« Feature-packing is not the way to innovate. | Main | The Age of Conversation 2 has arrived! »


Gregg Fraley

Couldn't agree more with you. I've got a few years on you Katie and the story is, if anything, worse than you portray in here.

In my lifetime I've seen the Japanese and the Germans simply outclass the American auto industry, year after year. When I graduated from college in 1975 I said to anyone who would listen after the first fuel shock "watch, we'll create the world's best small car." It never happened. There was a crying need for it, and, Honda, Nissan, Toyota, and Volkswagen filled the void. I owned a Honda Accord for 15 years and took it up to 200,000 miles because the darn thing just refused to go bad.

American car manufacturer's have improved but only incrementally. They've forgotten how to take risks, how to create something truly new, with rare exceptions. The exceptions, like the PT Cruiser, and the motorcycle company Harley-Davidson, only prove they can do it when they have the right leadership. The biggest problem it seems to me is the whole idea of design by committee. Brilliant design is rarely done by a group. Look at the iPod, essentially designed by one person, Jonathan Ives. The classic cars, the Great American car's like the Sting Ray and the Mustang were conceived of by very small teams, with one key leader. Harley Earl was the key guy behind most of GM's "dream cars" of the 50's.

American manufacturing in general has been in decline for years, not because we can't make things, but because most companies don't disruptively innovate. In fact, many leap frog innovations in the auto industry have been suppressed because of the current investment in the system. When you couple big auto with big oil, you've got big money, and they've effectively stifled innovation for many years. They've not only stifled innovation in auto's but also mass transit. Many USA cities had electric street cars that were replaced by smelly buses. Our train system is useless for passengers for the most part, compared to Europe we're 50 years behind.

I like your ideas for how to spend the 25 billion, especially the second and third bullets.

Tad Dunville

I agree with certain points set forth here because it's not the government's job to bail out every failure in the marketplace. But there's a flip-side to this coin. When we point a finger there is three fingers pointing back at us. Ford built products that were profitable - large trucks, SUV's, and full size cars. Americans don't like small cars. Ford didn't innovate in small cars because the marketplace didn't demand them. Further, a big three bankruptcy will send more shock waves through our already listing economic ship. In all, there are some good points made here but it's important to examine both sides and compare the forest to the trees.

Chris M Chance

FORD has sold cars that catch on fire, Tires explode, Motors blown out under 100,000 miles with regular care & caution, Transmission fail.... A call to FORD with your problem will have them making you feel like your the only one with this issue & its your own problem no matter how many Other owners post the same complaints online. FORD has forgot that we are REAL PEOPLE not just a Number in their POCKETBOOK. I called FORD to ask them "What am I to do about my lincoln with 89,000 miles dead in the driveway" they told me "JUNK IT & BUY A NEW ONE". Sounds like they are more interested in their profits & NOT the ECONOMY or the ENVIRONMENT.

The comments to this entry are closed.

  • Katie Konrath loves fresh ideas.

    She's worked with leading innovation company Ideas To Go and creativity guru Edward de Bono, studied at the TRIZ Institute in St Petersburg and earned a Masters degree in innovation from the Institute of Thinking in Malta. LEARN MORE

    Today, Katie helps companies connect with their consumers at TopRank Online Marketing.

    If you are interested in having Katie speak at your event, click here to learn about her speaking topics

    Contact Katie here.

Become a Fan