Whenever I suggest that perhaps one reason Detroit got into trouble is that they were building the cars that people actually wanted in a country with cheap gas, I get told to move to Europe or Japan if I like expensive gas so much. Or that the transplants and foreign manufacturers are so much more responsible in offering smaller, more efficient cars.
That's why Mercedes-Benz just got hit with a whacking $ 28.9 million fine for failing to meet the CAFE standards last year. That other paragon, Volkswagen, got hit with $ 4.5 million dollars.
Mercedes could have left the big cars and engines in Europe and just brought the fuel efficient cars over and easily met the standards. Volkswagen could have left the Touareg in the mountains of Bavaria. But hey, when gas is cheap and people want big cars, we are not going to miss that market just because of the stupid CAFE rules, are we?
No, Lexus and Mercedes will sell all the big gas guzzling SUVs that the rich people in America want. Look in any upscale parking lot and that is all you will see.
The recent fines prove once again that the problem isn't in Detroit; it is in Washington. Price gas appropriately and everybody, even Detroit, will be selling small cars.