Editor-in-Chief"s Note: Dan "Captain Queeg" Akerson announces his orchestrated destruction of the future of General Motors with Mary Barra, Dan Ammann and Mark Reuss looking on. Akerson will take his rightful place as the worst CEO in GM history, and considering such past luminaries (and incredible low lights) as Fred Donner to contend with, that's really saying something. Good riddance. - PMD
The Wall Street Journal. Getting in bed with GM PR to get "exclusives" about the automaker, which turned into producing a series of Akerson and Barra puff pieces over the last year, was an incredibly piss-poor choice. You look absolutely ridiculous for it and now - and deservedly so - and thanks to AE, everyone knows about it. You should all be ashamed of yourselves but since you're the WSJ and arrogance is part and parcel of who you are, you won't be. Don't worry, we won't let anyone forget about it.
AdAge. Editor-in-Chief's Note: A reporter (who shall remain nameless) for the advertising industry publication gets played by Olivier "I'm a genius, just ask me" Francois - the self-described Fiat-Chrysler ad guru - and gleefully reports that the Will Ferrell promotion for "Anchor Man 2" masquerading as a Dodge Durango advertising campaign is solely responsible for the uptick in Durango sales. That the reporter failed to dig deeper and see that the "double digit" increase in Durango sales had more to do with the fact that Durango sales were so piss-poor a year ago is obvious. And the fact that he was snowed by Francois is even more so. I said it before and I'll say it again, I'm a big fan of Ferrell's spoof on TV anchors and I look forward to seeing the movie, but the stone cold reality is that Ferrell's Durango hook-up did more for his movie than it did for the SUV. It was a brilliant move - on Ferrell's part. What about Durango name recognition, you say? Please. When the dust clears, and Ferrell goes on to other things, the Durango will fall back to its rightful - and less-than-prominent - place in the market. - PMD
Carlos Ghosn. Editor-in-Chief's note: From the "Kings of Delusion" file comes word that the CEO of the Nissan-Renault World has quite the view - albeit warped - of Nissan and Infiniti's place in the automotive world. He told Automotive News Asia the following in an interview: "Today we are leading in many technologies. Look at electric cars. With the launch of the Infiniti Q50, we launched steer-by-wire. A new technology. We are starting autonomous driving. Now all of a sudden everybody is coming with autonomous driving. We are leading the pack. Nissan has recovered its power to be a bold technological innovator." Wow. It's hard to believe he actually believes all of that. "Leading the pack" - ? What pack is that exactly? As best as we can tell Nissan/Infiniti is well down the list when it comes to any discussion of electric cars and autonomous driving. Remember, Carlos, just because you're present and accounted for in a technological space doesn't constitute "leading the pack." And a "bold technological innovator" - ? Wow. Nissan has been a "me too" car company for so long that it's hard to fathom that statement. But then again, delusional CEOs are different from you and me. They believe the world revolves around them (e.g., The Great Sergio) and we should all be thankful we have a place in it, or something like that. - PMD
Lexus says that it's "Designed from the asphalt up, to strike at the heart." They're speaking about the newest Lexus F model, which will debut at the 2014 Detroit Auto Show. The Lexus PR minions continued: "Engineered from scratch, one performance layer at a time, the newest F model promises a bold, gritty, experience synonymous with the famed Lexus F heritage." Famed Lexus F heritage? Hmmm, you mean the one that's oh, like five minutes old? Whatever, we'll see it in a few weeks.
(Photos courtesy of BMW)
The all-new, 3.0-liter BMW M3 and M4 TwinPower Turbo 6-cylinder engine is approximately 10 kilograms lighter than its V-8 predecessor and produces 425 horsepower from 5,500 – 7,300 rpm and 406 lb-ft of torque from 1,850 – 5,500 rpm. The new cars are capable of 0-60mph in 3.9 seconds when equipped with the M-DCT transmission (4.1 seconds with standard 6-speed manual), according to preliminary BMW data. The all-new 2015 BMW M3 Sedan and BMW M4 Coupe will debut at the 2014 Detroit Auto Show, and will hit dealers in early summer 2014.
(Images courtesy of Ford)
The all-new Ford Mustang made its debut on Thursday, December 5th, in a global rollout in six cities on four continents. The new Mustang will be available globally for the first time in its history. The engine lineup? The 3.7-lieter V6 delivers at least 300HP and 270 lb.-ft. of torque. Smoother shifts are promised from the updated manual gearbox, while a reworked automatic transmission features new steering wheel-mounted shift paddles for drivers who want the choice between convenience and control. The Mustang GT continues with the latest edition of the 5.0-liter V8, now featuring an upgraded valvetrain and cylinder heads that yield more than 420HP and 390 lb.-ft. of torque. A new intake manifold improves low-speed breathing for better fuel economy, idle stability and emissions. The upgraded V6 and V8 engines are joined by an all-new 2.3-liter EcoBoost® four-cylinder engine. “This EcoBoost engine delivers where a Mustang driver expects it to, with a broad, flat torque curve that pours out when you stand on it for easy passing or hustling down a twisty road,” said Dave Pericak, Ford Mustang chief engineer. Ford's EcoBoost engines use direct injection, variable cam timing and turbocharging to deliver power and fuel efficiency. A unique intake manifold and turbocharger housing enable the EcoBoost 4-cylinder in the Mustang to deliver a projected 305HP+ and 300 lb.-ft. of torque. “Ford Mustang inspires passion like no other car,” said Raj Nair, Ford group vice president, global product development. “The visceral look, sound and performance of Mustang resonates with people, even if they’ve never driven one. Mustang is definitely more than just a car – it is the heart and soul of Ford.”
