Posts By: Justin Berkowitz

By on March 20, 2010

Palin To Toyota: Just Resign From Making Cars

Former Alaska Governer Sarah Palin has a message for Toyota: “The best thing they can do at this point is resign from manufacturing cars,” she said in a statement posted on her refrigerator. These statements were later echoed in a speech.

“If there’s anything I’ve learned,” Palin told a crowd of supporters outside Phil’s House of Taxidermy in Bozeman, Montana, “It’s that you should always quit to focus on your family and serving people better.”

When asked how this might apply to Toyota’s situation, Palin responded “Toyota and me have a lot in common. We both have mentally challenged offspring. If I were them, golly I’d quit making cars because the establishment is too much of a mess. But they can tell supporters that they will continue to fight the good fight of making cars.”

Toyota has been plagued by quality scandals over the past several months, marked with congressional hearing and a tremendous recall. This past week several Priuses became self aware and tried to commit suicide, taking attempting to take their drivers with them.

(Read More…)

By on February 21, 2010


Chrysler To Recall Entire Range, Will Run “Let’s Recall America” Ad Campaign

After the violently successful “Let’s Refuel America” ad campaign, during which time Chrysler pitched itself as the $2.99/gallon antidote to what seemed like expensive gas, Chrysler plans to follow it up with a new “Let’s Recall America” ad campaign.

The Chrysler Group is poised to announce a spate of wide-ranging recalls, having observed the trend set in recent weeks by global giants Toyota, Honda and Volkswagen. In the absence of actually developing new product, it is understood Chrysler has instead elected to focus on those areas where it remains competitive. As a result – and in a move clearly designed to outgun its rivals – Chrysler’s recall program will extend across the carmaker’s entire lineup, a point the company believes will give it a crucial advantage in the race to the bottom.

“As usual, the media is bowing down to Toyota and their precious recalls. Well, we can out-recall them. In fact, by the end of the week Chrysler will be recalling a bigger percentage of its product line than any other company – 100%!” said Chrysler PR spokesman Charlie Riven.

(Read More…)

By on February 7, 2010

Company No One’s Ever Heard of To Tune Exotic Car With Ugly Body Kit and Ostensibly More Horsepower

A company that no one’s ever heard of, but which claims to have 40 years of experience tuning the most exotic sports cars, plans to tune an extremely expensive, high tech exotic sports car with an ugly body kit and theoretically additional horsepower. While the original car’s engine was developed on the Formula 1 racetrack after hours and hours of race testing, and the body was honed in a wind tunnel and then refined on the same F1 track, the tuner company actually knows better.

“You see, we do what the manufacturer of that $500,000 exotic car was unable to do, as a result of limited budgets and engineering restrictions,” said a spokesman for the tuning company. “We know way more than the car’s nerdy original engineers how much horsepower the body can tolerate, and we’ll achieve that horsepower by using a carefully installed supercharger from the eBay.” Additionally, the spokesman told MetaCars, “Carbon fiber is light and really expensive. How could it be wrong to replace body panels on the exotic sports car with carbon fiber. One step: lighter, just as strong. Must make it better.”

In announcing that it will be tuning this particular high-end exotic sports car, he tuning company joins the ranks of the legendary Wald, Gemballa, Ruf, Brabus, Lorinser, Carlsson, Alpina, Novitec Rosso, Hamann, Koenig, Wimmer, and Edo Competition, all of whom have said they too have tuned it already. The car goes on sale from the manufacturer next year. The tuning company says its work will cost $200,000 in addition to a donor car. They also ask us to point out that the photos included here, which came with their press kit, are photoshops. (Read More…)

By on January 24, 2010

Man Who Voluntarily Chose to Buy GMC Canyon Elected to U.S. Senate
Voters in Massachusetts have chosen a man who bought a GMC Canyon as their next representative to the U.S. Senate

According to reports, Senator-Elect Scott Brown voluntarily purchased the 5-cylinder truck, with either his own money or a bank loan. “As far as we know, there was no coercion involved in Brown’s purchase of the vehicle, the worst truck in America” said Sgt. Pete Malloy, of the Boston Police Department.

The GMC Canyon, based on an Isuzu design and featuring the world’s worst engine currently in production, has typically been the truck of choice of people who “You wouldn’t trust to buy your groceries, let alone vote on foreign policy,” remarked Evan Smith of the think tank and publisher Council on Foreign Relations.

