Daily Archives: November 17, 2008

Don't Bail Out US Automakers

#dontgo has a petition up to send to Congress to protest bailing out US automakers.

You can go here to sign it.

CW has it that American car makers don’t make cars that people want to buy. I don’t think that’s the real reason. People want the cars that Detroit builds, otherwise they wouldn’t buy those cars at all. I see so many pickups and SUVs around, especially here in northern Illinois. Often times, the only way to get out of the driveway after the snowplow goes by is with a 4 wheel drive vehicle.

The reason is that people don’t want to spend that $5K-$10K premium per vehicle that is added to the price of the vehicle to cover the unsustainable labor contracts that the Big Three are currently burdened with.

Smaller, more fuel efficient, more eco-friendly vehicles are all well and good, but a Smart car, adorable as it is, can’t carry my family. A Smart car won’t get over the plow sh*t at the end of my driveway. And that’s the stuff that’s the hardest to remove… Icy, watery, heavy crap that the plow leaves along the side of the road. Depending on the accumulation, those piles can be more than a foot high. Easy to traverse with a four wheel drive SUV, impossible with a smaller car.

People also don’t want to pay a premium in the thousands for eco-friendliness (e.g. 2009 Saturn Vue FWD base price $23,745 eMPG 19City/23Hwy vs Hybrid Saturn Vue $28,625 eMPG 25City/32Hwy – a $4,880 difference.) We have one vehicle, an SUV. It handily accommodates our entire family. A sedan could accommodate the three kids and two adults too, but that’s all. We couldn’t take Grandma or a friend, or my sister, her husband, and her daughter with us as we can with our 8 seat vehicle.

And don’t even try a run to Costco or Sam’s Club with family in a small sedan. We once had a 1982 Toyota Corolla Tercel and only two kids at the time. You should have seen it. We had to pack it like a clown car with all the stuff and try not to suffocate two children while doing it.

Since we just have the one vehicle, I have to walk to the elementary school to pick up The Little Guy. It’s a mile there and back. I wear a leg brace and use a cane too. One of those Neighborhood Electric Vehicles (NEVs) or a Smart Car could work for that, and for the small amount of close-in travel to the Post Office, Dunkin Donuts, the grocery store, etc that I might do during the day, but these little, tiny, eco-friendly vehicles cost about the same as a larger compact car does. And the gas powered car goes much further than the 40 mile range of a plug in electric.

Let’s not bail out the US automakers. Let’s allow them to declare bankruptcy and shed the unsustainable labor contracts. Let’s give the US automakers the same advantages that the foreign automakers here in the US currently enjoy.

Monday Morning Musings

We went to the Legoland Discovery Center on Saturday since the Little Guy will be 8 years old tomorrow and The Big Girl will be 18! years old on Wednesday. Yep, he was born the day before his big sister’s 10th birthday.

The Legoland Discovery Center in Schaumburg, Illinois is one of three in the world, the only one in the United States. It’s also America’s only indoor Legoland.

Legoland Discovery Center Entrance

Legoland Discovery Center Entrance

More after the jump…

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