Would you buy a car from a bankrupt company? I’d worry. How about you?


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Then, today we turn to this very tough question about the American auto industry. If auto companies do file for bankruptcy to try to reorganize, would you buy a car from such firms? I’d worry about the safety and quality of new designs — and whether anyone would be left to service my car in the future.
    How about you?
    If you’re a regular reader of OurValues.org, you know that we took an “intermission” in the saga of Detroit’s Big Three. Well, it ends today as GM, Ford, and Chrysler leaders are scheduled to be in Washington, D.C., making their pitch to Congress.We’ll soon know what lawmakers say – and what values are implicit in their reactions.
    Meanwhile, the restructuring of the auto industry is underway, with or without taxpayer help. Last week, Chrysler tendered a massive buyout program, aiming for a 25-percent reduction in workforce. As many as 35-percent of employees took the exit option, industry sources told me. That means one of three Chrysler employees will soon be gone, making me wonder about the implications of the huge holes about to appear in the company’s social fabric. Will those left standing be able to get anything done?
    Bankruptcy is a darkening cloud over the American auto industry. Chapter 11 bankruptcy would offer protection from creditors, giving a company time to restructure and make itself profitable – at least in theory. It wouldn’t work if consumers stopped buying the company’s vehicles.

Car overheating
    So, would you buy a car from a bankrupt auto company?
    My friend Ed Vielmetti, a fellow blogger, posed that question to a2b3, a salon-like gathering of interesting people who meet for lunch every Thursday in Ann Arbor. Here’s what they said: “The conclusion of the question at the table (Would you buy a car from a bankrupt auto company?) is that most people would be worried about service and availability of maintenance and parts … that, if the worst happens, at least we can look forward to an expanded orphan car show in Ypsi.”
    The last statement is funny and tragic — the orphan car show is a popular annual event in Ypsilanti, Michigan, that exhibits cars from defunct automakers or discontinued models. The Big Three already have a few notorious entries — think Edsel and Corvair. Soon, we may see their entire lineups.
    What would you do?
    Would you buy a car from a bankrupt automaker?
    What would you worry about?

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