Friday, May 25, 2018

Alert!!! A national security threat!

Let's see if this gets published somewhere other than here in this blog ;)

My cute little orange Honda Fit is a national security risk?

The New York Times, like many of the news outlets that the President distrusts, reported that Mr. Trump has asked for an investigation into whether imported autos pose a threat to national security. In addition to being a funny-accented naturalized citizen from a nearly "shithole" country, I have now invited more problems with the purchase of a Japanese import.

Until a month ago, despite my brown-skinned alien looks, this President would have applauded me. For nearly 14 years, I have owned a Saturn Vue. Made in America, Mr. President! Back in 2004, I traded in my 12-year old Saturn station wagon when I bought the Vue, which makes it a grand total of 26 years of owing American vehicles.


Of course, Saturns are not manufactured anymore. Soon after the Great Recession, in the shake up that dramatically restructured the automobile industry, General Motors ended the sales of Saturn vehicles in 2009. As disheartening as this was, businesses dying is not anything new; it is consistent with the creative destruction that is a hallmark of the modern economic system. As a businessman, especially as one who has personal experiences with declaring bankruptcies, Mr. Trump certainly knows this well.

Loyal Saturn owners like me were devastated when GM announced its decision. Even now, I fondly remember how Saturn was marketed as a different kind of a car company. Car buying became stress-free with its no-haggle prices. After the sale, the service department treated us owners like we were family. Because employee turnover was low, every visit I met with practically the same personnel in the service shop, and we grew closer with every oil-change. We even traded personal stories; my daughter has no idea how much I have joked about her while waiting for my Saturn!

And then it ended. Just like that. No more Saturn dealership.

My lifetime oil-change contract was offloaded to another local automobile dealer. The first time I went there for an oil-change, surprise, Darrel from the old Saturn dealership was at the desk. But, he was different here—all work, strictly transactional. A few months later, Darrel was gone. No doubt that his Saturn-bred outlook did not mesh well with the ethos of the new place.

The Saturn Vue was there during my marriage, the divorce, and then a new companionship. I have a tough time letting go of my Vue, which is why I did not want to trade it in when I bought the Fit. I suppose I am loyal to my car more than Mr. Trump is to the people who worked for him.

The Vue served me well over the 14 years. If a car were like a man’s other best friend—dogs—my Vue is more than a 100 years old in human time. With over 310,000 miles, and not a single breakdown, my Saturn Vue is truly a testament to American manufacturing. But, all good things come to an end, and soon I will have to say goodbye. The used-car market knows the price of this Vue, and it will be rock bottom. As they say, the marketplace does not know the difference between price and value.

As I drive in a Honda Fit, I am no less American than the American that I was as a proud Vue owner. Neither my imported Honda, nor this brown-skinned and accented citizen, is a threat to national security. Support us, Mr. President; do not attack us.

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