By on October 16, 2007

starsky.jpgLast year about this time, we gazed into the crystal ball to predict a few changes in the automotive world. A lot of water's gone under the proverbial bridge since then: Toyota's world number one, the UAW's selling out their membership for a few dozen billion, Ford and Chrysler are attempting turnarounds with leaders who have no automotive industry experience whatsoever and GM Car Czar Bob Lutz is straining his personal credibility beyond breaking point. Well, OK, some things haven't changed. Anyway, with all that's happened in the past year, what does the future hold? Here are some of our predictions.

Hyundai Announces New Model:  Hyundai's Ford division has unveiled its latest offering: the midsized Torino II. Rejecting web reports that the "new" car is merely a rebadged next gen Sonata, Ford's Emperor of the Americas, Mark Fields, stated "The new Torino II resurrects a distinguished name from Ford's past in a bold move that brings an unprecedented level of sophistication to the Ford brand." 

The new model rounds out the Ford line, joining the subcompact Pinto II (built on the Accent platform), compact Maverick II (which shares drivetrain and other components with the Elantra), and the new F-150 II pickup (built on the Veracruz platform). Kia's Mercury division has yet to make any new model announcements. Rumors of a resurrected Lincoln Continental based on the Kia Amanti are unconfirmed.

GM Relocating to Follow Their Market:  In a surprise move late yesterday, GM announced plans to relocate the company headquarters to Mumbai, India. CEO-for-Life Rick Wagoner explains: "Since all of our assembly plants are in India, Thailand, Korea and China, it was only natural that we consolidate our operations in that region, too. This will allow us to get better control of expenses and begin the last phase of our turnaround plan."

GM plans to keep a small staff on floors three and four of the Renaissance Center to handle North American marketing, along with a warranty claims staff on floors five through 68. Nonagenarian Vice Chairman and Product Czar Robert Lutz was napping, and thus unavailable for comment on the move.

Gore Declares War on Environmental Hazard: Nobel prize winner, former Vice President and presidential also-ran Al Gore announced today he was beginning a campaign to limit the use of fuel cells in automobiles. Gore, who won his Nobel for inventing the internet and discovering greenhouse gases, stated that these so-called "zero emission" cars were, in fact, producing dangerous levels of dihydrogen monoxide (DMHO) and releasing it into the environment.

As he explained, once released, this compound collects in large clouds in the atmosphere which block the sun and increase the greenhouse effect.  It is found in acid rain and contributes to soil erosion. DMHO has become so pervasive it can be found in almost all foodstuffs and is even sprayed on "organic" produce, Gore warned. He has made eliminating DMHO from the environment his primary goal for this decade.

Business as Usual in the PRC:  Chery is being sued by Daimler for patent infringement. The suit centers around the rear suspension of the Cherysler 300. The suspension, originally designed by then-DaimlerChrysler, was based on the suspension of the Mercedes E-class. Since Chery's acquisition of the Chrysler division from Cerberus, Daimler claims they have done nothing to modify or redesign the suspension and in fact are expanding its usage to other vehicles.

Daimler legal counsel Max Schwanstüker, who filed the suit, asserted Chery has had plenty of time to redesign the suspension– but chose not to. Chery countered by stating they have indeed redesigned it; as it now includes parts from the latest E-class. The Chinese government has issued a statement saying there have been no patent infringements by domestic automakers, nor can there be.

UAW Seeks New Identity:  The United Autoworkers Union (UAW) is changing its name. Since their membership no longer includes any autoworkers, the UAW realizes they have to change with the times. In a press release, the UAW stated, "Unlike the Teamsters Union, which has nothing to do with horse teams, sports teams or any other kind of team, we want our name to remain relevant." Some of the names they're considering: Minimum Wage Workers Union (MWWU), United Service Industry Workers Union (USIWU) and Busboy, Waitress, Casino and Daycare Workers International (BWCDWI)

Motor Trend Modernizes Content:  Motor Trend (MT) disclosed plans to publish content consisting only of special advertising sections. MT publisher Beefy McBigmac justified his decision by saying, "Surveys show our readers don't know the difference between what we write and the advertisements, so why not save a few editorial bucks and let the advertising agencies write all of our copy? This way we can afford to keep giving away subscriptions while other automotive magazines are having to convert to on-line publishing." 

In an unrelated story, Motor Trend announced their Car of the Year is the all-new Hyundai Ford Torino II.

