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Jay Leno on How to Fix the Automotive Industry: "It Ain't That Hard, Folks. Make Better Cars."

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.

Link - via reddit

Dude, that is just crazy talk. Oh, if it was just as easy as 'build a better product'. This kind of inflammatory nuttiness is just hilarious.

I live around and have worked in Detroit, and you might as well be reading from the Necronomicon translated into Klingon to those guys from the formerly Big Three. I think the retention level would be higher.

I can see a GM executive reading this with that look that dogs get when you're making dog noises to them. Roooorw?
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1. If the auto industry would QUIT LYING to us.
After they said that Aluminum would be BETTER/LIGHTER/Faster...After you install all the support for aluminum, the car was almost as heavy as STEEL.
2. Aluminum is more expensive..Go back to STEEL.
3. QUIT backing the gas corps, and MAKE cars that WORK. Quit charging us for THEIR mistakes.
4. a Small engine ISNT better. Look at the 86 Oldsmobile, it got 35 miles PER GALLON..mine still gets 30-35..
5. dont think that getting 4-6 people in a car is good, we used to get 10-12 in the car and STILL run down the road.
most NEW cars cant even move if you get more the 800lbs in them.
6. Convert Torq to SPEED, not Speed to speed.
7. ADD a second transmission, Low/med/high..Transmissions are the POWER/Speed that the engine needs. Run Light and FAST, or Slow and with GUTS...
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I agree with Leno that people will buy American if given the chance, but we're not getting the chance because of f**king insane, sky-high pricing. When you pair that with the indisputable fact that, yes, they do perform poorly and fall apart at the drop of a hat, of course Japanese and Korean makers are winning. Making better cars won't be that hard fr Detroit, but the only way they'll stop gouging customers is if the auto unions are banned.
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Don't blame the unions. If it weren't for the unions forcing employers to pay a fair wage, most of us would be wishing for $3.50 an hour.

US automakers make lousy cars because it's the only way to maximize profits for their shareholders, something they are required by law as a publicly owned company to do. They can't legally cut into their margins, and their administration sure as hell won't cut into their multi-million dollar salaries.
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I'm not sure that union salaries are to blame - high salaries can be justified by high productivity. But union work rules *do* impact the company's day-to-day operation negatively.

For instance, Detroit's union-plant daily absenteeism (meaning employees that just don't report to work) runs about 10% as compared to non-union plants's 2%. When one in ten of your workers just don't show up and can't get disciplined because of it, then of course you're going to run into problems as a company ...
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Stop being GREEDY will help more than anything.

The problem with America is that America has established a society where success is about building a palace on the hill.

There's nothing wrong with that, but they forget that if they don't look after what's below the hill, nothing will come up the hill to maintain that palace.

And now we're seeing the results of it all crumble.

History repeats itself. Always. Unless we stop being so damned stupid apes and learn from our stupid sins and evolve to become decent human beings that don't leave it for some supernatural being imagine being called god onto whom to put the blame.
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Good Gravy!!

It's the Unions fault?


Talk about brain washed by the right wing.

If it weren't for Unionisation you'd be property, an indentured serf, a slave.

Fair pay, the 8 hour day,an end to child labour, industrial tribunals, equal pay, payment for overtime, safety at work, complaints procedures, pensions, hell even THE WEEKEND let alone any holiday entitlement.

NONE of this was a bountiful gift from the management.

I adore reading the sort of tripe where people who have benefitted endlessly from the hard work and resolve of their forebears to make a world and a work place based on fairness safety and equality,turn around and bad mouth them.

Management don't care about you, they'd sell you for fertiliser if they could.

This willing untermenschism, this Pan Ethnic Uncle Tommery is vile.
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But addressing the matter of american cars.

It would take detroit as long to catch up with the rest of the world in car design as it would to leap frog them.

So instead of trying to drag their cars into the late 70s why not go for broke and make cars for the current century?

Carbon fibre bodies, super efficient small engines would in 2 steps put MOTOWN ahead of the pack by about 20 years.

US cars be they BONG BONG or PLIK PLINK all suffer from being lousy.

Even at the supposed leading edge, the US muscle car, they to this day don't have independent suspension.

And the SUVs? good christ these things are abomonations of design and engineering.

A good car is not defined by how many Big Gulp cup holders it has. US cars are now a cavalcade of extraneous crap and electronic toys dropped onto the same 50 or more year old simpleton engineering.
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If Harley's are "bulletproof" then why is that the only bikes I see broken down along the road are HARLEY'S???

(I live an hour south of Daytona and during BikeFest most of the bikes are TRAILERED into town...)
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Plox wrote: "Fair pay, the 8 hour day,an end to child labour, industrial tribunals, equal pay, payment for overtime, safety at work, complaints procedures, pensions, hell even THE WEEKEND let alone any holiday entitlement.

NONE of this was a bountiful gift from the management."

Detroit has a 17.7% unemployment rate (

You can put all the blame on management if you would like, but in a world where they are forced to compete against companies that don't have to use unionized labor, (and where their unions continue to make foolish demands while ignoring the realities of the economic climate) the reality is that the unions have done their fair share to destroy the U.S. Auto industry just as much as management has.

So while you are patting the unions on the back, those former union employees are busy losing their jobs and collecting $335/week unemployment.
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Ed Hands

If you despise the unions so much here's an idea...


Go to work 7 days a week 364 days of the year, 12 hours a day until you die.

Like your forebears did and theirs and theirs before them, until people unionised and fought for their human rights.

I was not actually saying Unions walk on water.

American Unions are idiots.

But Detroit management are theives.

I just object to people who pour scorn on unions when they on a DAILY BASIS enjoy the fruits of the last couple of centuries of unionisation.

So either revert to a 17th century workign style or admit that Unions are not the rreason why no one, not even Americans, want your incredibly crappy cars.
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And read up on the situation Greg Palast's book armed mad house catalogues the tricks and double dealing, the govt collusion involved in stealing the pensions of generations of MOTOWNs car workers.
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