| |Saturday, Sep. 21, 2013
In December of this year it will have been 40 years since I first entered the automobile industry. The timing of my career also created my first object lesson in the power of the Texas economy; nationally car sales had reached their all time record high of 14.57 million vehicles that year, only to collapse to 11.54 million vehicles in 1974 after the First Energy Crisis. Saudi Arabia’s oil embargo against the industrialized countries that supported Israeli in the 1973 war had put Detroit in serious trouble, and the media got that right. But the news completely missed the fact that 1974’s new car sales were within 10,000 vehicles of 1969’s sales figure — which had been their high point in that decade.
|Friday, Sep. 13, 2013
A few weeks ago here I discussed how the city of Detroit has been dying ever since 1950, even though the 60s and 70s were the Detroit automakers’ Golden Age. Last week stories abounded on how Volkswagen’s workers in Tennessee may vote to join the United Auto Workers union, although VW’s major interest seems to be creating at their U.S. plant a workers’ council patterned after the cooperative agreements between labor and management in Wolfsburg. GOP Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee and the state’s Governor Bill Haslam couldn’t join the debate fast enough, warning that unionizing VW’s plant could damage the South’s ability to attract other auto manufacturers’ production facilities in the future.