One of the most interesting public performances in the automobile industry this year has been the mating cry of Fiat Chrysler’s CEO, Sergio Marchionne. Putting on his best cardigan sweaters, he loudly sounds his repetitive call for a new automotive union — mostly to Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors. Marchionne’s business logic for combining these two automotive behemoths into one is both undeniable and completely irrational.
Americans’ response to federal regulations concerning automobiles has often changed, sometimes in humorous ways. In 1975 all new cars sold in America came with both the new catalytic converter, designed to reduce the harmful emissions known to cause air pollution, and a seat-belt interlock system that kept one from starting an automobile without first buckling up.
The Dodge Dart was first introduced in 1960, and through 1976 it went from full size to midsize to compact. Discontinued after that, it’s now back, a product of the marriage between Chrysler and Italy’s Fiat.