Bailout Watch 133: WaPo Votes No

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago

Not our man Warren Brown, obviously; although the Washington Post’s automotive critic (and I mean that in the nicest possible way) recently tore Ford a new you-know-what for replacing the Escape’s rear discs with drums. No, I speak here of Steven Pearlstein, who’s ready to put the meat on the bones of DetN Auto Editor Manny Lopez’ contention that’s there’s a bi-coastal conspiracy of nattering nabobs of negativism ready to let Detroit die (by its own hand, but who’s counting?). “You can just imagine [ED: hear] the pitch from the populists of the Michigan congressional delegation: If the government is willing to invest $250 billion to bail out pinstriped bankers, then the least it could do is throw an extra $10 billion to rescue the domestic auto industry and the millions of workers and retirees who depend on it. There’s only one difference: The government will make money on its bank investment, while the GM-Chrysler deal is a lemon.” Regular TTAC readers will know Pearlstein’s rationale without having to read it. But if Hayden Christensen can make jumping look cool, well, why not?

“The real flaw in the government-financed merger proposal is that it spares the companies from bankruptcy reorganization, the very process they need to get their costs and structure in line with market realities. Only a bankruptcy court can reduce the burden of pension and health benefits to 600,000 retirees that are slated to cost the companies $90 billion over the next decade. Only a bankruptcy court can override the state laws that make it difficult and expensive for Chrysler and GM to pare back a combined network of 10,000 dealerships, about 10 times more than Toyota has in the United States… If the Treasury were to commit government funds without getting this kind of long-overdue restructuring, it would simply be throwing good money after bad.”

Robert Farago
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  • Autonut Autonut on Oct 30, 2008

    John Horner have you lived in Germany? Yes they do have universal health care, but there are definite social levels and majority of Germans (middle class if you wish) owns much less then middle class in US. There are different statistical notions based on salaries and conversion rates, but there are few families in Germany that own 2 cars (unlike every family in my suburb) and much less percentage of families own their own houses. Their cars are smaller and more fuel efficient and they cost much, much more. Majority of their expensive cars are sold in US. And they are taxed mercilessly. Before we start wishing for something lets make sure that it is really what we want. We may get it!

  • Derm81 Derm81 on Oct 30, 2008

    People on the Coasts want to see Detroit fail. I mean, it's that simple. Of course, it is easy for these eltist writers and talking heads to blather on and on behind the protection of the net. I'd love to see this nub talk this way to a bunch of burly dudes on the line at Ford Rouge to their faces. Not gonna happen.

  • Ronin The very asking of the question "Are Plug-In Hybrids the Future?" is an interesting one. Because just 2 or 3 years ago we'd be asking- no, asserting- that E cars are the future. We're no longer asking that question.
  • Peter Benn There apparently were some K-code 4-dr sedan Fairlanes. Collectible Automobile Apr 2024 has found a '63 500 with HD 3/spd.
  • Mia Hey there!I recently stumbled upon the Crack Eraser DIY Windshield Repair Kit (check it out here: and decided to give it a shot on a small chip in my windshield. I have to say, it worked like a charm! Super easy to use, and it saved me a trip to the professionals. If you're dealing with a similar issue, this kit is definitely worth considering. 😊
  • Rust-MyEnemy Whoa, what the hell is wrong with Jalop1991 and his condescension? It's as if he's employed by Big Plug-In or something."I've seen plenty of your types on the forums....."Dunno what that means, but I'm not dead keen on being regarded as "A type" by a complete stranger"" I'm guessing you've never actually calculated by hand the miles you've driven against the quantity of gas used--which is your actual miles per gallon."Guess again. Why the hell would you even say that? Yes, I worked it out. Fill-to-fill, based on gas station receipts. And it showed me that a Vauxhall Astra PHEV, starting out with a fully charged PHEV battery, in Hybrid mode, on my long (234-mile) daily motorway daily commute, never, over several months, ever matched or beat the economy of the regular hybrid Honda Civic that I ran for a similar amount of time (circa 5000 miles)."You don't use gasoline at all for 30-40 miles as you use exclusively battery power, then your vehicle is a pure hybrid. Over 234 miles, you will have used whatever gas the engine used for 200 of those miles."At least you're right on that. In hybrid mode, though, the Astra was using battery power when it wasn't at all appropriate. The petrol engine very rarely chimed in when battery power was on tap, and as a result, the EV-mode range quickly disappeared. The regular hybrid Civic, though, deployed its very small electric reserves (which are used up quickly but restore themselves promptly), much more wisely. Such as when on a trailing throttle or on a downward grade, or when in stop-start traffic. As a result, at the end of my 234 miles, the Civic had used less gas than the Astra. Moreover, I hadn't had to pay for the electricity in its battery.I look forward to you arguing that what actually happened isn't what actually happened, but I was there and you were not."Regardless, that you don't understand it appears not to have stopped you from pontificating on it. Please, do us all a favor--don't vote."You really are quite unpleasant, aren't you. But thanks for the advice.
  • Tassos Jong-iL Electric vehicles are mandated by 2020 in One Korea. We are ahead of the time.