No. 824,
November 25, 2015

About The Autoextremist

What do you do when when you've been immersed in all things automotive since before you took your first steps? When you're the scion of an automotive family in an automotive town in its very own automotive universe? When you've forgotten more about cars and motorsports and everything and everyone involved in the business than most people will ever know? When cars aren't just in your blood, but also in your bones and your brain and the very air you breathe? If you're Peter M. De Lorenzo, you ramp it up a bit further. National commentator, industry consultant and author (as well as former superstar ad man), De Lorenzo's daily (and nightly) focus for the past 15 years has been, a weekly Internet magazine devoted to news, commentary and analysis of the auto industry and the business of motorsports. Translation: De Lorenzo likes to tell the truth about what's really going on behind the scenes in the car business. And sometimes, things get ugly. Real ugly. But he is as passionate with his praise as he is with his critiques, and Autoextremist has become a weekly "must read" for leading professionals in all industries. De Lorenzo is considered to be one of the most influential voices commenting on the business today. It's the very definition of a high-octane life. And it's what fuels De Lorenzo to keep the pedal down - hard. He won't stop because he can't stop. A bit tired, perhaps? No way. De Lorenzo is one of the most untired people we know.

De Lorenzo's latest book is Witch Hunt (Octane Press It is available on Amazon in both hardcover and Kindle formats, as well as on iBookstore. De Lorenzo is also the author of The United States of Toyota.

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The Autoextremist - Rants



October 20, 2010


Tweet this: The current state of the auto biz in 140 character bursts, or less.

By Peter M. De Lorenzo

(Posted 10/19, 6:00 p.m.) Detroit. Now that the short-attention-span generation has taken over the world and The Internet has distilled our daily lives down to a series of talking cat videos, vacuous celebutards emoting for the cameras and maniacal conspiracy theorists, we are reduced to a day-in, day-out slog made of blips, burps, bites and an occasional cogent thought every, oh, couple hours or so. And for some, that’s plenty. They usually can’t be pried away from their video games for any more time than that.

The rest of us? We’ll just have to suck it up and keep fumbling through our oh-so-outré printed newspapers and magazines, and digesting long-form TV news programs and on-line journals in a futile attempt at sifting through the rapidly deteriorating concept of what used to pass for rational public discourse, trying to make sense of it all. Or as Jerry McGuire once famously said, “I am out here for you. You don't know what it's like to be me out here for you. It is an up-at-dawn, pride-swallowing siege that I will never fully tell you about, ok?”

So here’s to the minions, the gamers, the coddled and the entitled, the I-don-t-give-a-shit-just-ask-me hordes who want the world broken up in 140 character bits because anything more is just too tedious to contemplate. This column - the current state of the auto biz in digestible 140 character morsels - is for you.

Enjoy it. Or just count to one-one thousand and it won’t matter anyway.

GM Marketing: Joel Ewanick gets the band back together. Improved, intelligent - with a dollop of tenacity - but still a long, long way to go.

GM Marketing, Part II: Ad agencies Goodby (Chevy) and Fallon (Cadillac) grade “C” and “C,” respectively. Better, but not nearly good enough.

Chrysler: Perpetual Marchionne-driven “just you wait and see” state. We’re still waiting, they’re still dreaming. And the “new” 200? Oh. My.

Honda. Lost in the bland-tastic wilderness still searching for its mojo. When the Odyssey is their best product you know they’re in trouble.

Toyota: Arrogance still intact they’ve now allegedly rediscovered their Hot Rod Hearts. Jalapeño sauce on white bread doesn’t = credibility.

Mitsubishi: Missing in action for so long it just doesn’t matter anymore. Irrelevant, invisible and in need of a quick one-way ticket home.

BMW: Being all-things-to-all-people just wasn’t enough. Now the Niche Market Kings are hot for a lineup of FWD cars based on the Mini. Ugh.

Corvette: Achieved global respectability but long overdue for a makeover. The C7 can’t come soon enough but it’s unlikely to go far enough.

Ford: Mulally-led upward trajectory still going according to Plan. “A” management + “A” products + “A” marketing = continued market success.

Porsche: In spite of 4-door sedans and a burgeoning truck lineup, still enough sports car juice to stay cool with the hard-core faithful.

Mercedes-Benz: They still believe they’re the only automaker worth mentioning. The reality? It’s just another car company chasing a niche.

Audi: Confident, strong and sure of every move they make, these automotive Masters of the Universe show no signs of fatigue – or letting up.

VW Group: On a Dr. Piech-led, double-timed death march toward total world domination - or oblivion - depending on which way you look at it.

VW of America: Germanic automotive sweetness to soulless robot cars by 2018. Worst case of Toyota envy we’ve ever seen and a crying shame.

Mazda: When good, very good, excellent even, but a lack of consistent messaging beyond zoom-zoom has killed them. A new ad agency will help.

Acura: A rudderless mass of confusion with the most horrific design language in “the biz.” A car company with no raison d’etre whatsoever.

Infiniti: In a desperate race to reinvent itself yet again, this brand needs a transformational idea. By the looks of it, they got nothin’.

Lexus: The Pursuit of Perfect vanilla has its limitations. A foray into performance can’t change the fact that it’s rolling White Bread.

Subaru: Shiny happy followers, continues its inexorable climb. How far? No one really knows. The link-up with Toyota? The jury’s still out.

Nissan: Two steps forward, five back and an endless struggle for respect. New marketing direction is innovation. Really? That’s all you got?

Rolls-Royce: Until further notice, the very definition of “f--- you money” and the answer to the question that some people are still asking.

KIA: Straining to be something other than Hyundai’s little brother and now carving out a growing piece of the pie for itself. One to watch.

Range Rover: As long as people have money to burn on stuff they don’t really need, there will always be an overwrought vehicle for them.

Volvo: Backed with plenty of Chinese money and gaudy visions of grandeur, a brand still in search of an identity, naughty, or otherwise.

Electric Cars: A niche wrapped in an enigma in search of decent batteries and a sustainable infrastructure. Other than that, it’s all good.

Electric Car Zealots: A movement based upon a pipe dream and fueled by a fundamental refusal to accept reality, even when the truth hurts.

Jaguar: Some signs of life although the new XJ looks like a parade float, btw. Let’s face it - the C-X75 is the only Jag worth talking about.

Hyundai: Aggressive and irrepressible. Pure unbridled automotive ambition, Korean style. Caution, however, there will be bumps in the road.

Aston Martin: What’s not to like? But just how many variations on the same theme can they regurgitate? And no, the Cygnet doesn’t count.

Bentley: Part of Piech’s luxury stable, Bentley has exceeded all expectations. The refined Continental GT is simply gorgeous. More please.

Lamborghini: Another shining star in Piech’s luxury stable, but no matter how hard Lambo tries, it’s the perennial No. 2 Italian sports car.

Ferrari: High-Octane Truth & Beauty. When this red hot Italian sports car maker is “on” - as in the 458 Italia - it’s Dead. Solid. Perfect.

So there you have it, kids. The current state of the auto biz in 140 character bursts, if you’re into the whole brevity thing that is.

And that’s the High-Octane Truth for this week.




See another live episode of "Autoline After Hours" with hosts John McElroy, from Autoline Detroit, and Peter De Lorenzo, The Autoextremist, and guests this Thursday evening, at 7:00PM EDT at

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