By Nathan Rudyk
I just listened to a CFRA AM radio podcast interview with respected automotive analyst Dennis DesRoisiers who said the $15 Billion Canada is giving to prop up General Motors and Chrysler could otherwise underwrite the salaries of 20,000 engineers for THREE YEARS to totally reinvent the automobile as we know it.
He goes on to say that the same money (which he posits could easily balloon to $20 billion or $30 billion) could build six or seven assembly plants, or up to 1,000 state-of-the-art parts plants to supply healthy versus utterly broken not to mention bankrupt car companies.
All of this with no serious debate among politicians on any inkling of an alternative industrial innovation policy. Why not give a couple of billion to my former digIT Interactive partner Ian Clifford to advance his made-in-Canada ZENN Motor Company and interest in EEStor battery technology and see what he can do to create a Canadian electric car industry? Seriously.
(June 2nd update: Or what about Frank Stronach, who has announced that he'd like to build an electric car in Canada within the next three years! He only wants a loan, but based on the current rate of car company largess and his track record, he deserves at least $4 billion cash.)
Hopefully wiser minds prevail before the price-tag on these ill-considered bail-outs doubles due to "unforseen market forces", such as, oh, steadily shrinkiing market share, zero small car strategy (even as BMW brilliantly executed the Mini and Mercedes the Smart YEARS AGO), over-reliance on gas-guzzling Jeeps and Hummers in the face of peak oil, or consumer apathy on shallow badge engineering concepts that made Pontiacs look like plasticized Chevs and Oldsmobiles look like nothing you'd want in your own or your grandfather's driveway.
Give the DesRoisiers interview a listen. Keep the bucket and sawdust close by. These car company bail-outs are nothing short of an abomination to innovation.