A mariner with decades on the Great Lakes has a sign in his galley that says, "No Whining."
For years, the domestic automotive industry has faced rough waters.
The issues include globalization, unfair trade and currency rates, legacy costs, product pace, technology and intellectual property drain, energy market uncertainty, cost of capital, and broken business models and cultures (management-labor relations).
Add hypercompetition, rising material costs and a lack of pricing power. This is a time of change or die. For organizations that survive and revitalize their vision, opportunity and profitability remain obtainable.
It's time to face some harsh realities. Unless there is a dramatic change in public and political will, this country will continue to lack national policies to solve health care, enforce fair trade, develop revolutionary technologies and support a national industrial base in manufacturing.
The automotive industry is a vital engine within the U.S. and global economies. The people in the automotive industry must work together, on our own initiative, to take immediate, dramatic actions to address these issues. That takes credible leadership. Mediocrity, complacency and half steps by leaders (management, labor and policymaking) will not get us out of this.
What concerns me most is what those behaviors are doing to our industry's future generations of leaders.