By on December 29, 2008

Thanks to stringent libel laws and gag orders, they used to do this crap all the time in the UK: run a media story about another media story without telling you what was in the original media story. In this case, it’s an pro-Detroit, anti-Toyota viral email that’s grabbed the attention of The Detroit Free Press‘ numero uno propagandist, Mark Phelan. The columnist is incensed– incensed I tell you– that someone is making the right case for Motown’s teat suckle using spin and, gasp, twisting facts. And just in case this amateur apologist needs some helpful hints, Phelan’s lede takes a shot at a certain southern senator. “With friends like these, who needs Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby? Shelby, of course, became the public face of contempt for Detroit’s automakers with his staunch opposition to congressional aid. Some of the Detroit Three’s would-be supporters may now inadvertently further damage the industry’s cause. There’s a slick viral ad making rounds by e-mail that attempts to defend Detroit’s automakers by showing that foreign brands aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. Riddled with distortions and lies, it could do more harm than good.” So spill sister! Some quotes please. Only one, but it’s a doozy.

“Titled ‘We can do whatever we want. Because our poop don’t stink,’ the viral ad features a photo of a particularly bloated-looking Toyota Sequoia SUV. The provocative headline expresses a widely held frustration that U.S. automakers get no credit for building hybrids and fuel-efficient vehicles, while foreign brands get a free pass when they sell big gas-guzzlers.”

Widely-held? Yes, it’s true: Phelan is no student of irony. Whatsoever. Judge for yourself as he attempts to deconstruct the email’s Tundra to Tahoe mpg throw down.

“It claims the Sequoia’s fuel economy is an awful 4 miles per gallon worse than the comparably large Chevrolet Suburban. That’s true only if you compare the most fuel-efficient Suburban to the worst Sequoia. It’s a textbook case of using statistics to mislead. What makes the misrepresentation particularly damnable is that you don’t have to cheat to make the Suburban look good. Head-to-head against the most fuel-efficient Sequoia, Chevy wins by 1 m.p.g.”

In fact, Phelan plea to the unknown email orginator would be funny– if it weren’t so pathetic.

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14 Comments on “Ask the Best and Brightest: Does Anyone Have A BETTER Copy of the Pro-Detroit Viral Email?...”


  • avatar
    ZoomZoom

    Phelan is still working for the Free Press?

    The Free Press is still selling papers?

    In a town where supposedly nobody’s working?

    Wow, you live and learn.

  • avatar
    KixStart

    Phelan: “The provocative headline expresses a widely held frustration that U.S. automakers get no credit for building hybrids and fuel-efficient vehicles, while foreign brands get a free pass when they sell big gas-guzzlers.”

    Only if you’re drinking the GM Kool-Aid and believe that a bargeload of badge-engineered vehicles that eke out 30mpg is important. Last year – or maybe the year before, one of the muckety-mucks at Toyota said, “40 is the new 30.” And that’s what people believe. And Toyota does have a model that gets well over 40 on the EPA tests, with an improved version due out soon. GM? Uhhh… no. The genius of GM is to introduce hybrids that can also be described as gas-guzzlers.

    This just in; Ford gets it, even if GM doesn’t:

    Ford Fusion Score 41mpg on EPA Test

    Good job, Ford.

  • avatar
    autoemployeefornow

    The city of Detroit has an unemployment rate of a little over 21%. That would mean that 79% are still working ZoomZoom. Sure it’s near depression numbers but people are still working. Phelan has to rah rah for Detroit. Who do you think he works for?

  • avatar
    no_slushbox

    “The email goes on to claim that ‘in an accident a Toyota Camry has a 90% chance of exploding and killing every passenger inside’, but does not provide a source for that statistic, which may or may not be true.”

  • avatar
    fincar1

    The definition of a viral email is that everyone has seen it. Not much of a virus if no one can find it.

  • avatar
    TheRealAutoGuy

    This Casablanca-ripping-off article “incensed – incensed!” is long on the baiting, accusations, and critical tone, and short on facts.

    Phelan is a professional. One part of being a professional is not needlessly repeating trash and inaccuracies. This is what good journalists do.

    BTW, Robert, what would Phelan have to say for you to agree and support him? Just asking…

  • avatar
    TheRealAutoGuy

    ZoomZoom :
    December 29th, 2008 at 11:59 am

    Phelan is still working for the Free Press?
    Yup. Doing well, as a matter of fact.

    The Free Press is still selling papers?
    Yes Indeed, 7 days a week.

    In a town where supposedly nobody’s working?
    Not nearly enough, but some folks are still working! :-)

    Wow, you live and learn.
    Yes, you do! :-)

  • avatar
    nonce

    Is this it?

    http://cmsimg.freep.com/apps/pbcsi.dll/bilde?Site=C4&Date=20081228&Category=COL14&ArtNo=812280376&Ref=AR&Profile=1095&MaxW=550&MaxH=650&title=0

  • avatar

    TheRealAutoGuy :

    The truth.

  • avatar
    npbheights

    Nothing will make you want to buy a Toyota more than trying to keep a GM Northstar on the road for seven years.

  • avatar

    Wow. I don’t like Japanese cars that much, but even I do have to admit they’ve got their good points.

    That said, the pro-Detroit jpeg is truly terrible. Why the hell do people still use jpegs when there’s text in the image? PNG, dammit. Portable Network Graphics. USE IT.

  • avatar
    Mark45

    Why are they comparing the Sequoia with the Suburban? The Sequoia is closer in size to the Tahoe which gets better mileage than the Suburban.

  • avatar
    Demetri

    Before this whole situation went down, I was considering buying a Ford once they bring over the euro stuff. Now, I can easily say that I will never buy a D3 vehicle for the rest of my life. The whole situation disgusts me, and a lot of it has to do with the D3 boosters. I realized that I have nothing in common with the domestic car people, and I want nothing to do with them or their brands. I feel like your car choice says something about you, and for me, a detroit badge says all the wrong things.

  • avatar
    BMW325I

    The lamest commercial I have seen is when GM compared to the most fuel efficient Escalade to the least fuel efficient Mini cooper trying to convince people to pay 3 times more for 1 more mpg city. Doesn’t the mini cooper diesel get something like 39mpg city and 45 hwy?

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