By on July 6, 2010

Well, how’d you like to have a brand-new Chevrolet Corvette?

With that line, GM CEO Ed Whitacre keeps GM’s streak of giving Corvettes away to well-compensated guys alive in a speech at the Austin Chamber of Commerce. When Whitacre asked the chairman of the chamber and president of Tokyo Electron US Holdings Barry Mayer what kind of car he drove, Mayer responded that he drove a Lexus. That’s hardly a surprising response, points out the Freep, given that Mayer is the head of a Japanese company’s US operations. But it surprised and embarrassed Whitacre enough to drop some Corvette keys in Mayer’s lap and offer discounts on GM cars to everyone else in the audience. Because chambers of commerce are, after all, the truly needy. Besides, it’s just tax money…

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32 Comments on “Quote Of The Day: The Best Things In Life Are Free Edition...”


  • avatar
    Omnifan

    Interestig on how they’re taking care of non GM customers. I had to fight GM for a month over a $43 warranty item. Maybe I should have asked for a ‘vette.

  • avatar

    It speaks volumes that Grandpa Ed even asked that question, and that he was apparently flustered by the response. What a dottering fool.

    Hint to Whitless — if you keep asking prominent leaders of successful corporations/divisions of same what kinds of cars they drive, don’t be surprised when NONE of them drive GM.

  • avatar
    mikey

    Mr Whitacre….If your reading this, please note. I’ve been defending GM at TTAC since Farago wrote” Death Watch “#2. With my limited literacy and typing skills I’ve pounded out hundreds of posts,never once wavering on my GM support.

    1 was also a dedicated hourly employeee for 36 years. Now I understand that GM already give me a heavily taxed Impala as part of my retirement package. But a Vette! whoa!

    Now I know I’ve never thrown an almost perfect ball game,and I don’t head up a Japanese company. But I’m a real nice guy,and my grand kids think I’m cool. But sir, a nice Corvette convertible,black/black top. Hey… I’m OK with the base model 1SA package. Give me a call,I can slip down to Kentucky to pick it up.

    Thanks
    Mikey

  • avatar
    John R

    I’m sorry. This make Whitacre look fairly pathetic.

  • avatar
    Contrarian

    I don’t see the sense in that action. It doesn’t appear that it would drive any GM sales like maybe the no-hitter might have. Just “spreadin the wealth around”, I guess.

  • avatar
    GarbageMotorsCo.

    This article reminded me that I watched “Happy Gilmore” over the weekend and couldn’t help but think “I betcha Shooter mcgavin would drive a Vette”

  • avatar
    philadlj

    Barry Mayer was later seen in the parking lot flexing the floppy plastic tail of the Corvette with a bemused look on his face.

  • avatar
    whynotaztec

    If he drives a Lexus, chances are it’s a sedan, why not give him the keys to the Caddy equivalent?

    I rented Corvette Summer a while ago, it’s pretty bad.

  • avatar

    At least GM got way more than $50K worth of publicity out of the Gallaraga freebied Corvette and got associated with a great feel good story. How on earth did Whitacre think this would help GM’s image?

    I can see giving members of the Chamber of Commerce a discount. They’re business leaders and you want leaders to drive your cars (though you don’t want to discount too many affluent customers since you’ll be leaving money on the table). Giving away a free car to a wealthy person, though, is going to offend a lot more people than it gives folks warm fuzzy feelings about the General.

    I don’t like the gov’t micromanaging GM because of the bailout, but I wouldn’t mind it if a House or Senate member asked GM for a list of all the comped cars it gives out. Letting Wolfgang Puck drive an Escalade doesn’t help sell many Caddies.

  • avatar
    Steven02

    50k is nothing to a company this size. And if you are going to say how it is tax money, lets do some math.

    50k / 100M (guessing on the amount of tax payers). That is what this would have cost.

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    Maybe Mayer should have tossed Ed the keys to the Lexus….

    • 0 avatar
      educatordan

      +1 But then I don’t know what Ed drove before he took the helm of GM. And only do that if it’s an LS400, a well cared for mid 90s example will likely feel better than a current DTS. Show Ed what a flagship should be.

