Some of the most famous cars in the history of the auto industry were some of the cheapest ones. The Ford Model T, the Volkswagen Beetle, the Citroen 2CV and the BMC Mini were so successful mainly because they were so affordable.
Every single year, for almost 40 years, politicians and regulators have written piles of laws and regulations to control the automobile. And yet, there's no end in sight. Right now they're working on regulations that will take us out to 2025 and beyond. Will it ever end?
One of the more intriguing tidbits that dribbled out of Chrysler's grueling 8-hour press conference on Wednesday is that the company is considering getting back into the heavy truck business. They're not talking about heavy duty pick-ups, they're talking about 18-wheelers.
When Toyota's Prius first hit Japanese showrooms in 1997, I was highly skeptical that hybrids would catch on. Not only was the technology really expensive, I thought the nickel-metal hydride batteries would prove to be the Achilles Heel in the system. Sooner or later you'd be facing an expensive replacement bill, right?
In all this debate about whether we should provide the Big Three with a bridge loan, not enough attention has been devoted to their impact on our national defense. I'd hate to see this country ever get involved in a total global war again, but I especially shudder to think it might happen without the manufacturing capability that General Motors, Ford and Chrysler provide to the United States.
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