The auto industry was arguably created in the U.S., and no other metropolis more rightfully lays claim to the title of Motor City than Detroit. Despite those factors, the United States has not bee a net exporter of cars and trucks for decades. For the longest time, that was partly due to the American car market’s insatiable appetite being able to consume every vehicle built here, plus plenty more, leaving none for the Olivers overseas.
These days, the market here in the States is a lot smaller – having shrunk from about 18 million annually to more like 12 to 15. And because of that, there’s plenty of excess production capacity here in the U.S., plus, as you might expect, a lot of folks looking for the opportunity to work a line and earn an honest day’s pay. Because of that, it makes sense to leverage our world renowned productivity and engineering prowess – remember, we went to the moon – and build cars that could fill cargo ships headed in the other direction than what for 40 years has been the norm.
This has been the case the past few years – albeit in small numbers – as Cadillac and the Corvette have been made available to a nonplussed Europe, Middle East and Asia. And now, with its purchase by Fiat, Chrysler models are appearing in Italy carrying Lancia badges and humorously, demonstrating a hitherto unknown level of quality to that upscale brand. But those don’t really count now do they? After all, they aren’t badged as American and the whole imported from Detroit ad campaign probably wouldn’t resonate over on the boot.
What we need is a vanguard car – a hero to lead the charge for real American auto exports, showing that we can once again be the world’s leader in auto production and reinvigorate our economy. If that were a goal of the U.S. auto industry and Motor City would car would you pick to be represent us? What car should lead the charge?
And yes, I know that Ford isn’t building the Crown Vic any more, but cool pic, huh?