Saturday, January 3, 2009

U.S. Autos in 2009: What's Going and What's Staying

ON BEHALF of President-elect Obama, I’d like to introduce myself as the country’s new Car Czar.*

The kind of PR pukes who might have suffocated this kind of rambling, off-the-wall public announcement did not make it to the Big Show with this Administration — change I can live with.

I should also point out that the president-elect doesn’t even know me. A nimble, results-oriented Administration like O’s has the smarts to hire political enemies when they’re just plain the best candidates for the job; same goes for hiring loose cannons from out in the ether who fraudulently announce their appointments to the Administration on the internet.

Anyway, I’m the guy who will oversee the Big Three auto makers as they burn through government bailout money (Ford hasn't taken the bait yet, but I've decided to oversee them anyway). I not only get to watch where the money goes ... I get to say where the money goes. As in, hey ... this car’s crap ... can it. That car was a bad idea in the first place. Make more of this car, but don’t make it with a fake convertible top, and put some decent mag wheels on it.

It’s a lot of power for a guy who’s in charge of looking after taxpayer money that’s going to save the American automobile industry for up to 45 days.

Look. (O’s favorite thought-pause/attention-demander in speech. You have to admit, it’s every bit as effective as, "Listen," as in "Listen. Billy Pilgrim has become unstuck in time." You have to pay attention). Let’s get right to the essentials of our new automotive landscape:

Gone: HummerHave you ever seen a male civilian Hummer driver who is not Arnold Schwarzenegger who wasn’t some petite white guy who by himself is not intimidating and not toothy-chromey-towering charismatic? It’s time for the inadequate white males in this country to find new ways to be jerks. Same with girl Hummer drivers. You babes never looked as cool as you thought you looked running over stuff you couldn’t see from up there, and everyone knew you were just pretending to be rapper’s hos on fake equity from your fake suburban mansions (thanks for cratering our economy, BTW).

Gone: Boring Sedans

Nobody wants to buy a milquetoast eight-second-to-sixty sedan from an American manufacturer. The Japanese and Koreans dominate this market today. Let ‘em.

Staying: Corvette, Viper, Ponycars and Hot Rod Caddies
Cheap muscle that leaves Eurosnobs sniveling about their better cornering and superior body panel gaps is what the U. S. of A. does best, and a 12-second Vette gets mid-20s on the highway today, for goodness sake.

Japanese and German supersedans are what the educated, discerning driver buys today in this category ... I get it. I also understand that the people who have abandoned domestic cars because of "reliability issues" are the same incompetent whiners whose cars are never "reliable" because they don’t maintain them unless forced to by the regular dealer service intervals required by the prestige brands to maintain warranties. They’re also the kind of weenies who don’t factor-in "secret warranties" (hey, Toyota) in reporting reliability to their East Coast Elite Weenie Enablers, Consumer Reports.

Forget about the short-term depreciation: you can’t even find a Madoff fund that does better than a pristine 30-year-old American muscle car, unless it was made between 1973 and 1996.

Gone: Plots to Hatch Domestic Homages to Smart Cars

These aren’t Smart cars, they’re Smug Cars — as in look what I’m doing for the environment: driving a cute, tiny car with half the seating, acceleration, and braking capability of a Toyota Yaris at no cost or fuel economy advantage whatsoever.
Gone: Luxury Pickup Trucks (Excluding the state of Texas)If you really need a luxury pickup truck, you can have someone customize your rig. It’s time for America to get back to work.

Gone: Everyone Responsible for the Pontiac Aztek
And especially the corporate numbnuts who paid employees to drive these things around large cities and pretend to be hip, cool, and having fun.

Gone: Execs who Drove Green Cars to WashingtonAfter being challenged by some posturing representative over their use of a private jets on their previous visit to Washington. These are not the courageous captains of industry America’s automotive trust needs. Just one guy needed to stick his hand up and say, "Hey ... we’re paying for those jets whether they sit on the ground or fly, and we get paid too much to spend a whole day driving down to see you folks ... plus our hybrids don’t go up mountains too well."

If this is representative of Detroit’s Ball Trust, don’t be surprised if next time out Senator Stunt-face asks for a show of hands from everyone who came by horse and carriage. The Pontiac Aztek was no doubt permitted by corporate go-alongs like these.

Staying: Bob Lutz
If Bob Lutz were some guy pretending to be Bob Lutz, he’d drive a Hummer.

Gone: UAW Shopfloor Zombies
Just the ones who think they can nap in parts bins all day and still get paid or who think standing around in protest of UNFAIR stuff makes them American heroes. As Car Czar I’ll see to it that the American automotive industry finds a way to shape-up this crowd or start over.

Staying: Michael Moore

Oops. Never mind. His ancestors were the union guys. At any rate, we’ll appoint someone to look after our auto workers. History tells us that just as soon as the lazy, contract-gaming UAW guys are forced to work for a living again, the crooks in the starched white collars will get right back to work earning themselves another lifetime shackled to another union.


Gone: Car Salesmen Named "Mike."The industry’s exploitation of this inherently trustworthy name must end.
Staying: Car Salesmen Named "Francisco."What a cool name. Sounds like a guy just trying to make a living in the New World, and the name alone makes me want to pay for the extended warranty.

I'm not done yet. Next week: I revamp Car and Driver magazine.

*Disclaimer: Why I am the Car Czar: Due to the emergency nature of the Great Corporate Panic of 2008, U.S. government bailouts for banks, automakers, and nail spas were by necessity co-mingled to allow anyone to have bailout money for any reason.

Due also to the grave consequences manifest in failing to act quickly, the disbursement of the these funds was not subject to review by Congress, the public, or any court of law, nor was any resulting government authority, interest, or control in parties receiving these funds.
Since anyone might have received funds for any reason and no one knows what went where, I, The Car Czar, who appointed himself to this position during the Obama Administration's power transition in January, 2009 (hoping the Big O wouldn't mind and would probably have too much on his plate to go chasing down some weirdo blogger with Cease and Desist orders), and whose legal address is (I am The Car Czar), claim co-mingled non-reviewable authority, interest, control but no responsibility for every corporate and government entity in the United States of America and elsewhere.
My authority over any and all other human behavior any and everywhere is incorporated by reference at another URL somewhere, and by reading this blog you agree to be bound by its terms and conditions.

In other words, I can tell any and everyone on this big beautiful blue planet how to run their affairs, just like any other web wanker).


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