The Japanese supplanted the U.S. automakers dominance with their smaller cars that offered better gas mileage. The chants... the movies... the fears all rang the same: It spelled doom for the American manufacturing industry.
We couldn't have been better off for it.
The added competition from an outside source brought on a sea of change here in the U.S. that reinvigorated American ingenuity. However, it seems some of the participants have forgotten what it was that brought on that. Ford has found themselves sitting in a situation where they are selling less and less automobiles and gobbling up more and more headlines about their pending doom in the process. The headlines are eerily similar with plants being shut rapidly. Ford doesn't understand that it's not making cars that Americans want to buy. They are still making bigger. Not cooler or better. But, we don't want their "Bread-winner" brands unless they get better gas mileage. That memo hasn't been passed around just yet, however.
What's next? Really small cars from China that get really awesome gas mileage. These cars are likely to be very no-frills, economic cars. These automobiles are already showing up in Europe, and are making quite a splash. It's only a matter of time before they get here and do... or undo, our own automobile industry. And I say: Bring it!
Why is that? Because then... Then.... THEN maybe Ford and GM will finally get it. We want better fuel efficiency. Not necessarily bigger. But better gas mileage. Build whatever you want, Ford. But, if it doesn't start improving our disposable income outlays with paying less at the pumps, then we're probably not going to be interested.
In the meantime, be on the lookout for new brands of automakers in your neighborhood. They'll look eerily similar as these builders just made ever so slight design changes. But, they will be less expensive and most likely get better gas mileage. I'm ready.