Watch: AutoTrader Weighs In on Automotive Bailout

Our friend Chip Perry, CEO of AutoTrader.com, was on Fox News yesterday, making a case for an auto industry (conditional) bailout to Neil Cavuto.

The argument is that a strategic taxpayer investment that comes with performance-based conditions could force the industry into being more efficient. On the marketing side, for example, Perry pointed out how the industry spends $30 billion on advertising to sell 12 million cars. That’s more than $2,000 per car, and it’s mostly going toward traditional mass media where only 10 percent of the audience is in the market to buy a car.

This relates to the recession-driven shift to more measurable media, examined in the previous post. It also carries a tinge of some of the optimistic thoughts voiced last week at ILM:08 — that a down market will have a self-correcting influence on refining tech companies’ focus at all levels. The thought is that we’ll come out better for it.

This was proved in recessions over the past two decades when companies like Microsoft and Google emerged from the ashes. Let’s hope Detroit is capable of the same refocus.

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