Motown Missionaries Cancel Caravan of Love

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago
motown missionaries cancel caravan of love

“The caravan bound from Detroit to Washington, D.C., to support federal bridge loans [a.k.a. bailout] for Detroit’s Big Three automakers will take the information superhighway instead of the interstate… Grand plans of an automotive cavalcade to the nation’s Capitol grew to the point of impossible once the idea was floated last week by a number of influential people in Detroit.” And so The Detroit News pronounces the T.O.D. for the Caravan of Love. “The outpouring of support was huge,” said Jason Vines, Compuware Corp.’s vice president, TTAC podcaster and former chief spokesman for Chrysler LLC. “We’ve changed this into a virtual march, in part because we didn’t want to become targets for environmental groups or others.” Whoa! Hold on there. First, GM CEO Rick Wagoner can’t drive to DC with his $25b bailout bowl because of “security concerns.” Now the Caravan of Love is bummed-out by possible bad vibes from whacko tree huggers? Talk about a bad trip! So… now what? The bridge builders are launching a site called “There, people can share their stories about how the auto industry impacts their lives.” Customers too?

Join the conversation
4 of 20 comments
  • Sajeev Mehta Sajeev Mehta on Nov 29, 2008
    KixStart: I care about the environment but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t enjoy going for a pointless drive in a convertible. No argument here, I LOVE CRUISING. Sometimes I cruise in a pre-1973 vehicle, spewing out more emissions with the key out of the ignition (PCV valves my azz!) than a Prius does at WOT. Going up and down Woodward Ave with other people is an inherently not-green act. I'm sure there were still plenty of burnouts and non-emission cars. Its all good, but don't label it "green." This is why I recycle like its going out of style. Karma, baby. KixStart: What, exactly, is that? An answer of “trucks and SUVs” is pointless, isn’t it? Good point, but I'd like to think a Detroit love fest will be more than the latest whipping boy. I'm sure there'll be plenty of Focus/Cobalt/Cavalier/Neon Internet fanbois could turn this event into a meeting for their national club. I'm sure there's PR money to help them. Get some trucks in, and all the taxi/limo/police fleet vehicles, get EVERYTHING Detroit makes or has made and their respective owners out there. That's how you make an impact. Not that I think Detroit deserves the money without C11, but I'd like to see a Woodstock for Cars.
  • Anoldbikeguy Anoldbikeguy on Nov 29, 2008

    Wow - so many ludicrous opinions here I don't know where to start. The fact is that there are too many people who wanted to join in this caravan - those of you who doubt this are just hiding your heads in the sand and believing your own hyperbole. Get over it - you are in the minority on this one. There are so many jobs on the line here that it is the height of arrogance to suggest that there are not enough people who would participate in this. The fact is that the 'Ambush Setup in Washington' that was the alleged hearings, was simply a way for those who structured the true bailout - you know, the one "For the Finance Industry" (read those who destroyed the economy for their own personal greed) to deflect the attention away from their horrendously idiotic lack of oversight in the $700+ BILLION bailout. So - here we are, don't provide the loans to the American OEM's - and our illustrious 'political leaders' (Gags) truly screw hundreds of thousands of families in this country. It the economy wasn't currently in the toilet thanks to Wall Street, this wouldn't even be on the table. If Chrysler went down in a normal economy, it would be at least tolerable to absorb the workers at Chrysler, various suppliers and their dependent economy (you know, Elmer the butcher et al). But we are NOT IN A NORMAL ECONOMY and this cannot be allowed to happen now. A tremendous number of people from all walks of life are suffering right now because of Wall Street and their global brethren. It is high time all of you understand this and get over your petty, ludicrous comments of "Detroit must die" because they "just don't get it" and the rest of your clueless comments that you repeat like trained parrots. The real issue here is to stop the hemorrhaging of our economy and the real possibility of the loss of our middle class and deal with the true problem - the out of control financial community!! Maybe you like your 401K's and the value of your homes tanking, but I am not too happy about it. Yes, I think that there are some real problems with leadership at many of our companies in this country - but not just the domestic OEM's - the financial companies are much worse. There are also a great many smart, hardworking people who - given the right leadership - can right the ships that are listing all over our economy without going to ridiculous extremes of letting entire segments disappear along with the technical capabilities that are absolutely essential to continuing our way of life. You can talk all you want about how some of the foreign cars are built here, but the true value of a domestic auto industry is the sheer level of technical capabilities that this entails. And I have been in virtually every R&D center of both the foreign and domestic OEM's and a majority of their tier one suppliers - the foreign OEM's (and suppliers) do the vast majority of their true development in their home countries - that is why every country works hard to develop and NURTURE their own auto industry - it is the key to a middle class lifestyle and leads to numerous opportunities for other types of industry to develop and thrive.

  • Ronnie Schreiber Ronnie Schreiber on Nov 29, 2008
    However, until I’ve got a greener way of doing it by car, I’ll cruise by bicycle. I'm a serious cyclist. A human on bicycle exercising at cardio rates at a heart rate of 120 BPM puts out CO2 at the same order of magnitude as a 4 cylinder internal combustion engine for the same distance traveled. Your bike isn't as green as you think. The steel, aluminum or titanium in the frame and other componensts was mined from the ground and refined. Bicycles are made from specific alloys, not simple recycled steel: 4130 chromoly steel, 6061 Aluminum, and 3/2.5 Titanium. If the frame is a composite, well the fibers and resins came, most likely, from petrochemicals, you know, stuff made by those big bad chemical plants. The rubber in the tires came from somewhere too. Then there's all the methane from those cows used for the leather in the saddle.
  • KixStart KixStart on Nov 30, 2008

    Ronnie Schrieber, Your claims don't pass the sniff test. On bikers producing CO2... First, I can go up to about 30 miles per gallon in my car... that's about 5.5 lbs of fuel, which is largely carbon which largely gets turned into CO2. To emit the same amount of CO2 as a car, I'd have to convert more than 5 lbs of fat when biking 30 miles. That doesn't happen, although I wish it did. And then there's the matter of the warm-blooded mammal's rest metabolism... if it takes me 2.5 hours to bike 30 miles, you'll find that I'd expel some significant fraction (probably half, maybe more) of that CO2 (maybe more) were I to simply nap for 2.5 hours. On the environmental impact of producing a 40 lb bicycle vs a 3000 pound car.... you've got to be kidding. Moreover, the bike lasts nearly forever. The one I bought in '79 is still hanging up in the garage for occasional use (it's a road bike) and I expect the one I bought in '06 (a hybrid for commuting) will last quite a while, too. If not, it's largely aluminum, which recycles very nicely. I've purchased 12 vehicles since I bought that '79 cycle and I'm sure at least half have gone to the crusher. The entire vehicle is certainly not recycled 100% effectively; I'll bet several times the mass of my bike is lost along the way. --- Sajeev Mehta, Still, what are the core competencies? For clues, we'd go to Detroit vehicles that are very competitive. And vehicles in categories where Toyota and Honda do not choose to compete or where heritage counts heavily would not necessarily be representative of product from core competencies. Their core competencies must include automtive design, engineering, marketing, manufacture and distribution. And "competency," to me, implies, they are as good in these efforts as anyone else. To have these core competencies, unless hindered by other forces that act unequally on the competitors (like, for example, healthcare costs) or other organizational problems, would lead to competitive product.