GM Death Watch Reaches Milestone: TTAC's GM Death Watch Series has reached a milestone. This week sees the publication of The Truth About Cars' GMDW 1,000. Publisher Robert Farago said, "That f-ing company has more f-ing lives than a f-ing alley cat. Just when you f-ing think it's going down for the third f-ing time, someone throws it a f-ing life preserver and it just keeps f-ing floating along, hanging on by its f-ing fingertips."  Farago is certain GM– which is now the world's sixth largest automaker after Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Hyundai, and Chery– can't last much longer.  "We're in it until the bitter end – either theirs or ours."

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34 Comments on “Crystal Ballin’ the Jack...”


  • avatar
    jthorner

    That last paragraph is priceless!

  • avatar
    CeeDragon

    I’ve never laughed out loud so much while reading this site. My co-workers now know I’m not working on my TPS cover sheet.

    Thanks, Frank!

  • avatar
    Sajeev Mehta

    We need to do this more often, WAAAAY more often. The Torino II + COTY was the best car joke I’ve read in a long time.

    Thanks Frank.

  • avatar
    glenn126

    This just in: Tata of India just announced the purchase of what was General Motors, a not totally unexpected occurrence since Tata has been valued on Wall Street higher than General Motors for over a decade now.

    Tata’s President, Mr. Tata, declared that he only needed to trade 7% of Tata stock, previously held in reserve personally, to purchase General Motors’ worldwide operations.

    In the fine tradition of Mr. Charles Nash, who left GM some 9 decades ago, and Mr. Chrysler who left GM some 8 decades ago, the company name will remain Tata – and General Motors and it’s logo are to be laid to rest.

    President Tata indicated that since it was a personal purchase on his part, he would be selling on the operations to his corporation for a nice profit, as soon as he personally orders all GM logos to be replaced with Tata.

    It was further announced that only the Chevrolet brand would be ongoing alongside the upscale brand, Tata, worldwide, in a bid to better compete with companies such as Hyundai-Kia, Honda and Toyota.

  • avatar
    MgoBLUE

    I thought, for sure, that Tesla would be larger than GM by then! Guess not. :(

    I’m now having flashbacks of my Grandmother’s Maverick. Thanks Frank!

  • avatar
    shaker

    Gore has gone TOO FAR! Since DHMO is a key ingredient in beer, a ban on the substance would deprive me of one of my few pleasures — I’m writing my Congressman!

  • avatar
    Lumbergh21

    CeeDragon :
    October 16th, 2007 at 10:57 am

    I’ve never laughed out loud so much while reading this site. My co-workers now know I’m not working on my TPS cover sheet.

    Thanks, Frank!

    Did you get the memo? (He says with a concerned voice.)

  • avatar
    carguy

    In other future news, Lexus is appealing a guilty verdict in a class action suit brought by drivers who fell asleep at the wheel of its new LS800 sedan. The prosecution made a convincing case that the top selling car with its new 16 speed automatic transmission, tomb-silent 700HP engine and a stunning array of technological gizmo’s designed to insulate the driver from reality is putting its occupants to sleep. While there have been no fatalities so far (as the car has a sleep sensor that stops the car on the side of the road) the suit is seeking compensation for work hours lost and the cost of traffic tickets for illegally parking at the side of the road.

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    Cherysler!

    That’s classic.

  • avatar
    1996MEdition

    Schwanstüker? Young Frankenstein?

  • avatar
    mikey

    The last paragraph is perfect.Could be a C.L.M on your part.Delete it before the boss reads it.

  • avatar
    AKM

    I wonder how long Fields’ mullet will be by then, and if he’ll commute from his home in Floride to the Korean headquarters everyday by private A380.

  • avatar
    hltguy

    I love the ‘do on the dudes by the Torino. Tata’s first car in the states could be the Tata Tater, will sell well in the south. The urban folks could then be introduced to the smaller version, the Tata Tater Tot.

  • avatar
    seldomawake

    I managed to read the entire article without spilling even a drop of coffee on my nice just-pressed white shirt. It wasn’t easy. Then, I took a swig and read hitguy’s comment, and my effort was in vain. Bugger and darn :)

    Brilliant article!

  • avatar
    dean

    +1 spitting up over hltguy’s comment. Brilliant.

    Great piece, Frank.

  • avatar
    KatiePuckrik

    I noticed that if you take the word “Crystal” out of the title of this editorial, the sentence takes on a whole new meaning! ;O)

    Now, back to cars!

