I have a rather vested interest in this question; I'm a car nut and an active racer, have both a daily driver car and a racecar, and am looking for a job in the international Motorsport world as a racing engineer.
That said- I am absolutely against any form of automotive bailout, no matter what the conditions.
I will go so far as to say that if the Big 3 get bailed out, I will never buy their products again. Ever.
I believe that the current issues with the Big Three can be directly laid at the feet of the antiquated bureaucracy of idiocy, the UAW, the upper management of the three companies (not just everyone's favorite whipping post, the CEOs, but the whole executive board and high level managers), and the fact that combining 1) with 2) yielded such horrendous cars for so long.
I have said numerous times to friends, family, etc that I would buy a new American car if they made a car that fit my needs and worked as a cohesive package. However, despite a car's straight line speed, which the Big 3 excel at, their cars always leave something to be desired. Interior fit and finish, the ability to turn left and right at speeds above 20mph, brakes that aren't undersized for a mountain bike or Geo Metro, an engine that isn't based off of the same 1940s design (i.e. overhead valve single cam in block V8s), I can go on and on. Since the Big 3 don't, I take my money and business elsewhere.
Now that gas is getting more expensive, and despite the recent downturn, I would like a small city car that gets good gas mileage and isn't a surprisingly non-capsized land yacht. Unfortunately, the Big 3 don't make such a car, despite the "30 mpg HWY!!!11!!!one!" signs and advertisements. It's not an accomplishment to get 30mpg, it's not even adequate. My 20 year old racecar gets 30mpg on the highway, and I have a rather leaden foot.
Since I've veered rather off topic, I'll try to steer my way back. A bailout would be disastrous for everyone involved. I am absolutely against the government spending my tax dollars to pay some lazy fat ass in GM's idled plants to not work. Building a car takes almost no skill; being paid ~$35 per hour in pure wages to do so is absolutely ludicrous.
The best thing to happen is for the Big 3 to go into Chapter 11(GM) or Chapter 7(Chrysler...seriously, no more minivans please!). Ford is not in the same financial straights as the other two, so hence why I've not included them in the bankruptcy fun.
By going into bankruptcy, the failed companies can finally shed themselves of the useless brands like Hummer, Buick (ugh), Pontiac, Saturn, GMC, Everything by Chrysler, etc; they can finally rid themselves of the ******* UAW; they can cut back on their contracts with parts suppliers; and other benefits. Yes, it will hurt the economy a good deal, but if they do not go into bankruptcy GM and Chrysler will never become competitive again.
What is possibly the best argument against the bailout is to look at what happened to British Leyland Motors back in the 70s. They were bailed out by the British Government and survived for about five years, and then went bankrupt and disappeared, due to Unions, Management, etc.
Cliffs to the novel of a post: Bailout Bad, says Car Guy.
A racing addiction makes a crack addiction look like a vague desire for something salty.
Fear disturbs your concentration.
- Sabine Schmitz