Earlier this week, the President said this about auto bailouts:
I refused to turn my back on a great industry and American workers. I bet on American workers. I bet on American manufacturing. Three years later, the American auto industry has come roaring back. And what happens in the auto industry can happen in other industries.
Please, please don’t do to other industries what has happened to GM. I don’t just mean the fuzzy math attached to the bailout repayments.
Despite President Barack Obama’s stories about a resurgent GM ready to repay its bailout tab, the automaker and its former bank still owe taxpayers nearly $42 billion, according to an inspector general’s report.
GM owes $27 billion on the nearly $50 billion it received from the auto bailout and Ally Bank, the company’s lending arm, owes $14.7 billion of the $17.2 billion taxpayer-funded bailout it received.
I mean that I hope other American industries don’t start making products as terrible as General Motors. To say they are roaring back has a slightly different meaning after my recent experience renting a Chevy for four days.
My first car was a 1999 Chevy Cavalier. It was a former rental, but it served me exceptionally well. That thing took me up and down the East Coast constantly for years. I sold it to my aunt when I needed to upgrade to something larger, and I believe she only recently replaced it. My mother had a matching Chevy Cavalier, and she had a similar experience. Her car was only taken off the road after she sold it to my cousin who wrecked it. Needless to say, I was a big fan of Chevy even after I bought my Honda. I figured that if I ever went with an American car again, it would be a Chevy.
After renting a Chevy Aveo for the quick trip to Nashville and back, neither my mom or I will ever buy another General Motors product again. In fact, I told Hertz that if this is their new standard of smaller rental cars, then I won’t rent from them ever again, either. Roaring was a good term for what the inside of the car sounded like as we drove. The tiny gas tank had us pulling off just as often as if were driving one of our own SUVs. The seats were uncomfortable, and the car started shaking any time you took it above 75. It wasn’t any kind of maintenance issue with the car, it was just the car.
I beg you, Mr. President, please don’t ask other industries to model themselves after GM. I’d hate to see all American-made products go downhill so that customers actively seek out foreign brands. It’d hate it if that’s his idea of making the economy “work.”