Jay Leno (who has a collection of over 100 automobiles - must be one really large garage) has a simple yet brilliant advice for Detroit carmakers on how to get things back on track: make better cars!
When you get into a high-priced, well-made American car today and
the key is in the ignition, you hear a melodic bong, bong. But when you get in a cheap American car, like a rental, and the key is left in, it goes plink, plink, plink. It’s just horrible. Every time you use the turn signal, it’s like breaking a chicken leg. In order to make the more expensive car more appealing, U.S. companies feel as though they have to dumb down the cheaper car.
I believe that, all things being equal, Americans will buy American. It just has to be as good as the competition; it doesn’t have to be better. The classic example is Harley-Davidson. Throughout the ’70s, the motorcycle maker had huge quality-control problems. Then Harley-Davidson said, “Look, let’s take our time. Let’s build fewer bikes. Let’s build them properly, so they don’t leak oil and they’ll run forever.” Harley-Davidson won back the market share it had lost, and it continues to dominate today. Even though the bikes might not be technically superior, they’re bulletproof and they’re American. People will buy American if given the chance.