Sunday, September 24, 2006

Revealed! The Crank's secret plan to end the American automobile industry crisis – with an assist from the CIA

Look at the headlines, man. It’s disgusting.

At the height of the spring selling season, GM sales declined sharply.

Not to mention Ford. When Ford effectively fires a member of the Ford family from the CEO spot, as they recently did to Bill Ford, (He said he resigned, but hey, do you really suppose he did it voluntarily?) you gotta know the outhouse is overflowing.

Chrysler’s sales are also in horrid shape and its use of its Chairman, Dr. Dieter Zetsche (“Dr. Z” to you) are an advertising industry joke.

Meanwhile, Toyota, Honda and other Asian and European competitors in the automobile market are eating the America's lunch – such as there is of lunch these days.

So what’s a poor American automaker to do? I’m so glad you asked.


I’ve discovered a huge, hungry market for American automobiles. It’s a market where former buyers of American cars have purchased nearly no automobiles at all for the past 47 or so years. That’s what I said. No automobiles. None, nada, zero. You guessed it.

I’m talking about Cuba.

Car ownership there is frozen at its 1958 level. Well, not exactly frozen. It has actually gone down a tiny bit over the past 48 years or so, from 24 to 23 automobiles per 1,000 inhabitants. That’s right. Twenty-three humans per car.

Meanwhile, the existing automotive rolling stock in Cuba looks like a cross between an antique car rally and the junkyard behind Rent-A-Wreck. If you don’t believe me, check this out:

It’s not that the Cubans aren’t trying. They’ve restored, and re-restored, and re-re-re-re-restored every American car on the Island. As one Cuban down there said recently, “It’s like living in a museum.”

So what’s with this ridiculous embargo on sending automobiles to Cuba – an embargo that we’ve had in force for nearly half a century? It hasn’t unseated Castro. It hasn’t made Cuba any more, or less Democratic. It hasn't done squat. Except for one thing.

The embargo’s only achievement will be to make 23 out of every 1,000 Cubans pretty well off if they ever get to sell their antique clunkers on the U.S. classic car market.


According to the CIA Factbook, -- Listen, I know the CIA is a bunch of dunderheads when it comes to intelligence on terrorists, but presumably they know how to crib census figures from the Cuban government – there are 11,346,670 Cubans living in Cuba.

If we simply sold a replacement Ford, Chevy or Dodge to every car-owning Cuban, and if my arithmetic is correct, America’s automakers could sell 206,973 cars – close to a quarter of a million of them! – to the Cubans next year.


And if we shut down the embargo completely, allowing Cubans to make as much money as, say, the Argentinians who own 129 cars per 1,000 inhabitants, US automakers could sell over 1, 463,720 cars to Cuba next year.

That would save thousands of Detroit jobs, provide a huge shot in the arm for automobile company stockholders, and rescue the sorry butts of future Bill Fords and wannabe actors like “Dr. Z” at Chrysler-Daimler.


How will Cubans be able to afford American cars with sticker prices of, say, $20,000 and up? Simply by trading in their old wrecks, which may fetch $100,000 or more each on the classic car market in the USA.

It’ll be a bonanza for the folks who restore cars. And for classic car dealers. And for American automobile workers. And for stockholders in Ford, GM and Daimler-Chrystler. And for the whole stock market.

So write to your Congressman. Tell that lazy hack that you want to lift the embargo against Cuba. If you're the cautious type, go halfway. Tell your Congressperson you don't want to lift the whole embargo. Just the embargo on automobile trade. If you don't want to explain the whole thing, just copy and paste this article into an e-mail to your Congressional representative and Senators.

Remember, there are strong odds that your free trade-boosting Congresssloth is only in favor of free trade when it’s free trade he happens to like. Make him put his vote where his big slobbering mouth is.

Cuba libre? Maybe not yet. But let’s at least save American auto makers and liberate the trade in automobiles.

1 comment:

bjbarron said...

And it ain't just automobiles.

When Cuba is opened to Western markets, they will have a renaissance that will amaze the world.

They are a wonderful example of what a controlled economy does to a nation. Not a perfect example, that’s Kampuchea…and we all know what happened there. My hope is that Cubans haven't been irrevocably damaged by living in a workers paradise, and can get back to being the industrious people they were.