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All opinions are my own.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Is Auto Bailout a prelude for others to ask for help and an admission of “lack of vision”?

Head Line:

"An Auto Bailout Would Be Terrible for Free Trade"
Does anyone really expect other countries to ignore our subsidies?"

American automobile industry gave the world automobiles and held everyone in awe. However, the dire straights of automobile industry suggest that it never thought much of the future. German cars were always considered a luxury and quality product and never considered a threat for the mass producers. It was the Japanese followed by the Korean cars who really changed the playing field by bringing quality from the get go. Their quality, styling and innovation were the first threat to the survival of the US automobile industry. However, the US automobile industry has been slow to catch up. A recent article in Wall Street Journal How Detroit Drove Into a Ditch gave an excellent overview of how the industry has arrived at its current state.

Japanese brought quality to the masses of the world and the world jumped on quality without paying luxury prices. World was hungry for quality and fuel efficiency and did not get it from American carmakers.

Now the American carmakers are in trouble asking for the government help. If they are given a straw would they ask for more? Would other industries that are not able to compete with quality and cost would ask for government help and protection. It is very possible.

Why are we there? Blame would lie squarely on the management of the companies for the lack of their foresight in innovation and delivering to the customer anticipated fuel efficiency. Whatever happens in the auto world, it will work out for the good of the country. Better management is the answer. Asking for a government handout is taking advantage of the current economic woes rather than being responsible for their own inability.

If we step back and see any similarity with any other industry that has served the human kind but is experiencing some turbulent waters. It is the Ethical Pharmaceuticals.

Since 2005 the Ethical pharmaceuticals have been facing head winds with their age-old “blockbuster” model. They will loose about $60 billion dollars in revenue in the next three to four years. They have very little in their pipeline. They are scrambling to determine how they can sustain their revenue growth. The Generic pharmaceutical companies are also challenging them on their turf.

Would pharmaceuticals be the next in the handout line if they cannot solve their challenges i.e. start growing their revenue with new drugs? History is repeating for the pharmaceuticals as it did for the chemicals, textiles and steel industry. Chemical and textile industries have mostly moved overseas. Steel industry innovated its technologies to survive. May be the time has come for the pharmaceuticals to innovate their R&D and manufacturing technologies which they have acknowledged needs attention.

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