Originally Posted by Frank777
They're going to be lost anyway.
Urban populations are now at a tipping point where mass transit is going to come back in a big way. The 60's are over, and the never-ending highway system expansion is now going to be replaced largely by mass transit expansion. North America is growing up. Households with 2, 3 and 4 cars will be downsizing and the death of at least one North American automaker is inevitable.
And this is also exactly what most people with a focus on the environment wanted, so it's somewhat crazy to try to combat it with a taxpayer funded bailout.
Let. Them. Die. (ok, not die, as much as merge and reorganize.)
Bankruptcy is a natural cycle in our economic system. Happens in our airlines all the time, and no one has stopped building planes or buying tickets. As Andrew Coyne pointed out last week, when an automaker files bankruptcy papers, the tools, machinery and factories don't just disappear.
Originally Posted by Northgate
Fuck 'em. None of the Big 3 did anything to innovate or respond to the worldwide automotive markets.
I imagine these opinions are widespread. I disagree with them, though.
First, we're not going to see some mass urbanization that suddenly requires fewer cars. To think otherwise--that somehow the suburbs are dead--is pure folly. Yes, there has been a trend towards urbanization, but not in the numbers that would be required to affect the overall demand for vehicles.
Secondly, I don't think that we can let GM (for example) go Chapter 11. Why? Well, as Pat Buchanan points out, it may cause them to go Chapter 7. That is, consumers may lose confidence that GM will be there to service their new vehicle years down the road, further driving down sales and causing not just bankruptcy, but them going out of business.
Now, as for the "fuck the big 3" attitude: This is so off base it's just laughable. The big three have been innovating in many ways, even if they did get caught up in profitable SUVs. For several years they've been developing flex fuel vehicles, hybrids electric vehicles, etc. Innovation is not the problem.
But I'll tell you what is
the problem: The government. The US government has been brow beating the automakers into making vehicles that they can't economically make. Some of the technologies the government wanted didn't even exist yet when they were mandated by the government. Additionally, the government has allowed unfair trade practices to make overseas competition difficult. Of course, the Big Three have been further vilified as huge, soulless corporations that make obscene profits and pollute the environment. Hence, we have CAFE and MPG requirements that add costs. Now, the same people that caused the problem say they can fix it. Nice.
The Big Three certainly must take their share of the blame. Their vehicles are still not has high-quality as their Japanese counterparts, and their pricing/options/rebate structures are archaic and byzantine. But this is simply not all their fault. All in all, I think we should loan them the money they need to get through this period.