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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

NASCAR fans, prepare for the possibility of just one U.S. automaker

For those of you who haven’t heard, it appears GM and Chrysler are engaging in somewhat serious talks about some sort of merger or acquisition, depending on the details that they might come to an agreement on.

It’s no secret the entire auto industry is reeling due to the global economic downturn and sales numbers are way down, particularly in the U.S., and more and more people are being laid off every year.

With all of this economic turmoil, it may be inevitable that some of the U.S. Big 3 automakers end up merging, even if these current talks don’t lead to anything.

And if you follow that logic, it’s conceivable that if the economy stays down for a while, we could end up with one giant company (let’s call it U.S. Auto Corp.) that basically produces all American cars.

I know this is an extreme example and might not happen for a long time, if ever, but don’t discount it as impossible. And were it to come to pass, the effects on NASCAR could be massive.

Right now, one of the major reasons people root for a certain driver or car is their brand loyalty. They’re die-hard GM fans, or dedicated Ford or Dodge fans.

If one firm controlled all American car makes, the sense of being dedicated to one manufacturer wouldn’t make much sense anymore -- even if individual nameplates were kept on the road.

That’s fine by me, as I root for drivers and teams based on the personalities involved, and really could not care less what kind of car they are driving.

But when I imagine a NASCAR race with 20 U.S. Auto cars, 12 Toyotas and 11 Hondas/Nissans, I can also picture some fans not too happy with that situation. There are a lot of race fans who are very dedicated to a specific automaker, and this would be a big adjustment to how they watched the sport.

By no means do I want this doomsday scenario to happen, as the Detroit area and the U.S. in general would likely see massive layoffs if any mergers among the Big 3 happened -- and that’s the absolute last thing we need with the current state of the economy.

But after seeing these rumors of the GM-Chrysler merger, and also hearing that GM was originally talking to Ford about a merger, I’ve come to realize nothing is impossible if this economy doesn‘t start to look up. Coke could merge with Pepsi, the airlines could all become one, and U.S. Auto Corp. could be a reality somewhere down the line.

And NASCAR fans would have to adjust a whole new reality if that ever happened.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I cannot imagine how much quality and innovation would fall if all U.S. auto manufacturers were part of the same corporation. They can't keep up now... just imagine if they all were guided by the same 'standards'.

Nascar would become U.S. vs the World and the world would dominate.

October 15, 2008 at 6:57 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

fact is the cars are nascars design.
the engines are nascar dictated as
to performance. the factory factor is only financial. true stock car racing
was killed long ago by nascar. The
real drivers may still be driving or
around but they cant say how lousy
these car are because it would be b
nascar definition determental to the
sport with penalties to follow.

October 15, 2008 at 7:58 AM 
Anonymous Robert said...

You won't see Nissan racing anywhere, as long as Carlos Ghosn runs Renault/Nissan.

You also won't see Honda in NASCAR, ever. They've made it very clear that they don't race where a sanctioning body predetermines race outcomes.

Chrysler is gone. Period. The only question is who gets what pieces.

The same is true for GM, but its collapse won't be as immediate.

Ford has more operating capital than the other US automakers and has the best chance of being the winner of the Made-in-the-USA market niche.

The spoiler, of course, is Toyota, with their zero percent financing. They smell blood in the water and are eager to finish off Chrysler and GM.

October 15, 2008 at 8:28 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You said "no way do I want this doomsday senario to happen." I heartily agree. No way I wanted my home value to decrease by 30%, & 50% of my IRA to simply vanish either, but both have happened.
As individuals, & as a nation, what happens in NA$CAR. May soon be the least of our worries.
When, (not if) GM seeks Ch. 11 protection. All labor agreements, for both current, & retired workers will be void. Impacting the pay, & retirement benifits of hundreds of thousands of people.
I'm afraid NA$CAR won't even be a blip on the radar.


October 15, 2008 at 10:20 AM 
Blogger Matt Myftiu said...


Unfortunately, what you say is very true about the uncertainty the Big 3's troubles present for all Americans.

I'm of the mindset that we should be very fortunate every day for what we have ... because you never know what's next. A lot of people can't worry about who won the race, as they can't even afford a TV and cable, so they can't even watch it.

Those of us who can should be thankful, and just hope for the best.

October 15, 2008 at 10:41 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What do you mean one U.S. car manufacturer? the ford focus is made in mexico and the chevys and dodges are made in canada, the only american made car is the toyota, its made in kentucky

October 15, 2008 at 10:45 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe they can make all the cars in one place and put stickers on them so we can tell them apart.
We have nobody to blame but ourselves the USA has sold out to the highest bidder and is losing it's soul. The Wall Street philosophy has taken over every publicly traded corporation, Their philosophy is lets rip off the customer and our employees the creditors the government and make the next quarter as profitable as possible get my bonus and raise the stock price sell it and get out and let someone else clean up the mess.

October 15, 2008 at 3:00 PM 

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