Is that a Kia in your driveway?
For obvious reasons, brands in the GM fleet were king of the road in Janesville for years. Even though GM had a massive presence in town the number of 'import brands' started taking a foothold in Janesville well before the demise of the plant. Aside from Fagan, the 'mega' new car dealers dotting our landscape don't have the the US power they once had. Grandfathers who have passed away may be rolling in their graves because Janesville is now driving foreign.
As I mentioned, it's not like expansion in town is a new thing but the growth of Harms (Kia, Nissan and Subaru) and Boucher (on the VW and Mazda side) has been interesting to see. I might kick the tires at these facilities but I'm still loyal to the GM brand for one main reason - GM helped provide me with a solid middle-class upbringing. I'm thankful.
There are still some die hard GM brand folks in town. So die hard that they will not allow a KIA, Toyota, Honda or other off-shore brand vehicle to park in their driveway. Some think that's misguided. I'm in the homeowners camp. It's their place and they can make the rules. They feel that GM gave them a good wage and decent retirement. They aren't bitter that the plant closed. They're thankful for what they have and still believe in General Motors and the vehicles they produce. They will not support the competition at all…and that includes the competitive vehicles in their driveway.
Will I allow a Kia in my driveway? If you're a friend, sure. I choose my friends and I'll accept your flaws (levity people). If I don't know you I might give you a bit of a hard time. Three generations of my family worked at the plant in Janesville and I still have relatives who work in Indiana, Michigan, Missouri and Texas supporting the fleet of General Motor brands.
While I love the GM brands I am so frustrated with how management passed through a few million red flags before they finally "got it". Meanwhile Kia, Toyota, VW and a few other brands passed them on the left and haven't looked back. Ford seemed to understand that they were on the wrong path and worked hard to get back on track first. The old guard floundered until the government basically told them to take a hike.
I wasn't a fan of the bailout or having the government tell the once proud company how to run a business. God know our government has a hard time running itself let alone tell GM what to do. Thankfully, it worked out and I do believe they are on the right track again. Well, I still disagree with ditching the Saturn brand but….
Will I ever own a Kia, Subaru, Toyota or Honda? I can't fathom it. Yes, I know that many of these vehicles are made in the States but I still don't like the fact that the motherships are off-shore. That's just me.
What's in your driveway -- US-owned brand or off-shore brand? Do you think folks in Janesville have eased on the 'ill will' toward off-shore vehicles that was very apparent when I was growing up?
Steve Knox was born, raised and landed back in Janesville. He encourages you to participate as he writes on Janesville and beyond as this Generation X guy supports his Janesville mission, global vision. Steve is a community blogger and is not a part of The Gazette staff. His opinion is not necessarily that of the The Gazette staff or management.