No. 960
August 22, 2018
 

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On The Surface


Tuesday
Nov252008

ON THE TABLE

November 26, 2008

 

Porsche. Publisher's Note: From the "Just Another Car Company" File comes word that the Porsche Panamera has now been officially unwrapped, and the result isn't pretty. As a matter of fact the photos reveal the most egregious design "statement" to come along in oh, the last 25 years at least. Boasting all the elegance of a stretched AMC Pacer, the Porsche Panamera is hideous from every angle, despite the best efforts of Porsche to conceal the obvious in the press photos. Did anyone expect anything less? We all knew that the early design sketch they teased us with bore little resemblance to the actual car, especially when the early prototypes were caught running around in the obligatory spy shots. It can't really be that bad we all thought to ourselves. Oh, but it is. And then some. I've been down this road about Porsche many, many times before on this website. Once they sold their soul to the SUV Devil in the guise of the Cayenne, there was simply no turning back. Porsche's "Four, uncompromised" marketing schtick doesn't fool anyone, either. The Panamera is a butt-ugly four-door sedan designed to lighten the wallets of fools with too much money and too little common sense. What a joke. - PMD

David Welch, BusinessWeek. In his excellent piece entitled "Detroit's Next Headache: Dangerous Debt," Welch lays out the horrendous debt issues facing the Detroit 2.5. It's a worthwhile deep dive into the financial Big Picture of the U.S. auto industry. You can read it .

Daniel Alpert. The managing director of Westwood Capital, an investment bank in New York, told CNN on Monday that saving a bank like Citigroup has to take precedence over the auto industry. Even though a collapse of one or more of the Big Three could have major negative implications on the economy, he insisted that preventing a Citigroup bankruptcy could forestall an even worse shock to the already fragile financial system. "This is dramatically different. Essentially, what the government needed to do is under no circumstances allow Citigroup to fail. You can't have a financial world without the major banks," Alpert said. And that's our AE Quote of the Week, Part 1.

Bob Andres. The chief investment strategist for Portfolio Management Consultants, the investment consulting unit of Chicago-based asset management firm Envestnet, which has $90 billion in assets, had this to say to CNN on Monday: "There is nothing that Detroit has not done a lot in the past 20 years to gain any support from Washington or the public. There has to be an end. The government can't own everything in the country. They may have to draw a line and unfortunately Detroit may be it." And that's our AE Quote of the Week, Part II.

Daniel Alpert (again). On so many companies lining up for assistance in the U.S. right now: "Washington is Oz right now. Everybody is marching in asking for a heart, a brain or a lot of cash. What Congress told the Big Three is to go back and bring them the broom of the Wicked Witch of the West." And that's our AE Quote of the Week, Part III.

Representative Thaddeus McCotter (R - MI). We don't need to add anything to Mr. McCotter's words. His was the one voice, make that the only voice of reason in Washington this week -

GM. They had to let Tiger Woods out of his endorsement contract with Buick a year early. They said it wasn't about the money or their current perilous financial standing, but come on, who's kidding whom? It was all about the money, in the neighborhood of $40 million over five years, not an insignificant sum in these dire times. The timing wasn't great, or maybe it was, depending on how you look at it - what with another round coming up in Washington - but we doubt that Tiger will have to worry much about finding another corporate entity that wants to appear on his bag.

Nissan. It's not just Detroit that's suffering. Nissan is pulling out of the Detroit and Chicago auto shows next year to save marketing money. Not good.

Hyundai. The Koreans have sacked yet another head of their U.S. operations. This time Jong Eun Kim is being replaced by John Krafcik as South Korea's largest automaker looks at its first U.S. sales drop in a decade. Krafcik was vice president of product development and strategic planning for the U.S., and now Hyundai will look to fill his old job. Hyundai bosses in Korea must think the economic downturn decimating the North American market somehow shouldn't affect them, apparently. Wow. These guys are good.

The City of Romulus. One of the little joys (not) of living in the Motor City is the Gestapo-like gauntlet you have to run through to get to the Detroit Metro Wayne County Airport. The Romulus police, urged on by a city desperate for money (the city where the airport is located), have turned the Interstate 94 freeway around the airport into a virtual cash machine, writing 10,000 tickets since July 1. Yes, you read that correctly. It has gotten so bad for drivers that the Detroit Metropolitan Police - who have jurisdiction on the actual airport grounds - are actually warning drivers to be wary of the actions of the Romulus police! "To us, it’s more of a revenue generation for the city of Romulus than traffic safety enforcement," airport spokesman Mike Conway told the local NBC affiliate, WDIV. The Wayne County Airport Authority has even begun circulating fliers that read, "The Romulus Police Department has dramatically increased its patrols at the entrances and exits to Detroit Metropolitan Airport, using unmarked vehicles. Please be careful to observe all speed limits and traffic laws." WDIV also reported that "Airport officials said they plan on turning the flier into a billboard and will leave it up until the Romulus police stop targeting those entering and leaving the airport. The airport police chief sent out an email to officers telling them to park in front of a Romulus police patrol car if you see one and turn on overhead lights to warn drivers to slow down." Only in the Motor City, kids. Yikes.

Michael Lewis. "The era that defined Wall Street is finally, officially over. Michael Lewis, who chronicled its excess in Liar’s Poker, returns to his old haunt to figure out what went wrong." That's the lead into the must-read article by Michael Lewis appearing in Conde Nast Portfolio this month. Go .

(Digital Art by Casey Shain)
Publisher's Note: In a lighter vein going into the Thanksgiving holiday, our friend Casey Shain - "artandcolour" - has been at it again, this time envisioning a Lincoln Continental Coupe with modern day tweaks. Casey started with an early 60s Lincoln sedan (see the original press photo, below), but instead of just changing it to a 2-door he changed every panel, "giving it more 'Mark-like' proportions than the sedan," he said. Then he executed the design of the hubcaps and wide whites as if they were on 20" wheels. Good stuff. Happy Thanksgiving to everyone from all of us here at AE. - PMD

(Ford)


 

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