Will The Cars The Auto Team Own Influence Their Choices?
When I woke this morning and surveyed what the morning papers carried about the auto industry, Dave Shephardson's article in the Detroit News about what cars the Obama Auto Team members own caught my attention.
Dave is a fine reporter and I've long admired his work.
His story is fairly straightforward in explaining the vast majority of the Obama team drives a foreign brand.
It brings up the question: Will the cars these members drive influence their decisions regarding GM and Chrysler?
My gut says no.
I know some of you will read that and say, "Phil, what are you smoking? Of course foreign car owners will be biased against GM and Chrysler because they've already voted not to buy domestic. Don't be naive." I hear what you are saying, but I just don't buy it.
The Auto Team is focusing on whether these two auto makers are making the tough choices needed to survive. Are GM and Chrysler competitive on a cost basis with foreign auto makers in the U.S.? Are they designing the next generation of models with the fuel efficiency needed to compete? Is either company better served being sent into bankruptcy or a merger? These are questions of economics, not style.
Sure, many people are loyal to a particular brand. I'm not questioning that, but I've never bought into the idea that people who drive a GM cannot appreciate a Toyota. Nor have I ever thought people owning a Honda SUV are beyond understanding the appeal of a Jeep.
Maybe I'm wrong. Drop me a note at BehindTheWheel@cnbc.com and let me know if you think people (in this case, the Obama Auto Team) can be objective about whether GM or Chrysler survives, even if most on that team don’t personally own a domestic car.
NOTE: In an earlier post, Mr. Shephardson's name was misspelled.
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