Buy what you build.
It's a great concept as long as it doesn't go too far.
Some in the industry consider it imperative. Others think of it as a prudent suggestion. But it also could be viewed as an intrusion.
Opel executives in Germany seem willing to take the risk.
Opel workers who drive competitive makes are being asked by company and union officials to use their year-end bonuses to buy an Opel, according to a report from Reuters. It's a suggestion, they say, not a demand.
This is not just a German thing. It happens here too, frequently during tough times when a company is trying to eke out every last sale.
Nor is it a new phenomenon.
Fifty years ago, Chrysler Corp. forced employees who drove competitive-make cars to park at the far end of the lot at the old headquarters and engineering center in Highland Park, Mich.
Twenty-five years ago, the practice took on a nationalistic tone during the second energy crisis, when lousy quality and an anemic product mix pushed consumers into the arms of the import brands. That hurt the Big 3 and nearly scuttled the old Chrysler Corp.
During the darkest period, visitors who drove non-Big 3 cars to the UAW's Solidarity House headquarters in Detroit were barred from the parking lot. Cars parked on a nearby street were targets of vandals who attached anti-import bumper stickers or worse.
Even today, some supplier executives and salespeople are afraid to call on a customer if they're driving a competitor's product.
Enlightened self-interest is good. As 18th century economist and philosopher Adam Smith knew, it's what drives a free economy. So it makes sense for people to contribute to their own economic well-being by consuming what they produce.
As long as it's not being shoved down their throats.