Voters apparently didn’t mind Brown’s choice of Canyon, however. Amanda Eisler, 23, of Springfield told MetaCars, “I don’t see how his choice of car is important. Senator Brown is like real smart and has good judgment, just like my dad.” When asked, Eisler said her father is also an auto enthusiast. “He’s got a Suzuki Verona and a Chrysler Sebring sedan.”

(Read More…)

By on January 16, 2010

Zeta, baby!Tourists Flock to Detroit For GM’s Annual “We’re Importing the Holden Commodore” Festival

Detroit in January. Car fans may think of the North American International Auto Show, but there are thousands of tourists in town to attend festivities for GM’s annual announcement that it will be importing the Holden Commodore sport sedan from Australia.

(Read More…)

By on January 9, 2010

Don't worry, he reads urbandictionary.com...

GM Hires 78 Year-Old Man To Debut New Youth-Oriented Buick Regal GS

General Motors has contracted with a 78-year old man to debut a new Buick model meant to reorient the brand away from 80 year old buyers.

Robert A. Lutz, a Korean war veteran, helped himself up to the stage to announce the new Buick. Shown beside him in classic Buick white, Lutz said it would “be the final nail in the coffin for the old Buick brand image.” The new Regal GS is equipped with new-era technology, such as power seats, locks, and windows, as well as a full-sized trunk.

Another General Motors spokesman, Harold Braudel, told media members: “This new Regal is a classic American sedan. It marries European engineering with European design, all brought together by European manufacture.

Mr. Lutz had already teamed up with General Motors for work in the past; the octogenarian charmingly brought his Cadillac sedan to a track contest some months ago.

“Our goal is to show how youthful Buick has become. We’re shattering perceptions, and also hips,” Braudel concluded.

(Read More…)

By on January 2, 2010

Time for a spin cycle?

[Editor's note: TTAC prides itself on covering the most compelling stories in the automotive world, connecting the biggest trends, and exploring the most momentous decisions. We endlessly pore over the ceaseless stream of automotive news and data, and bring the most significant and momentous stories to these pages for your enlightenment and debate. But sometimes we just plain need a break from all the seriousness. Luckily, former TTACer Justin Berkowitz has the perfect palate-cleanser after a long week of news and analysis. His site, Metacars.com, publishes some of the best auto humor on the web, and we've asked him to compile a weekly digest of the funniest car news that never happened over the previous seven days. Unlike AutoWeek, the MetaCars Week In Review will actually be published every week, and unlike Jalopnik it will actually be funny. We hope you enjoy it.]

(Read More…)

By on July 1, 2009

The 7-Series, one of the last remaining holdouts in the super-luxury category to not offer AWD, will get BMW’s boringly-named xDrive all wheel drive this coming fall on the 750i and long wheelbase 750Li models. According to the press release, up to 80% of the power goes to the rear wheels, and a new computer system called “Active Chassis Management” can eat 30 hot dogs in under a minute. Here in the Northeast, nearly every new S-Class on the road has 4Matic, Audi has offered Quattro on its big sedans for 20 years and even Lexus joined the game by offering AWD on the newest LS. (I omit Jaguar’s XJ, of course, because it sells so badly that Tata won’t even report Jaguar’s sales by model). So all is well that ends well: BMW gets a slightly more competitive 7-Series, rich people don’t have to leave the 7-Series at home and take the winter-beater Range Rover, and the rest of us get to look at even more badges and stickers on the side of BMW’s cars.

By on July 1, 2009

Old cars never die. They go to junkyards and donate parts to keep their brethren on the road in perpetuity. They rust out in back yards and collect dust and hay in barns. Or their tooling goes somewhere else. Scores of older cars live on in lesser developed countries, most famously the VW Beetle in Mexico until 2003. But also Iran Khodro’s Peugeot 405 and South Africa’s VW Golf Mk1 (out of production in Germany since 1983). Similarly, one of the best selling cars in British history—British Leyland’s Austin/MG Maestro—didn’t go out of production when it was canned in the UK in 1994. The car, notorious for exemplifying BL’s miserable failings, lives on in China to this day. A writer for AROnline ventured to Chengdu, where the Maestro soldiers on, to investigate what happened to this disaster of a car. In addition to other bodystyles, the basic platform underpins a knock off of an MG concept from a decade ago as well as a Subaru Forester knock-off. The article is well worth a look. And it makes you wonder which early 2000s GM vehicles will be “brand new” in another corner of the world in 2030.

