No. 992
April 17, 2019

About The UjianNasional

Peter M. DeLorenzo has been immersed in all things automotive since childhood. Privileged to be an up-close-and-personal witness to the glory days of the U.S. auto industry, DeLorenzo combines that historical legacy with his own 22-year career in automotive marketing and advertising to bring unmatched industry perspectives to the Internet with, which was founded on June 1, 1999. DeLorenzo is known for his incendiary commentaries and laser-accurate analysis of the automobile business, as well as racing and the business of motorsports. Author. Commentator. Influencer. The Consigliere. Minister of the High-Octane Truth. DeLorenzo is considered to be one of the most influential voices commenting on the business today.

DeLorenzo's latest book is Witch Hunt (Octane Press  ). It is available on Amazon in both hardcover and Kindle formats, as well as on iBookstore. DeLorenzo is also the author of The United States of Toyota.

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RANTS #445

May 14, 2008

The UjianNasional Guide to the latest auto industry terms.

By Peter M. De Lorenzo

Detroit. Once in a while, we feel it’s our duty to interpret the latest industry slang roiling around the corridors of the Detroit automakers for our readers, if only to help those who aren’t immersed in this stuff on a day-to-day basis to gain a little bit of understanding as to what this business is all about at this very moment in time. Some of the terms are totally nonsensical without the follow-up explanation, and some of them are self explanatory. Suffice to say, this business has developed its own quirky shorthand phrases to help describe the relentless 24/7 slog that defines this industry, and every now and then we find it amusing to do an update in the interest of expanding our readers’ knowledge base. So, read on...

AFTERLUTZ - The state of shock destined to loom over GM after Bob Lutz hangs up his spurs, as in, "This company is suffering from a low-grade paralysis. This afterlutz fog is killing us."

BOBBED – Term restricted for use by minions in GM PR whenever Bob Lutz goes off on one of his tangents, as in, “I had the thing just about wrapped-up when that question came up about global warming, and in a nanosecond it was too late. I got bobbed.”

BONE MONKEYS - Anonymous trolls existing in all car companies who are impediments to progress, who revel in mediocrity, and who derail programs through their incompetence, laziness and "not invented here" attitude, as in, "That program would have put this company back in the game, but once the bone monkeys got ahold of it, we were dead in the water."

BURNED TO A CRISPIN - A relentlessly square auto company advertising manager who is suffering a near total meltdown due to the exhaustion brought on from trying to be hip, as in, “She was fine until she got her ass burned to a crispin on that latest trying-too-hard-to-be-hip ad campaign.”

CAYENNED-UP – When a car company loses its focus and goes off on product tangents and investigates segments that it has no business playing in, as in, “We had it all together until our marketing brain trust got all cayenned-up, and the next thing we knew we were working on a cubist minivan made out of recycled bamboo.”

CHARIOTS OF THE TODDS - A reference to the cars in the company parking lot driven by the IT minions.

GEEZEL - A term from the retail side of the business referring to a $1,000.00, or "grand," as in, "She was pissed-off that she had to come up with a geezel to pay for the mileage overage on her lease."

GHOSNER – Term given to an underling who crosses paths with Carlos Ghson at the wrong time on the wrong day, as in, “He had a pretty bright future until that last meeting, now he’s a ghosner.”

HUMMERED - The state of eating or drinking to excess (usually applying to members of the media on auto press junkets), as in, “She was supposed to be here for the 7:30 media breakfast, but she got so hummered last night I doubt if she’ll make it.”

JIMBOTRON - Coined after Jim Press revealed his impressive ability for selective recall and counter-spin concerning his former life at Toyota, and what he actually did/didn't do - or say - while he was there, as in, "It looked like Mike was going to get his ass handed to him this morning, but then he fired up the jimbotron and by the time he was through everyone had forgotten what the question was to begin with." 

JUNKETUTE – The altered state brought on by being on an extended press junket when the propensity to lose all track of space, time, reality and objectivity is a very real danger, as in, “I turned into a junketute about the time I was half-finished typing my story - from my hotel room overlooking the Amalfi coast - and half-way through a $300.00 bottle of Barolo.”

KLINKIAN NIGHTMARE – A term used in reference to Ferdinand Piech, aka “Col. Klink.” The Man Who Wouldn’t Leave the VW Group and the guy who has his tentacles in absolutely everything in the company with no rhyme or reason - and usually to its detriment too - as in, “The next-gen Golf was on pace to be something really special until it turned into a klinkian nightmare.”

