Big Stupid American Cars


GM and Ford have been given junk ratings by S&P, news which dovetails somewhat with what I'm studying today - Antitrust! Well, not really, maybe, but my professor did end the class with a rant against import quotas. We were discussing international trade regulation in the context of antitrust and merger law, and he concluded by telling us that he thought import quotas were a terrible idea.

A loose paraphrase of what he said was that GM shouldn't be lobbying for import quotas on Japanese cars. If they don't want to get killed by Japanese carmakers, they need to "stop making stupid cars." In Japan they don't say that imposing fuel efficiency standards is "legislating virtue," they recognize that fuel efficiency is what people want in their cars, since it hits them in the pocketbook.

The article linked above actually hits this point:

Ford's financial performance has been heavily dependent on the earnings of its SUVs but sales of midsize and large SUVs have plummeted of late, S&P said.

GM shares fell to a 10-year low in April after the company reported a $1.1 billion loss for the first quarter. Its sales have slumped in recent months, including those of its most profitable sport utility vehicles, as gasoline prices marched higher.

There's also an interesting union issue in there which I don't care as much about since I haven't taken labor law.


Import quotas are dumb, if only for the fact that once the quotas are met, prices on cars that people actually want to buy (fuel efficient, non-hulking imports) go up and the American consumer is screwed out of a lot of money or into buying a gas-guzzling, ugly car in the name of benefitting some no-name GM/Ford worker whose job is going to be moved overseas or taken over by a robot someday anyway because US workers are some of the most overpaid-per-unit workers in the world. But import quotas are also dumb because protectionism in general is retarded since it assumes that we can somehow protect ourselves forever from the effect of foreign imports and it hides the fact that there are many other things hurting our economy besides foreign imports. Additionally, it motivates other countries to institute retaliatory trade barriers, which sets the whole world off on a protectionist downward spiral that actually leads to the possibiliy of more products being dumped, to an increased gap between the world's poorest and richest and to an artificially inefficient distribution of the world's resources. I realize that unbridled free trade has it's problems, but the US's hard line on protecting itself is really just the equivalent of firing a shot around the world that comes back to shoot us in the ass.

I agree every American car I've purchased ends up costing me loads of money in repairs after a diligent maintenance program. I'm through with throwing money away. I have purchased a mitsubishi and I am pleased with this car. It is mush more reliable. All my friends and family have asian or foreign cars. I use to disagree, but now I see the light at the end of the tunnel (vision). I was in dire need of a reality check.

To whom it may concern, This is for all of you that purchase foreign cars. The next time that you need an unemployment check, go to Japan and see if you can get one!

I buy Japanese cars because of their superior quality. Case Closed.

I didn't buy anything but American my whole life. My last 6 cars were either GM or Ford products. And all 6 were inferior when compared to my new Nissan. All 6 had major quality concerns. In fact, the last straw was when my 10-month old Ford starting having problems and after returning the car 5 or 6 times, the problem was never resolved. So, I went immediately to the Toyota, Honda and Nissan dealers and started looking around. And I'm not looking back.

Plus, the Japanese are building auto plants in the U.S. and hiring American workers, while GM and Ford are closing down American plants and sending those jobs to Mexico and other foreign countries.


have you checked if the people who buy non-american made cars have jobs.... I doubt they need a hand-out cheque. For americans it is essential to have A HUGE CAR.. and why?, its a status symbol that like others will send america broke.

Don't get me wrong, in Australia and NZ we have big cars, but not by your standards, its like comparing an M1 and a humvee.

America is going to have to change.

Darren Graham, Kiwi, architect, non religious

the worst car I have ever owned was a late model Jeep Cherokee. iT WAS POORLY CONSTRUCTED, EVEN PRIMITIVE.IT WAS CRAMPED.It broke down repeatedly. Parts were disgustingly dear and hard to get.
US cars are big because of the promotion of ego centric infantilism. They are huge so you feel small and relive childhood, where you hedonistically take without consequence.
Buy diesels and use vegetable oils.
Also no need to invade Iraq if less dependent on Oil.

If you stop buying super-sized fast food and super-sized soft drinks you might not need a super-sized car to feel big in cause you'll be smaller in comparison to the car... naturally.

best regards,
guy who almost brought a Holden until he hit this site :)

I'm glad I saw this, big thanks!

Other Blogs

Law-Type Blogs

Other Webcomics

Log Archives

eXTReMe Tracker

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by hb published on May 5, 2005 1:27 PM.

Matt's Legal Famousness was the previous entry in this blog.

Earl Warren Earl Burger is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

Powered by Movable Type 5.04