As the Lions fullfil their destiny to become the worst team in the history of the NFL (sorry Tampa Bay your day has come), the car industry is falling apart and we struggle to find a way out of this mess. Folks are mixed. Some what them to go into bankrupcy and renegotiate their UAW contracts thus emerging as a fraction of their former selves. Others are for a bailout - classifying the Big 3 as too large to fail.
One argument is the elimination of the CAFE standard. This is the Corporate Average Fuel Economy standard which stipulates that manufacturers must have an average fuel economy of the fleet of 27.5 mpg for cars. On the surface this seems like a wonderful environmentally sensitive idea. Who can argue? The problem is the Big 3 have to make small cars that offset their larger, profitable cars and sell them at a loss. That is a poor business proposition.
Now before you say "Smorgie, Toyota and Honda don't have the same problem." Well, not exactly. You see in order meet the CAFE standard, they only count cars made on shore. Imports don't count. This hurts the Big 3 because they must continue to make their small cars in the US to offset their less fuel efficient cars - and they do so at a loss. Instead of allowing GM or Ford to go offshore to produce fuel efficient cars they can sell at a profit in the US they are required to make unprofitable cars and give them away at a loss right here at home. Is there any wonder these cars suck, having been stripped of as much value engineering as they possibly can? Toyota and Honda don't make their smallest cars here.
I think it is time the Big 3 bring a business plan to Washington that requests the elimination of CAFE, a restructuring of contracts, and allow them the freedom to make cars that people want. If you politicians want to raise some cash in the process try the best approach for once. Let's pass an unpopular gas tax that will drive the right behaviors through consumerism instead of government mandates. Allow the Big 3 to import cars from offshore and sell them at a profit.
As for the Lions, can't we outsource them to Canada or something?