LENS-LICKER - A highly unflattering reference to an auto exec who just can't seem to get enough of being quoted on TV, or being the center of attention for the media, as in, "He once actually knew what he was talking about, now he's just a lens-licker looking for his next media fix."

MAVERICKED - A person with real potential who gets cast aside for not going along to get along - as in, “He opened his mouth one too many times so he got mavericked to the Denver zone.”  

McBENZ - A variety of symptoms suffered by a person - usually a “Ned” (see below) - exposed to a dramatic decrease in status in the workplace, as in, “Ever since ‘ol Ned’s boss got transferred to Korea, he’s got the McBenz real bad, I’d say.”

NASHVILLED – Specific term given to the former Southern California employees of Nissan who were forced to move to Nashville - or else leave the company - as in, “He got Nashvilled, but then his wife threatened to leave him and take the kids with her, so he’s back in L.A. looking for a job.”

NARDELLIED – A company that has its momentum destroyed when ownership brings in an executive from the outside to run the show who then proves to be completely out of his or her league - with disastrous results - as in, “We were doing really well and things were starting to look up and then bang, we got nardellied into Chapter 11.”

NASCARRED – Term given to describe a marketing honcho who commits obscene amounts of the company’s money to a NASCAR program - just in time to see NASCAR plateau and start its inevitable downward spiral - as in, “He was fine until he got nascarred by his own stupidity, now he’s wrangling the media fleet for the northeast region.”

NUMBLER - A fawning, mind-numbing bumbler of a mid-level exec whose time is totally consumed by sucking up to his boss and justifying his existence, as in, “That numbler even agreed with him before he finished his sentence.” (Also known as a “Ned,” as in “Ned the Numbler.”)

OAR-LESS - Derived from the joke about having only one oar in the water, this term refers to someone who is simply overmatched from the moment he or she turns off the alarm, as in, "We needed him to be on for that meeting, but what were we thinking? He was oar-less in that fight from the get-go."

OVERKIRKED - A term used to describe the unwelcome overtures made to a non-receptive automaker by Kirk Kerkorian which is then purposely communicated – or leaked - to the media by Jerry York in casual conversation, as in, “I overkirked York saying that he and Kerkorian are already looking at their watches over this Ford play.”

PONTIHACKED - When a car company squanders its legacy and loses its way, only to realize (too late) that their mojo is irretrievable, as in, "That used to be one of the great car companies until they pontihacked it to death with their own serial incompetence."

RONNIED – Term used when a product program is blown-up from a misguided missile launched by a non-car guy who maliciously imposes his or her will on the job at hand with terribly destructive results, as in, “That program was really on its way until it got ronnied by that idiot, now it’s all screwed up and in danger of getting cancelled.”

SHANGHILED – When an exec gets sent to China on assignment with promises that it will do wonders for his or her career, only to find out that it’s a one-way ticket to irrelevant oblivion, as in, “Poor Joe got shanghiled to China and now he’s toast.”

SLIMECOAT - A particularly virulent strain of the traditonal account-type, or "suit." Can be male or female, and they share an uncanny ability to do or say anything, at any time, in any situation and they absolutely cannot be trusted under any circumstances, as in, "Those slimecoats came out of the woodwork with their long knives drawn and killed the program before it even got off the ground."

SMOKEY-TIME - This refers to the classic "smoke and mirrors" presentations that go on every day in this town and in businesses across the country for that matter, as in, "We were nowhere in that meeting until Harry went all smokey-time on them, and then we walked out with the order. Unbelievable."

WENDELSPIN – Term given to describe anytime Porsche’s CEO, Wendelin Wiedeking, speaks to the media, which usually means he covers two subjects. 1. How wonderful he is and 2. How profitable Porsche is, which elicits a predictable response from memebers of the press, as in, “I was going to go to the Porsche press conference, but I think I’ve had enough wendelspin for one lifetime.”

YORKED – Kirk Kerkorian’s notion of “helping” an automaker to new heights of profitability as channeled through Jerry York's brain, as in, “I see Ford got yorked by Kerkorian’s latest unwelcomed attack.”

The beauty of this list is that it changes constantly with the ebb and flow of the business, along with the cast of characters who are constantly being promoted, demoted, or left to rot right where they are.

We'll keep our ears open for the latest in the coming months and then do another update.

Thanks for listening, see you next Wednesday.