The new Mustang features all-new front and rear suspension systems. At the front, a new perimeter subframe helps to stiffen the structure while reducing mass, providing a better foundation for more predictable wheel control that benefits handling, steering and ride, according to Ford. The new double-ball-joint front MacPherson strut system also enables the use of larger, more powerful brakes. This is expected to be the best stopping Mustang yet, with three available brake packages. At the rear is an all-new integral-link independent rear suspension. The geometry, springs, dampers and bushings all have been specifically modified and tuned for this high-performance application. New aluminum rear knuckles help reduce unsprung mass for improved ride and handling. The advanced new Ford-developed stability control system is tuned to maximize Mustang’s dynamic capabilities. The Mustang GT includes standard launch control. “We already set a very high standard for Mustang’s dynamics with Boss 302, and our goal was to go above and beyond that with this new car,” said Pericak.
The all-new Mustang "features a significant amount of innovative technologies providing drivers with enhanced information, control and connectivity when they want it," insists Ford's PR boffins. Stuff includes Intelligent Access with push-button start, SYNC®, MyKey® plus available Track Apps, MyColor gauges and a new Shaker Pro audio system. Using the available Selectable Drive Modes, a driver can tap the toggle switches on the console to quickly adjust steering effort, engine response, and transmission and electronic stability control settings. For the first time ever, Ford will bring Mustang to customers in key parts of Europe and Asia. “We crafted this car with the goal of creating a contemporary interpretation of Mustang – an American automotive icon that symbolizes optimism and freedom for millions of people around the world,” said Jim Farley, executive vice president of Ford global marketing, sales and service and Lincoln. See a video about the new Ford Mustang here. And watch this video reveal for the new Mustang with Sienna Miller and Rankin.
Chevrolet will introduce the 2015 Corvette Z06 next month at the Detroit Auto Show. Chevrolet is saying that the Z06 will be "the most track-capable Corvette ever, designed to deliver supercar levels of performance through unique powertrain, chassis and aerodynamic features." Production is expected to begin in late 2014.
(Audi)Audi calls this crossover concept "a compact sports car redefined" and "a crossover with a distinctly sporting slant – a car for all roads and tracks, for everyday driving and recreational use." We'll see what it looks like when it makes its debut at the Detroit Auto Show in January, but it's clear that the hot, upcoming trend is going to be manufacturers calling crossovers sports cars. We're overjoyed. Not.
Letter from L.A.: The New Order at GM.
By Tom Pease
Beverly Hills. I'm inclined (maybe because it's so close to the holidays) to give them a chance - perhaps Santa has been good to the True Believers at The Tubes and the people who care about the American auto industry and even the national economy that, let's not forget, still partially hinges on the fact we have a healthy GM. Maybe these new people are just smart enough and just humble enough to realize that the resurgence of their company over the past years is due to having product that (for the most part) kicks ass and doesn't take names. Maybe they're just smart enough and just humble enough to realize that the only way to make money in this (or any other) business is not to mewl about focus groups or marketing strategies or ad campaigns, or to bluster about the executive offices blabbering about how it would all be better it everyone would just pay more attention to the wisdom of them, while curb stomping any idea, no matter how brilliant, not generated by one of their chosen team, simply because they didn't think of it. Maybe they can look at the CTS, the ATS and the new Stingray and for a moment FEEL (not think) "I get it." Because it's the holidays, and I'm feeling very "Miracle on 34th Street."
The likely reality of course is that we'll get another group (as we have how many times in the last 30 years?) that hates the industry and considers it a commodity like a computer or a vacuum. Fine. To them I say, here's your opportunity as a business model: you can be Apple and Dyson, or you can be countless others that people settle for but never aspire to and leave as soon as they can afford to. Some of your competitors have been dropping the ball badly for a while, givng you the opportunity to really go in for the kill. All you need to do is let those True Believers do what they do best. If you do, you'll be heroes. If you don't, you'll be another in a long line of names associated with failure. Either way, you get rich.
Rich and reviled, or rich and legend? Your choice. Look at your product. Look at your customers. Look at your competitors. Do better.
But most importantly, drop the idea that an MBA or time at a cereal company gives you an in to what it's like at an auto firm. You're selling dreams as sure as if you were working at MGM under Thalberg, kiddo, and if you can't get into a CTS or a 'vette or even a Volt or a Regal and get it, and tell them to push it further then you need to cash out and go back to Purina.