Saving The American Auto Industry, One Bulb At A Time


About 15 yearsago I was taking my wife’s Honda throughy the car wash when one of the spinning brushes grabbed the antenna, ripped it out of its motor housing and proceeded to beat her little car with it.  When I went to buy a replacement, I almost vomited when I found out a new one was going to cost around $250.  

Being the thriftiest man on earth, from that point forward, the cassette player got exclusive use.  There was no way I was paying two hundred and fifty bones for a freaking antenna.  I would have shoved a coat hanger down the hole before paying that kind of jack.

Fast forward to today.  I casually mentioned to a friend,  while enjoying a Grande’ Pike’s Peak at Starbucks, that I had taken my wife’s car in for an oil change.  For $250 they changed the oil and thrown in for free, a transmission flush, a new cabin air filter and a new engine air filter.  They would have thrown in a power steering flush too for another $1o0+, but I politely declined their generous offer.  Steering is way over rated as far as I’m concerned.

My friend replied that I got off for cheap as he had just had the headlamp on his Scandinavian auto (no names mentioned), to the tune of $750.  We didn’t get into the details, but I was wondering if maybe they threw in a free engine with it or something.

I drive a Saturn Ion.  I had a bulb go out once, so I went to the auto parts store and bought a 2-pack (they made me buy and extra one) to the tune of three of four bucks.  I might also mention that the antenna on my Saturn is basically a rubber coated coat hanger bolted to the car.  These are the things I like about my American made car.

But there is obviously a segment of the auto market out there that likes $750 headlamps and $250 antennas.  And I imagine there is a market for $2,000 automatic locks,  $5,000 automatic doors, and $3,500 power windows.  Oh, and what about $450 gas cap covers and $200 cup holders??

American car companies need to take a page from their European and Asian counterparts who apparently hire their engineers from the companies who produce printer ink  cartridges.  Heck, American car companies could probably sell the cars for $100 and make a fortune on replacement parts.  Do that and they’ll be back in black in no time.


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