We might not like the bailout of the Detroit Three, but we know it’s necessary, don’t we? It’s impossible to make money building cars in America these days. Oh, wait:
With the domestic automotive industry teetering on the edge of bankruptcy, Monday’s grand opening of Honda Motor Co.’s Civic assembly plant in Greensburg was a dream come true for this town of 12,000 and for a state that has been hit hard by manufacturing job losses similar to those faced by Michigan.
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Earlier this year, as high gas prices decimated automotive sales for the Detroit Three, sales of the Civic, a car that has been a symbol of fuel economy and reliability since 1973, soared. So on Monday, as Honda celebrated the opening of its $550-million, nonunion plant, capable of producing 200,000 vehicles annually, the contrast between the healthy Asian automaker and its ailing domestic rivals caused workers and politicians alike to welcome the arrival of Honda.
Since 1999, the number of automotive workers employed in Indiana has declined from 105,100 in 1999 to 81,200 in 2007. And even though the starting hourly wage at the plant is $18.41, or roughly $10 less than an average Detroit Three worker, demand for these jobs was off the charts.
Holy cow — sounds like they make cars people want. What a concept. And, yes, it’s too bad about those salaries, the workers having to accept a mere $18.41 per hour. But, though it’s $10 less than what the average Detroit Three worker gets, guess what else it is: $18.41 more than nothing.