toilet to save the labor desires. I have been predicting for some time that the left will split over this, much like the right has split between the social and financial camps. As a free market guy, I will stay out of it (except to occasionaly throw fuel on it). It's a perfect example of how you can't manage a market. Anything beyond the most subtle regulation, and slapping for abuses, and the whole thing goes tango uniform. There are no desirable guaranteed outcomes, no matter how much we want them, regulate for them, or demand them. You can only guarantee failure, never success. Repeat after me, everybody. YOU CAN ONLY GUARANTEE FAILURE, NEVER SUCCESS.

  • Pch101 Pch101 on Jun 19, 2008
    Anyway, this urban ledgend needs to end. It demonstrates the kind of mentality that has killed Detroit, every problem is behind an SEP (somebody else’s problem) field. I really wish that these bozos in Tokyo would manipulate the currency back to where it used to be. If they did, we would be able to buy new GT-R's for $25,000 and Priuses for $8,000. The funny thing is that the weak dollar isn't particularly good for Toyota et. al., because they have large US operations that earn them dollars, and because the dollar isn't weak enough for them to be able to dump cars into the market to the point that they could overwhelm it. The manipulators are doing such a lame job that they are screwing them, too.