Motor Trend: You Suck (Gas)

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago
motor trend you suck gas

Motor Trend's Angus MacKenzie is pissed-off at the autoblogosphere for crapping on his advertisers' inability to predict the death of the great American gas guzzler. "Don't you love Monday morning quarterbacks? The blogosphere is in seven shades of schadenfreude this week as a shocked Detroit wipes away the blood in the aftermath of May's brutal sales slump: Why didn't Motown see this coming? We told them relying on big trucks and SUVs was a dumb idea. It was obvious gas prices were going to rise. Fire the idiots! Oh yeah? If you're reading this, I'll bet my 401k that like Rick Wagoner and company, four years ago you didn't figure you'd be paying over four bucks for a gallon of gas today. Because if you had, you would now be richer than Croesus, and lying on a tropical island somewhere, kicking back with a mojito or three, without a care in the world. Hey, we're all still writing blogs. We didn't see it coming this fast, either." Ah, this fast. And there's your Detroit excuse of the day, as laid out by GM CEO Rick Wagoner in this startling video. Oh, and this is all your fault. "Automakers grudgingly built the more fuel efficient cars the government ordered them to, but we bought gas-guzzling pickups and SUVs by the millions instead because, hey, gas was cheaper than water. Who needed to drive a girly gas-miser? So maybe we ought to ease up a little on the finger-pointing at Motown; the truth is we're all a little bit complicit here." Speak for yourself Angus. Oh wait…

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  • 50merc 50merc on Jun 08, 2008

    John Horner said "All [GM] needed to do was to make sure that every product in their design portfolio was designed to be compatible with the US market if and when conditions merited the sale of said models in the home market." Quite right. And it was stupid for Ford to have two designs, US and European, for the Escort and the Focus. But in my fanciful scenario, the proposal before the Board reflects historic organizational dynamics wherein each unit fights to preserve their status and perquisites. So, Opel designs cars for Europe, but American domestic products are Detroit's "turf." A crisis was needed to override such sub-optimization.

  • John Horner John Horner on Jun 09, 2008

    "A crisis was needed to override such sub-optimization." Either that or top management worth it's >$10M / year annual compensation! If we lowly bloggers know now AND KNEW THEN what needed doing, why didn't these people who are so rare and blindingly smart as to require NFL star quarterback like salaries to be lured into the big chair see what was needed? &()&*)(& Ford had a huge internal reorganization called Ford 2000 (as in it was supposed to be completely by the year 2000) that was supposed to have Ford designing world cars with worldwide teams and common components from the get go. How did the bosses let it all go wrong? "I'll bet my 401k that like Rick Wagoner and company, four years ago you didn't figure you'd be paying over four bucks for a gallon of gas today." It was several years ago when I sold my GM stock and bought Toyota, even though Toyota's price:earnings ratio gave me a headache. My judgment then was that Toyota was fielding excellent vehicles in almost every category they chose to compete in while GM was a mishmash of good, ok and horrible vehicles. I decided I was much more comfortable having my money in a well managed diversified automotive company than in management disaster zone like GM. The decision didn't make me millions, but it did make me money.

  • Jerseydevil Jerseydevil on Jun 09, 2008

    the big 3 in this country always sold really crappy small cars and really nice big ones. Just like in the last gas surprise in the '70's. They made more money on the behemoths, and its all about short term profits, isnt it? To this day, with few exceptions, the same is true. No, slapping a turbocharger on an otherwise crappy car doen NOT make it desirable, except to kids who cant afford them anyway. Drive a civic and then a dodge anything. You'd have to be nuts to buy the dodge. A cobalt? AVEO??? oh god help us! My 12 year VW golf is a better car today than a new one of these shit boxes is new. Serves them right. Out with you. Bye.

  • Geeber Geeber on Jun 09, 2008
    John Horner: GM built a set of global alliance partners including Fiat, Suzuki and Isuzu but was a complete idiot at managing those relationships and got divorces. Fiat w/o GM has gone on to prove it can build very profitable smaller vehicles. In all fairness, GM had to pay Fiat BILLIONS of dollars to get out of the deal that basically required GM to buy Fiat, if certain conditions were met. Fiat used GM's billions to buy it some time, as it was almost broke. So Fiat's recovery isn't entirely due to the brilliance of its management. And note that, outside of Italy, Fiat is still considered a bottom-feeder brand in many ways.