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Dear Big Auto, Show Us What It Means To Be American

Big ThreeDear Alan Mulally, Dan Ackerson and Sergio Marchionne,

For as long as I can recall, no industry flew the American flag as frequently and promotionally as the Big Three US auto companies.  Every Sunday during football season, your companies drove home the Be a loyal American, buy our brand! message with endless repetition.   I believed in you.  My first and second cars were both Fords. I bought, read and recommended both Alan Mulally and BobLutz's books to anyone who would listen.  I supported your recent government bailouts and celebrated Ford's solidarity in joining GM and Chrysler in Washington even when you weren't taking the bailout.

I supported to you when you needed it most.  I believed in the promise of US auto, proudly working with General Motors as a member of their marketing agency through some very tough times.  And I am proud to count employees of GM, Ford and Chrysler as close, personal friends.

You now have the opportunity to show us that you believe in us just like we believed in you.

Millions of American are facing shattered dreams.  Families are returning to homes and lives in ruins.  Show us that you care about us just as we cared about you.  I'm not just talking about a "Hurricane Sandy" sale for all the thousands of drivers whose vehicles have been totaled by wind and water damage.  I'm talking about hitting the streets and helping the people that supported you through tough times.  I'm talking about sponsoring a telethon to help us rebuild our futures just like we helped you build yours.  I'm talking about turning the tide on your social marketing machines and using them to help your constituents beyond their automotive passions and loyalties.  You have an infrastructure of communications, dealerships, transportation capabilities and showrooms that can be used for incredible social good.  Do any of this and we will love you all the more for it.

It's your responsibility to show us that you believe the red, white and blue rallying cry you have been celebrating these past twenty years.

We, your customers are hurting.  This isn't just a Halftime In America ad, it's our lives.  We, the people who have supported you when you needed a hand, now need your help.  I recognize that you have businesses to run, so think of this as an investment with decades of compounding returns.  In a few months from now, many of the people you will have helped will be receiving insurance checks for their totaled cars.  Many of them will be shopping for new vehicles.  They will remember those who supported them in their times of need.  Their children will remember their trip to the dealership where the nice lady from Ford, Chrysler or GM gave them that toy, the evening the dealership hosted a drive-in movie night on their lots or a sponsored the community fundraising carnival.  Generations of Americans will be grateful and loyal customers.

We remembered you in your darkest hours.  Please, show us that you will do the same. 

Jon Bug