They're Baaaaaaaaaaaack!

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt

As gas is down, the behemoths roar back.

Bertel Schmitt
Bertel Schmitt

Bertel Schmitt comes back to journalism after taking a 35 year break in advertising and marketing. He ran and owned advertising agencies in Duesseldorf, Germany, and New York City. Volkswagen A.G. was Bertel's most important corporate account. Schmitt's advertising and marketing career touched many corners of the industry with a special focus on automotive products and services. Since 2004, he lives in Japan and China with his wife <a href=""> Tomoko </a>. Bertel Schmitt is a founding board member of the <a href=""> Offshore Super Series </a>, an American offshore powerboat racing organization. He is co-owner of the racing team Typhoon.

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  • Golden2husky Golden2husky on Nov 29, 2008
    Further proof that CAFE, as flawed as it may be, or some other minimum standard, is necessary to keep national consumption from being worse than it already is. Sorry, your analysis is completely flawed. What the recent price spike has demonstrated is the price elasticity of the demand for gasoline. When gas prices rise, people buy more efficient cars. The problem with CAFE is that it tries to get people to buy cars they don’t want to buy. You can’t get someone to buy a Focus when they want an Expedition. You can, however, easily change what people want to buy, as was shown this summer. Simply increase fuel taxes. With higher fuel prices, people will want more fuel efficient cars and the automakers will build them. Problem solved.... Actually, Jared, my logic is not at all flawed. I am trying to demonstrate that unless there is a minimum standard to meet, there is no incentive to build in efficiency, no matter what type of vehicle it is. A full size SUV can be relatively efficient for its class. Or not. Design does matter. It is not a case of eliminating larger vehicles at all. It is a matter of building them to be as efficient as possible. Yes, a gas tax will result in increased conservation but it is regressive, and it is not really fair because America, for better or worse, has invested in the infrastructure to support private cars. As such, most do not have a choice about driving. Excess taxes punish those who have no choice but to drive. More innovative than CAFE, and certainly more fair than a high tax would be a MPG derived registration surcharge because while you may have no choice when it comes to driving, you have full control on what to drive.
  • RobbieWilliams RobbieWilliams on Nov 29, 2008

    @n4571c : Never got rid of my Yukon Denali, Yukon XL or Escalade! Get POed at the Prius and other under powered little crappos that can’t go up a hill, I drive a Jetta 1.8T that goes up hill just fine, and can corner/handle. Oh, two drivers, four dogs. - is this really justification for three massive SUVs? As my sister quips regarding Suvs and the Brady Bunch - Carol Brady did it with one husband, six kids, a maid, and a dog all in one station wagon. People should be free to choose their vehicle (both SUV and compact) provided they are safe (the head of the Dept. of Transportation once said he would not put his daughters in an SUV if it were the last vehicle on earth due to roll over issues), and fuel efficient (and yes, this can include large vehicles). We have finite resources and with the growing Chinese and Indian markets we need to make certain we have the foresight to make vehicles that meet our needs and minimise their impact on the environment (this will most likely have to come about through a mixture of governmental and market forces). @ SD 328I : November 27th, 2008 at 4:43 pm This just demonstrates that people like larger vehicles. - Some people, not all The majority of them were already regretting their decision before gas prices dropped, and are really regretting it now. - The majority? Where are the studies on this published? Is this merely anecdotal? I personally own a Honda Civic EX and Ford Expedition. Nothing is more user friendly than a SUV. It has no compromises, and it very nice to drive. The only negatives are high gas prices. Nothing is more user friendly? Wow, there are plenty of vehicles out there other than SUVs that are incredibly user friendly (both in handling, gas mileage, storage, an reliability). As for SUV negatives - poor handling, poor line of sight, prone to roll overs, poor fuel efficiency, et cetera. As long as there are people with differing opinions, there will be different cars/vehicles on the road. The trick is for people to co-exist, and manufacturers to think long term and make efficient, safe, sustainable vehicles (and making them fun would not hurt either).

  • JEC JEC on Nov 30, 2008

    Whatever happened to letting sleeping dogs lie? Some people like SUVs, there is no need to chastize them for it and try to prove them wrong. I like cognac, but I know at least five people who will argue with me all day about why cognac is terrible, overpriced, and a ridiculous product that gets undeserved praise. Let it go. It's a free market and a free country. Otherwise you get dangerously close to the greenhead attitude of "my (green) way or you can die in a cloud of carbon emissions".

  • Landcrusher Landcrusher on Nov 30, 2008

    Finite resources!? What kind of argument is this? What resource do we have that is NOT finite? There is a straight line from these arguments right to controlling the way others live because you think their choices are foolish. Well, sorry, but your line of thinking leads us all straight to misery. Once again, the reasons for SUV hate are legion, and almost all of them are lame, and mostly hypocritical. If you are a multi-millionaire minimalist, then perhaps you have grounds to stand on, but then the very same SUV haters have lots of things to hate about you as well. We have had SUV's almost as long as we have had cars. CAFE is one of the prime reasons for the growth of SUV's. One of the others is hate for large luxury cars which we had thirty years ago when the cadillac driver was a fat cat, but the guy in the suburban was given a pass because it was believed he needed the truck or he would not have bought it. Go ahead and bitch, next round will only get worse. Furthermore, how many tries at being smarter than the market do you want to have before you gas savers give up and go for the gas tax (you know, the one thing we know WILL work)?