Cars Canada

November 10th, 2008 by Potato

Things are bad in the automotive sector. GM and Chrysler seem to be circling the drain, and Ford is not far behind. Toyota’s profits were down massively, though it was still at least a profit.

The “domestic” automakers are approaching any government they can for bail-outs, and it gets me thinking. If they’re nearly bankrupt anyway, and our government is going to foot the bill (and is owed hundreds of millions in dollars in loans already)… why not buy out (or repossess) a few different Canadian factories from different automakers and create a Crown corporation to make Canadian cars? It would give the government the stability in the auto sector that they seem willing to pay through the nose to get, and without the leasing/executive arm, there might even be some decent cost savings (though CAW would probably just rape a government negotiator). Plus the government can fast-track those hybrids it kept trying to get the automakers to build in Ontario.

If you’ll recall way back to 2006, the Ontario govenrment was quietly trying to get the car manufacturers to build hybrids in Ontario. CTV broke the story of Ford agreeing to build their Edge hybrid here before Ford had finished designing it (and the long-promised edge and fusion hybrids still aren’t on the market). Ontario offered R&D assistance, too. Part of it was to encourage more activity to take place here, but a good part of it was to foster a move away from guzzlers. The government was offering to pay up to $10 million, which would be matched funding of 1/3 for any research or design project into alternative fuels and transportation, where the research was conducted in connection with an Ontario university. I don’t have the exact results of that program, but I recall that none of the automakers took the government up on their offer.

All this leads me to think that just maybe the Ontario government is more qualified to run a car company than the yahoos running GM, Ford and Chrysler.

One Response to “Cars Canada”

  1. Potato Says:

    Jeffery Simpson had a good article in the Globe that no bailout money should go to automakers that can’t be directly traced to making more fuel efficient cars.