Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Ides of March: Auto Industry Woes

Take Me for a Ride in Your Car-Car ~ Peter, Paul, & Mary 

1966 Pontiac GTO

The above photo is similar to the first new car that I ever bought

I remember when I was a kid in the 1950s that folks got excited each fall when the next year’s automobile models came out. It was a big event! 

Back then my Uncle Frank purchased a new car every other year; it was part of the persona he wanted to display as a top salesman. My Uncle Otto, who owned his own business, also purchased a new car every couple of years; it was always the same model—an Oldsmobile 98. 

As an adult I have always enjoyed driving, but I have never purchased cars that frequently. Until an automobile has gotten to the point that the expense of keeping it running is more than a car payment would be, I have not considered a new one. Thus, I paid little attention to the new models. 

Times do change, however. Today fewer and fewer fols are purchasing new cars. So at the moment we are in a period when the automobile industry is in crisis—big crisis:

The crisis is so dire that the photos below (I received them in a recent email) purport to be of the current accumulation of unsold automobiles:

80 percent of consumers say they would not buy a car from a bankrupt automaker. ~ Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm (CNN Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer)


  1. I know that this is the time to bye a new car,but the retirement won't streach that far.

  2. I was just thinking about how cool it feels to be in your own brand new car. Then, about how it feels when you get that first ding. Is the "cool" worth that emotional pain, not to mention the drain on the bank account?

    I think I paid about $2500 in repairs last year, but I know and like this car. I would've had to put that much money, at least, down on a new one, then payments would follow.

    Sorry, Detroit. Besides, I'd probably get another VW.

    And I love the picture of that GTO. Cars had personality back then.

  3. It's the same here Nick.

    I have only ever owned one brand new car in my life - it's now almost four years old.

  4. The thing is that the media could have a positive effect on this. There has been so much talking down of the industry and talking up of such cars as the Prius... No one seems to be for the "buy American" thing anymore. I remember when it was shameful to buy a foreign car. I will be sad if the Chevy disappears though. That is what I have now, and next I want the Malibu. Truth is that the quality of the American car has gone up. It just has a bad rep. Now everyone is too afraid of them disappearing.

  5. We'd consider buying new cars this year, but I love my Jeep Liberty and Pam loves her Z4 Roadster. Until we see something we like better, we're not going to buy anything just to be buying something.

  6. Goodness, those pictures show how bad it is! I don't drive so can't help the industry out.

  7. We have to rethink our expectations of what it takes to live well. Would we sacrifice public roads and public transportation to get to the grocery store once a week to pick up four bags of food in a car that will constantly consume more than our children consume?

  8. people in Detroit tell me the unions got too big and rich.. I have a friend who is a vp at gm the nicest guy ever. ryuns Delco auto parts divison.