Obama's Auto Industry Repair Dream Team
Of course there's more to a vehicle than the power plant, so I've picked Ralph Lauren to oversee styling. Here's a guy that has great taste and a car collection that rivals Leno's. Even small, inexpensive cars could have style and elegance that might help ward off the feeling that we had to take this poverty thing too seriously.
When Steve Jobs recovers his health, he would be the perfect pick for the driver/vehicle interaction, a function that's currently labeled multimedia interface. No one would be better able to direct a team to make the instrumentation, navigation, phone, and entertainment work without hours of practice and endless menus to click and point through. And it would look smart and contemporary.
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has embraced the environment with a giant bear hug, so he'll be in charge of fuel economy and pollution. As part of his responsibilities, the former terminator will have to drive whatever mean, green machine he mandates. In other words, he can't ride around in big Ford Crown Vics, Hummers, and Lincoln Town Cars while demanding that the rest of us leave a tiny carbon footprint.
We keep hearing about how car buyers would rather get a root canal than visit a dealership. So to change this dynamic, I've selected John Nordstrom to not only enhance the shopping experience, but to assure that the sales staff is fashionably attired. Under Nordstrom, if for any reason you aren't pleased with your purchase, just bring it back for a cheerful refund. How's that for painless?
We'll need to finance all this, so Warren Buffett will be recruited to handle the money. With Buffett aboard, we won't need those obstinate banks or the former captive financial arms like GMAC that don't want to make car loans these days. Warren can lend the money directly and make a reasonable return on his capital.
So there you have it. My simple yet elegant solution to an auto industry restructuring board. Of course there's no way the administration will buy into the plan. Beltway panels are picked for politics, not skill, so we'll get a gaggle of connected pundits from the Obama team. If there's any good news from D.C., it's that a couple of administration choices, including Ron Bloom, are tough negotiators. But they're up against a variety of competing interests that are all well represented and politically connected. This whole affair should be entertaining to watch, unless you're a Detroit car executive.