Tag: Politics

By on November 27, 2018

General Motors Renaissance Center

The big news this week is General Motors’ decision to cull its lineup, closing plants and sacking about 15 percent of its North American workforce in the process. According to Chief Executive Officer Mary Barra, GM’s official reasons for doing so are all part of its grand plan to transition to a company focused on electric vehicles and self-driving cars.

While we harbor a vague suspicion that the automaker is actually trying to prepare itself for an incoming economic downturn, leaving itself with plenty of financial wiggle room, GM currently enjoys relatively healthy profits (thank you, truck sales) and a lofty share price. In fact, GM shares rose nearly 5 percent after it announced the shuttering of several plants in the U.S. and Canada, cutting as many as 14,800 jobs.

Unfortunately, GM’s investors seem to be the only group that’s pleased with the decision. Everyone else appears to be absolutely furious.  (Read More…)

By on February 22, 2018

hitler benz

On Wednesday, Daimler’s German workers union publicly expressed concerns that neo-Nazis are trying to organize within the automaker’s ranks. While it did not specify which political groups were involved, it named several individuals from the Untertürkheim Mercedes-Benz plant in southern Germany and described the overall situation as “not acceptable.”

The works council believes Nazis are currently using Zentrum Automobil, an alternative labor union formed in 2009, as a base of operations to infiltrate the factory and placed several of its members on its board. “The Untertürkheim plant now appears in the media as a reservoir for neo-Nazis and a center of right-wing extremist activities,” explained members opposing the supposed infiltration.

That’s not great publicity for a German automaker with a rich history dating back through the Second World War. However, if the last year has taught us anything, it’s that the term “Nazi” currently gets thrown around more than a frisbee at a picnic. Are the claims valid?  (Read More…)

By on January 22, 2018

1977 Ford Econoline Van in California wrecking yard, RH front view - ©2017 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars
During the 2016 American presidential election, those voters who loathed both Trump and Clinton had the option of voting for one of a couple of long-shot third-party candidates, or perhaps the far more rational fourth-party candidate. Those rebellious souls who opted for the fourteenth-party candidate in 2016 went for that Econoline-driving Californian: Jussy G.G. Prussly.

Here is Jussy’s once-glorious van, now retired in a Central Valley self-service wrecking yard. (Read More…)

By on August 15, 2017

friedman

It’s the stuff of which public relations nightmares are made.

For the past couple of years Dodge has sponsored Motor Trend‘s “Roadkill” show, which can be thought of as a generic white-label take on Fast N’ Loud. It’s worth noting that Dodge did several promotions with Rawlings before parting ways with him and settling for the Roadkill team; the brand appears to believe that its heartland audience is best reached through flamboyant/quasi-authentic/redneck-chic YouTube personalities. What that says about FCA’s view of its customers is an exercise best left to the reader.

This past weekend, Dodge and Roadkill teamed for “Roadkill Nights on Woodward,” a staged car show and street-drag event in Detroit. There’s been no small amount of interest in this among the company’s owner base and from what I can see the event was a rip-roaring success, chock-full of Vipers and Demons and whatnot. Whenever an automaker spends this much money on any public relations exercise, there is always a tremendous amount of data deep-diving done immediately afterwards to demonstrate ROI of the expenditure via social media visibility, buff-book coverage, and mainstream mentions. Given the big turnout both online and in real life, I’m sure Dodge and its marketing partners were looking forward to the Monday meeting where they could pat themselves on the back for a job well done.

As it turns out, this weekend was an absolute barn burner of Dodge-branded media exposure. Unfortunately, the Dodge in question wasn’t a Demon lifting its front wheels on Woodward. Instead, it was a V6-powered 2010 Challenger that was driven into a crowd of anti-white supremacist protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia, causing one fatality and multiple injuries.

The odd coincidence of a “Roadkill”-themed promotion with a Challenger-caused hit-and-run fatality in Charlottesville has pundits on both sides of America’s culture war salivating — and with this unforeseen notoriety comes an unusual, and nearly unprecedented, demand.

(Read More…)

By on December 5, 2016

GM: Barra at 2016 GM Annual Stockholders Meeting

President-elect Donald Trump has named General Motors CEO Mary Barra to his advisory board on economic issues and jobs growth.

