No. 942
April 18, 2018
 

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

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On The Table


Tuesday
Mar102009

ON THE TABLE

March 11, 2009

 

GM, the U.S. Auto Industry. So it has come down to this: Even when an American automobile company - in this case, General Motors - shocks the world with one of the most advanced engines ever built, the whole thing comes undone because of GM's deteriorating financial situation. Richard Truett, reporting last night for Automotive News, says the company is delaying its sensational 4.5-liter alloy diesel V8 for light-duty trucks. Slated to begin production in the fall of '09 in GM's Tonawanda, N.Y., engine assembly facility, the new engine bristles with advanced technical features like unique cylinder heads that eliminate the intake and exhaust manifolds, and it had been eagerly anticipated by consumers and competitors alike. Now, the new engine has been shelved, and it would take a year for GM to restart the program. GM isn't selling the rights to the engine, as was first reported, but would consider entering into a joint venture and let another company build the engine.  Either way, it's the quintessential definition of Not Good.

The Detroit City Council. Publisher’s Note: Last weekend, one of the coolest car shows in the country - Autorama - had the unfortunate honor of being located in Cobo Hall, which is where it always has been, but which we predict it will never be again. Lots of hot cars, cool chrome and creativity were on display, along with an unusual and unwelcome sideshow: water. Yes, water, leaking from Cobo Hall’s roof on to the floor – and on some cars – below, due to the torrential rain that blasted the city last weekend. As most AE readers know by now, Cobo Hall is simply the worst venue of its kind in the country. And while the City of Detroit has squandered every opportunity to come up with a solution to enhance Cobo over the last 15 years, recently a plan was agreed upon (after five years of negotiations) among all interested parties – the city, the state, and the three counties involved – to improve the facility. Not to turn it in to a world-class facility mind you, but to repair its crumbling infrastructure first and foremost and then engineer a modest expansion. The deal was signed, sealed and done, that is until Detroit’s city Council got involved. The most embarrassingly inept and dysfunctional governmental body in the U.S. by a long shot, Detroit’s City Council is rife with a collection of stunningly incompetent and maliciously small-minded people, led by the Queen of Dysfunction herself, the completely indefensible Monica Conyers. These idiots nixed the deal because “there wasn’t enough in it” for the city, according to Conyers. (She actually believes that Cobo is due funds from the stimulus package, even though everyone who would know suggests that couldn’t be further from the truth.) In the latest development, interim mayor Ken Cockrel Jr. has vetoed the Council’s action, rightly dismissing it as detrimental to the city’s future. Now, Conyers is orchestrating suing the mayor, saying he doesn’t have the right to a veto in this matter. This in a city that is functionally broke and barely scraping by, a city so desperately in need of a viable convention facility that it could mean life or death for the city itself. To make matters worse, every time the Council feels slighted they play the race card and accuses suburban Detroit for being out to “get” them. Huh? The Detroit City Council’s sense of entitlement knows no bounds. They will destroy the city right up until the State of Michigan has to appoint a manager to oversee its official dismantling. On top of everything else negatively weighing on this region right now, what’s going on in the city of Detroit is sad and beyond pathetic. – PMD

arrowup.gifarrowup.gifarrowup.gifL. Brooks Patterson. The Oakland County Executive blasted Detroit city officials for their rampant stupidity regarding the Cobo Hall fiasco with the following comments as reported by The Oakland Press yesterday: “It took five years to get this (regional) authority. If they’re thinking we’ll go back to the table and sing ‘Kum Ba Yah,’ it ain’t gonna happen.” One of Patterson's friends also attended Autorama and reported back to him how mad people were: “The car owners were pretty infuriated,” Patterson said. “It underscores the Cobo debate - if Detroit is doing such a good job, then why is the roof a sieve and the doors frozen? It defies logic.” And those are our AE Quotes of the Week.

Detroit and the NAIAS. The reality of the above item is that the City of Detroit can kiss the North American International Auto Show goodbye. The Cobo Hall facility is a complete disaster, the city leadership is defined by a relentlessly embarrassing and witless tone that continues to defy all rational thought and reason, and despite noble words by those involved with putting on the show, there is no way that the NAIAS can survive in the urban wasteland that defines Detroit. Where it will go? No, it won’t be Chicago, the fun, mainstream show that has real people doing real car shopping. Instead, it’s likely to be Los Angeles or New York. Our money is on L.A. Once the auto industry is “reinvented” by Nancy Pelosi et al, we can envision an entire show floor of Smiley Cars no one wants to buy. How perfect.

arrowup.gifThe AE Automotive Stimulus Plan. In lieu of the Obama administration’s complete paralysis, we propose the following to get things rolling for the auto industry: $5,000 from the U.S. government to anyone who purchases any new car or truck - no matter the manufacturer’s country of origin - to be applied at the time of purchase. No tax rebate, no bullshit. Go buy a vehicle and add your government cash to your best deal. We would make it effective April 15 – July 31, 2009.

arrowup.gifarrowup.gifarrowup.gifJay Leno. America’s Car Guy in Chief is doing something for Michigan’s dismal existence by staging a free show next month at the Palace of Auburn Hills, on April 7th. The “Tonight Show” host announced on his Monday show that the performance will be for “anybody out of work in Detroit.” Soft drinks and parking will also be free. People will only have to say they're unemployed to get tickets to the event. Tickets will be available starting Monday at the Palace box office. Four tickets will be allowed per person. Michigan’s unemployment rate has been among the highest in the nation. It was at 11.6 percent in January, but estimates for the “real” unemployment rate – including those who have given up looking altogether – are much higher.

The Detroit City Council. Not to be outdone, those monumental idiots on the Detroit City Council are “questioning” why Jay Leno’s “free” show has to be in the suburbs, that it should be in the city. You just can’t make this shit up, folks.

arrowup.gifHonda. From the “Oh, it’s On” File, Honda is pricing its five-door Insight hybrid at a base of $20,470, including shipping, around $2300 less than the Toyota Prius. That makes it the cheapest hybrid in the United States.

Arnold Schwarzenegger, SAE. The opening speaker at this year's Society of Automotive Engineers World Congress in Detroit on Monday, April 20? California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Hear that? It’s the sound of one hand clapping, as the SAE continues its inexorable slide into irrelevance.

arrowup.gifarrowup.gifarrowup.gifA. J. O'Neil. The owner of A.J.'s Music Cafe - a community coffee house here in local Ferndale - is angered about Detroit becoming America's whipping boy and is doing something about it, according to the Detroit Free Press. He is staging something called "The Assembly Line," at the end of this month, which will be a weeklong music marathon to support the auto industry. In the process, he hopes to garner 15 million signatures from people who promise to buy American when choosing their next car. Stewart Francke, one of our most enduring local musical figures, has signed up, along with another 130 acts. Francke has a new single out on the Internet, "That's the Way We Do It In Detroit," where it can be downloaded free. The song is described as a soulful anthem to autoworkers who "rolled them out in peace and war," and who "turned steel to gold." Go to www.stewartfrancke.com.