Bryan Caplan  

Kane's Pledge

Shocking News... Great White Parenthetical...
After defending bankruptcy for the Big Three, Tim Kane pioneers a new way to put your money where your mouth is:  
[T]t is not true that customers won't buy from a bankrupt company.  Happens all the time. So I have been thinking of some way to put a nail in the "won't buy cars from a bankrupt company" claim. Here is my pledge: I will buy a new vehicle from the first American auto company to enter bankruptcy. I will buy it within six months of the date of entry, on the condition that it has to be a real bankruptcy, and the company must follow through with real restructuring. This is not an easy pledge to make, and my wife may kill me. But nothing could be more valuable for my country's economy than for one of these companies to re-organize.
An interesting difference between a blog pledge and a blog bet: For a bet, you need opponents.  But Tim's looking for partners:
Who else will take this pledge? (I think I can get you a discount!) Send an email to and I will add your name to the list.
I hate to disappoint Tim, but I'm afraid he'll have to count me out.  Despite my access to a GM-employee discount, the greater reliability of Toyotas is too enticing.

Comments and Sharing

COMMENTS (7 to date)
2M 41 writes:

Here is MY pledge:

I will buy a new vehicle from the first American auto company to enter bankruptcy--when they can make a car better than my BMW !!!

Alan Watson writes:

And my pledge:

I will never buy a car from a company that got bailed out.

Caliban Darklock writes:

I'm on the list. My mail to Tim:

"I’ll make this pledge. I’m in the market for a new car anyway, I tend to prefer American cars, and I like economic experiments."

Know what I drive now? A 1999 Oldsmobile, bought used (after a previous driver's two-year lease) when GM announced it was being discontinued. Fearing an inability to get parts, people avoided them, and prices plummeted. I haven't had any trouble at all getting parts, but ten years is roughly the useful lifespan of a car and model years tend to be a year ahead of the calendar, so it's about time to replace it.

Vincent Clement writes:


You could always use that GM-employee discount on the Vibe, the GM version of the Toyota Matrix.

Phil writes:

Toyotas are more reliable than GMs in general, but not across the board. I'm sure there are certain GMs that are more reliable than certain Toyotas.

Also, these days the differences are fairly small -- even a GM rated 'average' is not much worse than a Toyota rated 'somewhat above average'.

I won't bother with my anecdote about how my new GM has had zero problems over its first 5000 miles.

An onslaught of Japanese vehicles wiped out most of their US competitors in the 1970s and 80s. The Europeans survived initially by retreating to niche high performance or highly styled luxury machines and now compete across all styles.

After suffering its first blows, bankruptcy and the liquidation of various manufacturers, Harley revived the US competition and is now the Camry of motorcycles (it has ~50% of the +750cc market).

Does anyone miss Indians, Victories, Sears, and Cushmans? (Yes I know some labels have been resuscitated as niche nostalgia brands).

Anoni-mouse writes:

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