Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Omelet opportunity for the Big 3

I just read Gas guzzlers a hit in China, where car sales are booming.

Why? Two primary reasons.

1. There are more billionaires in Hong Kong than any other city in the world. They've got lots of money. But forget about the billionaires - generally speaking, there's just so much demand in that area of the planet, period.

2. Environmental policy is relatively lax compared with Europe or even North America.

I would hate to see the Big 3 act irresponsibly and make a crash-grab out of the situation by continuing to build gas-guzzlers for the Asian market. BUT...the current inventory that's no longer selling here in North America should be wrapped up with ribbons and bows and shipped over there, and the revenue be invested in the future.

As long as there are buyers out there for the current hunks of junk that we no longer want, the Big 3 might as well get what they can from those still willing to part with their hard-earned money.

Unfortunately, the Big 3 may take this as some sort of endorsement that they were doing something right by building the gass-guzzling junk. That'd be a mistake, because guess what - Asia is still on planet Earth, and pollution there will affect us all just the same.
Environmentally-friendly technology is becoming an ethical imperative. That it's available, and doable, makes it all the more obligatory to get on with progress, refinement, efficiency.

If selling the current junk can help in that process, it may be justified as breaking some eggshells to enjoy some omelets.

I was quite relieved to read that the Big 3 will not wait to be forced by legislation to do the right thing and increase the lower emmission vehicle offerings sooner. That's not only responsible, it's downright honourable.

If demand from Asia can offer some revenue to the Big 3, there is hope yet that they really won't fade away after all, no matter how dismal things look on this side of the ocean. However, PR-wise, they've got to "do right" here in North America - the cash from Asian markets alone will not be sufficient, but may buy some time while they get with the efficiency and quality program.

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