Democracy Soup

Making sense out of the world of politics

Auto industry executives need a road trip to figure out company woes

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Originally published on BuzzFlash.com on Mon, 11/24/2008 – 1:05pm

Not coming to a theater near you: Three middle-aged men go on a road trip to rediscover the world they live in and how to improve it. But there’s one wacky catch: each of them runs a failing auto company, and they’re driving from Detroit to Washington, but they need a car that can get them there without falling apart. Oh, and if they take one of their one, which company gets the honor?

On the surface, this might be a more watchable version of “Wild Hogs.” But this could be the reality the next time the automakers come back to Washington.

It was be quite cool, if they do take one of their own cars, to ask them what kind of mileage they get on that car. They might wish they were traveling in a Honda or Toyota if the price of gas actually meant something to them.

They would have time on this road trip to delve into why their companies haven’t been able to produce the kinds of cars Americans need and want, why foreign companies are able to make these cars, and perhaps, with several legal pads in tow, write up a plan to wisely use the potential bailout money.

Imagine if William C. Durant, Henry Ford, and Walter P. Chrysler were in a car — more than likely a Model T — taking days to go from Detroit to Washington. They would have had more time to develop plans, but they also possessed innovative minds. Innovation is what these companies succeed for long periods of time.

What we’ve seen from the current and recent executives of the Big Three is a lack of innovation, a lack of initiative, and a lack of concern. Resting on laurels or pressure to “buy American” aren’t ways to get new and potential customers to buy your products.

A road trip can be a good way to bring people together, at least it happens in the movies, whether it’s “Thelma & Louise,” “Smokey and the Bandit,” or the recent addition of “Soul Men.”

But if solving a long-time, ongoing major collapse of the last true bastion of American manufacturing is the goal, the road trip may not be long enough if the participants aren’t willing to be constructive parts of the solution.

The fact that they took individual private corporate jets to Washington in the first place is why they are in this made-for-the-cinema adventure. But it is that kind of madcap start that could spell a beautiful ending. Let’s hope the top executives are ready for a wild adventure, and a chance to learn something. If it has a happy ending, I might pay money to see that movie.

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Written by democracysoup

November 24, 2008 at 1:05 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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