  • avatar
    educatordan

    Ed McGrath: “I’ve been around automobiles all my life. They’re mechanical devices. They always let ya down. Ya buy ‘em, ya drive ‘em, ya break ‘em, ya fix ‘em, ya sell ‘em. Goods in the market place. Don’t get too attached to this car.” Obligatory Corvette Summer Quote.

  • avatar
    Russycle

    Dear Ed, I’m kinda-maybe thinking about buying a Lexus, how about tossing a Corvette my way? I’m not as hard up as those CoC types, but every little bit helps. Red please!

  • avatar
    Robert.Walter

    I remember the name of this movie, word in the halls at high school was that it was a stinker…

    Btw, who is Annie Potts? I’m not sure I ever know who she was, but if I did, I’ve definitely forgotten her.

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      Ghostbusters, Designing Women, etc.

      Am I the only one who thinks they’re standing on a slightly deformed Bandit-era Firebird?

    • 0 avatar
      gimmeamanual

      Do you believe in UFOs, astral projections, mental telepathy, ESP, clairvoyance, spirit photography, telekinetic movement, full trance mediums, the Loch Ness Monster and the theory of Atlantis?

    • 0 avatar
      tech98

      Total 70s schlock, mildly amusing in you’re in the mood for some trashy cinema. Hamill as a high school kid chasing down a stolen Corvette, Potts as a hooker. It makes Patrick Swayze’s ‘Roadhouse’ look like high art.

  • avatar
    JimC

    Holy obscure movie, Batman! Where did you find that graphic? I thought I knew about some unknown movies (I saw the original Death Race 2000 long before there was any word of a remake), but dang!

  • avatar
    rudiger

    I doubt he actually gave away a Corvette. More likely was a deal similiar to Tiger Woods where he got the use of a Cadillac Escalade. When Tiger’s personal problems started making headlines, GM quickly took the Escalade back.

    Likewise, Whitacre probably just loaned the guy the use of some executive car for a month or so. I mean, c’mon, the guy drives a Lexus. How many miles is he going to put on a Corvette?

  • avatar
    tmkreutzer

    If GM or other American companies are going to get their cars into the spotlight, they are going to have to continue with promotions like this. They need to have high profile people like CEOs, managers and celebrities seen out and about in their product. One thing I would like to see them add is lower pricing for US diplomats heading overseas.

    As a diplomat in Japan I show up at all kinds of prominent events, sometimes the press is there. Even off work just running around town people notice what I drive because of the special plates my car has.

    What do I drive? A cheap old used car I bought on the local market – yep, your American diplomat shows up in an 8 year old Mazda. How much nicer would it be if I could show up in an American model Ford, Chrysler or GM product.

    Am I asking for a free car? No, but if they aren’t going to work with me, I’ll opt for something local and used every time.

  • avatar

    Whitacre seems to be forgetting that the challenge is to get people to pay for the cars, not to accept them as gifts.

    • 0 avatar
      bomberpete

      Amen to that, Mr. Karesh.

      “Corvette Summer” came out after “Star Wars,” when Mark Hamill was named a “Star of Tomorrow” by movie theater owners. Of course they hadn’t seen this film yet and probably regretted the choice.

      Back then, Car & Driver did a hilarious story on the film’s premiere at a Corvette emporium in Ohio. If TTAC can dig that one up, I think it would make a great “Magazine Memory.”

  • avatar
    jacksonbart

    I wonder if he will have to pay the taxes on it or whether GM will? Who am I kidding local govt doesn’t pay taxes on these handouts.

  • avatar
    jacksonbart

    I believe Danny Bonaduce also had a small role in that film.

  • avatar
    bomberpete

    Yes, he did: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0077372/#comment

    Dammit, TTAC — now I’m going to have to find a copy of this and waste even more time!

  • avatar
    yukball

    OK, I know I should not care, but on that graphic for Corvette Summer, both of those “who”s should be whom. “Mark Hammill, whom you loved in Star Wars.” “Annie Potts whom you’ll remember as the secretary with the big glasses and nasally-irritating voice who had a crush on Dr. Venkmann in Ghostbusters.” It’s a pet peeve of mine – that all-too-common grammatical error. OK. Flame me now for talking about grammar on a (very cool) car site.


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