The Truth About Cars » Ed Niedermeyer The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Tue, 15 Apr 2014 13:24:08 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » Ed Niedermeyer QOTD: Toyota, Not Tesla, As A Force Of Disruption Fri, 28 Feb 2014 20:11:12 +0000 450x298x1488276_10151952273333579_659848810_n-450x298.jpg.pagespeed.ic.WC5A2hrjb7

Writing in Bloomberg View, former EIC Ed Niedermeyer has published a crtical essay of Tesla, albeit one with a fresh angle: Toyota, one of Tesla’s main automotive partners, is in fact the true force of disruption in the automotive world.

Although Niedermeyer touches mainly on Toyota’s efforts in manufacturing and quality (namely, kaizen),  which disrupted Detroit’s stranglehold on the automotive market, other improvements come to mind. Lexus disrupted German dominance of the luxury segment, while the Prius is the world’s most successful hybrid car. Even if the company is anathema to enthusiasts, Toyota’s contributions to the broader automotive world are immense.

On the other hand, Niedermeyer takes a much more grounded (or dim) view of Tesla – you won’t find any appeals to a utopian society of autonomous EVs, as one analyst touted this past week. According to Ed

“Auto industry success is a marathon, not a sprint … and at current volumes, Tesla is barely walking.”

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Former Marine Bomber Pilot Lutz Blasts Former TTAC Chief Niedermeyer, Hits Popcorn Warehouse Tue, 07 May 2013 16:31:02 +0000

Forward contracts on popcorn skyrocketed at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange as former TTAC Chief Editor Ed Niedermeyer drew massive fire for his recent op-ed  in the Wall Street Journal.  On Sunday, GM’s PR Chief Selim Bingo blasted Niedermeyer for “stepping through the looking glass” and for “carelessly comparing GM’s spending in China to that in the U.S.”

A day later, Bob Lutz joined the fray.

Bob Lutz - Alpha Jet - Picture courtesy


The former marine jet attack pilot and Korean war veteran Lutz (never mind that the aging alpha male loves to be depicted with an un-American French/German Alpha Jet) did not use sissy Alice in Wonderland imagery, but overwhelming firepower. He calls Ed’s articles “rants” and accuses him of swapping “truth” for “cheap political pandering.” He blames Ed of the written equivalent of showing his genitals in Central Park, saying Ed “exposes his naiveté by not knowing (or acknowledging) the rules a foreign automaker must follow to participate and profit in China.”

Indicative for the massive pain Ed is causing GM, Lutz sees it necessary to dig into Ed’s meager finances. Lutz (or whoever did the digging) did not find much:  Ed “was paid $27,000 by a Tea Party organization in the last election,” says the article. If Niedermeyer would have remained with TTAC, he could have made more. Not much, but more.  Lutz quickly says that there is “nothing wrong” with it – but then why mention it at all?

Once through with invectives and digging into personal finances,  Lutz ploughs the furrow laid down by Bingol the day before, namely that no American money ever went to China, instead, it went the other way. Lutz catches Ed making a “most egregious error:” Ed said that GM invested only $8.5 billion in its U.S. operations since the bankruptcy. Wrong, wrong WRONG, shouts Lutz: “Since 2009, GM has invested about $9 billion in plants and people.”  The firefight (I understand Ed is on his way to the armory) is loud and making headlines.

Ed has struck a raw nerve at GM. In the shooting business, they call that reconnaissance by fire. If a hail of bullets answers, there  usually is something worth defending.

I have my own beef with Ed: Instead of giving the impression that GM is sending money to China (he never said it, but he has been readily perceived as such) Ed should look deeper into money GM had received from China. The story of GM having been bailed-out by SAIC and hence the Chinese government in times of severe cash flow problems, the co-signing of loans, the back and forth of the Golden Share, the India business, all of that has never been properly explained. All I can tell you is that one does not want to be the recipient of Chinese generosity in times of need. The interest payments on that typically are very big and very painful. The Chinese won’t do what Washington did. They want their money back, in full, again, and again, and again.