While this could also be a coincidental slight against Mark Fields for publicly criticizing the new president’s repeated verbal attacks against Ford, this isn’t the first time Barra has been considered for unexpected political involvement this year. Hillary Clinton had shortlisted her as a possible running mate for the 2016 election.  (Read More…)

By on October 22, 2016

Eleanor Mondale

It’s morning in America. Just before noon Eastern Time, actually.

If decades of Gallup polling is correct, and we’re inclined to believe it is, car salespeople and members of Congress have among the lowest reputations of any profession in the U.S. Surprised? Not likely. It’s probably why you never see politicians in car commercials, even if they’ll gladly lend their name to products like Pepsi and Viagra. We’re looking at you, Bob Dole.

That doesn’t mean the two worlds never mix. (Read More…)

By on October 18, 2016

Mary Barra with Chevrolet Cruze, Image: GM

General Motors CEO Mary Barra was under consideration to be Hillary Clinton’s running mate. Barra’s name, along with the names of 39 other candidates for the vice presidency, were found in a hacked email released today by WikiLeaks. (Read More…)

By on October 18, 2016

Caterpillar truck, Image: Caterpillar

So, there’s an election on, and a certain candidate has made some high-profile, sometimes inflammatory comments about American manufacturing and jobs being sent south of the Rio Grande. That person’s name is Donald T. No, perhaps that’s too obvious. D. Trump.

The Republican nominee recently found himself in a cage match with Ford Motor Company CEO Mark Fields after accusing the automaker of sending its jobs to Mexico. But one manufacturer that Trump does favor, one that he invests heavily in and whose products he plans to use to build a certain wall, also has a “Mexican problem.” (Read More…)

By on September 26, 2016

Audi RS7 ad

To disenfranchised voters, sitting through the first of the presidential debates tonight will be akin to laying back in a 19th century dentist’s chair. Open wide.

Politics (mostly) aside, Audi saw the potential viewership and wasn’t about to let a TV audience of that size pass it by. In its new spot for the Audi RS7, the automaker stages a John Woo-worthy valet battle that should provide some viewer relief. (Read More…)

By on December 15, 2015

Jag_Formula_E_Image_151215_02

This is the new News Round-up where we cover all the things you should know that may or may not deserve a headline on their own (or we may have simply run out of time to cover them). It’s similar to the “While Your Were Sleeping” news coverage, but not the same, hence the name change.

This morning, Jaguar announced they are going racing again, the automaker formerly known as Saab has a business plan and the Tesla Model X has a price spread that would make Porsche blush.

(Read More…)

By on March 11, 2015

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A handful of Republican presidential hopefuls converged upon Iowa last weekend to discuss the pros and cons of ethanol.

(Read More…)

By on May 15, 2014

traffic

With 112,000 infrastructure projects and 700,000 jobs at stake, the Obama administration and Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx are both urging Congress find a way to provide funding to the United States Highway Trust Fund before the well goes dry as early as August.

(Read More…)

By on February 17, 2014

2012AerialfromWest

Following the 712 – 629 decision against representation by the United Auto Workers at the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tenn., the union may be forced to throw in the towel on foreign-owned auto factories as the automaker’s works council vow to press forward with plans to establish their brand of representation in the plant.

(Read More…)

By on December 23, 2013

googlebus

Image from Twitter @craigsfrost

Positively or negatively, mass transit is often viewed as a social leveler. Rich and poor alike ride the subway in New York, London and Berlin. Atlantans of all economic and social backgrounds make use of MARTA’s facilities, as they do in many other American cities where public transit is the most efficient way of navigating the inner cities. Of course, these are public systems, funded by fares and taxpayer money.

(Read More…)

By on November 7, 2013

IRAN-_USA_obama-rouhani_CALL

An obscure story in the Azerbaijani press this past summer may be the tip of a much larger iceberg involving General Motors, PSA Peugeot Citroen and the Western World’s current bete noir: the Iranian regime currently embroiled at the heart of a controversial nuclear program, which is subject to economic sanctions by the United States government, including those that specifically target Iran’s automotive industry.

Citing reports from Iran’s Mehr news agency, an Azerbaijani news outlet reported that an unspecified number of brand new Chevrolet Camaro RS 2LT convertibles were imported by a division of Iranian conglomerate Iran Khodro. According to the report, the Camaros were sent from Miami to Paris, and then from Paris to Tehran via a Qatar Airways plane. The report also states that US Customs and Border Patrol documents list the final destination as the Aras Free Trade and Industrial Zone.

(Read More…)

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