In recent weeks, the idea that one or all three of Detroit's automakers could end up filing for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the coming weeks or months has gained a lot of momentum. In theory, the advantage of chapter 11 is that it provides protection from creditors while the company is reorganized in a way that it can survive. The company is allowed to continue operating in this mode, thus avoiding a complete shutdown. A number of major airlines have done this and managed to keep operating, although some have ultimately failed anyway. There is a big difference between a plane ticket and a car. With an airline, you buy your ticket, take your flight and then (hopefully) walk away. After the flight, there is no expectation of ongoing service and support. A car is a much larger purchase and expected to operate for 10-15 years. Warranty service is demanded during that time, and spare parts need to be available on an ongoing basis. Given the long-term requirements of a car, a chapter 11 filing could be a death sentence for a manufacturer as customers look elsewhere. So the question we ask you is, "Would you buy a car from a company in bankruptcy?"

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