Thursday, March 02, 2006

AutoBlog article on Ralph Nader's criticism of the Auto Industry.

AutoBlog discusses and links to a piece by Ralph Nader criticising the Domestic Auto Industry. And even if you don't like the man, it's a good read.
Nader's biggest claim to fame, after being considered a spoiler in the last presidential election, was this book on the auo industry he wrote in the early 60's. And ever since auto enthusiasts have dislike him, even when he was right. I had read that from the time he wrote that book and all through out his government career, he never bought a car for personal use, but instead drove whatever was available at the government motorpool.
Now not only is his article interesting, but he comments over at AutoBlog are amusing. The venom that many spew, and I doubt they even read the article. He's not saying anything that's new or shocking, he's repeating what many have said for the last 25 years or more, that the Domestic Auto Industry has been it's own worst enemy, and is at fault for much of what is happening today. And you know what? He's right. Not entirely right, but in the big picture way, very generally and vaguely right. The Auto Industry did stall safety and efficiency legislation and regulations. The Auto industry did abandon the small car market in favor of the higher proffit SUV market. The Auto Indsustry does have technologies available to make better cars, that we don't see because it would cost them and us money. But let's take a step back here, it was Ford who started using laminated safety glass and seat belts before either were legislated. It was GM that pioneered such technologies as air bags and anit lock brakes, even if they weren't the first to mass market them.
The image of Auto Industry "Fat Cats" sitting on their behinds isn't strictly fair, but there is merrit to some of what Nader says. But that doesn't mean I believe the conspiracy theories of Detroit keeping the 100 mpg carb hidden for 30 years. It may be that while some of the inventions worked, but after further testing were found to be dangerous, or flawed.

Yeah I know, the "Fat Cats" was a stretch, but I wanted so much to post that picture. Sue me, I'm a cat lover and find it funny.

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