In the mid 1950’s, four out of five cars spluttering around the world’s roads were born in Detroit. How the mighty have fallen. With the US auto industry in a state of disarray, relying on emergency spending from the government just to remain afloat, it may be their reputation which proves to be their final downfall. Detroit’s resistance to developing energy-efficient cars has been as stubborn as it has been foolish and now they may pay the ultimate price.
While it must be said that European automakers have been as aggressive as their US counterparts in resisting climate-driven regulations, a fundamental political difference has proven decisive in their path to streamlining production for future needs and the environment. European political systems are simply not as susceptible to the heavy-handed persuasiveness of lobbyists as is the case in the US. Laws and regulations are generally shown unequivocal respect.
While in the past, Detroit CEOs scoffed with arrogance at European auto-production regulations and laws, they have now come crawling back to the government with lofty promises of finally cleaning up their act. This means completely overhauling their production models to finally fit in with and meet regulations as outlined by the Environmental Protection Agency and approved by President Obama.
If US car makers are to receive further bail-out funding from the government, they will have to convince the president that they have finally learned from their mistakes and are willing to toe the line, an idea that does not inspire much optimism or confidence in Washington. Let’s hope the Detroit auto industry can get up to speed in time or their future may be spent furnishing auto-museums.
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