As a patriotic and flag waving American, I have mixed feelings about Jeep’s latest commercial, for the new 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee. On the one hand, I want to believe that buying an American car will help lead us back to self-sufficiency and prosperity; on the other hand, my international business background tells me that this is pure fantasy. Buying a Jeep Grand Cherokee won’t bring back U.S. manufacturing. It won’t cause steelmakers to re-open their U.S. plants and it won’t cause the big 3 to ramp up hiring of U.S. workers. Why? Because U.S. goods, made from U.S. materials and built by U.S. workers, are simply too expensive.
The Truth About Cars just ran an excellent piece on this, so I won’t recover the same ground. Suffice it to say that an autoworker in Mexico makes about $4.00 per hour; GM’s average hourly wage for a U.S. worker is $33.35, and that doesn’t factor in the cost of healthcare or pension plans. Most of us would love to see more American manufacturing, but how many of us are willing to pay 2x or 3x the price of foreign made goods? How many of us have that amount of disposable income?
I’m sure the new Grand Cherokee will be well made and very capable on road and off. Buying one isn’t going to restore the U.S. to the status it once had, it isn’t going to raise our standard of living and it’s not going to help reduce our 10% unemployment rate. Trying to pitch that angle to prospective buyers does nothing to help Chrysler’s credibility in my eyes.
Source: Jeep Grand Cherokee “Manifesto”