Green Operations

Stop Subsidizing Vehicular Dinosaurs

January 2009, Green Fleet Magazine - Feature

by Joseph McKinney

I have spent the past 25 years in the automotive industry. I am the president of Oregon's largest vehicle leasing and finance company. I am an investor, an innovator, an employer, a fleet purchaser, a portfolio manager and the chief executive officer of a business that's central to the auto industry.

And I'm writing to ask Congress to stop interfering with the mechanisms of the marketplace, our industry and the economy.

The government recently pledged billions of dollars to General Motors, Ford and Chrysler for electric vehicle research and development. The purpose may have been economic stimulation, but little will result from this effort.

The business model shared by the Big 3 led them to stop developing innovative products decades ago.

Taking our existing transportation system and adding an electric motor to cars is not going to change a thing. We are subsidizing the dinosaurs, hoping to delay their extinction.

Industry publications are exhorting everyone in the business to contact their representatives and promote additional stimulus packages. Finance companies such as General Motors Acceptance Corp., which have steadfastly refused to be regulated like banks, suddenly are telling the feds that they are indeed banks, because banks are getting a bigger piece of the bailout.

Corporations have tremendous benefits due to the advantages of limited liability. Instead of focusing on building great products that satisfy the public, they are developing sophisticated strategies to succeed at the bailout window.

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