Autoextremist Hates Everyone- With A Vengeance!

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer
autoextremist hates everyone with a vengeance

Sweet Pete DeLorenzo has made no bones about where he stands on the bailout, and having lashed out at the nattering nabobs of negativity (us), he’s turning attention to the old MSM and its coverage of the great bailout begathon of ’08. As a rash of common sense thinking about Detroit metastasizes into the mainstream, DeLorenzo is doubling down on his affection for Motown, and conducting interviews with whomever will listen to his rah-rah routine. In today’s Autoextremist Rant, he takes on the perception gap, that mythical construct which prevents the benighted masses from appreciating the truly great products Detroit offers. “The Perception Gap that exists out there for the Detroit automakers isn’t narrowing,” argues DeLorenzo, “it’s actually growing wider. Because when Americans get what minimal news they’re willing to digest – and only because it’s pre-packaged in carefully doled-out sound bites – then the Old Detroit will perennially overshadow the New Detroit, hands down.”

“The din out there in the media right now is so anti-Detroit, anti-“bailout” that I welcome the opportunity to present the other side of the debate, even if it appears with each passing day that Detroit is running out of time and unable to break through the negative media clutter that envelopes the industry at every turn. And after that death march of a hearing before the Senate Banking Committee yesterday, I’m even more pessimistic,” writes the Author of “The United States Of Toyota.” Why the pessimism, Mr DeLorenzo? “The message in that hearing room was clear: Detroit put itself in the shape it finds itself in by building bad, low-tech cars that nobody wants. That they were regurgitating the now-obligatory woeful misperception of Detroit that has spread across the country – a Detroit that hasn’t existed for the better part of a decade, by the way – was obvious. The fact that these Senators weren’t aware of the kind of ultra-competitive products that these companies have out now was predictable. And the fact that they weren’t aware of the kind of leading edge technological development that Detroit is actively engaged in was predictable too.”

But DeLorenzo never really debunks the “perception gap” he blames for unfairly dooming Detroit to oblivion. Clearly he’s leaving that up to the truth-tellers at But even after you point to all the Malibus and Enclaves that supposedly make up DeLorenzo’s “New Detroit,” there’s no basis for arguing that Americans are not justified in their hesitance to buy GM’s products. Much less that this hesitance is somehow not Detroit’s own damn fault. In fact, it’s a little amusing to try to postulate the conditions under which DeLorenzo might not support a bailout of his former employers.

And though it’s easy to simply lambast the “drive by media” and johnny-come-lately senatorial grandstanders, these ad hominem attacks never touch on the substance of the issue. After all, they wouldn’t have much of an opinion either way unless Detroit was asking for their (our) money. And now that Detroit is asking for a few extra bucks from all of us during these tough times, is it so unrealistic for even the least-informed to resist an involuntary investment in firms that we know of only from decades of sub-par products, layoffs, plant closings and lost market share? DeLorenzo is right, there’s a perception gap out there, but it doesn’t exist between the well-informed and the ignorant. It exists between the insulated, Detroit-dependent bailout-backers and everyone else.

Mr DeLorenzo and his ilk can “remind” everyone “that Detroit is a viable, relevant, strategic industry that’s part of the crucial fabric of America’s manufacturing base” until the cows come home, but repetition rarely makes things true. These reminders don’t convince anyone who has had bad experiences with GM products, and they don’t convince anyone who knows that GM needs a top-to-bottom CH11-based re-org to be viable. What they do convince everyone of is the reality that this industry and its flacks have a sense of entitlement that defies belief. The refusal to make tough choices, the refusal of the UAW to give up a red cent, the refusal to consider that everyone has fallen on hard times (especially the federal deficit), and the refusal to understand that this country became great because failing businesses were allowed to fail; these are the choices which are informing perceptions of the “New Detroit.”

Join the conversation
2 of 15 comments
  • M1EK M1EK on Nov 20, 2008

    The perception gap is crap. Most of us get to try GM vehicles almost every damn time we have to rent a car (I have 'enjoyed' an Aveo, a G6, and a Cobalt just in the past couple of months, as well as lucking out and getting a Mustang when I was stuck out in Yuma driving 200 miles/day for a week). So those of us who travel, at least, know full well how much progress (if any) GM has made. Also, a couple years back I ended up with a Sonata in Atlanta that convinced me that Hyundai was for real. So it can go the other way as well.

  • Fallout11 Fallout11 on Nov 20, 2008

    In the business world, perception IS reality, as any MBA candidate knows. This is why companies spend millions of dollars on advertising and PR. Your product might very well be the best in the world, but if no one thinks so then it really isn't true. What is the real value of "X"? What someone else will pay you for it, not what you think it is. With this in mind, note GM's abysmal and ever-declining (for 45 years now) market share. What does that fact alone tell you? The perception is still that GM makes crap. Until GM can change this "reality", it will remain reality. Yet I can see nothing different that will alter this in the next few months (or years).

  • Tassos You should call your columns "EXHUMATION OF THE DAY". FIts perfectly with this 'find'. How deep did you have to dig to exhume it? Let rotting carcasses lie!
  • Jew65711923 This is a very, very special breaking news story=============>
  • Jew65711923 NICE
  • Rng65694730 All auto makers seem to be having problems ! Still supply chain issues !
  • MrIcky I'd go 2500 before I went 1500 with a 6.2. I watched an engineer interview on the 2.7l. I appreciate that their focus on the 2.7 was to make it perform like a diesel and all of their choices including being a relatively large i4 instead of an i6 were all based around it feeling diesel like in it's torque delivery. It's all marketing at the end of the day, but I appreciated hearing the rationale. Personally I wouldnt want to tow much more than 7-8k lbs with a light truck anyway so it seems to fit the 1500 application.