• May 20th 2009 at 3:35PM
  • 136
Alec Baldwin has written a scathing letter in the Huffington Post titled "The rise and fall of Detroit." In the column, he calls for the end of the three industrial giants, and, like many Americans, the elder Baldwin brother doesn't want taxpayer money to go towards the revitalization of Detroit automakers. His reason? Fuel economy.
"The heads of these corporations did not spend the last thirty years lying in bed each night, sleepless. They did not turn their spouses in the wee hours and say, "How do I serve the automotive needs of the American public and better protect their health and safety AND help them conserve energy?" They never said that."
Read on for a few facts that Mr. Baldwin missed and a bit of analysis on his diatribe.

Regarding health and safety, it should be noted that the three-point automotive safety belt was invented by Americans. While American automakers weren't the first to offer standard safety belts (Saab was first, and Volvo was second) front and rear belts were standard issue on all cars by 1968. The first patents for airbag-type devices were filed by Germans and Americans in 1951. Ford had experimental airbag fleets as early as 1971, and GM offered the first airbag for sale to the public in the 1973 Oldsmobile Toranado. Chrysler was the first automaker to offer airbags as standard equipment in 1988.

Furthermore, the catalytic converter was invented in 1950 by a Frenchman living in the US. It seems there was smog 59 years ago in LA, leading him to create the device. That device didn't work in cars of the day because the lead in gas destroyed it, but a company in New Jersey later made the first production catalytic converters in 1973. Automakers had the pollution-preventing devices standard on all vehicles by 1975.

Baldwin goes on to say that Americans have been subsidizing Detroit for decades since a good portion of our military budget goes towards oil "by destabilizing the governments of petroleum rich countries, or outright invading them."

It's difficult to understand why big oil is all Detroit's fault. First off, transportation is about 55% of overall US oil consumption. That 55% includes big-rigs, planes and trains. Heating oil, which is used in the Northeast during the winter, uses about 25% of overall oil consumption. And there are only eight million households in the US that use heating oil. Yet the overwhelming emphasis in the media is on automotive.

With regards to fuel efficiency, it's true that Honda and Toyota are light years ahead of Detroit automakers in hybrid sales, but hybrids make up less than 5% of overall automotive sales in the US. Outside of hybrids, though, fuel economy is very similar across all automakers. The Fusion, for example, has the highest fuel economy of any midsize sedan at 34 mpg, and the Fusion hybrid achieves 41 mpg in the city -- eight mpg better than the Camry hybrid. The 2010 Chevy Equinox promises 32 mpg on the highway, head and shoulders above any other mid-size crossover. The point? Nobody is running away with the fuel economy crown.

Baldwin goes on to mention that while he drove a Tahoe back in the early 90s, he now owns a Prius. Now he's in the market for another new car, and he says he'll likely buy another hybrid from a Japanese transplant making vehicles in the American south. That new car would have to be a Camry Hybrid, because it's the only Japanese-branded hybrid built in the US. He could get an Escape hybrid, though. It's made in Kansas City.

[Source: Huffington Post]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 6 Years Ago
      Wonder what type of vehicle Alec is driven around in??? It might be a Hybrid, maybe not. Detroit did what most business do, offer products that are in demand. Unfortunately, they put all their eggs in SUVs and Trucks. When gas went through the roof and the constant slamming of the SUVs by the media, killed off their most profitable market. Honda's Pilot is hugely profitable for them. I agree with the comment earlier, with his rational for providing anything good for the American people, Hollywood, for the most part, should be shut down. But then, who would we turn to when we need insightful and intellegent commentary on how we should live our lives. Oh yeah, Alec, have you screamed at your daughter lately?
        • 6 Years Ago
        But you failed to mention that basically, NOBODY is buying ANYTHING whether it's SUV or little hybrid. Cars are just not selling at all and it's because of the economy, not because people don't want them.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Let's not forget that Alec Baldwin promised to move out of the country if George Bush Jr. won the first presidential election. When did he sneak back in?

      I do hate to agree with him though. If George had held back and forced them (they actually forced themselves) into bankruptcy both firms would likely be farther along than they are now and the US taxpayer wouldn't have wasted millions of dollars.

      Does agreeing with Alec make me a Democrat? Do I have to tell my mom?
      • 6 Years Ago
      What a thoughtless rude little pig.

      Yeah, let's listen to this guy because he's good at making choices.

      • 6 Years Ago
      Baldwin, you fat turd. My Chevy Cobalt gets better MPG than the Mazda 3 and almost as good as the Corolla, which has a lawn mower for an engine.
      The Fusion gets better MPG than any midsize and the Chevy Malibu gets better MPG than the Camry and Mazda 6.
      The Silverado gets better MPG than the Tundra (and doesn't have frames that rust through), and Toyota has gas guzzlers like the Highlander and Sequoia.
      In addition, Detroit employs more Americans than all the other companies combined.

      So, dimwit Baldwin, stick to acting and leave intelligent discussions to the adults.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I would be considered "liberal" like Alec Baldwin would be. That said, he is a big bag of gas. He says things that don't make sense, that don't add up, and that are wildly inconsiderate of others. Just because he is a good actor does not make his opinion matter. He is the typical Hollywood star that thinks he knows everything. It pisses me off!
      • 6 Years Ago
      Like this LOOSER knows something about the car industry. Why would anybody print what he thinks to begin with, he who is nothing more than a child abuser.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I agree - I believe his opinion is aimed at the 'big picture' perspective. I think the industry could have made better automobiles when it's said and done. Granted there were many advances in personal safety, pollution, efficiency, etc, but not the best either.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Alec Baldwin should go rent a one legged hooker and choke on some herpes. That would be much more productive then his stupid rants he makes on issues with anything concerning Americans.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Profit, simply put there is a lot more profit in an SUV than small cars, that's why the Big Three developed and promoted Suv's, Their small cars are garbage, they didn't put their hearts and souls into developing high quality small American cars, Their European divisions did but as always the American divisions use the expense and safety laws as an EXCUSE, if the Koreans can do it so can Ford and GM should have too...

      The Big three have only themselves to blame, they are the reason why Toyota and Honda are so successful.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Geez Alec, if you want a free tour of the plants, just ask, dont make some stupid announcement...

      Alec can lick his own schweddy balls
      • 6 Years Ago
      A clarification on geography is needed. When people say "buy American" which America are they speaking about? North, Central or South? Some will say "well the United States of course". Which one- The United States of Mexico (that's what it's called folks- check the books) or The United States of America?

      Let the backlash begin in 3,2,1....
        • 6 Years Ago
        As you well know when someone says 'America' they are referring to The United States of America because we are the only country on either continent to have the word America in it's name.

      • 6 Years Ago
      Im think it is about time that Alec shuts up about the many subjects he speaks about without any knowlwdge. Alec, go back to calling your daughter a piggy and try acting for real.
      Fred Gramcko
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