Friday, October 12, 2007

Careful what you lobby might actually persuade people

I really like this point slacktivist makes:

General Motors, Ford and Chrysler have loudly insisted for years that they are technologically incompetent. They have spent millions of lobbying dollars to explain all the things they cannot do, all the improvements they are unable to make, all the ways their abilities, designs and engineering are inferior to those of their competitors. All of that money spent advertising their limits and incompetency has had an impact. American car buyers listened. We believed them.

Consider, for example, CAFE standards -- targets for corporate average fuel economy. Every time that Congress or Al Gore or the Sierra Club has suggested these standards should be higher, Detroit shrieks that they can't take the pressure, that it couldn't possibly be done, that they don't have the skill, the know-how or the basic competence to pull it off. Toyota, Honda, Mercedes and Volkswagen, on the other hand, just said, "More fuel-efficient vehicles? Hai. Ja. We can do that. We're good at making cars."

Detroit has a massive image problem to overcome. And why don't they lobby for health care reform? They're getting clobbered by health care costs. Are they too reflexively anti-government to lobby for something so progressive?

I'll forgive the American auto companies everything if they're first to market with a flying car, though. That would be awesome.


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