I had the privilege to be the keynote speaker last week at the 2009 Auto Summit, which kicks off the annual Denver Auto Show. They asked to speak about my idea for a $10,000 tax credit for all buyers of cars manufactured by GM, Ford and Chrysler.
Joining me on stage was Mr. John Medved, President and CEO of Medved Autoplex, a long established chain of car dealerships here in Colorado. Medved is the Colorado Automobile Dealers Association Dealer of the Year and simply put; one great guy.
The timing could not have been more opportune. About an hour prior to our presentation, President Obama announced his plans for both GM and Chrysler, essentially keeping them on a very tight leash.
President Obama officially announced the termination of GM CEO Rick Wagoner plus giving GM 60 days; and Chrysler 30 days to come up with restructuring plans before anymore bailout money would be made available to either company. The President also announced that Chrysler must merge with Fiat.
When did they add CEO to the POTUS job description?
The President didn’t mention about asking Detroit what government could do to actually help them sell cars. He did say the government would “back-up” warranties if you buy a car. Bet that will get you to a showroom.
President Obama is getting all his advice from people who know nothing about business or the American Automobile industry. After spending quality time talking on stage with John Medved, it struck me just what government is missing out on when it listens to bureaucrats instead of people like John Medved.
John’s dad worked on an assembly line back in Michigan for 37 years. John himself started out working the line before coming west to start his car business. His background is pure blue collar. He built up his business with grit, determination and plain old hard work. He’s an incredible businessman, who despite all the challenges facing the industry somehow is keeping the doors of his business open.
He agrees with me that the solution to getting the car business and our economy going again is sales. People aren’t buying because there is no incentive for them to buy. No sales mean no business.
Sales on the other hand mean business. It means creating more jobs. It means getting the economic blood flowing again.
John shared some staggering numbers. The industry is selling about half the cars it did compared to just two years ago. America is actually junking more cars than buying them!
I’ve blogged numerous times, and opined in numerous Op-Ed’s that the issue isn’t quality. Detroit makes great cars. Consumers simply need an incentive to buy. John Medved agrees. Give people a good reason to buy, and they’ll do just that.
John’s been to Washington. He’s a smart man. His ideas however, are falling on deaf ears. He’s just one of hundreds of “Main Street CEO’s” government isn’t listening to. I’m going to Washington next month to give it a try. Wish me luck.
I know, you see the photo-ops of business leaders supposedly meeting with government leaders. It’s all just “grip and grins,” But it’s the bureaucrats who call the shots. Not the people who live and breathe free enterprise. Or what’s left of it.
Until government realizes the tremendous resource it has in people like John Medved, we’re going to be stuck in neutral for a long time.
Washington. Listen. Please.
John W. Scherer
John is CEO and Founder of Video Professor, Inc.You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org