Hammer Time: Tearing Down Walls

Steven Lang
by Steven Lang
hammer time tearing down walls

The taxpayers will be paying for the GM and Chrysler bankruptcies. The living. The dead. The unborn. Hell, even my dog. All of us here who give our money to a Congress and President that can’t say no get the honors. Shouldn’t we get something for it? I’m not talking about a bouncy little check in the mail from Uncle Sam. We already have enough of those. How about a car? Seriously. This is a bankruptcy the public will be paying for after all. We’re going to be paying in interminable interest payments and political pontifications if nothing else. Since that’s the case, why not offer all these wonderful unloved surplus vehicles to the public?

I propose that since this is a publicly funded bankruptcy, we offer the public complete access to the auto auctions. Here are the plusses. You’ll get more of your money back in the end. You let the free market do what it does best without a barrier to entry. You get everything done as quickly as possible. There are literally dozens of auto auctions throughout the country that are designed to move thousands of cars in a single day. The selling process is amazingly simple and unlike used car sales, new cars have no discernible wear. You don’t have to worry about frame damage or the Frankenstein sold by the professional rebuilders. The minuses? Well, here it goes.

Dealer traffic would come to a trickle. Even at the ‘snobby’ brands that we all know and resent. Sure there will be those folks who insist on a well made product. But Americans buy crap. That’s why we have Wal-Mart. The only difference between the heavy spenders and the poverty stricken is that the former usually buys more of it in bigger packages. For those who like to buy crap in volume, we’ll just let them go as many times as they like to the auctions. Nothing is better than a free market where all the goods are new and all the bidding is open. What says you?

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  • Dkulmacz Dkulmacz on May 22, 2009

    WalMart uses it's extreme size to steer / bully suppliers into moving production to China in order to meet the prices they demand. They're an expert at getting other businesses to lay off US workers.

  • Mel23 Mel23 on May 22, 2009

    Crap isn't crap due to where it's sold, but rather where and how it's made. I bought some (slightly) galvanized wire fence 3-4 years ago. A lot of it is solidly red with rust now, and it'll have to be replaced in 2-3 more years. This stuff used to last 20 years or more. Made in China of course, and bought at Tractor Supply and Lowes. If I knew of another source, I'd buy it there. I think it's a result of big box retailing where store personal aren't affected by unhappy customers, and hence the customer has no meaningful choice in many cases.

  • SCE to AUX I'd admire it at the car cruise, but $20k gets you halfway to a new truck.
  • Lou_BC Panther black? Borrowed from Dodge panther pink? One could argue that any Camaro is a limited run.
  • SCE to AUX I much prefer the looks of the Tucson version, but either is a great value.How was the driveability, namely the electric/gas transition? I had H/K's first attempt in a 13 Optima Hybrid (now in my son's garage), and it was gruff and abrupt in that phase of driving.
  • SCE to AUX My guess of $60k from a few years ago may be low.My EPA estimate would be 263 miles, but that's unladen, temperate conditions, driven at the speed limit, and 0% left in the tank - all unrealistic.Subtract 15% for full payload, 20% for cold, 10% for speed, and 20% minimum battery level, and you're down to 129 usable miles at times. Even in nice conditions (springtime, town driving), I'd only expect 180 usable miles.This vehicle will have the same challenge as electric pickups do - when used as intended (traveling with family and stuff in this case), the utility is lost.When these hit US roads, expect to see videos of unhappy/surprised customers who thought this thing would go 260+ miles all the time. For starters, it should have a 150 kWh battery, minimum, and then you're talking real money.No, I wouldn't buy it, but it might be a fun rental for local driving.The common argument "once everyone who wants one gets one, sales will die" may not apply here. 789k New Beetles were sold in the US from 1998-2021. True, sales dropped 50% in 5 years, and another 60% in the next 5 years, but it ebbed along for two decades, helped by a refresh along the way. That's not a bad run for a niche car.
  • Theflyersfan I still have visions of Radio Shack and Circuit City and Silo - the huge walls filled with hundreds of aftermarket cassette players fit for any budget and style. And the eyes would always go to the Alpine ones with the green lighting. When I see the old Japanese cars like this, I'm always reminded of those aftermarket stereos because it was like a rite of passage slapping in your own cassette deck and maybe if your rich enough, four new speakers, and mega-bucks here, the equalizer and amp. And this Toyota still has less rust on it than an 07 Silverado, so there's one positive.