To say that the U.S. automobile business is in bad shape right now would be a huge understatement. Yesterday, Ford Motor Company, Inc. (F) found itself falling to the number three position in U.S. auto sales behind surging Toyota. Just yesterday, General Motors (GM) announced disappointing December sales figures. There are people who have already written off the U.S. automobile industry and folks that have that brand of thinking do have some strong evidence on their side. Not only are domestic car and truck sales down, but old union pledges for retired UAW workers are making it harder for GM and Ford management to have the financial resources available to change their companies in a way to make them once again profitable.
I drive a Ford car, Taurus, and I have been well please with it since my purchase in 2004. As an older American, I tend to purchase domestic automobiles instead of imports more out of habit than anything else. I still remember old mechanics talking, when I was a kid, about how hard it was for them to work on Japanese cars. Of course, those days and those mechanics are now long gone, but memories of their words still linger in my mind. Younger Americans have warmed up to imported cars from Toyota and Honda much quicker than old timers like myself and those sales are causing tremendous pain at Ford and General Motors.
I am an optimist, so I still believe there is a good chance for Ford and General Motors to financially survive. However, the future of the U.S. automobile business will be much different than it has been in the past. For GM and Ford to survive they must change the entire culture that has been created in the domestic automobile business for generations. Rather than selling cars and trucks via short term gimmicks, Ford and GM must place all of their effort on building the best vehicles money can buy – while at the same time creating a style of car that young people want to purchase. Right now GM and Ford are not popular names with people under the age of 30. That must change for General Motors and Ford to be around in the future.
Read more about the Big Three:
General Motors (GM) Faces Huge Challenges In 2008
Ford Motor Company (F) Reaches UAW Deal - No Strike
UAW Next Strike Target - Ford Motor Company
UAW Workers Strike Chrysler As Contract Expires
UAW/GM Reach Quick Settlement After Strike