Credit for Saving General Motors…

Originally published in the Ann Arbor News, Bay City Times, Flint Journal, Grand Rapids Press, Jackson Citizen Patriot, Kalamazoo Gazette, Muskegon Chronicle, Saginaw News
September 9, 2012

There are few emotions that rival the intensity of the hatred car owners can carry for manufacturers who sold them a lemon. And let’s face it, automobile manufacturers built a lot of lemons over the years. So I can understand lingering animosity toward General Motors and the 2008/9 bailout. They screwed up. They built some lousy cars. They made a lot of people angry. (At one point, General Motors controlled 50% of the American market, so there is a pretty good chance you are one of those people.) But I do think the bailout was the right thing to save our whole manufacturing sector from sucking down a sinkhole, and it has on the whole helped revitalize the auto industry here in the US. (It does, however, make me wince when the Democrats trumpet the success. Don’t they realize how volatile the automobile market is? Don’t they realize how quickly fortunes change? Toyota anyone? They are just asking for a karma smackdown, and we don’t need that in Michigan.)

Speaking of karma, I really shouldn’t disparage the mighty Vega without this full disclosure: on Spring Break of my senior year of high school, my friend Dominic’s Vega took me, him, and friends Lewis and Joe from Michigan to Pennsylvania to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and back home without any problems. I remember it not being too happy climbing mountains and my head still has dents from hitting the stylish hatchback roofline on every bump, but credit where credit is due. It may have turned into a pile of dust once it reached Dominic’s driveway, but it got the job done.


  1. Kris said,

    September 11, 2012 @ 9:36 am

    Is that the trip where you called your parents with the surprise news that you were in Myrtle Beach?

  2. Mert said,

    September 11, 2012 @ 9:37 am

    I was either riding in or driving three different Vegas while they were involved in accidents! So not only were the owners not thrilled about their Vegas, but other cars seamed to have a great disdain for the Vega too and kept hitting them. I have always considered myself lucky that I was not in the incredible exploding Ford Pinto…or was that car just an urban legend?

  3. John said,

    September 11, 2012 @ 2:40 pm

    @kris Um, yeah… Was supposed to go to Virginia Beach and overshot it by a North Carolina or so. Not my best work. @Mert Still, any one of those Vegas (and a Pinto, exploding or otherwise) were infinitely safer than your Karman Ghia.

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