18 September 2006

What Can American Automakers Learn from Jesus?

When the going gets tough, the tough get mergers and acquisitions. That's the latest idea from the boardrooms of Ford and GM:

Senior executives at General Motors Corp. and Ford Motor Co. have discussed a merger or alliance, industry newspaper Automotive News reported on Monday.

So let me get this straight: two struggling companies that are consistently behind the curve in terms of quality, engineering and technology are talking about merging? Interesting. Isn't that like one stupid person deciding that the best way to conceive an intelligent child is to couple with another stupid person?

It sounds more like a plan to pad boardroom bonuses than a plan to save the the companies.

And in bitterfunny irony, the Ford-GM story is followed by this about Toyota:

Toyota Motor Corp. is quickening its quest to unseat ailing rival General Motors Corp. as the world's biggest automaker and widen its lead over Ford Motor Co. with reported plans to boost overseas production by 40 percent to 5 million vehicles by 2008 and blueprints for higher output in North America.

Tough times, indeed. Maybe Ford and GM should take a page out of the evangelical marketing plan and inculcate consumers when they're young and brainwashable:

Speaking in tongues, weeping for salvation, praying for an end to abortion and worshipping a picture of President Bush -- these are some of the activities at Pastor Becky Fischer's Bible camp in North Dakota...

This camp is, by many accounts, a small -- and perhaps extreme -- slice of what some say is a growing, intensifying evangelical youth movement.

Over the past decade and a half, enrollment at Christian colleges is up 70 percent. Sales of Christian music are up 300 percent. Tens of thousands of youth pastors have been trained.

You see? THAT'S how you get people to buy a product that doesn't work.


Anonymous said...

Saturday's NYT had a thoroughly depressing piece about the relationship between the American automotive big three and their dealers. The manufacturers are at the mercy of the dealers and the franchise laws, making it prohibitively expensive to drop poorly performing badges such as Buick and Mercury. The only possible good that might come out of this is national recognition of the need to uncouple health benefits (which add significantly to the cost of the GM car you don't want to buy) and employers.

I can't bear to open the evangelical sales plan.

KatieG said...

actually, a unified Detroit in the automotive world just may salvage both these companies. obviously, both have some serious problems that won't disappear just because you've joined those problems together under one roof...

as i watch the Ford stock drop to single digits, i'm willing to give them credit for any ideas to stop the bleeding...

can't wait to see this movie!

steve-o said...

First, well put about the merger. I have this demented life-long loyalty to Ford but bought my wife a Nissan Altima a couple years back. I'm the first person in my family to ever have bought an import. And I might never go back. These two companies don't need an engagement; they need an enema.

As far as the whole Jesus Camp thing, I'm pretty embarrassed by it. As a minister I continually find myself having to differentiate between my view of the Christian faith and this wacked out version that we're going to see in the movie. While inter-denominational rifts are evaporating, there are constantly new ones being created among those Christians who claim to be evangelical Christian [8 years of seminary and still not sure what that means].

She's taken some criticism, but Rosie O'Donnell might have hit it on the button in her recent comments on the View: radical Christianity can be just as dangerous as radical Islam.

Wes said...

As someone with tons of ministers (conservative ministers, natch) in his family, I gotta say that what passes for theological study in fundamentalist Christianity these days is weak, weak, weak. The denomination in which I was brought up (church of Christ) doesn't even require ANY training or seminary of its ministers and is STILL more developed theologically and logically than the megachurches.

It's touchy-feely new-agey self-help tied to a political machine and coated with a facsimile of faith. Really. And Rosie is right on.


WestEnder said...

It's touchy-feely new-agey self-help tied to a political machine and coated with a facsimile of faith.

It's certainly a perfect description Joel "smiiiiile" Osteen.