    There was one potential war on the horizon which Mr Williams missed but will be crucial to how the whole auto market will pan out.

    VW/Mercedes-Benz wretched Bluemotion/Bluetec “clean” diesel powertrains vs Toyota/Hondas Hybrid powertrains. Which one will be more dominant? My money is on the hybrid powertrains as they are more cleaner, more reliable and doesn’t have a “dirty” image to shake off. I just don’t understand how people swallow VW’s rubbish about how their Polo Bluemotion emits only 99gm/km2 as opposed to Toyota’s Prius (104gm/km2). Casually missing the fact that the Prius is a much bigger car and holds all the “mod cons” that the Polo Bluemotion doesn’t have (i.e air conditioning).

    On a side note, GM along with Ford will hang in there but I fear the worst for Chrysler, which is a shame because they were the Detroit company I wanted to succeed. Ho hum, life goes on…..

    Speaking of wild predictions for the future here’s one.

    Ford of America announced they will be bringing Euro Focuses and Mondeos to the US mark……(bursts out laughing) sorry, couldn’t keep a straight face!

  • avatar
    RyanK02

    That is not very nice Katie. Oh well, I should be able to console myself in a 350z or an RX8 for less money than the euro-Focus would be.

  • avatar

    Here’s One:

    Tolls Claim Last Thoroughfare

    Interstate 94 between Fargo and Bismarck becomes a toll highway this weekend, marking the end of free highway travel in the United States. There will be one lane each for paying tolls with E-Z Pass, Auto-Expreso and Gold Bullion.

  • avatar
    rpn453

    Well done. I like the DHMO reference; it suits Gore perfectly.

  • avatar
    d996

    Very humorous, it is obvious your childhood education included Mad magazine.

  • avatar
    tankd0g

    You forgot “Tesla ships it’s first car, batteries wraped in 15 layers of nomex prooved to be the key.”

  • avatar
    Phil Roast Beef

    F-ing Classic! Especially the last paragraph.

  • avatar
    Kevin

    Dick Cheney invented DHMO!

  • avatar

    Kevin
    Dick Cheney invented DHMO!

    Not really, buy he has sold it to the military for a great profit.

  • avatar
    LamborghiniZ

    Most of that was funny, but the Gore one was dumb. Everyone who still quotes that internet thing has a lot to catch up on, it’s all a hoax created by the conservatives. If you really looked at the matter, you’d realize everything he said was twisted around. Oh well. Ignorance is bliss.

  • avatar
    philipwitak

    very, very funny, frank…

  • avatar

    Ford brings the Ka to the states. In Massachusetts, they have to call it the Kahr because here everyone calls a car a cah.

  • avatar
    Virtual Insanity

    In economic news, the new Canadian Honda Civic pricing has been release. Eight point two million USD…

  • avatar
    glenn126

    c’mon, Virtual Insanity, this will actually be a price REDUCTION in Loonies… it’s just the exchange rate is going to have “a bit of an adjustment” vis a vis the US Dollar…

    http://www.goldcentral.com/marketcommentary/6642.html

    Forewarned is forearmed, my friends.

  • avatar
    LamborghiniZ

    I did like the spot about Motor Trend only using Special Advertising Sections. I now have to spend minutes every month tearing these out of my 3 subscriptions. Incredible!

  • avatar
    LamborghiniZ

    drifter: I disagree. I think the former will ring true sooner.

  • avatar
    blautens

    Just plain great writing. Kudos, sir.

  • avatar
    TaxedAndConfused

    OK, not entirely serious…

    January – Microsoft buys GM with spare cash found in trousers sent for cleaning. Promises a new start with Microsoft Auto ™ 2008. Offers free optical intellimouse with each car sold. Sales triple as customers buy Saturns, keep intellimouse and return, what could be described as, the car. Residuals “bouyant” claims GM spokesperson. “GM is a valued part of our offering” according to Microsoft CEO Steve Balmer.

    February – Porsche buys China – The world’s most profitable car company buys entire comunist state. Plans to introduce cheap wankel engined sportscar – the Porsche Boxer Revolution.

    Audi shares drop.

    Aston Martin anounces new DB9 model, DB9Jan08.

    March – Renault buys Chrysler on ebay on a Saturday night. Refuses to collect as goods are “not as advertised”. Rumours are rife that Renault was actually drunk on Creme De Menth and lemonade when they made that bid after watching “France Idle”. Owner relists with lower reserve and “Buy It Now” option.

