Negativity in the Auto Industry

I was recently talking to someone about the auto industry (shocking, I know).  Perception about the current state of the industry came up in conversation and, more specifically, we talked about the very distinct and different views within the industry.

Recently we have been having tough economic times.  Some called it a recession while some went as far as to call it a depression.  I am not an economist but I will say things have been harder in all industries lately.  Individuals and companies have tighter budgets and are spending less money.

Somewhat recently, two of the three American automakers filed chapter 11 and reorganized, making the companies reassess all product and future planning along with deciding what is making money and what was not, identifying where the demand is and trying to predict where will it be.  Making a mistake can be costly.  Ten years ago, mistakes were more easily accepted.  These companies were large enough that the marketplace could gloss over mistakes but this is no longer the case.  Every product launch counts.  GM and other companies have said recently that there is no room for errors and mistakes:  all new product launches need to go off without a hitch.

A few people in the automotive industry who I talk with are so negative, it is scary and it seems to be commonplace for many in the industry.  The things I hear coming out of people’s mouths blows my mind!  The complainers offer little in the way of real feedback and they just blast the automaker for doing anything incorrectly.  This may shock some people but humans run the automakers.  Humans are not perfect and make mistakes.

One bright spot is Adam Barrera.  He tries to think positively.  He praises the good and is productively critical of the bad.  He does not only focus on the bad things and sees the whole picture.  He is not perfect, but what Adam does have is a positive view on life, something others seem to be sorely lacking.  Now, more then ever we need to be critical of what these companies are doing but we also need to push the companies to be better by offering feedback that is helpful. Make suggestions.  When you say you do not like something, say why.  Do not just say this is a piece of junk or that it has little or no reason to exist.  Offer reasoning.

The bottom line is that being constantly negative will get us nowhere.  Offering up ideas on how to improve will move us forward.  The glass is not always half empty. Nothing is perfect and, in fact, many things are far from it. Offering critical feedback that shows the positive things and the negative things is invaluable.  I will admit that I maybe a little more positive sometimes then I should be.  Bringing a balanced view is important and I am trying to improve how I do that.  There are far too many people in the industry that are negative and offer little in the way of praise when it is due.  Do not be so high and mighty as to think that you know it all.  None of us do.  As a society, we need to work together to bring a better future in all aspects of life including the auto industry.

3 Responses to “Negativity in the Auto Industry”

  1. It think this all depends on who you go to for industry news/perspectives. If it is only bloggers, then I think you probably get a bit of an arm-chair quarterbacking perspective. I find reading publications like Automotive News, listening to Autoline Detroit (and the After Hours show too), and keeping up with traditional publications gives one a broader more historical perspective of the industry that is more considerate of where the industry is at any given time. Why because these sources are from the establishment, ie industry experts who more likely than not are established in this field.

    One very interesting anecdotal thing happened last month when I caught up on several of the car mags (Car & Driver, Road & Track, Automobile.) I read several reviews and noticed that there really is a professional car review formula, while there isn’t a formula from auto bloggers. I’m not sure if this is a good thing or bad thing, but it seems after decades of automotive reviews all of the magazines follow a certain formula. It is very apparent even more so after being so active in the blogger automotive community these past few years. What I feel is applicable to your story is that the professional writers have a way of criticizing that isn’t as sensational as some blogs.

    Perhaps writing for SEO (search optimization) or trying to standout in a more crowded crowded space (100s of blogs vs. only a handful of magazines) is why the more verbose writing style is seen on blogs than publications. That said, the magazines are no where near as negative as you conclude in your article here. Of course, the skeptical side of me also thinks having a bunch of ad dollars supporting the magazines certainly tempers more heavy-handed criticisms where online being part of a Google AdWords program is not as influencing, in fact it’s not influential at all on one’s content. Google won’t stop running ads on your site if you are critical to X company and your SEO impact will probably even increase if you are negative.

    Funny seems everything is driven by the goals set up for success. Odd how things work that way. 😉

    04/12/2010 at 12:17 pm Reply
  2. Thanks Joel. I agree with the need to be positive. I also believe that during tough times, like the current economic situations, we can benefit from creativity and determination. It’s how so many small businesses and creative people can really shoot above the negative corporate powerhouses. Groups are looking to be creative, and from my experience, creative people can be really positive influences!

    04/12/2010 at 12:23 pm Reply

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  1. AutoBird Podcast – Esp 24: “Ideas Episode” - Accelerate Mpls - 04/20/2010

    […] and Gears,  AutoBird Blog and Accelerate Mpls.  The week in review included- my editorial on negativity in the auto industry and my review of the 2010 Chevrolet Silverado.  Cheers and Gears had a post on a new Subaru Legacy […]

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