The Auto Industry and Americans
It??™s a typical day for my family. Dad wakes up early in the morning and gets ready to go to work. Mom prepares breakfast, as she gets ready for her days work of watching the kids. Meanwhile, the kids are getting ready up stairs for their school day. As they all prepare to leave and depart their own ways, they have to remember their most important things, things like wallets, purses, book bags, and the most important of all car keys. Without the car keys, there is no way of getting to their destinations. Cars are essential for my family to work. Without them, there would be no way of going to school, no way of going to that place this weekend, no way of getting to work, no way of getting to the grocery store, no way of my parents seeing me play basketball, there would be no way of doing practically anything. After all, cars are essential for my dad to have a job, he sells auto insurance. Cars makes up who I am and what I am able to do. Unlike many cultures where the majority of people use methods of transportation like riding bicycles, taking trains, or buses, American typically rely on their own vehicles, vehicles that make up who they are, and make up their economy as a whole. The auto industry in America reflects our culture by means our tastes, needs, history, and even our current economic times.
The United States is home to the largest passenger vehicle market of any country in the world. Overall, there were an estimated 254.4 million registered passenger vehicles according to a 2007 DOT study. There are more cars on the road than licensed drivers. The question is what makes the automotive such a big part of American life, why do Americans have to have so many cars of all different sorts of varieties Not only do we have more cars than any other countries, but also the variety of cars we have is limitless. People in the United States have such a wide variety of choices from all over the world. There are cars made more directly for women, there are cars for the snow, there are cars for the speeders, there are different types of cars for every type of person. The vehicle selection in the United States represents the variety and different type of people that the United States has. A person in the United States has the opportunity to buy a car from almost any given country given their selected tastes. As Americans tune into their television sets everyday, they see millions of dollars in advertisements for such a wide range of vehicles.
The question to first look at is what makes up the need for the automobiles in America. Why do Americans typically have more cars than other place in the world The first answer is obvious that were a big country. In most other countries one person can walk to the grocery store or they could walk within a couple blocks to get any other things that they needed. Take for example the country of China. Majority of Chinese people still rely on their bicycles to get around. The Chinese culture consists of transporting their daily goods on baskets on their bikes compared to the large trunk space that is so demanded in America. The Chinese simply are not used to or even need for such a big vehicle. In a country of so many people, it would do nothing but cause more traffic in their market areas. In America, every thing tends to be more spread out. The typical American in the United States needs to drive to get all these things. It??™s a completely different lay out than other country. We have our cities, suburbs, and then the country. People in the U.S. rely on their vehicles to get them to their desired destinations any time of the day. It??™s not that American doesn??™t have any other options such a public transportation to get around, but the automobile is a sort of sign of independence and its more American like. According to the department of transportation, 70% of Americans chose to drive to work. Even though certain states have tried to change this by having things like the carpool lane, the majority of Americans like having their own cars. It??™s their own sense of independence.
In a world of glamour and fame, cars today also do a serious job in reflecting wealth and class, but they also do a good job in reflecting the person who is behind the wheel. With such a wide variety of cars on the market, people have many choices and options for the type of vehicle they want based upon their needs. People have many options of upgrading to have navigation, having a sunroof, and all these other options that are offered. Car selections for Americans are so diverse because every person has such a wide range of their own tastes. There are cars for the moms who need more space and passenger capacity while they are safe for a whole family. There are other cars made for people who enjoy superior handling and performance. These cars tend to be more expensive and reflect the person who is trying to portray their wealth more. There are also cars for people who like to have a lot of space such a pick up trucks. These people tend to be more blue collar because it is better for their selected jobs when it requires them to be able to hull large supplies. The variety of cars in America is far more than any other country.
What makes the automobile so versatile is that it allows people to select where they want to be, live, and work. Because of the automobile, people are able to live farther and farther away from the big cities and suburbs began to boom up all over the country. People were now able commute from suburbs to central cities, to make intercity trips, and to take scenic trips through the states. The automobile allowed people to branch out of the large and crowded cities and it allowed people to have more options regarding the location of where they wanted to live. The automobile greatly benefited farmers because they were now able to connect with a larger region and it created more competition. The automobile allowed the many different cultures and subcultures to connect in the United States. No matter what type of person you were or your job, the automobile was something that could be used. After World War 1, the need for automobiles and trucking was a huge part of the United States. The country was able to get more soldiers and ship supplies nationwide at the time. This helped bring our country together and soldiers from all parts participated in the war. It was a culture blend.
