Our current age is one of multistate megadealers, Carmax, Ebay, and an ever-growing number of other depersonalized ways to buy a car. In these giddy times of direct sales experiments and apps for online vehicle purchases, it’s easy to forget that local franchise car dealers were pillars of American community life for decades. At the Bob McDorman Automotive Museum in central Ohio, however, the days when car dealers were more than just a place to buy a shiny new consumer product are alive and well.
Posts By: John Mohr
It’s not an exceptionally large showroom, but the façade is enormous. The Tesla retail store in Columbus, Ohio wraps around an entire corner of the Easton Town Center, that city’s premier upscale shopping venue. My trip to the store, the first time I’d ever set foot in a Tesla retail location, was an eye opener. Tesla’s retail model is an example of what Scion could have (and should have) been.
From the department of brand-killing marketing ideas comes Mercedes-Benz’s latest venture: in-game product placement for popular Nintendo game Mario Kart. Why? Because Millennials, that’s why!
Global oil prices are on the rise as the crisis in Iraq contributes to market instability. Large chunks of Iraq’s oil production infrastructure have fallen under militant control, leading to a sharp drop in output. Meanwhile, Canadian officials are upset with the Obama administration’s handling of the Keystone pipeline. They contend that the inaction on Keystone is keeping millions of barrels of Alberta crude from reaching more profitable markets.
Hooper Bentley image by Anton Van Luijk
“For years I was a Fleetwood man. Loyal. Traded in every year, without question. Always Eldorados.” A man in a dark green jacket and a carefully waxed mustache offered James a small crystal bowl filled with a variety of dark brown cartridges. “I’d be delighted, thanks.” He slid one into his e-cigar with a click and began puffing.
For decades, the formula for a successful pickup design in America has been pretty much the same. Design a simple ladder-frame chassis, drop in the biggest engine you can find, give it a front-engine rear-drive layout with an optional transfer case, and start raking in the money. From time to time, however, manufacturers have tried to swim against the current.
After getting lost in the maze of hallways numerous times, I finally found the door I was looking for. I knocked and it swung open sharply. Larry stood there with a devilish grin on his face, the kind he got when he was really proud of something. I could see a still from his work on the enormous screen behind him. A famous actor stood next to a luxury sedan, pointing at it with a smirk. Before I could say anything, Larry grabbed me by my collar and pulled me into his lair.
We sat down amongst the plethora of expensive video editing equipment in the small, dark room. He grabbed the burrito out of my hand and tore into it with ravenous force.
“So what did you bring me here to see? I know it’s gotta be something special. You usually don’t care about commercials.” He gulped down his mouthful of food, then began to explain.
“It’s brilliant. This is, like, the nuclear option of car ads. You know that a lot of luxury cars aren’t made in developed countries anymore?”
Standing on the sidewalk in front of his house, a young boy watches his neighbor across the street back out of her driveway. Her moss green Expedition starts to roll backwards. Suddenly, a blue beach ball blows into the SUV’s path. She hits it with one of her rear tires, and the truck rises up on top of it for just a moment. The ball bursts with an enormous bang, and the truck crashes back to the pavement with an equally loud noise. The top-heavy rig sways back and forth as the boy laughs.
For decades, conventional wisdom has said that a car is the worst place to be caught during a tornado, besides maybe a mobile home. Hundreds of photos of demolished vehicles thrown about by violent twisters seem to provide ample support for that conclusion. Driving instructors, safety advocates, and meteorologists have all argued that a ditch or culvert provides better protection than an easily-overturned car. Over the last decade or so, however, a debate has been brewing between weather and safety experts about the soundness of this advice.
In the oil-stained industrial district of a hardscrabble Georgia town, the sun beats down on a graveyard of wretched excess. Row after row of partially-stripped hulks drip planet-poisoning fluids on the orange clay, their remains picked over by a motley crew of opportunists. Scores of full-sized sport utility vehicles are ripe for scavengers, their bloated corpses dismembered for whatever might still be of use. What’s killing off the full-framed SUVs?