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how dare they? indianapolis buys 85 camry hybrids!

December 9, 2008

the indianapolis star posted a piece on friday that i would like to comment on.  the mayor’s office announced on friday that they had contracted to purchase 85 vehicles for the police department.  they are to be used by “police detectives and administrators.”   after narrowing down their options, the two choices they chose from were the malibu hybrid from chevy and the camry hybrid from toyota.  the mayors office chose the camry.  with the well documented problems the “big 3” are going through, vocal locals have been very loud with their protests.  since friday, many folks from the area are livid about the decision to go with the foreign vehicle that has a higher price tag.

there are two main arguments that i’ve heard and i intend to comment on them.

first, the lesser of the two arguments, and the one that i’ve heard less about.  local democrats are upset saying that the mayor’s office is frivolously wasting taxpayor’s money.  the basis of their argument is that the camry is costing upfront $1,700 more than the malibu would.  their calling for a formal inquiry to see if there was any misconduct.  they are also alleging that purchase was made because the dealership’s owner has been known to give to the republican party.

the second indy star article that i linked to spells out the “defense” pretty well and i don’t really have anything to add.  it’s just so stupid that some people find it necessary to try to discredit members of the other party.  there is a time and a place for that sort of thing, but not in this situation.  i’m sure that before it’s said and done, mayor ballard will try to do something that will be much more controversial than this.  when he does, then go after him.  but when he chooses a vehicle that only costs $1,700 more, but gets much better gas milage, has a lower cost of ownership, can be delivered quicker, and looks better (of course the last one is just my opinion), what is there to complain about?  why don’t they work on something else.  there is plenty of work that needs to be done on the mass transit proposals, city infrastructure, crime prevention, etc.  indy democrats – stop wasting your time and do something productive.

second, and much more vocal, is the mass of people who are up in arms about the government purchasing foreign vehicles and therefore not supporting american and hoosier workers.

seriously?  really?  you are mad at the mayor because he made a fiscally responsible decision, choosing the better deal on the better car?  local friends of the automakers are mad because gm has a plant in indianapolis that makes parts for the malibu.  they contend that by not purchasing the malibu, the mayor’s office is contributing to the uaw workers losing their jobs even quicker than what is at this point inevitable.

here is my take plain and simple – there are lots of americans who like and are loyal to the american brands.  that’s great.  but there are even more who have owned an american car, have fussed with an american car, have hauled their car to the shop, paid for unnecessary repairs, and have experienced a higher price of ownership on a car that depreciate faster than many foreign cars.    for years the big 3 had produced the better car and americans responded with the purchasing decisions.  when the big 3 became complacent and decided they didn’t need to try any longer, the american consumers responded with their purchasing decisions.  it’s that easy.  instead of complaining that people won’t buy your cars, build better ones!  this is consumer based capitalistic economics 101.  apparently, it is easier for the big 3 to rely on their employees’ ability to bully rather than their employees’ ability to think innovative.

i thought it would be fun  to play a quick math game (i love being a nerd!).  the uaw workers in indianapolis are upset because their companies are in such dire straits that they must ask the government for $25,000,000,000 and the local government thinks that now is the time to buy a foreign brand.  they talk as though those 85 vehicles are essential to keeping gm afloat.  so i got to thinking.  let’s say, for arguments sake, that all of the $24,000 from the sale of the hybrid malibu goes straight to gm’s bank.  let’s see what that would do.  85 malibu’s at $24,000 per totals $2,040,000.  at that rate – again assuming that each of those dollars goes straight to gm – it would take only 12,255 more purchases of the same size to give the big 3 the amount of money they are asking for from the federal government.

wow.

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One comment

  1. As a huge buick fan, I am on pins and needled with this whole bailout thing. Hopefully it all ends well. I can’t believe the governement is buying toyata one day and bailing out the big three the next, makes no sense at all!



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