What makes the U.S. such a good place to have an automobile is our means of roads. It was our Government that passed legislation to fund, survey, and construct the roads that we use everyday. The United States is composed of the largest network of highways in the world. Roads in our country served as a large purpose than any other networks in the world. Today businesses number one goal is to find a central location, which provides easy access to people and commuters. The roads in America are the reason for such a good network with business and everyday life. As the writer of the book, America , said in 1989, regarding the use of roads and our culture, Jean Buadrillard said, ???the point is to drive. All this creates a new experience of space, and, at the same time, a new experience of the whole social system. All you need to know about American society can be gleaned from anthropology of its driving behaviour. Drive ten thousand miles across America and you will know more about the country than all the institutes of sociology and political science put together???. Take for example the old Route 66, back then it was such a historic road and symbolized the freedom and mobility that people used to have when they travel. They enjoyed their slower pace of life and the enjoyment and thrill of being on the road traveling. Today, highways are composed of many lanes that reflect the faster pace that Americans typically live today. They need to get where they??™re going as fast as possible. The American pace is a lot faster than most other countries.
The origin of the car goes way back to the late 17th century where steam engines were starting to be developed and configured. It wasn??™t until the 1800??™s that the cars began to be powered by internal combustion engines. As many people around the world began to build these early automobiles in the 19th century, none of the methods created a cheap and efficient way of producing these automobiles so that they would be marketable to the average American family. It wasn??™t until the great brilliance and dedication of Henry Ford creating an efficient production method that the automobile industry would be forever changed. The Model T set 1908 as the year of the automobile in America. It was regarded that it was the automobile that ???put America on wheels???. As the CEO and founder of Ford Motors, Henry Ford said of the vehicle, ???I will build a car for the great multitude. It will be large enough for the family, but small enough for the individual to run and care for. It will be constructed of the best materials, by the best men to be hired, after the simplest designs that modern engineering can devise. But it will be so low in price that no man making a good salary will be unable to own one??”and enjoy with his family the blessing of hours of pleasure in Gods great open spaces.” The Model T was an innovation for all of America and even around the world. Industries in other countries worked hard to duplicate the methods that Henry Ford used to create this incredible innovation. The Model T was an American Icon. It was the car that made life a lot easier for the majority of Americans. From the very beginning American??™s made the car part of their culture and they used it to help build the American image. The Model T represented a whole new way of life for Americans back than. It not only symbolized wealth and prosperity, but it symbolized pride and innovation in our country. It was a car that middle class Americans could afford and rely on. It was very serviceable and it was able to travel on roads that were not that good like they were back then. The Model T was the automotive that helped our culture take off back then and we would stand by it for decades to come.
Americans would stand by their cars for decades to come. The American auto industry was doing great by the years and the economy really relied on it. Entrepreneurs of our culture were finding ways and ideas that revolved around America??™s fast pace lifestyle and needs with their cars. What not a better idea than the drive thru It was an American thing that even today we use all the time. The fast food era kicked in right around the time there were enough cars on the road. Other ideas included drive in movie theatres were Americans would love watching movies from their cars on a nice summer day. One can even recall many movies with famous actors standing next to their shiny cars with a cigarette in their mouths. The American culture and way of life correlated with our automobiles everywhere. Everything they did and had to do, most likely revolved around the use of it. Other industries that were branched off the auto industry were doing just as well. Industries like insurance were booming as more and more people bought cars. Whether they knew it or not, chances were that the auto industry played a big role in their lives regardless if they drove that much or not. It was the legs of our lives socially and economically.
