Your Thoughts On Detroit

The Core Belief

In response to my Friday post on Detroit, John O’Brien, a dear old friend, occasional guest blogger and auto industry employee sent this response.  I was struck by the date that John set for the end of the auto industry.  Scary stuff.

While written with Gerald Ford in mind, I think the appropriate song may be James Brown’s “Funky President (People It’s Bad).” The title alone says a lot.

Having spent my childhood elsewhere, I was never ingrained with the local mindset, pining for the good old days and taking pride in “the arsenal of democracy.” (Did you know Detroit won the war? The argument holds water, to a point.)

The sad truth is that the good old days of the auto business are long gone. A trade mag once pinned the official end as somewhere in early 1974. Few, if any, of those still employed today can remember the good times first-hand.

Sadder still is that the old days are not coming back. Give Detroit’s automakers 90% of a 16 millioin unit market, and employment might reach 200,000, far short of the 1.5 million of the 70s.

The city’s been in a constant state of “better days, coming soon” for decades now. As per your previous post, hope springs eternal. Ask any Cubs fan



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