This morning I took my 2001 S10 Chevy PU for routine service and I wondered “will this icon of America be around in ten years?” Will GM Chrysler and Ford survive the attack on their existence? Or will they disappear like RCA, Zenith and others?
The first thing I noticed was the service department appeared to be a little slow. I have been there many times in the last eight years and this appeared to be an off day. Only one person was waiting in the customer lounge. Another thing, there was no free donuts. The free coffee was there but the donuts were cut out of the budget.
The customer lounge is next to the new car showroom. I roamed through the showroom and most of the vehicles on display were large SUV’s. It appears that the median sticker price is near thirty thousand dollars. There was an Aveno for twelve grand and Corvette Stringrays for sixty grand. Most of the other vehicles prices were between twenty-five and forty grand. Not one customer in the showroom. Of course this was at nine in the morning and not too many shops for cars in the morning. The receptionist/operator was sitting there reading the morning paper. I did not hear the phone ring once.
For twenty years I worked in the consumer electronics industry. In the seventies and early eighties RCA, Zenith, Sylvania were large suppliers of color TVs and VCRs. Sony, Panasonic, Samsung were foreign competitors biting at the heels of the large American manufacturers. As time went by more and more components were made in other countries. Then entire assembly plants were moved to other countries. It may have been Mexico, Canada, Korea or Japan. The high cost of American labor compared to offshore labor and high taxes were the main reason these companies used as their decision to move offshore. If they stayed in America the price of the products were not competitive with a foreign brand. Now these American brands are either gone or very insignificant.
Today the American auto makers are in a similar situation. When you hear that the American auto companies have more retirees than workers it reminds one of Social Security and the direction it is going. When you hear that American auto companies cost of labor is close to twice that of a foreign companies that is assembling cars in America. You know something must be done. The government forms a group to review the auto manufacturers’ plight and you find out eighty percent of the group drive foreign made cars. This raises a big question.
This brings us to the big dilemma of this country. Many political groups, businesses, and private citizens want to point fingers and blame others for the problem instead of offering solutions. It is always the other persons fault. Some say it is the auto companies fault. Others blame the unions and others blame the buying public for not buying American. The divisions in this country are becoming a serious problem for America. Maybe we should change our name to The Divided States of America.
All I know, it will be a sad day if another American icon ceases to be a part of everyday American living.