Today, cars continue on to make up such an important part of American life. Thousands of businesses still relate to the way Americans rely on their cars, but there is one thing that is quickly changing with their regards to the automobile. Americans today have lost trust in the same companies that had been there for them in the very beginning. Companies like GM are doing worse than ever. Chrysler basically does not hold existence anymore. People in America have now looked more overseas when they look towards the purchase of their new car. They have chosen Japanese models over American models where their own people work. This has not been just an issue for the Auto industry, but other industries as well. Americans seem to have that pride like they used to about their own products and are sending their money overseas to other nations. It??™s also important to remember that they are hurting their own families they make choices like this. Look for example what happened to the economy in Detroit. Thousands of people were out of work and the economy is suffering horribly. People no longer have money to support their families and the city is feeling a large amount of pressure because of the poverty. It is a clear understanding that industries need to clear up, ???with unemployment rates in Detroit and its suburbs at 14 percent, the highest of any major metropolitan area,??? (Fischer, 1). Towns near Detroit are taking a heavy toll in these economic times. It??™s sad to think that where it all started and originated the rest of the country is letting it down. During the recent bailouts, many Americans high chastised and criticized the amount of money that went to bailout these companies, but after all it??™s the American way. Many Americans do little to change where their tax dollars are spent. When the average employee makes 40 dollars and hour at Toyota, the average GM employee makes 76 dollars. The unions, which are historically very American, have contributed to these problems. The present day culture of Americans has failed the American auto industry. It??™s our jobs as citizens to help protect it so it will be here for generations to come.
As the new decade begins to shine in the light of the auto industry, engineers and experts are looking more towards the future of what the world will be. It??™s obvious that Americans will always enjoy the comfort of big space in their cars, but they know that increasing gas prices will keeps them from always buying them. ??? Cash for Clunkers???, a program financed through the government where they gave subsidies to people who bought better gas mileage cars turned out to be a huge success. Americans are turning into more fuel-efficient users. Americans are drawn to help saving energy and using less fuel, which saves them thousands of dollars. Companies like GM and Ford are also working on new profound and reliable fuel-efficient vehicles. AS Larry Burns, GM vice president for research and development and planning said, ???It is a logical next step on the long road to a hydrogen-based economy.??? Americans are waiting for the biggest break point that is yet to come, but they know that Americans will always stand by their industries.
From the very beginning to our present day culture, the auto industry has forever changed our lives. It has helped make up the American culture and has helped gradually improve the lives of all. The automobile helps signify everything Americans do and it has helped spread out culture through different boundaries. Whether it??™s our style or preference the car we drive says a lot about us as the person. It shows our class, wealth, or simply our attitudes about everyday life. Automobiles are something that everyone in America can share with each other and it has helped make up our economy as a whole. Even though over the past decade Americans have lost trust in our own industry, it??™s important to remember that the lack of trust in our own will only hurts ourselves and the others around us. Driving a car is an American thing; it??™s a tradition, something that Americans live by everyday. .Even though changes are being taken place because of our culture changes, Driving is something that every American should take for granted. The automotive industry will forever be apart of American because after all, it??™s the American way.
Lohr, Steve. “All May Not Be Lost For the American Car.” New York Times Feb. 2009: 4. Academic Search Complete. EBSCO. Web. 15 Mar. 2010.
Karin, Fischer. “As the Auto Industry Shrinks, a Community College Retools.” As the Auto Industry Shrinks, a Community College Retools (2009): 1+. Education Resources Information Center. Chronicle of Higher Education, 08 May 2009. Web. 12 Mar. 201
Raitz, Karl. “American Roads, Roadside America.” American Roads, Roadside America 88 (1998). Questia. Web. 13 Mar. 2010.
English, Bob. “I Will Build a Car for the Great Multitude” I Will Build a Car for the Great Multitude (2008). The Globe and Mail. 29 May 2009. Web. 18 Mar. 2010.
Wolk, Martin. “GM Says Its Future Is in Fuel Cells.” GM Says Its Future Is in Fuel Cells (2009). MSNBC U.S. Business. 12 June 2009. Web.
“Auto jobs in jeopardy.” Macleans 99.53 (1986): 42. Academic Search Complete. EBSCO. Web. 15 Mar. 2010.
U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration, Highway Statistics 2003.