Bark's Bites: Virtue Signaling Isn't A Good Look On You, Automakers
I remember it as though it were yesterday. Well, actually, my short-term memory isn’t that good anymore, thanks to the little transient ischemic attack I had about two years ago. So, let’s say I remember it like it was the day my son was born: the announcement of the Ford GT at the North American International Auto Show in 2015.
Painted in an unobtainium shade of blue, the GT rolled out onto the stage in Joe Louis Arena to much thunder and applause — and then a similarly painted Shelby GT350R came out and starting doing smoky donuts all around it.
Then, out of nowhere, a bald eagle flew in and landed on the hood of a Raptor F-150, carrying the severed head of Mary Barra in its beak. After that, a reanimated Norman Schwarzkopf rolled an Abrams tank in and blew a hole in the roof on the arena, causing $100 bills to rain down on everybody while girls in stars-and-stripes bikinis lovingly brushed Mark Fields’ mullet.
That second part may not have happened exactly like that. But compared to what Ford and other manufacturers did during their reveals this week, it may as well have. Because this week’s show was a fucking bore, and it was all because of that most millennial of vices — virtue signaling.
No, it’s no longer good enough for an automaker to make a kickass car. They have to talk about what percentage of hybrid, plug-in hybrid, fuel cell, and electric vehicles they’ll be making by 2030. For example, Honda’s John Mendel said that 117 percent of their vehicles will be electric by 2030. I might be misremembering that too, but I’m not far off.
And Ford? Instead of having a smoke-filled arena again, they spent roughly two minutes discussing the new F-150, another two minutes discussing future products like Ranger and Bronco (without actually showing one), followed by 20 fucking minutes talking about mobility. Let’s appreciate that for a moment — less than one-tenth of their allotted time was spent talking about a new version of the most popular vehicle in America, and more than twice that was spent in a scripted conversation with Michael Bloomberg about urban planning. Then, they had Walter Isaacson come out for another pre-scripted conversation on the “basic human right to mobility.”
I broadcasted this “reveal” on Facebook Live, and I’m incredibly sorry that I did. For the three viewers who made it through the whole thing, you have my apologies and my sympathy.
But wait — there’s more! Ford rented out Joe Louis for the rest of the day so they could continue the dialogue on mobility, including an honest-to-God TED talk and a symposium with millennial job seekers about the future of urban gridlock.
I think I speak for everybody over the age of 30 when I say show us the fucking cars, sir! Nobody cares about urban traffic planning. I felt like the buccaneers in the classic Disney ride, “Pirates of the Caribbean.”
We want the Bronco! We want the Bronco!
And then Bill Ford made us shut up by firing a pistol and returned to talking about Ford bicycles.
Listen, I get it. The world can’t exist on fossil fuel forever (even though that’s exactly how electric cars are powered — a fact people conveniently forget). I know that we have to change and evolve and move toward a future where V8s are persona non grata. But not just yet.
In the year 2017, it only seems appropriate to say that it’s time to Make Auto Shows Great Again. Stop telling us how pious you are. Give us the cars.
And thus ends the rant.
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- Zerofoo I'm pretty sure driving this thing in any respectable town is considered probable cause.
- Doc423 Well said, Jeff.
- Urlik My online research seems to indicate it’s an issue with the retaining clips failing and allowing the valve spring retainers to come out. This results in the valve dropping into the cylinder.
- EBFlex Typical Ford. For those keeping track, Ford is up to 44 recalls for the year. Number one recalled manufacturer (yet again) by a wide margin.
- Lorie Did they completely forget the damn 2.0 ecoboosts that have the class action lawsuit? Guess those of us that had to pay out of pocket for an engine replacement for a fail at 76k miles are out of luck? I will never buy a Ford again.