By on March 3, 2009

Nissan’s sales, too, took a brutal pounding last month, with their trucks particularly leading the plunge. While the Versa held on (5045 this February compared to 5708 in Feb ’08), the Sentra fell 21% and the Altima took a header of 31.5%, falling to 16,002 from last February’s 23,363. The trucks were the true mess though, collectively down 51%. The Frontier collapsing from 4661 to 1617 in February (a 65.3% drop) and the Titan down to 1508 from 3794 (down 60.3%). The Xterra had a similar tragedy, from 3548 to 1105 units (−68.9%) and the Pathfinder, too, was down 60.2% to 1498 in February compared with 3765 in February 2008. The Rogue was a small bright spot, which actually was up a bit to 5500 sales, while the Murano fell from 10,074 to 4126 units. Infiniti limped along with gains from the new FX, but the crucial G sedan and coupe were down 47.5 and 45.7% respectively. That amounts to almost 2700 lost G sales versus last February. Ouch.

By on March 3, 2009

Where’s the news? VW’s sales were down from 16,556 to 13,660 from February ’08 to February ’09, a decline of 17.5%. Models like the Rabbit (Golf with a stupid engine) and Passat were down significantly, while VW’s supremely important Jetta model fell from 6823 last February to 5199 this past month. This was offset a bit by an additional 784 units of the Jetta wagon, which wasn’t on sale last February. Some red meat if you’re into that sort of thing: the R32 (which I’ve never been wild about) dropped from 449 cars last February to a paltry 85 this February, a decline of 81%. VW has had a number of new models introduced in the past 12 months, like the Tiguan, Routan, CC, and the aforementioned Jetta wagon which have helped to offset the decline in other areas. Or just flat out stole sales from their siblings. Stay tuned for an upcoming editorial about VW’s models and marketing in the US, which I believe has been infected by the dangerous Genmotovirus.

By on February 18, 2009

Farago is going to kill me for this one, but if I don’t tempt fate every so often, the dullness wins. Since the discussion of the bailout has turned my brain to Chex Mix, and seeing pictures of the Porsche Panamera and BMW 5-Series PAS SAC KNICK KNACK just make me nauseous, I figure we should try some lighthearted fun. Readers, please put the following cars in order according to . . . whatever you like. Just tell us your sorting mechanism when you post, or be more mysterious and let folks guess.

(A) Nissan 370Z
(B) Dodge Charger R/T
(C) Volkswagen Jetta TDI
(D) Lexus IS-F
(E) Hyundai Genesis 4.6
(F) Audi A4 2.0T
(G) Citroen C6 V6 HDI

And if this wasn’t enough to make you say “huh?”, please enjoy today’s podcast.

By on February 17, 2009

After watching my local news tonight (and stay tuned for Seinfeld, next, on Fox 5), and the 6th-grade bailout coverage, I’m eager to hear what the mainstream media will say about the bailout plans tomorrow. During GM’s press conference, one intrepid reporter asked “How long will $4 billion last?” and the response was Fritz Henderson having a Coke and a Smile. The bailout itself has taken on such epic persona that it’s tough for the mainstreamers to capture. But it will be difficult, still, for them to understand the intricacies of the hogwash from Chrysler and GM’s reports. I mean, they’re so full of BS that I could do an entire between-the-lines editorial made up of 800 single-word sentences.

To those of you that read this before the morning portion of the 24-Hour Bemuse Cycle: What are they going to botch and how?

To those reading this after it’s covered by the big 3 cable news companies (CoNN; the media wing of the Conservative Party—known as FoxNews; and the alliance of Seattle-Boston-Chicago-New York-Ithaca-Burlington newsies (also known as MSNBC)), what did they say that you found flagrantly offensive and factually incorrect?

By on February 17, 2009

Chrysler has just released its 177-page “Viability Plan.” It will no doubt take plenty of time to go through (and this, of course, was unintentional on Chrysler’s part). In the interim, some highlights:

—Chrysler wants $5 billion by the end of March for “working capital and other operating expenses.” This would mean a total bailout purse of $9 billion, an increase over the $7 billion requested in December.

—The theme is “pay us now or it’s going to cost you more money than you can possibly imagine— or print.” This sounds suspiciously like like some word I learned once. Axtortion? No. Extourtan? What was it?

—There’s plenty of bankruptcy and liquidation analysis, projecting what the costs would be if they went bust.

—The “Stand Alone” business plan includes a $600 million profit in 2010, followed by a loss of the same amount in 2011, then another loss of $600 million in 2012, then a break-even year in 2013, followed by a projected $1B in profits in 2014.

—24 product launches in 48 months. I can only assume they are counting different paint colors as individual product launches.

—Fiat could, in theory, take another 20% stake of Chrysler for a majority share of 55%.

—”No American taxpayer money would go to Fiat.” Semantics.

By on February 17, 2009

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