Wednesday, February 28, 2024


Detroit's next disaster


Pictured above is the Volvo EX30, a small electric car which is actually a Chinese car from a company called Geely. headquartered in Hangzhou. It goes from 0-60 in about three-and-a-half seconds, which is twice as fast as my BMW.  It will have an impressive range of 275 miles. And when it goes on sale later this year, it will cost about $35,000-- a price that apparently incorporates a 25% excise tax on Chinese cars. It will be cheaper and faster than US companies' electric cars, and have the veneer of a luxury model (a Volvo).  As a fascinating piece in yesterday's Times noted, US companies are in no position to compete. Tellingly, that article was titled China's Electric Cars are Going to Hit Detroit Like a Wrecking Ball.

Not long ago, Detroit automakers assured us that they were making and selling big gas-guzzling SUVs as fast as they could because they were saving up that money to spend on developing new electric models. Some people actually believed them.  One of the people who made that promise, Mary Barra of GM, announced last November that (rather than invest in electric cars) actually they were spending $10,000,000,000 on a massive stock buy-back to raise the share price. It's just so predictable...  As I've said before, GM will always always always disappoint us. 

We've seen this movie before. In the 1970's, Honda and Toyota started selling fuel efficient small cars like the Honda CVCC (later, they changed the name to the Honda Civic). US companies scrambled too late to catch up and built some of the crappiest, most dangerous cars ever, including the infamous Ford Pinto (described here by the American Museum of Tort Law-- and the fact that a tort law institute has an article about the car tells you pretty much everything you need to know about the Pinto).  The US companies spiraled downwards, hundreds of thousands of US jobs were lost, and the Detroit area was decimated. 

Nothing was learned.

Part of the problem is the US system of corporate governance, which incessantly favors short-term gains and stock value over long-term planning and thriving. Of course, the corporate governors never pay the price-- that is taken out of the hide of the workers, the shareholders, and the poor suckers who bought the Pinto.

And China is stomping on us with solar panels too. Trace that back to Reagan taking the panels off the White House to set the “don’t you dare plan ahead “ policy. (Des)
Agreed on all counts. I wonder if we could get from the Twin Cities to Bismarck in one of those electric cars without stopping?
IPLG-- It's 430 miles from Edina to that Space Aliens restaurant you like in Bismarck, so probably we would have to stop to recharge.
Anonymous- my friends husband was an architectural student and help install those White House solar panels during the Carter administration.
What a cool part of history to be involved in! (Desiree)
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