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Monday, June 08, 2009

I Was A Romanian Car Czar

From WSJ:

When the Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu decided in the mid-1960s that he wanted to have a car industry, he chose me to start the project rolling. In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king. I knew nothing about manufacturing cars, but neither did anyone else among Ceausescu's top men. However, my father had spent most of his life running the service department of the General Motors affiliate in Bucharest.

My job at the time was as head of the Romanian industrial espionage program. Ceausescu tasked me to mediate the purchase of a minimum, basic license for a small car from a major Western manufacturer, and then to steal everything else needed to produce the car.

So why not try it all again?

Posted by Richard Anderson on June 8, 2009 | Permalink


When the Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu decided in the mid-1960s that he wanted to have a car industry,.................................

This story has no parallel with what is happening in the US or Canada. The Rumanian's didn't have a car industry and simply had Renault build them a factory and license build an established car. They did a similar thing with BAC when they created Rombac. Ceausescu thought that putting a new paint job on outdated technology would turn Rumania into a high tech country. They weren't the first and they won't be the last to go down this route. BTW. Some Dacia models were sold in Canada.

Posted by: The Stig | 2009-06-08 8:22:50 AM

The political interference at GM has already begun. US congressmen have deemed it necessary to prevent GM from closing certain dealerships.

GM is going bankrupt over the next cycle ... all of this at taxpayers' expense of course. Let the looting continue.

Posted by: Charles | 2009-06-08 8:35:15 AM

A lot of outrage, Charles, but not much in the way of credible alternatives. It's pretty much classic you.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-06-08 9:12:49 AM

Actually this is classic Shane. Accusing me of having no credible alternatives simply because you don't understand them.

1. Morality. Forcing every single taxpayer to invest in a risky automobile company is wrong.

2. It isn't necessary. The laws of supply and demand dictate that if consumers demand cars someone (regardless of gov't intervention) will supply it to them.

3. It won't work. 3 reasons: 1. moral hazard; 2. decisions will be based on politics not profit maximization, and 3. the same individuals who brought GM to bankrupcy are still at the company.

It's too bad you don't understand these basic principals.

Posted by: Charles | 2009-06-08 11:40:12 AM

Wasn't something like this tried in New Brunswick in the 1970s and ended up a disastrous failure?


Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2009-06-08 5:41:15 PM

I demand an Obama hood ornament with my next Chrysler/GM car.

On the other hand, chances have now decreased that I'll ever buy a Government Motors car.

Posted by: set you free | 2009-06-08 7:42:14 PM

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