More Than Half Think Chrysler And GM Should Have Been Allowed To Fail

June 11, 2009

Think that the government shouldn't be in the auto business? You're not alone.

We already knew that, but thanks to a survey from Tustin, California research and analysis firm AutoPacific, we can put a number to it: 81 percent agreed that the faster the government gets out of the auto business, the better, and more than half think that GM (54 percent) and Chrysler (58 percent) should have been allowed to fail.

The results are very fresh; they're from an online survey of 900 U.S. consumers, conducted by the firm after General Motors' bankruptcy announcement last week.

Consumers are also puzzlingly pessimistic about whether government involvement will produce cleaner or even more fuel-efficient cars. Forty-eight percent disagree that having the government in charge of GM and Chrysler will bring more fuel-efficient vehicles, while 54 percent disagree that it will result in cleaner vehicles.

Yet another figure from the survey that's not so surprising is that 66 percent disagree that having the government in charge of Chrysler and GM will result in cars and trucks Americans want to buy.

While Americans are pessimistic about the feds overseeing part of the auto industry, they're also extremely skeptical of the Fiat-Chrysler deal, with more than 47 percent believing that Fiat cars won't sell well in the U.S.  A surprising 43 percent think that, no matter what happens with the deal, Chrysler will fail within five years, and only 13 percent think that Fiat's cars will save Chysler. "American consumers do not see Fiat as Chrysler's white knight," said the firm in a release accompanying the results.

"Clearly Americans aren't thrilled with government involvement in the U.S. auto companies," said George Peterson, AutoPacific's president. "People believe the government should get out of the auto business as soon as possible."

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