The voice of baby boomers, the silenced majority. Rants and reflections on lifestyle, fashion, current events, books and movies.

Poking the big auto-makers

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bailout1Ford Motor Company was one of the big auto makers that did not accept government handouts when the financial crisis hit eight years ago. Consequently, I now drive a Ford Escape. The logic for the bailouts at the time stated that we could not let the big car companies fail — think of all the lost jobs and the irreversible hit to the economy.  So, we hardworking taxpayers bailed out General Motors, Chrysler and other manufacturers—in effect, rewarding them for bad behaviour and poor management.

Bombardier consistently screws up (click here for the solutions to our problems with Bombardier). The company is poorly managed, seems to have no plan for getting better and continually falls back on empty promises and rainbow-chasing to secure ever more taxpayer dollars from whatever level of government they can rope in. This is another example of bad management being rewarded. Using that logic, perhaps those of us who have overspent our Visa cards and run up thousands of dollars of consumer debt for big screen televisions and vacations should apply to the government for some financial relief.

manager1The competency and creativity of these giant corporations is sadly underwhelming. Why, when the auto makers supposedly employ some of the smartest engineers in the country can they not anticipate customer needs without being poked from behind to do so. We’ve endured decades of dependence on gasoline engines which we know pollute the environment. Safety mechanisms had to be government mandated before manufacturers would incorporate them into their designs. And when their naive business plans failed to deliver, the taxpayers paid the price.

How could all the auto makers be so blind-sided that it has taken Google, Apple and even Tesla to develop and market new concepts for civilian transportation? Perhaps it’s the big fat salaries and benefit packages enjoyed by the executives that killed their imaginations and drive. After all, if they screwed up and managed to get fired, they could live on their golden parachute packages for the rest of their lives. And the oil companies must bear a major share of blame as well.

Where's our "volks wagen" for the future that can still accommodate groceries and a trip to Home Depot?

Where’s our “volks wagen” for the future that can still accommodate groceries and a trip to Home Depot?

Sure, I love my voice-activated GPS and my amber blind-spot alert signal. The touch controls on the steering wheel are lovely and the ability of my husband’s vehicle to tell him to pull over and take a rest if he swerves from his lane are all excellent features, but the progress made by the car industry over the past century could and should have been so much better. Look how much the tech business has accomplished over a mere two decades and how affordable all our gadgets have become. When are the automakers going to put some of that expensive brain power to work on something substantive? Before we know it we’ll be driving cars by Apple and Google while the big auto makers are scratching their heads, sifting through customer survey data to find out what went wrong and begging for more taxpayer bailout money.

Put those great brain to work.

Put those great brains to work.

The world is changing. Perhaps the big automakers should be hiring from Silicon Valley. What becomes of all those brilliant and innovative ideas generated by engineering students in university? Do they simply dissolve once they get permanent jobs in organizations where apathy is the status quo, where they just keep doing variations of the same old thing? There’s so much need for safe, environmentally neutral transportation vehicles for the masses. Thank goodness at least Tesla, Apple and Google grasp that reality. Because, heaven knows, we certainly can’t count on the government or transportation and the auto industry to provide us with cheap, efficient public transit any time soon (click here for my take on public transit). We deserve and should be getting so much better than what they’re offering now.


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Author: Lynda Davis

As an early Baby Boomer, born in 1947, it seems to me that as we approach our retirement years, Boomers have gone from being the energy driving our nation to slowly becoming invisible. We risk losing our identity as society remains stubbornly youth-centric. And the irony is that Gen Xers and Ys are not the majority; we are. BOOMERBROADcast is my platform for being the voice of Baby Boomers, women in particular. We've generated a lot of changes over the decades but there's still a long way to go. After a 40-year career in the corporate world, I've taken up expressing the observations and concerns of our generation. Instead of pounding the pavement in my bellbottoms with a cardboard sign, I'm pounding my laptop (I learned to type on a manual typewriter and old habits die hard). If you have issues or concerns you would like voiced or have comments on what I've voiced, I'd love to hear from you. We started breaking the rules in the sixties and now that we're in our sixties it's no time to become complacent. Hope you'll stay tuned and if you like BOOMERBROADcast, share it with your friends. Let's rock n' roll! If you would like to be notified whenever I publish a new posting, click on the little blue box in the lower right of your screen that says +Follow→ Lynda Davis

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