Took my third trip to Detroit last week (and drove up to London, Ontario for a quick meeting as well) — went to see GM & DaimlerChrysler. First, I should say that GM & Chrysler are both incredibly impressive, and I thought it was sort of cool that I got to visit two of the largest companies in the world in the same day.
Having said that, I’ve got to say that I’m not a huge fan of Detroit. The downtown is pretty clearly depressed — it reminds me a lot of Rochester, NY, even though it’s much bigger. When you’re in Rochester, it’s impossible not to think about the city and how it must have been incredibly vibrant, right until the Erie Canal got built and they didn’t need it any more. With Detroit, you’re forced to the (obvious) conclusion that the global markets have passed American autos by — and you’ve got to wonder what the hell they would have done if they hadn’t invented the SUV in the nineties.
But Canada was nice, as always. Very polite, very clean, very friendly. London is a university town — but to be honest, I didn’t get to see much of it — most of the 6 hours I spent in Canada this time was driving (2 hrs each way) and on the phone (lots of conference calls).