A debate has begun in the USA regarding the impending bail-out of their beleagured motor industry. The American Institute of Economic Research is of the opinion that this may not be such a good idea.
“Chances are the Detroit Big Three Automakers will receive a huge bailout from the politicians in Washington, D.C. Taxpayers will be expected to pick up the tab for $50 billion or more. Not only will this be bad for hard working Americans who will bear the cost of another bailout boondoggle, it will be a big mistake for the health and future prosperity of the United States economy.”
Strong words and these certainly are “interesting” times.
The difference between the bailout being asked for by US car manufacturers and the situation in Europe and especially the UK is that the businesses over here just want relief from heavy handed stealth taxes such as the new VED rules and maybe a relaxation or reduction in Paying VAT on vehicle profits.
With no British-owned mainstream car manufacturers the Uk car business is actually working constantly to ‘fit in’ or drive the improvement of technology and make cars greener. What do we get for that? Another bashing, with companies share prices slashed as confidence in the sector erodes on a daily basis. Real people are losing their jobs not because they are incompetent or their companies are badly run, but because on top of a global downturn and a benign car lobby the trade is an easy and very soft target.
You can just imagine the decision makers in their meetings thinking;
Let’s install more speed cameras.
Let’s make sure that every car dealer is totally compliant with block exemption.
Let’s increase fuel prices or introduce more congestion zones or toll roads.
And if that’s not enough lets hit’ ‘em again with massive road fund increases!
All the while the motorist just keeps taking it on the chin. So the state of the art showrooms (where a customer can now sit in comfort whilst waiting to pick up their new car or have it serviced while watching a large flat screen TV on a comfy sofa with a decent tasting coffee) still have to keep giving and giving in the face of ever eroding profit margins and bad press.
These dealers, who are still trying to improve and evolve and find different products to try and keep viable and profitable whilst all the time offering VFM, are not asking for banking scale bailouts they’re just asking for a little relief and for the government not to make it any harder.
I believe the trade is doing its bit but are the government doing theirs?