• Mar 29, 2006
He's back and with a vengeance.
Consumer advocate and former presidential contender Ralph Nader is refocusing on the automotive industry, a move that brought him critical acclaim back in the Sixties. According to the Boston Herald, Nader accuses the U.S. government of acting as a "consulting firm" to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), insurance agencies of failing to promote greater safety and government agencies of continuing to use substandard vehicles. (See here for the Autoblog post and link to the report.) And he wants to establish an office in Detroit, Michigan, U.S., to monitor the automakers.

The NHTSA has already fired back, pointing to all-time low fatality rates and the high rate of seatbelt use by vehicle occupants. Automakers are also defending themselves, noting that side air bags can be found in about seventy-five percent of today's vehicles and are set to be standard by 2009. According to automakers it's the public, not the government, who is demanding these features. We think what they're trying to say Ralph is, "See? The free-market economy does work on its own sometimes."

[Source: Associated Press via the Boston Herald]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 16 Comments
      • 8 Years Ago
      Nader may or may not have been benificial. Depends on who you talk to. I remember him killing the Corvair. I had one, and I never rolled over because I didn't do really stupid things. Same thing with my CJ-7. He was the first to start the "protection from yourself" syndrome. Today, we are inundated with all sorts of gadgetry we don't need, but must pay for, and maintain. I had many 40 year old cars, and some of them were certainly built better than todays. I wonder how many current autos will be around fourty years from now? Front wheel drive throw-a-ways? I don't think so.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Naders critics are too young to know or have forgotten how unsafe cars were 40 years ago, and how intransigent defective product manufacturers were. Nader's charges probably would have gone nowhere if half-witted GM executives hadnt hired private detectives to pry into his personal and financial life. The GM brain-trust even schemed to compromise him with hookers. When these activities were discovered they lent immediate credence to Nader's claims. The resulting outrage led to auto safety hearings that resulted in legislation creating the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
      • 8 Years Ago
      #5 I'm old enough to remember and read the book when it originally came out. Your comments are pretty close.

      However:

      I'm also old enough to remember when the Corvair was cleared of the BS rap he gave it. And I actually owned 2 a 64 Spyder and a 66 Corsa, gee, they never rolled over.

      While he brought something to the table, the next question is how much did he cost us? There are those who would say that cost is not the object, and perhaps you are correct, but what about choice? Lets say I don't want antilock brakes, stability control, maybe I don't airbags, and yes if you're short you don't.

      What Nader did was increase the cost to all of us to protect the poor drivers from themselves, and protect us poor consumers from ourselves.

      I have no respect for the man at all, his reputation was built on something proved incorrect years later.

      I qgree if GM had not been so ready to make their point the guy might have just faded away.

      Oh, great comment Paul, seems that many domestics have higher safety ratings than you Asian cars. Hmmm. Of course the news about the Asian car makers on the take or not doing recalls, remember Mits?
      • 8 Years Ago
      Gardiner,
      I'm old enough to remember, and your comments are "right on." Thanks.
      • 8 Years Ago
      And he's ignoring 45% of the market? There's plenty of imports that have safety problems and there's plenty of US makes that are great. He acts as if there is some conspiracy by U.S. makers to make unsafe cars.

      Nader is just out to help Nader.



      Paul
      • 8 Years Ago
      actually we owe Ralph a debt of gratiture for exposing the american auto industry for their unsafe and poorly designed and manufactured products.

      He enlightened american customers to the benefits of superior Asian designs that are not only safer but more efficient and longer lasting. He rightly convinced americans that the US will be better off once these dishonest auto barons are liquidated.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Nader's best work was helping to defeat Al Gore in 2000.
      • 8 Years Ago
      ralph nader will not go away until your horse is safe and doesnt go over 5 mph/w air bags and a converter stuck up its wazoo.
      • 8 Years Ago
      What's the phrase? Oh yes -- useful idiot.

      Nader is universally disliked and has very little street cred, even amongst liberals. So to have him come out with another diatribe against the evil auto manufacturers in bed with their regulators is actually a huge benefit for the manufacturers.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Is this just positioning for "Nader in '08"?
      • 8 Years Ago
      Post 18-"quack", Yea, we are soooo better off since Bush. I didn't like Gore either, but now I'm thinking we might have doen better had he been elected. Oh wait, he was. I'm voting for Hillary this time around. After all, how bad could she be?
      • 8 Years Ago
      Gardiner:

      Good post - and yes, I used to own a Corvair. A 1963 and it did spin out unpredictably on me, twice. Too bad the car was killed though since, by the time Nader's book came out, the Corvair's handling problems were sorted out.
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