O.C. Welch of O.C. Welch Ford Lincoln Mercury is upset.
Here's angry O.C.:
Granted, he looks more resigned than angry in that picture. But trust me, he's angry.
O.C. is angry because too many people are buying Toyotas rather than Fords, Lincolns, Mercuries, Yugos, oxcarts, and Schwinn bicycles. No, I made the last three up. It's just about the Fords, Lincolns, and Mercuries.
O.C. wants you to know that Japanese cars are Japanese and are probably made of seaweed and Pearl Harbor and will kill your family, and that people who buy them hate America and are responsible for the depression. He's running radio ads to tell you:
"All you people that buy all your Toyotas and send that money to Japan, you know, when you don't have a job to make your Toyota car payment, don't come crying to me," Welch says in the ad. "All those cars are rice ready. They're not road ready."
Inasmuch as Toyota has had consistently strong safety records, it seems O.C.'s comment is more a slur than a technological argument. Also, apparently the employees in Toyota plants in America are paid in imaginary money.
O.C. also wants you to know that things made by the Japanese smell funny:
"One thing I wanna ask you, with those Japanese cars. Even when they are brand new, how come they don't smell like a new car? "
O.C. is the perfect spokesman for the modern American car industry — semi-coherent, nativist, protectionist, generally hostile to the free market, and ready to recycle 80s-era racial tropes.
Toyota and other foreign car makers have not been doing better because Americans hate American companies and American workers. They've been doing better because for decades they've provided a product that people like better, and because they have been more agile and responsive to trends and needs. A lot of that has to do with Toyota and other foreign car makers providing more quality, safety, efficiency, and innovation. By contrast, the Big Three have had to be dragged, kicking and screaming, into every technological development that wasn't a variation on the concepts "could we make it bigger?" and "what if we added more chrome?" Some of them — including Ford, to be fair — have made strides in areas like safety recently, but they're laboring under the weight of their history of sluggishness and stubborn insistence that people should buy what they want to make rather than vice versa.
Capitalism is about people innovating to make the best and most attractive product in order to make the most money. O.C.'s surrogate argument for the Big Three — that people ought to buy American rather than help those dirty foreigners, no matter what the merits of the products — is not only racist, it's fundamentally un-American. Congrats to O.C. for being both racist and un-American without membership in moveon.org, which I had assumed was compulsory.
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