David Cole, chair of the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor Michigan, an industry consulting firm, said the other day that the domestic car industry was "being penalized for being old", echoing what I had written in the print edition of Wheels a couple of weeks ago. You can't expect workers to screw fenders onto Chevvies for 30 years and never get a raise. But if you're just off the farm in Georgia or Tennessee and somebody offers you $15 an hour to screw fenders onto Hyundais or Volkswagens, you're going to jump at the chance - and not worry about whether you will get titanium hips when you turn 65.
Until the US stops being the only industrialized country in the world to tie pensions and medical benefits to the company you work for, instead of making such things a responsibility of the society as a whole, there is always going to be a built-in disadvantage to any company that has been in business for more than 35 - 40 years.
It's new companies, not necessarily foreign companies, that benefit, as Southwest Airlines proves.
Agree or disagree, and why or why not?