Would You Buy American for a $1,000 Bonus?

December 16, 2008
It's safe to say that American automakers didn't get into their current predicament because of one Titanic-sized iceberg. Instead, there were a lot of little, tiny icebergs chipping away at the hull of that ship for many, many years. (In fact, the snowball may be a more accurate, wintry metaphor.) Accordingly, there won't be one big answer to the Big Three's problems, but rather a lot of little answers.

Over the weekend, we heard about one Detroit-area businessman who's trying to be one of those wee solutions by providing $1,000 to each of his employees, on the condition that they use the money to purchase a new car from Ford, Chrysler, or GM. Turret Steel Industries in Leetsdale, Penn., has a similar program in effect for its workers, and both employers are optimistic about the results.

We give serious props to these enterprising employers for taking matters into their own hands. However, the incentive programs beg a larger question: is it merely price that's keeping U.S. buyers away from Big Three cars? Show of hands: if you knew you could get $1,000 off the price of an American-brand car, would that tip the scales? -- Richard Read

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