By on June 8, 2008

i2181-2003jul30.jpgThe post-Black Tuesday world is an interesting place for media junkies looking to gauge the U.S. automotive press' level of sycophancy. Yesterday, we reported on Motor Trend's take on May's sales collapse: blame the victim (the American consumer). Or CAFE regs (the feds). Today, we present Warren Brown's analysis. And the first thing the Washington Post car columnist wants you to know: greens can't take credit for the death of the great American gas guzzler. "It is the world Hummer-haters said they wanted. It is the one for which legions of environmentalists and believers in the corrective powers of regulation lobbied. But here's suggesting that they had little to do with the current situation. When it comes to change in a capital-intensive industry such as the car business, money talks, and politics walks." High gas prices did the deed? OK, we'll buy that for a dollar (or four). But we're a little less convinced by Warren's corollary: chill. Brown says the domestics are switching gears to make money in the brave new world of $4+ gas. All will be well. "They [the transplants] have, therefore, a temporary advantage over GM, Ford and Chrysler in the current market shift from trucks to cars. But 'temporary' means just that. Domestic car companies are adjusting to fuel-price-induced changes much more quickly than vehicle sales numbers or media reports indicate." In fact, "The GM-Hummer relationship was never meant to be permanent." 

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9 Comments on “Warren Brown to Detroit’s Critics: It’s No Biggie...”


  • avatar
    oboylepr

    I hope someone reminds Mr Brown of his ‘factual analysis’ when GM and Cerberus lawyers are cluttering up bankruptcy courtrooms. I don’t know if I would call Toyondanissan advantage ‘temporary’ seeing as they have maintained it since the 1970’s. Tell me what GM have in the works to compete with the Yaris that will be in dealers before 2010?

  • avatar
    folkdancer

    Why is it so difficult for pushers of vehicles we don’t need and can’t afford to understand that it was us tree huggers who were trying to save them?

    We were trying to shift our economy to be more efficient and less dependent on foreign oil. We wanted better constructed houses, businesses, and cars. We wanted people to have savings accounts.

    We tree huggers are, of course, not responsible for causing $4+ gas and we also are not going to benefit because buyers of vehicles they don’t need and can’t afford didn’t listen to us.

    We are all going to suffer because too many people follow silly trends and believe ads telling them they can buy anything even with bad credit.

    Economics is the simplest subject to understand and it is amazing that Warren Brown works so hard to avoid it.

    If pushers of vehicles we don’t need and can’t afford want to know who to blame for $4+ gas all they have to do is look into a mirror.

  • avatar
    Rday

    I have read his articles before. His is just another PR guy for the domestics. He is incapable of clear thought and cannot hold Detroit responsible for any of their srewups. Why waste time even reading his propaganda?

  • avatar
    improvement_needed

    just read his article, it’s just meant to calm some of the ‘masses’, smooth things over… – he didn’t say much new… – some propaganda, but some truth…

    of course, the question remains: why don’t ford, chrysler and gm CURRENTLY sell a range of non-truck / tall wagon automobiles that are competative with the imports???
    euro-focus – yes please!
    suzuki-swift – yes please!
    and the list could go on…
    fuel efficiency doesn’t need to equal cheap!

  • avatar
    Lichtronamo

    Mr. Brown’s analysis overlooks one major detail – that GM, Ford and Chrysler derive any and all profit from their NA auto ops from trucks, not cars. They simply don’t have the $$$ to invest in shifting to products as good as Toyota and Honda across all segments and all of their brands. Detroit deserves its fate for not plowing the huge profits amassed during the 90s in SUVs and trucks to become fully competitive across all segments. For those who see hope in GM and Ford’s Malibu and Fusion, look no further than the May sales figures for Camry and Accord. Those model’s sales continue to dwarf Detroit highlighting and emphasizing the new world order of $4/gallon gas.

  • avatar
    Orian

    Aparrently he forgot how bad the domestics screwed up after the last fuel crisis.

  • avatar
    Geotpf

    The recent shift from large SUVs and pickups to small cars has little to do with enviromentalism and a lot to do with $5 a gallon gas. If gas goes back to 93 cents a gallon, the Detroit 3 will be saved. But it’s much more likely to go to $9.30 a gallon than 93 cents, which means they are screwed.

  • avatar
    John Horner

    “The GM-Hummer relationship was never meant to be permanent.”

    Say what? Did GM tell the dealers who anted up millions to build fancy facilities that “fact”? What a bunch of BS. If it was supposed to be short-term, they would have sold Hummers at GMC dealers. GM tried to use the Hummer brand to out-Jeep Jeep. It wasn’t a temporary arrangement at all.

  • avatar

    I don’t need to read his latest to wonder why the Wash Post (which has been doing buyouts of reporters lately) hasn’t gotten rid of this hack. He is intellectually dishonest or in deep, deep denial. I must stop writing before I say something that will compel RF to remove this post.

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