02 June 2009
Is it that simple? We've - through our tax dollars - bought (stakes in one case and majority in the other) American car companies as a collective. Should we now buy American cars as individuals to get our tax dollars back (yeah right!) or at least divest our government of its automotive holdings? (Our national banking holdings are a separate matter.)
What if we don't like American cars? What if we don't want American cars? Should we hold our noses and take our medicine with a spoonful of sugar. Is it our patriotic duty, like buying War Bonds during WWII?
I know I'm biased. I like Toyotas and I love my Prius. I've had two other Toyotas, a used Mercedes and a used Chevy. Neither the Chevy Volt nor the Ford Fusion move me. But the new Prius moves me to covetousness.
Sometimes I don't see much more than Cadillacs and Corvettes surviving as the future of GM or Chrysler. I have a bit more hope for Ford, and a whole lot more respect for their leadership before the economic collapse, particularly their decision to borrow money as an independent company and redesign their product line before the metaphorical feces hit the fanbelt.
I feel some moral obligation to at least look at Fords before I buy my next car. But I think it ought not be obligatory. If the American car industry is to survive it must produce cars that people want. And many of us want small, safe, energy efficient, reliable, good looking, exciting reasonably priced cars. Some of us will even pay a bit more than we would pay for a Japanese econo-box, if we like and trust the car. I don't imagine we'll ever pay as much for small fuel efficient cars as some folk pay for SUVs and their ilk.
Te tell the truth, I'm going to hold on to my Prius, after all, it's paid-in-full.