The Car Industry – American Dream
This morning at work I had a great chat with some gentlemen who tend to come into the office for some coffee after morning mass. In the last few months I have come to really appreciate there insights and observations. They are usually three guys with different backgrounds and ages but who all have a very realist idealism.
These guys are not fake, phony, or ignorant; they simply have well formed opinion but are ready and willing to listen to opposing opinions in order to more clearly shape there own. Today the topic was cars. I know most of the time when guys talk about cars it is to see which is the fastest, most beautiful or most extravagant item on four wheels. Today the topic was the car as a symbol of the American Dream. The mentioned brands, not my car because I drive a Nissan, were Oldsmobile, Buick, Ford, Cadillac and GM in general. These later brands in the 50s to the 80s were the ideal of what America wanted. They were large comfortable cars fully operational and completely reliable. Now when young America thinks of a vehicle we think of GM or “American” cars as unreliable or inferior to foreign goods. To my surprise one of the gentlemen stated that GM back in the 70s had developed and owned the patents to the first fully robotic assembly line which actually built the Chevy Vega. However because of the great amount of negative feedback from Detroit Unions the technology was handed over to a small firm at the time called Toyota; amazing. Our unions are great things and I am not against a union that services the needs of employees and employers to create better products. But if the Unions had allowed GM to use the robotic line I wonder how different the world would be today. I say world because up until a few months ago GM was the leader in sales but has recently fallen to #2 after, you guessed it, Toyota.
Unions are great when they serve a purpose like protecting human dignity and workers rights, but to what level is a Union beneficial to the common good. Will unions eventually destroy the American Car? I doubt it. But have the negatively affected the “American Car”, yes.
I remember in the 80s and 90s my parents had a few of these American Cars. We had a Buick 1977, a Grand Marquis, and Oldsmobile. Heck I even remember the Buick being so huge that we had those sidewalk scrapper things because it was impossible to parallel park. I miss those days, not because gas was cheap and you could afford to drive that car, but because the American Dream was that; a big comfortable car the family could ride in. I miss that. Sometimes I think, wow I am going to get a caddie. But then I look at the pocketbook and the gas ticker is way to evil right now. I still remember the Buick had a read cloth interior and the belt buckles were the kind that just went around your waist with the GM stamped right on there. Nostalgia setting in.
The American car of legend was a symbol of elegance, refinement and power. It seems like we are all happy now riding on gas saving tin cans. I doubt if America will ever revert back to that era when the family car was a family car and not a minivan. Not that minivans are bad. But honestly there was just something special about those old time cars. A mystique of what we’re all about. Good values, ideals and moving forward with home grown companies serving home grown children. What ever happened to that America? Now we are a media hub. All we see who our social elites being a group of idiots who no one looks up to. Of the wealthy people you know or admire who do you actually respect? For me it’s about 5% if that. It’s sad that the top crust of America is no longer a product of American Ideals but instead a product of American Consumerism. I will write about that next time. Thanks for reading the rant.