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GM’s Bingol Aims At Ed Niedermeyer, Fires Mon, 06 May 2013 13:49:44 +0000 Picture courtesy Bertel Schmitt

A terrorist, about to enter the RenCen

Even after Ed Niedermeyer put on coat and tie as proper attire for our Via Dolorosa to  GM’s towers, GM’s Über-PR Chief Selim Bingol did not like him. “We don’t negotiate with terrorists,” said Bingol, frustrating my naive attempts at fence-mending. Instead of being sent to Gitmo,  one of the terrorists writes frequent op-ed pieces at the Wall Street Journal, causing Bingol to go on the counter-attack.

“Edward Niedermeyer’s suggestion that China is the ultimate beneficiary of the U.S. auto rescue doesn’t stand up to basic fact-checking” writes Bingol in a letter to the Journal today. This in response to an op-ed piece penned by Niedermeyer in the Journal last week where Niedermeyer writes that China ” is disproportionately benefiting from the bailout of America’s erstwhile automotive icon.” Which is slightly different than “ultimate beneficiary,” but Bingol is paid to spin, and he is doing his job.

Wisely, Bingol side-steps the fact that GM will be creating 6,000 new jobs in China, while “since 2005 the number of workers it employs in North America has fallen by 76,000,” as Niedermeyer wrote.

Instead, Bingol focuses on what is more important than jobs at GM, money: “The $11 billion in capital that will be spent in China by 2016 is coming out of our joint ventures rather than Detroit and is far less than the approximately $16 billion in capital GM will invest in the U.S. over that time.” Commenters at the WSJ are not buying it, arguing that instead of spending the money in China, one could spend it here.

Bingol also says that Niedermeyer’s “speculation over the possible loss of GM jobs or technology to China is simple fear mongering, offered without evidence because it doesn’t exist.”

Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow and her colleague Carl Levin will be relieved to hear that from the horse’s mouth, so to speak. Debbie and Carl missed no opportunity to complain about jobs and technology making off to China. They should (but probably won’t) be glad to hear that it is not true.

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Ed Niedermeyer Returns To The WSJ Wed, 01 May 2013 13:00:47 +0000

Our beloved Ed Niedermeyer is back in the Wall Street Journal with another op-ed, entitled “Welcome To General Tso’s Motors”. I’m sure you can all figure out the gist of it. Check it out here. Anti-GM-bias police, grab your defibrillators.

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Ed Niedermeyer In Today’s Wall Street Journal Sat, 03 Nov 2012 19:18:12 +0000

TTAC alumni Ed Niedermeyer has an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal. The piece discusses the spin surrounding the bailout in this year’s campaign. Check it out here.

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Ed Niedermeyer Returns To Automotive Journalism Fri, 21 Sep 2012 16:41:27 +0000

Yes, dear readers, I am happy to announce the Ed Niedermeyer has returned to automotive journalism. Sort of. And not for TTAC. Ed’s essay on the Subaru Outback and the Mini Countryman is perfectly timed for reading over your Friday lunch. Check it out over at Curbside Classic and curse our fearless Editor Emeritus for installing a snot-nosed neophyte like myself into such a hallowed vocation.


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TTAC In The New York Times Thu, 16 Dec 2010 07:43:09 +0000

Ed Niedermeyer is too humble to say it, so it’s left to me: Ed just had his second third op-ed piece in the New York Times. Required reading.  Two core sentences:

“In particular, what Mr. Obama called his “one goal” — having Detroit “lead the world in building the next generation of clean cars” — is nowhere near being achieved. While the idea of improving G.M.’s and Chrysler’s fuel efficiency was doubtless a politically popular justification for the bailout, American consumers have not embraced the goal with equal fervor. Sales of fuel-sipping compact and subcompact cars have actually dropped this year, while pickup and sport utility vehicle sales grew by double-digit percentages.”

Honestly: Trying to tell customers what to buy fails. You have to make what they want. If they want dualies, give them dualies. It (still) is a free country. The mind-altering abilities of advertising are vastly overrated.

“And if Detroit’s slipping into bad old habits wasn’t distressing enough, the bailouts have created a perverse new dynamic. With G.M. stock now being publicly traded on Wall Street, taxpayers have every incentive to cheer on the bailed-out automaker as it overproduces vehicles and pushes cheap credit. After all, the sooner G.M.’s stock hits a certain level — likely around $52 per share — the sooner the Treasury can sell its remaining equity and get taxpayers out of risk.”

True, very true.

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Ed On Fox News Tue, 03 Aug 2010 14:06:35 +0000

You can watch Ed Niedermeyer here if you didn’t already watch him live. Great show, Ed!

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