Silicon Valley Execs Haranguing Detroit
I was a little startled to see CEO Benioff of Salesforce.com kick off a software conference this week with advocacy for better US automobile production, accompanied by an introduction to Neil Young and his natural gas retrofit car. I had assumed former PayPal founder Elon Musk’s electric automobile foray with the beefy Tesla was a singular Valley experience, but apparently it’s chic in the Valley to implore Detroit to get its act together.
Well, stern words from Silicon Valley executives aren’t going to motivate American carmakers, not after their market share, profits and workforce has been smashed to bits in the last 30 years, last month’s disastrous numbers just another dismal indicator of failure.
I noticed Michigan governor Granholm on television this week flatly stating the greatest goal of Detroit was to produce a viable electric car. I doubt stern words from politicians will get the Chevy Volt on the market in 20 months, words from politicians never effected the failure of Detroit either, but we shall see.
Treasury, sensing the insanity must stop, denied the ability of GM to buy Chrysler through taxpayer financing last week. Chrysler has to get bought or the company is kaput, it’s that simple, and after bailing out banks and AIG Chrysler is going to get rescued by the Feds, one way or another.
Americans should get used to it (along with baling out Ford and GM later) and I hope to God Congress and the Obama transition team are working on this right now. The last thing the country needs is some pell-mell throwing of money at a failing company that accomplishes nothing. Bailing out Chrysler requires firm management controls, electric car production mandates and heavy investment in battery technology.
Change has arrived, Congress. Please start bailing out American business failures intelligently, blaming a stupid president isn’t an option anymore.