The auto industry might seem like a weird place for a pop culture commentator to look these days, but consider how so much of our North American “exceptionalism” which has come much under fire in recent months, particularly by our commander-in-chief, is rooted in an ethos that in former times was exampled by the Cowboy Trailblazer, and in the 70’s to mid-80’s was exampled clearly in the Muscle Car Culture.
So, here we go…
President Obama addressed the nation last Thursday concerning GM’s first IPO since becoming the first “government-owned” auto company in history. (Now, I’m sure Ceasar owned some chariot-manufacturing facilities back during the Roman empire, but really that’s like comparing a stone wheel to a chrome rim… so do I get a pass on that historically-accurate fact?) First, take a look at the address here:
I will now turn to focus on Ford and Tesla’s re-creation of the auto industry, but will eventually come back to a critique of this misleading presser that would have us believe that GM is the bastion of hope and change that – should we follow this Government down their proposed paths elsewhere – will lead to a prosperous and widely flourishing populace. Not true, but for now let’s turn to look at what Tesla did during the downturn, and how this start-up is changing the imagination of the auto industry and the eco-imagination of the world. (I hope GE won’t sue me for using that word. That stinks that they can trademark that by the way!… or maybe it’s eco-magination.)
Elon Musk and Tesla made some bold moves
during the downturn! Here, my friends, is a perfect example of what a free-market, entrepreneurial framework can bring about when companies compete:
“GM had already pulled out of the plant after declaring bankruptcy in 2009, and Toyota planned to stop production in less than a month. There weren’t too many people interested in buying a 200-acre white elephant of a car factory, so Toyoda opened the door for Musk.”
Musk pulled off an incredible feat to make this dream seem within the realm of possibility. Tesla had developed and produced the Tesla Roadster and sold no less than 1300 units in 08-09.
As you may know this plug-in electric whose battery technology has been incorporated by Daimler’s SMART division will beat out a Ferrari in the quarter mile. Impressive for a startup in an industry of behemoths with multi-million dollar R&D departments. Yet this is what happens when David is allowed to step on the field against Goliath. (Wired’s article
on musk is a good read.)
So president Obama wants to credit his own baby w/keeping the auto industry in America strong, but a company that will be re-building based on a new brand in China and more Chinese manufacturing
doesn’t sound like the American success story he would make it out to be, which raises a question: “Is this president as delusional about his ability to save America’s economy as the former president was about his ability to ‘free’ the Iraqi people from an oppressive, dangerous dictatorship?” I say yes. Or more so.
One thing our president is correct about… the American people. We can and will provide a shot at the American dream to our children’s children, if the Government will just get out of the way and let re-creators like Musk and Tesla compete!
As a closing visual to describe the amazing effect that Tesla has had on our economy, the green technology market, CO2 emissions, and “green jobs” check this car and graphic out. Pretty unbelievable what has happened largely without the government’s involvement1.
Go forth and Rekre8!
1 – The government did give Tesla a 465 million dollar load to produce it’s four-seater Model S for which Musk purchased the California Factory.