Sunday, February 15, 2015

Baby, You Can't Drive My Car

Every day it seems there is yet another automobile recall, for any number of issues, large and small. The incredible scope of the Takata airbag recall is the most infamous recall in recent years, but it is hardly the only one. The airbag recall affects mostly foreign manufacturers, but includes many domestic models as well.

What the hell happened? American car manufacturers in particular, beset with years of problems, saw their lives flash in front of their eyes at the onset of the financial meltdown in 2008. With bankruptcies looming, a government bailout was the only thing between life and death for much of the American auto industry.

The auto industry promised,,,, nay, swore, that with the lifeline given to them, things would change. The auto industry would take this second chance and come back stronger than ever, with better designed and better quality cars.

Well, that hasn't quite happened. Ratings on American cars, after a brief rise, have sunk back to their historical hit or miss levels. The industry has issued more recalls than cars produced in recent years, and that is just absurd. Auto manufacturers continue to hide known problems with their vehicles, and abjure their responsibilities only until they must capitulate at the point of multiple lawsuits.

It's time to require the very highest standards of American car manufacturers. All parts in American cars should be built in America. Any higher cost involved should be offset by an equalizing tax on imports, to level the playing field. The tax could be avoided if the foreign brands also used American made parts. That's not such a stretch, many popular foreign brands are already built in the U.S..

Requiring quality controlled American sourced parts will avoid the fiasco of Takata Industries claiming that a recall is not "useful" in spite of U.S. government demands that the recalls must be enacted. It's time to reclaim control of the auto manufacturers for the safety of all riders of cars in this country. The corporate overseers concerned only with their own compensation packages and short term appeasement of Wall Street have proven over and over again to be not up to the task.

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