Silicon Valley Won't Save Detroit, Detroit's Dragging Down Silicon Valley. Or Not.

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer
silicon valley wont save detroit detroits dragging down silicon valley or not

Recently, firms like Tesla have launched themselves into the public eye by trumpeting the meme that Silicone Valley’s innovation-driven culture will show the way for Detroit which remains mired in old-economy faults. And it’s a storyline that has yielded millions in venture capital and free media attention. The New York Times’ Thomas Friedman unintentionally brought this line of thinking to its point of absurdum by calling on Steve Jobs to “do national service and run a car company for a year.” But as our ongoing Tesla Death Watch consistently demonstrates, Silicon Valley automakers could still stand to learn a thing or two about, you know, actually producing cars from even Detroit’s most dismal. And then there’s this story from The San Jose Mercury detailling the extent to which Silicon Valley is dependent on business from Detroit. “As soon as the automotive industry coughs, a lot of other companies get a cold,” Gartner analyst Thilo Koslowski tells the Merc. “That includes companies in the semiconductor industry and that includes a lot in the Bay Area… It’s a relatively big market for them in Silicon Valley.”

Needless to say, Detroit’s metaphorical cough is getting all kinds of loose and bloody, but high-tech firms aren’t dropping the way traditional auto suppliers have been. In fact sales of auto-related semiconductors are supposed to increase steadily by about $1b per year, hitting $22b in 2009. So what gives? Cars are getting smarter, stupid. Meanwhile, if Silicon Valley can show that it has the attention span for production and customer service-oriented business, it could help America’s auto industry surf the tech-happy industry trends. Declaring game-changer status with a lot of hat and no cattle (as Tesla has) isn’t going to cut it though.

Join the conversation
2 of 9 comments
  • Landcrusher Landcrusher on Dec 02, 2008

    Bubba, We also have domestic truck plants in Texas; however, being mostly people of principle, we are mostly against the bail out no matter what it might do to our pocketbooks. The type of argument you offer sells a lot better east of the Mississippi and north of the Mason-Dixon line. Okay, maybe those Dallas banker types might be influenced by your pitch. They often have incorrect leanings. You didn't hear anyone around hear asking the feds to bail out Enron did you?

  • Cleek Cleek on Dec 02, 2008

    It is always 2010 in Silicon Valley

  • RICK Once had 78 TOWN COUPE and wish I had never let it go! Ultimate OTT excessive luxury! Have since had RWD FLEETWOODS, RWD Fifth Avenues ,as well as 89 Lincoln Town Car Signature Series and current 2007 TOWN CAR Signature Limited! All great cars, but 77 through 79 was KING 🤴 of the road! So sad to see what is now considered a luxury vehicle 😢. Who wants to drive a glorified truck 🚚?
  • Kwik_Shift There are better cars to drop $80G on.
  • 28-Cars-Later Opulence!
  • Kwik_Shift If there is no 2WD Access Cab with 6 speed manual, then I'm not interested.
  • RedDevil Radio Garden is my go to for long trips.Thousands of radio stations all over the worldfor free as long as you have internet. Sure beats hunting for the one or two decent stations in most areas.