John Neff is Insane

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago
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john neff is insane

If anyone knows the pressures of covering Motown’s meltdown, it’s me. I’m putting in some serious time behind this keyboard (“that’s why they call it work” my wife reminds me) trying to keep up with a news cycle that makes a racing bike seem like a mobility scooter (or something like that). My favorite carmudgeon Dan Neil blew a gasket earlier today, arguing for– yes for— the creation of an American Leyland. The same Dan Neil whose criticism of GM’s management (before criticizing Motown’s management was cool) sparked a retaliatory ad boycott and, thus, the first GM Death Watch. And now Autoblog supremo John Neff has gone off the deep end. In the recently launched “Opinion” category– an inherently bad idea for writers with all the teeth of a Chrysaora fuscescens— Neff wails “Stop arm-chair quarterbacking the auto industry.” Huh? If that’s not a textbook example of pathological solipsism, Bob Lutz is. Anyway, Neff’s knickers are in a right royal twist.

“While Detroit deserves much of the ribbing that’s on the way, it irks our ears every time we read an op-ed piece from folks who flat-out do not know what the Hell they’re talking about.” Without the slightest whiff of irony, JN provides two examples of commentators out of their depth. And then the automotive journalist who condemns arm-chair quarterbacking arm-chair quarterbacks.

“While it’s easy to dog on the domestics for the sorry shape in which they find themselves, don’t listen to every Karen and Michael out there who voice their ill-informed opinions on how things ought to be. There are such a myriad of factors that have contributed to the current state of the Detroit 3, some of which is their fault and some (like bad mortgages ruining the credit market) which aren’t, that there just is no silver bullet fix beyond continuing to lower costs and building better products.”

Robert Farago
Robert Farago

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2 of 19 comments
  • WhatTheHel WhatTheHel on Dec 03, 2008

    You're nothing but a scruffy looking Neff herder.

  • Jonny Lieberman Jonny Lieberman on Dec 03, 2008

    I'm with Berkowitz and Neff here -- the two examples Neff sites are totally valid to his thesis. RF -- why did you omit them? The big loony was that Ford must cancel the 2010 Mustang if they want any bailout money. Seriously, how is being against that "Insane?"

  • Lorenzo A union in itself doesn't mean failure, collective bargaining would mean failure.
  • Ajla Why did pedestrian fatalities hit their nadir in 2009 and overall road fatalities hit their lowest since 1949 in 2011? Sedans were more popular back then but a lot of 300hp trucks and SUVs were on the road starting around 2000. And the sedans weren't getting smaller and slower either. The correlation between the the size and power of the fleet with more road deaths seems to be a more recent occurrence.
  • Jeff_M It's either a three on the tree OR it's an automatic. It ain't both.
  • Lorenzo I'm all in favor of using software and automation to BUILD cars, but keep that junk off my instrument panel, especially the software enabled interactive junk. Just give me the knobs and switches so I can control the vehicle, with no interconnectivity of any kind.
  • MaintenanceCosts Modern cars detach people from their speed too much. The combination of tall ride height, super-effective sound insulation, massive power, and electronic aids makes people quite unaware of just how much kinetic energy is nominally under their control while they watch a movie on their phone with one hand and eat a Quarter Pounder with the other. I think that is the primary reason we are seeing an uptick in speed-related fatalities, especially among people NOT in cars.With that said, I don't think Americans have proven responsible enough to have unlimited speed in cars. Although I'd hate it, I still would support limiters that kick in at 10 over in the city and 20 over on the freeway, because I think they would save more than enough lives to be worth the pain.