Wednesday, December 3, 2008

All automakers are stupid

A while ago we started watching Top Gear. If American, you may never have heard about it (though it's now on BBC America, with a stupid schedule) but it's stupid popular. 385 million viewers every week. Tickets for the studio audience have a 21 year waiting list. Anyway, they mostly race supercars against fighters and so on, but sometimes they mention or review (or play soccer) with small, affordable cars.
And I spend a lot of time in front of the TV with my computer, looking up the cars. Know what? NONE of the small cars are available in the US. And I mean, small cars from people like VW and Toyota. Companies with extensive US operations. Check out the Toyota Aygo. Solid size, not bad power, apparently drives (corners) well, etc. 51 MPG. FIFTY ONE. Off normal, every day, gas. $11,000. Or the VW Fox (no relation to the old one sold in the US), similar performance, not that much power but it's a city car. 55 MPG. $9,000.
And this is why all automakers are stupid-heads. Several years ago, new CAFE standards are mooted, and changes start. Fuel prices start climbing, and so on. Yet no one (not US makers, not US operations of traditionally foreign companies) does /anything/ about it. The above could easily have been tweaked to meet DOT standards, and imported years ago. Chrysler is also called "Daimler Chrysler." They could have made a US-badged merc A-class (to avoid sullying the mercedes brand). What auto dealer would like to have cheap, efficient cars for sale right now? And that's before I wonder what happened to 30 years of crazy GM concepts, or a solid decade of Bill Ford's purported environmental consciousness. To quote Airplane. They bought their tickets, they knew what they were getting into. I say, let 'em crash.

5 comments:

gortpara said...

I saw this a while back.

http://www.lastautonews.com/last-auto-news/toyota-introducing-smart-fighting-tiny-car-to-us-as-a-scion/

I don't think you can believe everything you read, but it says the AYGO will be on sale in the US in 2010.

shoobe01 said...

If true, excellent. And introducing it as a Scion is probably good move for several reasons.

I cannot get that link to load today, however, so cannot read it, lending less credibility to their news reporting, I might add :)

John Bossert said...

Love Top Gear. Saw him review an American pickup recently (Ford F150 step side). His basic take on the American truck? "It's RUBBISH." Made me laugh, mostly because he's right, and has no fear of saying so.

shoobe01 said...

Speaking of which, I am selling my chevy. So if anyone needs one of those awful american trucks, be sure to ask.

Clarkson's review of the truck was good in some ways (interior build quality for example) but bad in that he blew off that it's the most expensive, least 4wd version of a large series of vehicles.

John Bossert said...

I think I would get rid of my newish truck if I could get away from it. But I can't (being upside down) so I won't.

If only life had a do-over button.