Former BMW Economist: German Auto Execs Are Carbon Positive Egomaniacs
August 14th, 2007 7:46 AM Share
Helmut Becker is the former chief economist for BMW and author of " High Noon in the Automotive Industry." Normally, the German uber-beancounter cloaks his intellect in some of the most stolid prose ever offered outside of a text book (e.g. "The endogenous growth of the US automobile market… will remain predetermined exogenously by the macroeconomic / overall general economic conditions"). Speaking to Stern magazine, summarized for us by the just-auto [sub] editorial team, Becker was uncharacteristically brief about German automakers' immediate prospects: "The German manufacturers have gone for faster, heavier and more expensive. We are satisfied with high-end niches and think that we have beaten off all the competition with them." Becker believes the Germans automakers have driven down an evolutionary dead end, as the world turns to cheap, fuel efficient cars. And this they did because of hubris. "There are so many egomaniacs in the German automotive industry, who would sooner put pseudo race cars onto the road than take a leading role in developing new environmentally-friendly technologies."
Published August 14th, 2007 7:46 AM
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"There are so many egomaniacs in the German automotive industry, who would sooner put pseudo race cars onto the road than take a leading role in developing new environmentally-friendly technologies." That pretty much sums up what I love about German cars.
Brace yourselves boys und girls; this sort of attitude is going to become more and more prevalent over the next few years (check out the latest TTAC blog post about some socialist London bureaucrat saying exotic car owners need therapy). Driving an SUV around Europe is already considered unfashionable and as the attitude that one's carbon footprint is a matter of morality continues to take hold, SUVs will pass the point of passe and become hated vehicles on the roadway. Along with them will go Porsches, big Mercs, Ferraris and any BMW with an ///M badge. Once that tipping point gets reached, expect the idiots in Belgium and the UK Nanny state to step in and codify the new morality in law with some overly complicated regulations dictating BHP/L/vehicle weight. They will sell it to the public based on saving the planet from the evils of carbon, they will trumpet how much safer the roads will be without high performance vehicles on them. The Europeans, cowed after years of byzantine law after law after law will simply let this legislation pass. It is simply class warfare. The same way with gun control in America (who on earth needs an AR-15? Those things are dangerous and no good can come from owning one!).
I have watched with a broken heart as each generation of BMW has grown heavier and heavier and heavier, losing the edge that made their cars so much fun to drive. In their quest to develop cars for everyone (The current 3600 lb BMW 3-series drives like a RWD Camry, with a worse interior and better acceleration) they have alienated hard-core enthusiasts who used to make up their customer base for yuppies who want to show their neighbors they've "made it" by leasing a 328i.
Helmut needs to take a nap -- what a grumpy gus! Departing from economic analysis to secular-humanist morality-speak re. environmental friendliness discounts Becker's past statements on economics and immediately reduces the value of any future statements he might make on economics.