Obama's re-election brings both benefits and challenges

President Obama has been re-elected to another 4-year term. Let's state the facts and possible ramifications of President Obama's policies as of present:

  • The government bailout of GM forced to market vehicles with long-term servicability questions (i.e. the Volt).
  • There has been an easing of the previous policy of protectionism that has been applied to the domestic automotive sector in favor of increased competition (i.e., Fiat's acquisition of Chrysler, free trade agreements with countries such as South Korea).
  • Unilateral EPA actions and recent Supreme Court rulings have opened the door for intense regulation of corporate fuel economy averages and, eventually, CO2 emissions. This will likely force to market unproven technologies that will increase expense to the consumer and breakdowns, to the benefit of the automotive repair industry.
  • Current EPA standards have forced OEMs to switch to direct injection, increased powertrain computerization of diesel vehicles, lower viscocity oils and other technologies which are already creating havoc with breakdown issues (such as carbon buildup issues in VW intake manifolds).
  • Loosening trade restrictions has opened the floodgates of cheaply-produced parts and eventually, Chinese-built vehicles to hit American shores.

We're not going to debate whether a different candidate would have changed any of these things. The point is, government policies are both forcing less reliable technologies to be put into production in vehicles and increasing a "race to the bottom" when it comes to parts quality. It seems it will only increase in time.

So, maybe you are just starting to get the direct-injection vehicles into your bays and seeing what I mean. That being said, now that Obamacare is here to stay, our healthcare policies are going to get more difficult to administer. But, at least there will be more cars to fix. As long as we can stay ahead of the technological curb and have the right tools, government regulations might ensure that the automotive repair industry will be seeing "green" in more ways than one.