Time to become more worldly?
Gas guzzling. Americans love gas-guzzling, as our big gas-guzzlers make us feel both safe and strong. Unfortunately, our gas-guzzling also makes us dependent upon oil from foreign countries where the US is not well liked.
Perhaps even more worrisome, however, our big gas-guzzlers are an ever-dying trend that is beginning to resonate a little less in America, while making no sense at all in the ever-important emerging markets.
Emerging markets? Just a few decades ago, the US auto market was the only market that mattered.
In fact, GM has sold more cars in China so far this year than in the US. And crowded, emerging markets, such as India, saw auto sales jump 31 percent in June. Yet, the potential of both China and India has barely been tapped.
As the auto markets in China and India emerge, however, they will evolve into something less and less similar to the current American market, as our automotive landscape devolves into a junkyard of irrelevant and inefficient autos. Inevitably, not only do Americans consume a significant amount of the world's oil, we do so in a grossly inefficient manner that isn't sustainable outside the US, or in the US for that matter.
Thus, the average US autoworker, for instance, is building vehicles that don't make any sense in the markets of the future, but at least they are profitable, for now.
Certainly, smaller, worldly cars are less profitable, and less coveted by Americans. In terms of profits, however, scale increased by emerging markets might offer the ability to change those dynamics. In just a decade, for example, the Chinese market could become much larger than the US market, with other emerging markets not far behind. Consequently, might it not be wise to produce more Made in America cars and parts that translate outside of America?
Nevertheless, the real hard part is getting consumers to rethink the automobile. Taxes and regulations might help, but acting too aggressively or too quickly in such a manner would probably only incite the people against the government. Unfortunately, however, is there any other way?
Can the US consumer be sold a new vision for the automotive future and possibly even more important, do Big 3 automakers even want to sell that story today?