Auto pilot down to the auto show

By Web Master

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Staff Editorial

After dropping thousands of dollars on textbooks

and tuition, possibly the last thing that you want to do is drive your

tin can to Detroit and pay 12 bucks for a ticket to the 2009 North

American International Auto Show.

The loan requested by the

auto industry late last year seems more superfluous than ever in the

wake of Joe College’s latest economic troubles. And their

separate-corporate-jets transportation seems sickening as we drive

through the latest blinding snowstorm.

With that in mind, The

Oakland Post isn’t requesting that you go to the auto show because you

want to. We want you to go because you have to.

Regardless of

whether we’re happy to swallow $34 billion in bridge loans to the Big

Three to pay for mistakes their own management made, we’re not walking

away empty-handed.

American automakers will be using the auto show

as an opportunity to show consumers and the rest of the industry that

they can compete in the global market. There will also be more

breathing room on the showroom room floor as Japanese automakers such

as Nissan, Mitsubishi and Suzuki have all opted out of the NAIAS. But

Chinese automakers, like BYD, will have a greater presence than before.

Maybe the global competition is finally catching up with top

executives, but American automakers seem to be making an effort to

fulfill consumer demand for environmentally-friendly rides.

In

addition to supporting emerging automotive technologies, attending the

NAIAS is also an endorsement of for the men and women that still have

jobs in the American auto industry.

Auto industry layoffs

contributed to the soaring national unemployment rate that hit 7.2

percent last month. According to the Labor Department, the number of

manufacturing jobs was reduced to less than 13 million and the loss of

149,000 factory jobs helped contribute to the worst unemployment rate

since 1945. The future of the American manufacturing industry also

looks grim and it’s being held on to by a thread by American auto

companies.

The automakers need to see that their efforts to

produce eco-friendly vehicles aren’t fruitless and that they are

supported. Many of the zero emissions cars shown are still just

concepts, and may never make production if there isn’t a positive

response from the public.

It isn’t just the concept cars that

are depending on us for a future, it’s the workers too. The direction

that automakers take after the auto show could give laid off employees

the hope of someday getting their jobs back.

Finally,

attending the NAIAS is an endorsement of Detroit as the “Motor City.”

Regardless of who we want to be or who we wish we were, the fact

remains that motor oil has figuratively powered our hometown for almost

a century. Nevermind that the auto companies would benefit by your

ticket dollars, consider the models, caterers, flooring and display

companies whose paychecks are kept above water thanks to the NAIAS.

For

most of us, winter in Detroit is spent in some variation of a bathtub

for six months, whining about melancholia and trying to work up the

motivation to dig our cars out of the snow drift. The NAIAS is the one

constant in Detroit during winter that is a positive influence.

Nobody’s

going to expect that you buy the cars that will be on display. After

all, few short of the auto companies’ CEOs can afford many of them.

However,

we need to show the American auto companies that we are capable of

putting our money where our mouths are in demanding our economy back.

Our pride back.