No. 919
October 18, 2017
 

About The Autoextremist@PeterMDeLorenzo Author, commentator, influencer. "The Consigliere." Editor-in-Chief of Autoextremist.com.

Follow Autoextremist

 

On The Table


Tuesday
Sep092008

ON THE TABLE #462

September 10, 2008


Paul Ingrassia, The Wall Street Journal. Publisher's Note: It was a case of the same-old, same-old from Ingrassia and the WSJ this past Monday. His opinion piece entitled "Detroit's Blackmail Attempt Is Beyond Shameless" whereupon he justified the demise of Detroit with gems like: "The only reason we should bail out any private company is the risk that its demise would wreak havoc on the entire economy. Bear Stearns conceivably passed the test; its collapse could have threatened the U.S. financial system, and the government didn't make the mistake of bailing out shareholders or management. But just what calamity are we trying to avoid by subsidizing loans to Detroit? That we'll all be sentenced to the indignities of driving Hondas, Mazdas, or BMWs? Toyota and Honda, the current leaders in hybrids and alternative-fuel technology, did their research on their own dimes." That Ingrassia's piece bristled with falsehoods and out and out fiction to make his point is no surprise. His disdain for GM and Detroit is well documented, and the WSJ's attitude about bailouts - as in "no" at least to every segment of the economy other than Wall Street - is consistently transparent. But the facts remain clear too. Detroit spends billions upon billions on research & development every year, money that spreads throughout the nation's economy from coast to coast. And for the record, GM is on a par with Honda in advanced alternative propulsion technology, with Toyota in second, despite its carefully crafted Mr. Green Jeans, all-hybrids-all-the-time image. And between 1 in 12 and 1 in 14 jobs in this country are still either directly or indirectly related to the domestic automobile business. And you don't think it will affect you, where ever you may be in this country? Think again. Ingrassia conveniently concludes that Detroit deserves its fate due to its serial incompetence, that the country would survive its downfall with no more than a blip on the radar screen. And he is just flat-out wrong. If this country turns its back on its own manufacturing base, we will become a second-tier power on the global stage for the first time in our history. Ingrassia and his ilk may be comfortable with that, but I'm not. And I don't know anyone in the real world - the world that exists beyond Wall Street and Washington - who is either. - PMD

Chrysler. From the "Smoke and Mirrors" File comes word that Chrysler is promising as many as seven new vehicles by 2010, while the best guestimates that insiders and analysts alike can muster are maybe five. At any rate, Jim Press has gone on the offensive of late (he spoke to the Automotive Press Association in Detroit today) touting the "new" Chrysler and how they got it goin' on - including "breakthroughs" coming in electric vehicle development - the skeptics be damned. Well, call us crazy but we're not buying any of it - not one single bit of it. Chrysler emerges from the shadows to come up with a "breakthrough" electric vehicle? Please. Press is flailing about trying to convince everyone that Chrysler will be the "it" car company in 2010, except he's conveniently forgetting that there will be a lot of "it" car companies in 2010, and once the other, much stronger car companies weigh-in with their new vehicles in 2010, Chrysler will still be occupying the also-ran position it has comfortably occupied for years now. But then again, it won't get that far. Chrysler cannot survive as an independent entity much longer. Despite the Press-generated bluster, the financials just don't add up. And the Cerberus-owned Chrysler will not survive without some sort of shape-changing partnership - or out and out sale.

Fisker Automotive. From the "There's a Sucker Born Every Minute" File comes word that Fisker Automotive has secured its Series C financing round with a total investment of $65 million. The round was led by a new investor, an affiliate of Qatar Investment Authority (QIA). Existing investors Palo Alto Investors and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers also participated. Fisker Automotive, which bills itself as "a green American premium sports car company," plans on developing the Karma - a four-door plug-in hybrid premium sports car - with this financing. It's amazing what people can do with a sketch these days, isn't it?

Mazda. They got sucked in by their ad agency and ended up with a overwrought and overblown launch spot for the all-new 2009 Mazda6. Clearly aimed at garnering a slew of ad awards, rather than communicating anything about the new Mazda6, the spot is tedious and forgettable. Other than that, we liked it.

Nancy Pelosi. The House Speaker and California Democrat - the person who went out of her way over the last several years to torture Detroit on any number of issues and at every opportunity - is now going out of her way to champion the loan package for those same Detroit automakers. Which ever way the political winds blow, right, Nancy?

David Welch, Business Week. In his column "My Aston Martin Didn't Work" Welch perfectly encapsulates our modern day frustration with technology for technology's sake in our new cars when he recounts the story of how the 2009 Aston Martin Vantage V8 he borrowed wouldn't start. We're not big on any of the "keyless go" or starter button systems proliferating in new cars today, because they're gimmicky, plain and simple. Automakers need to rethink their infatuation with this "technology" because it does nothing to enhance the driving experience, which is, allegedly, why you'd get an Aston Martin Vantage V8 to begin with. And when they don't work, it just pisses you off. Car keys might be "antiquated" but surprisingly enough, they still work fine, so why not use them?

Matt DeLorenzo. Alain Lemarchand, President & CEO, Hachette Filipacchi Media U.S. announced yesterday that Matt DeLorenzo (Peter's cousin) has been promoted to Vice President/Editor-in-Chief of Road & Track magazine reporting to Senior Vice President, Group Editorial Director John Owens. DeLorenzo has been running day-to-day operations for the magazine since former Editor-in-Chief Thos L. Bryant retired this year after 36 years with the company. Way to go, cuz.

(GM)
GM will debut the Orlando concept at the Paris Motor Show in October. GM says that the Orlando "is a clear indication that Chevrolet is considering an expansion to its portfolio with a seven-seat multi-purpose vehicle with distinctive sport utility-like design, adaptable seating and impressive interior space." The five-door Orlando is based on the all-new Cruze compact sedan. GM's latest-generation 2.0-liter turbo diesel, developing 150 hp and 320 Nm of torque, is featured in the Orlando.

(GM)