13 July 2009

Save American jobs without driving off a cliff

Is there any good reason the Big 3 couldn't get into train car manufacturing? The federal government orders trains from Japan even as it flings money around attempting to lure citizens into purchasing American cars. It makes no frackin' sense!


At 13 July, 2009 15:21, Blogger Eric Fischer said...

There's no reason they couldn't start, but it would take a while before they got good at it. Boeing's attempt to diversify into streetcar manufacture around 1980 was kind of a disaster. They eventually fulfilled their orders but the results were never great.

At 14 July, 2009 09:26, Blogger Benjamin said...

There's also the issue of low volume. Amtrak has something like 700 operational cars total, and each car lasts for 30 or so years. By comparison, even an unpopular automobile can be expected to sell 10,000 units in a year or two. Now, a train car is much bigger than an SUV, but even with a much-revitalized train market, it isn't going to enough to keep the Big Three in operation alone.

At 14 July, 2009 10:40, Blogger Jennifer said...

But then wouldn't they use their massive, well-funded, iron-willed lobbying power to push for more trains? And they could diversify into commuter rail and rapid transit.

At 14 July, 2009 14:07, Blogger reub2000 said...


Also, I think it would be a great idea.

At 19 July, 2009 19:42, Blogger David Johnsen said...

If the Big 3 are failing despite decades of experience, why should we expect them to succeed in a new industry where they have none? I'm all for keeping money and jobs in the U.S., but a new company would probably be a better bet than the Big 3, which have already proven themselves inept.

Btw, General Motors used to be in the train engine business, but they sold off their Electro-Motive Division in 2005.


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