No. 919
October 18, 2017
 

About The Autoextremist

Peter M. DeLorenzo has been immersed in all things automotive since childhood. Privileged to be an up-close-and-personal witness to the glory days of the U.S. auto industry, DeLorenzo combines that historical legacy with his own 22-year career in automotive marketing and advertising to bring unmatched industry perspectives to the Internet with Autoextremist.com, which was founded on June 1, 1999. DeLorenzo is known for his incendiary commentaries and laser-accurate analysis of the automobile business, as well as racing and the business of motorsports. Author. Commentator. Influencer. The Consigliere. Minister of the High-Octane Truth. DeLorenzo is considered to be one of the most influential voices commenting on the business today.

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

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The Autoextremist - Rants


Saturday
Aug192017

AN ELOQUENT REBUTTAL.

By Peter M. DeLorenzo

Detroit. That we are on the precipice of massive change in the future of our transportation cannot be disputed. On one side of the equation there are anti-car zealots out there who are convinced that we are headed toward a colorless transportation era, one devoid of distinctive, personal choice and instead replaced by the uniformity of massive car sharing and the numbing disengagement of autonomous riding pods.

But beyond believing that this grim vision of our future will be better for all of us, these zealots are actually excited by the prospect, convinced that this mass conformity will be oddly freeing as we succumb to a model of transportation that is diametrically opposed to everything that has come before.

That I find this attitude of "we know what’s best for you and you will like it…" infuriating should be no real surprise to anyone who visits this website. In fact this notion that we’ll all be shiny, happy and compliant participants willing to forego everything that came before is almost incomprehensible given that this perspective flies in the face of the inherent freedom of mobility that defined this country and powered it through the modern industrial era.

As I said previously in “Our American Wanderlust is Being Buried Alive,” I don’t think most of us are prepared for just how dramatic the transformation will be. Will a nation founded on the tenets of freedom and the option to go, and do, and see what we please all of a sudden succumb to groupthink and mindlessly queue up for nondescript, shared transportation devices based on convenience? Are we all just going to gleefully go along for a ride dictated by availability and most-frequented ‘popular’ travel destinations?

I don’t think so.

Every dimension of the American experience has been shaped by the automobile - the roads we used to explore the vast expanses of the unbridled majesty of this nation (and ourselves along the way); the music that provided much of the soundtrack for those journeys, the roadside attractions and the road food that went with them; the big cities and little towns along the highways and byways; and on, and on, and on.

Talk to anyone who has visited The Henry Ford museum recently and see what he or she has to say. In so many words it will sound like this: The American experience is the automobile, and the automobile is the American experience.

The automobile’s influence on this country’s culture is almost incalculable. But then again it’s even more than that. It’s part of this country’s soul, it’s who we are and it’s where we’ve been and it’s where we’ve always wanted to go.

On the other side of the equation, thankfully, are the True Believers embedded in the car companies who understand the freedom of mobility as defined by the automobile. These men and women also understand that there’s an undeniable emotional connection between people and their machines. Far from mere transportation devices, these machines project a fundamental freedom of movement and unleashing of the spirit, and in fact they are the mechanical conduit of our hopes and dreams.

That’s why even as the ride sharing and autonomy zealots raise their pitchforks in unison to the Dark Skies looming, the True Believers are doing what they do best, which is being true to their beliefs while comfortable in the knowledge that no matter where our future propulsion options take us, there are givens with the automobile and this freedom of mobility business, the most powerful of which is that emotionally compelling design is still - and will continue to be – the Ultimate Initial Product Differentiator. In fact, this design imperative will grow even stronger from here on out.

You only have to look as far as what happened last week in Monterey, California, to understand this. There, in the flesh, with its mesmerizing shape, fluid lines and stunning presence, was the Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6 Cabriolet concept, the very embodiment of emotionally compelling design. Yes, it is a concept (powered by an all-electric drive system with an output of 750HP and a range of more than 200 miles), but still, this machine makes it very clear that the future of the automobile will not be comprised of colorless, faceless blob cars devoid of personality. Rather, the future of the automobile has almost limitless potential to project the freedom of mobility into exciting new dimensions and shapes.

This Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6 Cabriolet concept is proudly unapologetic and steadfastly defiant against the winds of negativity blowing throughout this industry right now, and it stands as an eloquent rebuttal to the anti-everything zealots who are painting a relentlessly dark picture of the future.

Kudos to the True Believers at Mercedes-Benz design for giving it their all, and reminding us that the future of the automobile has the unbridled potential to be more exciting than ever.

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

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