Alex Massie

Delaying Detroit’s Death

Delaying Detroit's Death
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Now as it happens, American cars are, generally speaking, much better than they used to be. And Ford and GM have demonstrated that, in europe at least, they know how to build small cars capable of doing more than 20 miles to the gallon. Even in the United States, the Big Three have greatly improved reliability, build-quality and, at least in some of their plants, productivity. The best American cars really aren't all that different, or poorer than their Japanese rivals. But though Detroit has responded to Japanese quality, carbuyers haven't updated their perceptions. Hence this mock-ad:

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Harsh? Only partially. But this is a sentiment shared by millions of car-owners. The perception that GM and Ford and Chrysler build crappy cars is just another obstacle to recovery. And of course it's a perception that, even if out of date, is predicated upon the bitter memories of the crap cars they really did build. Turns out it takes a while for that perception to fade. One more reason why you shouldn't crap on your own brand. So the current crisis, driven by poor management and stupid unions, is also built upon the junk they spent years selling to gullible consumers taken in by the faux-patriotism of "Buying American".

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.

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