An idea of green bailout for The Big Three 4


The three large US automakers are facing huge problems. Meanwhile, many people think their cars would be able to sell better if US cars had better mileage.

While driving I had an idea that very topic: increasing the mileage to enable it to reach 50 MPG by 2010 would be great. This would be much better than 35 MPG in 2020 as some think.

Seems like science fiction ? Not so, as the car I drive – A Citroën C2 – already gets 4.5 liters for 100 kilometers (more than 50 miles per gallon).

What if European car makers, like Renault, Citroën, Peugeot, Volkswagen and Fiat (to name but a few) licensed their most efficient cars to the Big Three which would manufacture and sell them on US soil ?

Of course, Ford, GM and Chrysler would still be able to propose some huge trucks and pick ups to the people who needs them for their jobs.

Everybody would win in such a deal: The Big Three would still sell cars manufactured in American to Americans and European auto makers would earn money by proposing their models to the US market.

Nonetheless, the Big Three could meet the demand of urbanites that are looking for smaller cars who can’t – or simply don’t want – to commute by carpooling or the public transportation networks.

It is perhaps a wild idea, but that was something I wanted to share with you as I guess it could enable to save thousands of jobs. It won’t be as good as putting all the cars to recycle and put all the people in buses and trains as some would like, but it is still is a possible solution.

What do you think about this ?

For your info, I added a table to convert MPG to liters for 100 kilometers, the measures we use in continental Europe:

Edit on December 10 to add those articles from TreeHugger:


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4 thoughts on “An idea of green bailout for The Big Three

  • Tim

    Hi Edouard, of course car would sell better with better mileage, but would the solution you suggest be sufficient to keep the companies up and running on the long term?

    1. As technology growth currently goes, new technologies enabling customers to spare money comes at an ever higher cost and thus binds the customer on a long return on investment. This is a double edged blade: if you make a customer buy now, he will not buy tomorrow and thus, you just moved the issue and not solved it nor reduced it. So unless you get real cash for your purchase, customers will not be thrilled to invest.

    2. (Not) alone in the dark! Innovation was our major value against price reducing policies drived by Japaneese and now Chinese companies. Facing issues far more important than ours (the demand for cars in China is simply breathtaking) they are slowly closing back on us on the innovation side but keeping the price increase (still) coherent.

    What does our companies have to oppose to cars as efficient as ours and sold cheaper?
    – A better security? but for how long?…
    – The feeling of sustaining the local economy? Can it resist the price gap?…

    In my opinion, enabling the big three to cut costs on research and produce models already designed might by a short term solution to keep the firms above water AND save employment for now, but what’s next?

    Doesn’t it look like sustaining coal/metal industry 10 years ago in France? It saves employment during the reconversion, but it does not help the industry to survive…

  • Edouard Post author

    you directly read into my mind Tim, that’s cool !

    I didn’t go as further as I should have on that post yesterday. Off course this solution ( Technology transfer ) would be a short term one.

    Indeed, R&D takes time, and to me, selling cars with a good mileage right now would enable the Big Three to keep their people employed as they work seriously on mileage on their own.

    I read so much bashing on these companies and so many people thinking they should die…

    I care about the people working in Detroit. In a human point of view of course, I won’t buy an American car for sure ^^

    Many thanks Tim for your comment. It sure is cool to read you here !

  • Kiashu

    I don’t think it’s likely. US car companies have spent 60 years fighting attempts to get them to produce fuel efficient vehicles, tearing up railway lines and so on. Discussed here is a GM advertisement which shows the way they think.

    Expecting GM, Chrysler and Ford to support fuel-efficient and public transport would be like expecting the Pope to become a feminist advocate of gay rights, or a US President to become a pacifist. It’s just not the way they think.

    Better to let the companies die, then help other startup companies buy their factories and rehire their workers to do useful work like you suggest.

  • Edouard Post author

    Thanks Kyle for your comment.

    It indeed wouldn’t be bad to see these three get out when you see how much their management don’t give a damn about us.

    That would be cool if European car makers were to take the vacant places. Americans would get super efficient cars in no time.

    Enjoy your Sunday ! 🙂