Friday, November 21, 2008

The trouble with Detroit

So our house was broken into and my car keys were stolen, and we don't have another spare for the Volvo. So I called up the Volvo dealer figuring he ought to be able to take my VIN number and make a key and clicker and mail it to me (and he should be able to!).

But no. Not only do I have to go to the dealer and have them make a physical dupe of the key, they have to download and install software so the key will talk to my ignition. And it takes an hour to install @ $125. So for the key and the clicker together the total bill is around $350. And for what? Protection against somebody stealing my key and making a copy? If they have my key for long enough to make a copy, they're gonna take my car.

This is a great example of the Detroit (Ford, in this case) business model, which is largely shared with the world. Push merch out the door at low margins and make money on financing and parts and service. Which is why I'll never buy a car that has a warranty on it.

This needs to be fixed. But not this year. I dunno why the Republicans are busting Detroit's balls over $25 billion. It costs that much for AIG to fart. They're just in a bad mood. $25 billion to Detroit is a good and cheap stimulus package. It's like administering an epipen to someone in anaphylactic shock while waiting for the ambulance to get there. It carries the patient through to when real medical care can be provided.


Anonymous said...

Why give the $25B to the Big Three if it only postpones bankruptcy for 6 months (tops)? If you want stimulus and to help the auto workers, them divide $25B by 500,000 employees and let the auto makers work it out in Chapter 11 if it comes to that.

Anonymous said...

Bipartisan handouts and special favors make capitalism in America look like a joke. If memory serves, I've watched Chrysler fail with the "K-car", get bailed out by the government while Iacocca takes credit (he's the one who screwed it up in the first place). Then Daimler buys Chrysler to save it from itself, fails, and Cerberus (sp.?) takes it private, to chop it up and sell the pieces or window dress it for a public offering to 401K suckers. Finally the private sector fails again and the government is supposed to step in and save it. We all know the only thing that will make the auto industry grow is ENHANCEMENT cream, and lots of it.