No. 984
February 20, 2018
 

About The UjianNasional@PeterMDeLorenzo Author, commentator, influencer. "The Consigliere." Editor-in-Chief of Ujian-nasional.info.

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On The Surface


Tuesday
Jun302009

ON THE TABLE

July 1, 2009

 

Toyota. As reported by Jean Halliday in AdAge, Toyota is getting hammered on the 'net and in court by Prius owners who insist that the darlings of the green car world have faulty optional high-intensity discharge headlamps that can cost as much as $1,000 to replace. Although Toyota hasn't been asked by NHTSA to address this issue, if Toyota appears to continue to dance around issuing a blanket internal order to fix the headlamps - which conjures up memories of their stone-walling in the Camry oil sludge problem of a few years ago - then things could go from bad to worse for Toyota's image. As Peter told AdAge: "If Toyota moves quickly, the whole thing will blow over." But if not, there will be "ill will" among owners because "word-of-mouth is still the most powerful form of advertising." Why is Toyota repeating past mistakes? By letting this HID headlamp issue fester "out there" in the real world it will only get more negative. We have an easy solution for you, Toyota: Shut up and fix it before you kill the buzz on the new generation Prius that's just hitting the market.

Aston Martin. Publisher's Note: From the "Holy Shit" File comes word that Toyota will supply Aston Martin with a version of its iQ urban micro car - complete with a front clip reminiscent of Aston's current super sports cars - which Aston will then trim out with a luxurious interior and other Aston touches. Aston Martin claims that the new "Cygnet" will be the world's first luxury city car when it goes on sale next year. The price? In the neighborhood of $35,000. Talk about blowing up one's brand image in one fell swoop. Yikes. There has to be another way here, folks. Pay a fine, pay off the bureaucrats, pass the costs on to the customers, whatever, but for heaven's sake don't pass off a micro car as being part of the Aston Martin brand. Because it's Bush League Bullshit of the highest order. The idea behind this, of course, is to help Aston with its fleet emissions performance, but it flat-out stinks. If this is really what the automotive world is coming to - with luxury high-performance brands having to offer micro cars as emissions "ringers" to boost their fleet averages - then we're screwed. What's next, a Ferrari version of the Fiat 500 or Alfa Romeo Mito? Cue the Wicked Witch of the West in her melting scene: "Ohhhhh... What a world! What a world!" - PMD

(Aston Martin)

Porsche. Our AE Downer Headline of the Week goes to Automotive News for this one about the new Porsche Panamera sedan: "Practicality will sell $91,000 sedan." Ouch, baby.

arrowup.gifGM. The company is walking away from its 25-year joint venture assembly deal with Toyota. The New United Motor Manufacturing Inc. ("NUMMI") facility, which builds the Tacoma pickup and Corolla for Toyota - and the Pontiac Vibe for GM - will not be a part of the "new" GM going forward. All kinds of kind platitudes were exchanged between the two companies at the conclusion of the deal, and rumors persist that they're cooking up something else for the "new" GM. We'll see. In the meantime, would you miss it?

GM. The "new" General Motors wants its dealers to downplay the Saturn connection to Roger Penske for fear of taking the spotlight off the brand, according to The Wall Street Journal. Really? We're thinking the brand needs all the attention it can get, no matter how it comes about. If we were Saturn dealers, we'd be shouting the Roger Penske name/connection from the rooftops too.

arrowup.gifHyundai. The company that just keeps pressing the issue is at it again. Already attracting buyers turned-off by the idea of doing business with GM or Chrysler, the company has announced an "Assurance Gas Lock" incentive program that guarantees the price of gas at $1.49 a gallon for a year to U.S. consumers who buy or lease its vehicles by Aug. 31. Oh, and they've also announced that they will bring in their top-of-the-line, full-size luxury sedan - the Equus - here next summer. The Equus will be brought in with a level of standard luxury and safety features aimed at humiliating the opposition - just call it the Lexus LS460 killer - all for a price point of around $60,000.

arrowup.gifRobert Cumberford. Check out Robert's outstanding design analysis of a truly magnificent car - the Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B - in the new August issue of Automobile. The Alfa Romeo is simply a stunningly beautiful work of automotive art that's easy to appreciate at first glance, but after reading Robert's analytical assessment of the car's design presence you'll appreciate it even more.

The EPA. It (or should we say the Obama administration) allows California and 13 other states to set their own fuel economy and greenhouse gas standards, reintroducing the potential for a "patchwork" of regulations rearing its ugly head again. The Environmental Protection Agency mumbled something in a statement about the decision being a return to the "traditional legal interpretation of the Clean Air Act." Right. We like what NADA Chairman John McEleney had to say instead: "EPA's decision to reverse its 2008 denial of California's request for a pre-emption waiver is sadly a triumph of politics over good common sense. NADA has commended President Obama for his announcement last month recognizing and addressing the 'patchwork' aspect of California's greenhouse gas rules. We also recognize that California has stated its willingness to conform its rules to the President's forthcoming national program. However, NADA remains concerned that today's action risks a series of negative results if that conformity never occurs. These include the potential for triple regulation of major manufacturers such as General Motors and Toyota. Moreover, with its action today, the Obama administration has effectively ceded the long-term setting of national fuel economy standards to unelected California regulators. The administration has now created the framework for three fuel economy standards, administered by three different agencies and under three different sets of rules. As a result, consumers in the future risk facing significantly reduced new vehicle choices and substantially higher new vehicle prices." And that's our AE Quote of the Week.

 

See another live episode of "Autoline After Hours" hosted by Autoline Detroit's John McElroy, with Peter De Lorenzo and auto industry PR veteran Jason Vines this Thursday evening, July 2, at 7:00PM EDT at .

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