    Aston Martin anounces new DB9 model, DB9feb08. Explains that a “footballer” had bought a DB9Jan08. Jeremy Clarkson declares DB9Fef08 as the “best aston evah…” on Top Gear.

    April – Toyota declares itself an seperate country – new Japanes PM’s hair not “floppy enough” for spaced car execs. Not satisfied with being the world no.1 car company, Toyota declared yesterday that it was seperating itself from the mother country and was from now on an independent state. The company said that it was let down badly by the country’s politicians who had decided to elect a man with normal hair instead of “that bloke with a footballer’s perm” as the spokesman put it. “We feel that if we don’t look sexy when being prime minister then we may just be puked on by any american president who turns up for dinner” the spokesman added. VW shares drop sharply.

    May – Microsoft anounces there will be no new GM car releases. Current customers can expect service packs and security updates only until 2012. Open source advocates suggest customers move to Lada. Balmer describes Lada as “unamerican”. Walrus adopted as mascot for Lada.

    James May is a victim of “Rendition” and placed on a secret flight to Detroit. There he is subjected to torture (watching French films on continuous loop) for 60 days non-stop before admitting that the Dodge Caravan is actually a cool car.

    June – Renault buys Dodge on ebay on Saturday night, sobers up and explains to wife that it will be “good fer zee keeds”. Realises this also includes free Chrysler and initiates Ebay complaint process. Renault’s wife leaves him.

    UAW anounce entry in “American Idle 2008”.

    Ford sells PAG to TTAC on ebay. Ebay user RFarago denies a few too many “Buds” and ebay on Friday night. TTAC sells PAG to itself. Told to make an honest living at last. X-type cancelled.

    July – Peugeot anounces 208 model, updating 207 anounced 2 years ago. France anounces that it will no longer seek to be paid for a living by the rest of the EU and will “put it’s national shoulder to the grindstone” and improve economic output and performance. French president anounces start of 20 hour week. Riots in Paris begin, then pause for lunch.

    Aston Martin anounces new DB9 model, DB9july08. Jeremy Clarkson declares DB9Fef08 as the “best aston evah…” on Top Gear.

    August – Formula 1 world championship rules for 2009 anounced. To make all racing equal teams will be limited to 1 litre, 8 cylinders and overhead valves in the interests of safety. India’s Hindustan Motors anounce that they will compete in all rounds in 2009.

    Bentley buys Saudi Arabia on credit to guarantee clients access to oil. Panic in Germany as someone thinks Bentley has bought “Audi”. Bentley plans to sell sand to “builders and builders merchants” to offset purchase costs.

    BMW shares soar.

    September – New James Bond car anounced – Toyota Pius. James Bond will return in 2009 with a new tricked out car, a Toyota Pius. Bond, played by famous actor Craig Daniel, 65, will fight international villains and terrorists from the seat of the worlds cleanest car. Al Gore is set to reprise his role as Moneypenny with Tony Blair guest starring as Feltblow. Jeremy Clarkson will play Bond’s arch enemy “Anti-environmentalist”.

    Ferrari anounce that they have delivered the last F430 “slightly faster” model. They anounce the “slightly faster a little bit more” model. Key improvment is a plastic gearknob which reduces weight by 0.05kg. Car magazine declares new F430 as “the ultimate car”.

    October – Peugeot anounces 209, update of 208. French president anounces that EU will continue to pay for “France” as a world heritage site. France closes for lunch.

    Tata begins sales drive in US anouncing that each car will come with its own free Bollywood starlet.

    November – Coca Cola anounces that it will no longer show the Christmas advert where the trucks carrying “Coke” pass through a snow covered small town. A spokesman explains the decision thus: “They’ve built a bypass now, so we use the motorway…”

    Global warming advocates heard to say “It’s a bit chilly, isn’t it ?” when they go outside.

    December – US EPA anounces that since Reindeer powered cars no longer meet emissions regulations, Santa will have to make alternative arrangements to deliver pressies to US kids.

    Dodge offers use of US EPA approved, 8-litre V10 powered RAM crew-cab as an alternative vehicle.

    Hugo Chavez offers a herd of Moose to US kids as a free alternative for Santa to use.

    TTAC readers argue that a normal “Deer Bluemotion” is every bit as good and emits less “poo” than a Reindeer whilst others suggest that nobody in America will buy a “clean deer” as they need a full sized “moose” that does 0-60 in 8 seconds as an every day car.

  • avatar
    Kman

    Bravo TaxedAndConfused! Fantastic read!

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