Why Not Just Sell Them Here?

Some classic old GM cars - 1957 Cadillac tailfins
Some classic old GM cars (Image by thebi429, CC 2.0 license)

An article in today’s Seattle Times says that GM does know how to make good small cars, just not in the States:

Nearly three-fifths of General Motors’ employees make cars that are admired, popular and profitable. They just don’t work in the United States.

GM has a bigger presence and employs more people outside the United States than in it, and actually makes money selling cars around the globe. Its U.S. revenue has sunk 24 percent in the past three years, but in the rest of the world, GM can boast a 28 percent increase.

In Ford’s recent 2008 retrospective, they mention similar results – growth in Europe and Asia, production of lots of high mileage models outside the States, new fuel technologies, and so on:

  • “Ford of Europe is offering its customers ultra-low CO2 alternatives for selected car lines with the launch of a new range of Ford ECOnetic models at the 2007 Frankfurt Motor Show”
  • “Volume production of the new Ford Fiesta, the first of a generation of new global small Ford cars, started at the company’s Cologne plant in Germany”
  • “Ford ranks highest in overall new-vehicle sales satisfaction in Indonesia, according to the J.D. Power Asia Pacific 2008 Indonesia Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) Study”

So, my simple question is – why don’t they just make those cars here? Or at least ship some of them here and sell them?