The automotive industry has been experiencing a rather bumpy ride lately. The Takata airbag debacle, you know—where shards of hot, metal shrapnel come flying out into the passenger compartment of an accident vehicle, the Volkswagen gas mileage manipulation and the deadly Chevrolet Cobalt, which, by all rights, should probably have just been marketed as the “Chevrolet Coffin.”
It’s enough to make one take public transportation and, while doing so, ask just what the hell is going on here? There hasn’t been this much negative publicity for car manufacturers since the “explosive” Ford Pinto of the 1970s. Are these isolated cases of established brands resting on their laurels, deliberate negligence, high-level corporate conspiracies, cost-cutting at the expense of human life or a case of no one of any competence minding the shop?
The truth is, we may never know exactly what is behind this recent spate of seemingly contagious automotive unraveling, but, whatever the contributing factors may be, one thing is painfully clear: public confidence in the affected brands: principally Honda and Toyota, VW/Audi, and GM (has anyone actually had confidence in GM since it stopped producing the Bel Air anyway?) has eroded to a significant degree.