"It ain't that hard folks -- make better cars." That's the word aimed at Detroit from Jay Leno, the late-night television host and avid hands-on car nut. According to Leno, nobody builds trucks as well as Americans, as he cites the Ford F-150 and Chevy Silverado as examples. Same goes with performance cars. "The Corvette Z06 has 505 horsepower, comes with a big warranty, and can hit 200 miles per hour. It weighs almost exactly the same as a half-million-dollar Porsche Carrera GT and gets higher mileage - 26 miles per gallon," states Leno.
However, Americans just can't seem to build a low-bucks economy car. "In order to make the more expensive car more appealing, U.S. companies feel as though they have to dumb down the cheaper car," the comedian reasons. "When you get into a high-priced, well-made American car today and the key is in the ignition, you hear a melodic bong, bong. But when you get in a cheap American car, like a rental, and the key is left in, it goes plink, plink, plink. It's just horrible. Every time you use the turn signal, it's like breaking a chicken leg."
Leno suggests that Detroit follow the example of Harley-Davidson, which turned around its quality-control problems and re-established itself as a market leader. Leno adds, "I believe that, all things being equal, Americans will buy American. It just has to be as good as the competition; it doesn't have to be better."